CRAWFORD | Wednesday Sports Media watch - WDRB 41 Louisville News

CRAWFORD | Wednesday Sports Media watch

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The beginning of the National Football League season displayed the power of the league as the preeminent media entity in the nation today. It pulverized all televised competition, even though ratings were down slightly overall from opening week a year ago.

But there's an interesting breakdown between those watching the games on television and online, and in those using a "second screen," usually discussing the game on Twitter as they watch.

Let's take the season opener, the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers, who opened the NFL regular-season last Thursday night in Seattle. That game was watched via online streaming by 507,662 unique visitors.

Beyond that, the 948,000 Tweets the game inspired were seen by an estimated 8,063,000 unique viewers, according to Twitter TV ratings released by The Nielsen Co.

All impressive numbers. Eight million people represents a huge audience engaging along with the television broadcast.

Oh, yes. The television broadcast. While the streaming audience is growing and the Twitter audience is large, the Seahawks-Packers game drew an average audience of 26.9 million viewers on TV.

When it comes to sets of eyes and revenue potential, television is still calling the plays on the nation's biggest sports events.

THE MOST-WATCHED GAME NATIONALLY was San Francisco at Dallas, a FOX telecast which drew a 17.4 overnight (and also drew 1.416 million Tweets). NBC's Sunday night matchup between Indianapolis and Denver drew a 15.1 overnight rating.

We'll keep watching the engagement on Twitter. The top 10 NFL games last weekend prompted 5.6 million posts on Twitter. The top 10 non-sports programs were the subject of 1.85 million Tweets.

LOOKING AT LOCAL NFL NUMBERS, the most-watched NFL game in the Louisville market was NBC's Sunday night telecast of the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos, which drew an average rating of 16.1 with a 25 share (approximately 109,500 households). The FOX telecast of San Francisco at Dallas drew a 15.2 rating, 26 share locally, while the Thursday night opener between the Seahawks and Packers drew an 11.0/18, well below the 16.8 rating for the game nationally.

Think the NFL isn't big? Check out the top-rated metered markets nationally for that game:

Milwaukee 44.0/64
Seattle 42.2/73
Minneapolis 26.6/44
New Orleans 25.2/38
Sacramento 21.2/35
San Diego 20.8/37
Denver 20.7/34

Other NFL ratings in the Louisville market: Bengals-Ravens (NBC) 8.7/17; Giants-Lions (ESPN-Monday Night Football early game) 8.4/13; Chargers-Cardinals (ESPN-Monday Night second game) 5.7/13; Saints Falcons (FOX) 5.3/10.

Other sports ratings in the Louisville market: US Open Tennis (Sunday, CBS) 3.0/5; BMW Golf (NBC Sunday) 2.1/4; WNBA Finals (ABC Sunday) 0.4/1.

THE SLOW MOVE TO DIGITAL VIEWING. The New York Times previewed a Nielsen study this week that showed people aged 50 to 64 watched an average of 19 minutes of digital video per day during the second quarter of 2014, up from 11 minutes a day for the same time last year. That comes as the same group has cut back its TV time by six minutes, to six hours, 12 minutes per day.

The result, according to The Times, "underscores how technology is fast upending the media habits of all viewers -- not just younger people."

Read the story here.

WHAT DO RAY RICE, DONALD STERLING AND JAMEIS WINSTON HAVE IN COMMON? All were the centers of major scandals broken not by the traditional mainstream media, but by the gossip website TMZ. Now the oldest of Old Media in the U.S. is taking a look at this newcomer, which is quickly establishing itself as a player in breaking sports news.

Of TMZ, the Times says that it's recent "remarkable string of scoops has highlighted the unexpected power and reach of a gossip website that's not even 10 years old. But maybe most surprising of all has been the nature of the stories. TMZ, which built a following by exposing the foibles of Hollywood celebrities — often by paying for tips — is now taking aim at a whole new category of prominent people and powerful institutions, including the country's richest, most popular sports league. And its reporting is having an impact."

Read the story here.

ESPN HAS BUILT A BLOCKBUSTER 5 PM HOUR. When it moved Keith Olbermann's talk show to 5 o'clock, ESPN established a beachhead of commentary and reporting at that hour with Olbermann and Outside the Lines back-to-back on ESPN2. The only shame of it is that these shows are up against Pardon the Interruption and Around the Horn, which are decently rated shows themselves on ESPN.

On Monday afternoon, with the Ray Rice scandal news spreading across media and social media, Olbermann's show in Louisville drew an 0.4 rating, 1 share, beating out both PTI and Around the Horn (which had been moved up an hour to 4 because of Monday Night Football). Outside the Lines at 5:30 drew an audience so small that it didn't register a rating in Louisville.

If those numbers sound small, they should. ESPN's SportsCenter and most news programming has a small audience in Louisville. The best-rated edition of SportsCenter on Monday in Louisville was watched in approximately 4,100 households. The WDRB Sports segment at 10:45 p.m. was seen in 32,600 households.

LOUISVILLE AMONG TOPS FOR COLLEGE FOOTBALL. As my colleague Rick Bozich (@rickbozich) Tweeted on Tuesday, Louisville is among ESPN's top metered markets nationally for college football, ranking ninth. Here's ESPN's complete list, including city and average rating through Sept. 6, below:

1. Birmingham (6.5)
2. Columbus (5.2)
3. New Orleans (4.5)
4. Greenville (4.4)
5. Memphis (4.0)
T6. Atlanta (3.9)
T6. Dayton (3.9)
8. Knoxville (3.5)
9. Louisville (3.3)
10. Norfolk (3.0)
11. Jacksonville (2.9)
12. Nashville (2.8)
13. Richmond (2.7)
14. Las Vegas (2.5)
T15. Charlotte (2.4)
T15. Salt Lake City (2.4)

TRENDSETTERS. The Poynter Institute is taking a look at the trend of TV stations hiring print journalists, and some familiar names are in this report, which centers around Bob Kravitz moving from The Indianapolis Star to WTHR.

Eric Crawford routinely Tweets media news from Louisville and around the nation, including TV ratings of selected sports events, on his account @ericcrawford. Follow him for more.

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