Patriots TV Ratings Update

As I mentioned the other day, Monday night’s Patriots/Jets game did a 42.2 rating (62 HH share) in the Boston area. That number is combined between ESPN and WCVB-TV.

The Patriots-Jets game was the highest-rated game of the season in the local market and the third-highest all time, topping the Patriots Nov. 22 victory over the Colts, which had previously set the mark for the third-highest regular season local ratings.

The Patriots continued their record-setting pace for HH ratings through 13 weeks in their designated market area with an average 33.4 HH rating. In addition, New England owns the 10 most-watched television programs in the Boston area since football season began, with the Patriots-Jets game topping the list.

Here is the updated list of Patriots ratings locally thus far this season:


Patriots Ratings Continue Strong on Local TV

The Patriots/Browns game on Sunday, despite the disappointing result for New England, still resulted in big ratings for WBZ. The game posted a 30.73 HH Rating Locally, equal to a 60 share.

The Patriots are on a record-setting pace for HH ratings through nine weeks in their designated market area with an average 31.9 HH rating. In addition, New England’s eight regular season games are the eight most-watched television programs in the Boston area since football season began.

This season, the Patriots have also been part of two record-setting NFL broadcasts. New England’s 23-20 overtime victory over Baltimore on Sunday, Oct. 17 helped CBS set the mark for the highest rating for its single-game window since it acquired the current AFC package in 1998. The Patriots-Jets game on Sunday, Sept. 19 was the most watched September CBS game ever.

This week, the Patriots travel to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers in a highly-anticipated battle between two 6-2 teams on Sunday Nov. 14. The game will be broadcast to a national NBC audience with Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth calling the game. Kickoff is schedule for 8:20 p.m. and will air locally on WHDH in Boston and WJAR in Providence.

Here’s a look at the local ratings for each game thus far this season:

Ryan, Gammons, Shaughnessy, Lynch Honored by NSSA

Peter Gammons has been inducted in the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame, while Bob Ryan has been named sportswriter of the year for the third straight year. Dan Shaughnessy was named the Massachusetts state sportswriter of the year.

John Madden was inducted to the Hall along with Gammons, and Jim Nantz was named national sportscaster of the year,  his fifth award.

Elsewhere in New England, Mike Lynch was named the MA sportscaster of the year. In Rhode Island, Steve Hyder and Steve McDonald shared the sportscaster of the year award, while Joe McDonald was the sportswriter of the year. In NH, Mike Murphy is sportscaster of the year and Allen Lessels is sportswriter of the year. In Connecticut, Kevin Nathan and Jeff Jacobs were honored, In Maine, it is Clem LaBree and Rich Kimball on the sportscaster side and Peter Warner on the writing side. Finally, in VT, George Commo and Ted Ryan received the awards.

Get the full list here:

Gammons, Madden Earn 2009 NSSA Hall of Fame Inductions (Sports Media News)

Less Live Spots from Spring Training on Local TV

The Herald’s Jessica Heslam has a story this morning where she reports on some local TV stations that will be forgoing the customary trips to Red Sox spring training next month due to the economy.

Channel 7 (WHDH) will not be sending anyone down to Fort Myers, while FOX25 may not send sports anchor Butch Stearns, or anyone else.

Channel 4 (WBZ) will be scaling back their live coverage from Florida, while Channel 5 (WCVB) plans on staying consistent with what they’ve done in the past. NECN will also be sending someone down, but it isn’t clear who that will be just yet.

NESN, the TV home of the Red Sox is expanding their coverage this spring, and Comcast SportsNet has big plans as well. They’ve grabbed Lou Merloni from NESN for baseball coverage this season and will also be broadcasting Sports Tonight live (with an audience) from the Pink Shell resort on Fort Myers beach the week of Feb. 16th. The look of their coverage is always distinctive, and different from the other stations which usually just broadcast from the practice field, or at the hotel pool.

For the local TV stations, I think it is a wise move to reduce or eliminate the spring training coverage. The sports segments are already shortened, it can’t make any business sense to spend big money for a couple minutes each night.

For the sports networks like NESN and CSN, it makes more sense to keep going down there because they’re doing entire shows on location, and the return on the investment is much higher, as they can spend more time interviewing players and other guests and give them more airtime than the TV stations are able to do.

WCVB Loses Patriots “All Access” and Preseason Games To WBZ

WBZ-TV and TV38 announced today that they have acquired the broadcast rights to New England Patriots non-network preseason games, along with the All Access and Totally Patriots TV shows.

This takes the games and programs away from WCVB Channel 5, where they had been shown for many years. It also essentially makes WBZ-TV the TV home of the Patriots, with the Pre and Post game rights, and being a CBS affiliate, they have most of the regular season games, and now the preseason as well as the weekly All Access program.

A couple of assumptions by me now, (which I’m attempting to follow up on): One, in the past when regular season Patriots games would be shown on cable (ESPN or NFLN), they would be broadcast locally on WCVB. I wonder if this now means these games will be on WBZ instead. Second, I assume this also bring to an end the broadcast of the Patriots preseason games up here on NH’s WMUR Channel 9, which is a sister station to WCVB.

(Update: Damn assumptions. Here’s what I’m told via the Patriots:  “The cable networks (ESPN or NFLN) own the rights to their broadcasts in the local markets. After the schedule is announced, the networks then negotiate with the local affiliates for the rights to syndicate their broadcast in that local market. Historically, ESPN games have aired on WCVB (ABC). We have only had a couple of games on NFLN, but I think those games have been open for negotiation with each of the local affiliates.”)

In any event, here’s the full release:



Boston, Mass. – Wednesday, January 21, 2009 – WBZ-TV and TV38 (WSBK-TV) today announced that the stations have entered into an exclusive television rights agreement with the New England Patriots and Kraft Sports Productions to broadcast “Patriots All Access,” “Totally Patriots,” and any non-network preseason Patriots games. The partnership is effective immediately.

“Patriots All Access,” winner of the 2007 New England Emmy Award for Best Sports Series, will air on WBZ-TV Fridays at 7 p.m. and on TV38 Sundays at 9 a.m. The program features exclusive, behind-the-scenes access and in-depth weekly stories on Patriots players and personnel. The show features weekly sit-downs with Head Coach Bill Belichick including the popular “Belestrator” segment where the coach breaks down upcoming opponents.

“Totally Patriots,” a weekly youth-oriented football show, will air on TV38 Sundays at 10 a.m. “Totally Patriots” gives the next generation of Patriots fans unprecedented access to their favorite players, enabling them to ask questions in a relaxed, informal setting. The program also includes football tips from Patriots players as well as the opportunity to win college scholarships by writing weekly essays about the Patriots.

“We are thrilled to be able to expand our existing partnership with The Kraft Sports Group,” said Ed Piette, President and General Manager of WBZ-TV and TV38. “This new programming agreement compliments our award-winning CBS coverage of the New England Patriots and the entire AFC.”

“We are happy to expand on what has been a successful, long-term working partnership with WBZ-TV and TV38,” said Murray Kohl, Patriots vice president of sales. “There is an incredible demand for Patriots content and WBZ will lead the market with an impressive lineup of Patriots programming. It’s a great complement to the many regular season Patriots games broadcast by CBS and available on WBZ-TV.”

Here’s the full slate of Patriots programming on WBZ-TV and TV38 during the 2009 season:

Name of Program Station and Time:
“Patriots All Access”Regular Season WBZ-TV – Friday, 7 – 8 p.m.TV38 – Sunday, 9 – 10 a.m.
“Patriots All Access” Pre Season and Playoffs WBZ-TV – Friday, 7 – 7:30 p.m.TV38 – Sunday, 9 – 9:30 a.m.
“Totally Patriots” TV38 – Sunday, 10 – 10:30 a.m.
“New England Patriots 5th Quarter Presented by New England Ford Dealers and Sovereign Bank” Immediately following all New England Patriots games. Station and time TBD depending on network and/or competitive programming.
“New England Ford Patriots Game Day WBZ-TV – Sunday, 11:30 a.m. – Noon
“Patriots This Week” TV38 – Saturday, 10 – 10:30 p.m.
Pre-season Patriots games Games TBD
Regular Season Patriots games TBD
“New England Ford Dealers Sports Final” WBZ-TV – Sunday, 11:30 p.m. – Midnight all year long

Boston’s WBZ-TV and TV38 are part of CBS Television Stations, a division of CBS Corporation.

– WBZ-TV / TV38 –

Lynch Gets Scoop on Teixeira Talks

WCVB-TV’s Mike Lynch reported tonight that Red Sox officials were down in Texas tonight meeting face-to-face (an indication of progress in the talks) with agent Scott Boras about free agent first baseman Mark Teixeira.

Other outlets jumped quickly to confirm the story, but Lynch was the first in with the news. Report: Red Sox officials meeting Boras to talk Teixeira Reports: Sox in Texas meeting on Teixeira Ch. 5: Red Sox meeting with Boras now in Texas about Teixeira

Update: 11:15 pm Now apparently the Sox are out of it, after John Henry sent an email to media members saying that after listening to the other offers that Teixeira got, the Red Sox are “not going to be a factor” in the race to sign the free agent.

Wow. I don’t understand why Henry would email the media on this.  Does he love the drama?

This is Manny’s fault. I’m sure of it.