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Despite Blowout, 2012 MLB All-Star Game Sees 3% Ratings Increase PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 11 July 2012 10:54

2012 All-Star Game

It may be more surprising than the final score. Despite an 8-0 shellacking by the National League over the American League in Tuesday night’s 2012 MLB All-Star Game, television ratings were actually up. According to the overnight numbers from Nielsen, FOX pulled an 8.1 national rating, up 3 percent from the 7.9 rating from last year’s game in Phoenix.
So, that means ratings were "good"? Not exactly. The ratings last year were the lowest on record. That means the 2012 MLB All-Star Game was the second-lowest rated, ever.
The highest ratings for last night's ASG were in St. Louis where the rating number was a staggering 20.5. Other high ratings were reported in Detroit, Cincinnati, and Dallas.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes.He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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Twitter Accounts for Players in the 2012 MLB All-Star Game and HR Derby PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 10 July 2012 18:46

MLB All-Star Game

One thing that has taken sports by storm is the amount of social media activity, especiially through Twitter. While it's created some difficulty, for the most part, sports leagues have embraced it.
Such is the case with this year's MLB All-Star Game festvitiies. Starting yesterday with the State Farm Home Run Derby (@StateFarm #HRDerby on ESPN) and the 83rd MLB All-Star Game (@MLB #ASG, Tuesday, July 10 at 7:30 p.m. ET on FOX) the two together promise to be the most social events in baseball history.

During the All-Star Game, computer stations will be set up adjacent to each clubhouse allowing players -- once they are no longer competing in the game -- to quickly reach out to fans via social media while completing their other media obligations before returning to the bench. And during the State Farm Home Run Derby the previous night, stations will be set up on both sides of the field near the dugouts for the second consecutive year, where players will be able to log into their own social media accounts while uploading photo and video content shot on their personal mobile devices.  This initiative is a collaboration between Major League Baseball, the Major League Baseball Players Association (@MLB_Players) and MLB Advanced Media, with support from both ESPN and FOX for their respective events.

Below is a list of those accounts along with other official accounts that will be actively posting content during the All-Star Game and Home Run Derby. Players who are not active social media users will have the opportunity to participate via the official MLB/MLBPA accounts.

American League

National League

Other

Elvis Andrus (@ElvisandrusSS1)

Jose Altuve (@JoseAltuve27)

@MLB

Jose Bautista (@JoeyBats19)

Carlos Beltran (@carlosbeltran15)

@MLB_Players

Billy Butler (@BillyButlerKC)

Jay Bruce (@JayABruce)

@MLB_PR

Miguel Cabrera (@ogundameyi24)

Melky Cabrera (@MelkyCabrera)

@MLBFanCave

Robinson Cano (@RobinsonCano)

Ian Desmond (@IanDesmond20)

@AllStarGame

Ryan Cook (@ryancook_48)

R.A. Dickey (@RADickey43)

@Cut4

Yu Darvish (@faridyu)

David Freese (@dfreese23)

@MLBONFOX

Adam Dunn (@adamdunn_32)

Carlos Gonzalez (@cargomedia5)

@buck C11

Curtis Granderson (@cgrand14)

Gio Gonzalez (@GioGonzalez47)

@Ken_Rosenthal

Josh Hamilton (@thejoshhamilton)

Cole Hamels (@TheHamels)

@ErinAndrews

Felix Hernandez (@RealKingFelix)

Joel Hanrahan (@hanrahan52)

@ESPN

Adam Jones (@SimplyAJ10)

Matt Kemp (@TheRealMattKemp)

@ESPN_MLB

Mike Napoli (@MikeNapoli25)

Clayton Kershaw (@ClaytonKersh22)

@ESPN_BBTN

Joe Nathan (@JoeNathan36)

Andrew McCutchen (@TheCUTCH22)

@KarlRavechESPN

David Ortiz (@davidortiz)

Wade Miley (@wademiley36)

@pedrogomezESPN

Chris Perez (@ChrisPerez54)

Yadier Molina (@Yadimolina4)

@Buster_ESPN

David Price (@DAVIDprice14)

Buster Posey (@BusterPosey)

@Kurkjian_ESPN

CC Sabathia (@CC_Sabathia)

Pablo Sandoval (@KFP48)

@JohnKruk_ESPN

Mike Trout (@Trouty20)

Giancarlo Stanton (@Giancarlo27_)

Mark Trumbo (@Mtrumbo44)

Stephen Strasburg (@stras37)

Justin Verlander (@JustinVerlander)

C.J. Wilson (@str8edgeracer)

 

At MLB.com/the140club, fans will be able to utilize a live, curated news service to follow what the world, including All-Stars, MLB teammates, professional athletes, celebrities, journalists and other fans, is saying on Twitter about the All-Star Week events, including the State Farm Home Run Derby on ESPN and 83rd All-Star Game on FOX. Photos, live and on-demand video, games, sweepstakes and more will give fans insight into the All-Star Week experiences of their favorite team’s All-Stars through the MLB and 30 official Club accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Fans in attendance at Kauffman Stadium for the State Farm Home Run Derby and All-Star Game can check-in with MLB.com At The Ballpark, a free mobile app for supported iOS and Android phones, share their check-in across social media through Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare and enter sweepstakes for Authentic All-Star prizes.

Source: Major League Baseball


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes.He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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Rogers Applies to Bring MLB Network to Canada PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 13:13
MLB Network
MLB Network could (finally) be
coming to Canada

Major League Baseball’s league-owned all-baseball channel MLB Network launched in 2009, and to date, it sees the largest distribution base of any of the other league networks. But, as of today, MLB Network is not seen in Canada, a case of being caught up in the approval process of the Canadian Television-radio Commission.

As early as 2009, Rogers Cable, who owns the Toronto Blue Jays, was trying to get MLB Network broadcasted in Canada (see MLB Network Reportedly Coming to Canada as "Baseball TV"). Rogers had let the license to pursue MLB Network expire last year.

But, according to a report today in The Globe and Mail, Rogers has begun actively pursuing  the league-owned network, again.

"MLB Network's market research in the U.S. and Canada indicates that Major League Baseball fans have a considerable demand for more information and insight about the sport of baseball," the network wrote in a letter supporting Rogers' application to the CRTC.

"MLB International believes that MLB Network should be added .... in doing so, the Commission will ensure that Canadian consumers are able to access a non-Canadian service that will provide unique programming content in a genre that does not currently exist in Canada."

[…]

Rogers argues in its application that the pay service would be complementary to existing coverage provided by its own spots channel, as well as those operate by RDS and TSN.

 "Of the 2,430 live regular-season games in Major League Baseball, MLB Network only features up to 150," the application states. "In other words, the percentage of live games offered on MLB Network is minimal compared to the number of live games that are available through Canadian specialty services like Rogers' Sportsnet. Any overlap in programming is insignificant to consumers today."

According to the report, the application for MLB Network in Canada is open for comment until mid-July.

MLB Network would not be the first sports channel from the United States to gain access into Canada. The CRTC has previously authorized the NFL Network, the Golf Channel and Speed for Canadian distribution.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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TBS Selected to Air New MLB Wild Card Format, MLB Network Gains Two Division Series Games PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 17 May 2012 12:04

When MLB and the MLBPA announced that there would be a change to the Wild Card format with the addition of two new teams, one of the questions that surfaced was, who would air the games? Today, that was answered.

Major League Baseball and Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. announced that TBS will exclusively televise the American League and National League Wild Card games in 2012 and 2013. The new Postseason format will feature the two Wild Card teams in the American League and National League playing in a single-elimination game with each winner advancing to compete with the three division champions from its League in the Division Series.  MLB also announced that two Division Series games in each of the 2012 and 2013 Postseasons will shift from TBS to MLB Network.

While financial terms were not disclosed, the additional postseason games being aired provides yet another new revenue stream for baseball.

To add, TBS will also continue to televise any necessary regular season tie-breaker games.  The network has recently aired three memorable regular season tie-breakers, including Padres vs. Rockies in 2007, Twins vs. White Sox in 2008, and Tigers vs. Twins in 2009. 

In a landmark moment for the league-owned MLB Network, it was also announced that MLBN will exclusively televise two Division Series games in each of the next two years, marking the first time MLB Network will air live Postseason games.

“The new format will create two compelling Wild Card match-ups for fans that will begin our Postseason with unprecedented pressure and implications,” said Commissioner Selig. “We are confident that TBS will provide outstanding coverage and promotion of the games. I am also very pleased that this arrangement allows for MLB Network to air Postseason games for the first time. MLB Network has done a remarkable job with its live game coverage and I am certain that its extraordinary work will continue as it produces Postseason games.”

“We applaud Major League Baseball on their decision to expand Postseason eligibility and we’re excited to build upon our long-standing partnership with MLB by adding these highly anticipated exclusive Wild Card games to our Postseason coverage on TBS,” said David Levy, president of sales, distribution and sports for Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. “We believe the additional single-elimination Wild Card spots will build upon the popularity of the sport and will serve as a great launching pad for our Division Series and ALCS coverage on TBS.”

The new format this season marks the first amendment to the Postseason since MLB utilized the six-division, eight-team Postseason structure for the first time in 1995.
Source: TBS, MLB


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog.. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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Yu Darvish Interview Set to Air Tonight on MLB Network PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 11 May 2012 15:03

Yu Darvish will have his first US interview tonight on MLB Network

Maybe the excitement will abate at some point, but not for now. Baseball fans of every stripe are watching closely to see how Japanese pitching sensation Yu Darvish is transitioning to MLB with the Rangers.

Darvish talks with MLB Network's Tom Verducci about playing baseball in the United States today in an exclusive interview on MLB Tonight at 6:00 p.m. ET. In his first one-on-one TV interview with a national U.S. network this season, Darvish talks about the adjustment of playing in Major League Baseball compared with playing in his native Japan. Darvish also discusses his ability to throw all of his pitches left-handed, the difference of the feel of the ball in the U.S., his relationship with teammate Josh Hamilton, and his taste for American food.

Highlights from the interview that was taped Wednesday at Baltimore’s Oriole Park at Camden Yards are available below via MLB Network. Following MLB Tonight, the interview will be available for viewing at www.MLBNetwork.com.

Yu Darvish on how the attention he receives in the United States compares to the attention he received in Japan:

“I think in Japan, all of the attention that I received over there, also being Japanese, I understood it.  It was natural.  But over here, it’s a different culture, different country.  They’re saying ‘Yu Darvish.’  The way they ask for autographs, the way they cheer my name like, ‘Yuuu,’ those are a little bit different, but I’m thankful for those and I enjoy it.”

Darvish on the hitters in MLB:

“The power is a little bit different.  More power hitters over here, whereas in Japan, there are more contact hitters.  Over there, you might have players who will see a lot of pitches and put the ball in play.  Whereas over here, I have to be careful of not making too many mistakes.  Everyone has the strength to hit for power.”

Darvish on his walk rate and strikeout rate being higher in the U.S. than in Japan:

“The higher rate of walks [means] I’m still not completely adapted to this baseball here.  I think the higher rate of strikeouts, maybe the hitters over here, they’re not used to or they haven’t seen a pitcher like me where I have several secondary pitches and still can throw in the mid-90’s.  On top of that, they haven’t seen me at all.  It’s the first time around.  So I think all of that [combined] maybe is resulting in a higher strikeout rate.”

Darvish on Josh Hamilton:

“Just one word: amazing.  Actually being there and watching [his four-home run game], I don’t think I’ve ever seen a three-home run game.  And the fact that he’s such a nice person, a great teammate, he’s one of the many guys who actually helped me out, I was more happy to see him accomplish that.  Since he’s such a nice guy and we get along very well, I believe he’s going to hit five home runs for me next time I pitch.”
Source: MLB Network


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog.. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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FOX Regional Sports Networks Seeing 20% Increase in Ratings for MLB Over Last Year PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 03 May 2012 13:28

MLBFueled largely by the Texas Rangers, FOX is showing strong ratings for the regional sports networks that they host with increases on 20 percent over last year at this time.

Interest in Japanese pitching sensation Yu Darvish has been a large factor in the increases on FOX RSNs. FOX reports that four of his five starts have been on FOX Sports SW and have averaged a 9.1 rating, including three of the four highest-rated Rangers telecast of all-time.

That has kicked the Rangers into first place in the ratings for the FOX-held RSNs. The Rangers on FOX Sports Southwest (FSSW) lead all MLB teams with an 89% increase in local ratings compared to April 2011. Eight of the top ten highest-rated Rangers telecasts on FSSW occurred last month. And, Rangers games have out-rated the first two games of the Mavericks-Thunder NBA playoff series in head-to-head competition in Dallas.

We have had a great response from advertisers—especially in renewals from last season,” said Kyle Sherman, executive vice president, Home Team Sports for FOX.  “Inventory in the first half of the season is tight for many of our teams, so we’ll continue to work with buyers on post-All-Star Game opportunities.”

 It’s not just the Rangers that are showing increased interest.Ten Fox RSNs show a year-to-year ratings increase for MLB telecasts in April, including seven in double digits:

Team

Network

Increase
(vs. Apr ’11)

Local Ratings / Households

Market

Rangers

FS Southwest

89%

7.5 / 194K

Dallas

Dodgers

Prime Ticket

67%

2.3 / 128K

Los Angeles

Diamondbacks

FS Arizona

53%

4.2 / 77K

Phoenix

Rays

Sun Sports

51%

5.3 / 95K

Tampa

Tigers

FS Detroit

50%

9.2 / 170K

Detroit

Braves

SportSouth

39%

2.8 / 64K

Atlanta

Cardinals

FS Midwest

15%

9.4 / 118K

St. Louis

Source: FOX Sports


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog.. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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Bob Costas and Jim Kaat Talk Braun, Phillies, Red Sox, Nationals, MLB Network PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 11 April 2012 00:18

MLB NetworkYou know the season is getting fully underway when the annual conference calls with the various national broadcast teams occur. For MLB Network, this year takes on extra significance with the added playoff round being added into the mix.

On Tuesday, MLB Network host Bob Costas, analyst Jim Kaat and president and CEO Tony Petitti spoke on a media conference call leading up to the premiere of MLB Network Showcase this Thursday, April 12 with the Miami Marlins visiting the Philadelphia Phillies at 7:00 p.m. ET. The game marks the first time in 2012 that Costas and Kaat will call an MLB game and the start of the fourth season that Costas and Kaat have called games together for MLB Network.

Here’s the transcript of that call.

Tony Petitti on the next steps for MLB Network:

“I can’t say whether it will be the new Wild Card [games], but I think the right words are ‘exclusive content.’ We’ve talked about the next step for us being having some exclusive baseball content where we really are the place to go for that particular game, whether it’s Postseason or regular season. I think that’s the next step, whether that will happen in the short run or happen over time as [Major League Baseball] goes through the contract negotiation process, whenever they start that. I think what we’ve done is best position ourselves to have a seat at that table, that was our goal over the last four years and I think we’ve done a really good job of that and I think [Major League Baseball] feels the same way. We’re hoping that that next step, whatever it might be, will happen shortly.”

Bob Costas on whether the five-game suspension of Ozzie Guillen by the Miami Marlins is justified:

“I think the Marlins had to react. They had to react forcefully without any ambiguity. Their original statement had no wiggle room – ‘There’s no reason to respect or admire Castro…’ – this was even before they made the decision about the suspension. I think most people will view that as fair and appropriate and, if anything, I think there’s some people who probably would’ve thought that the suspension would last longer than that, but five games seems equitable to me. It seems reasonable to me. I think there’s also an implication here that regardless of Ozzie’s shoot-from-the-hip history, he better keep it holstered on anything that goes outside baseball. People will just say ‘Hey that’s Ozzie,” if he’s talking about something that happened on the ball field, or he gets mad at one of his players, or he gets mad at someone on the opposition and he speaks colorfully about that, fine. But just keep it between the lines. The other stuff, I don’t think he has very much wiggle room anymore. [Chicago White Sox owner] Jerry Reinsdorf was pretty indulgent through the years in Chicago, but Ozzie’s painted himself into a corner now.”

Costas on whether Ryan Braun can recover his reputation completely and the position MLB is in having its MVP calling into question its drug testing program:

“First of all, completely, there is always going to be somebody, even if [Braun] is a model citizen and a model ballplayer for the next 10, 15 years, there’s always going to be somebody who’s going to recall this and make it a defining issue, but can he regain his standing nearly completely? Yeah, if everything goes well from this point on. He’s still a relatively young player, he’s a very likeable guy, and I think in his defense, he was fine in his defense – and I said this on the air – until he threw the [drug] tester under the bus. That made no sense. There’s no plausible reason to believe that his sample was tampered with. It was triple-sealed. How in the world would A) someone have the motive to do it and risk being charged with a felony; B) skillfully break the triple seal and then reseal it three times; and then C) – and maybe this should be ‘A,’ – be such a skillful rogue chemist that he spiked both the ‘A’ and the ‘B’ sample identically? What Ryan could’ve said was, perhaps plausibly, ‘I have no idea how this test turned out the way it did. I tested negative many, many times before. As soon as I heard about it, I took another test. That came up negative. I never knowingly ingested anything. I have no idea how this happened, it’s an aberrant result.’ If he’d left it at that, given how articulate he is, how likeable he is, I think that would’ve been fine. When he went a step further with these kind of murky accusations, ‘We found out stuff about the tester’ and that sort of thing, I think that undermined his credibility. I don’t think many people believe just because Ryan Braun got off in this case on a technicality, that that calls into question the validity of MLB’s program and I think MLB themselves made that clear immediately and emphatically.”

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Ken Rosenthal Goes to Bat for Autism Speaks in April with Bow-Tie PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 03 April 2012 17:14

Autism Speaks Bow-Tie

With April being World Autism Month, The Biz of Baseball will occasionally be highlighting related news…

When I attended the Baseball Winter Meetings this past December in Dallas, one of the first encounters I had at the Anatole Hotel was with Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports and MLB Network. Walking up to say hi to Ken, he beat me to the punch.

“Maury, I’ve made it a priority to get a bow-tie from Autism Speaks for April.”

Such is Ken Rosenthal, one of the nicer guys you'll meet.

It took more work than was initially thought, but through Autism Speaks, and Bow-Tie Cause, the man that is now known for his bow-ties as part of the FOX MLB Game of the Week, Rosenthal will be wearing an Autism Speaks bow-tie on April 28. And while the player has yet to be determined, he’ll be interviewing one that has a story to tell as it relates to autism.

A special thanks to FOX' MLB Game of the Week and Rosenthal for promoting a different charity each week.

 

Donate
Click to donate
to Autism Speaks

Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog.. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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