NHL began its $1 billion take care of ESPN and Turner Sports activities – this is how many individuals watched the season openers

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evan Rodrigues (9) takes a break and Tampa Bay Lightning goalkeeper Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) stops during the NHL hockey game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Pittsburgh Penguins on October 12, 2021 at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL , a parade.

Andrew Bershaw | Sportswire icon | Getty Images

The National Hockey League started its 2021/22 season on Tuesday. It’s also the first year of its $ 1 billion media rights package with ESPN and Turner Sports.

The networks told the NHL an average of 884,000 Viewers for ESPN’s double headers on Tuesday, and Turner drew around 669,500 viewers for its national slot on Wednesday. Both numbers are above the NHL average for the last two season openers.

In ESPN’s first game, the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated reigning Stanley Cup champions Tampa Bay Lightning 6-2. That game averaged 984,000 viewers on Tuesday and peaked at over a million viewers, according to ESPN, which used metrics from research firm Nielsen.

the Disney– Own network added that the 2021 contest surpassed its last highly rated NHL opener in October 2001 between the Penguins and Colorado Avalanche. This kick-off in 2001 drew 927,000 spectators.

ESPN also made its debut with the expanding franchise Seattle Kraken, which fell 4-3 against the Las Vegas Golden Knights. The game reached an average of 782,000 viewers and also peaked at over a million viewers. The network said that ESPN + streaming metrics are not included in viewership.

For comparison: the first game of the 2020-21 NHL season opener an average of 972,000 Total number of viewers on NBC’s sports network. This competition featured the Philadelphia Flyers and Penguins and was the most watched regular season game on NBCSN.

Other games from last season’s triple header were the Chicago Blackhawks against the Lightning and Avalanche against the St. Louis Blues. The combined television show had an average of 774,000 viewers, up from 600,000 viewers the previous season.

Alex Ovechkin # 8 of the Washington Capitals shoots the puck against the New York Rangers during the second period at Capital One Arena on October 13, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Patrick Smith | Getty Images

The NHL ended its 16-year partnership with NBC Sports, reaching a $ 1 billion package with ESPN and Turner Sports last April.

On Wednesday TNT released its national double header package and added some crossover appeal. The network featured star NBA commentator Charles Barkley on the pregame show of the Washington Capitals 5-1 victory over the New York Rangers. The game averaged 817,000 viewers and peaked at 920,000 between 9:00 PM and 9:15 PM ET.

In the competition, Capitals star Alex Ovechkin scored two goals to move up to fifth place all-time. The 36-year-old Ovechkin has 732 career goals and still needs 163 to break Wayne Gretzky’s NHL record 894 goals. TNT said there was an average of 522,000 viewers for the second competition in which the Avalanche beat the Blackhawks 4-2.

On the ad front, metrics company EDO estimates that the automotive category leads with 15.4% of ad spend for this season’s NHL opening games. Restaurants accounted for 12.9% and insurance for 11.9% of advertising spending. EDO added Apple Commercials led to search engagement. It’s a metric the company uses to measure online brand search activity in the minutes after a TV ad is broadcast.

ESPN Monday Night time Soccer Raiders-Ravens opener attracts 15.three million

Quarterback Lamar Jackson # 8 of the Baltimore Ravens throws the Las Vegas Raiders in the first half of their game at Allegiant Stadium on September 13, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Chris Unger | Getty Images

The National Football League finished the first week of their 2021 regular season with an average of 15.29 million viewers via ESPN channels, including the ABC Network, for the Monday Night Football opener between the Las Vegas Raiders and Baltimore Ravens.

The Raiders defeated the Ravens 33-21 in a multi-twist back and forth dubbed game to complete Week 1. and San Diego.

The 2020 MNF competition between the New York Giants and the Pittsburgh Steelers drew an average of just 10.76 million viewers. Since the pandemic plays a role, that game was down about 17% compared to the first game of ESPN’s week 1 double header of 2019 that featured and averaged the New Orleans Saints and Houston Texans 13.2 million viewers on ESPN channels.

On Monday, ESPN also debuted its alternative MegaCast with Peyton and Eli Manning commenting on the Raiders-Ravens game on his ESPN2 channel. The show drew 800,000 viewers. The Manning brothers co-signed a three-year contract Disney-Own ESPN where the couple share their thoughts and breakdowns in-game during the NFL season.

Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb (24) finds a gap in the line against the Kansas City Chiefs on September 12 at GEHA field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.

William Purnell | Sportswire icon | Getty Images

In the meantime, the national NFL game is on Sunday ViacomCBS averaged with the Cleveland Browns and Kansas City Chiefs 19.53 million viewers. It was the most-watched national game on the opening weekend on CBS since the 2015 opener between the Ravens and the Denver Broncos (23.28 million viewers).

Fox Sports’ average of 16.23 million viewers for the national game Green Bay Packers vs. New Orleans Saints. That’s less than last year’s national opener between the Saints and Tampa Bay Bucs, which featured a star quarterback match between Drew Brees and Tom Brady and averaged 25.8 million viewers.

The network kicked off the NFL kick-off after drawing 7.7 million viewers for its Saturday game between Oregon and Ohio State College.

The NFL began its 102nd season last Thursday with an average of 26 million viewers for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Dallas Cowboys competition. NBC said the game peaked between 9:45 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. ET with 25.4 million viewers on television. The kick-off in 2021 marked a 20% increase in total viewers compared to last year’s NFL kickoff with the Chiefs and Texans.

Overall, the NFL stated that the combined first week games had an average of 17.4 million viewers and totaled “approximately” 100 million viewers across all games.

Disclosure: NBC Sports, which parent company NBCUniversal shares with CNBC, broadcasts NFL games.

ESPN re-signs Rece Davis as ‘School GameDay’ host | Leisure

“The professionalism, energy and knowledge he brings to every show and assignment is second to none,” said Lee Fitting, ESPN’s senior vice president of production, in a statement.

Davis declined to say if he was being followed by other networks, but said negotiations with ESPN were speedy.

“ESPN and my long relationship with them had something like my strong suits, but also an opportunity to do some things to keep growing,” said Davis.

The basketball version of GameDay began in 2005 with Davis as the host. He took charge of the college football roadshow in 2015, replacing Chris Fowler.

Fowler left GameDay to focus on calling games and becoming ESPN’s leading play-by-play college football announcer.

Davis said he enjoys calling Games and may consider making a similar transition later in his career.

“I feel like I’ve really built my career around hosting,” said Davis. “I hate the phrase playing the analyst. Anyone can do that. A good host is prepared for the conversation and knows where the lines are.

He added: “My first priority is ‘GameDay’. I still get a rush every time. I like to be in the command center of major events. “

ESPN, Echo Leisure Energy By Pandemic Challenges To Ship 20th Winter X Video games

Despite the reduced schedule and less presence, ESPN will produce 17.5 hours of content

What should have been a historic X Games 20th anniversary celebration in Aspen this weekend is a toned-down affair with no spectators. Due to the pandemic, local ESPN and Echo Entertainment production has been scaled back, and the normally harsh X Games atmosphere with live concerts and festivals will instead be a largely virtual experience for fans. The mere fact that the X Games are even taking place in Aspen this weekend is a testament to the will and perseverance of ESPN’s dedicated X Games team.

ESPN and Echo deployed 24 manned cameras that will be repositioned to 55 camera positions throughout the competition.

“I couldn’t be more proud and grateful that we are here [in Aspen]and that pays homage to all of the teamwork, ”says Tim Reed, Vice President, X Games, ESPN. “The amount of work the operations and events teams put into developing our plan is just incredible. You have almost two events at the same time: one is the actual competition that we have been running for many years, but then you also have that health and safety component that has created a significant amount of work on a completely different layer. I am so proud of the team and the work they have done and we are all excited to be here. “

Despite a reduced schedule of events and a reduced on-site presence, ESPN will produce a lot of content: 17.5 hours of live content over three days on ESPN, ABC and ESPN2 (ESPN’s Facebook and Twitter will host live-stream competitions on Friday). as well as exclusive streaming content via @XGames social and XGames.com. ESPN created one too virtual X Fest experience for fans and has teamed up with Psyonix on one Rocket League Championship Series (RLCS) X Regional Event.

Smaller footprint with the same big show mentality

This year ESPN has again signed mobile units from Dome Production for X Games

ESPN and Echo have rolled out an A-Unit and a B-Unit – Dome Productions Silver and Unite Trucks – for all three X Games venues at Buttermilk Mountain. A third dome truck has been brought in to transport equipment, and long-term partner BSI has a mobile unit to manage RF operations.

The X Games team also decided to forego a host set this year after switching to a mobile host set in 2020.

“We don’t have a set this year, partly because of the security protocol and partly because the benefit of having a host set was having hosts Jack [Mitrani] Sit down with the athletes and get to know them and spend time with them. We felt that it would be difficult to deal with social distance, ”he says Echo Entertainment President Hugh Arian. “From a production point of view, we’re just delighted that the event is taking place this year. This is the world’s leading action sports event. The fact that we actually do it is the most important thing. “

In the ESPN production office tent on Buttermilk Mountain

In total, the ESPN and Echo deployed 24 manned cameras – including 11 Sony HDC-4300 and nine HDC-2400 – which were repositioned under 55 camera positions throughout the competition. ESPN has also brought back the CondorCam point-to-point antenna system and will deploy it on both the SlopeStyle and Big Air venues. In addition, BSI has four RF POV cameras: three FollowCams and one camera attached to a snowmobile, which brings the athletes to the top of the course after each run. BSI also distributed 18 RF microphones to the three venues.

Echo and its partners have laid 450,000 feet of ST single mode fiber and 20,000 feet of SMPTE fiber over the Buttermilk Mountain.

“The biggest change this year is obviously the COVID logs, which while slowing us down a bit, keep everyone safe, which is most important,” he says Pierce Williams, Echo Entertainment’s technical director. “Everything else is pretty much on par, just with a smaller footprint. We still have big numbers when it comes to technology and equipment. “

As with all ESPN shows, Aspen crew members must wear masks at all times.

ESPN has a detailed health and safety plan in Aspen and has requested all employees to take a negative COVID test both before traveling to Aspen and upon arrival on site. Frequent tests are performed on-site on a variable basis depending on a person’s role and the segmented group to which they are assigned. All offices and production facilities in Buttermilk Mountain have been equipped with suitable filter systems, and the on-site staff must distance themselves socially at all times, wear masks and maintain hand hygiene.

“We have all the critical components for our health and safety protocols,” says Reed. “A lot of details went into this topic and we worked on it for a long time with the best health and safety experts. It got us to this point and I think we are all fine with the protocols we have here. “

Jam session format, active viewing strategy Keep the show moving

All of the ESPN crew were positioned at least two meters apart in the truck, and numerous fiberglass separators were also installed.

ESPN brought back the popular “jam session” format this year, which allows for more live competition with less downtime between runs. In this format, multiple riders compete for a period of time, and the judges officially rate each competitor based on their overall impression (rather than waiting for the judges’ scores to be given for each athlete individually).

“We’re doing a lot of things again that we implemented last year in terms of production approach and competitive format,” says Arian. “The jam format is back, and every athlete gets a timer. So we don’t wait for results between runs. We implemented that here last winter. We thought it would make the event faster. We were all pretty happy with it. “

Despite a smaller footprint in Aspen, X Games production from ESPN and Echo Entertainment is still sizeable this year

Also back is the “Active Viewing” strategy from ESPN / Echo, which aims to accelerate the cadence of the broadcast by increasing the camera movement and using mobile cameras such as FollowCams and CondorCam as much as possible. The front bench will also cut cameras faster within the show, and the production team has been working on shortening athlete profiles and sponsorship spots so that they can be more easily incorporated into the show instead of crowd shots.

“As part of the active viewing last year, we not only made a lot of camera movement. We also cut a little faster, ”says Arian. “We’re going to try to make more of it this year because we don’t have a crowd to adjust to. You will see that we are also reducing more to short form content. “

Though operations in Aspen look very different on site, viewers can expect the same style and quality from X Games – a boon for action sports fans starving for content during the pandemic.

“Of course the sports world has been hit hard,” says Arian, “but I think action sports.” [have been hit] even harder than other sports because we don’t have the deep pockets that they do [major leagues] to have. It’s amazing to be here and get everyone back to work. “

X Games Aspen kicks off today at 2 p.m. ET with streaming on @XGames social and XGames.com, followed by coverage of ESPN2 starting tonight at 10:30 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday, reporting on ABC starts at 1 p.m.