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27 Million Watched The Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony

Brandon Contes

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Broadcast on tape-delay Friday night, the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang received 27.8 million viewers, down 12% from the Sochi Games four years ago, but up 2% from the Rio Summer Games in 2016.

“The Opening Ceremony was a terrific show, which we hope will only be topped by the excitement generated by the athletes and competition over the next few weeks,” said Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBC Broadcasting and Sports. “American audiences continue to be interested and excited for the Games, and the early consumption results show that our multiple platform strategy is dominating the media landscape.”

The 27.8 million viewers was the largest Friday night audience in television since the Sochi Opening Ceremony four years ago, topping four World Series games, two NBA finals games, three Olympic nights from Rio in 2016 and two nights of the Sochi Olympics.

Total audience delivery brought Friday’s Opening Ceremony viewership to 28.3 million, with a 449,000 digital audience. Even when using the TAD number, PyeongChang’s Opening Ceremonies failed to top Sochi’s in 2014 which was not live streamed. In terms of Opening Ceremonies that were not broadcast live, PyeongChang’s audience ranks third behind Lillehammer in 1994 with 33.8 million viewers and Sochi with 31.7 million viewers.

Saturday night’s day one coverage of the Olympics on NBC generated an audience of 21.4 million during the 8-11:10PM ET window, down 15% from Sochi in 2014 and 20% from Vancouver in 2010. When adding viewership from digital streaming and NBC Sports Network, the total audience delivery number jumps to 24.2 million, which is still down from the 25.1 million watching NBC on Sochi’s first Saturday.

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.

Sports TV News

After Losing Out On Big Ten Rights, ESPN Turns Focus to NCAA Championships

According to Front Office Sports, ESPN’s contract for 29 NCAA Championships ends in 2024.

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After reportedly losing out on the Big Ten’s television rights, ESPN is reportedly turning to securing the NCAA Championship rights from hitting the open market.

According to Front Office Sports, ESPN’s contract for 29 NCAA Championships ends in 2024. Those 29 championships include everything from Women’s basketball to ice hockey, wrestling, softball, and baseball. The network pays a reported $34 million for the rights to broadcast those championship events.

However, according to a study commissioned by the NCAA reveals that the women’s basketball tournament could be worth anywhere from $81 million to $112 million per year by its lonesome. The NCAA is reportedly considering selling the women’s basketball tournament rights as a standalone product in the next negotiation.

Sources told Front Office Sports ESPN remains interested in striking deals with the Pac-12 and Big 12 media rights, as well as renewing a deal for the College Football Playoff.

The news comes after Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand reported ESPN declined a final offer from the Big Ten for a portion of the conference’s media rights. The reported deal was seven years and $380 million per year.

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Sports TV News

ESPN Announces The Return of Stephen A. Smith to First Take

ESPN announced Smith will be returning to First Take on Monday, August 15th.

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Stephen A. Smith

First Take has been without it’s anchor since the day after the NBA Draft in June. That’s when the ESPN personality took some time off to undergo shoulder surgery and to rehabilitate. However, it appears the wait for his return is almost over.

ESPN announced with a tweet that Smith will be returning to First Take on Monday, August 15th. They also teased a guest appearance from Michael Irvin.

This comes a day after Smith tweeted that the countdown was on for his return and we are one week away from the event.

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Sports TV News

Field Yates Re-Ups With ESPN

After the departure of Matthew Berry to NBC, ESPN has locked down fantasy expert Field Yates with a new contract to remain in Bristol.

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Field Yates

After the departure of Matthew Berry to NBC, ESPN has locked down fantasy expert Field Yates with a new contract to remain in Bristol.

Yates, 35, would have been a valuable target for FanDuel or DraftKings, surmises Andrew Marchand of The New York Post — who first reported the news — due to his large following on Twitter.

Yates, who also works as a host of Fantasy Football Now and NFL Insider for the network, across multiple platforms including ESPN Radio, will continue in those roles in addition to an assumed expansion of fantasy football duties after Berry’s exit.

He has worked for ESPN since 2012.

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