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Ratings Climb For NBA Play-In Tournament

The Play-In Tournament has been a ratings success so far.

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Courtesy: AP

The NBA Play-In Tournament might be here to stay, and ratings are a big reason why. 

The first portion of the league’s inaugural Play-in Tournament, Wizards versus Celtics, averaged a 1.5 rating and 2.50 million viewers on TNT. That represents the largest NBA audience on any network since Nets-Warriors on ABC February 13 (2.56 million viewers). The game was TNT’s most-watched contest since Opening Night, excluding the 2021 All-Star Game.

The appetizer between the Hornets and Pacers averaged a 0.8 rating and 1.39 million viewers. The Pacers blowout outdrew every TNT game since Nets-Lakers on February 18 (1.94 Million viewers). The play-in doubleheader averaged 2 million viewers total. A number that outperformed TNT’s regular-season average by 60%.  

Speaking of the regular season. Extending the contests into May had a positive effect on the TV numbers. Ratings for games in May were 19% higher than April games. April viewership was up just 12% across March, likely due to the return of the NCAA Tournament.

The league made some progress on last year’s low regular season ratings once the NBA returned to the Orlando “bubble.” Games on ABC, ESPN, and TNT averaged 1.34 million viewers. A 17% drop from last year’s pre-hiatus average (1.62 million viewers). When comparing to last year’s “bubble” games it was a net positive. Orlando action averaged 1.2 million viewers during the eight-game restart schedule the NBA put together before opening the playoffs

NBA executives can breathe a little sigh of relief that this season’s TV ratings are in line with the rest of the industry. Primetime NBA games are down 13%, and the rest of primetime television is down 14%. The league is hoping fans returning to arenas and a more normal calendar can boost playoff ratings way up as the country tries to emerge out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Craig Carton Making Responsible Gambling Content For FanDuel

“He will help shape the company’s responsible gaming policy, play a role in FanDuel building AI that can spot problematic gambling patterns, and host events in which he will help younger bettors understand what an addiction looks like.”

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FanDuel announced yesterday that it has hired its first ever “responsible gaming ambassador”. WFAN’s Craig Carton has agreed to take on the role. He has been open about his gambling addiction and advocated for those that believe they have a problem to seek help on air since returning to New York radio last year.

The content he creates for FanDuel will have a very specific focus. A press release says Carton will promote messages of “advocacy, prevention awareness and content development focused on the importance of wagering within limits”.

Craig Carton was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in a ponzi scheme to defraud investors of money they were told was being invested in tickets for resale. In reality, Carton was using the money to repay some of his gambling debts.

“My story and personal history with gambling has been well documented,” said Carton. “More than ever, I want to use my experience and platform to shine a meaningful spotlight on the issue of problem gambling. It was important to me that I find a real partnership with a company that shared my passion for this issue. It became clear FanDuel shared the same goals and was comfortable working transparently with me for the sole purpose of protecting people.”

FanDuel is planning to utilize Carton in a number of ways. He will help shape the company’s responsible gaming policy, play a role in FanDuel building AI that can spot problematic gambling patterns, and host events in which he will help younger bettors understand what an addiction looks like.

He will also create audio and video for FanDuel’s Play Safe Campaign. FanDuel will help Carton’s WFAN program “Hello, My Name is Craig” find a bigger audience. The show airs on weekends and features Carton discussing his addiction and offering advice to others seeking help.

“We are absolutely thrilled to partner with Craig to place even more emphasis on responsible gaming behaviors,” said Mike Raffensperger, FanDuel Group’s Chief Marketing Officer. “Everyone at FanDuel understands the importance of protecting our customers who are also our family, friends, neighbors and community members. Craig’s powerful personal story will help fuel our mission of making sure no bet placed results in hurting a loved one.”

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Marc Malusis: Stephen A Smith Spouting ‘Complete & Utter BS’

“Listen, I get he’s on ESPN and we’re doing out thing here, but it’s affecting a team we cover on a day-in-day-out basis with the Brooklyn Nets with Kyrie Irving, who is a very polarizing figure in this city.”

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WFAN’s Marc Malusis wants Stephen A. Smith to acknowledge that he either has inside information regarding the Nets or that he completely made up a trade rumor on First Take earlier this week. Smith said on First Take that the Brooklyn Nets would trade Kyrie Irving to Philadelphia if it meant they got Ben Simmons back in return, but the idea has been nixed by Kevin Durant.

Stephen A. Smith accused some in the media of lying about his report. He tried to claim that he what said on First Take was that the Irving for Simmons deal is a trade the Nets could do. That was enough to sett Malusis off.

“This is just complete and utter BS,” he shouted. “I mean, get the boots on!”

Marc Malusis claims that the idea of an Irving for Simmons trade isn’t totally absurd. Having James Harden on the roster would allow Brooklyn to bring in someone that does everything well but shoot. Still, he says Smith framed his stance as something he knows happened and Malusis is adamant it didn’t.

He was even more upset that Smith would say people in the New York media “lied” about what Smith had said. Marc Malusis pointed out that when you are the local media, you have to dive into a rumor like that. It doesn’t just get to be something that was said on ESPN.

“Listen, I get he’s on ESPN and we’re doing out thing here, but it’s affecting a team we cover on a day-in-day-out basis with the Brooklyn Nets with Kyrie Irving, who is a very polarizing figure in this city.”

It sounds like Malusis’s greatest objection is to Smith’s indignation at the idea that someone took his trade rumor seriously.

“Don’t all the sudden start waking back and saying ‘everyone’s spewing lies about what I had to say yesterday’ because you know what? We had to weed through the BS of what you said yesterday.”

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104.5 ESPN’s Matt Moscona Sets Up $100K Donation to Local High School

”It’s been tough on these kids, and this will definitely help us.”

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Guaranty Media and 104.5 ESPN in Baton Rouge recently invited a local Athletic Director from South Lafourche High School Brian Callais to come and promote an upcoming fundraising event host by Central High School on After Further Review with Matt Moscona.

During the phone interview, Callais informed listeners of the impact that Ida had on their school, including major damages to the high school that there are no funds to repair. Additionally, the school’s sports teams will be forced to travel for every game this season as their facilities are not fit to host other schools.

Little did Callais know, Matt Moscona had invited the founder of a Baton-Rouge-based cryptocurrency business called Game Coin to join him in the 104.5 ESPN studio to surprise Callias with a donation of $100,000 dollars to the school.

“This will go a long way,” said Callais after learning of Game Coin’s donation to his program. “Our [senior] student-athletes have not had a normal high school year since their freshman year…Their sophomore year, they were hit with the pandemic, and we’re looking forward to a regular senior year for them. It’s been tough on these kids, and this will definitely help us.”

Gamecoin is one of the few cryptocurrencies that is not totally for profit, as 4% of their 10% transaction fee goes to charitable donations to help youth sports groups.

“Growing up, I didn’t have everything that I thought I should have,” said founder of Game Coin David Mahler on Moscona’s radio program. “I just always wanted to be able to provide for people…and since I’m able to do that now, I added that as a part of Game Coin.”

Mahler also said in the interview that three more similar donations are already arranged and they will be announced within the next two weeks.

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