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Phil Mickelson Win Fuels Ratings Win For PGA Championship

Phil Mickelson’s magical run brought a lot of viewers to the TV on Sunday.

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: Associated Press

Not many humans, let alone golfers, can be a television ratings draw in four different decades, but Phil Mickelson isn’t your normal guy. “Lefty” captured his sixth major title at this year’s PGA Championship and the historic feat drew plenty of eyeballs to the TV.

Sunday’s final round averaged a 3.9 rating and 6.58 million viewers on CBS as Mickelson methodically moved his way towards another Wanamaker trophy. That was the highest rating for a PGA Championship final round since the 2018 event where Tiger Woods finished second. 

Overall, the ratings increased 19% and viewership was up 28% from last year, when the event took place in August. Mickelson became the fourth golfer in history to win in four different decades. That type of longevity brought Mickelson fans of all ages out of the woodwork to watch their guy take the trophy. 

The performance delivered golf its second-largest final round audience since the pandemic began, trailing only this year’s Masters Tournament Sunday showing. 

The final Saturday numbers were strong as well, averaging 2.3 million viewers. That represents a 10% increase from last year’s rating and was a tournament-high since 2018. 

Mickelson’s triumph as golf’s oldest major champion was the highest-rated sporting event of the weekend. The final round blew the Lakers-Suns opening playoff game out of the water by over 2 million viewers. A factor in that dominance was the 50-plus demographic where Mickelson outrated the NBA battle 4.93 million viewers to 2.16 million.

It wasn’t all lollipops and rainbows for the networks involved, namely ESPN, which lost considerable viewership on their coverage. Lead-in coverage on Sunday was down 38% from 2020, and Saturday coverage followed the same path, dropping 41% year-over-year. Their Friday coverage wasn’t much of an improvement, dropping 24% from 2020 numbers. Part of the drop is due to earlier broadcast windows in 2021 compared to last year’s west coast venue. ESPN wasn’t quite able to capitalize after “Mickelson Mania” returned to the sports world.

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Fox Officially Unveils NFL Broadcast Teams

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In what has been considered a formality for some time, Fox today officially unveiled Kevin Burkhardt, Greg Olsen, Erin Andrews, and Tom Rinaldi as their number one NFL broadcast team Monday. Burkhardt and Olsen were elevated to Fox’s top booth after the departure of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman to ESPN’s Monday Night Football earlier this year.

There were some reports that Drew Brees could have been a possibility to join the network, but those discussions fell apart.

The network’s other teams include several familiar faces to football fans:

#2 team: Joe Davis, Daryl “Moose” Johnston, Pam Oliver
#3 team: Adam Amin, Mark Schlereth, Kristina Pink
#4 team: Kenny Albert, Jonathan Vilma, Shannon Spake
#5 team: Kevin Kugler, Mark Sanchez, Laura Okmin
#6 team: Chris Myers, Robert Smith, Jen Hale

Olsen’s jump to the number one team with Burkhardt is a formality until the retirement of Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady. The seven-time Super Bowl winner will ascend to Fox’s number one booth upon his retirement, whenever that may be.

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Ryan Clark, Mad Dog Get Into Heated Argument on ‘First Take’

“Mad Dog, stop screaming at me now, bro. For the last time, you’re gonna stop screaming at me,” Clark interrupted.

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Former Pittsburgh Steeler, and current ESPN NFL analyst Ryan Clark and recent Radio Hall of Fame inductee Chris “Mad Dog” Russo squared off on Monday’s edition of First Take, with a heated exchange taking place between the two.

After a discussion about Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas meandered into a discussion about whether Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp would be voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame if he never played another game, Clark said about Hall of Fame voters “they must be voting like you (Russo) vote for the Heisman, where you just vote on whoever the hell you want based off the fact that they play quarterback”.

Russo quickly took exception to the perceived slight.

“Ryan, hold on now,” Russo said, in a louder manner than normal. “You said something, now I’m going to comment. I’ve been voting for the Heisman since before you were born.”

“Mad Dog, stop screaming at me now, bro. For the last time, you’re gonna stop screaming at me,” Clark interrupted.

“You said something that wasn’t right,” Russo said.

“Lower your voice,” the former Steeler interrupted again.

“I’ve been voting for the Heisman since before you were born,” Mad Dog reiterated, with a lower volume. “30 years.”

“I don’t care about that,” Clark rebutted.

“You’re saying I’m voting for the Heisman and saying I don’t deserve a vote. I’ve been voting for 30 years!”, Russo began to raise his voice again.

“I never said you don’t deserve a vote,” Clark replied before clarifying he disagrees with Russo’s sentiment about the college football award being only awarded to quarterbacks.

It’s not the first time Russo has clashed with First Take contributors. A discussion with J.J. Reddick went viral earlier this year after Reddick told Russo previous NBA players played with “plumbers and firefighters”.

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Todd Frazier Joining ESPN Little League World Series Booth

It will be a memorable summer for Fraizer at the LLWS because he will be inducted into the Little League Hall of Excellence. 

Ricky Keeler

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When people talk about 11-year MLB veteran Todd Frazier, some of the things that are usually mentioned on broadcasts usually is that he is from Toms River, New Jersey and that he played in the Little League World Series in 1998 (won the championship). Now, Frazier will have a bigger connection to the annual event in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

As first reported by Bobby Nightengale of The Cincinnati EnquirerFrazier will be in the TV booth (remotely) for ESPN for this year’s Little League World Series. He made his broadcast debut on Monday morning during one of the New England region semifinals between Maine and Massachusetts. 

Frazier told Nightengale that he wants to use this event to begin his second career in the broadcasting industry.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, especially for the Little League World Series since I’ve been a part of it. I know it and understand it really well. Kind of kickstart my second career here.” 

It will be a memorable summer for Fraizer at the LLWS because he will be inducted into the Little League Hall of Excellence. 

The Little League World Series begins on Wednesday, August 17 and ends on Sunday, August 28. It will be broadcasted on ESPN and ABC.  

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