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FOX Delivers Strong Week 1 College Football Ratings

“The Big Noon Kickoff show also boosted its viewership from two years ago, the last time full crowds were allowed into stadiums.”

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: ABC/Fox

Week one in college football produced strong numbers for ABC and FOX. The wild weekend handed out plenty of losses inside the Top-25 while boasting five games watched by over a million people. According to Sports Media Watch, that’s the most million-viewer broadcasts since the 2016 opening weekend.

The top spot went to Georgia-Clemson on ABC Saturday night. Georgia’s 10-3 victory attracted 8.86 million viewers, a 29% viewership increase from the same window in 2019. The very next night, ABC carried the weekend’s second most-watched game in Notre Dame-Florida State. ABC had 7.75 million viewers checking out the narrow Fighting Irish victory.

Alabama-Miami slotted in as the fourth most-watched game from the weekend. 5.67 million ABC viewers tuned in to see Nick Saban’s team embarrass the Miami Hurricanes to kick off their 2021 season.

FOX holds the third and fifth place spots coming off of this weekend. Last Thursday’s Ohio State-Minnesota contest ranked third with 6.3 million viewers. While the Big Noon Saturday bout between Penn State and Wisconsin drew 5.41 million viewers. That mark represents a 106% increase in viewership from Florida Atlantic-Ohio State in 2019 and made it the highest-rated noon kickoff across all networks.

The Big Noon Kickoff show also boosted its viewership from two years ago, the last time full crowds were allowed into stadiums. Over 1.6 million viewers tuned into the FOX show on Saturday, up 27% from 2019.

On the flip side, every Saturday game on ESPN fell short of 2019 figures. Their cable competitor, FS1, saw falls from 2019 as well. Oregon State-Purdue and Stanford-Kansas State ratings fell by 38% and 37% compared to the same windows in 2019.

FOX posted a record day on their social feed, as videos posted on their college football Twitter page garnered over 25 million views, a 171% increase from 2019. The figure made week one the most viewed week in the account’s history. Around 9.5 million users watched the video showing fans at Camp Randall Stadium dancing to “Jump Around,” making it the most-watched video ever posted to the account.

Sports TV News

FOX Sued for Patent Infringement Over NFL Scheduling

“Recentive Analytics filed suit against FOX in a Delaware federal court on November 29 according to Yahoo Sports.”

Jordan Bondurant

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An analytics company is suing FOX over claims that the network developed a mapping tool using their patented technology to create a season slate of NFL games.

Recentive Analytics filed suit against FOX in a Delaware federal court on November 29 according to Yahoo Sports.

The lawsuit claims FOX used access to Recentive’s predictive analytics tools to develop a resource of their own that would create optimal schedules for its 1 and 4 p.m. NFLwindows.

The company is seeking a declaration that FOX infringed on two of its patents. Recentive is also suing for damages and wants an injunction keeping FOX from using Recentive tech and preventing the network from “selling, offering for sale, marketing or using any internal network and mapping analytics tool for the scheduling and regionalization of events covered by the patents.”

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Sports TV News

FOX Will Use Chris Fallica On Belmont Stakes Coverage

“While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.”

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The Bear will be more than just a college football presence when he moves to FOX. Chris Fallica wrapped his final duties for ESPN last week and is now headed to a new network and will tackle some new responsibilities.

Fallica’s new role at FOX will involve plenty of sports gambling content. Richard Deitsch of The Athletic reports that content will include horse racing.

“One Fox Sports source said look for him to appear on the Belmont Stakes coverage,” Deitsch wrote in his weekly media column.

Starting in 2023, horse racing’s Triple Crown will not be seen all in one place. While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.

How the network intends to use Chris Fallica on the broadcast is not clear. Given that he is coming to the network to contribute to gambling conversations, it is likely he would either be making picks or at least reviewing odds right up to the start of the race.

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Sports TV News

NBCUniversal CEO Expects Disney To Buy Company’s Hulu Stake

“Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal.”

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The Walt Disney Company owns 67% of Hulu. The other 33% is owned by NBCUniversal. The latter company doesn’t expect that to be the case forever.

“It’s worth a lot of money,” NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said at an investor conference earlier this week, “and I think there’s no indication that anything else is going to happen than Disney writing us a big check.”

Hulu is primarily a platform for movies and television shows. It is a major part of Disney’s deal with the NHL though. The streaming giant is part of the package of 103 games that are exclusive to ESPN and ABC. Hulu is also a live TV provider for many. The company’s Hulu Plus Live TV package had over 4 million subscribers as of the summer of 2022.

Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal. He credits sports and content migrated from Hulu as the reason Peacock has grown to 18 million paid subscriptions since September.

Deadline reports that if Disney does want to acquire NBCUniversal’s stake in Hulu, “the price could fluctuate but will be in the tens of billions of dollars.”

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