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Friday’s Mashup: CBS Sports executive says Thursday Night Football hurting overall ratings

Lucy Burdge
November 03, 2017 - 7:52 am

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NBA: Cleveland at Washington, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Boston at Oklahoma City, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN, NBCSB)
NHL: New Jersey at Edmonton, 9 p.m. (NHL Network)


-- CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus is one of many network executives who believe too much football on TV is causing the decline in ratings.

Even though CBS airs Thursday Night Football, McManus said that broadcast is part of the problem.

“I do think it’s clear that adding 10 games to the Thursday night package and two additional Sunday morning London games has clearly diluted the Sunday afternoon packages and affected the ratings. It’s just simple mathematics,” he said.

Other factors that might be contributing to lower ratings include player protests during the national anthem and online streaming, but executives continue to claim too many games is the cause of the decline.

While speaking last week at the Paley International Council Summit in New York,

Fox CEO James Murdoch said that there is an “overproliferation” of games and the ratings are “soft.”

“There’s a question mark for the NFL, which is just to think hard about how they’re licensing," Murdoch said. "So I do think the proliferation of Thursday availability, and the proliferation of football generally, does mean that you’re asking a lot from customers to watch Thursday. And then they watch a lot more college football games on Saturdays, and then on Sundays, and then on Monday Night Football, etc. It’s a lot. So I do think that preserving the scarcity value of those events and that audience is something that is worth thinking about."

Michael Mulvihill, executive vice president of research at Fox, said players protests don’t seem to be the culprit when it comes to lower ratings.

“The anthem protests have been less a factor than some people have claimed,” he said. “Even though [Mr. Trump> elevated the issue, you haven’t seen a negative impact.”

Ratings for the NFL overall are down 5%. Only Monday Night Football on ESPN and the Thursday Night Games on CBS and the NFL Network are seeing an increase in viewers.

-- Justin Verlander and his model fiancee, Kate Upton, will reportedly marry in Italy this weekend.

No word yet on if this means Verlander will miss the World Series parade after his Astros won the championship this week. The wedding will reportedly be in Tuscany.

Verlander and Upton have been dating since 2014 and got engaged just before the 2016 season.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “When he asks I'll give him the best answer. But I'm not getting in his way or try to influence him because I know he knows the direction he wants to go. I'll just be a resource." -- Tony LaRussa, after being named a special assistant to Dave Dombrowski, on how he will assist Alex Cora in this role