Watchdog

Neil Best leaves no stone unturned in the world of sports media.

Giants, Jets are second-rate on TV

Quarterback Eli Manning of the Giants looks over

(Credit: Getty Images)

New York usually trails smaller, less cosmopolitan markets when it comes to sports ratings, especially for football, and 2013 was no exception.

Average local ratings for both the Giants and Jets dropped for a second consecutive season as the Super Bowl co-hosts finished 30th and 31st in that category among the 32 NFL teams, according to Sports Business Daily.

Giants games averaged 15.3...

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'Animal Practice' was imperfect

Roger Daltrey, left, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle, and

(Credit: AP)

Remember how NBC infuriated many viewers by interrupting its coverage of the Closing Ceremony in London – delaying The Who and editing out some performances altogether – to show a preview of the show “Animal Practice?’’

Well, NBC does, and is not likely to do anything like that again. “I think that’s one we’d probably take a do-over on,’’ said Jim Bell, executive producer for the Olympics.

“Animal...

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NBC poised to deal with Sochi news

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during an interview

(Credit: AP)

Every Olympics has the potential for major news away from the actual competitions, and Russia is no exception.

Authorities have been confronted with a series of terrorist attacks – notably one in Volgograd last month that killed at least 17 – and Russia’s policies on gay rights have stirred controversy around the globe.

How will NBC deal with news that impacts the Games?

“NBC News...

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NBC will show all Olympic figure skating live!

Katarina Witt Won: One Olympic gold medal in

(Credit: USA Network)

NBC’s Olympic coverage took a step into the 21st century in 2012 when every competitive event in London was streamed live.

Two years later the network is poised for what NBC Sports Group chairman Mark Lazarus admitted is “a leap’’ – showing the entire figure skating competition live on NBC Sports Network, then repackaging it with what Lazarus called NBC’s “secret sauce’’ for traditional prime...

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It's golf season! In Hawaii...

Lindsey Vonn is flanked by her boyfriend Tiger

(Credit: AP)

Rarely do I read or write about golf in January, but rarely at my house do temperatures fall below zero, providing a frosty glaze to the fallen snow.

So to warm myself up I read a 9,960-word transcript from NBC and Golf Channel in which Johnny Miller, Frank Nobilo and Mark Rolfing discussed the weekend’s Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Maui and the rest of 2014.

Naturally, the subject...

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NFL wild-card games threatened with blackouts

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers warms up

(Credit: Getty Images)

The NFL has become increasingly concerned about its customers choosing the comforts of their homes and high-def TVs over fighting traffic, paying big bucks, braving the elements and dealing with loutish fans to see games in person.

That is why the league has worked hard to improve the in-stadium experience, including the additions of vast video boards and frequent replays.

The trend...

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Detroit was Hockeytown AND Rose Bowl Town Jan. 1

Fireworks go off as the Toronto Maple Leafs

(Credit: MCT)

Many Americans spent big chunks of their New Year's Eve and New Year's Day watching college football and hockey, beginning with Tuesday night's Chick-Fil-A Bowl. In case you missed it because you have a social life, Johnny Manziel led a wild rally by Texas A&M over Mrs. WatchDog's Dukies and helped ESPN draw 5.3 percent of homes in major markets - its best ever for a non-BCS bowl game.

Wednesday...

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NHL Winter Classic at Big House Wednesday

Retired Toronto Maple Leafs players, from left, Wendell

(Credit: AP)

Normally I would have participated in NBC's pre-Winter Classic conference call Monday, but I was busy at Jets camp, plus this year the Jan. 1 game isn't quite as exciting for those of us around here, what with not one but two outdoor games coming up at Yankee Stadium in late January.

Still, the Big House beckons, with cold temperatures and a record crowd expected. So, still pretty cool.

Here...

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Football Nation tuned in again in '13

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning throws a pass

(Credit: Getty)

There are those who fear for the future of football, given increasing concerns about its dangers. But in the present the sport never has been stronger.

Nielsen released its year-end roundup of television viewing and it showed nine of the top 10 programs were NFL related. The lone exception was the Academy Awards, at No. 7 with 40.4 million viewers.

No. 1 was Super Bowl XLVII at 108.7...

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NBCSN will show figure skating live

Katarina Witt Won: One Olympic gold medal in

(Credit: USA Network)

Speaking of the 1980 U.S.-Soviet game, which ABC showed hours after the fact, it remains the greatest crime in the history of tape-delaying sports. But now, at last, that sort of thing is becoming a thing of the past.

NBC announced this past week something that until recently would have been unfathomable:

It will show a ratings jewel of its Olympic coverage, figure skating, live from...

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