Highest rated Cavs game in four years

Cavs Vs Pelicans: Highest Rated Fox Sports Ohio Game in Four Years

The Cleveland Cavaliers took care of business last night against the New Orleans Pelicans. The game had everything we had hoped for in the Cavs Home Opener: a win, some exciting plays and some great offense. The Cavs needed the win to square them at 3 – 3. For those who care it also put them in the playoffs, tied for the sixth seed with two other teams.
According to information sent to us via Fox Sports Ohio it was also their highest rated game since the first game after LeBron James left the team:
The Cavs 118-111 win over the Pelicans last night garnered a 9.7 HH rating in Cleveland on FOX Sports Ohio (approx. 144,000 households).
Last night’s game was the highest rated Cavs game on FOX Sports Ohio since Oct. 27, 2010 (10.38 HH) which was the Cavs home opener vs. the Celtics (Cavs won 95-87) and first game following LeBron James’ departure to the Heat.
Following the final buzzer, over 63,000 households stayed tuned in for Cavaliers Live postgame show during which Kevin Love and Dion Waiters video-bombed Allie Clifton’s interview with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. WATCH
Not an overly surprising statistic that it has been four years since that kind of rating, except that the higher rating was after James left. Fans were likely very curious to see what the Cavs could be without their star but quickly lost the intrigue factor as the team’s performance was poor.

With LeBron back and Kevin Love joining the fold you can expect that these type of ratings will happen every time the Cavs grace FSO. The network gives good coverage with solid reporters who are local and passionate about the team. Most, or all, of them have covered the team for years, and are not just with the team now that they are good. For this writer who has been covering the team for a couple years, and watched as many games as possible, they are the type of reporters I like to hear from.

Florida Fly Away

The Blue Jackets and FOX Sports Ohio launched the Florida Fly Away sweepstakes, which gives one grand prize winner a trip for two to see the Jackets face off against the Lightning in Tampa Bay on Saturday, January 31. Fans that tune into the 12 game broadcasts on FSO through Friday, November 29 will be given a keyword to enter online at www.BlueJackets.com/FloridaFlyAway or text to 37664.

During each of the 12 broadcasts during the sweepstakes, a nightly winner will be randomly selected to receive a player-autographed puck, two tickets and the chance to win the grand prize road trip which includes round-trip airfare for two from Columbus to Tampa; three-night hotel stay; pair of game tickets to see the Jackets play the Lightning at the Amalie Arena on Saturday, January 31; and $300 spending cash. 

The grand prize winner will be recognized in-arena on Wednesday, January 14 when the Blue Jackets host the Montreal Canadiens. For complete rules, visit www.BlueJackets.com/FloridaFlyAway.

Lauren Hill's first college basketball game

On Sunday, Nov. 2nd, FOX Sports Ohio televised live the women’s basketball game between Mount St. Joseph University and Hiram College featuring Lauren Hill, a terminally ill freshman whose dream was to play in a college game.

The NCAA granted Mount St. Joseph an exemption to play the game earlier than originally scheduled to accommodate the wish of Lauren Hill to achieve her dream of playing in one college basketball game. Lauren was diagnosed last October with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), a form of brain cancer which is currently an incurable condition.

Because of the public’s overwhelming demand for tickets to the game, Xavier University officials offered the use of the Cintas Center, and tickets sold out within 30 minutes. To accommodate interest from those who missed the opportunity to purchase a game ticket, FOX Sports Ohio televised the game live. The carrying of the game was referenced by local and national media, from the Cincinnati Business Courier to USA Today & People Magazine.

FOXSportsOhio.com’s coverage of the event included a feature story, video of her first basket, an interview with her, and a photo gallery.

The game was also be available to all users on FOX Sports GO.
Lauren and her family selected The Cure Starts Now Foundation as the recipient of the funds raised. All proceeds will be provided to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center to continue support of their International DIPG registry. The registry’s primary goal is understanding the biology of DIPGs in the interest of developing more effective therapies and approaches to diagnosis, assessment and treatments that will improve patient outcomes. Donations to The Cure Starts Now can be made here: http://www.thecurestartsnow.org/heroes/163/


SportsTime Ohio is excited to announce it will feature for the eight consecutive year coverage of OHSAA football playoffs and volleyball championships.

SportsTime Ohio will televise live a minimum of eight (8) high school football playoff games, starting with the first game on Friday November 7th at 7:30pm, a Division II showdown between Avon and Medina Highland. Matt Underwood and Frank Stams will call game one. Game two on Saturday, November 8th at 7pm will feature the Division I matchup, Elyria @ St. Ignatius. Mike Cairns and Greg Frey will call the game with Ryan Cavanaugh on sidelines.

See below for the schedule of the OHSAA football playoff games on SportsTime Ohio. Matchups are to be determined and will be announced each week leading up to the games.

In case you missed it, tune in to SportsTime Ohio this Thursday at 7:00pm for the High School Football Playoff Preview Show. Cairns, Cavanaugh and Frey look at the match-ups in all seven divisions. Visit FOXSportsOhio.com for more programming information and full playoff brackets. 

High School Football Playoffs LIVE on SportsTime Ohio
Game 1
November 7
Avon @ Medina Highland
Game 2
November 8
Elyria @ St. Ignatius
Game 3
November 14

Game 4
November 15

Game 5
November 21

Game 6
November 22

Game 7
November 28

Game 8
November 29

*Check your local listings for replays of the games. In addition to the areas that regularly get SportsTime Ohio, all of the games will also be available in the Cincinnati/Dayton areas on Time Warner Cable channel 99.

SportsTime Ohio will also televise OHSAA volleyball championships starting with the Division IV matchup this Saturday, Nov. 8th at 10pm or immediately following the football playoff game.

OHSAA Volleyball Championships on SportsTime Ohio
Division IV
November 8
Division III
November 9
Division II
November 9
Division I
November 9

Cavs first game on FSO

FOX Sports Ohio's first Cavs game was in Chicago on Halloween, Friday, Oct. 31st, as the Cavs beat the Bulls 114-108 in OT.

The FOX Sports Ohio Girls and Cleatus made morning stops at WAKR, WONE, 95.5 the Fish, WKNR, and WZAK with cupcakes and goodies to promote the game. 

Cleatus and Kristine also visited the Cavs front office to get everyone pumped for the game.

Cavs Opening Day 2014

The Cleveland Cavaliers began their season Thursday, Oct. 30th at The Q. FOX Sports Ohio, SportsTime Ohio, and FOXSportsOhio.com covered the Cleveland celebration all day long. The game was exclusively on TNT and the Cavs lost to the Knicks 95-90

 Drennan Live on SportsTime Ohio – 3:30pm-7:00pm
  • From 3:30pm to 7:00pm on SportsTime Ohio, Drennan Live, the ever popular sports talk show hosted by Bruce Drennan, broadcasted live from outside Quicken Loans Arena. The set was located at The Q’s ceremonial northwest entrance on the corner of Ontario and Huron.
  • Guests included FOX Sports Ohio Cavs broadcasters Fred McLeod, Campy Russell, Jeff Phelps, and Allie Clifton, Cavs radio play by play voice John Michael, FOXSportsOhio.com beat writer Sam Amico, Cavs.com writer Joe Gabriele, and additional members from the Cavs, media and more.
Cavaliers Live on FOX Sports Ohio
Pregame show 7:00pm – 8:00pm
  • A special hour-long Cavaliers Live pregame show began at 7:00pm. Austin Carr, Campy Russell and Jeff Phelps hosted from the set outside The Q and Fred McLeod and Allie Clifton reported from inside the arena. In addition to commentary and in-depth pregame coverage, the show, presented by Toyota, included a feature with Coach Blatt, “At Home with Anderson Varejao”, and sit downs with Dan Gilbert and LeBron James.  
Postgame show immediately following the game
  • Following the final buzzer, Cavaliers Live postgame show, presented by Conrad’s Tire Express and Total Car Care Centers, showcased highlights, interviews and analysis live from the outside set.
FOX Sports Ohio Girls Bridget and Kristine as well as FOX Sports robot Cleatus were also part of the celebration.
  • Bridget and Kristine were at Harry Buffalo on East 4th St. downtown 6:00pm to 7:30pm to play games and win cool prizes.
  • Cleatus, the giant FOX Sports Robot, was outside The Q next to the FOX Sports set from 5:00pm to 7:30pm and fans lined up to take pictures with him. 
FOXSportsOhio.com & social media

Cleveland Cavaliers' local TV home is also a hot ticket

Cleveland Cavaliers' local TV home is also a hot ticket in Crain's Cleveland noted that FOX Sports Ohio is heading into 2014-15 season having already sold all but 5% of its ad inventory. Here's the article:

Cleveland Cavaliers' local TV home is also a hot ticket

Fox Sports Ohio is heading into 2014-15 season having already sold all but 5% of its ad inventory

LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers drew a sellout crowd, along with a huge local TV rating, for an Oct. 20 game in Columbus.
Fox Sports Ohio isn't joining the Cleveland Cavaliers in revamping its roster, but the NBA team's local TV home since 1989 is rapidly running out of advertising inventory.

Fox Sports Ohio is on pace to sell 95% of its ad inventory by the start of its first regular-season broadcast — the Cavs' second game of the season, Friday, Oct. 31, at the Chicago Bulls.

Francois McGillicuddy, the general manager and senior vice president of the Broadview Heights-based arm of Fox's vast regional sports umbrella, told Crain's the network is “way ahead” of its pace from previous seasons.

“The demand for Cavs inventory started earlier than we've seen in the past,” McGillicuddy said. “There is a strong interest from a variety of categories — the auto industry, fast food, retail — and it's a great combination of local and national (companies). We've never been at this sellout level this early.”

The sellout theme is a common one for any product associated with the Cavs, who reached their self-imposed cap of a little more than 12,000 season tickets fewer than eight hours after LeBron James announced his return on July 11.

The Cavs, Las Vegas' prohibitive choice to win the franchise's first championship, open the season Thursday, Oct. 30, against the New York Knicks in a game that will be exclusively broadcast by TNT.

The next night, Fox Sports Ohio gets into the act. By then, almost every ad, including those associated with pregame and postgame shows, and ancillary broadcasts such as “Cavaliers in the Paint,” will have been sold.

McGillicuddy said because James' comeback is “a story that transcends sports,” the anticipation for the season has carried over to companies that want to be associated with Cavs programming.

“That's part of what's driving this,” he said. “It appeals to businesses of all kinds. Everyone can understand the pull of coming home.”

Ratings juggernaut

The Cavaliers' three preseason games at Quicken Loans Arena all drew more than 19,000 fans, as did their sellout contest against the Chicago Bulls in Columbus on Oct. 20. Those numbers are 3,000 to 4,000 ahead of the team's attendance norms for the last three regular seasons.

The enthusiasm was every bit as evident on local TV.

The first six Cavaliers preseason broadcasts on Fox Sports Ohio and SportsTime Ohio averaged a 3.33 rating, which is 84% ahead of the norm for the 2013 preseason. The figure doesn't include a 2.0 rating for the broadcast of the Cavs' preseason finale on Wednesday, Oct. 22, but even that game — with James resting up for the regular season and ESPN pulling more than 40% of the viewers away from Fox Sports Ohio with its broadcast of the contest — had a larger audience on Fox Sports Ohio than a typical preseason event.

Two Cavs preseason broadcasts generated ratings of 4.1 or higher on Fox Sports Ohio and SportsTime Ohio. Last season, when the Cavs were 33-49 and again wound up as prominent players in the NBA lottery, their broadcasts on Fox Sports Ohio ranked seventh in the league with an average rating of 2.79.

McGillicuddy said the robust preaseason ratings “bode very well” for the type of audience the network will attract for its regular-season broadcasts.

Using James' first tenure with the organization as a barometer, the Cavs' local TV ratings could at least triple this season.

In 2008-09 and 2009-10, the two seasons preceding James' free-agent exit, the Cavs' local TV ratings were the best in the league, and it wasn't close. The 2008-09 campaign produced a record 8.79 ratings norm — 40% ahead of the average for the San Antonio Spurs, whose ratings were the NBA's second-best. The following season, the Cavs' local TV broadcasts topped No. 2 San Antonio by 27%.

McGillicuddy said it wouldn't surprise him if the Cavs' ratings this season “end up back there again.”

The skyrocketing viewership — James' final five seasons in Cleveland produced ratings that were between 45% and 215% ahead of Fox Sports Ohio's norm for the 2013-14 season — comes with an increased cost for anyone who wants to do business with the team and its local TV affiliate.

Eric Wright, president and executive director of research for Joyce Julius & Associates, an Ann Arbor, Mich.-based company that measures the impact of corporate sponsorships, said he assumes Fox Sports Ohio raised its advertising rates, “so things are going pretty well.”

McGillicuddy wouldn't comment on the network's rates, but said “with increased demand comes increased pricing.”

'Everyone is willing to pay'

When Forbes analyzed the NBA's largest local TV deals in January, the magazine reported that the Cavs had the league's seventh-richest contract, with Fox Sports Ohio paying the team a reported $27 million per year. The 10-year contract, which started with the season in which James led the Cavs to their first NBA Finals (2006-07), runs through the 2015-16 campaign.

Assuming James, as he has repeatedly stated, is here for the long haul, the Cavs would seem to be able to command much more in their next TV negotiations. But Joyce Julius' Wright said “there is a cap” to the amount of money teams can receive in local TV deals — a rule that doesn't seem to apply to the national TV contracts that have soared into the billions.

Earlier this month, the NBA agreed to a nine-year extension with ESPN and Turner Sports that will begin in 2016-17 and raise the average annual value of the combined contract from $930 million to $2.66 billion. According to Forbes, the NBA's 30 teams collected a combined $628 million from regional sports networks in 2012-13, accounting for only 33% of the league's $1.9 billion in media revenue.

The national TV revenue soon will be almost three times as great as the current contract, but that doesn't necessarily mean the local deals will follow in the same manner.

“Each market is unique as to what the local brands can pay,” Wright said. “Cleveland is not New York and not some other markets that might be able to pay a larger number like that.”

Forbes' research showed the Los Angeles Lakers, whose 20-year deal with Time Warner Cable is worth a reported $200 million per year, are the only NBA team with a local TV contract that exceeds $45 million annually. Two spots ahead of the Cavs at No. 5 on Forbes' list of the richest local contracts are the Detroit Pistons, who have a 10-year contract with Fox Sports Detroit that reportedly is worth $350 million.

Does that mean the Cavs will be able to fetch at least $10 million more per season in their next contract with Fox Sports Ohio or another provider?

McGillicuddy wouldn't comment on the network's contract with the Cavs, and the team would only say that it has a “multiyear partnership in place” and Fox Sports Ohio “has been and continues to be a great broadcast partner.”

Wright said he doesn't have enough data to venture a guess on what the Cavs' next TV contract could bring. What is certain, he said, is that the Cavs and Fox Sports Ohio are operating from a position of power.

“If it's the hot item, everyone in the sponsorship game wants to be there, and everyone is willing to pay,” Wright said. “They feel like they're going to get a bang for their buck that way.”

Cavs preseason ratings successes

The seven Cavs preseason games on FOX Sports Ohio/SportsTime Ohio averaged a 3.1 HH, the best preceding a season that was not shortened and where more than one preseason game was televised.
  • The first Cavs preseason game set a record for FOX Sports Ohio with the highest rated preseason game. The exhibition against Maccabi Tel Aviv (also the former team for Cavs Coach David Blatt) delivered a 3.5 HH in Cleveland (approx. 52,000 households). The game also garnered ratings in Columbus and Cincinnati with a 0.97 (9,000 HH) and a 0.42 (3,800 HH) respectively.
  • Their 106-100 win over the Bucks on 10/14 on SportsTime Ohio garnered a 3.27 HH in Cleveland and a 1.83 HH in Columbus. 
  • Their 98-93 win vs. the Pacers on 10/15 on FOX Sports Ohio earned a 2.87 HH in Cleveland and 1.94 in Columbus [photo gallery from game]. Wednesday’s game was at Xavier University’s Cintas Center in Cincinnati and the FOX Sports Ohio Girls were on site to interact with fans. 
  • The Cavs-Mavs preseason game on 10/17 garnered a 4.1 HH rating in Cleveland on SportsTime Ohio, the highest rated preseason game to date on STO, and a 1.2 in Columbus (the same time as the Blue Jackets game on FSO). The second highest rated Cavs preseason game on STO in CLE is the 3.27 HH from 10/14.
  • The Cavs beat the Bulls 107-98 10/20 at Ohio State University’s Schottenstein Center and the game on FOX Sports Ohio got a 4.3 HH rating in Cleveland (tied the highest Cavs preseason rating on FSO from 12/20/2011 game vs. Pistons) and a 1.9 HH in Columbus. FOX Sports Ohio Girls Bridget and Kristine were at the game to highlight the fan experience via social media, including Burst videos of Cavs intro and OSU marching band.
  • The Cavs-Grizzlies game Wed. 10/22 garnered a 2.0 HH rating on FOX Sports Ohio, beating ESPN +29% in the side by side.

Blue Jackets Home Opener 2014

The Columbus Blue Jackets are 2-0 after defeating the New York Rangers 5-2 in a physical game on Saturday in their 2014 home opener. 

The game garnered a 0.94 HH rating in Columbus. 

The FOX Sports Ohio Girls were at R-Bar for Blue Jackets Fan Cam before the game and Blue Jackets Live pre and postgame show was anchored outside Nationwide Arena. 

Check out Burst videos and photos from the day, including pregame player interviews, red carpet photos, shots of the set and more.

Cavs in Brazil and Bearcats in Miami

Coming up on SportsTime Ohio & FOX Sports Ohio:

The Cavs play their second preseason game vs. the Miami Heat at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil tomorrow at 5pm. The game will be on SportsTime Ohio. Check out the many pictures and Burst videos of the trip to Brazil and Sam Amico’s report on how LeBron feels about the upcoming matchup.

FOX Sports Ohio will be airing the University of Cincinnati Bearcats vs. University of Miami Hurricanes football game tomorrow at noon. 

To date, the teams have met 11 times in a series that started in 1947, with the Hurricanes holding a 10-1 advantage. The two squads played every year from 1982-89 with Miami ranked in the Top-10 for six of the eight matchups. The most recent meeting was in Cincinnati in 1998. 

UC Head Coach Tommy Tuberville was on the Miami staff from 1986-93 first as the defensive line and linebackers coach and later as defensive coordinator (1993). While serving on the staffs of Jimmy Johnson and Dennis Erickson, Tuberville helped coach Miami to three national titles, an 87-9 record and eight-straight New Year’s Day bowl appearances.