Thunder ratings drop 20 percent for Game 2
TNT’s coverage of the NBA Western Conference Finals, which has included two lopsided wins by the Spurs over the Thunder, is averaging 6,038,000 viewers and a 3.9 rating, up 28 percent and 24 percent, respectively, over last year’s two-game average for the Western Conference Finals (Spurs vs. Memphis Grizzlies — 4,620,000 viewers; 3.1 rating), which aired on ESPN.
After earning a 26.1 rating in Oklahoma City for Game 1, ratings for Game 2 — a 35-point Spurs romp — dropped 20 percent to 20.8. The average ratings are up 10 percent from the first two games of the 2012 Western Conference Finals between the same teams (25.6, 18.0).
In Tulsa, this year’s finals are averaging a 13.3 (14.5, 12.1).
MENDOZA TO CALL NORMAN SUPER REGIONAL
Jessica Mendoza, a two-time Olympic softball medalist, will team with Beth Mowins to call the Norman Super Regional in the NCAA women’s softball tournament. Game 1 of the Tennessee-OU series will air at 6 p.m. Friday on ESPN2, with Game 2 at 4 p.m. Saturday. An if-necessary game would air at 7 p.m. Saturday on ESPN2.
Earlier this month, Mendoza announced her retirement from softball at age 33. She has two small children at home and a blossoming broadcast career. She told espnW.com that she felt compelled to put softball third behind family and professional opportunities.
“I always thought when I’d stop playing that it would be like I’m just done playing because either physically I can’t play anymore or because my heart isn’t in it,” Mendoza said. “Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.”
ESPN, ESPN2, and ESPNU will combine to televise up to 24 Super Regional games from eight sites. Jennie Finch, a former national champion and Olympic gold medalist, has joined ESPN’s roster of analysts to call the Lafayette Super Regional.
NOTAH BEGAY TO COVER NCAA GOLF
Former PGA golfer Notah Begay has recovered from a heart attack and will rejoin the Golf Channel as an on-course reporter for its coverage of the NCAA Division I men’s golf championships next week from Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan. OSU is seeded No 2, and OU is No. 13. The Golf Channel will air coverage from 4-7 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Golf Central, the network’s franchise news show, also will air from Prairie Dunes.
Begay said he was excited to resume his reporting duties.
“About 60 days ago, I felt perfectly fine walking the fairways doing our other broadcasts and just out of left field had some heart complications.” Begay said. “I had a blockage in my artery, and it’s cleared up, and my rehab has gone good.”
Lead analyst Lanny Wadkins will be joined by play-by-play host Bob Papa. Other analysts include Billy Ray Brown, Charlie Rymer and Steve Burkowski.
ABC TO TELEVISE 50TH INDY 500
Continuing a Memorial Day weekend TV tradition that began in 1965, ABC will air the Indianapolis 500 for the 50th consecutive year. The telecast begins with the prerace show at 10 a.m., with the green flag waving at 11:12 a.m. Allen Bestwick will become the 10th person to call the race on ABC when he makes his debut Sunday. He will be joined in booth by former Indy 500 drivers Scott Goodyear and Eddie Cheever.
“My personal memories of the Indy 500 and ABC’s coverage of it date back to when I was a kid,” producer Rich Feinberg said. “Memorial Day weekends with my family, appointment viewing. Those days it was on a tape delay at night. To see it come around now to the 50-year anniversary is just amazing.”
•Jim Ross, the longtime WWE announcer and Norman resident, will make his network boxing play-by-play debut at 8 p.m. Monday on Fox Sports 1.
•Tracy Wolfson has been named CBS’ lead NFL game reporter. She was the lead college football reporter for the network’s SEC coverage the past 10 years. Wolfson joins Jim Nantz and Phil Simms to cover “Thursday Night Football” games on CBS and the NFL Network and select Sunday games on CBS.
•The NBA Eastern Conference Finals Game 2, in which the Miami Heat defeated the Indiana Pacers 87-83 to even their series 1-1, is the third-highest rated NBA conference finals Game 2 ever on ESPN with a 5.9 overnight rating. The NBA Draft Lottery on ESPN got its highest rating ever with a 2.9, up 26 percent from last year.
•The Texas Rangers make their first appearance on Fox Sports 1 at 3 p.m. Saturday when they play at the Detroit Tigers. Joe Buck, Harold Reynolds, Tom Verducci and Ken Rosenthal will call the game.
By Mel Bracht