Cubs

CSN delivers its highest-rated Cubs regular season telecast in network history

soler_celebration.jpg

CSN delivers its highest-rated Cubs regular season telecast in network history

NEW All-Time CUBS (and new CSN Chicago “regular season” All-Time) TV Ratings Record: 11.19 (#1 in Chicago market); solid 6.0 rating in the key Adults 25-54 demo

Close to 389,000 Chicago TV homes watched CSN’s entire Cubs-Brewers game coverage (7:00 – 10:15 PM);

Over 465,000 homes were tuned in during the peak quarter-hour of 10:00-10:15 PM

CSN Chicago was also #1 in the Chicago market for 12-STRAIGHT HOURS (12:30 PM to 12:30 AM)

Chicago, IL (September 16, 2016) – Comcast SportsNet Chicago, the television home for the most games and the most comprehensive coverage of the 2016 NL Central Division champion Chicago Cubs, delivered its highest Cubs single game rating ever last evening (September 15) -- an 11.19 Chicago market household rating for its live coverage of the Cubs match-up against the visiting Milwaukee Brewers.  The 11.19 Chicago market household (HH) rating on CSN last evening also shattered the following previous records:

  • NEW Cubs game rating record for CSN Chicago (previous Cubs high on CSN – 8.30 HH on July 28, 2008 vs. MIL)
  • NEW record for the highest-rated Cubs game in the history of any Chicago regional sports network (previous Cubs high occurred on Fox Sports Net Chicago – 8.49 HH: Cubs at HOU on June 16, 2004)
  • NEW record for the highest-rated regular season game telecast – for any team – in CSN Chicago history (previous high – 8.73 HH: Bulls vs. IND on January 25, 2012)

For last night’s Cubs telecast, Comcast SportsNet attracted approx. 388,875 Chicago market households for the entire length of the game (7:00-10:15 PM) and scored a 13.4 “peak” rating during the 10:15 PM quarter-hour (over 465,600 Chicago market households).  Source for all ratings information is provided by Nielsen Media Research overnights.

Comcast SportsNet was also the #1-highest rated television network in the Chicago market for TWELVE-STRAIGHT HOURS (from 12:30 PM-12:30 AM) among Chicago DMA households last night & in virtually every key demographic category – which included the following roster of CSN programming:  White Pregame Live presented by the Kowalis Family of Dealerships (live), White Sox vs. Cleveland game telecast (live), Subaru White Sox Postgame Live (live), Bears Blitz presented by Xfinity (live), SportsTalk Live presented by The Chevy Silverado (live), SportsNet Central presented by Comcast Business (live), Bases Loaded (live), Cubs vs. Milwaukee game telecast (live), Cubs Postgame Live presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois (live), The Hard Count with Brian Urlacher presented by RESTORE (premiere), Inside Look: Kyle Hendricks presented by Cadillac (premiere), Pro Football Weekly, and SportsNet Central presented by CLR

Through 72 live telecasts so far this season, the Cubs on Comcast SportsNet are currently averaging a 4.52 Chicago market household rating, an increase of 36% compared to last season’s final 3.32 HH average.  In addition, Cubs games on CSN this season have also experienced massive year-to-year increases in every key demo category, including Adults 18-49 (up 36%) and Adults 25-54 (up 57%).

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Comcast SportsNet’s next Cubs telecast airs TODAY (Friday, September 16), as the Cubs will continue their home series against the Milwaukee Brewers.  Live coverage from the Wrigley Field gets underway with Cubs Pregame Live presented by Field Auto Group at 12:30 PM CT with first pitch set for 1:20 PM.  THEN…immediately after the game on Cubs Postgame Live presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois, CSN will take viewers inside the Cubs clubhouse for LIVE coverage of the team’s official 2016 NL Central Division Championship celebration. 

Cubs Talk Podcast: Sitting down with new Cubs coaches Chili Davis and Jim Hickey

2-21_jim_hickey_usat.jpg
USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Sitting down with new Cubs coaches Chili Davis and Jim Hickey

Spring training baseball games are up around the bend, but before the boys of summer get into organized action, two of the team’s new coaches Chili Davis and Jim Hickey sit down with Kelly Crull.

Plus, Vinnie Duber joins Kelly to discuss these baseball conversations including the memorable first words of Kyle Schwarber to Chili Davis, “I don’t suck!"

Listen to the full episode at this link (iOS users can go here) or in the embedded player below. Subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts.

Changes aren't exactly popular, but Cubs and Sox — except maybe Willson Contreras — will adapt to baseball's new pace-of-play rules

Changes aren't exactly popular, but Cubs and Sox — except maybe Willson Contreras — will adapt to baseball's new pace-of-play rules

MESA, Ariz. — We know Willson Contreras doesn’t like baseball’s new pace-of-play rules.

He isn’t the only one.

“I think it’s a terrible idea. I think it’s all terrible,” Jon Lester said last week at spring training, before the specifics of the new rules were even announced. “The beautiful thing about our sport is there’s no time.”

Big surprise coming from the Cubs’ resident old-schooler.

The new rules limit teams to six mound visits per every nine-inning game, with exceptions for pitching changes, between batters, injuries and after the announcement of a pinch hitter. Teams get an extra mound visit for every extra inning in extra-inning games. Also, commercial breaks between innings have been cut by 20 seconds.

That’s it. But it’s caused a bit of an uproar.

Contreras made headlines Tuesday when he told reporters that he’ll willingly break those rules if he needs to in order to put his team in a better position to win.

“I’ve been reading a lot about this rule, and I don’t really care. If I have to pay the price for my team, I will,” Contreras said. “There’s six mound visits, but what if you have a tight game? … You have to go out there. They cannot say anything about that. It’s my team, and we just care about winning. And if they’re going to fine me about the No. 7 mound visit, I’ll pay the price.”

Talking about pace-of-play rule changes last week, Cubs manager Joe Maddon said his team would adapt to any new rules. In Chicago baseball’s other Arizona camp, a similar tune of adaptation was being sung.

“Obviously as players we’ve got to make adjustments to whatever rules they want to implement,” White Sox pitcher James Shields said. “This is a game of adjustments, we’re going to have to make adjustments as we go. We’re going to have to figure out logistics of the thing, and I would imagine in spring training we’re going to be talking about it more and more as we go so we don’t mess it up.”

There was general consensus that mound visits are a valuable thing. So what happens if a pitcher and catcher need to communicate but are forced to do it from 60 feet, six inches away?

“Sign language,” White Sox catching prospect Zack Collins joked. “I guess you have to just get on the same page in the dugout and hope that nothing goes wrong if you’re out of visits.”

In the end, here’s the question that needs answering: Are baseball games really too long?

On one hand, as Lester argued, you know what you’re signing up for when you watch a baseball game, be it in the stands at a ballpark or on TV. No one should be shocked when a game rolls on for more than three hours.

But shock and fans' levels of commitment or just pure apathy are two different things. And sometimes it’s a tough ask for fans to dedicate four hours of their day 162 times a year. So there’s a very good reason baseball is trying to make the game go faster, to keep people from leaving the stands or flipping the TV to another channel.

Unsurprisingly, Lester would rather keep things the way they are.

“To be honest with you, the fans know what they’re getting themselves into when they go to a game,” Lester said. “It’s going to be a three-hour game. You may have a game that’s two hours, two hours and 15 minutes. Great, awesome. You may have a game that’s four hours. That’s the beautiful part of it.

“I get the mound visit thing. But what people that aren’t in the game don’t understand is that there’s so much technology in the game, there’s so many cameras on the field, that every stadium now has a camera on the catcher’s crotch. So they know signs before you even get there. Now we’ve got Apple Watches, now we’ve got people being accused of sitting in a tunnel (stealing signs). So there’s reasons behind the mound visit. He’s not just coming out there asking what time I’m going to dinner or, ‘Hey, how you feeling?’ There’s reasons behind everything, and I think if you take those away, it takes away the beauty of the baseball game.

“Every game has a flow, and I feel like that’s what makes it special. If you want to go to a timed event, go to a timed event. I’m sorry I’m old-school about it, but baseball’s been played the same way for a long time. And now we’re trying to add time to it. We’re missing something somewhere.”

Whether limiting the number of mound visits creates a significant dent in this problem remains to be seen. But excuse the players if they’re skeptical.

“We’ve got instant replay, we’ve got all kinds of different stuff going on. I don’t think (limiting) the mound visits are going to be the key factor to speeding this game up,” Shields said. “Some pitchers take too long, and some hitters take too long. It’s combination of a bunch of stuff.

“I know they’re trying to speed the game up a little bit. I think overall, the game’s going as fast as it possibly could. You’ve got commercials and things like that. TV has a lot to do with it. There’s a bunch of different combinations of things. But as a player, we’ve got to make an adjustment.”