Bears

Bulls TV ratings post huge season-to-season gains on CSN

Bulls TV ratings post huge season-to-season gains on CSN

2014-15 Season Average Increased 56% for Households (up 111% for Adults 25-54) compared to ’13-’14;

CSN posted the second highest-rated regular season game in network history this season;

Significant Increases for “Bulls Pregame Live presented by Coors Light” & “Kia Bulls Postgame Live” 

Network’s first season of live streaming Bulls telecasts garnered over FIVE MILLION minutes consumed

Chicago, IL (April 16, 2015) – Comcast SportsNet, the television home for the most games and most comprehensive coverage of the 2015 NBA Playoffs-bound Chicago Bulls (3rd seed in Eastern Conference with a 50-32 regular season record), posted significant television ratings for the 2014-15 NBA regular season, which have resulted in massive season-to-season increases in overall households and in all key demographic ratings categories.  Plus - Comcast SportsNet’s Bulls Pregame Live presented by Coors Lite and Kia Bulls Postgame Live have also experienced solid year-to-year ratings increases, along with successful digital traffic numbers for the network’s inaugural season of live streaming game telecasts.

Comcast SportsNet’s game telecast ratings for the Chicago Bulls this regular season averaged a 4.71 household rating (approx. 163,781 Chicago market households watching per game)-- a 56% increase compared to last season’s 3.03 final average, which is an increase of 58,419 more Chicago market households tuning per game this season compared a year ago.

In addition, Comcast SportsNet also experienced massive year-to-year ratings increases in EVERY key advertiser demo category, including Adults 18-34 (up 140%)Adults 18-49 (up 107%)…Adults 25-54 (up 111%)…Men 18-34 (up 131%)Men 18-49 (up 89%)…and Men 25-54 (up 98%).  

On January 5 vs. Houston, Comcast SportsNet delivered its second-highest Bulls regular season game rating in network history with a 7.59 household rating (approx. 264,000 Chicago market households tuning in), peaking at a 10.0 (approx. 347,730 households tuning in).  All-time CSN regular season high rating for a Bulls game was an 8.73 vs. Indiana on January 25, 2012.

For its 42 telecasts during the 2014-15 NBA regular season, Comcast SportsNet’s Bulls game ratings averaged “at least” a 4.0 household rating on 31 occasions.  For all of last season (43 total games), only seven games reached at least a 4.0 average. Also among the 42 regular season game telecasts this season on CSN, 17 games reached “at least” a 5.0 household rating.

In addition to its ratings increases for its game telecasts, Comcast SportsNet’s Bulls Pregame Live presented by Coors Lite experienced a season-to-season household ratings increase of 24%, while Kia Bulls Postgame Live ratings increased 32%.  Source for all television ratings information is provided by Nielsen Media Research. 

From a digital standpoint, Comcast SportsNet’s first season of live streaming its Bulls game telecasts on a variety of platforms experienced solid traffic thus far, as over FIVE MILLION total minutes have been consumed by Bulls fans choosing to access the games on CSNChicago.com and via NBA Sports’ Live Extra app.  On January 27 (Bulls at Golden State), the network enjoyed its highest digital traffic numbers to date as it was the most streamed game overall in minutes watched (326K), along with being the most streamed game in visits (5.8K) and live starts (12K).  Source for all digital traffic information is provided by Adobe Reports & Analytics.

Comcast SportsNet will begin its comprehensive 2015 NBA Playoffs “Hometown Call” coverage – featuring the Bulls in first round action against the division rival Milwaukee Bucks – starting this Saturday, April 18 at 5:00 PM CT with an expanded, one-hour edition of Bulls Pregame Live presented by Coors Lite hosted by Mark Schanowski and Will Perdue. Game 1 tip-off gets underway at 6:00 PM featuring the expert play-by-play and analysis of Neil Funk and Stacey King. 

In addition -- for the first time ever -- Comcast SportsNet’s live first round Bulls NBA Playoffs telecasts, including surrounding Bulls Pre/Postgame Live coverage, will be streamed live on CSNChicago.com and available via the NBC Sports Live Extra app on tablets and smart phones.  Authenticated Comcast SportsNet Chicago subscribers can watch live Bulls playoffs action from anywhere in the United States.  The live streaming service is currently available to customers of Comcast/Xfinity, DIRECTV, DISH Network, AT&T U-verse, Mediacom, RCN, and Cedar Falls (IA) Utilities.  For more information about CSN Chicago’s live streaming service of Bulls games, viewers are urged to visit the following link: csnchicago.com/page/live-extra-faq.

In addition, fans are urged to visit CSNChicago.com for up-to-the-minute Bulls playoffs news, live video stream of every Bulls post-game press conference, “Insider” reports from Vincent Goodwill (@vgoodwill), “Bulls Pulse” social media page, game previews/recaps/highlights, stats, and much more.  Fans can also follow Comcast SportsNet’s Bulls/NBA Playoffs coverage 24/7 on Twitter @CSNBulls and fans are urged to interact and have their voice heard throughout the playoffs by utilizing the hashtag #BullsTalk.

The Bears can be aggressive in NFL free agency if they bet on new CBA

The Bears can be aggressive in NFL free agency if they bet on new CBA

If the NFL’s proposed CBA is ratified by the NFLPA — and, right now, it seems like it will be — every current, active contract will look like a bargain in a few years. And that’s the starting point for how the Bears could maybe, just maybe, get a little weird in free agency this year. 

There's always money in the banana stand, after all. 

The Bears are projected to have about $26 million in cap space, per Spotrac, a number that currently would not allow them to sign a big-name free agent or trade for a guy with a high price tag. Cap space can always be created, though — it just depends on how willing a team is to kick the proverbial can down the road. 

And that bill always comes due. But what if the Bears have loads more cap space when the bill comes due thanks to lucrative new TV deals signed a few years after the CBA is ratified?

A new CBA would likely immediately increase 2020's salary cap (the Athletic estimated a $5 million increase per team). But the best way for the Bears to create more cap space in 2020 is by borrowing from the Bank of Khalil. 

The Bears could create about $10 million in cap space by converting some of Mack’s base salary into a signing bonus, per Spotrac, and could also do the same with the contracts of Eddie Goldman, Kyle Fuller, Cody Whitehair and Akiem Hicks, if they so chose. 

The Bears would save a total of about $22.5 million in 2020 cap space by restructuring all five of those contracts. Add in a contract extension for Allen Robinson that could save a few million in 2020 and the Bears wind up with over $50 million in cap space this year. 

That’s a lot of cans to kick down the road, and it’s not without risk (injuries, age-based regression, etc.). It's also crazily aggressive, but who knows what contracts will look like in 2022 or 2023. Paying Mack $26 million then might look like a bargain, even as he plays into his 30s.  

So the money is there if the Bears really want it, and are willing to place a big bet on their 2020 roster. This space of the interweb has mostly been reserved for preaching the Bears’ need for salary cap prudence this offseason; it’s part of the reason why the expectation still is for Ryan Pace to target a backup who can “compete” with Mitch Trubisky, not a guy to start over him. 

But maybe the Bears can shop in a different aisle for that second quarterback. Instead of targeting a Case Keenum-type on a cheap, one-year contract, perhaps the Bears can pry Andy Dalton away from the Cincinnati Bengals and not worry about his $17.7 million cap hit. 

Maybe it means offering a contract to the guard or tight end Pace and Matt Nagy want, not the one they can afford. Needs at inside linebacker, cornerback and/or safety could be more readily addressed before the draft, freeing Pace up to actually stick to his “best player available” mantra. 

There is hope here if you want the Bears to be more aggressive in free agency than their current amount of cap space suggests they will be. That doesn’t mean the Bears are going to follow this path, though. The new CBA needs to be ratified first, of course, and maybe that immediately drives up prices in the free agent market, leaving the Bears in the same position they’re in now. 

But the Bears do have a way to inflate their salary cap balloon, and if they do, they might not need to totally worry about it popping a few years from now. It all depends on if the new CBA is ratified or not before the new league year begins in mid-March. 

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No, Zach LaVine wasn't ranting at Jim Boylen in latest viral video

No, Zach LaVine wasn't ranting at Jim Boylen in latest viral video

In the final moments of a hard-fought 124-122 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder Tuesday night, Zach LaVine was caught on camera saying something to the effect of, "I've got 40 [expletive] points."

LaVine has been broadcast multiple times this season appearing to exhibit expasperation over late-game timeouts called by Jim Boylen, so some segments of NBA Twitter took this as another show of frustration towards the Bulls' head coach. But it seems that's not the case.

According to reporting by Eric Woodyard of ESPN, LaVine was merely jawing back and forth with Thunder guard Dennis Schröder. Common practice in a closely-contested game.

The report quotes LaVine, himself.

"You get into the heat of the battle and between players when you guys are talking, you talk smack sometimes, right? And that's all it was," LaVine told Woodyard. "We were still down. Dude was talking a little mess to me and I just let him know 'Look, I've got 40, I don't know why you're talking to me.

"I don't know why they said they thought I was talking to Jim but it was just people being competitive in the game talking."

In the play following the clip, LaVine drilled a pull-up 3-pointer from the logo for his 41st points of the night. It was LaVine's sixth 40-point game of the season, but despite his brilliance, the Bulls dropped to 20-39 and 1-9 in their last ten games with the defeat. A tale as old as time.

It's obviously been an up-and-down season for the Bulls, but consider this 'controversy' dead on arrival.

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