Cubs

Cubs set massive year-to-year tv ratings increases on CSN

Cubs set massive year-to-year tv ratings increases on CSN

2015 Final Season Average Increased 121% for Households (up 153% for Adults 25-54) compared to 2014; 

Highest Final Season Cubs Average on Comcast SportsNet in SIX YEARS; 

Significant Year-to-Year Increases for “Cubs Pregame Live presented by Fields Auto” & “Cubs Postgame Live presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois”

Chicago, IL (October 5, 2015) – Comcast SportsNet, the television home for the most games and most comprehensive coverage of the 2015 MLB Postseason-bound Chicago Cubs (finished 2015 with a 97-65 record), posted massive year-to-year television ratings increases in overall Chicago market households and in every key demographic category, along with scoring significant TV ratings increases for its surrounding pre/postgame programming.

Comcast SportsNet’s Cubs television ratings averaged a 3.32 household rating in 2015 (approx. 112,317 Chicago market TV households tuning in per game)-- a 121% increase over 2014’s 1.50 final household season average (NOTE: Over 60,000 MORE Chicago market TV homes tuned in per game this season compared to last season).  The 3.32 Chicago market household average is also the highest Cubs final season average on Comcast SportsNet in SIX YEARS (4.13 avg. in 2009).

Comcast SportsNet also experienced exponential year-to-year ratings growth in EVERY key advertising demo category, including Adults 18-34 (up 132%)…Adults 18-49 (up 169%)…Adults 25-54 (up 153%)…Men 18-34 (up 129%)…Men 18-49 (up 159%)…and Men 25-54 (up 172%).

On September 8 at St. Louis, Comcast SportsNet posted its highest Cubs single game rating since August 2009 with a 5.7 household average and a 7.1 peak rating.  In addition, the 3.0 Adults 25-54 rating for this game was also the network’s highest rating in this key demo since the 2011 season.

Out of 83 total Cubs telecasts on Comcast SportsNet in 2015, seven games averaged “at least a 5.0 household rating,” while 20 games averaged “at least a 4.0 household rating.”  The network’s highest-rated Cubs game in 2014 (among 79 total game telecasts) was a 3.4 (occurred on May 5 vs. White Sox).

In addition to its Cubs game ratings success 2015, Comcast SportsNet’s Cubs Pregame Live presented by Fields Auto household ratings finished up 64% compared to last season (75% increase in Adults 25-54), while Cubs Postgame Live presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois household ratings increased 158% (up 188% in Adults 25-54).  Source for all ratings information is provided by Nielsen Media Research.

In addition, Comcast SportsNet’s digital home – CSNChicago.com – experienced a solid 33% increase in Cubs-related web traffic compared to last season.

Beginning TONIGHT -- Comcast SportsNet will carry expanded Cubs National League Wild Card coverage leading up to Wednesday night’s huge, one-game showdown in Pittsburgh.  Please note the following on-air programming line-up (all times are Central Time) and accompanying digital coverage on CSNChicago.com:

MONDAY, OCTOBER 5

5:30 PM – SportsTalk Live presented by The Chevy Silverado– Extensive Cubs playoffs discussion & analysis with host David Kaplan (@thekapman) and numerous baseball experts.

6:30 PM – SportsNet Central presented by Comcast Business – The latest Cubs playoffs news, player/coaches interviews, and much more.

7:00 PM – Cubs Classic: Cubs vs. Pittsburgh (from 5/15/15)– This thrilling 12-inning battle between the Cubs and Pirates at Wrigley Field saw the Cubs holding on to a 10-5 lead heading into the eighth inning (featuring a 3-run HR from Kris Bryant in the third and an Anthony Rizzo solo shot in the fourth), but the Pirates stormed back to tie it at ten apiece in the ninth. The unexpected, however, took place in the bottom of the 12th inning when Pirates RF Gregory Polanco slipped on a routine pop fly, allowing Starlin Castro to score the winning run.

10:00 PM – GMC SportsNet CentralThe latest Cubs playoffs news, player/coaches interviews, and much more.

10:30 PM – We Are Good: A Celebration of the 2015 Chicago Cubs– Hosted by Cubs beat reporter Kelly Crull (@Kelly_Crull), this brand new, half-hour, magazine-style special includes a number of fascinating feature stories highlighted by a recap of the Cubs postseason-clinching celebration from Sept. 26 at Wrigley Field.  Plus, fans can look forward to a number of additional special features, including the following among others:

-          #WeAreGood – Feature on how Miguel Montero’s April 18th hashtag created a team slogan that caught on all season long in both the Cubs clubhouse and with fans throughout the nation.

-          Walk Up Music – How do players pick their walk-up music, and why they do it?  Cubs players weigh in on the new walk up feature brought to Wrigley Field, thanks to the brand new in-stadium video boards.

-          Maddon on atmosphere – Cubs manager Joe Maddon discusses what makes the Wrigley atmosphere arguably the best in baseball.

-          The ‘Old Scoreboard’ – With most of the attention on the ‘new’ video boards in 2015, SportsNet Central’s Luke Stuckmeyer (@LukeStuckmeyer) takes us inside the old scoreboard to show us it’s still very much a part of Wrigley Field.

-          The Best of the Cubs – A rollout feature with all the key highlights of the 2015 Chicago Cubs playoff-bound season.

-          Jake Arrieta – A detailed look at the overall dominance of the best pitchers in all of baseball.

-          NOTE: We Are Good: A Celebration of the 2015 Chicago Cubs will re-air Tue, Oct. 6 at 9pm on CSN+

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 6

5:30 PM – SportsTalk Live presented by The Chevy Silverado– Extensive Cubs playoffs discussion & analysis with host David Kaplan, numerous baseball experts, along with live, on-site reports from Kelly Crull.

6:30 PM – SportsNet Central presented by Comcast Business – The latest Cubs playoffs news, player/coaches interviews, and live, on-site reports from Kelly Crull.

9:30 PM/10:00 PM – GMC SportsNet CentralThe latest Cubs playoffs news, player/coaches interviews, and much more.

10:30 PM – SportsNet Central: Cubs Playoff Preview– Hosted by CSN’s Cubs Pre/Postgame Live tandem of David Kaplan and Todd Hollandsworth (@hollytime28), this special edition of SportsNet Central will provide fans with a full, detailed preview of the Cubs-Pirates Wild Card match-up, including live reports from Kelly Crull and CSNChicago.com Cubs “Insider” Patrick Mooney (@CSNMooney), along the latest team/player news, interviews, season-long match-up highlights, and an overview of every upcoming MLB Playoff series.

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 7

5:30 PM – SportsTalk Live presented by The Chevy Silverado– Extensive Cubs-Pirates Wild Card Game night preview discussion & analysis featuring host David Kaplan, numerous baseball experts, along with live, on-site reports from Pittsburgh via Kelly Crull and Cubs “Insider” Patrick Mooney.

6:00 PM – Cubs Pregame Live presented by Fields Auto– Hosted by David Kaplan and Todd Hollandsworth, this special, one-hour edition of Cubs Pregame Live will break down and preview every aspect of the Cubs-Pirates battle and will feature numerous interviews, preview highlights, and live, on-site reports from Pittsburgh via Crull and Mooney.

10:30 PM (time approx.) Cubs Postgame Live presented by BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois– An expanded edition of Cubs Postgame Live, hosted by Kaplan and Hollandsworth, will feature Cubs manager Joe Maddon’s post-game press conference, live locker room player interviews, a complete breakdown of the game, plus, additional live on-field post-game reports from Pittsburgh and much more.

In addition to the comprehensive Cubs Wild Card playoff coverage on Comcast SportsNet, viewers are urged to visit CSNChicago.com throughout the week for even more comprehensive 24/7 coverage, including:

  • Live stream of Cubs manager Joe Maddon’s post-game press conference (sponsored by Xfinity).
  • “Cubs Pulse presented by AT&T U-Verse,” a one-stop social media and behind-the-scenes destination that reveals the latest real time trending topics, player buzz and expert insight from Twitter and Instagram.  Plus, “Cubs Pulse” aggregates all Cubs player tweets, along with fan tweets that utilize the hashtag #CubsTalk.
  • “Cubs In-Game Live,” – featuring STATS Inc.’s enhanced Game Zone real-time tracking system – is a second screen platform for PCs, tablets and mobile devices that combine state-of-the-art infographics, data visualization of real-time statistics and game info with rich social interactivity tied to CSN Chicago’s live game broadcasts.
  • Push Alerts: CSN Chicago will deliver Cubs push notifications for breaking team and player news, “Insider” reports, plus game reminder alerts via CSN Chicago’s SportsTalk app for iOS and Android devices.
  • CubsTalk, CSNChicago.com’s high-velocity, real-time, comprehensive Cubs playoffs news and opinion section featuring original commentary, reporting and aggregation. BullsTalk is under the banner of NBC SportsTalk, NBC’s successful digital franchise on NBCSports.com that includes ProFootballTalk, HardballTalk, ProBasketballTalk, ProHockeyTalk, CollegeFootballTalk and Golf Central. SportsTalk was extended to CSNChicago.com through the creation of BlackhawksTalk, BullsTalk, CubsTalk, WhiteSoxTalk and BearsTalk, PrepsTalk and B1GTalk which contains interactive content and continually updated insights from the network’s digital and on-air talent.
  • CSNChicago.com Cubs “Insider” Patrick Mooney will provide extensive team/player news, special feature stories, and much more throughout the week. Follow him on Twitter @CSNMooney for 24/7 inside access.  Cubs digital reporter and producer Tony Andracki will also provide Cubs reports/features on the beat with Mooney.  Follow @CSNCubs on Twitter for full team coverage, giveaways, fan photos and the very latest team news.
  • CSNChicago.com’s state-of-the-art “AT&T U-Verse Lounge” to provide expanded Cubs playoffs content through daily and weekly shows and segments.
  • CSNChicago.com, NBC Sports and HardBallTalk.com will also produce Cubs content in tandem, which will include on-camera segments and digital reports.
  • Yahoo: Via the Yahoo Sports – NBC Sports Network digital alliance, CSNChicago.com’s Cubs content will be available via sports.yahoo.com.
  • Cubs coverage on CSNChicago.com/Cubs is presented by Toyota.

Why what Mike Montgomery did against LA could go a long way toward keeping him in the Cubs' rotation

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USA Today

Why what Mike Montgomery did against LA could go a long way toward keeping him in the Cubs' rotation

Joe Maddon needed Mike Montgomery to get through at least six innings given the circumstances presenting the Cubs' manager before Game 2 of Tuesday’s day-night doubleheader against the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

Not only were the Cubs short a man in the bullpen (thanks to Brandon Morrow’s pants-related back injury), but Maddon had to use four relievers — including Pedro Strop for two innings — after Tyler Chatwood managed only five innings in Game 1 earlier in the afternoon. 

So when Montgomery — who had only thrown over 100 pitches once in the last two and a half seasons before Tuesday — saw his pitch count sit at 40 after two innings, and then 63 after three, he knew he needed to regroup to avoid creating a mess for the Cubs’ bullpen. 

What followed was a start that, statistically, wasn’t the most impressive of the five Montgomery’s made since re-joining the Cubs’ rotation earlier this year. But it was an important start in that the 28-year-old left-hander didn’t have his best stuff, yet didn’t give in to a good Dodgers lineup. And holding that bunch to one run over six innings was exactly what the Cubs needed in what turned out to be a 2-1 extra-inning win. 

“Especially when you don’t have have your best stuff, you always gotta — that’s when you really learn how to pitch,” Montgomery said. 

It’s also the kind of start that could be a major point in Montgomery’s favor when Maddon is presented with a decision to make on his starting rotation whenever Yu Darvish comes off the disabled list. Knowing that Montgomery can grind his way through six innings when his team needs it the most without his best stuff only can add to the confidence the Cubs have in him. 

Montgomery didn’t have his best stuff on Tuesday, issuing more walks (four) than he had in his previous four starts (three). He threw 48 pitches between the second and third innings, and only 25 of those pitches were strikes. Of the nine times the Dodgers reached base against Montgomery, six were the result of fastballs either leading to a walk or a hit. 

Even though the Dodgers were able to bother Montgomery a bit on his fastball, Maddon said that’s the pitch of his that’s impressed him the most over the last few weeks. 

“He never got rushed,” Maddon said. “In the past he would seem to get rushed when things weren’t going well, when he spot-started. Overall, fastball command is better — even though he was off a little bit tonight, the fastball command still exceeds what I’ve seen in the past couple of years on a more consistent basis. The changeup, really, good pitch. He got out of some jams but I think the fact that he knows where his fastball is going now is the difference-maker for him.”

Darvish will throw a simulated game on Wednesday after throwing two bullpen sessions last week. Maddon still doesn’t have a timetable for the $126 million right-hander’s return, and said he’s not entertaining what to do with his rotation until Darvish comes off the disabled list. But Maddon did mention Montgomery’s relative lack of an innings load — the most he’s thrown in a season in 130 2/3, which he did in 2017 — as a reason to perhaps not rush him into a permanent starting role the rest of the season. Going to a six-man rotation is a possibility, too, Maddon said. 

But the over-arching point is this: Montgomery will remain in the Cubs’ rotation as long as he keeps earning it. That can be the product of strong outings in which he has good stuff, or games like Tuesday in which he shows the Cubs the kind of resiliency most starters need to get through a full season. 

“I pitch well, good things happen,” Montgomery said. “I’ve always thought that. Opportunities, you just gotta make the most of them.”

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 28th + 29th homers in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 28th + 29th homers in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

For the second time in 1998, Sosa went back-to-back games with multiple home runs. After going yard twice on June 19 of that season, Slammin' Sammy again sent two balls into the bleachers on June 20.

He singlehandedly beat the Phillies that night, driving in 5 runs in a 9-4 Cubs victory.

But that wasn't the most impressive feat of the day from Sosa. His second homer was actually measured at a whopping 500 feet! It was the longest of the season, but not the longest of his career. On June 24, 2003, Sosa hit a homer at Wrigley measured at 511 feet.

The back-to-back big games raised Sosa's season OPS to 1.083 with a ridiculous .685 slugging percentage. He began June 1998 with a .608 slugging percentage.

Fun fact: Kerry Wood struck out 11 batters in 7.1 innings on June 20, 1998 to pick up his 7th big-league victory. As Wood marched to the National League Rookie of the Year that season, he finished with a 13-6 record and 233 strikeouts in only 166.2 innings for a career-high 12.6 K/9 rate.