Patriots Preseason Network Affiliates, Schedule, and Crew

The Patriots today officially announced the changes to their preseason telecasts. The longtime duo of Don Criqui and Randy Cross is no more, and the format is being changed to something new in the world of football broadcasts:

According to Matt Smith, the executive producer of Kraft Sports Productions, the Patriots 2013 preseason game telecasts will be less of a traditional football broadcast, opting instead for more discussion and analysis from two former Patriots players along with insight from two beat writers who are regularly assigned to cover practices year-round.

“We are looking at the preseason games as an opportunity to try something different and find innovative ways to engage our fans in the discussion,” said Smith. “We are not looking for just a down-and-distance approach to calling the game. We want voices and opinions on what happened during the week of practice and how it relates to what fans are seeing on the field. We want a conversational, talk-radio approach on the important issues and roster battles that are going on throughout practice as well as in the game. We want our viewers to hear the opinions of the people watching every detail of the practice sessions during the week and how it relates to what is happening in the game.”

WBZ-TV is still the flagship station for the preseason telecasts, which will be hosted by sports reporter/anchor Dan Roche. Joining Roche in the booth will be former Patriot Christian Fauria.

Former Patriots linebacker Matt Chatham will serve as a sideline analyst, and Steve Burton will do sideline reports and interviews. Patriots Football Weekly writers Paul Perillo and Andy Hart will be in a separate studio for further discussion on the game, and to engage in social media interaction.

Here are the affiliates for the preseason games:

Preseason Television Network
WBZ TV……………… Boston, MA (Flagship Station) (Channel 4)

WPRI………………….Providence, RI (Channel 12)
WWLP……………….. Springfield, MA (Channel 22)
WCTX/WTNH………..Hartford/New Haven, CT (Channel 8)
WVII………………….. Bangor, ME (Channel 22)
WMTW………………. Portland/Auburn, ME (Channel 8)
WMUR…………………Manchester, NH (Channel 9)
WCAX………………….Burlington, MA (Channel 3)
KFVE……………………Honolulu, HI (Channel 5)

Here is the Patriots preseason schedule:

Friday, August 9th 7:30pm @ Eagles

Friday, August 16th 8:00pm Buccaneers (Broadcast on FOX)

Thursday, August 22nd 7:30pm @ Lions

Thursday, August 29th 7:30pm Giants

Games are also rebroadcast on the NFL Network.

Boston Marathon Draws Strong Numbers For WBZ-TV

WBZ-TV offered up the following ratings numbers for Monday’s Boston Marathon:

Boston Marathon Elite Race Coverage (9:30AM-12:15PM)

  • Total Viewers: Elite race coverage averaged 143,400 viewers and peaked as the elite runners finished 12:00-12:15PM with 224,400 viewers.
  • Elite race coverage was #1 in the time period in households, total viewers, A25-54, M25-54, M18-49 and all 18-34 demos.

Boston Marathon Coverage (12:15-1:30PM)

  • “Rest of the Field” coverage was #2 in the time period households, total viewers, all 25-54 and 18-49 demos.

NESN and WBZ TV Announce Partnership

NESN and WBZ-TV today announced a partnership in which NESN will provide pre-game reports from each game for the WBZ newscasts, and WBZ will provide the official weather updates on NESN. In addition, WBZ-TV sports anchor Dan Roche will be a regular guest on NESN’s pre-game shows.

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2011 Approval Ratings – Steve Burton

Steve Burton is the sports director for WBZ-TV

Burton has been at WBZ since 1994, serving as sports reporter and anchor on both WBZ and TV38. He has been a fixture on the Patriots pregame shows, as well as on Patriots Fifth Quarter, where he is usually stationed inside the press conference room at Gillette getting reaction to the game, and has mastered the technique of interviewing with one-word statements. He also hosts Patriots All Access.

Prior to joining WBZ, Burton worked for NESN between 1988 and 1994, hosting pre and post game shows for the Red Sox broadcasts. He has been a regular on WEEI’s Big Show in the past as well.

Burton was raised in Framingham, and attended Northwestern University, where he was on the football team. He is the son of former Patriots player Ron Burton, and his brother Phil Burton works as a sports anchor for WFTV in Orlando, Fl. His brother Ron Jr works as Children’s Athletics Manager for the Red Sox, and brother Paul Burton works for WBZ as a general assignment reporter.

Steve Burton 2011 Approval Ratings
Total Votes: 1153 Started: September 6, 2011 Back to Vote Screen

Patriots Wrap Up Record TV Ratings Season

The New England Patriots 14-2 record was the best in the NFL, and tied for their second-best regular season record of all time, but their TV numbers locally set franchise records this season.

The Patriots set a regular season record for household ratings in the Boston market with an average 34.86 household (HH) rating during the 2010 season. The 2010 mark topped the previous record of 33.6 set during the 2007 season, which featured the only 16-0 regular season in NFL history, by more than a whole rating point.

In addition, the Patriots averaged a 61.3 share with 15 of the 16 regular season games drawing more than a 55 share, meaning 55 percent of all televisions in the Boston market that were on during Patriots games were tuned in to the game.

Four of New England’s 16 games rank in the top six all-time for regular season HH ratings in the Boston market with the Patriots-Packers game on Dec. 19 ranking third with a 42.62 HH rating, the Patriots-Jets Monday night game on Dec. 6 ranking fourth with a 42.20 HH rating, the Patriots-Colts Nov. 21 game ranking fifth with a 42.04 HH rating, and the Patriots-Bears Dec. 12 game ranking sixth with a 41.29 HH rating.

Here is a game-by-game chart of the Patriots TV numbers for the 2010 Regular Season:

Patriots/Colts – Third Highest Regular Season Ratings In NE History

The Patriots victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday garnered the third highest regular season ratings in franchise history, with a 42.04 household rating (67 share)  in the Boston market. Over one million people tuned in to WBZ to watch New England improve to 8-2 on the season.

The Patriots-Colts game was the highest-rated game of the season in the local market and the third-highest all time, surpassed by New England’s Dec. 29, 2007 win over the New York Giants that completed the only 16-0 regular season in NFL history and a Dec. 7, 2003 victory over the Dolphins. The Dec. 29, 2007 Patriots-Giants game earned a 50.1 HH rating in the Boston market, a rating that represents an unprecedented four-way telecast in which the game was seen in Boston on NFL Network, WBZ-TV Channel 4 (CBS), WCVB-TV Channel 5 (ABC) and WHDH-TV Channel 7 (NBC).

Here are the game-by-game ratings for the Patriots this season:

Patriots Ratings Continue Strong on Local TV

The Patriots/Browns game on Sunday, despite the disappointing result for New England, still resulted in big ratings for WBZ. The game posted a 30.73 HH Rating Locally, equal to a 60 share.

The Patriots are on a record-setting pace for HH ratings through nine weeks in their designated market area with an average 31.9 HH rating. In addition, New England’s eight regular season games are the eight most-watched television programs in the Boston area since football season began.

This season, the Patriots have also been part of two record-setting NFL broadcasts. New England’s 23-20 overtime victory over Baltimore on Sunday, Oct. 17 helped CBS set the mark for the highest rating for its single-game window since it acquired the current AFC package in 1998. The Patriots-Jets game on Sunday, Sept. 19 was the most watched September CBS game ever.

This week, the Patriots travel to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers in a highly-anticipated battle between two 6-2 teams on Sunday Nov. 14. The game will be broadcast to a national NBC audience with Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth calling the game. Kickoff is schedule for 8:20 p.m. and will air locally on WHDH in Boston and WJAR in Providence.

Here’s a look at the local ratings for each game thus far this season:

Patriots Overtime Victory Over Ravens Sets CBS Ratings Mark

The Patriots 23-20 overtime victory over the Ravens on Sunday, Oct. 17 helped CBS set the mark for the highest rating for its single-game window since it acquired the current AFC package in 2008. 

The window, which included the Patriots-Ravens, Dolphins-Packers, Jets-Broncos, and Browns-Steelers matchups, averaged a 12.8 HH rating and 21.5 million viewers nationwide, making it the most-watched Sunday CBS single-game window since CBS resumed NFL coverage in 1998. The window broke the old record set week 16 of the 2008 season during a game for first place between the Steelers and Titans, which had a 12.3 HH rating and 20.0 million viewers.

Locally, the game had a 29.84 rating with a 61 share. The game peaked with a 38.25 rating during overtime.

With 734,000 households watching the game locally, the Patriots-Ravens game more than doubled the 338,400 households that watched Dancing with the Stars, the second most watched program of the week in the Boston TV market. Dancing with Stars had a rating of 13.8 and a 20 share on Monday, October 11. Patriots 5th Quarter, which followed the New England game on WBZ, placed third with a 13.7 rating and a 27 share on Sunday.

The Patriots-Ravens game was the second most-watched game in the Boston TV market of the year, behind CBS’s doubleheader weekend on Sept. 19 that featured the Patriots and the Jets as the 4:15 game. That game was the most watched September CBS game ever and the third most watched game during the NFL season with 27 million viewers nationwide.

Bodden Is Back With The Patriots – Or Is He?

Last night there was quite a ruckus on Twitter as two very respected football reporters Michael Lombardi and Adam Schefter both reported that Leigh Bodden would be re-signing with the Patriots. Both guys are right far more than they’re wrong, especially Schefter, whose word I pretty much take as gospel these days. Meanwhile, Bodden’s agent, Alvin Keels was posting that nothing was done, or even agreed to.

We’ll see what happens today. If I had to bet, I’m siding with Schefter/Lombardi.

Speaking of the NFL free agency period, while Mike Reiss, Tom Curran, Christopher Price, Shalise Manza Young and Albert Breer have all done their usual solid jobs, I think the star of the first few days has been the Herald’s Ian Rapoport. He’s consistently brought good information, and angles and insight that some of the others have missed at times. The Rap Sheet has become a must-follow destination for Patriots fans, and he has been tearing it up on Twitter as well.

Otherwise, it’s a fairly slow day today with both the Celtics and Bruins off last night.

Selection of Tom Brady Makes 2000 Draft One to Remember - Jeff Howe concludes his series of reviewing the Patriots drafts under Bill Belichick with the coach’s first draft, one that is memorable for a certain sixth-round selection.

Patriots air of infallibility is waning - A good article from Tom E Curran, but headlines like that one really turn me off, and many times make me not want to even look at the article underneath the headline. Who ever said the Patriots were infallible? Who? C’mon. The article itself is candid, frank, without pushing silly agendas, but the headline is just dumb. (I know, Curran probably didn’t create it.)

Fielding more than his share of bad hops - Gordon Edes looks at how Dustin Pedroia used baseball as his focus when off-field things weren’t going so well for him last season. I also enjoyed this blog entry from Edes on Jose Iglesias in which Edes is giddy as a schoolboy over the potential of the phenom shortstop, and wonders if the Red Sox should put him right in the majors to start the season.

Why some Red Sox pitchers like throwing to some Red Sox catchers - The title of Rob Bradfords article this morning explains it all.

Big performances: Young trio impresses - Michael Silverman has a trio of young, gifted and intriguing outfielders making an impression on the Red Sox yesterday.

Beckett, Martinez on learning curve - Sean McAdam with another strong notebook from the action of yesterday.

La Russa still mover, shaker - Bob Ryan talks to Tony La Russa about his 33 years as a big league manager.

Hits like this don’t belong in hockey - Mike Loftus weighs in on the hit that Penguins forward Matt Cooke laid on Marc Savard Sunday.

Marc Savard fuzzy on details - Stephen Harris gets props for catching up with Savard at the Pittsburgh airport yesterday to talk to him about the hit and how he’s feeling.

Lockdown defense steadies KG - Chris Forsberg says that Kevin Garnett’s defensive performance down the stretch on Sunday night should be encouraging to Celtics fans.

Relentless defense critical to Celtics - Steve Bulpett says that the Celtics performance on defense in the last six minutes Sunday night showed that they are still capable of locking down an opponent, and that gives them no excuses going forward.

Also check out Greg Doyle’s Q&A With UNH TE Scott Sicko, who has gathered some interest from pro scouts.

Elsewhere, I was also disappointed with the news that Alice Cook was tossed at Ch. 4 after 25 years of service to the station. With the decreased amount of time that newscasts are giving to the sports segments, it makes sense to keep the rosters small, but I always enjoyed the job that Cook did, both with the sports reports, and on the Patriots pre and post game shows.

Was Jonny Miller a bigger “Curse” Pusher than Shaughnessy?

If you didn’t read Bob Hohler’s column this morning – Really big news - I highly recommend that you do so.

The article looks at some of the media pressure that the Red Sox had to overcome en route to winning the 2004 World Series. It seems that much of that “media pressure” came from an unlikely source: WBZ’s Jonny Miller.

WBZ’s Jonny Miller greeted every new player in the Fens by asking him to declare whether the team’s chronic misfortune was born of some ghostly voodoo risen from Babe Ruth’s grave. His tape recorder whirring, Miller followed up by posing the same question every spring training to every player on the Sox roster: “Do you believe in the curse of the Bambino?’

Miller doesn’t refer to the curse any longer, as he is quoted in the article as ““They took away one of my lines,’’ Miller said of the ’04 Sox. “I can’t ask about the curse anymore.’’

The article notes that Jonathan Papelbon this season called Miller “the most negative person around.”

This seems to fit with some of the lines of questioning Miller has pursued, as chronicled by Hohler.

And when the Sox went on a 10-game winning streak to seize a four-game lead in the wild-card race in early September, it was Miller who stirred the ghosts.

“In the history of the wild card, no team has blown a four-game lead starting Sept. 1,’’ he informed Damon. “Are you confident you won’t be the first?’’

There are plenty of other examples in the article.

Hohler also notes that Miller is a prankster, though some of his stunts have been better than others:

Miller became as memorable in 2004 for his pluck as his perseverance. In February, five months after WEEI’s John Dennis and Gerry Callahan compared a gorilla that escaped from the Franklin Park Zoo to a minority Metco student, Miller welcomed them to spring training by presenting them white pillowcases as if they were Klansmen.

And later:

In September of ’04, with Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon filming “Fever Pitch’’ in Fenway’s box seats, Barrymore’s history of teen drug problems inspired Miller to raise a placard that asked, “When Will Drew Be Back In Rehab?’’

All in all, this was a nice “behind the scenes” look by Hohler at the type of coverage and questions that were around the Red Sox prior to the 2004 World Series Title.