Tuesday
Feb162010

When Games Collide: Winners And Losers From A Mashed-Up Sports Weekend

February 15, 2010: Was that a busy sports weekend or what!? NBC had the Olympics, Fox had Nascar's Daytona 500 and the Nascar Nationwide Series debut of Danica Patrick, TNT aired the NBA All-Star Game and related exhibitions, and other events filled what might have been the most competitive sports weekend of 2010. Who came out on top and who crashed?

WINNERS
1. NBA All-Star Game at Cowboys Stadium on Sunday, Feb. 14 drew a basketball record 108,713, topping the 78,129 who attended a college basketball game between Kentucky and Michigan State at Ford Field in Detroit on Dec. 13, 2003. The game itself was more about the crowd than the action on the court until the closing moments when Chauncey Billups of the West tied the score at 137-137, then Dwyane Wade, later named MVP, of the East stole the ball from Deron Williams and scored on the final possession to give the East a two-point win.

2. Opening Ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver attracted an average of 32.6 million viewers on NBC on Feb. 12. The Opening Ceremonies of the 2006 Winter Games in Torino drew an average of 22.2 million viewers.

3. Anton Apolo Ohno of the U.S. scored a silver medal in the 1,500 meter short track speed skating event on Saturday, Feb. 13 after two North Korean skaters ahead of him wiped out. It was his sixth career Olympic medal, tying Bonnie Blair for most Winter medals by a U.S. athlete (Ohon still has events to follow). Fellow U.S. teammate JR Celski, who faced a life-and-death situation six months ago after an on-ice accident, took bronze. NBC reported an average audience of 26.2 million for the night.

4. NBC won the ratings competition on Sunday, Feb. 14 with more Olympic Games coverage, averaging 26.3 million viewers.

5. Danica Patrick's Nascar debut at the Nationwide Series event at Daytona on Saturday, Feb. 13 ended in the 67th lap when she was unable to avoid a crash in front of her. But she handled herself well before, during and after the race, giving fans, sponsors and racing executives reason to watch her 2010 schedule, which is scheduled to continue on Feb. 20 in the Nationwide Series Stater Bros. 300 event at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.

LOSERS
1. TNT scored well in the ratings with NBA All-Star Saturday Night with an average of 5.5 million viewers, second best all-time to the 6.5 million who tuned in last year. But the Sprite Slam Dunk contest was listless and uncreative. And the Geico H*O*R*S*E event earlier in the evening was B*O*R*I*N*G and even embarrassing as the players - it was eventually won by Kevin Durant over Rajon Rando on three-point shots - couldn't make the mostly uninspired shots they were attempting to take. The league might not re-invent All-Star Saturday Night in 2011 but it clearly has jumped the shark.

2. Jamie McMurray won the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 14 on Fox, but track problems and other logistics delayed the race for about 2 1/2 hours and kept it from getting into any high-speed flow until the final ten laps, when Dale Earnhardt Jr. moved from tenth to second but couldn't quite overtake McMurray.

3. MW Oracle team won the America's Cup over Alinghi on Feb. 14 in Valencia, Spain. Not many people know or care that the trophy is back in the U.S. for the first time since 1995.

4. Tony Stewart won the 2010 Nationwide Series opener Feb. 13 at Daytona. You can overlook the fact that relatively few fans who weren't at the race know that as it was Danica Patrick who grabbed all the headlines for finishing 35th.

5. One possible drawback to the NBA's attendance record at Cowboys Stadium: The venue will host Super Bowl XL in February, so Jerry Jones and the NFL need to go beyond the NBA's figure, if the Fire Marshal will allow it. And even if they hit 110,000, that's only a mere 2K more than the All-Star Game.

Special Mention: The NBA All-Star Game half time show featured Alicia Keys, Shakira and Usher. It's time for the NFL to again invigorate its Super Bowl half time show with some musical blood younger than 60.

Back to Home Page