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Time Warner giving state wrestling tourney star treatment

Saturday, February 23, 2013
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New York high school wrestling fans are in for a treat today.

If you can’t make it to the Times Union Center for the semifinals and finals of the New York State high school wrestling championships, you will be able to watch it on TV. For the first time, Time Warner Cable SportsChannel of Albany is providing live coverage of the event. TWCS will have pre-match shows at 9:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. Coverage of the semifinals begins at 10 a.m. The finals are set to start at 6:30 p.m.

The matches will be on TWCS standard definition channel 50, and 1803 on high definition. It will also be on all the Time Warner systems around New York state.

“We are very excited to offer Time Warner Cable customers across the state the opportunity to take a front-row seat at this event,” said Greg Bobbitt, director of programming and production.

Bobbitt and his crew faced numerous challenges in preparing for its coverage.

“In looking at the scope of the event, it became clear that we would need to make decisions about what activity to cover,” Bobbitt said. “After spending time with Section II and the NYSPHSAA state coordinators, we decided that the best approach is to focus our coverage on the semifinals and the finals. Our viewers will have the opportunity to watch a great selection of Division I and II matches throughout our two broadcasts.

“This is a fast sport, and with so much activity happening at the same time, it can seem overwhelming. But when you step back and look at the bigger picture, you begin to understand that each individual match becomes part of the overall story. So that is what we are choosing to capture, match by match, story by story.”

Brian Sinkoff will be the play-by-play announcer. He will be joined in the booth by Schalmont High School athletic director John Gallo and Guilderland High School athletic director Reagan Johnson. Chris Onorato will be the reporter during the semifinals, and Seth Leavitt will work the finals.

“Brian wrestled in [high] school,” Bobbitt said. “John Gallo and Reagan Johnson are both very fam­iliar with the sport. The broadcast team brings a wealth of experience to our coverage. They know many of the student-athletes, and are full of fun stories of past competitions.”

NHL ratings

Some good ratings news for the NHL and NBC Sports Group.

The second game of last Sunday’s double-header on NBC Sports — the Los Angeles Kings at the Chicago Blackhawks — which celebrated Hockey in America, averaged 1.81 million viewers and earned a 1.15 rating. Viewership was up 31 percent compared to last year’s late-game (1.38 million, Boston-Minnesota).

NBC Sports Network had the Washington Capitals at New York Rangers on Sunday night, and that contest was watched by 609,000 viewers. That was an incredible 200 percent increase over last year’s game, which was the New Jersey Devils against Montreal Canadiens. That game drew just 203,000 viewers.

The New York market posted a 1.84 rating for the game, second-best ever for a Rangers regular-season game on NBC Sports Network in which the team did not play either the Devils or Islanders.

Wednesday’s wild NHL game between the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins netted NBCSN a 0.55 household rating, making it the highest-rated NHL regular-season game in the history of NBCSN.

The game was part of NBCSN’s “Wednesday Night Rivalries” package.

An average of 901,000 viewers tuned in to the Flyers’ 6-5 win, making it the second-most watched game in NBCSN history. It peaked with 1.2 million viewers from 10-10:15 p.m. Only the Boston

Bruins-New York Rangers game attracted more viewers with an average 956,000. However, the game had a lower rating (0.53) than the Flyers-Penguins.

Overall, “Wednesday Night Rivalry” games are averaging 783,000 viewers, up 83 percent vs. Wednesday night exclusive games last year (427,000).

Parting shots

NASCAR fans are very happy that the auto racing season is here. ESPN and ESPN HD have today’s Nationwide Series DRIVE4COPD 300 at 1:15 p.m. FOX23 (WXXA) and FOX23 HD have the Daytona 500 starting at noon Sunday. . . .

WOFX-AM (980) will have the Boston Red Sox spring training game against the Tampa Bay Rays at 1:30 p.m. today. Because of that, the UAlbany men’s basketball game against Fairfield shifts to WGY-AM (810) and WGY-FM (103.1). . . .

The New York Yankees’ over-the-air games will be on CW15 (WCWN) this season. The station still has the Mets’ over-the-air games. . . .

Joe Garagiola announced his retirement this week. Garagiola, 87, is best known for his work not only on baseball broadcasts for NBC, but he was a gameshow host, filled in for Johnny Carson on “The Tonight Show” and worked on “Today.” He spent the past 15 years as a part-time television analyst for the Arizona Diamondbacks’ TV broadcasts. He was honored in 1991 with the Ford C. Frick Award for baseball broadcasting excellence. . . .

CBS6 (WRGB) and CBS6 HD have the Georgetown-Syracuse men’s college basketball game today at 4 p.m. The game is also on WGY-AM and FM. . . .

The WGC Accenture Match Play Championship is on the Golf Channel and Golf Channel HD today at noon and 9 a.m. Sunday. NBC13 (WNYT) and NBC13 HD takes over coverage at 2 p.m. today and Sunday.

 
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