Bristolmetrics: ESPN Navigates The Dark, Sportless Days Of SummerS

When last we met, SportsCenter finally covered the Jerry Sandusky case, we found out if the Rose Bowl will stay on ESPN (it will), and Outside The Lines aired one of the year's most fantastic features. What would this week bring?

Total time: 455.5 minutes
Time (minus commercials): 336

TIME DEVOTED TO INDIVIDUAL SPORTS
MLB: 121.5 (36.2%) (last week: 30.2%)
SportsCenter staples (things like the "Top 10," "Encore," "What 2 Watch 4," etc.): 56.25 (16.7%) (last week: 14.3%)
NBA: 44 minutes (13.1%) (last week: 11.6%)
Other sports: 33 (9.8%) (last week: 4)
Tennis: 25.25 (7.5%) (last week: 7.8%)
Golf: 23.75 (7.1%) (last week: 1.1%)
Soccer: 16 (4.8%) (last week: 10%)
NFL: 9 (2.7%) (last week: 1%)
NASCAR: 4.5 (1.3%) (last week: 2.8%)
NHL: 1.25 (0.4%) (last week: 0.8%)
College football: 1 (0.3%) (last week: 12.7%)
College basketball: 0.5 (0.1%) (last week: 0%)

MOST-COVERED TEAMS BY SPORT
Atlanta Braves (MLB): 12.25 minutes (3.6%)
Los Angeles Lakers (NBA): 10.75 (3.2%)
New Orleans Saints (NFL): 2.75 (0.8%)
Georgia Bulldogs (college football): 1 (0.3%)
Minnesota Wild (NHL): 1 (0.3%)
Syracuse Orange (college basketball): 0.5 (0.1%)

MOST-MENTIONED SPORTS FIGURES
Rather than break down the amount of time a specific athlete or figure was covered, we counted how frequently names were mentioned in the transcripts from the week. The 15 most-mentioned sports people for June 29-July 5:

Tiger Woods: 85
Steve Nash: 49
Dwight Howard: 41
Roger Federer: 38
Jeremy Lin: 31
Marko Cheseto: 31
Novak Djokovic: 30
David Ortiz: 24
David Wright: 23
Deron Williams: 20
R.A. Dickey: 20
Chipper Jones: 18
Robinson Cano: 18
Bryce Harper: 17
Andy Murray: 16

CUMULATIVE STATISTICS: Jan. 7-July 5
Total time: 11737.25 minutes
Time (minus commercials): 8839.75

NBA: 2,549.5 minutes (28.8%)
MLB: 1,320.5 (14.9%)
SportsCenter staples: 1,248.75 (14.1%)
NFL: 1,143.5 (12.9%)
College basketball: 1035.5 (12.2%)
Other: 913.25 (10.3%)
NHL: 445 (5%)
College football: 183.75 (2.1%)

Notes

ESPN went international for Euro 2012: From last Friday through Sunday, ESPN spent 16 minutes previewing and analyzing the Euro 2012 final between Spain and Italy. It's a testament to how much soccer has grown over the years (and ESPN's nine-figure bid for exclusive domestic broadcasting rights) that the Worldwide Leader was willing to dedicate significant resources to cover an event with absolutely zero Americans playing.

The smaller sports dominated: Now that the NBA season is over, there are an extra 100+ minutes previously dedicated to basketball that must now go elsewhere. While some of that time padded baseball's total this week, a significant chunk went to the non-powerhouse sports in America: soccer, tennis, golf, and Olympic qualifiers all saw bumps. It's a nice change of pace, considering the NBA postgame coverage masquerading as a news show we got for a month.

If you have to watch SportsCenter, watch on Sunday After nearly six months of watching every single episode of the 11 p.m. SportsCenter, events and shows tend to blur together. Something that has always stood out to me, however, is the quality of the Sunday shows. For one, they're 90 minutes, so there's more time spent on covering highlights. But, thanks to that added time, they always have an awesome feature story (we highlighted the Kiev soccer team one they did last week), and an extended interview with a newsworthy athlete. This week, there was a great piece on Marko Cheseto, a long distance runner who lost both his legs after he walked out into an Alaskan blizzard, and a solid interview Larry Bird. It's worth it, even if it does mean having to put up with Stuart Scott.