Bristolmetrics: The Miami Heat Got 120 Minutes Of SportsCenter Coverage Last Week; Every Other Sport Shared 130

Illustration for article titled Bristolmetrics: The Miami Heat Got 120 Minutes Of SportsCenter Coverage Last Week; Every Other Sport Shared 130

When last we met, the Heat got more coverage than the Western Conference, Stephen A. Smith was inexplicably promoting a sci-fi blockbuster, and the NHL was discussed less than the Indy 500. What would this week bring?


Total time: 495.75 minutes
Time (minus commercials): 386

NBA: 220.5 minutes (57.1%) (last week: 44.2%)
MLB: 64.25 (16.7%) (last week: 19.7%)
SportsCenter staples (things like the "Top 10," "Encore," "What 2 Watch 4," etc.): 35.25 (9.1%) (last week: 13%)
NHL: 23.5 (6.1%) (last week: 6.6%)
Golf: 15.75 (4.1%) (last week: 2.7%)
Other sports: 11.5 (3%) (last week: 2.4%)
NFL: 8.75 (2.3%) (last week: 2.7%)
NASCAR: 6.5 (1.7%) (last week: 2.4%)
College football: 0 (0%) (last week: 0.6%)
College basketball: 0 (0%) (last week: 0%)

Miami Heat (NBA): 120 minutes (31.1%)
Los Angeles Kings (NHL): 19 (4.9%)
New York Mets (MLB): 18.5 (4.8%)
Jacksonville Jaguars (NFL): 2 (0.5%)

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 2-8:

LeBron James: 188
Dwyane Wade: 85
Rajon Rondo: 78
Kevin Durant: 77
Kevin Garnett: 66
Paul Pierce: 63
Russell Westbrook: 58
Tiger Woods: 53
Manu Ginobli: 52
Tony Parker: 45
Johan Santana: 42
Serge Ibaka: 39
James Harden: 36
Chris Bosh: 36
Doc Rivers: 33

Total time: 9859.25 minutes
Time (minus commercials): 7438.25

NBA: 2,102.5 minutes (28.3%)
NFL: 1,115 (15%)
SportsCenter staples: 1070.5 (14.4%)
College basketball: 1035 (13.9%)
MLB: 974.75 (13.1%)
Other: 589.5 (7.9%)
NHL: 410 (5.5%)
College football: 141 (1.9%)



All your Heat are belong to us: Keep in mind that the Heat only won a single game (game 6) in the week covered by our data. So to hear SportsCenter tell it, the Celtics weren't winning—the Heat were choking. That shouldn't be surprising. What was an all-time great seven-game series rich in storylines and legacies and possibilities was reduced to a weeklong narrative binge. It was ESPN at its worst, with postgame coverage that's best described as First Take after dark.


The guys on NBA Countdown flip-flopped on a nightly basis, going from the initial extreme of the Heat winning a short series, to raising concerns about whether LeBron has the clutch gene, to figuring out what the team could get in return for Chris Bosh once he was traded (they were adamant he would be gone if they lost in this series). ESPN clings to simple and digestible narratives because they don't think the average viewer is smart enough to comprehend that great players can miss, great teams can lose, and basketball can be a very random sort of game. Once an initial storyline doesn't work, another one is trotted out, even if it's just as shortsighted.

There were two solid hours of this over the last week. Outside of a few rational members of the Worldwide Leader (Tim Legler was a voice of reason), it was a 120-minute reminder that SportsCenter is a vehicle for ESPN promotion, not a news program.


There's nothing to talk about in the NFL: How'd the Jaguars become the most-mentioned football team? You know you've hit the offseason doldrums when a DUI arrest for rookie wide receiver Justin Blackmon is the week's top story. But for those wondering, NFL training camps open in late July, which means ESPN will soon dust off John Clayton and Adam Schefter in preparation for their month-long preview of practice sessions.

Hey, the Mets actually won something: What a week for the forgotten child of New York sports. Johan Santana threw the franchise's first-ever no-hitter, and landed the Amazins on the most-featured list for the first time this year. Could they do it again? They're still above .500 in June, just five games out of first in the NL East, and they got swept in a Subway Series, sneaking into some Yankee highlights.