Rams fans head into the season with some of the highest hopes they’ve had for the team in years, but there isn’t much national interest in their kickoff contest, at least from a television perspective.
Fox is televising six games regionally on Sunday and the Rams contest, at home against Arizona, is going to the smallest audience of any of those telecasts. Just six percent of the nation is to receive the game, which is set to start at 3:25 p.m. The only major markets set to get it are Phoenix and St. Louis, which met the ticket-sales quota to avoid a TV blackout. It will air on KTVI (Channel 2).
Rams-Cardinals is vastly trumped by the Green Bay-San Francisco contest that is at the same time and is being shown in 94 percent of the country, with Fox’s lead NFL broadcast team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman calling that one.
But the Rams aren’t at the bottom of the overall NFL television pile. The other Missouri team, the Kansas City Chiefs, are playing Jacksonville and CBS is sending that to just five percent of the nation.
Veteran broadcaster Dick Stockton has the Rams-Cardinals play-by-play assignment and will work with analyst Ronde Barber, who makes his Fox debut.
Barber recently retired from the NFL after a Hall of Fame-caliber 16-season career as a defensive back with Tampa Bay. Kris Budden will serve as the sideline reporter.
In the booths • Broadcast assignments for telecasts on Saturday of the major area college football teams:
Cincinnati at Illinois, 11 a.m., ESPN2 • Bob Wischusen (play-by-play), Rod Gilmore (analysis), Quint Kessenich (reporter).
Toledo at Missouri, 2:30 p.m., ESPNU • Anish Shroff (play-by-play), Kelly Stouffer (analysis).