Sports briefs for Feb. 3, 2014

Posted Feb. 03, 2014, at 6:59 p.m.

Despite rout, Super Bowl sets TV ratings record

A record 111.5 million people watched the Fox network telecast of the Super Bowl on Sunday, keeping the NFL championship game ensconced as TV’s perennial U.S. ratings champ despite the most lopsided game in 21 years.

The Seattle Seahawks trounced the Denver Broncos 43-8, giving Seattle its first NFL title.

The TV viewership was the largest for a single TV program in the United States, Fox said in a statement. It surpassed the 111.3 million who watched the game on Comcast Corp’s NBC network in 2012 between the New York Giants and New England Patriots, the network said.

Fox, a unit of 21st Century Fox, said viewership was 5 percent lower in the game’s closing minutes than it had been throughout the game, when the Seahawks’ victory was in hand.

The halftime show, which featured singer Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, was viewed by an even larger 115.3 million viewers, passing the record 114 million who watched Madonna perform two years ago.

The network charged an average of $4 million for a 30-second commercial, the most in the game’s history.

Jeter takes outdoor batting practice

New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter took on-field batting practice Monday for the first time since he was shut down last year because of injuries.

Jeter, 39, hit well to all fields during a five-round, 39-swing session at the Yankees’ minor league facility in Tampa, Fla., according to the Associated Press. He also took grounders at shortstop for the first time this year, fielding 34 balls.

“Everything is good so far, knock on wood,” Jeter said.

Jeter was previously hitting in an indoor batting cage and fielded grounders on infield grass the last two weeks.

The Yankees’ captain played just 17 games last year after breaking his left ankle in the 2012 American League Championship Series. He batted just .190 in only 63 at-bats with eight runs, one double, one home run and seven RBIs.

Seahawks favored to repeat as champs

The Seattle Seahawks are favored to repeat as Super Bowl champs, according to Bovada.com.

A day after the Seahawks routed the Denver Broncos 43-8 in Super Bowl XLVIII, the Seahawks were listed Monday as 9-2 favorites to win next year’s Super Bowl in Glendale, Ariz.

The San Francisco 49ers were next at 15-2, followed by the Broncos (8-1), New England Patriots (14-1) and Green Bay Packers (16-1).

The Jacksonville Jaguars were last at 100-1.

Syracuse basketball team unanimously takes over No. 1 spot

Syracuse took over the top spot in the Associated Press top 25, and is the first unanimous No. 1 in the poll since Duke was for six weeks in 2010-11.

The Orange (21-0) are No. 1 for the first time since having a six-week run in 2011-12. They received all 65 first-place votes Monday.

No. 2 Arizona (21-1) switched places with Syracuse after eight weeks on top. The Wildcats lost at California on Saturday.

No. 3 Florida (17-2), No. 4 Wichita State (21-0) and No. 5 San Diego State (18-1) stayed in their spots in the top five. The Shockers are the only other unbeaten Division I team.

Villanova, Cincinnati, Kansas, Michigan State and Michigan rounded out the top 10.

US basketball team has easy World Cup draw

BARCELONA — Defending champions the United States have been given a comfortable group after the basketball World Cup draw on Monday.

They are the clear favourites to retain the gold medal they won in Turkey four years ago at the tournament which will be held from the Aug. 30 to Sept.14 in Spain.

The U.S., who also won gold at the 2012 Olympics, face the Dominican Republic, Turkey, Finland, New Zealand and the Ukraine in Group C and should have a simple passage into the next round.

 

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