Archive for March, 2005
After going to Washington, DC for a rally to support Taiwan’s democracy and running into a boatload of work, I finally get back to the blog. My apologies. I hope it won’t get too hairy again so I can keep the blog updated more consistently. So let’s get to some breaking news.
The Baltimore Orioles finally came to an agreement with Major League Baseball over the territorial rights with the Washington Nationals. Up until this week, the Nationals did not have an over the air TV deal. It signed a deal just this week to broadcast 76 games with two stations owned by Fox, WTTG and WDCA. Now, Orioles owner Peter Angelos finally signed a deal with MLB that would bring the cable and satellite rights into a channel that will be owned by the O’s. Why this had to take this long delaying the Nationals airing on TV is beyond me. This could have been settled earlier, but this is a case of money and ego on the part of Angelos. The Washington Post’s Thomas Heath has the story and you’ll either have to register to read it or go to bugmenot.com.
Out of Boston, John Molori has some good news/bad news for certain media entities in and around the Chowd City.
Michael Hiestand who will most likely take over the USA Today media column full time when Rudy Martzke retires April 15, has his weekly Sports Business column today. Hiestand writes about MLB’s attempts to use new media including cell phones to air their games.
With the NCAA Men’s Final Four taking place this weekend, CBS has been in the midst of a renaissance of college basketball. The ratings through the Elite Eight have been nothing short of a record and the Eye Network has been running all the way to the bank. Richard Sandomir of the New York Times has the story.
From St. Louis, the site of this year’s Final Four, Dan Caesar of the Post-Dispatch writes about CBS’ ratings bonanza, plus about two broadcasters who will be involved in the international feed and Westwood One’s radio call who have St. Louis ties.
Caesar has another story, this one focuses on Jim Nantz who will call the Final Four on CBS.
Jerry Lindquist of the Richmond Times-Dispatch (why is Dispatch in the names of so many newspapers?) also writes about the NCAA Tournament, but his tone is more whiny than Caesar’s.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Bob Smizik also has his take on CBS’ coverage of the NCAA Tournament and he has some praise for Dick Enberg, Gus Johnson and the ESPN analysts who were “loaned” to CBS. However, he doesn’t like Verne Lundquist and Bill Raftery. That’s ok, try not to look at Smizik’s picture without retching.
This week, NBC Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol returned to work, four months after the tragic plane accident that claimed the life of his son, Teddy.
ESPN/ABC Sports Emperor George Bodenheimer spoke at the University of Pennsylvannia yesterday as part of a Wharton Sports Business Initiative and an Entertainment and Sports Marketing class. The speech was covered by the Daily Pennsylvannian, the student newspaper of UPenn.
From north of the border, the Canadian Media Guild has decided to look into the unceremonious firing of CBC play-by-play announcer Chris Cuthbert. There is talk about Cuthbert suing the CBC. William Houston of the Toronto Globe and Mail has the story.
And the piling on CBC continues. Bill Lankhof of the Toronto Sun writes that the luster is off the CBC Sports Department. The CBC lost the bid to broadcast the 2010 Olympics which will be in Vancouver. There is the Cuthbert story still hanging over the CBC and there’s even talk that the venerable “Hockey Night in Canada” which has been a CBC staple since the 1950′s when it was on radio could be going to another network when the network’s contract with the NHL expires in 2007. This is a good article and this is similar to what happened to CBS in the early 1990′s when it lost the NBA, the NFL and barely kept the NCAA Tournament, treading water until it got the NFL back in 1998.
From the world TV news, Nightline anchor Ted Koppel has announced he’s leaving ABC. Koppell has been with ABC since 1963. He’s covered the Vietnam War, the State Department, several political conventions and for the last 25 years, the anchor of one of the best news programs on TV. Over the past few years, the beancounters of Disney/ABC have been talking about scrapping Nightline. It would be a horrible mistake to do so, but Michael Eisner, CEO of Disney has never been a fan of the program.
This has nothing to do with Sports Media, but actually something to do with Sports Business. Here’s a story about Olympic swimmer Amanda Beard trying to expand her horizons and business enterprises. This is nothing but a cheap way for me to get another hot chick into the links. And yes, here’s the link to her own website. Enjoy, boys.
I think I’ve overcompensated for being away from the site for a week. I’ll be back tomorrow the regular Friday media columns.
Today begins the Tournament Players Championship, the so-called 5th Major Tournament on the PGA Tour. The signature hole at Sawgrass is the 17 hole, a par 3 island green where many a golfer has come to die. Well, NBC and ESPN are covering the tournament and starting today, there will be a cable cam that will follow the flight of the ball from the tee to the green and even into the water. Michael Hiestand who always has some colorful comments in his columns has the story in this morning’s USA Today.
Johnny Miller will be in the 18th tower for NBC’s coverage with Dan Hicks. Miller is one of the best analysts on television. He’s blunt and he doesn’t hold back. Of course, his comments have alienated many golfers who aren’t used to hearing those type of comments, but Miller doesn’t apologize for them. David Martindale of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram has five questions for Miller.
Jerry Lindquist of the Richmond Times-Dispatch has a news and notes column. He mostly writes about the TPC, but he also gives his opinion on the NCAA Tournament as well.
That’s it thus far. More updates when they come available.
Just a couple of links for this afternoon.
Dusty Saunders of the Rocky Mountain News in Denver writes about Monday Night Football possibly moving to ESPN. He wrongly asserts that Sunday Night Football would move to TNT because the NFL wants one of its main primetime packages to be over the air which is why the CBS/Fox combo for Sunday Night is gaining credence.
Over in Chicago, the Jay Mariotti show on WSCR (670 The Score) is being tweaked. Co-host Jonathan Hood is out and Chicago Sun-Times reporter Mike Mulligan is being tabbed to replace him. Teddy Greenstein has the details on this story and also the bidding on the Chicago White Sox radio rights between WSCR and WMVP. So far, no new word on who will broadcast the games. The current contract expires after this season.
On this Wednesday, one rumor coming out of the NFL meetings in Maui is the possibility of ESPN obtaining the Monday Night Football package and CBS/Fox sharing the Sunday night NFL package. This has been gaining momentum with ABC refusing to pay more than the $550 million that it is currently paying for MNF. In fact, ABC is seeking a price cut, something will be impossible. The NFL is looking at a pricetag of close to $900 million for Monday Night Football. Cable appears to be the entity that can afford to pay that high price. The NFL is a loss leader for both Fox and ABC. CBS claims that it is making a profit thanks to the advertising money made through its Owned and Operated stations in Boston, New York, Miami, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Baltimore, but industry sources feel that is suspect.
In any event, the NFL is looking to give CBS the first half of the Sunday night season with Fox taking the bottom half after its coverage of the baseball postseason is over. This makes total sense as the league wants to reward both CBS and Fox for renewing their Sunday afternoon packages early and being loyal network partners. USA Today has the story.
Rudy Martzke has his regular Wednesday media column in USA Today and he has some news and notes, but the main gist of the story regards Jim Nantz. He’s working his 20th consecutive Final Four. You can tell who Martzke likes and dislikes. He has manlove for Bob Costas, Al Michaels, Marv Albert and Nantz. Martzke hates sideline reporters Jill Arrington and Lisa Guerrero. If you’re an up and comer, a line of approval of Martzke will go a long way with industry insiders. However, if you’re already established, his praise could go overboard. Martzke has done this media column since USA Today began in 1983 and his poison pen has been targeted at Joe Garagiola, Brent Musburger, Dennis Miller, Pat O’Brien and others. One has to take his attempts to play quotes of network executives off one another with a grain of salt.
ESPN’s original drama, “Tilt” has received better ratings than the NHL, but lower than its first original drama, “Playmakers”. Even though “Tilt” did decently, Ron Rapoport of the Chicago Sun-Times reports ESPN is considering canceling the show. The big surprise is not the fact that “Tilt” did better than the NHL, but the fact that ESPN is thinking about canceling the show. It got enough hype and there were people who did watch it, but apparently not enough for the Worldwide Leader’s tastes.
For those of you who have ESPNU on DirecTV or Adelphia Cable, the new network has signed an agreement with the NCAA to air various championships over the next eight years. This is a big thing for ESPNU which needs inventory. Here’s the press release.
In Charlotte, NC, viewers will have the opportunity to watch both Duke and North Carolina State in the NCAA Tournament at the same time on Friday. CBS has made arrangements to air both games. Similar arrangements have been made in Raleigh where NC State is located. The Charlotte Observer has more. And CBS Sports has its own release.
One last word regarding CBS’ coverage of the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament comes from Newsday’s Steve Zipay. He on the whole has praise for the network, but also has some criticism for Gus Johnson.
That’s it for now.
The weekend ratings for the sports weekend have been released and CBS is the big winner as the NCAA Tournament won big. In fact, the first four days have reached record heights for the Tiffany Network. USA Today has the review of the weekend.
CBS has reason to crow and its put out a press release to celebrate its four day record.
NESN, the regional sports network owned by the Red Sox and Bruins, along with the YES Network, owned and operated by the New York Yankees, have come together on a joint venture for original programming. Both have produced and subsequently airing a poker match between teams from Boston and New York (you didn’t think they would get Albuquerque and Chicago, did you?). Bill Griffith of the Boston Globe has the skinny on the production.
Griffith also writes about the New England Patriots getting the NFL Season Opener on Thursday night, September 8 against the Oakland Raiders. In that same story, Globe football writer gets a quote from Raiders General Partner Al Davis who feels he’s getting screwed by the NFL yet again.
Here’s the official statement from the NFL on which games will be nationally televised on Opening Weekend.
If you’re starved for football during the offseason, the NFL Network will carry 20 NFL Europe games.
Back to the Boston theme for a bit, David Scott wonders why WEEI talk show host Ted Sarandis decided to speculate on the stroke that felled Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi even though he really didn’t have any solid information. Callers got angry at Ted and it took his guest host to help calm things down. It’s a very good read.
Over to the New York Times, Richard Sandomir profiles the low-rated reality show, “The Contender” produced by Mark Burnett of “Survivor” fame. NBC has been treading water with this show ever since it first aired last week.
SI.com’s Richard Deitsch was on hand for the Opening Day of the NCAA Tournament at CBS and he chronicled his day and also shook hands with Viacom co-President Leslie Moonves. What joy.
Those are the links for now. If there are any updates including statements from NFL Commish Paul Tagliabue regarding the Monday Night Football situation, I’ll be sure to pass them along.
Asides from the NCAA Tournament, the sports viewing weekend consisted of PGA Tour golf at Bayhill where Tiger Woods fell to a tie for 23rd with Ernie Els, and NASCAR. ESPN also started its coverage of the NCAA Women’s Tournament.
Here are a few links as the media columns around the country are a bit sparse.
From USA Today, Jarrett Bell has a story on the NFL Meetings in Maui (nice location for those of us who have been stuck in the Winter from Hell in the Northeast). It appears the league is no closer to a primetime contract with ABC/ESPN than before. And it appears the contract talks have stalled. ABC has mounted heavy losses from the Monday Night Football package while ESPN has made a nice profit considering it can charge cable companies to carry its product and that is the major difference between the over-the-air networks and cable. Fox has lost money on its NFC package while CBS said it might a slight profit for the AFC package. Both ABC and ESPN are in the midst of exclusive negotiating periods with the NFL, but the league would like to wrap up the negotiations with Disney soon. However, ABC wants to renew, but at a lower cost. The NFL is looking at a $900 million/year pricetage for Monday Night Fooball, up from the current $550 million.
Also from USA Today, Rudy Martzke says it was a winning weekend for CBS Sports with the NCAA Tournament. He gives his thumbs up for the scrapping of sideline reporters for the first and second rounds.
David Barron of the Houston Chronicle writes about Mark Vandermeer, the voice of the Houston Texans, calling first and second round games during the Tournament for Westwood One. He did a solid job as you can read from my blog below.
From the viewpoint of Jerry Lindquist of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the absence of sideline reporters during the NCAA Tournament was a welcome sight. However, I don’t agree with his opinion about CBS switching from games too much. That is the appeal of the tournament, being able to see the key moments as they happen.
That’s it for today. Tomorrow, more media columns will be available as Tuesday is the traditional day for columns in the Boston Globe, New York Times and other papers.
After watching and listening to a lot of college basketball since Thursday, I must say that viewers got to see great games and high quality of play with a few exceptions here and there. But overall, CBS is pretty happy over the three day ratings from Thursday to Saturday. And after NBC got rare wins for Thursday and Friday nights due to competition from the NCAA Tournament, CBS won the Saturday night ratings thanks to the West Virginia-Wake Forest double overtime thriller.
ESPN.com promised a continuous blog from the former Boston Sports Guy, Bill Simmons, but it was very disappointing and there were times when posting was sparse. The guy who did a fantastic job blogging during the tournament was Dave Scott, the man from Hull, MA who kept up his posts despite being asked to leave a friend’s house after the WVA-Wake game. Funny stuff. He blogged from Thursday-Saturday and kept up his posts while Bill Simmons gave a really piss-poor effort. Scott even acknowledges Simmons’ poor posting schedule.
Now, to my review of CBS’ coverage. I have to say on the whole, the network does have this down pat. It only took them about 13 years to get this right. CBS got the entire tournament in 1991 and after several starts and stops, it seems to have most things down, but not everything. So after watching and listening to the tournament, here are my bests and worsts of the TV and Radio coverage.
2. Ian Eagle (Did an excellent job on the Wake-West Virginia game)
3. Verne Lundquist (Is an old pro and does his job very well)
4. Kevin Harlan (Emotes a bit much, but he’s very good)
5. Jim Nantz (Is slipping, but he spent most of his time in the past few months on the NFL)
2. Craig Bolerjack (Too many cliches and also a very pedestrian call on the Bucknell upset of Kansas)
3. Dick Enberg (A once great announcer shows the way not to end a career)
2. Jay Bilas (Ditto as Elmore)
3. Jim Spanarkel (Started his excellent work on the C-USA Final and kept it up during the Tournament)
4. Bill Raftery (Love his “MAN TO MAN!”)
5. Mike Gminski (Has a good chemistry with Brando having worked with him on FSN during ACC games, but has to carry him at times)
6. Bob Wenzel (pointed out Wayne Simien’s shot looked a lot like Christian Laettner’s shot in 1991, but with a different result)
7. Don Bonner (Did well)
Best move #1: No sideline reporters this year and more time to halftime switches.
Best move #2: Games on CSTV.com for $19.99
Best way to watch the Tournament: Having Mega March Madness on DirecTV then having games on CSTV and checking on the scores through ESPN.com’s Real Time Scoreboard. This is the best of all worlds for Tournament geeks.
Best Studio Wrap-up show: ESPN’s College Gameday Scoreboard
Worst Studio Wrap-up show (tie): CSTV and ESPNU. Mike Hall is the Anti-Christ. The guys on CSTV are horrible.
Best Host: Greg Gumbel
Best Studio Analyst: Clark Kellogg
Worst Studio Analyst: Seth Davis
Best and Worst of Westwood One Radio Coverage:
2. Bob Papa (Is a very good all-around play-by-play man)
3. Dave Sims (Great awareness of where the ball is)
4. Ted Robinson (Has done this on TV so he knows the emotion of the tournament)
5. Chuck Cooperstein (A radio pro from Dallas)
6. Brad Shamm (Ditto)
2. Barry Tompkins
Both did TV play-by-play on radio. Guys, that doesn’t work when we can’t see something and you say, “Look at that play.”
2. Glen Consor (He did talk over Ted Robinson a bit)
3. Kevin Greavey (Excellent radio analyst)
4. Larry Conley (Like Robinson, he’s done the tournament on TV going back to the early days on ESPN and CBS)
5. Dave Gavitt (Had to carry Castleberry when he disappeared in stretches)
Best move: John Tautges as host over the pun-happy Tommy Tighe who was host during the regular season
Worst move: Not enough switches at halftime and during games.
Great basketball weekend. Hopefully, next weekend will be even better.
I would love to hear your comments and who you would suggest to call tournament games on TV or radio whether it be your favorite local or national announcer.
Monday links tomorrow.
Rudy Martzke profiles Greg Gumbel who will work long days this weekend in the CBS Studio during the NCAA Tournament. He along with analysts Clark Kellogg and SI’s Seth Davis are all burning the midnight oil throughout the weekend, but Gumbel says it’s worth it. He does a very good job. Gumbel and Kellogg have a very good chemistry, but since Davis was hired last season, it has cut down on the time Kellogg has in responding to Gumbel’s questions. I’m not a fan of Davis’ and I wonder what it would take for him to leave the CBS Studio.
Over to the Boston Globe, Bill Griffith talks about the Hockey East tournament which culimates this weekend at the Fleet Center. Also for HD viewers, Comcast and UPN38 of Boston are trying to come to an agreement to bring the Red Sox home opener which will be against the Yankees in HD.
In Chicago, Herb Arkush is out of the broadcast booth for the Bears. Arkush has been known for some malapropisms and come under criticism from fans for not being critical of the team. Ed Sherman has more. It’s not known if flagship station WBBM will replace Arkush with another analyst or leave listeners with a two man booth of Jeff Joniak and Tom Thayer.
The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick is perpetually in a bad mood and he never has anything nice to say about anyone. This is especially true today. He spreads the hate to college basketball and the baseball players who testified in front of Congress yesterday.
Mike Forde has a couple of stories in today’s Post. He has five questions for AARP spokesman Billy Packer. Forde has has a brief feature on ESPN’s Jay Bilas doing games for CBS this year during the NCAA Tournament.
For fans of wrestling (and we all know it’s fake), the WWE and Spike TV have reached an impasse in their contract talks. Programs like “Raw” and others may be moving to another outlet.
Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News watched the Steroids Hearings yesterday was not impressed.
Richard Sandomir of the New York Times complains about C-Span’s production values during yesterday hearings. To be honest, C-Span should not be the issue here, it should be the embarrassing performances by Mark McGwire and several Congressmen who appeared uninformed and in some cases, asskissers.
Tim Goodman of the San Francisco Chronicle does have some legitimate criticism of ESPN for staying with coverage of the Steroids Hearings.
Acording to Sports Business Daily, “CBS earns 4.8/10 overnight Nielsen for opening day of NCAA men’s basketball tourney, down 5.9% from a 5.1/10 last year.”
David Barron of the Houston Chronicle says there are many ways to enjoy the NCAA Tournament in other ways than the traditional over the air TV set.
Jay Posner of the San Diego Union-Tribune has a story about CBS not wanting too many upsets for the Tournament.
Larry Stewart of the LA Times has a story on the possibilities for the NFL in regards to the primetime packages on Sunday and Monday nights. There’s a big question whether ABC wants to keep MNF. Also, will ESPN take MNF and who will be the rightsholder for Sunday night? The NFL will hold its annual meetings in Maui and may decide the fate of Disney then.
Lots of links. Back to the NCAA Tournament for me.
I’ll have reviews of CBS’ weekend coverage.
Today is the beginning of the NCAA Tournament. Michael Hiestand of USA Today has his weekly Sports Business column. He talks about watching the tournament online through CSTV.com. You can still buy it if you do it before 12 p.m. ET.
Bob Clark of the Eugene Register-Guard in Oregon suggests to the Pac-10 Conference that it would get better exposure by going to ESPN. As many of you know, the Pac-10′s main cable contract is with FSN and you cannot see the games if your local version of FSN has a conflict with an NBA or local college basketball game, you’re not going to see Washington vs. Arizona. It’s a disservice to hardcore fans.
Steve Zipay of New York Newsday has more on CBS’ coverage of the NCAA Tournament including “renting” Jay Bilas and Len Elmore from ESPN.
Columnist Dusty Saunders of the Rocky Mountain News in Denver says ESPN will be all over the Congressional Steroids Hearings in Washington today.
Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune writes about Stephen Bardo, the analyst for the Fighting Illini basketball games on radio. He also files reports for WBBM-TV in Chicago as well as writing a diary for two newspapers.
CBS Sports has announced its NFL Preseason Schedule. It’s just two games, but for those of you who like to plan ahead, here’s the Press Release.
More updates as they become available.
First, Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune attended a taping of a roundtable discussion at Northwestern University regarding whether college athletes should be paid. It got rather testy, but you won’t see that when the discussion airs on ESPNU tonight at 8. This issue is a hot debate among some college athletes and Greenstein gives a nice synopsis. It’s good reading.
Rudy Martzke of USA Today gets together with his fellow senior citizen, Billy Packer of CBS. They discuss the popularity of the NCAA Tournament. Packer contends that more people watch the tournament during the three week period in March/April than NASCAR, but the numbers don’t bear that out. Granted, there’s just one race a week while there are a ton of games on TV, but as it stands, the better ratings are with NASCAR and this comes from an avowed college basketball fan who doesn’t get what the appeal is of taking four lefts around a track.
If you’re going to watch the tournament, here are the broadcast teams as assigned by CBS.
It is just 17 days until baseball’s Opening Day and the Washington Nationals still do not have a television contract. Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos is proposing to televise Nats (this will be an interesting nickname) games on a proposed Regional Sports Network that he and the O’s would own and operate. But MLB opposes this idea because it does not want the broadcast rights to a team owned by a rival team. So the negotiations between Angelos and MLB continue. Thomas Heath of the Washington Post gives a better explanation of the story. Comcast Sports Net Mid-Atlantic currently owns the Orioles rights and would like to broadcast the Nationals, but until this issue is settled, the Nationals remain off TV.
Cablevision of New York is being sued by the New York Jets over a proposed stadium on the west side of New York City. Cablevision is opposed to the stadium and is trying to bid for the land to prevent the Jets from building there. The Jets want to build there so it can its own identity (nice idea after playing some 25 years in Giants Stadium). The NFL says a 2010 Super Bowl will be awarded to New York if the stadium comes to fruition. The Jets contend Cablevision is an illegal monopoly. This could get quite ugly between the Jets and Cablevision. Here’s the link to the story on ESPN.com.
Yesterday, I gave you the link to Bonnie Bernstein’s website. Well, ESPN sideline reporter Jill Arrington has a site of her own. No luck in finding one for the lovely Erin Andrews of ESPN.
That’s it for today.
A couple of more links for you. Rudy Martzke of USA Today reviews the ratings of the weekend. NASCAR on Fox ruled the airwaves although CBS’ NCAA Selection Show came in a close second.
For Boston sports fans, Boston Sports Media Watch put together its list of Best Media Personalities for 2005. This is good reading. Then it allows readers to vote themselves. If you’re interested in seeing the results, you can go here.
That’s it until tomorrow.
Welcome to the Ides of March. As we now turn our eyes to Spring, the media columns across the country have a smattering of opinions and news.
Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News is all over the place. He really doesn’t have a focus on his column. He writes about the NCAA Tournament then moves to steroids and goes back again. Try to read this without throwing your coffee mug at the screen.
One of my favorite broadcast teams of all time was Dick Enberg, Al Maguire and Billy Packer. They loved college basketball and they made their partnership work. When Packer left for CBS, Enberg and Maguire remained as entertaining as any team. Dick and Al reunited at CBS and the network even brought Enberg, Maguire and Packer back for one game in 2000. Maguire died in early 2001 and Enberg has written a one man play as a tribute to the old Marquette coach. It’s actually a great story and Richard Sandomir of the New York Times. You will have to register to read it or go to bugmenot to bypass giving your personal info to the Times.
Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune writes about a new book about the 2004 Chicago Cubs season.
CBS Sports is crowing about increased ratings for the past weekend of college basketball coverage and the Selection Show.
And since you’ll be seeing her quite a bit over the next three weeks, I give you the official website of the lovely Bonnie Bernstein for no other reason because I can. And as I really get silly, here’s a photo gallery from a fansite.
The sports radio stations in
The NCAA Men’s Tournament starts tonight as the play-in game airs on ESPN.
This weekend was amazing for college basketball fans. Switching back and forth between CBS and ESPN, a fan had the chance to see plenty of emotion and lots of speculation over which school was in the NCAA Tournament, which school was out, who would sit on the #1 line and which school was going where.
Let’s start the weekend review on Saturday.
11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Conference
CBS got the opportunity to air the coronation of
ESPN had a blowout between
1:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. The Big Ten Semifinals (CBS)/ACC Semifinals (ESPN)
CBS had the storyline of
Over on ESPN, the more compelling game was Georgia Tech vs.
CBS had the better game between
In the second ACC semi, Duke pulled ahead of NC State late in the second half and there wasn’t much the Wolfpack could do.
Both networks kept the audience updated on other games although I give the edge to Rece Davis and ESPN. They just do a better job on score updates.
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Pac 10 Championship (CBS)/
While the game between
I don’t know why ESPN continues to put Mike Jarvis on games, but he did not add much on the A-10 Final. ESPN should have allowed Bob Carpenter to do the game by himself.
8:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Big East Championship (ESPN)/MAC Championship (ESPN2)
The mid-majors get short changed on ESPN, but with new network ESPNU now in existence, I would hope we get to see more of
10:00 p.m. –
Yes, I stayed up to watch this game.
– 2:00 a.m. The Big West Championship (ESPN)
I had to go to bed sometime. I missed the upset of Pacific.
Now for Sunday:
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. College Gameday (ESPN)/Road to the Final Four (CBS)
I have to give props to Jay Bilas of ESPN for the lobbying for
Over to the Tiffany Network, Greg Gumbel and Clark Kellogg have a great chemistry. They’ve shown it since they were first teamed in 1998 so they’ve had some time to perfect their team. However, Sports Illustrated’s Seth Davis must have pictures on somebody. Why this man is on television is unbeknownst to me. He’s lackluster and he harps on silly issues. He wouldn’t stop talking about why
Let’s jump to the Selection Shows.
6:00 p.m. – 7:00 The Selection Show (CBS)
Since CBS enforced its exclusivity for the men’s tournament, ESPN does its show an hour later so there was no need for flip back and forth for three hours. CBS has this down pat having the tournament since 1982. Jim Nantz and Billy Packer had increased roles this year while the interviews with coaches were scrapped. That ended up to be a good move, not the fact the viewer got to see more of Billy Packer, but it allowed for more reaction shots of schools that were selected for the tournament.
For some reason, Nantz and Packer controlled the interview with Selection Committee Chairman Bob Bowlsby. Between Packer and Davis, I would rather see Packer as the lesser of two evils so that wasn’t too much of a bad thing. I know that Nantz and Packer had just completed calling the Big Ten Final and could not leave the
And we saw the unveiling of a new
The show moved well and the coaches’ interviews were not missed.
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. ESPNU Bracketology
When ESPN decides to do something in a big way, it will spend the money and give the viewer excellent production values. The College Gameday crew was joined by Dick Vitale on the NFL Countdown set. This allowed for a nice look. We also had the privilege to see Rece Davis be joined by Rick Majerus and Steve Lavin. The one drawback was having Mike Hall and Doug Gottlieb on the ESPNU set in
The coaches’ interviews were reserved for this show and since there were two hours to fill, they were not a burden.
There was a little conflict when Gottlieb criticized the choice of
Majerus had decent one liners, but who could have thought that the funniest moment of the show would involve Texas Tech coach Bob Knight?
When it came for his interview, Knight had plenty of sponsors on his sweater and he was sitting in front of a DirecTV backdrop. Digger Phelps took the opportunity to give a little “dig” to Knight for the sponsors noting that Knight looked like a NASCAR driver. Knight responded by saying ESPN did a great job for college basketball and then plugged DirecTV’s March Mega Madness NCAA Tournament package (for which he is the spokesman this year). It was a very funny moment and one that had Fowler, Vitale, Digger and Bilas in tears.
It was a tremendous weekend for college basketball, continuing the momentum of the past couple of weeks. As Greg Gumbel said at the end of the Selection Show, it’s time for the Madness to begin.
Many apologies to the regular readers to this site. I’ve been busy with work and other personal issues, but I’m back with links and a few other things. First, Rudy Martzke of USA Today buries the lead of his story; that it appears that ABC will no longer carry Monday Night Football after this season and give the games to ESPN. Martzke spends the first part of his story about giving more time to Jim Nantz and Billy Packer on this Sunday’s NCAA Selection Show. Who cares? I just care about when and where the teams will play, not who talks more. Packer is so old that his teeth are ready to fall out and his opinions are quite antiquated. It’s time for CBS to put Packer out to pasture and have Clark Kellogg or Jay Bilas as the lead analyst. Speaking of being put out to pasture, Martzke should be retired. His articles are almost unreadable these days.
Bill Griffith of the Boston Globe has some media notes but he mostly focuses on Dave Jageler who leaves WWZN, 1510 The Zone to join the Pawtucket Red Sox radio broadcasting team. “Jags”, as he is affectionately known, had to suffer as the co-host of the midday show with Eddie Andelman. I can write 30 paragraphs on how bad Andelman is as a host, but they wouldn’t do him justice. I’m glad for Dave and he will do a good job with the Pawsox.
Over to New Hampshire where Jim Baker has his take on Jageler’s departure plus he sorts out the college basketball viewing this weekend.
Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune has a feature on the new TV voice of the Chicago Cubs, Len Kasper who replaces Chip Carey. In fact, there will be a new analyst on WGN, former Cubs catcher Bob Brenly replaces Steve Stone.
Andrew Marchand of the New York Post has multiple stories once again this week. His first story is about Dave Justice leaving ESPN and joining the YES Network.
Marchand has five questions for CBS announcer Don Criqui.
Crosstown from the Post, Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News gives the needle to the media for coverage on the steroids issue. This story was actually boring reading to me, but I can let you be the judge.
Larry Stewart of the LA Times writes about FSN’s decision to drop Tom Arnold as host of “The Best Damn Sports Show Period” and have Chris Rose return with a new cast of characters. When the show began, Rose was the host and there was a rotation of three co-hosts of which Tom Arnold was one. When FSN decided to make Arnold the main host with John Salley as his sidekick, the show really went downhill. Tom Arnold as the main host of anything is a bad idea. Arnold was given a one year contract to give a presence at big sporting events for BDSSP. But you won’t see him on the main set. A little of Arnold goes a long way.
In Houston, David Barron of the Chronicle talks with CBS’ Jim Nantz about the NCAA Tournament.
We continue our media column trip around the country and we go to the Miami Herald where Barry Jackson writes about the changing landscape for Florida’s regional sports networks. It appears that Sun Sports and FSN Florida will interchange programming as the two become corporate partners.
That’s it for today. There will be no afternoon update unless something major breaks.
I’ll have a review of the NCAA Tournament Selection Shows on CBS and ESPN late Sunday night and links to the Sunday media columns as they warrant. Have a good weekend.
For the afternoon update, we have another take on the New York Time Warner-Cablevision feud. This comes from Steve Zipay of New York Newsday.
Toronto Blue Jays announcer Tom Cheek returns to the radio broadcast booth this spring. Cheek suffered from cancer last year and missed his first games since becoming their play-by-play man in 1977, the team’s inception. Cheek had to miss his first game last year to attend his father’s funeral, then was diagnosed with cancer ten days later. Cheek will not do a full schedule of games. CBC Online has the story.
This story originally appeared in the Philadelphia Daily News, but was picked up by the San Jose Mercury News. Since you have to register for the Philly site and you don’t at the Mercury News, I figured I would give you the link for the San Jose’s site. This is an article regarding a potential Comcast challenge to ESPN. Could be interesting if Comcast decides to launch an all-sports channel. There’s speculation over NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue’s statements back in February over the league’s potential partnership with a new sports network. Some originally thought that meant Fox, but it could also mean Comcast. We will have to wait and see.
Decisions by Time Warner Cable in New York lead the blog today.
In New York City, fans of the Knicks and Mets will not be able to see their games for the time being as Time Warner Cable removed both Fox Sports Net and MSG Network from its lineup. In their place, CSTV and NBA TV, but they hardly replace the local programming both channels provided. The whole dispute comes down to money. Time Warner says parent company of FSN and MSG, Cablevision, is demanding too much money. Cablevision says the money is fair. Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News has the overall story.
The fans are the ones who get screwed in all of this. Unless the two sides can come to an agreement, Knicks fans will not be able to see tonight’s game and the first of five Mets exhibition games will be blacked this week. In his media column, Raissman says the shoe is now on the other foot for Cablevision and CEO James Dolan. Yankees fans can remember the dispute between the YES Network and Dolan before the two sides came to an agreement just before the regular season two years ago. Time Warner has some leverage knowing that it has a Mets channel coming next season so it can afford to wait.
Fans in Buffalo already know this, but if you have the Sports Pack on DirecTV and you flip to channel 626, Empire Sports Network, you’ll see a slide that states the channel no longer exists. Empire went dark at midnight Monday. One of the factors was the NHL lockout and another problem was the channel being dropped by Time Warner (there’s that name again). MSG Network will take over the contract to air Buffalo Sabres games when the lockout is resolved. A story from Buffalo Business First tells of the decision by parent company Adelphia to pull the plug on Empire. The NFL Network has replaced Empire on Time Warner Cable in upstate New York.
Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune has a good story on the various coaches TV shows from across the country. Greenstein notes that coaches very rarely field difficult questions from their hosts. These shows are hardly groundbreaking as the questions are usually softballs and the hosts are usually the play-by-play announcers for the team.
Richard Sandomir of the New York Times reviews the Ford Championship at Doral on NBC. Sandomir actually timed the amount of airtime dedicated to both Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. He found that Woods was on more than Mickelson, but that is to be expected. Sandomir also notes that NBC is in a position to renew its contract with the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes after this year.
And according to the overnight ratings, “The Contender”, NBC’s reality show about 16 boxers finished last in its timeslot last night. The show was cursed from the beginning as one of its cast, committed suicide last month.
More news, if warranted, later today.
This morning, I was remiss in mentioning the passing of legendary Baltimore broadcaster Chuck Thompson. He died yesterday at the age of 83. Thompson was the voice of the Baltimore Orioles and the Baltimore Colts. He did both of them well. Chuck was recognized by the Baseball Hall of Fame and was inducted into the Broadcaster’s Wing in 1993. I remember listening to Chuck and Bill O’Donnell on WBAL in the 1970′s from my Rhode Island home and they were such a great broadcasting team. Thompson retired in 1987 and returned to the broadcast booth on a limited basis three years later. His final retirement was in 2000 as he was suffering from macular degeneration which took his eyesight. The man was beloved in Baltimore and there is a special section remembering Thompson’s accomplishments at the Baltimore Sun’s website. You may have to register to read the very kind articles or go to bugmenot.com. By reading the articles, you get a sense of how the Baltimore community embraced Thompson and how he loved Baltimore back.
He had his own catchphrases, “Ain’t the Beer Cold?” and “Go to War, Miss Agnes!” both of which were legendary to Orioles and Colts fans.
The Washington Post also has a story on Thompson’s passing
Truly sad to think that some of the great old-time broadcasters like Jack Buck, Harry Carey, Ned Martin, Ken Coleman and Thompson are no longer with us. Ernie Harwell and Curt Gowdy are retired and one has to wonder how long Vin Scully and Milo Hamilton will continue. They are the link to baseball’s and football’s past.
May you rest in peace, Chuck.
Great TV sports viewing weekend for fans of college basketball and golf. Sunday was Upset Sunday as #1 Illinois fell from the unbeaten ranks, #3 Kentucky lost to Florida, Kansas lost a potential #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament by losing to Missouri and Duke lost a thriller to North Carolina. And CBS had each and every one of the games. Each game went down to the wire and Billy Packer was yelling how college basketball was hot again. I don’t know about that, but if this past Sunday was any indication, we may have a great month of college basketball ahead of us.
Over on NBC, Tiger Woods may have gotten his groove back in his front 9 duel with Phil Mickelson at the Ford Championship at Doral. NBC doesn’t have too many big events other than the U.S. Open in golf, Wimbledon and the French Open in tennis, NASCAR and the Olympics, but yesterday showed that when the opportunity presented itself, the network could cover sports drama with the best of networks.
For the recap of a big Sports Sunday, here’s Michael Hiestand of USA Today.
John Molori writes about Sporting News Radio taking Boston’s WWZN (1510 The Zone) off the market. SNR had been attempting to sell the station for two years, but recently decided to keep the station. There were hopes that The Zone would be a challenger to ratings king WEEI and it hired Sean McDonough and well known talk show host Eddie Andelman to make a splash in 2001. McDonough left after less than a year and Andelman continues to struggle to even make a ratings dent, but SNR has decided to keep 1510 The Zone under its coffers. The Zone currently has the Boston Celtics, but will probably allow its current contract to lapse. Molori has a very good article on the station.
If news warrants, I’ll have an update later today. If not, have a good start to your work week.
Boston Dirt Dogs vs. Boston Sports Media Watch
Before I get into my review of ESPNU, I’ll give you a link to Boston Sports Media Watch. A former newspaper writer, Jeff Sullivan, gives his two cents on the Boston Dirt Dogs saga that will apparently continue into this week. It is my feeling that Steve Silva, the webmaster of BDD, will go all out to smear the good name of Bruce Allen, the webmaster of Boston Sports Media Watch. Silva will not take this sitting down. If you don’t remember what this is all about, you can check out my blog from last week on this subject. This is going to get ugly before it gets better.
The First Hours of ESPNU
Ok, onto ESPNU. It launched Friday (03-04-05) as we’ve been told many times. Anyway, the first feature was one about college and university, narrated by Robin Roberts. It was well produced like many features by ESPN. It gave us emotion, action, grit and plenty of images. There were images of the late Jim Valvano looking for someone to hug from the 1983 NCAA Tournament, Demetrius Gore’s slam dunk bringing down the basket, cheerleaders, explosions and plenty of emotion. Overall, it was well done and the narration by Robin Roberts was well written.
Then, Mike Hall, the winner of the original “Dream Job” two seasons ago is shown in front of a screaming crowd at the Gallagher-Iba Arena at Oklahoma State University. He is trying to describe the intentions of the new network. He has note cards and has to refer to them. He doesn’t look nervous, but he’s not smooth, either. He gives us ESPNU’s mission statement and also tells us that ESPNU will air 300 live events over the year. And he teases the group 3 Doors Down which will perform later in the broadcast. Finally, he tosses to Chris Fowler and the College Gameday crew.
From then on, it’s a regular ESPN broadcast. The quality is good and Chris Fowler is smooth. We don’t see Mike Hall until the end when he introduces 3 Doors Down inside the arena. This was unnecessary and we didn’t need to see 3 Doors Down, but this is ESPNU, trying to show us that it is down with the peeps. Again, Hall is referring to note cards. You would think he would have memorized this part. Who needs notecards to say, “Ladies and Gentleman! 3! DOORS! DOWN!!!!!!” And who knew that Oklahoma State basketball coach Eddie Sutton was a fan of 3 Doors Down?
Hall has a long way to go before he reaches the status of Fowler, but then again, he does not have the many hours of experience hosting live events that Fowler does and Fowler is one of the best hosts on TV. Hopefully, Hall won’t refer to his note cards when he’s at the anchor desk at ESPNU’s headquarters.
From there, ESPNU aired one of the mid-major tournaments and later that night, aired a Louisville-Memphis game that had been broadcast from Thursday night. Apparently, ESPN will shovel plenty of previously-aired games onto ESPNU to fill inventory.
And because this is a network dedicated to college sports only, it will have to fill a lot of hours in the summer months, something that CSTV has had to do since it began two years ago. CSTV has managed to find Cape Cod League baseball games, summer practices and repeats of previous broadcasts. The strength of a college sports network is its 10 month schedule from September to June; however, filling the two months in the summer when no colleges are in session will be a difficult trick and that is where the ratings for these two networks will be at their lowest.
As it currently stands, CSTV has a head start as it is carried on more cable systems across the country. ESPNU has found carriage on DirecTV (only Sports Pack subscribers will see the network, it is not on the basic package) and Adelphia’s Digital Cable tier. However, you can bet that ESPN’s brand name will help ESPNU gain more carriage when it becomes time for channel renewals.
ESPNU will give smaller colleges and lesser publicized sports their spots in the sun. CSTV has done the same, but ESPN has a huge weapon in its existing contract with the NCAA to show various championships and can air preliminary rounds on ESPNU. CSTV has a lesser contract with the NCAA and does not have the channel capacity that ESPN does. The rivalry between ESPNU and CSTV has begun and may the better network win.
Some more news from across the country:
The Baltimore Orioles have signed a deal to put their games on three Washington, DC Clear Channel radio stations. The Washington Times has the story. WBAL-AM in Baltimore remains the flagship station for the Orioles this season.
The classy Chuck Wilson will not be returning to ESPN Radio when his contract expires this summer. Wilson helped to launch ESPN Radio 14 years ago when the network just broadcast from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. on weekends. ESPN Radio has grown to a 24/7 network and the radio home for Major League Baseball and the NBA. Now, Wilson is out after many years of service. The Providence Journal’s Bill Reynolds, a longtime friend of Wilson’s when he was a talk show host in Rhode Island, has the story.
Jim Baker, a former media critic with the Boston Herald until he ran into plagiarism problems, is now a part-time writer for the Nashua (NH) Telegraph. He has some insights into the college basketball weekend.
Dave Scott, a former writer with Sport Magazine, is now free-lance and occasionally writes for Boston Sports Media Watch. He gives his take on the Boston Dirt Dogs situation that I covered yesterday.
Yesterday, it was the Detroit Tigers going all-cable and today, it’s the Florida Marlins. The Marlins aired some games last year on a Pax affiliate. Starting next season, Fox Sports Net Florida will showcase 150 games up from 96 this season (scroll past the IRL reference at the top of the story).
And ESPNU will be on Channel 609 on DirecTV’s SportsPack. It will also debut on Adelphia’s Digital Cable service. I hope to have a review of ESPNU sometime this weekend.
Enjoy your sports weekend.
Friday is usually a big day for media columns across the country. With so much news and so little time, let’s get into it.
USA Today’s Michael Hiestand has news on TVG Network, a channel dedicated to horse racing. TVG is starting a new interactive channel so viewers can wager on the races from home. Hiestand has other tidbits including Robin Roberts being the first face on ESPNU’s launch tonight and it appears that Tom Arnold will no longer be host of FSN’s “The Best Damn Sports Show Period”. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. But I’m sad over the fact that I won’t be able to see Thea Andrews on ESPN 2’s “Cold Pizza” anymore. But Michael reports that she’ll have another role on the network. The link to today’s column is here.
Richard Sandomir of the New York Times has a good feature about NBC which has undergone a major facelift since dumping the NFL in 1998. Under orders from parent company General Electric, NBC Sports now airs Arena Football, NASCAR, golf, Notre Dame football, lacrosse, tennis and eventually, the NHL, in an attempt to air sports that will be profitable. NBC’s major undertaking is, of course, the Olympics every two years, but other than that, the network airs low-rated but profitable events. Good story.
The Chicago Tribune’s Teddy Greenstein (registration required or go to bugmenot talks about the bidding for the Chicago White Sox between stations WMVP and WSCR, two bitter sports radio rivals. Both are owned by radio behemoths, WMVP by ESPN/Disney and WSCR by Infinity/Viacom. It will be interesting to see who comes out on top.
Greenstein also writes about the launch of ESPNU and the renewal of “Cheap Seats” on ESPN Classic.
Larry Stewart of the Los Angeles Times writes mostly about the LA Marathon which airs this weekend, but he also has some items including a joint venture between the NBA and the History Channel.
David Barron of the Houston Chronicle talks about new contracts for Mark Vandermeer and Rich Lord, talk show hosts on sports radio station KILT.
Andrew Marchand of the New York Post was busy. He has several stories including one on Billy Packer who will call Sunday’s Duke-North Carolina game with Jim Nantz on CBS.
Marchand also writes about Bob Lorenz who becomes the pre and postgame host for the YES Network on New York Yankees games. He replaces Fred Hickman who left for ESPN late last year.
Marchand has five questions for ESPN college basketball analyst Rick Majerus.
Finally from the New York Post, curmudgeon Phil Mushnick spreads the hate to the PGA Tour and to WFAN’s Chris Russo (Mike and the Mad Dog).
Over to the New York Daily News, Bob Raissman was busy as well. He writes about a feud between Mike and the Mad Dog and former Mets pitcher Al Leiter. Apparently Leiter ripped into the WFAN pair while on Michael Kay’s show on ESPN’s WEVD this week.
The intolerable Sid Rosenberg, co-host of WFAN’s midday show is taking leave from the station. There are rumors about substance abuse and other problems. It’s not known how long Rosenberg’s leave will be.
I’ll update as time and other news become available. Enjoy the reading for now.
The Detroit Tigers may be a cable-only team. Today’s Detroit News reports that the Tigers and UPN outlet WKBD have broken down. The channel aired 25 games last season. If the Tigers cannot find a free TV outlet, that means Fox Sports Net will be the only place to see the Tigers. FSN is contracted to show 110 games this season.
The Hollywood Reporter says Disney is looking to get a break for its NFL contract. Negotations for a new contract have been contentious between Disney and the NFL. The Hollywood Reporter, citing sources, says that Disney is looking to break even on Monday Night Football with the deal potentially reaching more than $600 million/year. The current contract which expires after the upcoming season totals $550 million/year. Disney could retain the cable contract through ESPN by paying considerably more, possibly in the range of $1 billion annually.
If that happens, ESPN would either keep Sunday nights or obtain MNF. Either way, the NFL would promise no cable competition for ESPN with the exception of its own NFL Network. ABC would have to give up its exclusive negotiating rights and allow the NFL to put up Sunday nights for the highest bid. CBS and Fox retain the rights to the AFC and NFC Sunday afternoon games respectively through 2011.
In keeping with the trend of sports leagues signing with satellite radio, Sports Business Journal reports that XM Satellite Radio has signed exclusive rights to the Indy Racing League. Last week, NASCAR announced it was moving its radio broadcasts to Sirius Satellite Radio when its current contract with XM expires.
And the Hollywood Reporter adds that Sirius Satellite is now looking to purchase exclusive local NFL radio rights which would shut out regular radio opening more advertising opportunities for Sirius.
Boston Radio Watch has learned that WEEI will be back on the internet, streaming online. It had stopped three years ago amid copyright issues. Thanks to Bruce Allen of Boston Sports Media Watch for the link.
Boston Radio Watch also reports that Dave Jageler, the midday host of 1510 WWZN’s show with Eddie Andelman is leaving that station to join the Steve Hyder as the radio broadcast team for the Pawtucket Red Sox, the minor league affiliate of the Boston Red Sox.
Blogs have become quite influential over the past year. Blogs have helped to debunk stories such as the George W. Bush National Guard story and also bring down CNN Executive Eason Jordan. These types of blogs are independent and give another source of information to their readers.
But when a blog is owned by a media company, should it be held to the same journalism standards that behold its news website and newspapers?
This is the question that now belies the Boston Dirt Dogs website. I have put a link to the site here on Fang’s Bites, but I also consider it to be satire. However, the site’s webmaster, Steve Silva also considers himself a mini-journalist, attempting to break stories. Some of these stories have been found to be false and others denied.
Boston Dirt Dogs was purchased by the New York Times Company last year and made part of the Boston.com website. Subsequently, Silva was hired by Boston.com to be a website producer and according to a news release issued by the company, would be held to the same journalism standards as Boston.com (can be read here, link courtesy of Boston Sports Media Watch). But in the meantime, Silva continues to provide stories that he maintains are true, but later denied.
The latest series in faulty journalism by Silva is one that claims former Boston Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra did not want the World Series ring offered by the team for his role in last year’s championship season. While Nomar was traded at the deadline, he was voted a playoff share by his teammates.
Boston Dirt Dogs claims that he received a tip from a woman named “Jessica” stating she talked to Nomar and he didn’t want the ring and “… they (the Red Sox) can keep it.”
Boston Sports Media Watch has been looking into this story and found it to be false. Bruce Allen who maintains the BSMW site has been in contact with Boston.com’s Editor Theresa M. Hanafin and she has downplayed his concerns. Bruce first went into this yesterday. Then more fallout today.
So when you see something from Boston Dirt Dogs, just remember the source and try not to take it so seriously. The main question is will Boston.com eventually take issue with Silva’s stories if they continue to be found false. Will Hanafin’s “It’s a blog, for God’s sake” attitude continue or will the New York Times Company eventually hold Silva to the same standards of its properties i.e., the Times, the Boston Globe and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette? The New York Times Company has had to deal with the Jayson Blair issue and more recently, plagiarism regarding Ken Powers of the Telegram & Gazette.
It will be interesting to see how the Times Company continues to handle this website and what, if any, repercussions will come from this latest story.
ESPN’s Doug Gottlieb is beginning to make a name for himself. The former point guard at Oklahoma State and Notre Dame was hired two years ago at ESPN Radio to co-host “Gamenight” with Chuck Wilson. This year, Gottlieb has had the opportunity to do color commentary on college basketball games and his comments have gotten under the skin of Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan.
Excellent college sports writer Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune gives the details about Gottlieb and also provides some background in his schedule (registration required or use bugmennot.com).
Gottlieb doesn’t mince words which is why Coach Ryan thought his comments were a bit excessive. But Gottlieb is a promising analyst and here’s hoping more follow his lead.
Since we’re now in March, it’s time to get ready for plenty of college basketball action. Next week, the conference tournaments get into full swing and they will eventually lead to the NCAA Tournament on CBS. Michael Hiestand of USA Today talks about the plans of ESPN to fully cover Championship Week which has become one of the Worldwide Leader’s signature events. Not only will ESPN and ESPN2 cover live games, but ESPN Classic will also get into the action. Hiestand writes about the plans for ESPNU which launches this Friday.
Speaking of ESPNU, I hope to have a review of its first broadcast within minutes of its completion.
The first ever Washington Nationals Spring Training game will be shown on ESPN this Thursday at 1 p.m. ET.
Long time NBA announcer Marv Albert has a new gig. He has signed a new contract with the YES Network to call games for the New Jersey Nets. Albert had called New York Knick games for MSG Network through last season when he was dropped. USA Today has the details.
YES Network officials say current Nets announcer Ian Eagle will continue to call games for the Nets when Marv is doing Monday Night Football for Westwood One Radio or NBA national games for TNT.
Richard Sandomir of the New York Times (registration required)says while it’s nice that Marv has a new gig, does YES really need him? It also leaves Ian Eagle with just 30 games to call.
Andrew Marchand of the New York Post writes that it appears that NBA Commish David Stern went out of his way to push YES to hire Albert.
It does appear that Marv pushed hard to get this job and the odd man out is Eagle who has been quite loyal to the Nets since being hired 11 years ago as its radio play-by-play man. Still, Ian is handling the move with class although I am quite sure that he is not happy with losing games.
The national ratings for the weekend’s sporting events have been published. Once again, NASCAR is at the top of the heap. Michael Hiestand of USA Today looks at the numbers.
Gordon Edes of the Boston Globe wrote in his Sunday news and notes column that the Red Sox are considering buying a number of radio stations throughout the New England region to distribute games via a network similar to the way it distributes its games via its regional cable network, NESN. However, the network is still in the planning stages. WEEI, the flagship station for the Red Sox radio network, owns the radio rights through 2006.