Some links for you this afternoon.
This weekend, NBC will be airing the Players Championship, also known as golf’s Fifth Major. It means that the network will not show any NHL Playoff games. The Buffalo News’ Alan Pergament wonders why NBC chooses not to bring any of the Conference Championship games. I’ll tell you why. NBC does not pay a rights fee to the NHL while it does to the PGA Tour, plus it goes all out to cover the Players like a major. On Saturday and Sunday, the coverage will run from 2 – 6 p.m. Eastern Time. If NBC chose to run the coverage from 3 – 7 p.m., it’s conceivable that hockey games could be aired from 12:30 – 3 p.m., but that’s not going to happen.
The ratings for the Kentucky Derby for NBC rose to its highest levels since 1992 when ABC had the rights. According to the story from the Hollywood Reporter, the ratings went up 12% from last year when Barbaro won.
Over in Pittsburgh, Bob Smizik of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes about Pittsburgh Penguins legendary announcer Mike Lange looking at other opportunities after he was dropped from Fox Sports Net and forced to sign a one year contract to do games on the radio. Smizik says Lange is looking at the possibility of doing TV work out west. It would be too bad, but Lange admits that he took a large monetary hit by doing radio this year.
I forgot to link to this yesterday, but the last of the four major leagues not to televise its draft will now join the 21st Century. Major League Baseball announced yesterday that ESPN2 will televise this year’s draft from the Disney Wide World of Sports complex on June 7th from 2 – 6 p.m. ET. This means the alleged Worldwide Leader in Sports will have the NFL, NBA and MLB drafts in the fold.
If you watch ESPN or ESPN2 in the mornings, you may have noticed a new format for SportsCenter. To the right of the TV screen, ESPN SportsCenter has a rundown of upcoming stories. That’s reduced the size of the picture and Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune is not happy with the change.
In Canada, the Toronto Maple Leafs are like the New York Yankees. The Leafs command the most money for TV rights fees. The Yankees on YES pull in plenty of revenue for the team. Similarly, LeafsTV rakes in the cash for Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. William Houston of the Toronto Globe and Mail breaks down the number of Maple Leafs games on the various carriers like TSN, Leafs TV and Rogers Sportsnet.
Finally today, as the Milwaukee Brewers are in first place in the National League Central, it appears this is translating into more people at Miller Park and increased ratings for Fox Sports Wisconsin. Bob Wolfey of the Journal-Sentinel says the Brew Crew’s ratings for Friday night were the highest primetime show for the evening.
Primetime Viewing for Tuesday
Red Sox at Toronto – 7 p.m., NESN
New Jersey at Cleveland – 8 p.m., TNT
San Antonio at Phoenix – 10:30, TNT