Time to answer your sports media questions. Thanks to all who sent e-mails. Let’s make this a regular feature and I hope to do this every two or three months. And down the road, I hope to offer DVD’s, books and other swag. I don’t have anything for this mailbag, but I hope to have stuff in line for the future. Let’s get to your questions.
Hi John. From what I’ve heard, CBS and Turner will decide on announcing teams sometime soon. I suspect that you’ll see the four regional final teams for CBS, Jim Nantz-Clark Kellogg; Gus Johnson-Len Elmore; Dick Enberg’s replacement-Jay Bilas; and Verne Lundquist-Bill Rafery. Who Turner will hire is anyone’s guess. Ian Eagle who did work on TNT this past NBA postseason might move over to Turner as would Kevin Harlan who’s TNT’s NBA guy anyway. I doubt Marv would call tournament games, but you never know.
As far as the ACC Sunday Night Hoops are concerned, I know the coaches all hated the Sunday night games. They have told ACC Commissioner John Swofford as much. Under the new ESPN contract that takes effect in 2011-12, ESPNU gets a Sunday game, but I think it will be earlier in the afternoon, although ESPN could call for it to be played at let’s say, 4 p.m. ET. And unless ESPN decides to sell a few games, Fox Sports Net is done after this coming season.
No, up until the BCS and Open Championship, ESPN would have ABC in mind to compliment coverage. But as we have seen in the last two years, ESPN has decided to keep events for itself (BCS and Open Championship) and this year, chose to cut the number of NASCAR Sprint Cup races on ABC from 11 to 3. However, ABC affiliates are screaming over the lack of sports on the network and this may force ESPN’s hand in the future especially with the Olympics, MLB and NBA bidding all coming up. The ABC affiliates are the ones that are keeping ESPN in line and preventing the Alleged Worldwide Leader from hoarding everything. In addition, the NBA and MLB would still want to have their finals on network TV as opposed to cable. But the day of a major final on cable is coming.
A related question to the one from Scott. I agree that having those events on cable prevented casual fans from finding them. In addition, I was still used to turning on ABC early Sunday morning for the final round of the Open Championship this year, but I’ll be weaned off that next year. Having no suspense hurt the Open more than being on cable. NASCAR’s ratings have been down all year so even had the event been on ABC, not much more could be done on viewership. Certainly being on cable did not help the ratings.
- Do you have a favorite sport to watch on television? What about a favorite broadcaster? Favorite non-sports show?
- What do you think is the biggest misconception about sports media?
- Ultimately, do you think the encroaching columnists on ESPN has hurt the product? They now show more programs with commentators (Around the Horn, Cold Pizza) as opposed to straight sports, even if Pardon The Interruption is still pretty good.
North Kingstown, RI
A Rhode Island homey! And from North Kingstown to boot! Well, let me answer the questions in order.
My favorite sport to watch is baseball and Vin Scully is my favorite broadcaster. And he’s done more than baseball. Old school fans will remember he called the NFL for CBS and also did the PGA for both CBS and NBC.
With 24 and Lost gone, my favorite non-sports shows currently are Mad Men, My Boys and the Amazing Race.
The biggest misconception. That’s a tough one. One misconception is that some reporters are as passionate as the fans. That’s not true. It’s a job. Another is that people in the sports media don’t have agendas. Even I have an agenda, but I’m not telling what that is.
And I agree that the commentary shows like Around the Horn and even the Sports Reporters have gone over the top. You have columnists and sports writers mugging for the camera. Now that could be the program over the personality, but Skip Bayless and Woody Paige have become totally unwatchable and unlikable. I used to enjoy reading them, but after seeing and hearing them, I don’t anymore.
I’ve just starting reading the blog so I apologize if my question has already been answered.
I’m fairly new to the sports journalism and media world (<2 years), but I’ve worked my way from casual sports blogger to (hopefully) being credentialed for my local team this upcoming season. I’d love to start exploring other avenues in an attempt to bring more exposure to not only myself, but also the website I write for. Does it make more sense to invest time in reaching out to radio shows and other outlets, or simply be patient and casually interact while covering sporting events and let my work speak for itself? I don’t want to spend countless hours “cold-calling” via email if there’s a more efficient strategy you’ve learned from experience. Any other advice for an up-and-coming sports journalist in my position would certainly be appreciated.
Hi Mike. Thanks for the question. You can do a little of both. You can find one of the hosts or producers and start exchanging e-mails and if he doesn’t blow you off, tell him the blog you write for, let him know you’re available as a guest. You can also let people know on your blog that you’re available to go on radio shows to talk about your team. I don’t know what it’s like in Pittsburgh if sports radio shows depend on bloggers as guests, it’s not the case here in New England. Certainly sending an e-mail doesn’t hurt. The least the host or producer can do is say no. But if you get a positive response, you have something to build on.
This only loosely touches sports media, but I was wondering if you could shed any light on the upcoming Minnesota-Texas college football series that was canceled due to a dispute over video rights. Curious what specifically the schools would have not seen eye-to-eye on (especially after agreement had already been made)? Is this related to Texas trying to start its own network and Gophers not wanting game to be aired on that, Horns wanting a cut of BTN or ESPN money, or what?
There’s no doubt that Texas which now has control of its TV rights thanks to its increased power in the Big 12 wanted a bigger piece of the pie when the series was to be played at TCF Bank Stadium in Minnesota. In college football, the home team or conference controls the rights. For the game at Minnesota, the rights revert to the Big Ten Network. At Texas, rights revert back to the Big 12. In 2016, who knows if Texas’ own network, ESPN or Fox Sports Net will have control of that game. But there’s no doubt that TV rights money was a huge part of the cancellation. Texas probably wanted a bigger payoff plus Minnesota wasn’t willing to part with a bigger payout and lose TV rights at the same time. You may see more of this with Big 12 schools down the line.