Time for another mailbag and let’s answer the sports media questions that have landed in the Fang’s Bites inbox over the last week or so. Thanks to all who sent e-mails and left comments. I’ll do my best to answer as best as I can. And don’t forget, I have two $50 Nike.com gift cards. If I can get one other piece of swag to give way, I’ll make an announcement. The recipients will be chosen at random and be e-mailed.
Disclaimer as to where the cards came from and what promotion they’re associated with:
- The Sprite Spark Parks Project is a multi-year commitment to build and restore play environments where teens, families and neighbors can get outside and be active. The big idea: play, be active, be inspired and have fun. The campaign began several weeks ago where people had the opportunity to nominate their courts and we now need your vote to determine which parks will get the funding. If you want one of those refurbished courts to be accessible for your child, all you have to do is head to The Sprite Facebook Page and VOTE!
- The prize was provided by The Coca-Cola Company. The Coca-Cola Company is not a sponsor, administrator or connected in any other way with this sweepstakes.
- Entrants must be located in the US or Canada only.
Now to your questions:
What does (Dick Ebersol’s resignation) mean for NBC’s production of the 2012 Olympics? Is it likely to be different, with less tape delay and non-live events? And what does this mean for NBC’s long term Olympic prospects? Does this basically hand the rights to ESPN? – Shep H.
Hi Shep. Ebersol’s resignation won’t mean much change for NBC next year. With London five hours ahead of New York, primetime will still mean tape delays. It’ll also mean continued holding of glamor events (gymnastics, swimming, track & field) for evening viewing. While Ebersol’s resignation hurts NBC, many of his disciples are still working there and if it wins the bid for 2014/16, expect many of his old producers and directors to remain. While the bid became more wide open, NBCUniversal still is the favorite. This does not mean ESPN automatically gets the rights.
If you’re an executive at an ABC affiliate, would you be disappointed that ESPN won’t allow you to carry one game of the Western Conference Finals (most notably Game 3 on Saturday night in which ABC has to show “Spider-Man 3″ instead) and would you be even more disappointed if the Los Angeles Lakers were in the Western Finals instead of the Dallas Mavericks? – Jimmy D.
Thanks, Jimmy. Yes, this is a bone of contention among ABC affiliates losing sports. Over the years, ABC has lost Monday Night Football, NASCAR, the Open Championship, the Rose Bowl and college basketball. I know ESPN has the philosophy that the difference between cable and broadcast is close to nil, but you do have a broadcast network that is used to carrying sports programming. If I’m an ABC affiliate general manager, I would be very angry about losing NBA Conference Final programming and bring this up at the next affiliates meeting. But with ESPN being a cash cow for Disney, there’s not much the local stations can do. I would not be surprised to see ABC lose even more sports programming down the line.
I love your blog and read it every day! Here is my question—How do you think the current NFL Lockout and the looming NBA lockout will affect how the networks cover sports?
Obviously CBS, NBA and FOX use the NFL to promote other prime time programs and they are on the hook for the rights fees unless there is a court decision that forces the NFL to return the money. – Benjamin G.
Appreciate the kind words, Benjamin. If the NFL lockout extends to the fall, CBS, NBC and Fox will have huge holes to fill on Sundays. ESPN is in a better position as it can slot college football games into Sunday and possibly even Mondays. NBC says it will put game shows in Sunday Night Football’s slot for the first couple of weeks. CBS and Fox have not announced what they will do. All of the networks continue to sell ads.
As far as the NBA is concerned, TNT can plug in dramas on Thursdays and ESPN can plug college basketball or poker into the lost NBA slots. And yes, the networks are on the hook for the rights fees. They’ve already paid the NFL. Not sure about the NBA.
Hey Ken I just want to know with this new espn book out will those so called journalist’s actually take responsibility for the actions they do like in the real news world? I find it hard to believe that in todays world those guys are not punished for their irresponsible journalism. – Ari
I’m not sure what example of irresponsible journalism you’re talking about. If you’re talking about the sexual activities, those who have been caught have either been fired or suspended. I really can’t speak about anything else because I need a better example of what you’re talking about.
What do you think was behind Gus Johnson’s departure from CBS? His ego? The ego of other CBS announcers who were jealous of the attention that he received? Or was it just plain money? – Jeff H.
Thanks, Jeff. I think Gus knew that he wasn’t going to supplant Jim Nantz, Verne Lundquist, Ian Eagle and Kevin Harlan at CBS. He got a very good offer to be the number one guy calling college football and basketball at Fox plus more money. It’s tough to leave the network that made you, but there’s always a chance that Gus could return to CBS down the line. That story about people at CBS being jealous was probably planted by Gus’ people. I find it hard to believe that Jim Nantz or anyone at CBS was jealous of Gus, but you never know.
Do you see the new NBC Sports Group trying to nab the cable TV rights to either Wimbledon or the French Open to air on Versus (and hopefully not take away anything from Tennis Channel) to complement their NBC network coverage? I can see NBC going after, say, Wimbledon on cable (Versus taking over for ESPN2) and unifying the daytime coverage with NBC network, where they can do a reverse mirror sort of thing between NBC and Versus to show one single live feed that bounces between NBC and Versus differently in each timezone (ex: 10am to 1pm local time is the NBC window, so at 10am ET, Eastern Time viewers are told to switch from NBC to Versus for the next 3 hours and then come back, 1 hour later the Central Time viewers do the same, and so on, with Versus airing some alternate program during the NBC blackout, and viewers essentially not missing any important live action but still having to watch on NBC). – Jason B.
Hi Jason. With Wimbledon, the U.S. and Australian Opens locked into long-term deals over the last few years, the first Grand Slam that would be up for bid would be the French Open, however, that deal with Tennis Channel could last until 2016. Wimbledon, U.S. Open and Australia are locked solidly with ESPN2 for quite some time. I’m not a fan of NBC’s tennis coverage live or delayed so I’m not sure if I want to see a combined NBC Sports Group effort on the French or Wimbledon.
Hey, love the blog, but on to my question. With the NBC Sports Group losing out on the PAC-12 to Fox/ESPN, what other deals are up soon that they can go gung-ho for? I know MLB isn’t up for another two years, same with the Big East, but they’d likely remain on ESPN, as all the group really has is sublicensed Mountain West games and the NHL, which is great, but not big time like the PAC-12 is. Also, one other question, I love Gus Johnson and his style, I think it’ll fit well at Fox, do you think it was a good move for that? Then, who will CBS get to fill Gus’s slot in both the NFL and March Madness? Thanks again for the info! – P.J.
Other than the Olympics, which properties (MLB, MLS, conference USA, etc.) are up up for bidding in the next 2 years and which have a chance to turn hands? – Chaz B.
Since Chaz and P.J. have similar questions, I’ll kill two birds with one stone.
As far as college, the Big East are up, but they aren’t up until 2013. ESPN wants to renew the rights, but the Big East seeing how the Pac-12 did, is being smart and will probably allow for open bidding.
2013 – 2015 is what I call Sports Rights Armageddon as MLB, NASCAR, NBA and NFL being a cycle of possible upheaval. MLB will go first as negotiations start next year. ESPN will probably want to get the MLB postseason back after losing the games to TBS. I think Fox will want to get into the NBA game and who knows what will happen with the NFL?
P.J. as far as who will take Gus Johnson’s place, Bob Raissman in the New York Daily News reported Marv Albert is a candidate and I wouldn’t mind that at all. Ian Eagle or Kevin Harlan would be good choices for promotion for the NCAA Tournament.
For regionally distributed games like the MLB on FOX , do local affiliates that do not have local ties to a game, like KTTV in L.A. this weekend, do the affiliates get to chose what game they show or does FOX select the game for them? – Ben F.
Ben, in some cases, it falls under the MLB territorial rules which are just too tedious to explain. If a region like Las Vegas falls under a team’s territory (and claimed by five teams, by the way), then it could get the Dodgers, Angels, Diamondbacks, Giants or Padres depending on which team is on Fox. In Connecticut, the Fox station usually chooses the Yankees over the Red Sox if both teams are playing games on the network, despite the fact that most of the Constitution State has been deemed Red Sox territory. I hope that answers your question. I hate MLB territorial rules and so does Maury Brown from the Biz of Baseball.
I appreciate all the hard work you do on maintaining your blog. It’s a valuable took for me to keep up in what’s going on or coming up in my industry.
I did notice that the majority of information and news you provide focus on personalities and ratings. Do you plan on or know of someone who plans on doing more features or profiles on behind the camera personnel like producers, directors and/or technical staff? I’m always interested in what a motivates a producer or director to do the type of show they create and how they got to their status in the business. – Andre’
You might want to check out Sports Video Group which has a mixture of ratings, technical and other articles that might be of interest to you. Unfortunately, the mainstream media usually focuses on sports personalities with a few behind-the-scenes articles thrown in.
With the advent of watching sports on HD Television’s and mobile media devices with Sport season subscriptions that are almost cheaper than attending a single game how our teams adapting to less and less fans at the stadium? Also what are they telling their advertisers? – Robert D.
Good question, Robert. Stadiums knowing that fans can watch the Red Zone Channel on DirecTV or NFL Red Zone on cable are now trying to enhance the gameday experience. They’re adding TV’s to selected seats, all you can eat promotions and wifi. They’re doing everything except for discounting ticket prices, although some MLB teams are doing that now. I think you’ll see more teams adding to the gameday experience to attract fans, but to be honest, it’s all about winning. Put a winning team on the field, people will come. Produce like the Pittsburgh Pirates and it doesn’t matter how many features you offer.
With the end of the Premier League Season what did you think of the coverage of the Premier League and other leagues around Europe this season by Fox, ESPN, GOL TV? What do you think that Fox and ESPN could do better to add to the coverage next season? Who is your Premier League Announcer of the Year? What would you credit more to the growth of the game here in the States from where it was 15 years ago to now between TV coverage by Fox, ESPN, and GOL TV where you can watch 50 or so games a week with digital cable or the growth of the Internet where a fan interested in soccer could finally go to get results and opinions that were previously next to impossible to get before the internet.
Thanks for all of you hard work it’s really appreciated! – CFTV
Thanks for the kind words, CFTV. Both Fox Soccer Channel and ESPN2 have improved their presentation of the English Premier League by leaps and bounds. I like how ESPN2 no longer uses the world feed and has Ian Darke and Steven McManaman for EPL games. Fox Soccer Channel now has to step up its game and should no longer use the world feed announcers. Martin Tyler is perfect for EPL games and does a great job. But I like Ian Darke and his colorful descriptions.
I’d like to see Bob Ley involved in EPL studio shows seeing how much he loves the game.
I like how Fox Soccer Channel is using the NFL on Fox studio for EPL and Champions League, but the look of the games still has a long way to go.
Any news on if there is going to be any other telecast outlets for the Canadian Football League in the US ? While its nice to have the one game on NFLN for part of the season, three other games are not available over the air all season long at this time in the US as far as I am aware, and none at all once the NFL preseason starts and even into September. The old arrangement of having the regional sports net providing an outlet was okay, but what about Versus ? They have lots of available time slots throughout the CFL season,and would be perfect. With the NFL likely not playing until perhaps October or November we really could use all CFL games being telecast nationally across the US this summer and autumn, as well as in future years and seasons. – MaytheHorseBeWithYou
It appears the NFL Network will carry CFL games once again, but not any of the playoff games, unless there’s a lockout, of course.
What is the latest on the United States Football League (USFL) starting play in February 2012 ? Not much can be found about this anywhere, so I assume at this point it is a no-go. I wonder if the NFL lockout carries into September and beyond, will the USFL starting be a possibility; or is the window for getting things going 9 months from now closed ? I suspect a 2013 start is more possible, but still not probable. – Lefty
Hi Lefty. Your guess is as good as mine.
That’s it. Thanks for your questions. I will contact the winners of the gift cards by e-mail.