Linkage has been scarce around the site this week, but I should be able to get a good set of megalinks in today as we head into NCAA Tournament Selection Sunday. You deserve the links and I thank you for your patience around some server problems this week.
As usual, you can check the Weekend Viewing Picks for all weekend sports and entertainment recommendations.
Let’s get to the linkage.
Michael Hiestand of USA Today profiles ESPN’s bracketologist Joe Lunardi who got a big endorsement from Louisville’s Rick Pitino this week.
Erik Spanberg at Sports Business Journal looks at Major League Soccer hoping for big returns from its new contract with NBC Sports.
Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch explores NBC’s new approach to airing soccer and reviews ESPN’s new documentary on Magic Johnson.
Karen Hogan at Sports Video Group looks at ESPN’s innovative plans for MLS games this season.
Lindsay Flans of the Hollywood Reporter says A-List celebrities have caught Linsanity fever.
And the Reporter provides a seating chart of where celebrities sit at Madison Square Garden to get a glimpse of Jeremy Lin.
At the Indiana University National Sports Journalism Center, Michael Bradley feels the mid-major conferences sacrifice regular season integrity in exchange for TV exposure with their post-season tournaments.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell is recovering after his alma mater, Northwestern, played its way out of the NCAA Tournament this week.
Joe Favorito says even in this day and age, the little guy can make a splash in sports marketing.
Sports Media Watch has some ratings news and notes.
SMW notes that NBC Sports will replace the departed Wimbledon with the Tour de France this summer.
Ben Koo of Awful Announcing says ESPN Films is suffering from an identity crisis.
Steve Lepore at Puck The Media says NBC’s innovation in hockey production is now extending to the soccer pitch.
Dave Kohl at the Broadcast Booth isn’t a fan of speculation.
At Yahoo’s Ball Don’t Lie blog, Dan Devine says Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban made a gay joke at Bill Simmons’ expense with him present.
Erik Malinowski of Deadspin says Cuban has apologized for making that remark.
East and Mid-Atlantic
The Boston Globe’s Chad Finn looks at CBS/Turner’s plans for the NCAA Tournament.
Chad notes that a prodigal son is returning to WEEI this weekend.
Boston Sports Media Watch’s Bruce Allen at SB Nation Boston says the Boston Herald will miss Patriots beat reporter Ian Rapoport as he departs for NFL Network.
George Cain at Sports of Boston compares and contrasts the two sports radio stations ratings.
Bill Doyle of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette says different generations watch sports differently.
Paul Devlin of the New Canaan (CT) Patch talks with ESPN High Grand Poobah of News Vince Doria.
Newsday’s Neil Best talks with Magic Johnson about ESPN’s documentary on his HIV announcement 20 years ago.
Neil notes the opening of a new Broadway play on the rivalry between Magic and former Boston Celtics star Larry Bird.
Neil says it’s time for our annual search to find truTV for the NCAA Tournament.
Phil Mushnick of the New York Post goes after the “gang mentality” in football.
The Post’s Justin Terranova has five questions for NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger.
Jerry Barmash at Fishbowl NY notes that MSG Network is about to unveil a new baseball-centric show.
Chris Boyle at the Merrick (NY) Patch says two alumna of a local high school, now ESPN personalities, made a visit to their old stomping grounds.
Pete Dougherty at the Albany Times Union notes that Buffalo Sabres games are back on MSG after a technical glitch prevented fans from seeing their games for two weeks.
Pete talks with Uncle Verne Lundquist of CBS who’s going into his 49th year of broadcasting.
Ken McMillan of the Middletown (NY) Times-Herald Record says a local man has been chosen to take part in this year’s MLB Fan Cave.
Keith Groller of the Allentown (PA) Morning Call talks with ESPN’s Mike Tirico who says he’ll miss working with Ron Jaworski every Monday Night.
Jim Williams of the Washington Examiner speaks with tennis Hall of Famer and ESPN analyst Chris Evert.
Luke DeCock of the Raleigh News & Observer says for the first time, viewers in the ACC footprint can see ESPN’s coverage of the ACC Tournament.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald likes watching the ESPN/ABC NBA studio show.
David Barron at the Houston Chronicle notes that Comcast SportsNet Houston is getting ready for its fall launch.
And David expands on his column on CSN Houston in his blog.
Mel Bracht of the Daily Oklahoman has a few Sooner State sports media news and notes.
Jeff Moss at Detroit Sports Rag has a field of 64 to decide the Worst Detroit Sports Media Personality.
Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says CBS and Turner are enjoying their NCAA Tournament partnership.
Ed Sherman at Crain’s Chicago Business has his weekly winners and losers in sports business and media.
Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reviews the one week experiment of Joe Buck and Tim McKernan co-hosting a radio show that could turn into something bigger down the road.
Dan says don’t expect too many changes for this year’s NCAA Tournament coverage on CBS and Turner Sports.
John Maffei at the North County Times writes that if NCAA Tournament coverage ain’t broke, then CBS and Turner aren’t going to fix it.
John says Fox Sports San Diego is set to launch any day now, provided MLB approves the Padres’ deal to air games on the network.
Jim Carlisle of the Ventura County Star says the success of the CBS/Turner NCAA Tournament consortium surprised officials at both companies.
Jim says Peyton Manning’s former coach, Tony Dungy now of NBC, feels San Francisco would be a good fit for him.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News looks at Magic Johnson’s life-changing announcement, 20 years later.
Tom explores how Time Warner Cable will present LA Galaxy games while it’s still in the process of launching its new SoCal regional sports network.
Tom has a few items that didn’t make his weekly media column.
Percy Allen of the Seattle Times notes that ESPN will air next year’s Pac-12 Basketball Championship Game.
Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star says CBC’s Don Cherry and Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke are acting like a couple of spoiled divas in their public spat.
And that’s going to do it for today. Enjoy your sports weekend.