I haven’t done a sports media thoughts post in a while and there has been so much that has transpired since the last time I wrote one. As always, they’re in bullet form. Let’s do this.
- Just four days into the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs and I like how the networks of NBC are handling the games. With CNBC, NHL Network and NBC Sports Network airing the games, fans can now choose which contest he or she wants to watch. My only pet peeves, there should be more updates on games on other networks. At least give us a drop down menu from the scoreboard bug to update us. Also, I wish NBC Sports Network and CNBC would not rely on simulcasts from CBC, TSN or Comcast SportsNet affiliates. Versus under the old Comcast ownership could get away with it, but not NBC. NHL Network can pull off the simulcasts because its talent is focused on the studio, but not on NBC Sports Network or CNBC. I know there are a lot of games in the first round, but at least try to produce what’s on your network instead of depending on others to do the work for you, especially for games played in the United States.
- To ESPN’s free agent crop and we know that former First Take co-host Dana Jacobsen has already left the Alleged Worldwide Leader. Michelle Beadle could be the next to go. Her representatives are now free to talk with other networks after her exclusive negotiating period with ESPN lapsed on Friday. I think she’s leaving, but exactly where is the $64,000 question. Based on her interview with The Big Lead, one could intelligently wager that one of her potential targets is a morning show like Today or Good Morning America. I honestly don’t think sports is in her long-term plans, although one never knows.
As far as the other free agents Erin Andrews and Scott Van Pelt, I tend to think both will remain at ESPN. For Erin, her best chance to leave was two years ago. Her options are a bit more limited now. Scott Van Pelt enjoys doing radio and I think he’ll remain at ESPN as CBS’ radio options are not national and NBC doesn’t have radio resources.
- If Fox Sports gets its rumored cable sports network off the ground, it’ll be welcomed by your humble blogger. It would have plenty of inventory with Big 12 and Pac-12 college sports. In addition, if Fox expands its NASCAR inventory, it could place Sprint Cup races on the network. UFC events could go there as well. And there’s always the big wild card that’s up for bid this year, MLB and if the NFL decides to ever put a Thursday night package up for bid, Fox certainly has deep pockets to possibly make a go at ESPN. And there’s the Big East Conference whose rights are up this year as well.
And in a related note, the announcement by Fox to give a majority of Saturday night primetime hours to sports is a smart move. Saturday nights are a dead night for the networks, although Fox did pretty well with Cops and America’s Most Wanted. Still, getting the coveted 18-49 demographic to watch MLB, NASCAR, UFC, college football and the MLB Postseason on a Saturday night is a very good move. Could this be a harbinger for Fox’s all-sports cable network? Perhaps. But if this does very well, I could see Fox potentially making this move permanent on Saturday nights. It only makes sense.
And if Fox does really well, could other networks follow? ESPN already programs ABC during college football season. Would NBA games make a move to Saturday night? What about NBC placing the NHL during Saturday primetime to possibly market the game even further? Would CBS be interested in airing college basketball during the winter as a lead-in to “48 Hours”? In 2011, CBS aired North Carolina-Duke in primetime to great success. Would the Tiffany Network want to move games to primetime in advance of the NCAA Tournament? Fox’s move to sports in primetime is not only a Great Experiment, but also a potential for other networks to bring their inventories to a new timeslot.
- I may be one of the few who’s watching, but count me as one who enjoys viewing the NBC Sports Network’s CNBC Sports Biz: Game On! with Darren Rovell and Erin Sharoni. While Darren has alienated some with his Super Bowl party rant on Playboy Playmates and at Jaime Edmondson plus creating social media accounts for his newborn daughter and we can’t forget his Twitter feuds with Richard Deitsch, Richard Sandomir and Bomani Jones, I can look past them and enjoy his sport business show. Darren knows his stuff and has helped to make sports business a viable news beat. I’ve enjoyed the pace of Game On! and it’s obvious that Darren knows what he’s taking about. The show’s ratings could be better, but it appears NBC is committed to airing it through this year. And it’s hit its stride as the show has explored the price of tickets to the economics of the NFL and college sports.
That’s all. Enjoy your Easter Sunday.