Ok, as we’re all in denial over the Miami Heat winning the NBA Championship, it’s time for a few sports media thoughts. Too many things to go over, but I’ll do my best to cover as many things as I can.
As always, we do them in bullet form. And to drown out the thoughts of LeBron James celebrating, I’m listening to Korn on my iPad at the highest volume.
- Over 24 hours since first learning about Darren Rovell’s decision to leave CNBC for ESPN and I’m still baffled. Now, over all the sports media free agents I’ve mentioned or heard about for 2012, Darren’s name never came up. Darren who started his career at ESPN and left for CNBC in 2006 seemed to be happy with the NBCUniversal, having his own show on NBC Sports Network, his own CNBC site, and occasional appearances on NBC Sports events.
But when the Worldwide Leader comes a’calling, you have to listen. Deadspin reported Thursday that Disney will pay Rovell $500,000 to file reports for both ABC News and ESPN.
I don’t know if he’ll have his own show as he did with NBC Sports Network, I tend to doubt it. But the timing is rather interesting. Just after getting the sports business show that he had been clamoring, Darren leaves.
And as we know, Darren is a prolific tweeter. Will his penchant for Twitter be controlled under ESPN’s social media policy? I’m sure this will all be addressed down the line.
- CBS Radio’s announcement that it was launching a sports radio network came as a surprise. The timing came just ten days after NBC announced it was launching a radio network of its own.
This makes an already crowded radio scene even more so. Considering you have ESPN which has been firmly established since the 1990′s, Fox Sports Radio, Yahoo and even the Sports USA Radio Network, one wonders if there’s enough room for one more national radio net let alone two.
Personally, I love to see more networks because competition can only lead to better programming, however, economic realities tell you that one of these fledgling entities may not make it.
The eyeball test from the outset shows that CBS has the best infrastructure having already established sports stations in several major markets that will be part of CBS Sports Radio. Plus teaming with Cumulus Media’s 67 stations cross the country helps the reach.
As for NBC, it’s just getting back into the radio business after General Electric had sold the Radio Network to Westwood One and its entire radio station group to various owners. It will partner with the former Westwood One now known as Dial Global.
The question is whether this will lead to a bidding war for sports properties. ESPN Radio has the BCS, MLB and the NBA while Dial Global has the NFL, NCAA Championships and The Masters.
Suddenly radio is red hot once again and I like it. And as SportsbyBrooks pointed out, it could lead to more poaching of ESPN talent by CBS and NBC to fill programming slots.
- I was disappointed to learn that Radio Wimbledon will not be handling the worldwide audio play-by-play of the Championships Wimbledon starting next week.
Last October, Wimbledon’s parent, the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club accepted a bid from IMG to take over the radio rights to call the matches. The new entity called Live@Wimbledon will be using some, but not all of Radio Wimbledon’s team. Over the years, Radio Wimbledon had been the only link to live tennis when NBC was pulling its tape delay shenanigans. Unfortunately, despite Radio Wimby attracting 2.7 million listeners in 2011, the AELTC decided to take IMG’s money and ruin a very good service for the fortnight.
Radio Wimbledon will be missed.
- As Sports Business Journal reported this week, Fox Sports has begun talks with NASCAR in hopes of extending its current contract. It expires in 2014.
As Fox has been successful in obtaining rights to the FIFA World Cup, Big 12 and Pac-12, the thinking behind many of these acquisitions has been to play keep away from NBC Sports Group. You know that with NASCAR rights in play, NBC Sports would love nothing more than to add inventory to NBCSN.
If Fox is successful, it leaves only TNT’s mid-season Sprint Cup races and ESPN’s Chase for the Cup races being up for grabs. And both Turner and ESPN want to prevent NBC from grabbing their packages.
With MLB, NASCAR, the Big East and the NBA negotiations all unsettled thus far, NBC still has a chance to lure one if not all to its war chest.
- Lastly, the aforementioned SportsbyBrooks tweeted that Chris Berman will call the late game for Monday Night Football’s season opening doubleheader on September 10. And in addition, he’ll call one preseason game as practice. If you thought the venom towards Berman is bad when he calls the U.S. Open or the All-Star Home Run Derby, just wait until he does the NFL. It’s probably best that ESPN public relations stay off social media on the nights Berman calls the NFL.
And that will conclude the thoughts. Enjoy your Friday.