Time for some sports media thoughts. These have been percolating in my head all day Monday. It’s fine time to pour them out and have you peruse through them. As always, they’re in bullet form.
- Monday’s announcement from NFL Network regarding its new morning show could be a game changer for sports television. If “NFL AM” is successful, it could lead other sports networks to follow NFL Network’s lead. But if the show fails to catch on, then it will be back to the status quo with repeats of the previous night’s highlights program. With “NFL AM” set to launch on July 30 from 6-10 a.m. ET, one wonders if there will be enough content to fill the time, but as a director once told me when I was working at a Providence TV station, “Have no fear. We’ll find a way to fill the show. I’ve never had a half-hour of black,” meaning he never had to show a blank screen. That will have to be the philosophy of NFL Network for “NFL AM”. Plus with people going to work and school, not everyone will see the entire four hours.
If the show works, I can see other league-owned channels attempting similar ventures. MLB Network’s Quick Pitch airs on a loop on most days from 1 a.m. – noon ET. That’s too long. An MLB Network morning show could work as would a morning NBA program.
But before we get to the point of multiple live morning sports programs, “NFL AM” has to get off the ground successfully. By this time next year, we’ll have an idea whether NFL Network’s “NFL AM” is a success or a failure.
- When I began this site five years ago, Erin Andrews was the darling of the sports blogosphere. Any picture or even a slight mention of her would increase a site’s traffic. There was a reason why she was nicknamed “Erin Pageviews”. Before she re-signed with ESPN in 2010, Erin seemed to be in demand. Her star never shone brighter and it appeared that she could have the pick of any job.
Now cut to 2012 and it appears Erin is no longer the darling of sports bloggers. Others like Michelle Beadle, Jenn Brown, Charissa Thompson and Molly Qerim et.al. have become favorites as well. This isn’t to say that the Internet is ignoring her, TMZ still pays attention even speculating that she had a boob job. And she was referenced twice in the premiere of the new HBO series, “The Newsroom”.
Deadspin which once championed her (and was the first to link to the infamous hotel room video in 2009) came out with an article this month pointing out that Ms. Andrews seemingly has no place to go other than ESPN.
Deadspin reported that Erin is no longer working for Good Morning America and she’s removed the reference to GMA from her Twitter bio.
Does this necessarily mean that Erin has no other place to go than ESPN? If you believe the speculation from Deadspin and The Big Lead, the answer is yes. But does it mean that she hasn’t had any other offers or couldn’t get work if she decided to walk away from Bristol, CT?
She can still attract viewers and page views. The NHL thought Erin had enough star power to invite her to its annual awards show last week and present two trophies. Could a league-owned channel like NHL Network find room for Erin? I’m sure it could if the opportunity was presented. But we have not heard of any offers asides from her present employer.
Overall, I still think Erin can move the meter on the Internet and she’ll continue to so for a while. Just for how long she’ll be at ESPN is anyone’s guess.
- Without any EURO 2012 action until Wednesday’s semifinal game between Spain and Portugal, I went into soccer withdrawals. International soccer is a sport that ESPN continues to excel. Understated coverage with Bob Ley heading the studio and Ian Darke the main play-by-play man, I can easily say this is a Golden Age for soccer on American television. Couple this with having Martin Tyler calling English Premier League games on Fox Soccer and fans have been hearing some of the best announcing of the sport.
Granted, we get hiccups like Fox’s silly dumbing down of the Champions League Final last year, but overall, the coverage on ESPN, Fox Soccer and Gol TV has been good.
With ESPN having just the FIFA World Cup in Brazil left to broadcast, it is setting the bar very high. Fox will have a long ways to go to match ESPN’s coverage and while this year’s Champions League Final was an improvement over 2010, the network will have a big hill to climb to equal or surpass the Alleged Worldwide Leader on soccer.
- Count me as one who loved the premiere of “The Newsroom” on Sunday. I enjoyed Jeff Daniels as the erascible anchor Will McAvoy and Emily Mortimer as his idealistic Executive Producer MacKenzie McHale. Yes, in typical Aaron Sorkin fashion, some of the dialogue was overwritten, but I enjoyed the show and I hope it has a long life on HBO. As long as Sorkin doesn’t go overboard on preaching, I think the show will do just fine.
I went longer than I expected on the thoughts. That’s to your benefit.