Time for some long overdue sports media thoughts.
First I want to apologize for the lack of content over the last three days. I’ve been helping in dealing with a family crisis and that’s been taking my time. Suffice to say that it might influence the number of posts this week into next. I’ll do my best to continue posting as much as I can during that period. Thanks for your patience in advance.
Ok, some sports media thoughts in bullet form
- It’s in vogue to criticize TBS’ coverage of the MLB Postseason from the announcing to massive spelling fails to the production, but I’m going in the opposite direction. Count me as one of the few who likes what TBS is doing. Their coverage of the four two Wild Card Games, 18 League Division Series into the American League Championship Series has been understated and stellar. While there have been obvious errors (Dick Stockton? Why?) like “Willie Mayes,” Turner has for the most part gotten the job done. You can yearn for ESPN, but you can rest assured that we would have Chris Berman shoved down our collective throats and see Curt “38 Studios Fail” Schilling in the studio.
Brian Anderson was very good in calling the National League Wild Card and the Cincinnati-San Francisco series. Don Orsillo and Buck Martinez had good chemistry paired on Detroit-Oakland and Ernie Johnson has been doing well, although Anderson would be my pick as the TBS “A” team announcer.
I like John Smoltz and Ron Darling, although Darling should not play a doctor on TV especially when attempting to diagnose Derek Jeter’s injury. Cal Ripken was bit dry as a game analyst although there were times when he successfully first guessed moments and spotted trends. Bob Brenly and Joe Simpson were very competent in their stints.I wish Turner brought back Victor Rojas this year in place of Dick Stockton. And it seemed that Craig Sager’s loud wardrobe is more subdued this year.
Overall, I give TBS a B minus for its coverage thus far.
- With Fox Sports 1 becoming closer to reality, it appears to be in position to be the true challenger to ESPN than NBC Sports Network. After a very good spring with the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs and a great August with the Olympics, NBCSN has crashed to earth faster than Felix Baumgartner’s free fall from 127,900 feet above New Mexico.
Hoping to gain a foothold in the BCS conferences and MLB, NBC Sports Network finds itself on the outside looking in. While it has been able to gain contracts with mid-major conferences like the A-10, CAA and the Ivy League as well as the Mountain West, NBCSN hasn’t been able to grab that major conference as of yet. And while the Big East is the last college conference up for bid among the majors, confidence among sports media observers for NBCSN to grab a part of the TV contract is not high.
Ratings since the Olympics for NBC Sports Network have fallen well below regular viewing levels. And the NHL Lockout has been a killer after the playoffs last Spring were so well received. If the lockout is resolved soon, then NBCSN can depend on some original content, but if the lockout continues, college football and MLS are finished in the fall and NBCSN can’t depend on college hockey to carry the network. And while obtaining Formula 1gives NBC Sports Group some live programming, it needs much more.
With Fox collecting sports properties like college football, MLB, NASCAR and UFC for its impending all-sports cable network, it’s in quite a good position for carriage among the major cable and satellite providers. NBC Sports Group must be wondering if it will ever get over the hump.
- Last week, CBS Radio announced the purchase of a New York FM station which will become the home of the nation’s first all-sports radio station, WFAN. CBS quickly announced that the station will become a 660 AM/101.9 FM simulcast. And while the simulcast will take shape starting later in the fall, this move was a pre-emptive strike at ESPN Radio and its hopes of putting the New York Yankees on FM.
During the summer, ESPN Radio New York moved to the FM dial. Now WFAN has followed suit just a few months later. This is going to set up a bidding war for the radio rights to the Yankees next year. This season, the Yankees signed a new contract to remain on WCBS-AM, their flagship station since 2002.
That contract expires after the 2013 season and the team has made it clear of its desire to go on FM in the future. Expect the bidding between CBS Radio and ESPN to get heated with the loser getting the Mets whose rights also expire after next season.One move CBS Radio could make for 2013 is to air the Yankees on WFAN-FM while the Mets stay on 660 AM.
This is going to make for some interesting sports media fodder in 2013.
That will conclude your thoughts for now.