I’m on the train heading from Kingston, RI to New York City. I’ll be at a sports media event at the world-famous CBS Broadcast Center. If you follow me on Twitter or on my Facebook page, I’ll be live tweeting if possible from the event.
In the meantime, Amtrak’s wifi service is as fast as dial-up so if I try to do linkage, it’ll take me longer than the entire trip from Kingston to NYC to complete, so in lieu of links, I’ll provide a long overdue thoughts post. If you’ve been a regular visitor to the site, then you’ll know they come in bullet form. Let’s get cracking.
- The game was a blowout and was virtually over by the coin toss, but that didn’t stop ESPN from giving it all during Monday night’s BCS National Championship Game. While Alabama thoroughly dominated Notre Dame in all facets, Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit were honest and forthright throughout. They didn’t try to use hyperbole to keep viewers by hoping for a comeback. When the Crimson Tide scored its fourth touchdown in the first half to go up, 28-0, Musburger declared the game over. And in a halftime interview with Heather Cox, Fighting Irish coach Brian Kelly answered honestly, “Maybe Alabama doesn’t come back in the second half. It’s all Alabama.”
ESPN’s pictures were stellar. Replays were clear and when a potential challenge wasn’t made, the network quickly brought in a rules analyst who explained why a review wasn’t necessary.
Yes, Brent Musburger creeped people out with his gushing over Miss Alabama Katherine Webb who’s also Crimson Tide quarterback A.J. McCarron’s girlfriend was over the top. And the four cutaways (by my count) helped to increase her Twitter following to over 100 thousand. That’s the power of being seen on a high profile game. But as people were raking Musburger as a creepy old man, former ABC, CBS and CNN anchor Kathleen Sullivan quickly came to his defense.
I’ve known Brent Musburger since working with him in ’76. He hasn’t oogled a woman since Jayne Kennedy.
— kathleen sullivan (@kathleennewsie) January 8, 2013
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Brent drool over a woman in the crowd. Lest we forget Brent going gaga over Jenn Sterger at a Florida State game in 2009.
Well, as we move from Brent’s oogling to the ESPN production, overall it went as well as it could considering the circumstances. Before the game, there were predictions that the game could set a cable viewership record had the game been close, but with Alabama establishing its authority early and often, that seems to be out the window. Although ESPN is saying the overnight numbers are way up over year.
I’ll give ESPN a B for its efforts. The game was a D, but that’s not ESPN’s fault.
- A story surfaced (subscription required) in yesterday’s Sports Business Journal that Fox Sports 1 (when it finally begins operation) can tap the Fox local regional sports networks to fill its MLB schedule. Fox Sports 1 will air 40 MLB games beginning in 2014 with the Fox mothership airing just 12 games. John Ourand of SBJ reports that 26 of those games will be from the local Fox Sports Net affiliates which have rights to MLB teams. Like the old days when FX had the rights to Saturday night games in the aughts, Fox Sports 1 will pick up games from one of the Fox Sports Net affilates. The key is rather than be blacked out in the local markets as was the case with FX, the local RSN will be blacked out and fans will have to watch the locally RSN-produced game on Fox Sports 1. So if Fox Sports 1 airs a Yankees-Angels game, YES and Fox Sports West in the home markets would be blacked out and fans would have to find FS1 to see it. How the financials will be worked out to compensate the RSN’s for loss of local revenue has yet to be worked out. And with the late-2012 purchases of YES and Sports Time Ohio, this new provision would affect them as well.In addition, Fox/FS1 will be able to air as many as 18 New York Yankees games a season thanks to its purchase of 49% of the YES Network. This will be the case for all of the teams to which Fox has the rights. However, for a non-Fox team like the New York Mets, Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies, Fox will only have rights to 8 games. Of those 26 locally FSN games, a team can be seen as many as 10 times. For the nationally produced Fox/Fox Sports 1 games, a team can appear no more than 8 times so you get the picture of the 18 Yankees games.
It’s an amazing story and one that is going to confuse fans at the beginning when the new MLB contracts begin in 2014.
- Last week, this site began hearing word that the usual NFL on Fox “B” team of Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston and Tony Siragusa would not be working one of the NFL Divisional Playoff games this weekend and would be replaced by Thom Brennaman, Brian Billick and Laura Okmin. Fox confirmed the move to Newsday’s Neil Best last week. Why did Fox make the move? A Fox spokesman told Neil that the network wanted to give a new team an opportunity to call the playoff game. But was there another reason? Is there smoke here?We eventually learned that Brennman, Billick and Okmin would work the Seattle-Atlanta game on Sunday.
Sports Rantz speculates there could be a reason behind the move, but there could be another as well as in an issue of Sports Illustrated, Richard Deitsch listed Albert, Moose and Goose among his three worst NFL announcing teams this season.
Whatever the reason for the move, all we know is that we won’t have that trio this weekend on any of Fox’s games.
While I like Kenny Albert and Daryl Johnston, I can do without Tony Siragusa, although Goose is good on DIY Network’s Man Caves.
That’s going to finish things for us for now. I’ll see if I can post some press releases on my way back from New York.