Some Quick Sports Media Thoughts

I’ll do a few thoughts on what’s transpired in sports media this week. As always, they come in bullet form.

  • The NFL came out smelling like roses after the league’s owners approved the new 9 year agreements with CBS, Fox, and NBC. Not only does the league have stability with its players with a long-term Collective Bargaining Agreement, but also with its TV partners. Some fascinating tidbits have come out in the new contracts including increased flex scheduling allowing CBS to air a handful of NFC games and Fox airing some AFC games to give more attractive matchups a wider audience.Also, NBC gets to air a Divisional Playoff game in addition to a Wild Card. It looks like ESPN will get a Wild Card Playoff game and NBC Sports Network will air a Sunday morning pregame show making a crowded landscape even more so.

    I like the Thanksgiving Night game going to NBC from the NFL Network. In fact one thing that’s been overlooked is the fact that NBC will have a Thanksgiving Night NFL game and a Black Friday NHL game during the November holiday weekend. The NHL game will get plenty of promotion the night before which is a very good thing.

    We also know that there will be more Thursday Night Football next season. And even if the NFL decides to have 10-12 games on the in-house NFL Network permanently, I’m okay with that. It won’t happen because the NFL wants a third cable partner (NBC Sports Network or TNT) and the cash it will receive for an 8 game package for the first half of the season.

    Overall, we learned that with CBS, Fox and NBC each shelling out an average of $1 billion/year and ESPN almost $2 billion/year for Monday Night Football, the four networks have in essence said that they cannot do without the NFL.

  • HBO’s season premiere of 24/7 Flyers/Rangers on Wednesday was another success. Already, Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov has made an impression with his takes on the universe and life in general. In addition, HBO’s cameras catching Sean Avery’s all-too-knowing “I know you’re in trouble” look at the Rangers’ Artem Anisimov after last week’s mock sniper rifle incident against the Tampa Bay Lightning was priceless. With HBO’s stellar production values, Liev Schreiber’s tremendous narration and some interesting personalities like Flyers coach Peter Laviolette, it looks like the second edition of HBO’s NHL 24/7 is another hit.
  • I had the opportunity to watch a bevy of sports media reporters on the New York regional sports network, SNY on Wednesday as they all opined on the year in sports. SNY split the reporters into a NYC and National sports media panel. Newsday’s Neil Best, the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman and Phil Mushnick of the New York Post comprised the NYC panel. Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch, USA Today’s Mike McCarthy, Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand and the New York Times’ Richard Sandomir formed the national panel. Chris Carlin was the host and did a very good job as moderator, weaving between the two different panels throughout the show. He adroitly asked questions and allowed the reporters to talk without interjecting.Some of the topics discussed included the Penn State and Syracuse media coverage, announcers and the stories they predict will be big in 2012. I thought Ourand, Best and Deitsch came well during the discussions. I thought Mushnick came off as pious and nitpicky. Overall, it was a good show and fast-paced. I hope it has an opportunity to air in other parts of the country.
  • And I’ll end with news on the search to replace NESN’s Heidi Watney as Red Sox field reporter. Fang’s Bites has learned that Jen Royle is no longer in consideration for the job. Apparently the position is Erin Hawksworth’s to lose. Here’s hoping that Jen gets the opportunity to return to Boston as she wishes.

I think I went longer than expected as these thoughts were quite extensive. Check out the regular Friday features, Primetime & Late Night Viewing Picks, College Basketball Viewing Picks, NFL Viewing Picks and Weekend Viewing Picks all throughout the morning.

Back with you later.

Ken Fang

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013. He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television. Fang celebrates the three Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.