I’ve been pondering this question for the past few days. I know why I dislike Chris Berman. I’ve grown tired of his “Back! Back! Back! Back!” calls, as well as his silly catchphrases like, “Stumblin… Bumblin… Rumblin” or “He! Could! Go! All! The! Way!” which is an homage to Howard Cosell. It’s the same act that Berman had when he started at ESPN in 1979 and he’s kept it all the way until today.
I also began to think about this question when I learned last month that the Pro Football Hall of Fame was bestowing him the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award. I’ve already lamented this fact and there’s no need rehash it, but rather than do another “Why is Chris Berman in the Pro Football Hall of Fame” post, I put it up to Twitter and my followers to discover what is it about Berman that angers them?
I posed the question both on Twitter and on the Fang’s Bites Facebook page and I received quite a few responses.
The question was, “What made you grow tired of Chris Berman’s act? Are there people who still like him?” I admit that’s a loaded question, but I got some very good answers. Borrowing from my Twitter trophy wife, Amanda Rykoff, a.k.a. The OCD Chick and her Daily Tale of the Tweets, I decided to post some of the best tweets and Facebook responses.
From Facebook, I received the following responses:
“arrogance” – Susan M.
”It is seems as the years go by, his references just get older and more tired. I mean, how many fans in their late teens and twenties know who the hell Art Carney is? Good lord. At least try and stay relevant.” – Matt B.
“Based on some of the articles posted on your blog and other places through the years, it’s his arrogance. In one article he claimed that he receives praise from the athletes, but has nothing to say about the people that put him on the map …in the first place, the fans. I was a fan of his back when I was in college in the mid-80′s, but the act has worn thin. He grates on my nerves. When he broadcasts an event, it seems that he wants to make it about himself instead of the event itself.
If I hear that he is broadcasting an event such as the US Open, or MLB, etc., I make a concerted effort to either view an alternate feed, or turn on mute. I no longer watch any of the highlight shows that he is a part of.
Many of my friends share this opinion, but there are a few out there that still like him.” – Mike L.
“It’s just old. The rasping voice, “backbackbackbackbackback”. I know he pioneered today’s broadcast style but frankly, there are others who now do it better.” – Beth J.
I did get one positive response on Berman.
ESPN will air the Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremonies this Saturday. Seven men are part of the Class of 2010 and the acceptance speeches will be aired in their entirety throughout the night. As usual, the Hall of Fame ceremonies in essence kick off the NFL season as the first preseason game will be played the following night.
Here’s the ESPN press release.
Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony Live on ESPN Saturday at 7 p.m.ESPN’s Chris Berman to be Honored with Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award and Emcee HOF Ceremony
ESPN will present live coverage of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2010 enshrinement ceremony Saturday, August 7, at 7 p.m. ET from Canton, Ohio. NFL Live’s Trey Wingo will host the three-hour primetime telecast with analyst Tom Jackson. ESPN’s Chris Berman, who will be honored Friday night in Canton with the Hall of Fame’s Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award at the Enshrinees Dinner, will again emcee the ceremony. The seven members of this year’s class include: Russ Grimm, Rickey Jackson, Dick LeBeau, Floyd Little, John Randle, Jerry Rice, and Emmitt Smith. The telecast – which will re-air Sunday, Aug. 8, at 2 p.m. on ESPN Classic – will review each inductee’s career and include speeches by the inductees and their presenters.
Correspondent Ed Werder will also provide reports for SportsCenter and other ESPN programs throughout the Hall of Fame weekend, including coverage of Sunday’s Bengals-Cowboys game.
Jackson comments on the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2010:“Most times I’ve always thought that seven is too many, period. Because the Pro Football Hall of Fame started later than MLB or the NBA, it was like we were attempting to play catch up to fill up the Hall. I don’t know that you can find seven all of the time, but this class, they’re all legit. It is fun for us because they are all deserving. It’s a good class.”
On Washington NFL Team guard Russ Grimm…Jackson: “What you look for in a guard is consistency. The championships speak for themselves. It is difficult to judge offensive linemen but his consistency and greatness was a pedigree he held the entire time he played football. When I think of a great offensive guard, he comes to mind.”
On New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers linebacker Rickey Jackson…Jackson: “He was a tremendous tackler and a tremendous guy off the edge. We always say Lawrence Taylor reinvented the position, but Rickey did that same thing. He was with a great unit with the Saints. This honor is representative of outstanding linebacker play for his entire career.”
On Detroit Lions cornerback Dick LeBeau…Jackson: “He was a tremendous playmaker in the backfield. I know that because you look at the picks and plays he made and what he accomplished. That’s how good he was. In addition to his career as a player, you can’t separate that from how good a coach he is. Not only is he a Hall of Fame player, but a Hall of Fame coach. Those two things make his induction doubly gratifying.”
On Denver Broncos running back Floyd Little…Jackson: “Our careers overlapped by a couple years. Floyd Little was as good a running back as I’ve ever seen and that’s high praise. I know it for a fact because I played with him. The last game he ever played in the National Football League, he put up about 180 yards and two touchdowns. That was the last game he ever played and that’s how good he was at the very end. His induction, I’ve always thought, has been long overdue because I thought he’d be the first Bronco to go in.”
On Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle John Randle…Jackson: “John Randle played the interior line – an undersized interior tackle who was able to dominate every game that he played. In terms of how special his performance was, it was his ability to do what he did and be undersized in doing it. We just don’t see it now in the NFL and I don’t know that we’ll ever see it again. I don’t know that you’ll ever see an interior tackle that’s not 290-300 pounds. Randle was a guy who weighed 260 and looked undersized but he was dominant inside. That’s why John is going into the Hall of Fame.”
On San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders wide receiver Jerry Rice…Jackson: “I grew up in Cleveland and my thought has always been that Jim Brown was the greatest football player to ever step on the field. Jerry Rice is the only guy that made me think differently. They are the two greatest players in the history of football. Everybody will talk about the numbers. Who knows if we’ll ever see those numbers again, but it’s not just the numbers. It’s the way he played. As a former player, I have more of an appreciation of the way he played the game. He is the first guy I saw in practice, no matter where he caught the ball, who would run as fast as he could for a touchdown. Forty yards away, 80, 60, whatever – he’d catch it and run it for a touchdown every time. I remember asking the coaching staff: ‘When did you get him to do that?’ and they said, ‘We never asked, he just always did.’ That’s how you build the greatest receiver of all time, when your expectation every time is to get to the end zone. That’s why he did it more than anyone in the history of the game.”
On Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals running back Emmitt Smith…Jackson: ” He’s got the best numbers and ranks among the top three running backs in my mind to ever because it takes such greatness over such a long period of time. He has the most yardage, but when I name those three guys – Jim Brown, Emmitt and the Juice (O.J. Simpson) – Walter Payton’s numbers were also incredible. I played against Juice and know how good he was. I never played against Jim but saw him throughout my childhood. When you are listed in the top three or four running backs among those guys, that’s true greatness. He was a rare combination of a lot of different things: burst, power, elusiveness. His determination in big plays may rival anyone who played the game. Those moments when you need it the most, he came up with the biggest plays.”
On Berman, his friend and colleague, receiving the Hall of Fame’s Rozelle Radio-Television Award…Jackson: “Boom and I have been working together for 23 years. He is most deserving of this and I have a hard time wrapping up our careers in one statement. Chris does so many things so well. I always want to let people know that in terms of the highlight package and the ability to do a highlight and get people to enjoy that, he is the best at it. He is the greatest NFL highlight man in the history of TV. Nobody’s done it like him and has made it as fun and appealing as he has. For me, a large part of they joy in my job is being able to do it next to Chris. He gets immortalized with this award and is very deserving. He will always be remembered.”
Additional ESPN Coverage of Pro Football Hall of Fame Induction Week:ESPNNFL Live with Wingo and Jackson will be live at 4 p.m. from Canton on Friday, Aug. 6, to preview the weekend festivities and to offer the latest news from NFL training camps across the country.
ESPN’s original series Homecoming with Rick Reilly will highlight the legendary career of Class of 2010 inductee Emmitt Smith (Thursday, Aug. 5 at 8 p.m.). Homecoming shows highlighting Smith and fellow inductee Jerry Rice will re-air on ESPN Classic Saturday, Aug. 7, and Sunday, Aug. 8.
ESPN RadioESPN Radio will present coverage of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony on SportsCenter Saturday (10 a.m. – 8 p.m.) with Freddie Coleman and John Clayton, and Saturday GameNight (8 p.m. – 1 a.m.) co-hosted by Dari Nowkhah and Marcellus Wiley, including highlights of the inductees’ speeches.
ESPN ClassicA “Hall of Fame Tribute” airs all week, Aug. 2-8, on ESPN Classic leading up to the 2010 Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremony, including past Pro Football Hall of Fame speeches, Homecoming with Rick Reilly episodes featuring Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith, an Up Close Special: Dallas Cowboys and Firestone Chats: Legends at Running Back. An “Instant Classic” replay of the 2010 Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony will air at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 8.ESPN.comESPN.com will offer extensive coverage from the Hall of Fame weekend with the “Cover it Live” feature, including contributions from bloggers James Walker, Kevin Seifert, Matt Mosley and Pat Yasinkas. A photo gallery and transcripts of the speeches will be available after the ceremony. Leading up to the Hall of Fame weekend, ESPN.com will have features on all of this year’s inductees, including first-person reflections by the Hall of Famers themselves, as well as their former teammates and opponents.
ESPN’s Chris Berman will receive the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award from the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year. Why he gets it over more deserving possibilities such as Gil Santos of the New England Patriots, the late Tom Brookshier, Brent Musburger, Bob Costas, Howard Cosell, Al Michaels, Dick Ebersol, Howard David, Jack Whitaker, Al DeRogatis and Steve Sabol is beyond me. I can list 50 people who should be recognized over Berman.
Brent revolutionized the NFL pregame show hosting position more than anyone. The man should be recognized.
Howard Cosell helped make Monday Night Football what it is today.
Al Michaels is the best announcer of his generation.
I don’t think Berman deserves this award this year. He did a tremendous job on the highlights on NFL Primetime, but that’s it. He doesn’t stand out over Musburger, Costas, Greg Gumbel, Jim Nantz, James Brown, Rich Eisen or Curt Menefee in the host chair. But he gets the award and will be honored during the Hall of Fame Induction Weekend in August. Here’s the ESPN press release.
ESPN’s Chris Berman to Receive 2010 Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award From Pro Football Hall of Fame
The Pro Football Hall of Fame has named ESPN’s Chris Berman the 2010 recipient of the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award, it was announced Monday. The annual award recognizes “long-time exceptional contributions to radio and television in professional football.”Berman will receive the award on Friday, August 6 during the Enshrinees Dinner in Canton, Ohio, when the members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2010 – Russ Grimm, Rickey Jackson, Dick LeBeau, Floyd Little, John Randle, Jerry Rice, and Emmitt Smith – receive their gold Pro Football Hall of Fame jackets.The Class of 2010 Enshrinement Ceremony takes place the following day at 7 p.m. ET and will be televised live on ESPN.Past recipients of the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award include: Bill McPhail (1989); Lindsey Nelson (1990); Ed Sabol (1991); Chris Schenkel (1992); Curt Gowdy (1993); Pat Summerall (1994); Frank Gifford (1995); Jack Buck (1996); Charlie Jones (1997); Val Pinchbeck (1998); Dick Enberg (1999); Ray Scott (2000); Roone Arledge (2001); John Madden (2002); Don Criqui (2003); Van Miller (2004), Myron Cope (2005); Lesley Visser (2006); Don Meredith (2007); Dan Dierdorf (2008); and Irv Cross (2009).Said Berman: “I embraced pro football a long time ago. I am honored and humbled beyond belief that pro football, in turn, has embraced me. To have my name associated with Pete Rozelle’s in any way, shape or form is an honor that I take very much to heart.”“With a signature style and genuine enthusiasm, Chris has informed and entertained millions of football fans as the face of ESPN’s coverage of the National Football League for more than three decades, and we are thrilled that one of our company’s pioneers will take his place among the sport’s most important contributors,” added ESPN President George Bodenheimer.
Berman arrived at ESPN in October 1979 – just one month after the network launched – and is one of America’s most respected, popular, and in many ways, most beloved sportscasters of his era. The 2010 season will be Berman’s 25th consecutive as studio host of Sunday NFL Countdown, having long surpassed Brent Musburger’s 15-year record in 2001 as the longest running host of a weekly pro football studio show. The weekly Sunday morning pre-game show has won seven Sports Emmy awards for Outstanding Studio Show — Weekly.
A veteran of 28 Super Bowls, beginning with the 49ers’ first NFL Championship in Super Bowl XVI , Berman has worked alongside Tom Jackson on Sunday NFL Countdown since 1987, when ESPN first acquired the rights to carry the NFL. This dynamic duo teamed together every Sunday night in the fall from 1987-2005 to host the critically-acclaimed NFL PrimeTime, annually cable television’s highest-rated studio show. Since 2006, Berman and Jackson have continued to deliver all the NFL highlights to fans — for a total of 24 years now – during both the 7 p.m. edition of the Sunday night SportsCenter (with John Saunders and Trent Dilfer) and on “The Blitz” on the 11 p.m. SportsCenter.When Monday Night Football moved to ESPN in 2006, so did Berman’s signature weekly halftime highlights trip through the NFL, “The Fastest Three Minutes in Television.” It was a staple on Sunday Night Football for all 19 years (1987-2005), and remains one now on Monday Night Football. In 2006, Berman traveled to the MNF city each week to host the Monday Night Countdown 90-minute pre-game, halftime and post-game shows. He continues in that role today from the ESPN studios, and in 2008 Berman had the honor of conducting the final interviews with then presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain during the MNF halftime on the eve of the election.Berman played the role of halftime host for ABC Sports’ Monday Night Football from 1996-1999, and he served as host of the Monday Night Blast pre-game show in 1998 and anchored the network’s Wildcard Saturday from 1996-2005. In 2000, 2003 and 2006, Berman anchored ABC’s Super Bowl XXXIV, XXXVII and XL pre-game shows.The pre-eminent NFL host, Berman has served as Master of Ceremony for the prestigious Pro Football Hall of Fame Induction ceremony for 10 years (1999-2008), and in 2009 he enjoyed the rare and distinguished honor of presenting Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson, Jr. during the enshrinement ceremony. He considers this to be among the most precious and unexpected opportunities of his distinguished pro football broadcasting career. Two others rank with it: being master of ceremonies at Hall of Fame 49ers coach Bill Walsh’s public remembrance at Candlestick Park in 2007, per the Walsh family’s wishes; and providing the impetus for Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick to allow quarterback Doug Flutie to convert a drop-kick in the 2005 season finale. It was the NFL’s first drop-kick since 1941.Berman has anchored ESPN’s annual NFL Draft telecast since 1987, and he hosted ESPN’s two-hour documentary presentation in 2009 of The Greatest Game Ever Played highlighting the legendary 1958 NFL Championship Game between the Colts and Giants. His prognosticating alter-ego – the “Swami” – has provided weekly NFL predictions and observations on SportsCenter since 1979.Berman has been named National Sportscaster of the Year six times by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association (NSSA), the CableACE Award as cable’s best sports host four times, and “Sportscaster of the Year” in the Studio Host category on three occasions by the American Sportscasters Association. His various shows have won 10 Emmy Awards and 12 CableACEs.
Other honors for Berman include the prestigious Reds Bagnell Award (2001) from the Maxwell Football Club of Philadelphia for “contributions to the game of football,” and The Pat Summerall Award at the 2009 Legends for Charity dinner in recognition of his longtime excellence in football broadcasting. Berman was named in 2008 to the CableFAX Hall of Fame as a member of the inaugural class of inductees, and he was honored May 24, 2010 by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame as a tribute for his more than 30 years of contribution to the sports television industry.
There you have it.
Time for more megalinks.
First, several media writers are amused by the war of words between CBS and ESPN over the most viewed broadband event ever. ESPN claimed 1.1 million people went online to watch the USA-Algeria World Cup match on Wednesday. CBS jumped in by saying, “Not so fast!” It sent out a press release saying the Duke-Butler game had more online views. And early Friday evening, ESPN sent out its reply sticking with its claim and saying CBS’ measurement of online views is rather limited. Stay tuned.
Mike Shields from Mediaweek has a story on the CBS/ESPN sparring.
The Sports Media Watch tells us that the final round of this year’s U.S. Open was up from last year, but down from 2007 and 2008.
The Nielsen Wire blog says the goal that put the United States in the Round of 16 of the World Cup generated plenty of online buzz and messages.
From earlier this week, John Strege of Golf Digest reviewed the U.S. Open and Chris Berman’s performance, calling him “a human vuvuzela.” (Scroll down)
The Big Lead was not impressed with ESPN’s NBA Draft coverage.
Yahoo’s Big League Stew blog has some baseball documentary suggestions for ESPN’s 30 for 30 series.
East and Mid-Atlantic
Richard Sandomir of the New York Times writes about the CBS/ESPN battle over online views.
Kevin Oklobzija from the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle takes us behind the scenes with Golf Channel as it’s in town for the LPGA Championship.
David Farenthold of the Washington Post says MASN will air a year-long public service campaign on cleaning up Chesapeake Bay.
Barry Jackson from the Miami Herald writes that veteran announcer Dick Stockton will call Dolphins exhibition games on TV this season.
David Barron in the Houston Chronicle says two local colleges get more TV exposure for football season.
Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says ESPN’s Outside the Lines will explore drug charges against a Green Bay Packers defensive end.
Phil Rosenthal from the Chicago Tribune has a link to the opening of the new MLB Network reality series on the White Sox.
Ed Sherman of Crain’s Chicago Business has his winners and losers in sports business and media.
Paul Christian in the Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin talks about the ratings for USA-Algeria.
David Briggs from the Columbia Daily Tribune writes that the University of Missouri is pondering its own sports TV network.
Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the future of a long-time sports radio personality could be in doubt.
The Kansas City Star says ESPN will be in town on Saturday for live shots of fans watching the USA-Ghana World Cup match.
Scott D. Pierce from the Deseret (UT) News likes the British announcers on ESPN’s World Cup coverage.
To John Maffei of the North County Times who says Mark Neely who’s calling the San Diego Padres for a short stretch while Dick Enberg is at Wimbledon sounds like he hasn’t missed a beat.
Jim Carlisle of the Ventura County Star says we’re watching the World Cup especially with the US involved.
Jim talks with TNT’s Kenny “The Jet” Smith.
Chris Zelkovich from the Toronto Star says ESPN has changed the way we changed sports.
Chris adds a Toronto sports radio station underwent a lot of changes this week.
Bruce Dowbiggin of the Toronto Globe and Mail also writes about the station’s personnel upheaval.
Dave Fuller from the Toronto Sun talks with the station’s program director about the personnel changes.
And we’ll end it there. Back tomorrow with more linkage and press releases.
Time for some linkage on this Thursday. Trying to get this in before I have to get some work done today. I’ll do as many links as I can.
USA Today picks up a story from Ronald Blum of the Associated Press in which Fox Sports Ele Jefe del Mundo David Hill expects a big audience for the UEFA Champions League final this Saturday.
In the Indiana University National Sports Journalism Center, Dave Kindred loves certain sports movies.
Jon Weisman in Variety says Golf Channel will air a documentary on Tom Watson’s long-time caddy based on John Feinstein’s book.
Laura Martinez from Multichannel News says ESPN Deportes is going to launch a multimedia campaign for the World Cup.
Anthony Crupi of Mediaweek writes that ESPN is starting an in-house creative unit to develop custom branded spots for certain clients.
Channel Guide Magazine looks at this weekend’s NASCAR All-Star Race and where you can see it.
Writing in CNBC’s Darren Rovell’s SportsBiz blog, Sandra Carreon-John of Saatchi Sport & Entertainment says the sports business is not as sexist as some women would have you believe.
Writing in Forbes, the Biz of Sports’ Maury Brown says ESPN will use your iPhone to throw a bunch of news at you.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes that NFL Network will air next week’s Super Bowl XLVIII announcement.
Richard Sandomir from the New York Times says the Preakness Stakes lost viewers from last year and from the Kentucky Derby earlier this month.
From the Albany Times Union, Pete Dougherty writes that Fox Sports is going to have internal discussions regarding Chris Myers’ remarks about Hurricane Katrina victims when he guest-hosted on the Dan Patrick Show on Monday.
In the Messenger Post (NY), noted author Curt Smith says Nashville Predators voice Pete Weber is one of the best in his sport.
Laura Nachman has Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s coverage plans for tonight’s Flyers-Canadiens game.
Tim Lemke looks at a Houston Astros program that asks fans to recycle some of their electronic gadgets.
David Teel from the Newport News (VA) Daily Press says the new ESPN/ACC deal puts the conference in a better position to compete with the SEC and Big Ten.
Sarah Talalay of the South Florida Sun Sentinel has another update on the new Florida Marlins Stadium.
Ed Sherman of Crain’s Chicago Business has some various sports business news and notes including the latest Blackhawks ratings.
Phil Rosenthal of the Chicago Tribune says some Blackhawks fans are wondering why WGN-AM isn’t picking up all of the team’s playoff games.
Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is not a fan of the NBA Draft Lottery (scroll down).
Bob Mayhall from the St. Louis Globe-Democrat profiles FoxSports.com NASCAR writer and Gateway City native Lee Spencer.
Scott Dochterman of the Iowa City Gazette says the Big Ten Network is a big key, but not the main reason for the conference’s expansion according to league Commissioner Jim Delaney.
Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times reports that Sirius XM will carry all 64 games of the World Cup.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News has your first look at Chris Berman’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Bruce Dowbiggin of the Toronto Globe and Mail writes that a BBC Sport documentary on the world’s best sprinters missed Canada’s contributions to the sport.
To William Houston of Truth & Rumours who tells us there’s a reason why TSN gave up its Blue Jays schedule so easily to Rogers Sportsnet.
Fox Sports Midwest says it will send its July 2 game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers to troops stationed in Afghanistan.
Mark Newman of MLB.com says MLB Network will air the All-Star Game Red Carpet Special on July 13.
Jon Weinbach from Fanhouse says despite not being liked by the conference’s coaches, it appears ACC Sunday Night Hoops, created for Fox Sports Net, will continue when the new ESPN contract begins after the 2010-11 season.
Friend of Fang’s Bites, Chuck Hanf, from the Two Cents from Beantown blog tells the media that got on Red Sox star Mike Lowell that they don’t have their heads screwed on straight for criticizing him for wanting to leave the team after he felt he wasn’t contributing.
Back to Maury Brown, this time in the Biz of Baseball. He gives kudos to Major League Baseball for televising its draft, but it has a long way to go before reaching the popularity of the NFL and NBA Drafts.
Sports Media Watch speaks with NBA Digital Managing Editor Mike Doyle.
SMW notes that the ratings for Game 2 of Celtics-Magic failed to measure up to last year’s Conference Final ratings.
Joe Favorito says even though it doesn’t have to, the Green Bay Packers continue to grow their brand during the offseason.
And we will finish there for the links.
Been busy at work today and expecting a busy late afternoon and evening. I’m squeezing in some linkage while I can.
First, USA Today’s Michael Hiestand briefly discusses the impending ESPN/ACC deal plus looks at the ratings for some of the weekend sports events.
Brian Steinberg of Advertising Age says at the network upfront presentations this week, marketers are already looking to buy ads on NFL and college football broadcasts before buying on network primetime programs.
Mike Shields from Mediaweek writes that ESPN is looking to automatically roll an ad as soon as a viewer logs onto ESPN3.com giving an advertiser prime space.
Radio industry newsletter All Access says an ESPN Radio/Deportes combo in San Diego has not paid employees for months. Not one month, but several months.
Eric Deggans of the St. Petersburg Times writing in the Indiana University National Sports Journalism Center gives us an inside look at the ESPN Innovation Lab in Orlando.
CNBC Sports Producer Tom Rotunno subbing for Darren Rovell takes a look at the effect LeBron James is having on the rest of the NBA Playoffs now that the Cleveland Cavaliers have been eliminated from the postseason.
Georg Szalai from the Hollywood Reporter recaps ESPN’s upfront presentation in New York today.
David Tanklefsky of Broadcating & Cable says UFC has signed a deal to put the upcoming UFC 114 event as well other fight cards on Roku in the future.
Thomas Umstead from Multichannel News says cable operators are calling for a Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquaio pay per view fight and soon.
Diego Vasquez in Media Life Magazine speaks with a Univision programming executive about the ratings expectations for the World Cup.
Richard Sandomir of the New York Times says Versus is finding an audience for the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Stuart Elliot of the Times has his take on ESPN’s upfront presentation.
The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman feels SNY’s Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez played blind on Sunday. Whatever Bob.
Keith Groller from the Allentown (PA) Morning Call says the Philadelphia Flyers have captured Eastern Pennsylvania’s attention as the TV ratings prove.
Tim Lemke says two months after being excited by the launch of Bloomberg Sports’ baseball analytical fantasy program, his mood about it is very tempered.
Jim Williams of the Washington Examiner explores what it would mean to Maryland to enter the Big Ten conference.
Tom Jones of the St. Petersburg Times feels Fox Sports’ Chris Myers went overboard with some comments on the Dan Patrick Show yestesrday.
Ed Sherman of Crain’s Chicago Business says the Blackhawks cleaned up in the ratings on Sunday for the local NBC affiliate.
Ed talks with a Bay Area sports radio host about the relevance of the San Jose Sharks in the local market.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News talks about ESPN’s Chris Berman getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In Truth & Rumours, William Houston writes that hockey drew the first six spots in Canada’s national weekend TV ratings.
Sports Media Watch notes that last night’s Game 1 of the Phoenix Suns-Los Angeles Lakers series dropped in the ratings from last year.
SMW says NASCAR on Fox failed to impress on Sunday.
SMW talks with NBA Digital Senior Vice President and General Manager Bryan Perez about NBA TV and other league-owned networks.
Jason Fry writes in Deadspin that Captain Blowhard after threatening to leave the Mothership, really had no other place to go and will most likely return to ESPN when his contract is up.
At Puck The Media, Steve Lepore says Sunday’s ratings for the Blackhawks win over San Jose were down slightly from last year.
Steve also has Versus’ plans in case tonight’s Montreal-Philadelphia game goes into overtime and spills into Chicago-San Jose.
That will do it for now.
Now, we have the official word from the Mothership that Berman has signed a contract extension. Details of the contract have not been released, but it ensures that Boomer who has worked at ESPN since its inception will remain there for the foreseeable future.
We have the press release.
Chris Berman Signs Extension to Remain with ESPN
Six-time National Sportscaster of the Year Chris Berman, who joined ESPN in October 1979 – less than a month after the network launched – has signed an extension to remain with ESPN. One of the preeminent sports commentators of his generation, Berman will continue as the leading voice and face of ESPN’s National Football League studio coverage as host of Sunday NFL Countdown, Monday Night Countdown and Monday Night Football halftime, and NFL highlight segments on SportsCenter. He will also continue his play-by-play duties for the Major League Baseball Home Run Derby and his familiar host role for ESPN’s U.S. Open golf coverage, among other responsibilities.
Berman’s extension ensures that he will remain a fixture on ESPN’s NFL Sundays. His 25 years as host of Sunday NFL Countdown (formerly NFL Gameday) – which pre-dates ESPN’s first NFL television contract – is by far the longest streak ever among all weekly pro football studio show hosts. Berman is also a fan favorite for his signature calls on NFL highlights, for which he earned widespread acclaim as host of the classic NFL PrimeTime from 1987-2005.
“Chris has contributed so much to our company’s success in reaching sports fans for more than three decades, and we are thrilled that one of the most important figures in our history will remain a vital part of ESPN’s future,” said ESPN President George Bodenheimer.??
Added ESPN Executive Vice President, Content John Skipper:?? “Chris will continue to be the face and voice of ESPN, delivering sports news, expert storytelling and, of course, his signature highlights with the same passion, energy and enthusiasm that has resonated with fans since he first arrived in Bristol in 1979.”
Said Berman: “Home is where the heart is, and I am thrilled to be staying home at ESPN for years to come. It’s been a privilege to work alongside my colleagues and an honor to be welcomed into the homes of sports fans for over 30 years. In fact, since this all began in 1979, that means we’ve been together for parts of five decades. I can’t wait to continue the journey.”
This week Berman will also occupy his familiar host position on ESPN’s main set at the 2010 NFL Draft – Thursday, April 22 (7:30-11 p.m. ET) and Friday, April 23 (6-10:30 p.m., ESPN/ESPN2). Berman has covered the Draft for 30 years and hosted ESPN’s annual telecast since 1987.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t take him away from the horrible job he does at the MLB Home Run Derby and it would give him a hosting role at the Olympics if ESPN obtains the games in 2014 and 2016. For now, Berman remains on the NFL hosting desk for Sunday NFL Countdown, highlights on SportsCenter and Monday Night Football.
Got word of these media moves on Tuesday. Both broken by the writers of the stories and giving credit where credit is due.
First, Mike McCarthy over at USA Today breaks news that Joe Buck has signed a four year contract with Fox to remain the lead voice of MLB and the NFL. And it leads to speculation that Joe Buck Live which was officially canceled by HBO earlier this week will head over to either Fox Sports or FX.
The second big news of the night is that it appears that Chris Berman will be staying at ESPN after concerted efforts by NFL Network and DirecTV to lure him away from the Mothership. The Big Lead reports that based on a source, Berman will stay at the only national network he’s ever worked dating back to 1979.
Ok, back to bailing out my basement. Talk to you later.
Interesting news surfacing tonight. The Big Lead and SportsbyBrooks are reporting that ESPN Original Chris Berman is being highly courted by two companies. Jason McIntyre of The Big Lead says Berman is being sought by the NFL Network. SportsbyBrooks says DirecTV is also actively seeking Berman’s services to be part of a new sports channel which would also include Dan Patrick whose radio show is currently being simulcast on the satellite service.
It’s a rather intriguing scenario. NFL Network hired Rich Eisen to be the face of its programming and he’s done tremendous work as the host of the NFL Draft, Super Bowl coverage and the channel’s live eight game schedule. If Berman comes over, there’s really no room for Eisen and that would mean Rich would probably be jettisoned from NFL Network.
However, the real intriguing scenario is DirecTV. According to SportsbyBrooks, Berman would be tapped to host a pre and post game show that would be the TV sandwich around NFL Sunday Ticket’s Red Zone Channel which is hosted by Andrew Siliano. In addition, DirecTV would start up a new sports channel which would involve Berman and Patrick.
The reason for this courtship? Berman’s contract with ESPN expires in three months and both the NFL Network and DirecTV would love to make a splash by bringing Boomer into the fold. Could either scenario happen? Anything’s possible. If it does, it makes the third high profile departure from the Worldwide Leader after Patrick and Peter Gammons. However, it all could be a negotiating ploy to get the maximum dollar for Berman from ESPN.
It’s a story that bears watching. Berman almost left ESPN in 1986 when NBC attempted to lure him to the network, but as we know by now, he stayed with the Mothership. If he chooses to go, it would leave a big hole with ESPN’s NFL coverage.
As usual, if anything happens, you’ll see it here.
I’ve been going crazy following two different stories today, one being the Chris Russo Firing Stunt and the other the launch of a new video feature on WEEI.com. Lots of stuff going on for what is supposed to be a slow sports day.
Let’s give you links and go from there.
First, let me plug some new Friends of Fang’s Bites, the fine people at Comcast SportsNet Bay Area/California tell me that they will have the re-air of Jonathan Sanchez’s no-hitter from last Friday. It will air this Thursday at 7 p.m. Pacific time, 10 p.m. Eastern time. On DirecTV, Comcast SportsNet Bay Area is on channel 696. Thanks to the people at CSNBA/CSNC for giving me that info. I wanted to pass it along to my West Coast friends.
Before going into the national links, a couple of links to my own stuff. First, I wrote a piece for my site at Boston Sports Media Watch about the launch of a new video feature at WEEI.com. Take a gander at “The Five” hosted by Kristine Leahy below.
Kristine definitely looks quite lovely there.
Early this morning, I reviewed the HBO Ted Williams documentary.
And I call shenanigans on the Chris Russo/Mad Dog Channel tirade from last week.
Ok, to your links.
Good on Friend of Fang’s Bites Richard Deitsch for breaking the story on President Obama joining Joe Buck and Tim McCarver during tomorrow’s All-Star Game broadcast on Fox.
Richard also writes about the person who shot the video of LeBron James being dunked upon, but then had Nike take said video. Thanks to Richard for linking to my ESPN College Football Announcing lineup post.
A couple of sports business stories from the Sports Business Journal.
Tripp Mickle says the International Olympic Committee made plenty of money on the 2008 Summer Games in Communist China.
Tripp writes that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman got a big raise in salary during the 2007-08 season.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell writes that EA Sports and the NCAA are apparently ignoring a lawsuit by releasing the new version of a college football video game.
Darren says UFC and sponsor Bud Light weren’t too pleased when Brock Lesnar specifically mentioned Coors Light in a postfight interview last Saturday.
The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick wonders where’s the outrage on the Donte Stallworth story?
Jim Williams from the Washington Examiner says ESPN will use Doppler Radar to instantly measure shots during tonight’s Home Run Derby.
Tim Lemke of the Washington Times talks with new WTA President Stacey Allaster.
Ray Frager at Sports Media Journal noticed that there was one thing missing from ESPN’s feature on Disco Demolition Night.
Tom Jones from the St. Petersburg Times reviews the weekend in TV sports.
Ed Sherman in Crain’s Chicago Business looks at the ticket prices for tomorrow’s All-Star Game. Ed is concerned about NBC Sports Emperor Dick Ebersol’s comments about Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympics being in jeopardy.
Olympics writer Philip Hersh of the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times has more on Ebersol’s thoughts on the US Olympic Network that’s supposed to launch in 2010.
Dusty Saunders of the Denver Post says the morning drive wars on local sports radio is heating up.
John Ryan of the San Jose Mercury News feels Brock Lesnar’s postfight interview on UFC100 was embarrassing.
Bruce Dowbiggin from the Toronto Globe and Mail feels play-by-play man Jamie Campell could be doing better on Blue Jays broadcasts on Rogers Sportsnet.
Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star says ESPN on ABC did its best to showcase the city during yesterday’s Indy Toronto race.
Chris Byrne of the Eye on Sports Media tells us that the Basketball Hall of Fame will honor TNT’s Doug Collins and the New York Post’s/NBA TV’s Peter Vescey.
Matt Sebek at the Joe Sports Fan blog says Chris Berman sits alone and with nobody else at the All-Star Game.
The great Steve Lepore of Puck The Media whose site is blowing up so much that he now ignores my Tweets (I’m joking, Steve), has some thoughts on the NHL upon his return after a week away from blogging. Steve talks about the real reason behind Darren Pang’s departure from Phoenix to join the St. Louis Blues’ TV team.
That’s it for now.
This is going to be a long post. Get ready to scroll for a while. Let’s do this without further delay.
“LIVE AT WIMBLEDON” STREAMING COVERAGE ANNOUNCED BY NBC SPORTS & ALL ENGLAND LAWN TENNIS CLUB
First-Ever Widely Available Free Wimbledon Streaming in U.S. Features Live Matches From Multiple Courts, Alternate Camera Angles, On-demand Replays & More“Live at Wimbledon” is Accessible at NBCSports.com & Wimbledon.orgNEW YORK – June 22, 2009 – NBC Sports and the AELTC combine to present Live at Wimbledon, providing live streaming and on-demand access to The Championships, Wimbledon it was announced today. The Live at Wimbledon video experience, which will be powered by Microsoft Silverlight, marks the first time that coverage of The Championships, Wimbledon will be widely available in the U.S. via free, live online streaming.
The All England Club's U.S. network partner, NBC Sports, is celebrating the 30th Anniversary of Breakfast at Wimbledon and is in its 41st consecutive year as the broadcast home of Wimbledon. NBC Sports will present more than 38 broadcast hours of coverage over nine days from Wimbledon beginning this Saturday at 3 p.m. ET, and includes live coverage of the Gentleman's and Ladies' Finals. All matches televised by NBC Sports are available online at Live at Wimbledon via NBCSports.com and Wimbledon.org.
In addition to NBC Sports broadcast coverage, Live at Wimbledon will offer live streaming of up to four concurrent courts, on-demand replays of the best matches from every day of The Championships, alternate camera angles for NBC Sports semifinal and final match coverage, daily video highlights, and Golden Moments from the Wimbledon archive, including an on-demand replay of the classic 2008 Gentlemen's Finals between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, that NBC Sports' John McEnroe said was the "greatest match we've ever seen."
Live at Wimbledon will be available starting today, the first day of The Championships, Wimbledon with on-demand coverage. Live streaming of NBC Sports coverage and additional matches will begin on Saturday, June 27, concluding with the Ladies' Final on Saturday, July 4 at 9 a.m. ET and the Gentlemen's Final on Sunday, July 5 at 9 a.m. ET.
The Live at Wimbledon video experience will be powered by Microsoft Silverlight and offers the first implementation of Live Smooth Streaming for U.S.-based audiences. Silverlight and Live Smooth Streaming enable NBC Sports and Live at Wimbledon to deliver true high definition (HD)-quality streaming video for both live NBC Sports broadcast and on-demand coverage. Live at Wimbledon users will also be able to experience digital video recorder (DVR)-like controls, such as the ability to pause live action, skip back to drive their own instant replays, and join live broadcasts mid-event. Microsoft partnered with application service provider iStreamPlanet to build the Live at Wimbledon video player and handle content acquisition, encoding, and origin hosting with Akamai providing the delivery of the content.
"NBC Sports has a proud tradition of Wimbledon coverage, and we are even prouder to extend our coverage online with the all-new Live at Wimbledon," said Perkins Miller, Senior Vice President, NBC Sports & Olympics, Digital Media.
"Tennis fans in the U.S. can now widely follow Wimbledon online both live and on-demand, and the quality of the Live at Wimbledon video player will only enhance their viewing experience."
"Building on the success of the NBCOlympics.com broadcast of the 2008 Beijing Summer Games, we're excited to partner with NBC Sports once again to provide Silverlight and the unique capabilities of Live Smooth Streaming to power Live at Wimbledon," said Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president of the .NET Developer Platform at Microsoft Corp. "Silverlight enables NBC Sports to provide Wimbledon fans true HD-quality video content and DVR-like features, dramatically improving the quality of the online viewing experience over previous years."
During the Wimbledon fortnight, ESPNews will add a live morning show to its schedule featuring updates from SW19 in London.
ESPNEWS Adds Live Morning Show During Wimbledon
Starting tomorrow, Tuesday, June 23, ESPNEWS will televise a live half-hour program weekdays at 10 a.m. ET to focus on Wimbledon, with highlights, live look-ins to matches and post-match press conferences, along with other sports news. The program will complement ESPN2’s extensive day-long coverage which starts at 7 a.m., and will continue until Friday, July 3. The extended coverage from Wimbledon will continue throughout the day on ESPNEWS.
CBS says U.S. Open Champion Lucas Glover will appear on the Late Show with David Letterman on Tuesday.
OPEN GOLF CHAMPION LUCAS GLOVER TO PRESENT THE TOP TEN LIST ON CBS’S “LATE SHOW with DAVID LETTERMAN,” TUESDAY, JUNE 23 U.S.
, June 22 – 2009 U.S. Open golf champion Lucas Glover will present the Top Ten List on the LATE SHOW with DAVID LETTERMAN, Tuesday, June 23 (11:35 PM-12:37 AM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. In only the second victory of his PGA Tour career, Glover shot a final round 3-over par 73 to take the rain-delayed tournament Monday, finishing with a two-shot victory over runners up Phil Mickelson, David Duval and Ricky Barnes. NEW YORK
Also on the LATE SHOW Tuesday will be author and former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and musical guests MSTRKRFT with John Legend. The LATE SHOW with DAVID LETTERMAN is a production of Worldwide Pants Incorporated. Barbara Gaines, Maria Pope, Jude Brennan and
Rob Burnettare the executive producers.
NBC has rescheduled the U.S. Open Challenge, originally supposed to air this past weekend, for the July 4th holiday.
GOLF DIGEST U.S OPEN CHALLENGE RESCHEDULED FOR SATURDAY, JULY 4 ON NBC SPORTS Event Featured Jordan, Timberlake, Roethlisberger Playing Bethpage Black
NEW YORK -- June 22, 2009 - NBC Sports' broadcast of the Golf Digest U.S. Open Challenge has been rescheduled for Saturday, July 4 at 2 p.m. following NBC Sports' coverage of the Wimbledon Ladies' Singles Final. The event had been originally scheduled for broadcast yesterday leading into NBC Sports' final round U.S. Open coverage but weather delays forced programming changes.
Michael Jordan, Ben Roethlisberger, Justin Timberlake and amateur winner Larry Giebelhausen all set out with the goal of breaking 100 at the Black Course at Bethpage State Park, the site of the 2009 U.S. Open Championship.
The group played all 18 holes of the Black Course from the back tees under strict USGA rules.
In the December 2008 issue, Golf Digest asked readers to send in a six-word essay on why they thought they could break 100 at Bethpage Black. The four finalists were narrowed down from 73,581 essays that were submitted. Larry Giebelhausen a police lieutenant of Scottsdale, Ariz., won the online vote with "I'm a cop, I'll shoot low."
Golf Channel tells us that a new original series hosted by actor Anthony Anderson premieres on Tuesday.
GOLF CHANNEL CHRONICLES THE GAME OF LIFE THROUGH THE GAME OF GOLF WITH NEW ORIGINAL TELEVISION SERIES GOLF IN
10-Part Series, Hosted by Anthony Anderson, Premieres Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET
ORLANDO, Fla. (June 22, 2009) – GOLF CHANNEL’s newest original series, Golf in America, will travel coast-to-coast to discover never-before-told stories, larger-than-life characters and inspirational people to capture the spirit of the game of golf. Hosted by film and television actor Anthony Anderson (Law & Order, Transformers), the 10-episode series premieres this Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET.
Whether it is a one-of-a-kind golf course situated within the walls of a Louisiana prison, or how golf is being used as both physical and psychological therapy for wounded soldiers returning from the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan – Golf in America will chronicle stories in stunning HD from celebrities such as Justin Timberlake and Donald Trump to everyday people across the country who are all unified by the sport. GOLF CHANNEL’s Rich Lerner, Kelly Tilghman, Jim Gray, Brandel Chamblee and John Feinstein are among the contributors that will help bring Golf in America stories to life as series correspondents.
Tuesday’s premiere episode features the triumphant tale of a group of friends who attempted their annual winter golf pilgrimage to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina via Flight 1549 which landed in the Hudson River; Bethpage Black, the first public course to host the U.S. Open; and a massive underground bunker constructed for Congress during the height of the Cold War hidden beneath the stately resort of The Greenbrier in the hills of West Virginia.
Golf in America airs Tuesday nights at 10 p.m. ET on GOLF CHANNEL.
NBA.com and NBA TV outline their NBA Draft coverage.
NBA.com and NBA TV outline their NBA Draft coverage.
NBA TV and NBA.com will provide fans with all-access coverage leading up to, and continuing throughout, the 2009 NBA Draft, which will be held at the WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Thursday, June 25th.
For the first time, Tennessee Volunteers coach Bruce Pearl will join NBA TV’s draft night coverage to provide a unique perspective on the NBA Draft Preview Show at 6 p.m. ET and the 2009 NBA Draft Recap at Midnight ET. In addition, Pearl will provide blogs on NBA.com titled “Pearl’s Gems” with his insight on the NBA Draft and prospects.
The NBA Draft coverage will be fully integrated with multiplatform content on NBA TV and NBA.com, with unprecedented opportunities for fans to interact with the NBA TV analysts, voice their opinions and access detailed information about each draft selection.
In addition to pre and post-draft analysis, an expert panel of announcers including host Rick Kamla, analysts Kenny Smith, Steve Smith and Pearl will provide Instant Analysis of key draft selections that will be available exclusively on NBA.com. NBA Insider David Aldridge will be on-hand for NBA TV and NBA.com with breaking news updates about trades. Also, reporter Craig Sager will be on hand at Madison Square Garden in New York City to interview players moments after they are selected in the draft via the Virtual Green Room, streamed on NBA.com. NBA Assistant Director of Scouting Ryan Blake will be in New York to provide scouting reports and draft analysis of international players throughout the night.
“The level of interactivity and depth of our 2009 Draft coverage is unprecedented as we deliver broad professional analysis and exclusive content generated by players and fans across our TV, Internet and Wireless platforms” said Bryan Perez, SVP and GM of NBA Digital. “We are thrilled to add Bruce Pearl to our industry leading analyst team as he brings great energy and insight having coached against many of the draft prospects on a collegiate level.”
NBA TV will offer original studio programming leading up to the NBA Draft including:
• NBA GameTime: Coming Attractions (Tuesday, June 23, 7 p.m. ET): Host Rick Kamla, analyst Steve Smith, NBA Insider David Aldridge and Ryan Blake review the NBA.com mock drafts to anticipate possible selections for the 2009 NBA Draft.
• NBA GameTime: Interactive Draft Room (Wednesday, June 24, 7 p.m. ET): Host Andre Aldridge and NBA Insider David Aldridge will interact with fans during a live webcast on NBA.com from 4-5 p.m. ET. The show will use interactive platforms including NBA.com Fan Forums and NBA TV’s Twitter account to generate fan content, questions and comments related to the draft. The Interactive Draft Room will air on television at 7 p.m. ET.
• Division Review Shows (Friday, June 26, 7 — 10 p.m. ET): Host Rick Kamla and NBA Insider David Aldridge break down each division, team-by-team, to assess the impact of the draft on the team. Each team segment will also be available on NBA.com.
• NBA.com will also offer additional exclusive content including: player blogs from draft prospects Blake Griffin, Tyler Hansbrough and Stephen Curry; an exclusive interview with DKV Joventut player Ricky Rubio from Spain; a live press conferences of the top draft selections; a live draft trade chart to track team trades; prospect profiles and highlights; photo galleries, polls and fan reaction via NBA.com’s Fan Voice forums.
This leads into ESPN’s plans to air the NBA Draft this Thursday.
ESPN, Inc. to Present 63rd Annual NBA DraftDraft Televised in HD For First Time
For the seventh consecutive year, ESPN will provide exclusive live coverage of the NBA Draft Thursday, June 25, at 7 p.m. ET from the WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York. ESPN’s NBA Draft telecast will be available in high definition – for the first time – on ESPN HD. Stuart Scott will host ESPN’s coverage with college basketball analyst and Draft expert Jay Bilas and NBA analysts Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy. Additional contributors will include international basketball expert Fran Fraschilla; college basketball analyst Dick Vitale (via satellite); on-site reporters Ric Bucher and Andy Katz; on-site interviews by Mark Jones; green room interviews by Lisa Salters; and field reporter Rachel Nichols from Tarrytown, N.Y., site of the New York Knicks’ training facility.ESPN’s comprehensive multimedia presentation of the NBA Draft will also include a live broadcast on ESPN Radio; a live simulcast on ESPN360.com and ESPN Mobile TV; SportsCenter Specials on ESPN June 22-24; expanded ESPNEWS coverage; ESPNU and ESPN International programming; ESPN Mobile Properties content; comprehensive reporting and analysis on ESPN.com; and an ESPN The Magazine Draft preview (on newsstands now).ESPN’s Draft telecast will display a constant crawl on-screen graphic at all times – including during commercial breaks – continuously providing up-to-the-minute Draft updates including picks, trades, team-by-team summaries, player stats, the results of ESPN.com’s interactive polling in real time, Bilas’ “Best Available” prospects and Fraschilla’s top international prospects. The crawl will also feature team needs, which will include perspectives from Jackson and Van Gundy. Additionally, those viewing the NBA Draft via ESPN HD will have access to this information and more throughout the entire telecast (with information included within the side columns of the screen).NBA Draft production elements:
- Jay Bilas’ in-depth analysis of the top prospects;
- video conferencing with 15 team headquarters (Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Indiana, Los Angeles Clippers, L.A. Lakers, Memphis, Minnesota, New Jersey, Phoenix, Portland and Washington) providing immediate access to the key team personnel in this year’s Draft;
- “Draft Cam” from the Draft rooms of the Los Angeles Clippers (No. 1 pick in the Draft), Memphis Grizzlies (No. 2 Draft pick) and Minnesota Timberwolves (three first-round selections), providing a unique window to the decision makers as they make their selection;
- more than 130 player highlight packages featuring top prospects;
- behind-the-scenes video of prospects as they endure testing and measurements at the Chicago Pre-Draft camp;
- a special production shoot involving several of the top players in the Draft including Stephen Curry (Davidson), DeMar DeRozan (USC), Wayne Ellington (North Carolina), Tyreke Evans (Memphis), Jonny Flynn (Syracuse), Blake Griffin (Oklahoma), Tyler Hansbrough (North Carolina), James Harden (Arizona State), Jordan Hill (Arizona), Ty Lawson (North Carolina) and Hasheem Thabeet (UConn), providing content for a wide range of purposes – promotions, bumps, features, etc.
Draft commentator highlights:
- Dick Vitale, ESPN NCAA basketball analyst since 1979 and a former NBA coach, will appear via satellite;
- Fran Fraschilla, who has done extensive overseas scouting, will report on and evaluate the international field of players;
- Mark Jones will conduct interviews with the NBA draftees on site once they are selected;
- Lisa Salters will interview key figures (players, their families, college coaches, etc.) in the league’s Green Room;
- ESPN The Magazine senior writer Ric Bucher will cover breaking news, including trade talks;
- ESPN.com senior writer Andy Katz will report on breaking NBA Draft news, along with information pertaining to college players;
- Rachel Nichols will report from Tarrytown, N.Y., the site of the Knicks’ training facility. The Knicks hold the No. 8 pick in the Draft.
2009 NBA Draft Preview – June 24 at 10 p.m.
Stuart Scott, Jay Bilas, Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy will preview the NBA Draft in a live program on ESPN Wednesday, June 24, at 10 p.m. from Madison Square Garden. Analyst Fran Fraschilla and reporters Ric Bucher and Andy Katz will also contribute to the telecast. The one-hour preview will include live interviews with prospects, features, athlete profiles and in-depth analysis of team needs.
ESPN RadioESPN Radio’s exclusive, live national coverage of the NBA Draft will tip off Thursday, June 25, at 7 p.m. with Marc Kestecher hosting and Will Perdue, Steve Lavin and Doug Gottlieb providing analysis and player profiles. ESPN The Magazine senior writer Ric Bucher will serve as on-site reporter providing behind-the-scenes information.
SportsCenter Specials June 22-23ESPN2 will televise 60-minute SportsCenter Specials Monday, June 22, at 10 p.m. and Tuesday, June 24, at 9:30 p.m. Matt Winer will host the shows with analysts Jalen Rose (Monday and Tuesday), Len Elmore (Monday), Doug Gottlieb (Monday) and Steve Lavin (Tuesday), and reporters J.A. Adande and Andy Katz.
ESPNEWSESPNEWS will offer extensive Draft coverage with daily content including analysis from Jay Bilas and Fran Fraschilla and reporters Andy Katz and Ric Bucher, along with interviews with Draft candidates; NBA Draft preview segments; interviews with team executives; and live coverage of post-selection player news conferences.
ESPNUESPNU, the 24-hour college sports network, will televise games featuring NBA Draft prospects Tuesday, June 23, through Friday, June 26. Draft prospects to be featured include DeJuan Blair (Pittsburgh), Stephen Curry (Davidson), Tyreke Evans (Memphis), Blake Griffin (Oklahoma), James Harden (Arizona State), Jordan Hill (Arizona), Jrue Holiday (UCLA) and Hasheem Thabeet (Connecticut).
ESPN InternationalESPN International will offer a live telecast of the NBA Draft in the Atlantic (sub-Saharan Africa) and Pac-Rim regions.
ESPN.comContent leading up to the Draft:
- ESPN’s Sports Guy, Bill Simmons, with his popular NBA Draft Diary;
- Chad Ford, Andy Katz, Chris Sheridan and Marc Stein reporting on the latest Draft news, trade talk and relative storylines;
- Ford’s Mock Draft 6.0 (June 23) and 7.0 (June 25, with updates throughout the day), predicting all first- and second-round picks;
- Ford’s podcast with NBA Draft insiders;
- John Hollinger’s Draft Rater – Hollinger’s new formula which projects NBA performance for college prospects and international players;
- Mock Draft Machine, allowing users to be the general manager for each franchise;
- Video breakdown of all the top NBA Draft prospects;
- ESPN.com’s Original Digital video feature “The Rookie: Blake Griffin,” plus a behind-the-scenes feature on this year’s hot prospect;
- TrueHoop’s Henry Abbott interviewing Draft prospects leading up to the draft;
- Conversation pages for each team’s fans to discuss the Draft;
- Ford’s 2009 NBA Draft Workout Tour (including special Insider content from the Reebok Camp in Treviso, Italy);
- Ford’s Insider content from the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago.Content on Draft night:
- ESPN.com NBA Draftcast, a real-time application displaying picks, stats, analysis, chats and videos;
- Breaking news on NBA Draft night trades from Ric Bucher, Chad Ford, Andy Katz, Chris Sheridan and Marc Stein.
- Chats with players after they are selected in the Draft;
- Ford’s pick-by-pick instant analysis;
- Ford’s team-by-team draft grades;
- Live chats between Draft picks;
- Live SportsNation polling;
- Katz’s Draft recap;
- ESPN Radio live streaming Draft coverage;
- ESPN television interviews with top picks;
- Conversation pages for each team fans to discuss team prospects and position;
- TrueHoop Live Blog of NBA Draft from Madison Square Garden; content also distributed thru Abbott’s Twitter feed;
- TrueHoop Network pick-by-pick reaction from team bloggers;
- Player reaction to the draft on ESPN.com video.Post-Draft day:
- 2010 NBA Draft Index;
- 2010 NBA Draft Top 100;
- Conversation pages for each team’s fans to discuss team prospects and position;
- Jay Williams; team-by-team analysis on ESPN.com video;
- Analysis from ESPN TV commentators at the NBA Draft on ESPN.com video
ESPN Mobile TVESPN Mobile TV will provide full simulcast coverage of the NBA Draft and ESPN’s industry-leading mobile Web site will have a special Draft section allowing fans to follow all the selections in real time. Fans will also be able to sign up for mobile alerts, providing instant selection updates and breaking news. ESPN MVP on Verizon wireless will feature news, updates, alerts management and video clips from the NBA Draft.
ESPN The MagazineESPN The Magazine’s current issue (on newsstands now) offers a preview of the NBA Draft including a Mock Draft featuring current players making the picks for their respective teams. Top five picks:1) L.A. Clippers (selected by Ricky Davis) – Blake Griffin, Oklahoma2) Memphis Grizzlies (selected by Rudy Gay) – Hasheem Thabeet, UConn3) Oklahoma City Thunder (selected by Russell Westbrook) – James Harden, Arizona State4) Sacramento Kings (selected by Spencer Hawes) – Ricky Rubio, Spain5) Washington Wizards (selected by Antawn Jamison) – DeMar DeRozan
New Mayne Street Tuesday: Kenny & Colin in a War of Words
The latest episode of ESPN.com’s original scripted series Mayne Street (debuts Tuesdays at 9 a.m.) is loaded with familiar personalities including Colin Cowherd and Barry Melrose. In this installment, Cowherd insults Kenny and chaos ensues. ESPN star Kenny Mayne continues to play himself in a fictionalized version of life at a sports television network. Mayne’s reoccurring foils consist largely of his fictional production crew, as well as other ESPN personalities.
Mayne Street joins a lineup of video that is among the most popular online. ESPN.com captures nearly 50 percent of the total minutes spent by users viewing online sports video. In April, ESPN.com came in #1 in the Sports category with 72.3 million total streams, 59 percent more than the closest competitor for the month.
This has been broached by other blogs and I’ve been trying to ignore it, but here’s a release on Chris Berman getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Great.
Berman to Receive Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame
The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Walk of Fame committee announced that ESPN’s long-time host Chris Berman has been selected to receive a star on the famed Hollywood Walk of Fame as a tribute for his body of work in sport television. Berman, along with 28 others from the worlds of motion pictures, television, live theater, and recording, will be honored by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce in the coming year. Other honorees include Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, Adam Sandler, Jimmy Kimmel, Russell Crowe, Roy Orbison, John Cusack, Van Morrison, ZZ Top, Sam Waterston and Ringo Star. The recipients were chosen among more than 200 nominees. Berman joined ESPN shortly after the network launched. The company will celebrate its 30th anniversary September 7.
One more release from ESPN. The new ESPN Chicago site is going to team up with the new Huffington Post Chicago website as part of a new sharing agreement.
ANDTHE HUFFINGTON POST CHICAGO
ENTER INTO EXCLUSIVE CONTENT SYNDICATION AGREEMENT
ESPNChicago.com and The Huffington Post Chicago (huffingtonpost.com/Chicago) today announced an exclusive content syndication agreement in which HuffPost Chicago will provide ESPNChicago.com with news headlines and blog posts, and ESPNChicago.com will be the exclusive provider of sports content to HuffPost Chicago, including breaking news, opinion and sports calendars.
“Politics, news and sports play a unique role in the identity of
,” said Marc Horine, vice president of digital partnerships and sales development for ESPN. “The combination of ESPNChicago.com and the Huffington Post Chicago brings to Chicago the best news sources and most varied and passionate voices.” Chicago
“It’s a natural fit for HuffPost Chicago to team up with ESPNChicago.com as they both offer the constant news updates, smart opinion and information that Chicagoans want online,” said Ben Goldberger, Editor of the Huffington Post Chicago. “We’re excited to bring ESPN’s mix of the best sports news, analysis and information to our sports-hungry readers.”
ESPNChicago.com sports content complements HuffPost Chicago’s unique blend of news and opinion, which ranges from politics and local news to food and style. The Huffington Post Chicago will supplement ESPNChicago.com’s local content which includes ESPN Radio 1000, and
news, traffic and weather from ABC-owned TV station Chicago WLS.
I guess I had another ESPN press release in my inbox. Here’s what the network has planned for various motorsports events this week.
Motorsports This Week on ESPN and ABC
NASCAR Nationwide Series on ABC from
The Magic Mile, New Hampshire Motor Speedway in
, hosts the NASCAR Nationwide Series this weekend, and the race will air on ABC with a live, high definition telecast on Saturday, June 27, beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET with NASCAR Countdown. ESPN2 is the home of the NASCAR Nationwide Series all season, with selected races on ESPN and ABC. The race re-airs Sunday, June 28, at 3 a.m. on ESPN2 and again at 10 a.m. on ESPN Classic. Loudon, N.H.
Marty Reid will be lap-by-lap announcer for ESPN on ABC’s coverage, with analysis by 1999 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Dale Jarrett and two-time NASCAR champion crew chief Andy Petree. Reporting from the pits will be Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Shannon Spake and Vince Welch, with two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion crew chief Tim Brewer in the ESPN Craftsman Tech Garage.
Allen Bestwick will host the pre-race NASCAR Countdown program with analysis by 1989 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty, owner of a winning team in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, in the ESPN pit studio.
In other NASCAR-related programming this week, ESPN Classic airs the 1998 Daytona 500 NASCAR race from Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, June 27, at 5 p.m.
Park Joins Daugherty, Brewer on NASCAR Now Roundtable
Former NASCAR Sprint Cup race winner Steve Park will join ESPN NASCAR analysts Brad Daugherty and Tim Brewer as panelists on NASCAR Now’s weekly roundtable discussion program on ESPN2. The program airs Tuesday, June 30, at midnight ET (late Monday night). Allen Bestwick will host the edition of ESPN2’s daily NASCAR news and information program.
Mike Massaro slides into the host role for half-hour episodes of NASCAR Now airing Tuesday through Thursday of this week at 5 p.m. and Friday at 7 p.m. Massaro also hosts the one-hour weekend edition that airs Sunday, June 28, at the special time of 8 a.m. with a preview of that day’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Daugherty and Brewer will join Massaro on the set, while Shannon Spake and Angelique Chengelis will report from the track.
NASCAR Now is hosted by Massaro, Bestwick and Nicole Manske and originates from ESPN’s high definition studios in Bristol, Conn. Contributors include NASCAR Insiders Marty Smith and Angelique Chengelis, analysts Ray Evernham, Tim Brewer, Brad Daugherty, Boris Said, Ricky Craven and Randy LaJoie, and ESPN.com reporters Ed Hinton, Terry Blount and David Newton. The NASCAR on ESPN team event coverage team of Rusty Wallace, Dale Jarrett, Dr. Jerry Punch, Andy Petree, Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Spake and Vince Welch also make frequent contributions to NASCAR Now.
NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing from
on ESPN2 Ohio
The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series travels to Summit Motorsports Park in
, this weekend, and ESPN2 will air qualifying and eliminations action on a same-day basis. Qualifying from the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals airs Saturday, June 27, at 8 p.m., with eliminations airing Sunday at 7 p.m. Finals coverage re-airs Monday, June 29, at 10 a.m. on ESPN Classic. Norwalk, Ohio
The series will make its third appearance at
, which three years ago underwent a $4 million improvement project. The event closes the first half of the season and is the final one on the tour before teams head west for the grueling Western Swing, The event also is the site of the eight-car Pro Stock bonus event, the K&N Horsepower Challenge, the winner of which receives $50,000. Summit Motorsports Park
Paul Page anchors ESPN2’s coverage with analysis by 22-time NHRA winner Mike Dunn. Gary Gerould and Dave Rieff report from the pits. Rieff and Dunn host NHRA RaceDay on Sunday at noon to set the stage for that day’s eliminations action.
Traxxas TORC Series Action on ESPN2 Sunday
Action from the Traxxas TORC Series presented by AMSOIL returns to ESPN2 on Sunday, June 27, at 12:30 p.m. ET with highlights from the series event held in Crandon,
The premier short-course racing series with the top stars in off-road racing, this exciting form of door-to-door action will appear on both ESPN2 and ABC this season. Wis.
The 2009 season features eight total rounds of racing. ESPN2 will air five rounds with three to appear on ABC, including a live telecast on ABC of the Crandon 40th Anniversary of Off-Road Racing. Marty Reid, lap-by-lap announcer for ESPN on ABC’s coverage of the
500 and selected NASCAR races, will call all of the Traxxas TORC Truck Series events on ESPN2 and ABC. Joining Reid will be long-time extreme sports announcer Tes Sewell and former Miss USA Kimberly Pressler as pit reporter. Indianapolis
HBO previews Bryant Gumbel’s interview with Jim Brown and Bill Russell on Real Sports tomorrow.
REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL
CONDUCTS A JOINT INTERVIEW WITH ICONS JIM BROWN AND BILL RUSSELL, WHEN THE EMMY®-WINNING SHOW RETURNS TUESDAY, JUNE 23
Janet Van Ham/HBO
REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL presents more enterprising features and reporting when its 147th edition, available in HDTV, debuts TUESDAY, JUNE 23 (10:00 p.m. ET/PT & 9:00 p.m. CT), exclusively on HBO.
*Legends. In an exclusive joint interview, REAL SPORTS host Bryant Gumbel sits down with two icons of the 1960s: gridiron great Jim Brown and basketball immortal Bill Russell. Beyond their hall of fame achievements, both were also outspoken figures in a turbulent period of racism, social activism and profound change. For this expanded segment, Brown and Russell reflect together on the extraordinary events of the era they helped shape, provide candid insights into present-day athletes and reveal the depth and importance of a previously untold friendship they’ve shared for nearly 50 years.
Producer: David Scott.
CNBC will air a documentary on Ultimate Fighting in July.
CNBC’S “ULTIMATE FIGHTING: FISTFUL OF DOLLARS” will premiere on Wednesday, July 29th at 10PM and 1AM ET. The documentary will re-air on Friday, July 31st at 1AM and Sunday, August 2nd at 10PM ET.It's a hit business like no other. And CNBC is ready for a rematch.
Ultimate Fighting Championship – the premiere name in the sport of mixed martial arts.
CNBC takes a new look inside the biggest brand in brawling with "Ultimate Fighting: Fistful of Dollars," a fresh take on CNBC's original Emmy-nominated documentary from 2007.
Correspondent Scott Wapner travels to Germany for the UFC's first-ever event in mainland Europe, and goes inside the Octagon with Dana White, the controversial front man, as well as billionaire backers Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta. Wapner also profiles a stable of skilled fighters who have helped the league grow from a dying franchise to a global sensation in less than a decade.
It's a mix of muscle and mayhem that is making money hand over fist.
CNBC's "Ultimate Fighting: Fistful of Dollars" premieres Wednesday, July 29.
Finally, National Geographic Channel will start a new series next Monday on bringing us closer to rare species of fish.
Monday, June 29, 2009, at 10 PM ET/PT
Trek to remote regions of the world for up-close encounters with monster fish armed with mouthfuls of razor-sharp teeth. In the Amazon, scientist Dr. Justin Grubich embarks on a risky expedition to record the dental imprints of two natural-born killers — the pacu, a cousin of the piranha with teeth and jaws that look human, and the “vampire fish.” Nicknamed for its 2-inch fangs, this megafish can literally “suck your blood.” By studying their bite impressions, Grubich hopes to learn how these river monsters are adapting to a food chain affected by pollution. Then, in the Congo, join the hunt for an elusive river assassin that bears teeth like a dragon and fights with the fury of a pit bull — the Goliath tiger fish. Down under in Australia, see a group of fishing daredevils reel in a great white as we’ve never seen before — using just a rod and reel, they swim bait out into shark-filled waters and pull in their catch … from shore, using a vehicle! In order to tag and track the migration and growth patterns of great whites, the ingenious team fashioned a special chair that hooks to a truck, allowing them to reel in their catch safely. Then, we come face-to-face with the long, broad snout and daggerlike teeth of the alligator gar in the southeastern United States.
BRAZIL: Ichthyologist, fish tooth, and jaw specialist, Justin Grubich, Ph.D., investigates tooth diversity in Characiform fishes of the Amazon. Here he holds open the mouth of a Payara, also known as the “Vampire Fish.” The Payara earns its “vampire” nickname with a set of two-inch daggers thrusting up from its bottom jaw. (photo credit © Julia Dorn)
In the new series of Hooked, we also feature fish biologist, conservationist and National Geographic Explorer Zeb Hogan on a five-year mission to help preserve the world’s biggest freshwater fish.
Here’s a video preview for the series.
Video “Hooked on Hooked!” – If you’ve every reveled in the thrill of the catch, you are going to love this show hook, line and sinker:
As usual, great stuff from NatGeo. Thanks to the channel’s fine publicist, Minjae Ormes for sending these releases to me.
And that finally finishes this press release post.
After hemming and hawing over how to organize the links today, I’ve decided I’m going to do a post based on just sports media links, then one on reaction to Blogs With Balls. I know many of the readers are probably sick of my posts on the conference, but it was a good event to attend and there was a lot of good things that came out of it. But if you want to skip over the upcoming BWB post, then go right ahead.
Let’s do the regular sports media links there and there are a lot of them as usual on Monday.
Starting with USA Today’s Michael Hiestand, he writes about the Dan Patrick Show moving to DirecTV and not necessarily being a simulcast of his radio show.
Michael also has a profile of Joe Buck in anticipation of the premiere of his new HBO show tonight.
Tripp Mickle of Sports Business Journal says ESPN is sending SportsCenter to South Africa to cover the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell notes that Kobe Bryant is the NBA’s most marketable player again after almost five and a half years.
The Sports Media Journal’s Ray Frager talks about Matt Millen getting his second TV gig in just a few short months.
Newsday’s Neil Best who will spend the week at the Bethpage Black course covering the U.S. Open has a rare interview with ESPN’s Chris Berman who will be in the 18th tower to the chagrin of many golf enthusiasts. In his blog, Neil has the entire transcript of his interview with Berman. Fascinating stuff.
Apparently the real Phil Mushnick has returned to today’s New York Post. Yesterday, he wrote a preview piece on the U.S. Open that turned out to be quite well done. Today, the mean Phil is back and he’s after ESPN for not recognizing a pitching performance from Friday. Let it go, Phil.
In the ever-changing world of the Chicago internet sports radio station, Ed Sherman of Crain’s Chicago Business reports that Mike North was back on this morning, but the financial backer was not. Ed writes the station is still on the air today, but it’s not known for how long. Apparently North wrote his own personal checks to cover those that bounced last week.
Armeet Sachdev of the Chicago Tribune’s Breaking News Center says the owner of the internet station has been charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission for running a Ponzi scheme. Wow.
Dusty Saunders from the Denver Post says a weekend TV sports anchor is the victim of a numbers game by the parent company.
The Los Angeles Times’ Sam Farmer who broke the Pro Football Talk/NBC story yesterday has more on their partnership.
Philip Hersh of the Times writes that MLB officials making the pitch to the Olympics are willing to make major concessions in its TV schedule to help reinstate the sport to the 2016 Summer Games.
Maury Brown of the Biz of Baseball also has highlights of MLB’s and the International Basebal Federation’s presentation to the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Bruce Dowbiggin of the Toronto Globe and Mail feels CBC focused too much on Sidney Crosby while not picking up that Evgeny Malkin on the Conn Smythe Trophy in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star asks Blue Jays announcers Rod Black and Pat Tabler to take it easy during the games.
Rick Kissell of Variety says the NBA Finals Game 5 won the primetime ratings last night, but will most likely be one of the lower rated games of the series.
Steve Clark of Vareity writes that the English Premier League has given cash-strapped Setanta Sports until Friday to meet its payments or have its TV rights sold off to competitors. Look for ESPN to try to swoop in here.
R. Thomas Umstead of Multichannel News says HBO has had to postpone the Floyd Mayweather-Juan Manuel Marquez fight due to an injury to one of the boxers.
Toni Fitzgerald of Media Life Magazine says the Lakers are steering ABC to higher ratings in the NBA Finals than last year’s series.
Chris Byrne of Eye on Sports Media says the Pro Football Talk/NBC Sports partnership is evidence that new media and mainstream media can co-exist.
I’ll end it here for now. I’ll have a post with links from various blogs wrapping up the Blogs With Balls conference.
As I’m watching CBC’s coverage of the Stanley Cup Finals on Hockey Night in Canada, I’ll provide some press releases then do some links later.
From one of the stranger stories I’ve ever seen and wondering what conflict of interest this brings up, but ESPN’s Chris Berman will give the presenting speech for Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson, Jr. when he is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August.
FEDERER SEEKS RECORD-TYING 14th GRAND SLAM TITLE AS NBC SPORTS PRESENTS LIVE COVERAGE OF THE FRENCH OPEN FINALS SATURDAY & SUNDAYNEW YORK – June 4, 2009 – Roger Federer looks to make history by tying Pete Sampras' record of 14 Grand Slam titles as NBC Sports presents live coverage of the French Open men's finals on Sunday beginning at 9 a.m. ET. Federer looks to complete the career Grand Slam by winning his first ever French Open in the men's final but he first must defeat the No. 5 seed Juan Martin Del Potro in the semifinals. On the women's side, No. 1 seed Dinara Safina is seeking her first ever Grand Slam title as she takes on No. 7 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova. Live coverage of the women's final begins Saturday at 9 a.m. ET. NBC Sports will provide coverage of the men's semifinals tomorrow 10 a.m.-1 p.m. (all time zones).
“It feels like history will happen on Sunday.” - NBC’s Carillo
“He is the Baryshnikov of our sport.” - NBC’s McEnroe on Federer
"Twenty straight Grand Slam semifinals is to tennis what Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak is to baseball." – NBC's Robinson on Federer's streak
Host Ted Robinson anchors NBC's coverage from Roland Garros, joined by analysts John McEnroe and Mary Carillo. McEnroe and Carillo combined to win the French Open mixed doubles title in 1977.
Federer is looking to make history as he seeks his first French Open title that would give him 14 Grand Slam titles, tying the record held by Pete Sampras. Federer, the world's No. 2 player had been the world's top ranked tennis player for a record 237 straight weeks from February 2004 – August 2008 before being surpassed by Rafael Nadal. Nadal, who lost to Sweden's Robin Soderling in the fourth round had won the previous four French Opens, beating Federer in the last three finals and in the semifinal round in 2005. Federer has won a total of 13 Grand Slam singles titles (five Wimbledon, five U.S. Open, three Australian Open).
For Federer, this marks the 20th consecutive time he has reached a Grand Slam semifinal extending his record. To put that into perspective, no player in history has ever reached more than 10 consecutive Grand Slam semifinals (Rod Laver, Ivan Lendl).
Federer will take on Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina who lost only one set on his way to the semifinals. The other semifinal match will have Soderling taking on Fernando Gonzalez of Chile. Gonzalez has not lost a set in the French Open this year dispatching No. 3 seed Andy Murray in the quarterfinals. Federer has dominated the remaining three men with a combined record against them of 26-1 with his only defeat coming to Gonzalez in a round robin format in Shanghai in 2007, an event that Federer went on to win.
TED ROBINSON ON FEDERER'S PLACE IN TENNIS HISTORY: "The biggest story of this last weekend is can Roger Federer climb the last mountain in tennis, the French Open. If he does he has an extraordinary case of being called the greatest of all time."
JOHN MCENROE ON FEDERER: "He is the Baryshnikov of our sport. His footwork is awesome."
TED ROBINSON ON FEDERER'S STREAK IN GRAND SLAM SEMIS: I believe 20 straight Grand Slam semifinals is to tennis what Joe DiMaggio's 56 game hitting streak is to baseball. It's an extraordinary record that will never be touched in our lifetime. To play 20 straight slams is notable, to reach the semis in 20 straight is mind-boggling."
TED ROBINSON ON FEDERER'S CHANCES OF WINNING: "I would be shocked if Federer doesn't win. He's dominated each of the other players who are still alive so he has that track record going for him. His confidence has to be high. And, somebody else did for him what he has been unable to do himself at the French and that is defeat Nadal."
MARY CARILLO ON THE MEN'S SEMIS/FINALS: "There are three semifinalists with monstrous forehands, trying to get passed the classic, elegant, vastly more experienced Federer. Roger is three sets from another final and Nadal is nowhere in sight. It feels like history will happen on Sunday."
The women's final is set for Saturday morning with No. 1 seed Dinara Safina of Russia, the sister of former U.S. Open and Australian Open winner Marat Safin taking on the No. 7 seed and fellow Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova. Safina, seeking her first Grand Slam title has dropped only one set so far this tournament and beat No. 20 seed Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia in the semifinals 6-3, 6-3. Kuznetsova beat No. 30 ranked Samantha Stosur of Argentina in the semifinal round 6-4, 6-7, 6-3 after knocking off No. 2 Serena Williams in the quarterfinals.
This will be the 12th time these two women have played each other with Safina holding a 7-4 edge including winning five of their last six matches dating back to a straight set win in last year's semifinals at Roland Garros, 6-3, 6-2. Kuznetsova did beat Safina in the French Open semifinals in 2006 however, defeating her 7-6, 6-0.
MARY CARILLO ON THE WOMEN'S FINAL: Safina and Kuznetsova have been the two best clay courters all season. The boldest will win her first major on Saturday."
TED ROBINSON'S VIEW OF THE WOMEN'S FINAL: "Safina has been in two Grand Slam finals and hasn't won and Kuznetsova won the U.S. Open back in '04 and has had a lot of chances since and has come up empty. So somebody has to prove that they can handle the moment and become a champion."
COVERAGE ON NBC SPORTS: Following is the schedule for NBC Sports' coverage of the 2009 French Open, which culminates with live HD coverage of the women's and men's finals this weekend:
Friday, June 5, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. (all time zones) – Men's Semifinals
Saturday, June 6, 9 a.m.-Noon ET – Women's Final (Live)
Sunday, June 7, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. ET – Men's Final (Live)
FRENCH OPEN GOES MOBILE: Tennis fans that are on the go can once again watch the French Open live on their mobile phones through NBC 2Go and NBC Sports Mobile. Fans can also get live news and scores on their mobile devices through the NBC Sports Mobile site (http://m.nbcsports.com) or by texting "TENNIS" to 51515 to sign-up for NBC Sports Mobile tennis alerts.
NBC AND THE FRENCH OPEN: In 1975, NBC became the first American television network to provide coverage of the French Open when the network signed a three-year deal with the French Tennis Federation. The tournament was covered by CBS from 1980-82 and returned to NBC in 1983, where it has remained since.
ABOUT NBC SPORTS CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON: NBC Sports Championship Season ties together seven iconic championship events with a combined 769 years of history in a 65 day period starting with the Kentucky Derby on May 2 and culminating with Wimbledon on July 5. NBC Sports Championship Season also includes The Players, the Preakness Stakes, the French Open, the Stanley Cup Final and the U.S. Open.
NBC Sports also picks up coverage of the Stanley Cup Finals on Saturday night.
GAME 5 OF STANLEY CUP FINAL SATURDAY IN PRIMETIME ON NBC SPORTS“The problem for Pittsburgh is that Detroit is so poised, so professional, that Pittsburgh has to play an almost perfect game, particularly in goal, to beat them.” – NBC’s McGuire
Stanley Cup Final on NBC Up 21% Over Last Year; Best in 7 YearsNEW YORK – June 4, 2009 – NBC Sports will broadcast Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins, Saturday, 8 p.m. ET from the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. In the first Stanley Cup Final rematch in 25 years, the defending champion Detroit Red Wings lead the series 2-1 with Game 4 in Pittsburgh tonight. NBC Sports, the network home of the National Hockey League, is broadcasting up to five games in the series, all in primetime (see schedule below).
Mike "Doc" Emrick (play-by-play), Eddie Olczyk (analyst) and Pierre McGuire (inside-the-glass analyst) call the action. McGuire will pull double duty in the on-location studio show alongside Mike Milbury and former NHL netminder Darren Pang. NBC Sports' coverage is produced by Sam Flood, the architect of the "Inside the Glass" analyst position.
The matchup features some of the NHL's greats, including Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal against Detroit's Marian Hossa, Henrik Zetterberg, and Nicklas Lidstrom. Hossa skated for Pittsburgh against Detroit last year. Detroit has won 11 Stanley Cup championships in their long history as an NHL "Original Six" franchise and the Penguins, two (1991 & 92). Twenty-one current Red Wings players (total of 40 times) have their names engraved on the Stanley Cup compared with just five for the Penguins.
PIERRE MCGUIRE ON THE SERIES: "If the Penguins win tonight, I think it becomes a home ice series and goes the duration."
PIERRE MCGUIRE ON THE PENGUINS: "They are much more mature both mentally and athletically than last year. They have better chemistry. But the X-factor is Jordan Staal. He has to be better."
PIERRE MCGUIRE ON THE RED WINGS: "The problem for Pittsburgh is that Detroit is so poised, so professional, that Pittsburgh has to play an almost perfect game, particularly in goal, to beat them."
STANLEY CUP FINAL ON NBC SPORTS DELIVERS HIGHEST VIEWERSHIP IN 7 YEARS: The Stanley Cup Final on NBC Sports is off to the best network start to the event in seven years in both viewership and in household ratings according to Nielsen Media Research. Games 1 and 2 on NBC Sports (Saturday and Sunday night) averaged 4.87 million viewers, the best since 2002 (Detroit-Carolina, 5.35 million, Games 3 & 4) and 21 percent ahead of last year (4.04 million, Games 3 & 4, Wednesday and Saturday night). The two-game 2.8 average rating and 5 share was up 17 percent over NBC's first two games in 2008 (2.4/4), and was again the best network start for the Stanley Cup since 2002 (3.4/7). NBC Sports' Game 2 coverage of the Stanley Cup Final ranked No. 6 (tied) among all primetime telecasts last week in Adults 18-49.
REMAINING STANLEY CUP FINAL BROADCAST SCHEDULE
Game 5 Saturday, June 6 Pittsburgh at Detroit NBC 8 p.m. ET
Game 6 * Tuesday, June 9 Detroit at Pittsburgh NBC 8 p.m. ET
Game 7 * Friday, June 12 Pittsburgh at Detroit NBC 8 p.m. ET
NBC also has coverage of the LPGA’s State Farm Classic.
NBC SPORTS TO BROADCAST WEEKEND COVERAGE OF LPGA’S STATE FARM CLASSIC
NEW YORK – June 4, 2009 – Paula Creamer, Christie Kerr, Natalie Gulbis and Michelle Wie headline a field that includes 49 of the top 50 players at the LPGA State Farm Classic from Panther Creek Country Club in Springfield, Ill., as NBC Sports broadcasts live coverage Saturday, 3-5 p.m. ET, and Sunday, 4-6 p.m. ET.
Dan Hicks, Dottie Pepper, Mark Rolfing, Jane Crafter and Bill Kratzert call the action.
And capping off the weekend, NBC has Track & Field as well as other action.
PREFONTAINE CLASSIC LIVE THIS SUNDAY ON NBC SPORTSNEW YORK- June 4, 2009- NBC Sports presents live coverage of the Nike Prefontaine Classic, this Sunday at 2 p.m.ET from Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. In the featured race, former world recordholder Asafa Powell will face off against Olympic bronze medalist Walter Dix.
Along with Powell and Dix, competitors include men's 1500-meter 2004 Olympic silver medalist Bernard Lagat, women's 100-meter hurdle Olympic gold medalist Dawn Harper facing off against bronze medalist Priscilla Lopes-Schliep and the reigning Olympic and Prefontaine Classic high jump champion Andrey Silnov.
In its 35th year, the Prefontaine Classic is a premiere track and field event in the United States and is the only stop in America for the World Athletics Tour. This year's events will showcase men and women's 100 and 800-meter sprints. Men will participate in the 300-meter sprints, mile, steeple, 400-meter hurdle, high jump, shot put and pole vault. Women will compete in the 400-meter sprint, 1500 and 2000-meter, 100-meter hurdle, long jump and discus and hammer throw.
Tom Hammond, Ato Boldon, Lewis Johnson, Dwight Stones and Bob Neumeier will provide commentary.JEEP WORLD OF ADVENTURE SPORTS, SATURDAY, 5 PM ETNBC Sports presents the Emmy Award winning Jeep World of Adventure Sports, an action and adventure sports series, this Sunday at 5 p.m. ET. The show highlights an array of adrenaline-inspired feats and adventurous sporting events from around the world. Featured sports include surfing, stand up paddling, the Red Bull Wake Lab and downhill skateboarding.
The Yukon River Quest is the longest annual canoe and kayak race in the world. Except for two mandatory rest stops totaling 10 hours, paddlers race non-stop over the 742 kilometers (460 miles) to Dawson City. The Red Bull Wake Lab is a groundbreaking event influenced by the design of the modern skateboarding skatepark and snowboarding snowpark. It includes a mix of hand and transfer rails, sliders, an elevated pool and 16-foot high wall ride/quarterpipe. Participants can also compete in the Olukai ho'olaule'a stand up paddle competition. This event couples high level competition with time honored customs of Hawaii including traditional sports, cultural activities, parties, food and music.
Commentary will be provided by Pat Parnell.
Fox Sports is going to spin its NASCAR ratings saying the races were the most watched events this spring, but one cannot deny the double digit percentage drops in viewing.
NASCAR ON FOX CONTINUES DOMINANCE AS SPRING’S MOST-WATCHED SPORT FOR NINTH STRAIGHT YEAR
Sprint Cup Regular Season Racing Leaves Competition In The Dust
– The 2009 NASCAR on FOX Sprint Cup season waved the checkered flag after an epic battle between two of the sport’s premier drivers, Jimmie Johnson & Tony Stewart, this past weekend from Dover International Speedway. From February through May, Sprint Cup racing on FOX concluded as the top-rated and most-watched regular season sport for the ninth consecutive year. New York
NASCAR Sprint Cup racing remains one of the strongest attractions in all of television and dominates its network sports competition. FOX’s 8.5 million viewers this season more than doubles ABC’s viewership for the NBA’s regular season (+124% vs. 3.8 million), and is 57% better than ABC’s NBA Playoff viewership of 5.4 million. NASCAR on FOX viewership outpaced the NHL’s regular season average by 431% (8.5 million vs. 1.6 million) and is 372% higher than the NHL Playoffs on NBC (1.8 million).
Among Men 25-54, NASCAR on FOX’s 4.8 is equal to the rating of hit Primetime shows such as NBC’s The Office and higher than CBS’s The Mentalist. Dating back to 2001, every Saturday night NASCAR race on FOX has won the key primetime demo, a remarkable 16 races over nine seasons.
Year-to-year, NASCAR on FOX posted a 5.1/11 compared to a 5.7/12 in 2008.
NBA TV’s David Aldridge had a chat with various bloggers in advance of the Finals and here is what transcribed.
David Aldridge Q&A
In preparation for the NBA Finals coverage on NBA.com, veteran NBA journalist and television analyst/reporter David Aldridge conducted an NBA Blogger Q&A session where he addressed the upcoming NBA Finals, key match-ups between the Lakers and Magic, pending NBA Draft and off-season, as well as colleagues at TNT and NBA.com. David has served as the TNT and NBA.com Insider for the network’s NBA coverage since 2004, appearing both in the studio as well as on the sidelines. Prior to his time at TNT, he spent eight years at ESPN reporting on the NBA and writing for ESPN.com. He has also written for the Washington Post and the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Q: What are your thoughts overall on the NBA Playoffs this year and what is your key match up for the Finals? (Rey-Rey from TheNoLookPass)
DA: “Well, I think the playoffs have been terrific, especially with Chicago and Boston. We’ve seen some incredible team performances, some incredible games with great last-minute shots, and a lot of dramatic series’. The Houston/LA series, which I don’t think anybody thought was going to be very competitive with Yao [Ming] out, was spectacular. Obviously, Denver and LA was very competitive and Orlando beating Cleveland; which I don’t think anyone really thought was going to happen. The playoffs have been terrific so far.
For the NBA Finals and match-ups, the keys are the obvious ones: [Pau] Gasol vs. Rashard Lewis, I think that is going to be a big match up; the two of them have their obvious strengths in terms of their individual games. Pau is going to have trouble guarding Rashard and vice versa. I think [Trevor] Ariza vs. [Hedo] Turkoglu is going to be a big, big match-up because Orlando has so much of a half-court offense with Turkoglu down the stretch. If Ariza can keep Hedo from being a distributor and get the ball to the other two good shooters; that will be a very important match-up.” (NBA.com breakdown of Howard vs. Bynum here.)
DA: “Obviously, I’m sure it’s difficult for anyone to cover something that his siblings are involved in. I’m sure it’s tough for Jeff, but he is a professional and I think he’s going to be fair. He’s done a very good job of calling it like he sees it and I have no doubt he will continue to do that. With Magic [Johnson], we have watched him over the years and he does not hesitate to criticize the Lakers when they play poorly and I have no doubt that if they play poorly he won’t hesitate to do it again. I believe both guys give a fair assessment as they should.”
Q: Earlier this week, we posted a piece about Adam Morrison and JJ Redick facing off in these finals. Can you remember another situation like this is NBA history, when two relative busts, linked so closely together, ended up being non-contributors during the league’s premier showcase? (Justin at SportsCracklePop)
DA: “I think those two guys are not where they want to be in their NBA careers, but I would say that J.J. Redick did play very well for the Magic this season and helped the team win games, especially in the Orlando/Boston series guarding Ray Allen. The shots just weren’t falling for him then. He’s coming along and helping them in some ways. Adam Morrison is not going to play in this series, and that just might be that he’s not in the right position right now. I am hesitant to call players busts, though, overall.”
Q: Obviously, next summer is the big free agent bonanza. Who will be the biggest signing of this off-season? Will it be Allen Iverson reuniting with Larry Brown in Charlotte? Ben Gordon coming home to New York? (Justin at SportsCracklePop)
DA: “I think Detroit is going to be really active this off-season whether it’s with Carlos Boozer or Paul Milsap, maybe David Lee. I think they are going to do something this off-season that puts them back into contention in the Eastern Conference. Think about some of the free agents: look at Lamar Odom who I think is going to have a lot of suitors this off-season because of the way he has played in these playoffs. I think Trevor Ariza is going to get a lot of attention as well, maybe from a team like Memphis that is going to have a lot of cap room to take a look at an Ariza. To get the players they want, they’re going to have to be aggressive and spend I think Boozer will have a lot of attention this summer. It seems like there are some things going on there and he may be on the move.
Q: How is it to work with Charles and company – would you ever wear any of Craig’s suits? Would he ever wear the outfits Craig Sager wears? (Lizz at Lizz’s Lockeroom)
DA: “[laughs] You know what? I think one night it would be great if we did a bizarro TNT night where he would were a charcoal tie and a black three-piece suit, and I come out in three-piece pink suit. I wouldn’t mind trying that once. Working with the Turner guys is so great in every aspect of the job from production to content to working with people like Marv [Albert] , Reggie [Miller] and Kevin Harlan. It’s such a treat. They do a great job and really like working there. I’ve come along way with them, they bring incredible amounts of intelligence and knowledge to the broadcast. I mean the proof is in the pudding with that show, you look at the Emmy Awards the studio show gets with Ernie [Johnson], Charles [Barkley] and Kenny [Smith]. They are the best in the business and wonderful to work with.
Q: What is the best NBA Finals you’ve covered in your career? (Lizz at Lizz’s Lockeroom)
DA: Great question. I guess for me it might have been last year’s because when I came to the NBA we had the whole Boston/LA rivalry so I’ve always had that. For me to jump back into the history of that rivalry 20 years later that was a lot of fun. It was really terrific to see Boston and LA competing for a championship, and with the history, that was a lot of fun. Watching the Bulls dominate those six championships. The Phoenix series in ‘92 was a great series. I really felt that series should have gone 7 games.”
Q: If Kobe captures his 4th NBA title, where does he stand amongst the League’s all-time greats? Can we start making a case for KB24 to “one day” surpass MJ as the G.O.A.T.? (Peter at PRC Hoops)
DA: “I don’t think right now you can put Kobe in the same category as Michael Jordan. If you look at Kobe’s years in the league, which is 12 or 13 years, that is incredible. But he has three titles and MJ has six, and I don’t think you can compare right now. I think Kobe is certainly the best player of his generation – no question. Like Bill Parcell says, its all about the [titles] and you know Mr. Russelll has 11 so no one is catching him and Michael has six, so I think those two guys have to be considered as No.1 and No.2 in greatest players ever.”
Q: There’s only room for one Superman on Twitter. Looking solely at content, whose Twitter game is superior: Shaq or Dwight Howard? (Peter at PRC Hoops)
DA: “I’m going to plead the fifth on this because I’m not a Twitter guy and Facebook is more than enough for me right now. I like to see the stuff that Shaq does here and there, like the meet-ups so I guess I’ll have to give it to Shaq. But, I’m old school and not on Twitter enough to make a good call.”
Q: Your Facebook profile indicates that you went to DeMatha High School. Did you play ball for Morgan Wootten? If so, what was that experience like? How does he compare to the elite NBA coaches? (Peter at PRC Hoops)
DA: “I did go to DeMatha, but I did not play for DeMatha. My game was not there [laughs]. But I do know Morgan Wootten well. He is as decent a human being as I’ve ever met, and he is a tremendous guy who is a very humble person. Even though I never played for him, I learned from him how to win with class and I’ve been fortunate to know him. I see him as one of the more successful high school coaches and he does it in a way that doesn’t call attention to himself. He is a class act through and through. I’ve gotten to know him in school, and after school, and am very lucky to know him. “
Q: What moves would you make if you were the Wizards in their situation?
DA: “Well, I think they have to do two things: they have to get a point guard – not because Gilbert [Arenas] can’t play PG, but they have to start thinking about playing Gilbert off the ball because that’s his strength – and I think a solid PG will do well somebody they can give the ball to – and somebody they can throw the ball to inside. They really struggle to score inside, and you can’t be a jump-shooting team and win in the playoffs at some point – and even Orlando is an example, but they have a guy you can throw the ball to. You have to have someone inside to get the ball. They have talent, but they need to strike a balance. Those are the two moves I would make.
I would look to trading that pick, I think they might be able to get something out of it but I’m not sure cause there are different views on how this draft is I think this draft is about as good as most but it’s not a great but it’s not horrible you can get good players out of this draft. I know they don’t want to trade one of those big three guys but maybe they have to get someone they like such as Amar’e Stoudemire – they have to look at that.”
Q: The Magic seem to have a more balanced attack while the Lakers are all about Kobe. What team do you see having the edge? Do you think it’s more important in the finals to have an insane scorer like Kobe Bryant or a low post presence like Dwight Howard? (Richie from MVN)
DA: “I think Kobe has tried very hard this year to add balance to that team. I think the Lakers are much more balanced than a couple years ago. I think he trusts Pau and needs Pau to do and play well. He needs Ariza and Lamar Odom to play well. In that sense, I think the Lakers are a very balanced team. They are a team that can score and their defense creates offense for them as well. I think LA has the edge; same reason LA has had the edge in every series thus far. Their size up front is so difficult for other teams to match up with. You have two seven-footers in Gasol and [Andrew] Bynum, and throw in Ariza at six-eight and Odom and six-ten. It gives Phil [Jackson] some real flexibility with lineups and who’s going to go in stretch of games. That’s why I think they have the advantage. Their interior defense is better than everyone else. Their guards and their bigs can single cover – playing help defense makes it difficult to score against.
Q: What are your thoughts on Obama picking the Lakers in Six?
DA: “I did see that and I concur. Actually, I said that before so Mr. President took my pick as Lakers in six games.”
Q: In the NBA Finals press conference today, you asked Dwight about the officiating – are you working on a story for it and what is your angle and/or thoughts?
DA: “I am working on a piece on NBA officiating, but I’m not sure when it will run or exactly figured out what I’m going to say and how I’m going to say it. It will definitely run during the NBA Finals, but it’s definitely a topic that everyone is talking about and I want to take a serious look at the officials because I did write a column on the NBA conspiracy theories and it will be along those same lines. I got a lot of response from that, and a lot of people have strong views on officiating in the league. I really want to address those things in a very serious column and that’s what I’m going to try to do.”
“Coming up on NBA.com, I’m going to have my picks tomorrow (Lakers in six). I think everyone at NBA.com is going to have their picks up tomorrow for the finals so you will see some of the other writers’ picks, too. Obviously, for the NBA Finals for NBA TV, we’ll be with Ahmad [Rashad], CWebb [Chris Webber], and [Gary] Payton for pre-game coverage at the Staples Center here in LA. After the game, me and Rick Kamla will be breaking stuff down and covering the pressers. Then, we’ll be on again with Ahmad, CWebb and Gary for post-game.
“When we go to Orlando for Game 3, we’re going to be having a lot of fun. We’ll have the NBA TV crew, plus Ernie, Chuck and Kenny so we’ll have so much new content on NBA.com and some great TV coverage both online and on NBA TV. It should be a fantastic series.”
And in the wake of Rodney Harrison’s addition to NBC Sports’ Football Night in America comes this release about his signing to the Maxx Sports and Entertainment agency.
MAXX SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT ADDS JUST-RETIRED NFL ALL-PRO RODNEY HARRISON TO ITS GROWING LIST OF BROADCAST TALENT, SIGNS HIM TO DEAL WITH NBC SPORTS
Outspoken All-Pro and two time Super Bowl champion joins NBC Sports “Football Night In America” Lineup As Analyst Alongside Fellow MAXX client Tiki Barber
(June 4, 2009) – MAXX Sports and Entertainment today announced that they have signed just-retired 15 year NFL veteran Rodney Harrison. Harrison’s first assignment will be as an analyst for NBC Sports Emmy winning “Football Night In America” broadcast team, as announced by NBC Universal Sports and Olympics Chairman Dick Ebersol on Wednesday. He joins fellow MAXX client Tiki Barber on the show.
“Rodney Harrison’s broadcast style will reflect his play on the field…hard working. honest, and outspoken,” said MAXX CEO Mark Lepselter. “We are very happy to have worked with NBC Sports to provide Rodney this opportunity and know that he will become a fan favorite.”
Harrison, who had his first taste of on-air work with NBC during last year’s Super Bowl and scored very high marks, retired from the NFL yesterday after a 15 year career in which he made three Pro Bowl appearances and reached the Super Bowl four times, twice winning titles with the New England Patriots. He is the only player in NFL history with at least 30 career sacks and 30 career interceptions during his time with the Patriots and San Diego Chargers. Off the field, his Patriot teammates honored him with the 2006 Ed Block Courage award for the player who best exemplifies the principles of courage and sportsmanship while also serving as a source of inspiration.
Harrison’s deal with NBC Sports is the latest in a series of prominent moves by MAXX clients. Others include Lawrence Taylor’s recently completed successful run on “Dancing with the Stars,” broadcaster Brandon Tierney securing the coveted midday talk show spot on 1050 ESPN Radio in New York as well as co-hosting SportsNet New York’s “The Wheelhouse,” while fellow MAXX client (and WFAN midday host) Joe Benigno co-hosts SNY’s “Daily News Live” show. Benigno and client Sid Rosenberg also recently signed literary deals with Triumph Books.
That’s going to do it.
I have a press release from the NFL Network and some PR tidbits from ESPN. Let’s do the NFL Network first. Here’s quotage from NFL Gameday Final.
Wild Card Weekend (Jan. 4, 2009) – Quotable from NFL GameDay Final on NFL Network
“When is this glass slipper going to fall off the
Chargers?” – Deion Sanders San Diego
“He looks like Willie Mays in centerfield.” – Steve Mariucci on Ravens S Ed Reed’s over-the-shoulder interception, which he returned 64 yards for a touchdown
“He is arguably the best corner in the game.” – Deion Sanders on Eagles CB Asante Samuel, who had 44-yard interception-return touchdown vs. Vikings. Samuel’s score was his NFL postseason record fourth career INT-return TD.
“I would be shocked if they let him [leave] or trade him. They need him. For 10 years he’s been great…seven times in the Playoffs.” – Steve Mariucci on Eagles QB Donovan McNabb, who passed for 300 yards vs. Vikings
“He has no big-time receivers and he still gets the job done.” – Deion Sanders on McNabb
“Why would you throw the ball up like that when you know Ed Reed is in the middle of the field?” – Deion Sanders on Dolphins QB Chad Pennington’s second-quarter interception, which Ravens S Reed returned for a touchdown
“He breaks on the ball like no other.” – Deion Sanders on Ravens S Ed Reed’s second interception
“A younger player would not have even had the thought to jump the ball like that. Amazing.” – Steve Mariucci on Reed’s second interception
“I love watching this defense, not only because they have great players; but the scheme is very multiple and fun to watch and dissect.” – Steve Mariucci on Baltimore Ravens defense
“[Ravens] defensive coordinator Rex Ryan should be a head coach next year.” – Deion Sanders
“Last time they met, he was still a young Joe Flacco.” – Deion Sanders on Ravens-Titans Divisional matchup
“They need to run for 150 yards against
to help this young quarterback.” – Steve Mariucci on Ravens game plan vs. Titans next week Tennessee
[must] continue to pressure Ben Roethlisberger.” – Steve Mariucci on Chargers-Steelers Divisional matchup San Diego
“We are who we are because of the Playoffs.” – Deion Sanders on timing of AP awards, including MVP and Coach of the Year
And let’s do a bunch of ESPN-related news from the Alleged Worldwide Leader. Some interesting stuff. First, ESPN talks about the announcing team switch for this Wednesday between its NBA and college basketball crews.
NBA and College Basketball Commentators Trade Places; Vitale Back to NBA
ESPN’s NBA and college basketball commentators will switch roles on Wednesday, Jan. 7, during a special basketball doubleheader on ESPN.
NBA regulars Mike Tirico and analysts Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy will call Davidson at Duke at 7 p.m. ET, followed by college voices Dan Shulman and Hall of Famer Dick Vitale (who is in his 30th year with ESPN) providing commentary when the Denver Nuggets host the Miami Heat at 9 p.m. Vitale last called an NBA game on ESPN in 1984, while Jackson was a standout at St. John’s in the mid-1980’s and Van Gundy was an assistant coach at Providence College and Rutgers University in the late 1980’s.
Next, ESPN announces that the Sunday 7 p.m. ET SportsCenter with Chris Berman doing NFL highlights had increased ratings from the previous year.
Sunday SportsCenter at 7 p.m. Hosted by Chris Berman Up in Ratings This Fall
The 7 p.m. Sunday SportsCenter during the NFL season had a 13% increase in ratings (0.9 vs. 0.8 in 2007) and a 12% gain in household viewership (849,000 homes vs. 759,000) from a year ago.
Two years removed from the 19th and final season of ESPN’s popular NFL PrimeTime (1987-2005) highlights show, this year ESPN reunited Chris Berman, Tom Jackson and John Saunders with first-year analyst Trent Dilfer in a new NFL-centric show focused on all the day’s pro football action in addition to the day’s top sports stories.
SportsCenter also added a new compressed graphical format with statistics, injury reports, fantasy football stats and other relevant NFL news, updating fans on the day’s action.
“Chris Berman and our NFL experts delivered on our promise of giving fans immediate and hard-hitting analysis of all the day’s games all season long, and the new 7 p.m. Sunday SportsCenter was a big hit,” said Norby Williamson, ESPN executive vice president, production.
MLB Network has its nightly “Hot Stove” program so ESPN is trying to go one better with its “Baseball Tonight Hot Stove” segments starting tomorrow on SportsCenter. Expect ESPN’s stable of baseball reporters to star in the segments.
“Baseball Tonight Hot Stove” Series on SportsCenter
SportsCenter is presenting a daily “Baseball Tonight Hot Stove” series analyzing each Major League team.
The series started last Friday with Philadelphia followed by Tampa Bay, the Cubs and White Sox (tonight). Host Karl Ravech is joined by a combination of reporters and analysts including Peter Gammons, Tim Kurkjian, Buster Olney, and Steve Phillips, who examine each team’s key losses, additions and yet-to-be-made moves.
“Baseball Tonight Hot Stove” Team-by-Team Schedule
Tue., Jan. 6 – Anaheim (Kurkjian) Tue., Jan. 20 – Washington (Kurkjian)
Wed., Jan. 7 – Los Angeles (Olney) Wed., Jan. 21 – Baltimore (Olney)
Thu., Jan. 8 – Florida (Gammons) Thu., Jan. 22 – Arizona (Gammons)
Fri., Jan. 9 – Detroit (Gammons) Fri., Jan. 23 – Oakland (Gammons)
Sat., Jan. 10 – Cincinnati (Kurkjian) Sat., Jan. 24 – Pittsburgh (Olney)
Sun., Jan. 11 – Boston (Gammons) Sun., Jan. 25 – Mets (Phillips)
Mon., Jan. 12 – Colorado (Phillips) Mon., Jan. 26 – Minnesota (Olney)
Tue., Jan. 13 – St Louis (Phillips) Tue., Jan. 27 – Houston (Olney)
Wed., Jan. 14 – Cleveland (Kurkjian) Wed., Jan. 28 – Toronto (Phillips)
Thu., Jan. 15 – Atlanta (Kurkjian) Thu., Jan. 29 – San Francisco (Kurikjian)
Fri., Jan. 16 -San Diego (Olney) Fri., Jan. 30 – Texas (Kurkjian)
Sat., Jan. 17 – Seattle (Phillips) Sat., Jan. 31 – Kansas City (Gammons)
Sun., Jan. 18 -Yankees (Olney)
Mon., Jan. 19 – Milwaukee (Gammons)
And that will do it for now.
Mostly due to laziness, I’m doing the Friday megalinks late at night. I was at work today and that took precedence, but I did do some blog posts during the day, but any links. So I’ll take care of that now and combine Friday’s and Saturday’s links together.
Of course, we have the Weekend Viewing Picks to start.
We go into the last weekend of the NFL regular season with the AFC East, the NFC South, the AFC West and an AFC wildcard spot still in the balance. Both CBS and Fox have doubleheaders and the very last game of the regular season, Sunday night’s Denver-San Diego game will decide the winner of the AFC West and the last playoff spot. The entire viewing schedule plus distribution maps can be seen in the NFL Viewing Picks.
There are four college bowl games taking place this weekend, three on Saturday and on Sunday. ESPN will carry all of them. The Meineke Car Care Bowl kicks off the tripleheader on Saturday pitting West Virginia and North Carolina at 1 p.m. At 4:30 p.m., it’s the Champ Sports Bowl with Wisconsin battling Florida State, then in primetime at 8 p.m., it will be the Emerald Bowl as Miami (FL) takes on Cal. Then on Sunday, the Independence Bowl has Northern Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech at 8:15 p.m.
Not much for college basketball this weekend as the holiday break takes hold. But CBS has West Virginia at Ohio State, Saturday at 4 p.m. You can take a gander at the national schedule in the College Basketball Viewing Picks.
Now onto the links.
USA Today’s Michael Hiestand gives you a 2008 sports media quiz.
Pat Eaton-Robb of the Associated Press looks at Chris Berman who enters his 30th year at ESPN.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell says the Detroit Lions with a chance to go 0-16 have plenty of merchandise to commemorate the possibility of a reverse perfect season. And Darren looks at the lengths one man went to buy the famous Honus Wagner baseball card.
Joe Favorito says the Portland Trail Blazers expanded on last year’s initial Hanukah night with success.
John Eggerton of B&C writes about the Christmas Day launch of the new Ski Channel which started airing on various cable systems and DirecTV.
Multichannel News has a video produced by R. Thomas Umsted which looks inside the launch of the MLB Network.
The Sports Media Watch says Celtics-Lakers was the second highest rated NBA regular season game of this decade. The SMW says ABC’s NBA doubleheader including Celtics-Lakers did well. SMW says after seven seasons of broadcasting the NBA, ESPN/ABC seems that its finally hitting its stride.
East and Mid-Atlantic
The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick rips poker on ESPN.
Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News says while the media rips the Yankees for spending in a down economy, history shows that the spending doesn’t always lead to a championship.
Newsday’s Neil Best says the NFL is the 800 lbs. ratings gorilla. Neil has some numbers in his blog to back his column. Neil reviews the year in sports media. Neil also reviews the year’s most watched sporting events. Finally, Neil reviews his sports media predictions for this year.
Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times-Union writes that NBC is hoping for an assist from the weather for the NHL Winter Classic on New Year’s Day.
The Schenectady Gazette’s Ken Schott lists his top ten broadcast media stories of 2008.
Laura Nachman says a former CN8 host is moving over to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia.
Roger van der Horst of the Raleigh News & Observer talks ACC hoops with ESPN analyst Jason Williams. Roger says the ACC is dealing in a position of weakness as it prepares to negotiate a new football TV contract.
Doug Nye of The State says the NFL’s Greatest Game Ever Played remains as important today as it was in 1958.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald has the NFL explanation as to why Denver-San Diego was chosen as the Sunday night game instead of Dolphins-Jets.
Dave Darling from the Orlando Sentinel looks back at some of the best sports quotes of 2008.
Ray Buck of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram suggests some sports books to buy with your holiday bookstore gift card.
David Barron of the Houston Chronicle says local Cowboys fans will be able to watch their team in action this weekend without fear of blackout.
Barry Horn in the Dallas Morning News has some reaction to various sports media actions. In his blog, Barry catches up with Stars TV analyst Daryl Reaugh. Barry writes that ESPN NFL analyst Emmit Smith took the coin used in the last ever Texas Stadium coin flip. And Barry says ESPN’s Marcellus Wiley is blaming the Cowboys’ strength and conditioning coach for the team’s annual folds.
The Oklahoman’s Mel Bracht talks with ESPN/ABC college football analyst Craig James about his passion for ranching.
Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch also reviews the year in sports media.
I think two links in the Midwest are the fewest I’ve ever had out of a region (not counting Canada which is usually stuck on two every week).
From the Deseret News, Scott D. Pierce writes that replay impacted two area college basketball games over the past week.
Jim Gintonio of the Arizona Republic says Fox’s Jeanne Zelasko is applying for the Dodgers TV play-by-play gig.
Jay Posner from the San Diego Union-Tribune writes that the Chargers’ Philip Rivers is a good fit on TV.
The North County Times’ John Maffei says that Al Michaels is happy to have a “home game” this Sunday night.
Diane Pucin of the Los Angeles Times says the TV ratings bear out that the Dallas Cowboys are truly America’s Team.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News writes that snow at Wrigley Field would make for a perfect day for NBC for the NHL Winter Classic. Tom has a shortened version of his media notes, but lots of video. Tom asks why not Jeanne Zelasko for the Dodgers play-by-play gig. Finally, Tom reviews his week in blogging.
Gary Washburn of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer previews the MLB Network launch.
Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star writes that TSN is providing plenty of coverage of the World Junior Hockey Championships from Ottawa.
Sheri Levine of the Canwest News Service says TSN will offer ten days of coverage from the event.
And that’s going to do it.
The ESPN PR people are out in force and have sent out excerpts of the halftime interviews that Monday Night Football host Chris Berman conducted with both presidential candidates.
Here’s what you’ll hear and see.
Excerpts From Obama and McCain Interviews With Chris Berman For ESPN’s Monday Night Football
On the eve of the presidential election, ESPN’s Monday Night Football will present interviews during halftime (approximately 10:15 p.m. ET) with both major party presidential nominees — Democratic Senator Barack Obama and Republican Senator John McCain. The one-on-one interviews, conducted via satellite with ESPN’s Chris Berman, were taped separately earlier today.
Below are select quotes from each interview. The entire interviews and complete transcripts will be available on ESPN.com shortly after halftime of the MNF telecast, which will feature the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Washington Redskins (kickoff at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN and ESPN HD with the Spanish-language telecast on ESPN Deportes).
On one thing you would change in sports:
Obama: “I think it is about time that we had playoffs in college football. I’m fed up with these computer rankings and this and that and the other. Get eight teams – the top eight teams right at the end. You got a playoff. Decide on a National Champion.”
McCain: “I’d take significant action to prevent the spread and use of performance-enhancing substances. I think it’s a game we’re going to be in for a long time. What I mean by that is there is somebody in a laboratory right now trying to develop some type of substance that can’t be detected and we’ve got to stay ahead of it. It’s not good for the athletes. It’s not good for the sports. It’s very bad for those who don’t do it and I think it can attack the very integrity of all sports going all the way down to high school.”
On what you learned about yourself over the campaign:
Obama: “What I learned about that I think was positive was that I don’t get too high when things are going well and I don’t get too low when things are going tough. I think that has helped me and the organization stay steady.”
On the best piece of advice from the sports world:
McCain: “I have to go all the way back to high school. I had a football coach who was a football star himself…The most important lesson he taught me was you’ve always got to do the honorable thing, even when nobody’s looking because maybe nobody will know, but you’ll know.”
I know Chris Berman studied political science when he matriculated at Brown University. I’m not confident in his interviewing skills as he has never been strong in that area, but in this case, all you have to do is say, “Hello” and both men will give you a 5 minute answer.
Ok, time for the Friday megalinks. I had to eat dinner before doing these because they always take so long for me to compile.
Let’s start as always with your Weekend Viewing Picks.
Week 1 of the NFL really begins in earnest on Sunday with 13 games including NBC’s Chicago at Indianapolis in primetime. CBS has regional action while Fox has a doubleheader. To see the full schedule plus links to coverage maps, DirecTV and Sirius Satellite Radio channel assignments, you can go here.
There is plenty of college football action on Saturday highlighted by Miami (FL) heading to the Swamp to face Florida on ESPN at 8 p.m. You can check out the TV schedule for college football here.
Tropical Storm Hanna is wreaking havoc on the sports schedule. It could force cancellation of the US Open men’s semifinals and women’s final on Saturday. If it goes off as scheduled, CBS will begin its coverage of the men’s semis at 11 a.m. tomorrow and the women’s final at 8 p.m. Then on Sunday, USA has the women’s doubles final at 1 p.m. and CBS carries the men’s final at 4 p.m. However, if the rain comes and it forces a change in schedule, then either USA or ESPN will pick up coverage on Sunday and CBS would air the men’s final on Monday.
NASCAR has moved its Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races to Sunday and the ESPN family of networks will air them both. The Sprint Cup Series Chevy Rock and Roll 400 at Richmond International Raceway will be on ESPN Sunday at 1 p.m. Then on Sunday night, the Emerson Radio 250 will be on ESPN2 at 7.
Over to baseball, Fox Sports has coverage of three games including the Phillies at the Mets in a National League showdown. Fox’s regional splits and announcing assignments can be seen here. WGN has the Angels-White Sox Saturday night at 7 and the Cubs at Cincinnati, Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. TBS has the final game of the Angels-White Sox series, Sunday at 2 p.m. ESPN’s Sunday night game is Phillies-Mets.
Boxing fans can watch HBO’s Boxing After Dark on Saturday which has a bout for the vacant IBO Lightweight Title between Juan Diaz and Michael Katsidis. Coverage begins at 10:15 p.m. both on the East and West coasts.
The PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup has the BMW Championship in St. Louis. NBC has second and third round coverage Saturday at noon, then on Sunday, NBC signs on at 2 p.m.
The Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix starts at 7:30 Sunday morning on Speed.
Now let’s do your links.
USA Today’s Michael Hiestand talks about Fox NFL rookie analyst Brian Billick’s approach to game preparation.
Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch has his Media Power Rankings for September.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell finds out why DirecTV has a blimp. Darren says now that Cincinnati’s Chad Johnson has legally changed his name to Chad Ocho Cinco, you can now buy his jersey with his new name. Darren talks with NFL Commish Roger Goodell about the NFL and the NFL Network. And Darren talks with Patriots QB Tom Brady about keeping injuries secret.
The Sports Media Watch says moving the NFL season opener up an hour earlier to accomodate the Republican National Convention hurt NBC’s ratings.
But Toni Fitzgerald of Media Life Magazine says even with the lower ratings for the NFL kickoff compared to last year, NBC still won Thursday night’s ratings.
Mike Reynolds of Multichannel News writes that ESPN Axis, the rotating replays used during Euro 2008 will be utilized this season on Monday Night Football.
Larry Barrett of Multichannel says ESPN brings some familiar faces back to Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown.
Christopher Bryne of the Eye on Sports Media blog wonders what happened to Bob Trumpy on Westwood One Radio’s coverage of the NFL.
Jonathan Landreth of the Hollywood Reporter says a staggering 4.7 billion people watched the Communist China Olympics.
Bob Mantz has part 2 of his interview with former Florida State Cowgirl Jenn Sterger.
Maury Brown’s Biz of Baseball blog notices that MLB.com and Lucasfilm have teamed up once again.
East and Mid-Atlantic
David Scott of Boston Sports Media Watch looks at WEEI.com forging ahead and a wrap-up of the Gordon Edes/Boston Globe divorce.
Liz Robbins and Richard Sandomir of the New York Times says Tropical Storm Hanna could wreak havoc for CBS at the US Open this weekend.
Marcus Henry of Newsday recaps Chris “Mad Dog” Russo’s debut on Sirius Satellite Radio on Thursday.
Bob Raissman in the New York Daily News writes that the Yankees missing the playoffs would be a big blow to the YES Network.
Phil Mushnick of the New York Post woke up on the wrong side of bed today.
Justin Terranova of the Post talks with CBS analysts Dan Marino and Phil Simms about Brett Favre’s debut with the Jets this Sunday. And in the New York Post’s TV Sports blog, Justin says Fox 5 in New York begins a “Beat the Pros” segment this week.
Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union has a look at the college football TV schedule for the Capital Region.
Ken Schott of the Schenectady Gazette writes in his blog about NASCAR changing its schedule this weekend.
Ray Frager of the Baltimore Sun talks about a third sports radio station debuting in town on Monday.
Scott D. Pierce of the Deseret Morning News says there are good things and bad things about the WAC’s new deal with ESPN.
Jay Posner from the San Diego Union-Tribune talks with long-time sports talk show host Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton who’s most likely leaving the market after 21 years. And Jay wonders why the local CBS affiliate chose to air Chiefs-Patriots instead of Jets-Dolphins.
John Maffei of the North County Times writes that San Diego will miss Hamilton.
In the Ventura County Star, Jim Carlisle writes that NBC’s Al Michaels is hoping for an overtime Super Bowl as he gets to call the game in February.
To the Los Angeles Times where Steve Springer tells us that NBC’s Andrea Kremer is adding blogging to her duties as sideline reporter on Sunday Night Football.
The Los Angeles Daily News’ Tom Hoffarth says NBC’s Al Michaels and John Madden are hopeful that the City of Angels will get an NFL franchise in their lifetime. Tom has a bunch of media extras in his Farther Off the Wall blog (and it’s one of the reasons why he’s one of my favorite writers to link to). First, Tom has the SoCal schedule of NFL TV games. Next, Tom has comments from various Fox and CBS NFL analysts. Tom then looks at Sports USA Radio Network’s NFL and college football schedules. This link focuses on college football on TV. Tom goes back to the NFL in this next link. Finally, Tom then moves to other sports in some more sports media notes. How did Tom not get carpal tunnel with all this typing?
George M. Thomas of the Akron Beacon Journal likes ESPN’s shifting focus of Monday Night Football back to the game.
Michael Zuidema of the Grand Rapids (MI) Press says NFL TV ratings leader Fox Sports is not making too many changes to its lineup.
Bob Wolfley in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel talks to various NFL TV analysts about Brett Favre. Bob talks with NBC’s Al Michaels and John Madden about Brett Favre.
Ted Cox of the Chicago Daily Herald says the NFL is putting Sunday Night Football online for free while MLB continues it pay per view model.
Chicago Tribune Olympics writer Philip Hersh looked at NBC’s coverage of the Olympics opening ceremonies almost a month after he covered it and liked what he saw.
Paul Christian of the Rochester (MN) Post Bulletin has a primer for readers on the NFL on TV this season.
Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Bulletin talks about a local sports radio talk show host return to the airwaves on Monday.
Jeffrey Flanagan from the Kansas City Star says former Chiefs QB Len Dawson is celebrating 40 years on the air.
Doug Nye of The State talks about a new DVD commemorating Yankee Stadium’s last year.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald says NFL analysts feel the Dolphins are greatly improved this season.
Dave Darling of the Orlando Sentinel looks at the changes in the NFL TV rosters.
Ray Buck of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram talks with Fox’s Troy Aikman about Cowboys QB Tony Romo.
The Houston Chronicle’s David Barron writes about Chris Berman returning to SportsCenter on Sundays.
In the Oklahoman, Mel Bracht says Monday Night Football is throwing the guests overboard and focusing on the game. What a concept. Mel adds that Oklahoma State’s season opener last week topped the ratings in Oklahoma City. In his media notes, Mel says former Oklahoma University coach Barry Switzer returns to Fox for his Grumpy Old Coaches segment with Jimmy Johnson on Fox NFL Sunday. And Mel has his weekend viewing picks.
William Houston of the Toronto Globe and Mail likes TSN’s addition of former Tampa Bay Lightning coach John Tortorella to its NHL roster of analysts. And William has comments from NFL TV analysts previewing the new season.
Bev Wake of the Vancouver Sun says the internet has become a source for watching the Paralympic Games from Communist China.
Here’s TSN’s official announcement of John Tortorella and former NBC analyst Ray Ferraro joining the network for its NHL coverage.
There you have it. Your Friday megalinks, finally.
This blogging schedule is upside down. Friday megalinks may be sometime in the afternoon as one of my employees is expected to be in the office which means I’ll have to listen to his stories. So tough when one employee doesn’t know when to shut up.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News has some possible Friday media column topics.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell wonders if Brett Favre tipped his hand about his coming out of retirement to collectors.
John Eggerton of Broadcasting & Cable says the NFL is appealing to the FCC to resolve its cable dispute with Comcast.
Jason Whitlock writing for FoxSports.com feels NBC is going overboard with its hiring of Dan Patrick for Football Night in America.
Mark Harden of the Denver Business Journal writes that KWGN will pick up the NFL Network’s broadcast of the Broncos at Cleveland on November 6.
Joe Favorito says College Fanz Network is giving Sports Information Directors another chance for public relations opportunities.
Bruce Allen of Boston Sports Media Watch says WEEI has snatched “Patriots Friday” away from rival 890 ESPN.
Stephanie Clifford in the New York Times reports that Communist China will restrict advertising space in Beijing giving preferential treatment to Olympic sponsors.
The boxing reality TV series, The Contender has found a new home. Mike Reynolds of Multichannel News reports that Versus has signed with Survivor-producer Mark Burnett to produce a 4th season as well as a Muay Thai verision of the series that has previously called NBC and ESPN its home.
Reynolds writes that Turner Sports and Yahoo! Sports have reached a content and advertising agreement that benefits both sides.
Paul J. Gough of the Hollywood Reporter writes that Yahoo! will gain access to Turner content on its website and Turner will manage ad sales for both while the two will share revenue.
Showing that we’re truly in the dog days of summer, ESPN has a press releasing combining announcements on Wimbledon, the Man O’ War Stakes and Major League Lacrosse. You can’t that information anywhere else. And once again, Chris Berman will be involved in the Home Run Derby. I can’t wait.
Ronald Blum of the AP has ESPN’s Joe Morgan blasting the All-Star Game during ESPN’s conference call with reporters about ESPN’s coverage of the All-Star Game. Good job, Joe.
Mike Lucas of the Capital (WI) Times profiles FSN Wisconsin host Craig Coshun.
Phil Swann over at TVPredictions.com reports that Charter Communications will add six HD channels in Wisconsin including FSN Wisconsin in time for the Milwaukee Brewers’ stretch run.
Matt Swenson over at the Express from the Washington Post says there’s a disconnect between the Nationals and TV viewers.
Jackie Majerus of the Bristol (CT) Press reports that ESPN is looking for even more land to house its expanding headquarters.
Gail Pennington of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is at the Television Critics Association tour and blogs about ESPN Films’ Jackie Robinson biography.
This person over at OnMilwaukee.com shares my feelings on ESPN’s silly “Titletown” features on SportsCenter (notice this is the first and last time I will mention this in my blog).
Deadspin has Florida State’s Jenn Sterger clarifying her “suck it” statement regarding Erin Andrews.
Den Cotton over at the National Sports Review thinks ESPN Radio’s Colin Cowherd is funny.
CBS Sports previews its coverage of the PGA Tour’s John Deere Classic this weekend.
Jeff Munson of the Tahoe (NV) Daily Tribune writes that NBC Sports will commit to two more years of the American Century Championship, the celebrity golf tournament that its been carrying since 1990. Sara Thompson of the Daily Tribune talks to two tournament participants, former Dateline NBC anchor Stone Phillips and Joe Buck about the state of the media.
Lots o’ links tonight. That will do it and as I mentioned at the top, Friday megalinks will be up sometime in the afternoon.
Well, after seeing my sister graduate yesterday, I’m back blogging today. Yes, I bought a new computer and I’ll be back on a regular blogging schedule very soon. I don’t want to make guarantees, but constant visitors can rest assured that I’ll be back here providing your links every day. There are several things that when you lose them, you feel totally lost. When you lose your wallet and/or your car keys, your cell phone, your driver’s license or anything else that defines you, you have that dreadful feeling and when I lost my computer, I felt helpless. But now that I’m back, I feel complete. Strange, I know, but I’m glad it’s over.
Ok, let’s go over your weekend viewing and then do your links.
Weekend Viewing Picks
Big Brown goes for the final leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes on Saturday. With all of the drama over his cracked hoof, ESPN has been milking the story as much as possible to try to get viewers to the race, which does not need much hype as Big Brown tries to become the first horse since Seattle Slew in 1978 to complete the Triple Crown. ESPN will produce ABC’s coverage which will begin at 5:30 p.m. Chris Fowler and Kenny Mayne will be among the cast of thousands at Belmont Raceway in Elmont, NY for the coverage.
Over to Paris where the French Open will be coming to a close this weekend. Saturday will be the Women’s Final where Ana Ivanovic will attempt to win her first Grand Slam title against Daniela Safina, the sister of Russian Marat Safin. And on Sunday, the men’s title will be contested between rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. While no Americans are involved in either final, the tennis should be quite stellar and if Ivanovic wins the title, expect to see her face plastered in many ads here in the States. She’s already quite popular in Europe. Anyway, NBC has both finals starting at 9 a.m.
Game 2 of the NBA Finals will be held on Sunday as ABC will carry the Lakers and Celtics live from the TD Banknorth Garden starting at 9 p.m.
Baseball heads into the warmer weather across the country with several interesting matchups. On Fox on Saturday, the Red Sox host the Seattle Mariners, the Cubs visit Chavez Ravine and the Los Angeles Dodgers and Cleveland takes on Detroit. The games on Fox start at 3:55 p.m. WGN will carry Cubs and Dodgers tonight at 10 p.m. and the White Sox hosting Minnesota, Saturday at 7 p.m. Then on Sunday, TBS has the Phillies at Atlanta at 1 p.m. and ESPN’s Sunday night game will be the Cubs at the Dodgers at 8.
NASCAR heads to the Poconos for the Pocono 500 and it marks the first race for TNT this season. The race begins at 2 p.m.
Formula 1 is in Canada and Fox will have that race Sunday at 1 p.m.
The IndyCar series is in Fort Worth on ESPN2 Saturday at 10 p.m.
Soccer fans have the second most important tournament to watch this weekend as the UEFA Euro 2008 begins this weekend. ESPN Classic will have live coverage with 5 games this weekend.
And golf will be in full swing. The PGA Tour’s last tournament before next weekend’s US Open is the Stanford FedEx Championship and CBS has coverage at 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The Golf Channel has the McDonald’s Championship which is the LPGA’s second major.
Now to your links.
Michael Hiestand of USA Today talks about how Big Brown’s attempt for the Triple Crown could boost ratings.
Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch says ESPN/ABC execs were not only rooting for a Celtics-Lakers NBA Final, but were also rooting for a seven game series.
Let’s head from East to West today.
East and Mid-Atlantic
Friend of Fang’s Bites David Scott is back from his trip to China and immediately jumps into the Bob Ryan-Bill Simmons fire, has a reply from Simmons about his comments about colleague Rick Reilly and looks at the NESN decision to drop Hazel Mae.
The Boston Globe’s Nancy Marrapese-Burrell talks with the lovely Rachel Nichols of ESPN as she’s embedded with the Celtics for the Worldwide Leader’s coverage of the NBA Finals.
Richard Sandomir of the New York Times writes that there will be blanket coverage of Big Brown in the Belmont on Saturday.
Newsday’s Neil Best talks with ESPN/ABC’s Jerry Bailey about Big Brown’s chances in the Belmont. In his blog, Neil discusses more about the Belmont with ESPN executive Len DeLuca. Neil also writes that the ratings for the NHL Stanley Cup Finals were twice as nice as last year’s.
The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman writes that the News’ headlines gave YES Yankees “apologists” a headache.
From the Schenectady Gazette, Ken Schott writes that Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals got another good rating for NBC.
Laura Nachman says the Phillies topped the ratings on Wednesday night (you may have to scroll down depending on the news that Laura adds to her site).
From the DC/Baltimore Examiner, Jim Williams talks with Red Zebra Broadcasting’s CEO about its purchase of DC Sports Talker WTEM.
Doug Nye of The State says the renewal of the University of South Carolina’s radio rights with Citadel Communications has left Clear Channel seeing red.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes that local ratings for the Marlins do not jive with attendance for the team.
Dave Darling from the Orlando Sentinel says despite not having a Game 7 for the Stanley Cup Finals, there’s plenty of great sports action to watch this weekend.
The Houston Chronicle’s David Barron talks about FSN’s Amazing Sports Stories which will focus on a story about a former Astro who hit three home runs for a blind boy back in the 1960′s.
Ray Buck of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram says Texas Rangers TV voice Josh Lewin is getting plenty of suggestions for a nickname for Josh Hamilton.
Mel Bracht of the Oklahoman wonders if Big Brown’s attempt for the Triple Crown will be enough to garner TV ratings. Mel has his weekly notebook including Oklahoma University negotiating a new satellite radio rights deal. Mel has his viewing picks for the weekend.
George M. Thomas of the Akron Beacon Journal writes that Big Brown in the Belmont will be something watch.
Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says NASCAR saw a bump in the ratings for Fox in the early part of the season.
Michael Zuidema of the Grand Rapids (MI) Press writes that the NHL has to capitilize on its good ratings.
Teddy Greenstein from the Chicago Tribune writes that Mike North could be leaving his morning sports radio talk show.
Judd Zulgad from the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that KSTP has hired a new sports anchor from Denver.
Paul Christian of the Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin talks with ESPN/ABC horse racing analyst Randy Moss about the Belmont Stakes.
Scott D. Pierce of the Deseret (UT) Morning News writes that DirecTV will not charge extra for the mtn.
Jay Posner from the San Diego Union-Tribune says US Open viewers can put up with Chris Berman for two days. No we can’t. Jay adds that TSN/NBC NHL analyst Mike Milbury didn’t find Tiger Woods comments about hockey funny. And Jay has last weekend’s ratings from San Diego.
John Maffei of the North County Times says ESPN’s MLB analyst Rick Sutcliffe is a Profile in Courage as he battles colon cancer.
The Ventura County Star’s Jim Carlisle says this has been a special season for the NBA.
John Scheibe of the Los Angeles Times reviews HBO’s new documentary on the 1960 US Open as Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus all battled for the lead.
Tom Hoffarth from the Los Angeles Daily News says the NBA Finals between the Celtics and Lakers transcends generations. In his blog, Hoffarth has a bunch of media notes and numbers crunching over the Finals. And Hoffarth says don’t get carried away about the high ratings and website traffic numbers over Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
John Ryan of the San Jose Mercury News writes that the NHL Stanley Cup Finals average ratings were the best in six years.
William Houston of the Toronto Globe and Mail says CBC should reflect on its NHL coverage.
Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star says Wednesday could have been the last time viewers heard the familiar Hockey Night in Canada theme on CBC.
Bruce Allen of Boston Sports Media Watch has his take on the media’s performance from Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
The Sports Media Watch says Game 1 of the NBA Finals got a good overnight rating, but it could have been better.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell reveals a company that changes the netting at many arenas before each and every NBA game.
Joe Favorito says Barack Obama has done a good job in courting the sports vote.
Maury Brown from the Biz of Hockey blog writes that NBC is reporting a 111% increase in the ratings for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals from 2006.
David Scott mentioned this in his entry today, and you can read it for yourself. Will Leitch is leaving as editor of Deadspin for a job in *gasp* mainstream media.
That will do it for this week.
Time for some links this morning. My computer issues will be done by the end of this week so I’ll be back on a regular schedule soon.
By the way, I’ve added the Red Sox Monster blog by Dan Lamothe to the Friends of Fang’s Bites list to the left so please visit it as much as you can.
Speaking of the Red Sox Monster blog, Dan has the video of the lovely Erin Andrews being a guest of CSN Mid-Atlantic’s Blog Show.
As we’re one day away from the NBA Finals, the Boston Globe’s Nancy Marrapese-Burrell talks with Boston Celtics TV voice Mike Gorman who’s bewildered by all the love for the Lakers.
The Boston Herald’s Inside Track girls says WEEI’s Cedric Maxwell is now the recipient of Kevin Garnett’s ritual of clapping rosin before games as the Celtics’ TV voices are not doing the NBA Finals. Laura Crimaldi and Jessica Heslam of the Herald write that parents are angry with the late starting times for the NBA Finals.
USA Today’s Michael Hiestand writes that Fox Sports is happy that people are watching NASCAR again.
The Atlanta Business Journal reports that TNT will offer a new feature that will steer viewers to extra online features during its NASCAR telecasts.
Newsday’s Neil Best reports that Showtime will pick up Inside the NFL. Neil has some overnight ratings for Stanley Cup Finals Game 5 from ten markets. And Neil has a link to a WFAN interview with grumpy NBA Commissioner David Stern.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News writes in his blog that CBS Sports and NFL Films will co-produce the new version of Inside the NFL.
The Big Lead blog broke news yesterday about the ESPN SportsCenter anchor lineup including the new live morning block.
Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel lists the sports celebrities and broadcasters who made commencement speeches this year.
Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union profiles former LPGA golfer Dottie Pepper who has made a new career for herself by working on NBC’s golf telecasts. And in his blog, Pete has the schedule for some early college football games on ESPN.
Keith Jarrett of the Asheville (NC) Citizen-Times says a meeting between the two Division I National Champions, Appalachian State and LSU on August 30 has been moved up three hours to accomodate ESPN.
Bob Carlton of the Birmingham News writes that Alabama coach Nick Saban’s TV show will move to a new home this fall.
Steve Schrader of the Detroit Free Press says Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals drew big ratings in town and nationally.
Bucky Gleason of the Buffalo News writes that hockey is proving that it can be a ratings draw.
Over to Maury Brown’s Biz of Baseball site, we learn that MASN will debut a new field level panoramic camera for Nationals and Orioles broadcasts. Maury writes in the Biz of Hockey reports that the NHL and TSN have reached agreement on a six year broadcast deal that includes digital rights and a mid-week Canadian doubleheader.
William Houston of the Toronto Globe and Mail writes that TSN will get more Maple Leafs games as part of its new TV contract.
Here’s TSN’s announcement of its new agreement with the National Hockey League.
Paul Wiecek of the Winnepeg Free Press writes that ESPN’s Chris Berman was in town to be a guest speaker at a local event.
Phil Rosenthal of the Chicago Tribune says new owner of the Tribune Company, Sam Zell, wants to keep a minority stake of the Cubs.
Radio Ink magazine says ESPN is launching the ESPN HD Radio Network. About seven people across the country have HD Radio.
XM Satellite Radio will have extensive coverage of the US Open starting next week.
Keith Groller of the Allentown (PA) Morning Call writes that CBS’ Mixed Martial Arts telecast on Saturday took a bite out of the primetime ratings.
Toni Fitzgerald from Media Life Magazine says MMA garnered good ratings for CBS.
I would have gotten to this earlier, but due to my computer problems I was not able to link to it. I want to pass my sympathies to Christoper Byrne of the Eye on Sports Media blog who lost his mother last week. Chris is one of the good people on the internet and losing a parent is never easy. I’m very sorry for your loss, Chris.
That will do it for now.
After the Sports Emmy Awards post, I had to go to a meeting so the Tuesday links are delayed, but I’m ready to give them to you now.
Starting with Richard Sandomir of the New York Times, he talks about athletes and coaches who move in-between the broadcast booth to the bench and back.
Bob Raissman from the New York Daily News suggests that the media boo the New York Mets fans. Ok.
Newsday’s Neil Best mostly focuses on WFAN’s Boomer and Carton morning show which is getting better ratings than its previous morning incarnation.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell talks about how MLB teams especially the Mets handle rainouts.
The Providence Journal’s Bill Reynolds profiles ESPN’s Chris Berman who speaks at his alma mater, Brown University this week.
Keith Groller of the Allentown (PA) Morning Call writes about the announcer of the Allentown IronPigs who has seen more than his share of losing.
Leonard Shapiro of the Washington Post says Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic took too long to report on an injury to Gilbert Arenas last Thursday night.
Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune looks at the latest Arbitron ratings for the two sports radio stations in the Windy City.
George M. Thomas from the Akron Beacon Journal says ESPN puts the NFL Draft in proper context.
Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says Packers draft pick Jordy Nelson knew he was getting picked ahead of time.
The Appleton (WI) Post-Crescent reports that KFRV-TV will air three Packers exhibition games and produce them in conjuction with CBS Sports.
The Detroit Free Press talks about tonight’s Game 4 of the Detroit-Colorado series possibly being the last Red Wings game of the season for announcers Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond on FSN Detroit
Maury Brown of the Biz of Basketball site has comments made by TNT’s analysts during their NBA playoff coverage on Sunday.
Jeffrey Flanagan of the Kansas City Star writes that the Royals are hoping a Dallas sports talk show host won’t show up for this week’s series against the Texas Rangers.
The Toronto Globe and Mail’s William Houston says TSN had to schedule Canada’s games in the World Hockey Championships in the afternoon so as not to conflict with the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. And in his blog, Houston asks if CBC’s Don Cherry is qualified to judge a reporter who asked a question to San Jose’s Ron Wilson.
Dave Del Grande of the Oakland Tribune talks to the voices of the Raiders and 49ers and both Greg Papa and Joe Starkey have differing opinions on how their teams fared in the NFL Draft.
The Inside Track girls from the Boston Herald report that Red Sox left fielder Manny Ramirez filmed a “This is SportsCenter” ad for ESPN yesterday.
The Boston Daily blog from Boston Magazine wonders why Red Sox announcer Jerry Remy was left off the magazine’s list of Most Powerful in the Hub.
Mark Tupper of the Journal Gazette and Times-Courier of Mattoon and Charleston, IL writes about Will Leitch taking on Bob Costas tonight on HBO.
That will do it for now. Primetime and Late Night Viewing Picks coming right up.
I keep finding stories to link to.
First, from USA Today’s Michael Hiestand, the ratings from selected weekend events including the NFL Draft on ESPN which were down significantly from last year.
The Sports Media Watch notes that the ratings for this year’s NFL Draft were the lowest in five years.
Jim Williams of the DC/Baltimore Examiner writes that Fox Sports beat out CBS and ESPN for Brian Billick’s services for the upcoming season.
Some more ammunition for the NFL Network. John Consoli of Mediaweek reports that despite losing homes due to disputes with Comcast and the Dish Network, the ratings for the NFL Network are up for the first quarter of this year, especially for its NFL Total Access program at 7 p.m. ET.
Here’s NBC Sports’ press release about the US Open going into primetime this year.
Brendan Kelly of the Montreal Gazette says the CBC is crawling back to the Canadiens so it can put the Habs on Hockey Night in Canada.
Christelle de Jager of Variety writes that the International Broadcast Center for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa will be based in Johannesberg.
That does it for now.
On this Sunday, I’ll give you some more links because linkage never takes the weekend off.
First, I’d like to thank Will Leitch of Deadspin for linking over to Fang’s Bites this weekend. Will was doing his week in review and linked to my post listing the rundown for Costas Now this Tuesday. It’s much appreciated. For those of you coming over from Deadspin, welcome and I hope you like what you see.
Let’s get to the links now.
Newsday’s Neil Best writes about the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival that has been running this weekend.
The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman feels the New York media is giving Mark Jackson a free pass on whether or not he wants to be Knicks coach.
The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick has a story on Hall of Fame Dodger announcer Vin Scully crediting a secretary for getting him his first big break.
Pete Thamel of the New York Times writes that for the first time, college presidents are actually talking about a football playoff for the BCS and Fox Sports is hoping it will come true.
Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union writes in his blog that Buffalo Bills fans will get some extra NFL Draft coverage today thanks to Time Warner Cable.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Bob Wolfley says the NFL TV Draftniks were praising the Green Bay Packers’ pick of WR Jordy Nelson yesterday.
Charles Elmore of the Palm Beach Post says a faster paced Draft did not increase the drama for ESPN.
The Sportz Assassin over at the AOL Fanhouse blog says Chris Berman actually referenced one of his infamous YouTube videos during ESPN’s NFL Draft coverage.
Tim MacMahon of the Dallas Morning News wonders what outfit Keyshawn Johnson was wearing on the ESPN NFL Draft set yesterday.
Dan Nilson of the Flint (MI) Journal talks with the NFL Network’s Steve Mariucci who says he’s enjoying his TV work.
Jeffrey Flanagan of the Kansas City Star writes that the Chiefs Radio Network has hired a new sideline reporter.
Alex Weprin of Broadcasting & Cable has been blogging from the NFL Draft and he talked briefly with NFL Network Vice President Charles Coplin about programming and pickups.
Mike Reynolds of Multichannel News blogs that there were plenty of good viewing choices for sports fans on Saturday including the NFL Draft. Multichannel also reports that Major League Soccer is teaming up with a Spanish network aimed at kids as part of an initiative to promote healthy lifestyles.
Ridge Mahoney of Soccer America writing for SI.com says ESPN2′s JP Dellacamera and John Harkes make a solid announcing pair for MLS games.
Ken Schott of the Schenectady Gazette writes in his blog that the Albany River Rats did not air on local radio yesterday due to a conflict with the Yankees that could not be worked out on time.
Alan Pergament of the Buffalo News writes that Buffalo and western New York pull the highest ratings for Versus in the NHL Playoffs.
Ray McNulty of the Sebastian (FL) Sun says NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman’s decision to put games on Versus was a colossial mistake.
Steven Hart of the Staten Island (NY) Advance is not happy with what he calls ESPN favoritism.
Brian Fazio of the Valdosta (GA) Daily Times says the Golf Channel will be in town later this week to televise a PGA Nationwide Tour stop.
And that will do it for now. Check back later. There might be an update or two today.
I was trying to be creative but with my brain fried already this morning, that’s the best I could do. Sorry.
Let’s just do the links.
Bill Doyle of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette says CBS Sports’ Nick Faldo is gaining on NBC’s Johnny Miller as most entertaining golf analyst on TV. Doyle also touches on the Bruins as the team begins its playoff series with Montreal tonight.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell talks with the extremely hot Alona Bondarenko about her K-Swiss ad.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News says that CBS Sports’ David Feherty will be the subject of his media column tomorrow.
Peter Kerasotis of the News-Press of Florida says ESPN should tone itself down on The Masters. Look, to all these media critics who think Chris Berman is going to be on the broadcast or that viewers will see all of the regular bells and whistles from ESPN, CBS will be producing the broadcast today and tomorrow and the only ESPN staffer on site will be Mike Tirico. The broadcast will not be any different than it was when USA Network carried The Masters. These writers should get it out of their heads that ESPN is taking over or is producing the broadcast.
Jerry Potter of USA Today says The Masters’ strategy of moving to ESPN was to make the tournament global.
Mick Elliot of the Tampa Bay Tribune says Augusta National is comfortable going to ESPN.
Steven Uhles of the Augusta (GA) Chronicle saw the first ever broadcast of The Masters’ Par 3 Contest from inside the ESPN production trailer.
Jonathan Heeter of the Macon (GA) Telegraph has what you won’t hear during ESPN’s telecast of The Masters.
Adam Van Brinner of the Athens (GA) Banner-Herald says ESPN has to tread lightly at the Masters this week.
John Ryan of the San Jose Mercury News writes that Comcast SportsNet Bay Area suffered through an overlap between the A’s and Sharks and missed much of the first period of Game 1 of its playoff game.
William Houston of the Toronto Globe and Mail says CBC Sports did not televise Game 1 of the Ottawa-Pittsburgh series in HD last night.
The Boston Globe reports that the Red Sox will be placed on NESNplus while the Bruins will be on the main NESN channel.
Newsday’s Neil Best asked CBS why it did not send its studio crew to the Final Four last week and basically got the brushoff. And Neil says ratings for the NCAA Women’s Tournament were up for ESPN.
Langston Wertz, Jr. of the Charlotte Observer says CBS is putting NCAA Tournament games on too late.
Wally Hall of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette talks with ESPN college basketball analyst Jimmy Dykes.
Also from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Rick Kushman says broadcasting the Olympics from Communist China will be a moral dilemna for NBC.
That’s it for this morning. Back later.
Some links for you here.
From his blog, Neil Best of Newsday says “The Odd Couple” is not eligible for his “Best Sports-Themed TV Show” column. And like me, Neil is watching the Par 3 Contest at The Masters on ESPN and notes the Golf Channel’s Kelly Tilghman is caddying for Arnold Palmer.
Speaking of The Masters, Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times-Union is at Augusta and he’s a bit leery of statements that ESPN leaving Chris Berman out of its coverage was a network decision.
From Justin Terranova of the New York Post, ESPN will bring Buck Showalter back to Baseball Tonight and use Hall of Famers as guest analysts on occasion.
Wayne Friedman of Mediapost’s TV Watch blog speculates that Olympic advertisers might be helped with the negativity surrounding the torch run.
The Sports Media Watch has some idle notes on this Wednesday.
The NHL has launched its NHL Network Online with seven channels and I must say it looks good.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News has the schedule for Versus and NBC for the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star says the CBC will provide a call in Mandarin Chinese for the Boston-Montreal series.
The Boston Sports Media Watch continues its Approval Ratings series and today’s candidate is the lovely Hazel Mae of NESN.
Awful Announcing has the video of Dick Vitale breaking down during his interview with Jim Nantz after being officially named to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
Ira Teinowitz of TV Week says college presidents are appealing to the NCAA to reduce the number of alcohol ads during the Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Todd Wallack of the Boston Globe writes about the increased TV ratings for the Celtics on Comcast SportsNet New England.
The Huntington (WV) Herald-Dispatch reports that the movie, “We Are Marshall” has been nominated for a fan award at the Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival later this month.
Don Coble of the Florida Times-Union says ESPN’s coverage of a NASCAR is controlled chaos.
I might have an update tonight. Keep your RSS feeds updated.
I’ll give you a few links this evening as I back up my computer.
Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch has his Media Power Rankings for March.
Christopher Byrne of Eye on Sports Media is advising fans to ease up on CBS Sports’ Billy Packer for his declaring that the Kansas-North Carolina NCAA Men’s Tournament National Semifinal was over early in the 1st half.
Newsday’s Neil Best says the NCAA Men’s Tournament ended up being the 2nd lowest rated ever.
James Hibbard of the Hollywood Reporter says the NCAA Men’s Tournament Final was on par with the ratings from last year. Andrew Krukowski of TV Week says CBS got a ratings bounce from college basketball on Monday night.
John Eggerton from Broadcasting & Cable says the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship steered CBS to a ratings win on Monday night. Paige Albiniak of Broadcasting & Cable writes that the NCAA Tournament wreaked havoc on syndicated programming on CBS affiliated stations.
CBS Sports says don’t look at the ratings, look at the overall viewership for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship which was up.
The Baltimore Sun’s Ray Frager wonders if Dick Vitale is worthy of being in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
Laura Nachman’s Philadelphia TV and radio blog reports that former Phillies pitcher Tyler Green joins the CW57 postgame show.
Robert Marich of B&C reports that the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats have signed with FSN South to broadcast its games immediately.
Linda Haugsted of Multichannel News writes that the owner of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers says the NFL Network is being blocked by Comcast and Time Warner because they don’t own a stake in the channel. Roddie Burris of The State says Panthers owner Mark Richardson will go in front of the South Carolina legislature to lobby on behalf of the NFL Network.
Sports Illustrated’s Paul Zimmerman isn’t happy that the NFL Network is getting favored treatment by the league at the expense of NFL Films.
Kimberly Nordyke of Hollywood Reporter writes that one of Discovery Network’s new shows will feature Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Dhani Jones.
The Albany Times-Union’s Pete Dougherty is in Augusta, GA to cover The Masters.
Leonard Shapiro of the Washington Post is happy Chris Berman won’t be at Augusta for ESPN.
Eric McErlain writing for Sporting News wonders if the NHL really needs NBC.
Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star says one thing is constant in the NHL Playoffs, the CBC’s Bob Cole.
Terry Frei of the Denver Posts says the Colorado Avalanche will be without its TV play-by-play announcer for the playoffs due to a brain aneurysm.
NBC Sports says it will open coverage of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs this weekend.
David Goldman of CNN Money says the continued protests of the Olympic torch could hurt its sponsors in the long run.
Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes in his Wisconsin Badgers blog that the Big Ten Network plans to air a spring football show on April 19.
Ken Schott from the Schenectady (NY) Gazette writes in his blog that a local radio station gets a locally-produced daily show.
ESPN says its E:60 newsmagazine will return on Tax Deadline Day.
That’s it for tonight.
Having gotten some important work done, it’s time to give you some linkage on this Wednesday afternoon on the East Coast.
Three things from the Sports Media Watch. First, Paul Sen says the joint decision by the NFL and NBC to move the league’s season opener on September 4 from 8:30 p.m. ET to 7 p.m. so not to conflict with the Republican National Convention will most likely result in a lower rating. Next, Paul says NBC’s ratings on the NHL might have been hurt by showing just one game a week instead of providing regional coverage. Finally, Paul has the ratings from action that isn’t related to the NCAA Tournament.
Newsday’s Neil Best reports that the long time Director of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown has been replaced.
The Awful Announcing blog has video of ESPN2′s Gary Thorne totally confusing the author of Jose Canseco’s new book.
XM Satellite Radio listeners will finally be able to access its MLB Home Plate channel online as the Orbitcast blog tells us.
Ray Frager from the Baltimore Sun says in his Medium Well blog that ESPN did not plan to have Chris Berman on its Masters coverage from the beginning. Mike Tirico will be the only ESPN staffer on The Masters next month as the weekday telecast will be produced by CBS Sports.
The Eye on Sports Media blog says CBS College Sports Network plans to re-air six NCAA Tournament 1st and 2nd round games starting today.
Fox Business picks up an article from Drew Armstrong of Inc.com who shoots down the idea that March Madness on Demand is hurting worker productivity.
Chris Faulkner of the Fort Madison (IA) Daily Democrat says local viewers were angry they could not watch the Drake-Western Kentucky NCAA Tournament game last Friday. And in a follow-up, the Democrat says the size of the market doesn’t help either.
Joe Favorito’s Sports Marketing and Public Relations blog looks at how the power of an athlete’s celebrity can actually pay dividends.
The Boston Sports Media Watch has another edition of its Media Approval Ratings and today’s candidate is Comcast Sports Net’s Gary Tanguay.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell has the NBA’s Top Ten List of Jersey sales over the last ten years and I’ll give you three guesses for the top selling one and the first two guesses don’t count.
Brett McMurphy of the Tampa Bay Tribune writes that ESPN wants to create a college bowl game to be played at Tropicana Field in December.
Mike Vandermause of the Fond du Lac (WI) Reporter isn’t happy with ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio.
Matt Elliser of the San Francisco Examiner says a new era is ready to begin as Comcast takes over FSN Bay Area next week.
From the Self-Serving and Over the Top Department, ESPN announces that the host of this year’s Self-Serving and Over The Top ESPY Awards will be the Self-Serving and Over the Top Justin Timberlake.
Get ready to see Firestone Tires all over Fox Sports’ coverage of Major League Baseball.
That will do it for now.
At 12 p.m., I lost my internet at work, but luckily, I did not lose anything so I can still provide you with links. I’m at home now at 4;38 p.m. Here’s what I started with at 10:18 a.m. and I left off with William Houston’s story in the Toronto Globe and Mail. I’ll pick up with Chris Zelkovich below.
It’s snowing here in Southern New England and I’m at work. I don’t want sympathy, snow falls in the winter here in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, but if you watch the local TV stations, it’s as if this is a one-time catastrophic event. It’s funny when you see the banner “Team Coverage” or “Storm Team” or “Weather Team Storm Alert Coverage”. Weather is a natural phenomenon. It snows in New England. It happens every year. I worked at a TV station in Providence in the 1990′s and our news management team was from the South so they never saw snow until they moved North. They treated the snow as if it never happened before. You can get away with that in places where it rarely snows, but when it happens in New England, treating viewers as if they’re stupid rarely works. That’s my rant for now.
Let’s get to your links.
USA Today’s Michael Hiestand says it was a stroke of luck that ESPN has the marquee college basketball matchup of the weekend with #1 Memphis taking on #2 Tennessee Saturday night. And USA Today has the weekend sports TV listings.
Today I’ll start the links in the Midwest and then spread out.
Starting with George M. Thomas of the Akron Beacon Journal, he writes that two documentaries highlight your viewing pleasure this weekend.
Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune tells us that White Sox outfielder Nick Swisher will be a weekly guest on sports radio station WSCR this season.
Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says HBO’s new documentary on Joe Louis shows the great boxer was a tragic figure later in life.
Judd Zulgad of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that local viewers are rewarding the Minnesota Wild with increasing ratings. And we have the ratings for the Minneapolis-St. Paul market for last weekend’s sporting events.
The Houston Chronicle’s David Barron says Houston was one of the few markets in the country that watched the NBA All Star Game last Sunday over the Daytona 500.
Dave Darling of the Orlando Sentinel gives his picks for Best and Worst Sports Movies of all time.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald says the internet has given sportscasters one more thing to fear.
The State’s Doug Nye says the UCLA-Houston game 40 years ago gave college basketball the popularity it has today.
Dick Harmon of the Deseret (UT) Morning News reports that DirecTV and the mtn. have reached an agreement to have the Mountain West Conference channel on the satellite TV service this summer.
Jay Posner in the San Diego Union Tribune says it’s about time the mtn. gets carried on DirecTV. In his notebook, Posner talks about the NFL Network covering the Scouting Combine with a fine tooth comb.
The Los Angeles Times’ Christine Daniels has a review of the HBO Joe Louis documentary which premieres Saturday.
The Los Angeles Daily News’ Tom Hoffarth looks at the Best and Worst Game Analysts in LA and also talks with Lakers’ radio analyst Mychal Thompson. In his Farther Off the Wall blog, Hoffarth has his media notes for this week. And Hoffarth gives us the latest on former Monday Night Football sideline reporter and Fang’s Bites fav Lisa Guerrero.
John Ryan in the San Jose Mercury News is happy to hear that the NFL is lifting the ban on church Super Bowl parties that will show the game on TV’s over 55 inches.
William Houston of the Toronto Globe and Mail says the NHL Trading Deadline will cause all of Canada’s sports networks to ramp up their coverage on Tuesday.
Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star says the NHL Trading Deadline is an exercise in excess for the viewer.
East and Mid-Atlantic
Jim Williams of the Baltimore/DC Examiner says Versus will show viewers where people can fish in the DC area tonight.
Ray Frager of the Baltimore Sun says the HBO documentary of Joe Louis tells a compelling story of the man.
Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News says Roger Clemens made the right move in opting out of ESPN the Weekend.
From the New York Times, Richard Sandomir says MSG Network can’t edit out all of the Knicks’ problems when it shows the “Knicks in 60″ game replay.
The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick criticizes the person responsible for putting the now-infamous Chris Berman videos on YouTube. The Post’s Mike Puma talks with HBO’s Jim Lampley about the heavyweight unification fight on HBO. And Puma has five questions for CBS/ESPN’s Bill Raftery.
Newsday’s Neil Best talks with WFAN’s Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton six months into their new morning show. In his blog, Neil says the column spurred plenty of reaction just minutes after it was posted on the Newsday.com website. Best links to a clip of former WFANer Sid Rosenberg ripping Craig Carton. And Neil has some comments from Esiason that didn’t make the column. Here are some quotes from Carton that didn’t make it into the paper. Neil says he was surprised to see that in doing his “Greatest Highlight” feature on ESPN, Chris Berman actually allowed some calls to survive without Boomer talking over them. Neil has NFL Films President Steve Sabol surprised over HBO’s cancellation of Inside the NFL.
And the Boston Globe’s Nancy Marrapese-Burrell talks with WHDH-TV hottie Julie Donaldson who started her new job in her native Florida covering Red Sox Spring Training.
That’s it. I’ll have an update later tonight, but I’ll do Primetime & Late Night Viewing Picks, College Basketball Viewing Picks and Weekend Viewing Picks first.
It’s a holiday for some of you. I’m at work right now dealing with an employee who never shuts up, but I’ll try to get this post in before he starts talking again.
From Michael Hiestand of USA Today, he writes that the Fox crew at Daytona was not short of enthusiasm during the last 35 laps of the race.
Phil Mushnick of the New York Post has some random thoughts on this Monday.
The Albany Times Union’s Pete Dougherty in his Best Seat in My House blog says the NASCAR Hot Pass feature on DirecTV is worth the money.
Newsday’s Neil Best admits that his latest post in his blog is self-indulgent.
The Toronto Star’s Chris Zelkovich says there was a lot of fractured syntax during Fox Sports’ coverage of the Daytona 500.
David Barron of the Houston Chronicle gives his reaction to the NBA All Star Game and Daytona 500 broadcasts on Sunday.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News has a blog post on the “backboard slideout” graphic that premiered during the TNT telecast of the NBA All Star Game.
Ed Sherman of the Chicago Tribune writes about the Chris Berman videos that surfaced on YouTube and communicates with the person who put them up.
Chris Iluminati of the Bucks County Courier Times talks with Deadspin’s Will Leitch about his new book.
College Basketball writer extraordinare Kevin McNamara of the Providence Journal has an excellent feature on Big East coaches having not only to deal with Big Monday on ESPN, but Headache Sunday as ESPN schedules their games on short notice.
The Sports Curmudgeon at SportsFan Magazine has his review of football announcers both college and pro.
Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel doesn’t understand why Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter is getting involved in the NFL’s business.
R. Thomas Umstead of Multichannel News talks with HBO Sports President Ross Greenburg about the decision to drop Inside the NFL. Alan Pergament of the Buffalo News says Inside the NFL proved its worth to HBO. Bill Gloede of Mediaweek writes about HBO’s decision to can INFL (scroll down).
That will do it for now.
Now that the Congressional Steroid Hearings are over, I can say that was a tremendous waste of time. Some Congressmen talked for talking’s sake. Others had no idea that quoting Jose Canseco wasn’t the best of ideas. Certainly some interesting developments like discovering Roger Clemens’ nanny actually placed him at Canseco’s house for a barbeque that the Rocket originally denied attending. And also finding out a potential conflict with Clemens inviting that nanny to his house before Congress got to depose her. Very interesting day, but also a waste of taxpayers’ money.
Ok, let’s get some links now.
The Sports Media Watch was monitoring coverage on the cable news channels.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell says the hearings were high octane drama.
The Baltimore Sun’s Ray Frager noticed that Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic showed the hearings while MASN did not.
The Wall Street Journal’s Daily Fix live blogged the live blogs of the hearings.
Charles Rich of the AOL Fanhouse Blog reviews Darren Rovell’s documentary on Nike which premiered last night on CNBC. I forgot to record it last night. I’ll check out the re-air next week.
The Los Angeles Daily News’ Tom Hoffarth has the results of an informal readers poll on the best sports radio talk show host in town.
Jack Bogaczyk of the Charleston (WV) Daily Mail was not impressed by the tears shed by former West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez in an ESPN interview to be aired this Sunday.
Scott Kleinfeld of the Ravens 24×7 website grades CBS’ golf coverage.
ESPN has announced that NASCAR team driver and former crew chief Ray Evernham is joining the network as an analyst. The Daly Planet motorsports TV blog looks at more changes at ESPN for NASCAR this season. Dustin Long of the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot blogs that ESPN wants to show more racing and less commercials. Fans should be happy to hear that.
ESPN tells us it will have a heavy presence at NBA All Star Weekend. Chris Reidy of the Boston Globe says Akamai of Cambridge, MA will provide the online video for TNT during All Star Weekend.
Laura Nachman reports that 94WYSP in Philadelphia will remain home of the Eagles.
I forgot to link to this the other day. The Biz of Baseball site has an interview with former Montreal Expos French announcer Jacques Doucet.
I’ll have another update tonight. In the meantime, I’ll do the Primetime and Late Night Viewing Picks in a few.