ESPN on ABC
Before the day is through, let’s do some linkage for you.
Steve Berkowitz from USA Today looks at the Pac-12′s TV contract which is the richest in college sports (for now).
Speaking of USA Today, Ed Sherman of The Sherman Report says the newspaper is restructuring its sports department and about a dozen staffers have been laid off. That includes Friend of Fang’s Bites Mike McCarthy and Game On! blogger Tom Weir. Very sad to see this. I met Mike a few years ago when we covered an event at ESPN. Good reporter and writer. I hope to be linking to him again soon.
Ed also writes about ESPN holding onto the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.
ESPN Ombudsman Jason Fry of the Poynter Institute watches ESPN’s interviewing guru critique the questioning style of some of its reporters.
Marisa Guthrie at the Hollywood Reporter looks at NBCUniversal’s plans to offer some 5,500 hours of coverage on the Olympics.
John Eggerton of Broadcasting & Cable says Golf Channel will have live coverage of U.S. Open qualifying on June 4.
Tim Baysinger at B&C recaps last night’s Sports Business Journal/Sports Business Daily’s Sports Business Awards.
Rich Thomaselli from Advertising Age says the NHL’s social media and traditional ad campaigns have helped bring casual fans to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
After being disrespected by its own local media last week, the Los Angeles Kings made this infographic giving a brief history on its logo, names of players and number of times the team has been in the postseason. This season, the Kings have stepped its social media campaign and website to provide fans with a very humorous, but also informative experience. Keep it up, Kings. You guys rock!
Eric Deggans of the Tampa Bay Times, writing in the Indiana University National Sports Journalism Center, notes the difficultly for women to find a proper role in sports television.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell says Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton’s past is preventing collectors from lining up at his doorstep.
Congratulations to Steve Lepore of Puck The Media who has become SB Nation’s NHL Media writer. Steve is a hard worker who has created a very good niche for himself. And his first column for SB Nation is about the ratings for the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Western Conference Final clincher.
Steve also writes about the controversy over NHL on NBC charlatan Pierre McGuire’s withholding of information over an incident between the benches during Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final.
Jerry Barmash of Fishbowl NY says MSG Network will air two specials on the upcoming Belmont Stakes in which I’ll Have Another will go for horse racing’s Triple Crown.
Ken Schott from the Schenectady Gazette says in addition, MSG Plus will air some horse races this summer.
Pete Dougherty at the Albany Times Union writes that ESPN has expanded its 3-D coverage of Wimbledon.
Ken McMillan from the Middletown (NY) Times Herald-Record says Al Jazeera will be launching two soccer channels this summer.
Keith Groller at the Allentown (PA) Morning Call looks at ESPN on ABC’s plans for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.
Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog says former ESPN’er Dave Feldman is leaving the local market to go home to his native Northern California.
Dan says former DC NFL Team running back and sports radio host John Riggins will be hosting an outdoors show next year.
Jim Williams from the Washington Examiner says a deadline is fast approaching in which the Nationals will find out how much MASN will be paying them for TV rights.
Mark Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times says the Rays are paying tribute to Fox Sports MLB reporter Ken Rosenthal by wearing bow ties.
Tom Jones of the Times says MLB Network analyst Mitch Williams ripped Tropicana Field.
David Barron from the Houston Chronicle looks at the proposed uses for the abandoned Astrodome.
John Kiesewetter in the Cincinnati Enquirer says Fox Sports is on the Reds’ bandwagon.
Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes that MLB Walking, Talking Conflict of Interest Bud Selig is holding firm to his retirement date.
Paul M. Banks at Chicago Sports Media Watch says the Big Ten Network has helped to expand the league and in part, raise Northwestern’s profile.
Gordon Monson of the Salt Lake Tribune says even though the Utah Jazz bought the sports radio station where he works, he’ll remain an independent voice.
Chris Jenkins from the San Diego Union-Tribune says Fox Sports San Diego’s Mark Sweeney is a natural fit as Padres analyst.
Tim Sullivan of the Union-Tribune says he enjoys listening to the Padres on the radio.
The Los Angeles Daily News’ Tom Hoffarth can’t believe he’s seeing a farmers dating service ad on NBC Sports Network.
Laura Stone of the Toronto Star writes that a new feature by CBC for the NHL Stanley Cup Final has some hardcore female sports fans hopping mad.
Timothy Burke at Deadspin looks at the Twitter police for college sports programs.
Sports Media Watch notes the increased ratings for the series-clinching game of the NHL Stanley Cup Western Conference Final on NBC Sports Network.
Joe Favorito examines the right way and the wrong way to attract Twitter followers.
Dave Kohl at The Broadcast Booth marvels at the LA media for getting the Kings logo and players wrong during local newscasts.
And I’ll end the linkage there for now. Enjoy the rest of your day.
For its 15 game regular season, ABC averaged a 3.3 rating and 5.4 million viewers. All this despite a lockout that shortened the regular season by a month. It’s as if the lockout never happened.
The average rating is up 10% from last season and viewership is up 6% and gives the network some momentum as it readies to carry selected playoff games and all of the NBA Finals.
Here’s the press release from ESPN in regards to ABC’s NBA ratings.
ABC delivered its highest-rated and most-viewed NBA regular season ever, averaging a 3.3 household rating and 5,421,000 viewers for its 15 broadcasts during the 2011-2012 campaign, according to Nielsen.
The 3.3 rating is up 10 percent from last season (3.0) and 5,421,000 viewers is up six percent from last season (5,110,000). The NBA on ABC is also up nine percent in household impressions, averaging 3,831,000 compared to 3,519,000 last season.
ESPN will televise its final two NBA games of the regular season on Wednesday, April 25, with a doubleheader beginning at 8 p.m. ET when the New York Knicks host the Los Angeles Clippers. In the nightcap, the Phoenix Suns will visit the San Antonio Spurs at 10:30 p.m.
The 2012 NBA Playoffs begin on ESPN and ABC on Saturday, April 28, and culminate with The Finals on ABC in June.
That is all.
Just one game for ABC on Sunday and it’ll pit the Chicago Bulls against the Miami Heat. It’ll be an Eastern Conference Finals rematch in South Florida. Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy call the game. Lisa Salters will report from courtside.
And then there will be NBA Countdown with Magic Johnson, Michael Wilbon, Jon Barry and Chris Broussard all talking about the game.
Here’s the press release.
ESPN’s NBA Ratings Up 31 Percent
ABC’s NBA Sunday Showcase returns with a blockbuster matchup this weekend when the Miami Heat and LeBron James host the Chicago Bulls and Derrick Rose – in an Eastern Conference Finals rematch – at 3:30 p.m. ET. ESPN’s lead commentator team – Mike Breen and analyst Jeff Van Gundy – will call the game with reporter Lisa Salters. NBA Countdown with Hall of Famer Magic Johnson and analysts Jon Barry, Michael Wilbon and Chris Broussard will preview the action at 3 p.m. Additionally, ESPN Radio will broadcast the game with coverage beginning at 2:30 p.m. Hall of Famers Jim Durham and Dr. Jack Ramsay will describe the action.
Also, ESPN will televise a Sunday night contest when the defending champion Dallas Mavericks and Dirk Nowitzki host the San Antonio Spurs and Tim Duncan at 8 p.m. Dan Shulman will call the game – also available via ESPN3, ESPN Mobile TV and the WatchESPN app – with analyst Doris Burke.
ESPN’s Van Gundy and Breen on Heat/Bulls game:
On whether this matchup is a preview of the 2012 Eastern Conference Final:
Van Gundy – “Without question. I don’t see anybody beating the Heat in the early rounds. Atlanta and Indiana, with their length and depth, could give Chicago a good run. Right now, they have what it takes to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. Even though last year’s matchup was decided in five games, I thought it was a close series. Chicago is going to have to be a very driven team to overcome Miami’s talent.”
On the Heat as his championship pick:
Van Gundy – “They are the best team because of their talent and tenacity. They can be a dominant team. Mike Miller and Udonis Haslem are healthy, Shane Battier was a great pickup and Norris Cole has been a great backup at the point guard position. They have good chemistry and a phenomenal talent base. I think they are better than last year when Dallas beat them in The Finals.”
On the top storyline heading into Sunday:
Breen – “So far, they are clearly the top two teams in the East and both teams have a real shot at winning the championship. It will be interesting to see how Chicago comes out after being eliminated by the Heat last season. The Bulls know this is the team they will have to go through again this postseason. It’s tough to get a barometer on the teams right now with so many players missing time and there is a long way to go between now and the playoffs.”
On Derrick Rose as the best point guard in the NBA:
Van Gundy – “He’s certainly one of the elite players in the league and he was deserving of the MVP award last year. The point guard position is excellent. Chris Paul and Deron Williams are excellent. There are a lot of really good players. Rose had a special season and he’s a special player. Most importantly, it sounds like he’s a special teammate who cares most about team success.”
ESPN’s NBA Ratings Up 31 Percent
ESPN’s 14 NBA telecasts this season are averaging a 1.7 rating, an increase of 31 percent when compared with a 1.3 rating for 13 NBA games during the same time span (since Christmas) last year, according to Nielsen. The corresponding household impressions are up 26 percent (1,664,000 vs. 1,319,000) and average viewers are up 21 percent (2,149,000 vs. 1,780,000).
ESPN.com’s Heat/Bulls Coverage
This weekend’s content on ESPN.com, ESPNChicago.com and the Heat Index will include:
- a “Hot Button” feature on which team improved the most since last season;
- previews (including Sunday’s ESPN.com Daily Dime), photo galleries and columns leading up to the game;
- in-game updates;
- immediate reaction and postgame reports.
ESPN Classic: “The Heat is On”
Prior to the Heat’s matchups against the Knicks and Bulls this weekend, ESPN Classic will re-live some of the best games between the teams Friday, Jan. 27, including:
- 1992 NBA Playoffs, First Round, Game 3: Bulls vs. Heat (2-4 a.m.) – Michael Jordan nets 56 points in a 119-114 Bulls victory;
- 2000 NBA Playoffs, Semifinals, Game 3: Heat vs. Knicks (4-6 a.m.) – Anthony Carter hits a baseline runner with 2.2 seconds left as the Heat escape 77-76 in overtime;
- 1999 NBA Playoffs, First Round, Game 5: Knicks vs. Heat (8-10 a.m.) – Allan Houston scores the game-winning basket in a 78-77 Knicks win;
- 2000 NBA Playoffs, Semifinals, Game 7: Knicks vs. Heat (10 a.m.-12 p.m.) – the Knicks survive with a 83-82 win in a classic Game 7;
- 1997 NBA Playoffs, Semifinals, Game 5: Knicks vs. Heat (12-2 p.m.) – the Heat win 96-81 as a brawl occurs with 1:53 remaining in the game;
- 1998 NBA Playoffs, First Round, Game 4: Heat vs. Knicks (2-4 p.m.) – the Knicks edge the Heat 90-85;
- 2011 regular season: Knicks vs. Heat (4-6 p.m.) – Amare Stoudemire blocks LeBron James’ layup with seven seconds left to secure a 91-86 Knicks win;
- 2011 regular season: Bulls vs. Heat (6-8 p.m.) – the Bulls win the third straight regular season game against the Heat 87-86.
That’s going to do it.
I’m not going to go too wild on this. Other sites are doing similar posts as well.
I’ll provide what I feel are the best calls in Sports Broadcasting this year. The only way to do this is to post videos and that’s what I’ll do. I know I said Best and Worst earlier, but the search is taking too long. We’ll provide the best calls in 2011.
We’ll go sport-by-sport and you can either agree or disagree.
Dan Shulman, ESPN Radio — Game 6, World Series, David Freese Walk-off home run
Gary Thorne, MLB International — Same as above. Two great calls of the same moment.
Larry Merchant vs. Floyd Mayweather, HBO Pay Per View — Floyd cursed out Larry and then Larry had the comeback of the year.
Gus Johnson, CBS Sports — Pac-10 Championship, Isiah Thomas hits the game-winning shot. “COLD BLOODED!”
Joe Tessitore, ESPN — “TOUCHDOWN! THEY DID IT!!” Iowa State upsets Oklahoma State knocking the Cowboys out of the BCS.
Joe Tessitore, ESPN on ABC — “Iowa State, USC and Baylor just made a mess of the BCS.” Baylor upsets Oklahoma less than 24 hours later and Joe Tessitore was there.
Dan Hicks, Johnny Miller and the Golf Channel on NBC crew — The 72nd hole for Rory McIlroy as he wins the US Open at Congressional. Great job by Dan and Johnny as they describe Rory McIlroy winning his first major championship.
Larry Collmus, NBC — The 137th Kentucky Derby. It marked Larry’s first race for NBC as he replaced Tom Durkin who left in 2010. And he got a huge upset as Animal Kingdom won the race.
Jack Edwards Calls of the Year
Living in New England and having access to NESN and Jack Edwards is the gift that keeps on giving. He was in rare form in 2011. We begin with Jack mocking Chad LaRose of the Carolina Hurricanes with a “Yapping, yapping, yapping all the way to the box.” Classic Jack.
“GET UP!” In Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Roman Hamrlik of the Montreal Canadiens went down and Jack decided to yell at him.
In Game 7, Hamrlik went down again, but the Bruins went on to score and Jack decided to rub it in.
And after the B’s closed out the Habs, Jack decided to make some puzzling final comments about royalty and having fun. Eight months later, I’m still trying to figure them out.
Mike Emrick, Versus — Tim Thomas makes a tremendous save in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Women’s World Cup
Ian Darke, ESPN — “ABBY WAMBACH HAS SAVED THE USA’S LIFE IN THIS WOMEN’S WORLD CUP!” Ian Darke had a tremendous call of the goal that tied Brazil in extra time in the quarterfinals.
And that will do it for us.
It’s time for me to bring back the annual College Football TV Awards. I’ve been wanting to write this for a while. Because of my schedule over the last week, I have not been able to bring it to you until now. Thanks for your patience.
Let’s get this started.
The College GameDay Award for Best Pregame Show — Yes, College GameDay. There was integration between the ESPN primetime game and College GameDay again this year. There were just a handful of times when GameDay went to a non-ESPN game (LSU-Alabama, SEC Championship), but the show remains the same, a cultural phenomenon that seems to get bigger with each passing year. It’s still the best pregame show on television today. The signs which have been a big part of the show, seemed to grab more of the spotlight this season with the #occupygameday movement from the Dan Patrick Show and other creative signs (1, 2, 3) that slipped through the security guards at various sites. Chris Fowler remains one of the best hosts on TV, Desmond Howard has improved yearly, Kirk Herbstreit is still one of the best analysts in the sport, however, Lee Corso’s slippage after his stroke is very evident with slurred speech. Still, his headgear segment is one of the most anticipated moments on college football Saturdays. The show is still going strong.
The Keith Jackson Award for Best Play-by-Play — Joe Tessitore, ESPN/ABC. Assigned mostly to Friday nights, Joe Tessitore had the fortune to call many barnburners this season. It was as if the Law of Gus Johnson was transferred to Joe Tess. And in each of the games, Joe stepped up. The season began with a crazy 50-48 game between Baylor and TCU and continued all the way to end. During one crazy weekend, he called upsets of Oklahoma State and Oklahoma on successive nights for ESPN and ABC respectively. Joe did an excellent job throughout the season and here’s hoping he gets some Saturday primetime slots for ESPN/ABC next season.
Honorable mentions — Brad Nessler (ESPN/ABC), Gus Johnson (Fox/FX), Tom Hammond (NBC)
The Frank Broyles Award for Best Game Analyst — Charles Davis, Fox/FX. Back on college football with Gus Johnson as his new partner, Charles really had a chance to shine. Teamed previously with Thom Brennaman during Fox’s failed BCS years, Davis was weighed down by an announcer who really didn’t give him an opportunity to speak other than to agree with him. With Gus, Charles was able to spot trends, correctly predict plays ahead of time and showed some humor. Next season, Gus and Charles will call games on the Fox mothership. Here’s looking forward to some fun games in 2012.
Honorable mentions — Todd Blackledge (ESPN/ABC), Gary Danielson (CBS), Randy Cross (CBS Sports Network), Mike Mayock (NBC)
Best Overall Announcing Team — Gus Johnson/Charles Davis (Fox/FX). They didn’t have that many great games this season, the Big Ten Championship Game was probably their best of the year. However, Gus and Charles formed one of the best announcing teams in just their first season together. I was impressed how quickly they jelled and how well they worked off each other. Watching them was an enjoyable experience this season.
Honorable mentions — Brad Nessler/Todd Blackledge (ESPN/ABC), Joe Tessitore/Rod Gilmore (ESPN), Tom Hammond/Mike Mayock (NBC)
The Jim Lampley Award For Best Studio Host — John Saunders, ESPN on ABC. He was hurt for much of the season due to a horrific fall, but when he came back in November, it was as if he did not miss a beat. While ESPN had various hosts such as Scott Van Pelt take John’s place, it was rather obvious that the ESPN on ABC college football studio missed Saunders. He’s really an Old Reliable in the studio chair during college football on ABC. John gets this award for this season.
Honorable Mentions — Rece Davis (ESPN), Liam McHugh (NBC/Versus)
Best Studio Analyst — Spencer Tillman, CBS. The co-host of CBS’ studio with Tim Brando, Spencer goes an excellent job breaking down the highlights and also providing strong opinions about the BCS and a potential playoff system. Spencer’s not afraid to give an opinion and has formed a very good team with Tim Brando and is also willing to share when CBS provides with him with a guest such as Archie Manning or Tony Barnhart.
Honorable Mentions — Jesse Palmer (ESPN on ABC), Doug Flutie (NBC/Versus), Kirk Herbstreit (ESPN)
The Jack Arute Award for Sideline Reporting — Holly Rowe, ESPN/ABC. Sideline reporting is a thankless job. There’s the brief injury updates, the halftime interview of coaches, plus the discovery of little tidbits to pass along all without intruding on the action of the game. Holly does all of this rather well and hardly gets noticed. Well, I’m recognizing the job she does. One of the best reporters on TV, period, Holly is very good at gathering information and doesn’t unnecessarily call attention to herself.
Honorable mentions — Alex Flanagan (NBC), Heather Cox (ESPN/ABC)
Most Valuable Network — Fox. Fox, you say? Yes, Fox. It only had two games this season, but they were big ones, the inaugural Pac-12 and Big Ten Conference Championship Games. While the Pac-12 Championship was nothing to write home about, Fox had a great Big Ten Championship. Both games drew pretty decent ratings for Fox and both had Gus Johnson on the call. While the Pac-12 production was choppy, the Big Ten’s was much better. Fox has decided to invest in college football the right way in its second foray into the sport and I think it will do much better this time around.
Honorable Mention — SEC on CBS
Best Overall Coverage — CBS. For one game each week, CBS provides excellent coverage of the SEC. The network has given each game a Big Event feel and it showed especially during LSU-Alabama in primetime. CBS does a very good job on the SEC and you can tell the network enjoys having the conference as a partner.
Honorable Mention — ESPN
Best Move — CBS moving LSU-Alabama to a primetime slot after making a four way trade with ESPN, CBS Sports Network and Versus in exchange for future considerations. The result was huge ratings for “The Game of the Century.”
The Pam Ward Award for Worst Play-by-Play — Craig Bolerjack, Fox Sports Net. I am not a fan of Bolerjack and he depends too much on clichés. He seems to be in love with his own voice and unnecessarily cranks up the volume just to prove that he has good pipes. I’m actually surprised myself that I didn’t give Pam Ward the award again this year, but Bolerjack takes it this season.
Dishonorable Mention — Pam Ward (ESPNU)
Worst Game or Studio Analyst — Matt Millen, ESPN/ABC. The man has no credibility. He comes off as a bad evaluator of talent and he talks too much. Sean McDonough deserves a much better partner.
Worst Move — Creation of the Longhorn Network, ESPN. Forget about the bad precedent it sets and it being a conflict of interest, what the channel set off was another huge round of conference upheaval. It led Texas A&M to leave the Big 12 for the SEC, TCU to leave the Big East for the Big 12, and then indirectly, Syracuse and West Virginia to leave the Big East for the ACC and then the Big East picking up seemingly every single school not in the East. The Longhorn Network was a bad idea to begin with and major cable providers in the Lone Star State have yet to be convinced of its viability. Texas will receive a huge financial windfall while other schools that don’t have a network will not. Because the NCAA is so weak, it won’t force Texas to end its relationship with ESPN.
Worst Slippage — Verne Lundquist, CBS. Uncle Verne still remains one of the best announcers around, but he continues on a downward spiral. He’s been having more missed calls including wrong names and there was this call of an interception that wasn’t during the LSU-Alabama game.
Once an announcer starts slipping, it’s hard to get it back. Here’s hoping that Verne has a much better season in 2012.
Most Bizarre Moment — Lee Corso’s F Bomb on College GameDay in Houston. Here’s the entire segment from beginning to end. Oh my.
Of course, it led to an apology shortly afterwards.
Honorable Mention — Lee Corso firing off guns again at the Red River Shootout at the Cotton Bowl.
And that will do it for another season of college football.
The ESPN-produced block for Saturday will return on December 10 with a mix of ESPN Films documentaries, E:60 segments, sports news updates and debate from personalities from the various studio shows that are aired during the week on ESPN and ESPN2. ESPN Sports Saturday will air as it did during the summer from 4 — 6 p.m. Eastern. Jay Harris will be the host.
The shows that will provide fresh content for ESPN Sports Saturday will be Pardon The Interruption, SportsNation, First Take, Jim Rome is Burning, College GameDay and others. It’s a way to take some rehashed material and rerack it for ABC. Again, another instance where the ABC network which once carried a lot of sports is being thrown scraps.
Winners Bracket, co-hosted by Marcellus Wiley and SportsNation’s Michelle Beadle, which filled the 5-6 p.m. timeslot during the summer will not return.
We have the blurb from ESPN.
ESPN Sports Saturday to Debut December 10 on ABC
New Show Anchors Two-Hour ESPN Saturday Block on ABC
ESPN Sports Saturday, a new one-hour show filled with timely news and information on the biggest stories in sports, will debut Saturday, Dec. 10, at 5 p.m. ET on ABC. The new show will anchor the “ESPN Sports Saturday” block of programming on ABC (weekly from 4-6 p.m.) with ESPN Films, among other ESPN programming, shown from 4-5 p.m.
ESPN Sports Saturday will combine live news updates with informative debate created exclusively for the show featuring commentators from ESPN programs such as Pardon the Interruption, SportsNation, First Take, Jim Rome is Burning, NFL Live, SportsCenter, College GameDay and Mike & Mike in the Morning. ESPN anchor Jay Harris will host ESPN Sports Saturday in December.
ESPN Sports Saturday is produced by the same production team which worked on Winner’s Bracket, which previously occupied the 5-6 p.m. broadcast window.