As we go into the second week of the 2012 London Olympics or the Games of the XXX Summer Olympiad, I thought I would take the opportunity on this middle Sunday to look ahead for the next set of Games on television.
We know that NBCUniversal will carry the Olympics through 2020, that’s two Winter and two Summer Games in that timespan. While the network has been served well by its current crop of announcers, some of whom date back as far back as 1988, it’s time to replace them with a new generation of hosts, play-by-play callers and analysts who can carry the network through 2020 and possibly beyond.
I’ll focus this post on the Summer Games since that’s what we’ve been watching for the last 8 days. I’ll do a Winter Olympics announcing post at a later date. I’ll start with hosts, then go by the glamor sports.
Bob Costas — Bob is 60 this year and while his youthful look betrays his age, he’ll be 64 in 2016 for Rio and 68 in 2020 at a site yet to be determined. ABC’s Jim McKay hosted his last Olympics in 1988 at age 65. Costas remains the best interviewer on sports television and should be allowed to host the Olympics on NBC for as long as he wants. I don’t think he’s going anywhere.
Dan Patrick — Dan is just four years younger than Bob, but if Costas decides to leave, DP could step into his shoes as Primetime host.
Liam McHugh — For 2016, I would think this is where NBC could tap Liam McHugh and put him in Al Michaels’ place on Daytime. Al would be 71 in Rio and while he would still be very good at calling Sunday Night Football in four years, I would not put him in the host’s chair in Rio. McHugh has proven he can be very versatile hosting the NHL Postseason, the Stanley Cup Final, the Tour de France and the Olympics over a four month span. That is not easy, but Liam has made it look easy and that’s the sign of a very good host.
Bonnie Bernstein — ESPN’s Bonnie Bernstein is the best personality not to have an Olympic gig. This is like saying she’s the Best Golfer Not To Win A Major. She has proven as a substitute host for Dan Patrick and on Twitter that she can discuss multiple sports. And Bonnie’s also a former gymnast. Watching BBC’s coverage of the London Games, the network utilizes both studio and venue hosts. Making Bonnie a venue host at Gymnastics with Nastia Liukin as her analyst would work to one of her strengths. She was a five-time host of the NCAA Gymnastics Championship when she was at CBS. I would love to see her work an Olympic Games.
Ryan Burr — Ryan will be coming to the NBCUniversal family to work at Golf Channel and at NBC Sports Network. We could see him host on either MSNBC or NBCSN.
Michelle Beadle — Michelle’s done a great job thus far in London. She has shown she can talk Olympic sports and bring some humor as well.
Kelly Tilghman — I’ve liked her work on MSNBC. I can see her on future Olympics as well.
Let’s do this by sport.
BASKETBALL — If the NBA continues sending players to the Olympics, then NBC could continue utilizing Bob Fitzgerald from Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and Chris Carrino. This is where NBC should tap Turner Sports for a Steve Kerr or even Reggie Miller for analysts.
If basketball becomes an Under 23 tournament as speculated, NBC may have to hire college basketball announcers. Borrowing Ian Eagle from CBS and YES to call games would be a good move. Jay Bilas from ESPN would forge a strong team with Ian throughout the Games. And NBC should still utilize Craig Sager as the reporter although he looks muted with a regular wardrobe.
On the women’s side, if NBC could get Doris Burke on loan from ESPN, that would be ideal. She could work men’s games too as she’s proven over the past few years. If NBC can’t get Doris Burke, why not former ESPN’er Stacey Dales or Fox Sports Net’s Debbie Antonelli?
BOXING — Bob Papa and Teddy Atlas are a very good team and should remain, but I’d love for NBC to bring in its old friend Jim Lampley with Larry Merchant and Emmanuel Steward from HBO to call one or two bouts a day. What could be better than that? And bring in Harold Lederman for judging analysis while we’re at it.
Host Fred Roggin should be replaced with boxing fan Brian Kenny of MLB Network.
CYCLING — If it’s not Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen, NBC should go announcer-less.
DIVING — Can you believe Cynthia Potter has worked every Summer Olympics on network television since 1984? She’s been solid, but it’s time to bring in some new blood. 2000 gold medalist Laura Wilkinson who worked the Diving Trials for NBC Sports Network in June is a potential candidate.
GYMNASTICS — Utilizing a favorite word of Tim Daggett’s, the announcing on this sport over the last two Olympiads has been catastrophic. Normally, I like Al Trautwig, but his calls of gymnastics in 2008 in Beijing and this year in London is reaching John Tesh disastrous proportions in 1996. Al makes everything seems at life or death levels. In addition, his penchant to focus on crying gymnasts borders on creepy.
Tim Daggett’s constant talking and use of the word “catastrophic” is annoying. Elfi Schlegel has been reduced to short sentences. NBC needs to replace this team for 2016.
This is where NBC can utilize a venue host (see Bonnie Bernstein above) with an analyst. Nastia Liukin could fill that role very nicely. Bela Karolyi has proven to be Must See TV and should be one of the studio analysts. And if his wife, Marta retires, imagine the fireworks on the set between those two.
NBC is using Terry Gannon this year to call rowing. Why not have Terry call Olympic Gymnastics in 2016? He has called the sport for ABC and did it well. And having watched the World Feed this year through NBC’s Olympics Live Extra app, I’m very impressed with Shannon Miller from 1996′s Magnificent Seven Team. She’s been the sole analyst for Olympic Broadcasting Services and has done very well in explaining certain moves, the scoring system and their implications without sounding overdramatic. Terry Gannon and Shannon Miller would make an excellent team.
GOLF — Remember, golf makes its return to the Olympics in Rio in 2016, having made its last appearance in 1904. NBC/Golf Channel has an established team with Dan Hicks, Johnny Miller, Nick Faldo, Roger Maltbie, Brandell Chamblee, Frank Nobilo, Rich Lerner, the aforementioned Kelly Tilghman, David Feherty, the incoming Ryan Burr and so many others who could work this event.
Some people have asked me on Twitter if Dan would stop calling swimming to do golf. I think Dan could do both especially if the IOC (with the help of NBC) decides to schedule golf in the second week of the Olympics, so that it doesn’t interfere with swimming, tennis, gymnastics and other sports in the first week. This is where a venue host would come in handy, perhaps Kelly or Ryan with one or two of the many Golf Channel analysts. And we could expect Golf Channel to have a role in picking up the first two rounds of Olympic Golf with NBC coming in for the last two rounds.
SOCCER — NBC used its MLS crew, Arlo White and Kyle Martino on the men’s games along with JP Dellacamera, Glenn Davis, Steve Cangialosi and Allen Hopkins. I’d love to see English Premier League announcers Martin Tyler and Ian Darke on US TV calling some Olympic action.
Brandi Chastain despite Hope Solo’s complaints last week is doing well on women’s games and I would keep her in the booth.
SWIMMING — Dan Hicks has made this one of his signature sports along with golf throughout his career at NBC. I can’t see him leaving the sport unless golf is scheduled in the first week, but I don’t think that would happen. Rowdy Gaines has been a good salesman for swimming and he’s doing yeoman’s work to raise money for the sport to establish a training center. However, I’ve grown tired of his screaming and his voice raising over 50 octaves. This is where NBC could bring in a plethora of gold medalists to replace Gaines. This is also a sport that could utilize a venue host and it’s where Liam McHugh could go if NBC decides to keep Al Michaels in Daytime.
While Phelps has said he’s retiring, NBC would like to see him in Rio either as a swimmer or perhaps an analyst. If the network uses him on TV, I’d prefer to see him in the studio. At first thought, I felt putting Phelps on camera would be a bad move, but this was based on his interviews in Beijing where he looked uncomfortable. During his NBC interviews in London, Michael has looked more at ease, but that does not necessarily make for a good analyst. If he wants to go the TV route, putting him in the studio for short spurts might be best for 2016.
As for the races, I’d go with Amy Van Dyken to replace Rowdy. For the past year, Amy has been co-hosting Fox Sports Tonight with Rob Dibble on Fox Sports Radio and she’s been in London analyzing the Olympic swimming for FoxSports.com. Amy is not only funny, but she speaks her mind. She knows the mind of an Olympic athlete and I think she’d be perfect with Dan in calling the races.
TENNIS — This sport finally received some glamor treatment from NBC this year. However, it was treated badly with Pat O’Brien as the venue host. Not only did Pat demonstrate a huge lack of knowledge, he conducted awkward interviews as well. Brett Haber and Andrew Catalon did very well on the play-by-play and I liked Rennae Stubbs to want her to return in Rio. Justin Gimelstob was a weak link in the crew. I’d replace him with ESPN’s Darren Cahill or have John McEnroe call more matches.
TRACK & FIELD — There’s not much I would replace here. Tom Hammond is about as classy an announcer as you will find. Ato Boldon has become a very strong analyst. And NBC has brought back Craig Masback, long a staple of track coverage in the 1980′s and 1990′s. But for 2016, I think Lolo Jones would make for a good studio analyst. And Michael Johnson who has been on the last few Olympics for the BBC would work well too. Having Bob host Primetime from the Athletics venue would be a nice change of pace from being in the studio. And he could mix it up with Lolo and Michael.
Those are my suggestions. If you have some of your own, put them in the comments below.
On SportsCenter Sunday and into this morning, ESPN is airing this segment paying tribute to the 50th anniversary of ABC’s Wide World of Sports. This week, ESPN Classic is airing programs commemorating the anniversary and this particular segment is a very nice look back at some of the sports Wide World covered dating back to its humble beginnings in 1961 and its impact on sports television.
Great to see some of the old ABC Sports announcers like Al Michaels, Keith Jackson and Donna de Varona.
This certainly brings back some memories.
This is going to be a wide ranging post. Unlike the last post on Best Announcers of All-Time, I will explain my reasons for choosing them. It’s quite an interesting list.
10. The American Sportsman – ABC Sports (1965-1986)
Hosted by Curt Gowdy, the show started from a segment in ABC’s Wide World of Sports, a series that will be higher in this list. It gave viewers a look at hunting, fishing, gaming in the great outdoors and also showed animals in their natural habitat. Done on film, the beauty of the series brought viewers to exotic locations all over the United States. Celebrities often joined Curt having fun in the outdoors.
9. Inside the NFL – HBO/Showtime/NFL Films (1977-present)
The show began in the infancy of the cable era and continues today. Originally started as a highlights show using NFL Films footage, Inside the NFL evolved to features, interviews and discussion. The show went from HBO to Showtime, but it’s influence on highlights remain today.
8. This Week in Baseball – MLB Productions (1977-1999 version)
We’re talking about the syndicated version and not the program that airs on Fox Sports before its MLB coverage on Saturday afternoons. Fed up of seeing TV stations air NFL Films syndicated programming, Commissioner Bowie Kuhn ordered MLB Productions start a program of their own and This Week in Baseball was born. Before ESPN, it was the only way to see baseball highlights from outside the local market. Narrated by Mel Allen until his death in 1996 and canceled in 1999 until Fox brought it back in 2000 with the highlights drastically cut. In its heyday, TWIB was one of the most successful league-owned programs. And it also led MLB Productions to other programs including “The Baseball Bunch” which was geared towards children.
7. Hockey Night in Canada – CBC Sports (1952-present)
While not seen in the United States until the NHL Center Ice pay-per-view package and now aired on NHL Network, this series had a great impact on how hockey is aired in the United States. HNIC set the standard for television production of the NHL and play-by-play announcer Foster Hewitt proved that radio announcing would work in calling the sport on TV. The ratings of HNIC continue to dominate in Canada and the NHL’s US TV partners have to strive to equal or surpass CBC’s production.
6. SportsCenter – ESPN (1979-present)
When ESPN launched in 1979 in the little town of Bristol, CT, then-President Chet Simmons decided that a nightly show devoted to sports highlights would be the network’s signature show. SportsCenter was the first show aired on ESPN and since then, over 30,000 editions have been produced. The show has made sports highlights on newscasts obsolete. It brought Chris Berman, Tom Mees, Bob Ley, Dan Patrick, Keith Olbermann, Craig Kilborn, Linda Cohn, Robin Roberts and so many others into national prominence. While other networks have tried to imitate the formula, SportsCenter has beaten back its competitors to the point where it’s expanded into a second ESPN channel.
5. Real Sports – HBO Sports
The sports version of 60 Minutes, Real Sports did not bring serious journalism into television sports, but it has moved the mountain to the point where it was once the only game in town. Now ESPN has its own sports journalism magazine, E:60 and also has a daily show, Outside The Lines. But neither program would be alive were it not for Real Sports. Hosted by Bryant Gumbel since its inception in 1995, the show has won numerous Sports Emmy Awards for Outstanding Sports Journalism. Its reporters are among the best in the business and continue to bring stories to the forefront. Gumbel has said he may be long to host the show, Real Sports is expected to continue for years to come.
4. The NFL Today – CBS Sports (1974-1994, 1998-present)
While CBS tinkered with a pregame show dating back to the early 1960′s, the origin of the NFL Today and other shows that have followed on NBC, ESPN, Fox and CBS again, can date back to 1974 when the Tiffany Network began a live show with co-hosts with reports from game sites. In 1975, the format we have come to know with a host, analyst and a reporter began with Brent Musburger, Phyllis George, Irv Cross and then prognosticator Jimmy The Greek who joined in 1976. NBC followed with its own show, Grandstand in 1975, then NFL ’77. But it was always following CBS’ lead and ratings. Until CBS lost the NFC package in 1994, the NFL Today constantly slaughtered NBC’s pregame show in the ratings. CBS also created the live halftime and postgame show with highlights and updates. fans knew that the NFL Today was the show to watch. And while Fox updated the format in 1994, networks have to tip their hat to the NFL Today.
3. Major League Baseball Game of the Week – ABC Sports/CBS Sports/NBC Sports (1953 – 1989)
Started by ABC, then bought by CBS and finally wrested away by NBC, this was one of the first regular sports series to air on network television. Until the series’ demise in 1989 when Major League Baseball inexplicably killed the series in a money grab with CBS, this was the only way for fans to see teams outside of their local markets. In addition, it was a big deal when the networks came into town to televise a game to a national audience. Called by great broadcasters such as Jack Buck, Dizzy Dean, Curt Gowdy, Joe Garagiola, Bob Costas and Vin Scully, the Game of the Week was a fixture every Saturday afternoon. Fox has its own version, but with cable showing so many games during the week, it’s only natural that Fox’s ratings have gone down. But old school fans yearn for the days when the Game of the Week was the only game in town.
2. Monday Night Football – ABC Sports/ESPN (1970-present)
It’s now hard to believe that there were some television executives who felt that primetime football would not work. Now, there are three NFL primetime packages and there’s primetime college football as well. MNF proved that not only could football work in primetime, but big ticket sporting events as well. Before cable, a Monday Night Football game was a huge event. The ABC Sports team of Frank Gifford, Howard Cosell and Don Meredith was treated like rock stars. And with the Halftime Highlights narrated by Cosell, its was the way to see the other games played from the weekend. The series on ABC continued to have a big game feel with Al Michaels, Gifford and Dan Dierdorf, but lost some appeal when ESPN began to tinker with the announcing teams and the production in the late 1990′s, and in the first two years when MNF moved to cable. However, MNF appeared to have regained some stability when Jon Gruden joined Mike Tirico and Ron Jaworski last season. MNF may have lost the spotlight with NBC taking over Sunday Night Football, but games on Monday Night continue to have some luster.
1. Wide World of Sports – ABC Sports (1961-1998)
The show that brought us events like cliff diving, barrel jumping, Evel Knievel jumping over buses also gave America its first look at Wimbledon, Muhammed Ali, the ACC Tournament, gymnastics, figure skating, the Little League World Series, and the Indianapolis and Daytona 500. Through it all, Jim McKay was our teacher and host. Executive Producer Roone Arledge spanned the globe to find sports to televise and gave us Up Close and Personal profiles of athletes we may not have wanted to know, but found ourselves caring about by the end. And the way ABC shot sports, it set the standard for how NASCAR, the Olympics and other sports are produced. In its prime in the 1970′s, ABC aired Wide World on both Saturdays and Sundays, killing the NBA on CBS and the NHL on NBC. The series forced CBS and NBC to air similar shows, but Wide World was still the original sports anthology show and the best. Unfortunately, the show was killed in 1998. ESPN Classic has aired various Wide World events over the years, but not in the program’s original format.
Those are my choices for Most Influential Sports Series. What are yours?
After not watching any sports on Sunday (visiting the three week old niece in NYC), I’m catching up with what I missed today.
Starting with USA Today’s Michael Hiestand who looks over what the NFL pregame studio analysts had to say about the league’s bottom feeders.
Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch writes that ESPN has hired one of the UK’s most popular soccer announcers to call its World Cup games in 2010.
To the Sports Business Journal where we have a few links today. John Ourand and Michael Smith says the Indy Racing League’s move of most of its races to Versus from ESPN/ABC cost it viewers.
William Cooper looks into the reduced amount of free promotional items being given out at games.
The SBJ has a chart on the influence of promotions on attendance.
And SBJ gives us some of the wackiest minor league promotions.
Jason Fry writing for Indiana University’s National Spors Journalism Center has Twitter advice from two veteran sportswriters who have embraced the service.
One of the strangest stories to surface over the weekend was the divorce trial of CBS Sports’ Jim Nantz where he unveiled his wife was unsupportive of his career, that she spent his money like a sieve, that he has a 29 year old girlfriend, that he makes close to $8 million a year and sobbed uncontrollably. Damn. Thanks to The Big Lead for the link and tip.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell says the cold retro jersey market is about to get hot again thanks to Michael Jordan.
Darren writes the New Jersey Nets continue to be creative about promotions, but wonders if their latest one will work.
Jerry Barmash of the New York Examiner catches up with Len Berman who has been out of WNBC-TV for six months and not missing it one bit.
Newsday’s Neil Best has the best quotes from the Sunday NFL pregame shows.
The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick hates everybody today. Then again, when does he not hate everybody?
Richard Sandomir of the New York Times says getting a background check on the potential new owner of the Nets may not be too easy.
Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union says college football doesn’t have that marquee matchup this week.
Pete has the NFL TV schedule for Week 7.
Pete says ESPN is hoping to appease militant soccer fans who did not like Dave O’Brien calling the World Cup in 2006.
Ken Schott of the Schenectady Gazette says Time Warner Cable will air a local high school football playoff game this week.
The widow of the late Jim McKay of ABC Sports and mother of CBS News and Sports President Sean McManus, Margaret McManus, an excellent newspaper reporter in her own right, died last week at the age of 89. Thanks to Neil Best for the link.
Jim Williams from the Washington Examiner tells fans of the DC NFL team not to go to Comcast SportsNet to hear critical talk.
A couple of links from Tom Jones of the St. Petersburg Times. First, he talks with ESPN’s Erin Andrews.
And Tom looks at the weekend in televised sport.
Barry Horn of the Dallas Morning News gives us some Sunday NFL pregame quotage.
Barry is surprised to learn that Oklahoma-Texas won the weekend ratings in the Metroplex.
David Barron of the Houston Chronicle remembers a former colleague who passed away recently.
Jerry Garcia of the San Antonio Express-News says Rush Limbaugh got what he wanted even though he won’t be owning an NFL team anytime soon.
Ed Sherman of Crain’s Chicago Business likes how United Center officials are marketing their cheap seats.
Sarah Spain from Chicago Now asks if the Vikings’ Bernard Berrian was the victim of a Twitter prank, or did he really post a nude photograph?
Bob Wolfley from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says despite the win over Detroit, the Fox Sports crew still saw some flaws in the Packers yesterday.
Dusty Saunders in the Denver Post is liking Jon Gruden in the Monday Night Football booth.
Diane Pucin of the Los Angeles Times says a Dodgers-Angels World Series would be a ratings bust.
Diane also critiques TBS’ presentation of last night’s NLCS Game 3.
Tom Hoffarth of the crosstown Daily News gives SoCal its sports calendar for this week.
Tom notes today is the 50th anniversary of the Dodgers’ last hurdle cleared in its move to LA.
In the Toronto Star, Chris Zelkovich says Rogers Sportsnet MLB analyst and Tampa Bay Rays backup catcher Greg Zaun might be too honest for his own good.
The Toronto Globe and Mail’s Bruce Dowbiggin is not a baseball fan.
Nice to see former Globe and Mail sports media critic William Houston on the blogosphere. Today, William has some thoughts on this season’s Hockey Night in Canada cast. A big thanks to Steve Lepore of Puck The Media for the link.
Katy Bachman of Mediaweek writes that ESPN Radio is looking for more FM affiliates.
Sports Business Digest says pro football in Florida might not be working.
Maury Brown in the Biz of Baseball tells us that the Yankees are opening up their stadium this afternoon so fans can watch ALCS Game 3 on the big screen.
Steve Lepore of Puck The Media urges someone to pick up CBC’s Battle of the Blades.
The Sports Media Watch has its weekend ratings predictions.
SMW says the Yankees are helping to boost the ALCS ratings for Fox.
SMW says the Phillies’ blowout of the Dodgers last night hurt TBS’ NLCS ratings.
SMW notes that Texas-Oklahoma gave ABC primetime ratings for last Saturday’s noon ET game.
And SMW says the USC-Notre Dame game paid dividends for NBC on Saturday.
Joe Favorito says Jets’ kicker Jay Feely is using social and traditional media to get closer to his fans.
My hot friend, Amanda Rykoff who co-hosted the Play Ball podcast with Melissa Greenhawt for ESPN.com is now doing her own blog and she already has put a lot of content up there. Check it out.
And we end with Kristine Leahy giving us today’s edition of The Five on WEEI.com.
We’re done for now. Back later.
Thanks to ESPN, this show doesn’t exist anymore. Ok, maybe I’m judgmental in saying ESPN killed this show since the Wide World title reappeared during ESPN/ABC’s coverage of the Belmont Stakes last year, but the program hasn’t been on the air in full since the late 1990′s when ESPN took over ABC Sports. But we take a look at some of the opening sequences and sports the show used to air. It premiered in 1961 as a summer series, but lasted all the way until 1998. Jim McKay was the main host until 1987. ABC used a whole plethora of hosts including Frank Gifford and Robin Roberts until the show’s end in 1998.
The show the first to bring Wimbledon, the ACC Tournament, the Daytona 500, the Indianapolis 500, track & field, figure skating, barrel jumping, rodeo, bowling and so many more sports to American television.
I loved this show. It aired Saturday’s at 5 p.m., running until 6:30 p.m. Then ABC moved the show up a half hour to 4:30 p.m. to accommodate local news. Here are some various openings and events that aired on the show.
This is pretty cool. During the Pro Bowlers Tour (another great program from ABC that’s no longer with us), the late Chris Schenkel talks about a new Wide World of Sports book. This dates back to 1966. Holy frijoles!
From 1967, this is Evel Knievel’s first jump on Wide World. He would be a staple on Wide World of Sports through the late 1970′s.
Here’s an opening from 1974.
I don’t have to use notes to recognize the athletes in this open. The figure skater in 1972 Olympics bronze medalists Janet Lynn, the boxer is George Foreman, the infamous “agony of defeat” ski jumper Vinko Bogataj who was more famous here than in his own country of Slovenia, Irish hurlers, Brazilian soccer legend Pele, I don’t remember the pole vaulter, but I believe that was from the Melrose Games in New York, Ken Norton and Muhammed Ali fighting, I don’t know who the skiers were, the racing sequence is from the Indianapolis 500, swimmer Mark Spitz, gymnast Olga Korbut from an exhibition at Madison Square Garden and then a point of view camera from the Grand Prix of Monaco. Why I know so many scenes is beyond me.
Let’s jump to 1977.
The opening scene is from a skiing event, overhead shot of Madison Square Garden, Great Wall of China, Grand Prix of Monaco, I guess that’s Larry Mahan in the rodeo scene, Little League World Series, Vinko again, barrel jumping, Olga Korbut, Dorothy Hamill from the 1976 Olympics, Evel Knievel, Ali/Frazier II, I don’t know who the swimmers are, I think that’s from the Kentucky Derby, same skiers I don’t know, then various stock footage.
To 1988 and a promo for Wide World. Note that the program still had some goofy events.
From 1991, ABC celebrated 30 years of Wide World of Sports with Jim McKay and Frank Gifford. The sound isn’t that great in this clip so you may have to turn up the volume depending on your computer.
From that same 30th Anniversary special, here’s a profile of Vinko.
And one more clip from the special, a look at how Evel Knievel played a big role in the history of Wide World.
In 1996, the opening became much shorter. Jim McKay’s intro is still intact though.
Sad to see if you ask me.
And that’s will do it. I could go into the boxing segments with Howard Cosell and Muhammed Ali, but that’s for another week. That’s it for now. Back later with Sunday links.
I’ll give you some links today then do some work.
Before I get to that, I have some self plugs. First, if you have not done so, please join my Facebook blog network. Next, if you want keep up on my posts, you can do so on Twitter. I have my own site there. And finally, I have t-shirts and coffee mugs on sale at Zazzle. I don’t ask for much, and I do ask you to patronize my network, Twitter site and buy a t-shirt or mug if you can. I greatly appreciate it.
USA Today’s Michael Hiestand talks about the 3-D element to Fox’s BCS National Championship Game on Thursday.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell talks about Boston College’s statements that it will fire football coach Jeff Jagodzinski if he interviews with the New York Jets. Go ahead and fire him, BC. Look at the coaches you get. Every one of them has used BC as a stepping stone. No one stays. It’s because Athletic Director Gene DiFilippo runs the program like Chairman Mao and wants credit for any success for any of the teams that do well. BC wants to be a major athletic program, but at the same time, wants to be like the Ivy League. If you want to be in the Ivy League, apply to be there, but don’t try to be something you’re not. Every once in a while, the basketball program gets to the NCAA Tournament, the hockey program is one of the nation’s elite and the football program has had a good string of success lately, but it’s not going to last. Just go to the Patriot League and you’ll be happy. I don’t mean to go on a rant on Boston College, but I think the fans are unrealistic about the program.
Darren writes that college football’s assistant coaches are the next to see big paydays.
Laura Nachman says Fox is assigning its number one team to the Eagles-Giants game.
Leonard Shapiro of the Washington Post has some New Year’s wishes.
Old School fans will remember “The Superstars”, the ABC show that pitted athletes from different sports against each other in 10 different events. It was a big hit in the 1970′s in the mid 1980′s. ABC is now bringing it back in a different form as Michael Schneider of Variety tells us.
Here’s the opening to first ever “Superstars” program that aired on Wide World of Sports in 1973. Jim McKay was the host. After this, Keith Jackson was the play-by-play man for the program. The quality of the open was not good at first, but be patient to watch Jim explain the competition.
And here’s the swimming competition from the same program. The funny part is seeing Joe Frazier trying to swim. The keyword is try.
The Press-Register (AL) says the most powerful man in college football works at ESPN and feels the bowl system is going to remain intact for awhile.
Langston Wertz, Jr. of the Charlotte Observer writes that TNT’s Charles Barkley has made it hard for viewers to take him seriously after his latest incident.
From the Daily Oklahoman, Mel Bracht has some stuff from Fox Sports’ Charles Davis who will be the analyst on the BCS National Championship Game tomorrow.
Michael David Smith of the AOL Fanhouse has Rob Parker’s appearance on ESPN Radio this morning.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News has his reaction to Rob Parker’s resignation from the Detroit News. And Tom lists the nominees for the 2008 Southern California Broadcasters’ Association Awards.
Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times writes that USC’s Rey Maualuga has apologized to ESPN’s Erin Andrews for his bump and grind dance before the Rose Bowl.
Diane Pucin of the Times warns NBA fans to get ready for Dick Vitale tonight on ESPN’s Miami-Denver game.
Also in the Times, Olympics writer Philip Hersh looks back at the lead players in the Tonya Harding-Nancy Kerrigan soap opera that began in the 1994 US Figure Skating Championships and continued through the Winter Olympics.
In Philip’s story, he links to a story that ABC’s Wide World of Sports did on the assault. Julie Moran is the narrator.
Mathew Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says a familiar Bay Area voice is becoming the new radio play-by-play man of the San Francisco 49ers.
Gary Washburn of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer says former SuperSonics voice Kevin Calabro joins the ESPN Radio affiliate in April.
The Radio Business Report says ESPN Radio in New York is expanding its local afternoon programming.
William Houston from the Toronto Globe and Mail says the Gold Medal game of the World Junior Hockey Championships set a viewership record for TSN.
Christopher Byrne of the Eye on Sports Media hands out his award to Best Sports Information Department Blog.
The lovely Toni Fitzgerald of Media Life Magazine says Fox won the ratings on Monday thanks to the Fiesta Bowl.
That’s going to do it for now. I’ll be back later.
Today, we start to get ready for the Olympics with various looks at coverage from previous games. This morning, we go back to the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles which were covered by ABC in the US, CBC in Canada and the BBC in the UK.
We’ll have video clips from each network and it will be interesting to watch. We begin with the Opening Ceremonies at Los Angeles Coliseum as broadcast by ABC’s Peter Jennings and Jim McKay. It’s sad to think that both have passed away in the last three years.
And here is the entrance of the United States following Yugoslavia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. You may not remember that Yugoslavia was the only Eastern Bloc nation to participate in the 1984 Games as many of the Warsaw Pact countries boycotted following the Soviet Union’s lead.
For those of you who have never heard Howard Cosell call boxing, here’s your opporunity as he called the Lennox Lewis-Tyrell Biggs quarterfinal fight in the super heavyweight division. By 1984, Howard had took himself calling professional boxing, but still called amateur fights.
Here’s Mary Lou Retton’s famous vaults done during the Women’s Gymnastics All Around competition as called by Jack Whitaker and Cathy Rigby.
One of the more emotional moments during the games was when Jeff Blatnick of Schenectady, NY won the gold medal in Greco-Roman wrestling over Thomas Johanssen. Jeff had beaten Hodgkin’s Disease and during his interview on ABC, came up with the famous line, “I’m a happy dude.” That line is not in this video.
This is Jim Lampley calling the 200 meter butterfly final with Australian Jon Sieben upsetting the Albatross, Michael Gross of West Germany. Mark Spitz was Jim’s partner on ABC.
In 1984, the UK’s Daley Thompson won the decathlon and here’s how the BBC covered it.
Here’s how the BBC covered rivals Sebastian Coe and Steve Ovett in the 800 meters and 1,500 meters finals.
This is the end of the first women’s marathon won by Maine’s Joan Benoit.
This is a bumper for ABC’s Olympic coverage.
Now the Closing Ceremony as hosted by ABC’s Jim McKay and Peter Jennings.
And the handing of the the Antwerp Olympics flag from Los Angeles to Seoul which hosted the 1988 Summer Olympics.
Here’s how CBC signed off from Los Angeles for the last time. The host was Brian Williams (not the guy from NBC). Brian will be back hosting the 2010 and 2012 Olympics for CTV.
This would mark the last Summer Olympics for ABC. NBC took over in 1988 in Seoul and has maintained a stranglehold on the Summer Olympics through now. We’ll take a look at NBC’s coverage from 1988 next Sunday.
Because I had to cut my last entry short, I will give you some more links tonight.
ESPN outlines its coverage for Wimbledon which will start later this month.
Take some time and read The Biz of Baseball’s State of Major League Baseball 2008 authored by various writers, authors, bloggers and baseball execs. If you love baseball, you’ll find this a fascinating read. Maury Brown of The Biz of Baseball says people from all around baseball are mourning Tim Russert.
Ken McMillan of the Times Herald-Record (NY) writes that NBC Universal will aggressively market its new purchase of World Championship Sports Network as a new cable channel. WCSN is for the most part a broadband service.
I did not link to this yesterday. Joe Favorito had a very nice entry on Father’s Day and athletes who change their citizenship to participate in the Olympics.
Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch remembers NBC’s Tim Russert.
From Richard, AJ Dalerio of Deadspin talks with former ESPN Radio, Fox Sports Radio and Sporting News Radio host Tony Bruno.
Dave George of the Palm Beach Post wonders if there’s a sporting event that TV doesn’t or won’t cover.
On the Olympics front, the Associated Press reports some progress between the networks that will broadcast the games in Communist China and organizers over security concerns and various restrictions placed on the broadcasters.
Michelle Greppi of TV Week talks to CBS News and Sports President Sean McManus about his father, Jim McKay.
Emilie Deutsch writes in the New York Times about Jim McKay’s interview with Fidel Castro back in 1991. Emilie produced and directed the interview for ABC Sports.
Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press says a deal between the Big Ten Network and Comcast is imminent.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have announced they have re-signed their TV broadcast team to new deals.
Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune writes that the Blackhawks have welcomed back Pat Foley as the team’s TV play-by-play voice.
Enjoy Weeds and Secret Diary of a Call Girl on Showtime. Good night.
Well, it was Father’s Day yesterday and it was time to take dad out for lunch. I was out of the house for most of the day which meant I could not blog yesterday, but I’m back now and let’s get to the links.
Michael Hiestand of USA Today says putting the U.S. Open in primetime paid off for NBC.
Phil Mushnick of the New York Post says Charlie Jones’ death reminds him of NBC unceremoniously letting him go after losing NFL TV rights in 1997.
Newsday’s Neil Best writes in his blog that the USGA should eliminate its Monday 18 hole playoff. And Neil is grateful that Tiger Woods gets his work done before sunset.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell writes that Tiger will wear the same shirt for the 18 hole playoff that he did for the 4th round of the U.S. Open yesterday.
Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union says the overnight ratings for the 3rd round of the U.S. Open on NBC were very good for a Saturday night.
And the Sports Media Watch says the U.S. Open helped NBC win Saturday night’s primetime race.
Here’s the NBC press release about the Saturday primetime ratings for the U.S. Open.
Tom Jones in the St. Petersburg Times’ Two Cents blog is not a fan of NBC’s Dan Hicks or seeing a lot of Tiger Woods.
Chip Towers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is enjoying the U.S. Open and the College World Series on TV.
John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal has a very nice article on CBS News and Sports President Sean McManus’ thoughts on his father, Jim McKay’s passing. And nice of the SBJ to make this available to everyone.
Jay Posner from the San Diego Union-Tribune says sports on demand whether it be on the internet or on TV is the future.
Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune breaks news that the Big Ten Network and Comcast are about to sign a deal for the channel to be on its cable systems in the Midwest.
Dusty Saunders from the Rocky Mountain News writes that Colorado Avalanche TV announcer Mike Haynes feels lucky to be alive.
ESPN.com’s Jamele Hill apparently wrote a column about Celtics fans that made references to Hitler and the Cold War. Not smart.
The EPL Talk soccer blog likes how ESPN paired Derek Rae and Andy Gray during Euro 2008 over the weekend.
Michael Starr of the New York Post says Fox and ESPN plan to make concerted efforts to get the 2014 and 2016 Olympics from NBC.
R. Thomas Umstead of Multichannel News reports that NBC Universal has bought a majority stake in World Championship Sports Network, a broadband service that shows Olympic sports.
Bob Fernandez of the Philadelphia Inquirer talks with Comcast SportsNet President Jon Litner about the network’s strategy. Also from the Inquirer, Michael Klein writes that Comcast has suspended Daily News columnist Bill Conlin for comments made on the network and Klein reports that when Conlin may not return when he’s eligible to come back (scroll down).
Chris Reidy of the Boston Globe has the video of a new Sovereign Bank ad showing NESN Red Sox analyst Jerry Remy playing air guitar. Last year, Remy was shown on NESN playing air guitar before an on-air stint and fell off a table. If you haven’t seen that now-famous incident, here it is:
Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star talk about a father and son making their work debut together.
Enjoy the U.S. Open playoff.
I’ve been Mr. Fixit today, running errands and fixing things around the house. I just wondered what we did before HGTV or DIY Network. Without them, there’s no way we could not do the simpler repairs around the house. But thanks to them, we can fix things around the kitchen sink or the back yard without having to call to help. But I digress.
Let’s get to your links.
Starting with the North County Times, the paper has an obituary of NBC sportscaster Charlie Jones who died on Thursday.
Larry Stewart of the Los Angeles Times writes a remembrance of Jones.
David Barron of the Houston Chronicle also remembers Jones who started his career in Texas.
Jim Harris of Arkansas Sports 360 says Jones was well remembered in his native Arkansas.
Ken McMillan of the Times Herald-Record in New York also discusses Jones’ career.
Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch talks with Bob Costas about his thoughts on Jim McKay and also writes about Charlie Jones’ death. Caesar also writes about a lawsuit filed by a former sports radio talk show host against his former station.
Jerry Garcia of the San Antonio Express-News says being a third choice of ABC Sports Executive Producer Roone Arledge turned out to be the charm for the late Jim McKay.
Barry Horn writes in the Dallas Morning News about Texas Rangers TV voice Josh Lewin attempting not to make personal atacks on players.
Alan Pergament of the Buffalo News has his weekly sports media column.
And that does it for today.
In a span of a short seven days, we have lost three broadcasters. Each man has helped to shape the industry. And as we go into Father’s Day weekend, we find that Jim McKay, Charlie Jones and Tim Russert were devout family men.
Last Saturday, June 7, Jim McKay of ABC Sports died in Maryland at the age of 86. McKay, the longtime host of Wide World of Sports has been remembered as a globe-trotting broadcaster, but was best known for calmly anchoring coverage of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre that killed 11 Israeli athletes. At his funeral, the Baltimore Sun reports that not only did people from the broadcasting industry attend to say goodbye, but so did people who only knew him from television. In a day of 24 hour information, McKay was well thought of. Of the tributes I have read, there has not been a negative word said about him. And sports media critics who can be some of the most jaded individuals, all came out with kind words about McKay. Jim was a man who started his career in the early days of television and defined hosting Olympic broadcasts. And there was no one better when it came to finding that one tidbit to humanize an athlete whether it be at an Olympics or at a barrel jumping event.
On Friday afternoon, word came out that Charlie Jones had died at the age of 77. Jones had a stellar career with ABC and NBC. While Jones did not have the star quality of McKay or Bob Costas, he was a solid play-by-play man. He had died Thursday just four days before his 54th wedding anniversary. While Jones called as many as 28 different sports in his career, he was best known for his calling of American and National Football League games from 1960 until 1997. When NBC started to make its own Olympic tradition, Charlie called track & field, swimming and kayaking. And he could sit in the 18th tower for golf tournaments as well as host Wimbledon. He was very versatile and had a reputation for being one of the nicest men in broadcasting. And just this year, he had started a blog. His last entry was on Monday, paying tribute to his friend, Jim McKay.
But overshadowing the news of Charlie Jones’ passing was the sudden death of NBC News Washington Bureau Chief and long-time host of Meet the Press, Tim Russert. It seemed fitting to me that Russert died at work Friday. Russert had hosted Meet the Press since 1991 and was recording a voiceover for Sunday’s program when he collapsed. Russert became Washington Bureau Chief in 1988, joining NBC News after being press secretary for New York Governor Mario Cuomo. One of the best tributes to a journalist is to say that he/she was tough, but fair. One by one, politicians and fellow journalists have paid tribute to Russert, paying him the ultimate respect. The one thing you hear from the cable news channels tonight is how devoted Tim was to his family. He adored his father, known as Big Russ, and the subject of a New York Times bestselling book, “Big Russ and Me: Father and Son: Lessons of Life“. He also adored his son, Luke who had graduated from Boston College just last week. And Russert was also a big sports fan, constantly cheering for his Buffalo Bills and the New York Yankees. From MSNBC, here are the past and present anchors for NBC Nightly News, Tom Brokaw and Brian Williams talking about the impact of Russert on Sunday morning television.
All three men, McKay, Jones and Russert influenced broadcasting in one way or another. There’s one common denominator about each and every one of them and it’s a lesson for those who want to get into the business. All were no nonsense broadcasters who did not call attention to themselves. McKay, especially in the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre, wanted to make sure the information he reported was correct. He refused to pass along an erroneous report that the 9 surviving Israeli athletes had been freed and were alive. When it came time to report the news that all of the athletes were dead, McKay used the simple words, “They’re all gone.”
Jones called NFL games passionately and objectively. He gave the down and distance before every play. Identified the offensive player carrying the ball and the defensive player making the tackle. And after every change of possession, gave the score. He didn’t yell, he didn’t scream. When a big play happened, Charlie used the right tone of voice to convey the importance of the moment. And he was one of the best at calling track & field. Here’s Charlie’s call of the men’s 100 meters in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul that Ben Johnson won, but was later disqualfied for steroids use. To help set the scene, Charlie and his partner, Frank Shorter were silent for more than 3 minutes.
And this is Charlie’s call of the women’s 200 meters won by the late Florence Griffith-Joyner.
Finally, one of the lasting thoughts I have from the tributes to Tim Russert come from Russert himself. He said when he was given the job of hosting Meet the Press, he talked to its original host, Lawrence Spivak. When Tim asked Spivak how to host the program, Spivak told him, learn everything you can about the guest and take the other side. For 17 years, Russert has asked tough questions of his guests, but they came out knowing Russert was fair in every sense of the word.
Each man will be missed as broadcasting has lost three men who greatly influenced the industry.
It’s Friday and we have plenty of media links to give you. But before we get to the links, let’s go over the sporting weekend.
Weekend Viewing Picks
The weekend will be dominated by the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, Game 5 of the NBA Finals and Interleague play in Major League Baseball.
NBC will have full 18 hole coverage of the 3rd and 4th rounds on Saturday and Father’s Day Sunday. Coverage will last until 10 p.m. Saturday and 9 p.m. Sunday. It marks the first time that the U.S. Open has been scheduled to go into primetime. It marks the first tournament for Tiger Woods since The Masters and Phil Mickelson who grew up near Torrey Pines will also be a factor. Last year’s champion, Angel Cabrera will be back as well.
The Celtics can close out their 17th championship on Sunday when Game 5 of the NBA Finals takes place. After Thursday’s night impressive comeback, the C’s lead the series, 3-1 and can take home the Lawrence O’Brien trophy with a win on Sunday. Game 5 tips off after 9 p.m. Sunday on ABC.
Baseball goes into its second phase of Interleague play this weekend, whether you like it or not. Fox and ESPN are all over it this weekend. Fox has the Red Sox at Cincinnati in a re-match of the 1975 World Series, the Dodgers will travel to Detroit and the lone National League series will pit Philadelphia against St. Louis. All games start at 3:55 p.m. WGN has Colorado facing the White Sox, Saturday at 7 p.m. and the Cubs traveling to Toronto, Sunday at 1 p.m. TBS will carry the Red Sox at Cincinnati, Sunday at 1 p.m. and the ESPN Sunday night game will have the Braves taking on the Anaheim Angels.
Euro 2008 continues this weekend as round robin play wraps up before the knockout round begins. ESPN2 will have two games Saturday, Sweden vs. Spain at 11:50 a.m. and defending champion Greece taking on Russia at 2:50 p.m. On Sunday, ESPN2 has co-host Switzerland taking on Portugal and the best player in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo at 2:50 and at the same time, ESPN Classic carries Turkey vs. Czech Republic.
The College World Series begins in its traditional home of Omaha, NE this weekend. The ESPN family of networks will be all over the tournament. There will be a day-night doubleheader on both Saturday and Sunday at 2 and 7 p.m.
NASCAR heads to Michigan for the Lifelock 400 this Sunday. TNT has the race Sunday at 2 p.m.
Without golf, CBS will have the NCAA Division I outdoor track & field championships live from Des Moines, IA, Saturday at 4 p.m.
And Mixed Martial Arts fans can watch Elite XC on Showtime, Saturday night at 10.
The full schedule can be seen at USA Today.
Now, let’s get to your links.
Michael Hiestand of USA Today talks about Bill Walton of ESPN/ABC returning to work last night after suffering a back injury in February.
Also from USA Today, Christine Brennan writes that the Olympics that Jim McKay covered in the 1960′s and 1970′s are much different than the Olympics of today.
Now, let’s do your regional links.
East and Mid-Atlantic
David Scott of Boston Sports Media Watch has a look at the newly revamped digital Sporting News.
Nancy Marrapese-Burrell of the Boston Globe says the U.S. Open will be in prime position to be viewed this Father’s Day weekend.
Phil Mushnick of the New York Post writes that Jim McKay was too classy for today’s sports media.
The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman says ESPN/ABC’s Jeff Van Gundy has blinders on when it comes to the Tim Donaghy betting scandal.
Richard Sandomir of the New York Times reviewed Game 6 of the 2002 NBA Western Conference Finals and concludes that the game was poorly officiated.
Newsday’s Neil Best says SNY covers the Mets fairly and quietly. And in his blog, Neil expands on the column. Neil hopes that Texas Rangers outfielder Milton Bradley doesn’t go up to the SNY booth and confront Mets announcer Gary Cohen. On Wednesday, Bradley tried to confront Kansas City Royals announcer Ryan Lefebvre for comments he made about the outfielder.
Ray Frager of the Baltimore Sun says Jeff Van Gundy is trying to distance himself from Tim Donaghy’s comments.
From the Akron Beacon Journal, George M. Thomas is happy to have Bill Walton back on TV.
David Mayo of the Grand Rapids (MI) Press doesn’t like the in-game coaches interviews during the NBA Finals. And Michael Zuidema of the Press writes that a local minor league baseball announcer gets an All Star Game assignment.
Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says ESPN will put out all of the stops for Brett Favre’s retirement ceremony at Lambeau Field on September 8.
Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune writes that the Blackhawks are about to bring back long-time announcer Pat Foley to their airwaves.
Judd Zulgad of the Minneapolis Star Tribune talks about the U.S. Open going primetime.
Paul Christian from the Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin says the U.S. Open will make for some interesting primetime drama.
William Houston of the Toronto Globe and Mail suggests that two proposed all-sports cable channels should be approved despite their similar mission statements.
Crash Cameron of the Edmonton Sun feels CBC is out of tune for not renewing the rights to the 40 year old Hockey Night in Canada theme and allowing CTV to buy it for TSN’s hockey telecasts.
Scott D. Pierce of the Deseret (UT) Morning News writes that Brigham Young football will get at least one national appearance this season.
John Maffei of the North County Times says participants in the U.S. Open will become primetime players this weekend.
Jim Carlisle from the Ventura County Times says the U.S. Open could pull some big ratings this weekend.
Larry Stewart of the Los Angeles Times writes that Jeff Van Gundy has become a star doing TV work for ESPN/ABC. In the Sound and Vision column, Stewart writes that Father’s Day viewing will consist of the U.S. Open followed by the NBA Finals.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News says Lakers radio voice Spero Dedes has a fan in fellow Fordham University alumnus Mike Breen of ESPN/ABC. And Hoffarth has his extensive media notes in his Farther Off the Wall blog.
John Ryan of the San Jose Mercury News says the U.S. Open is making for must-see TV.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald wonders why FSN Florida isn’t picking up two Marlins road games over the next five days.
On this Father’s Day weekend, Dave Darling of the Orlando Sentinel looks at some father-son broadcasting combos. Although fails to mention one famous combination in the northeast, Marv Albert and Kenny Albert.
The Houston Chronicle’s David Barron tells us that Astros broadcaster Milo Hamilton was pursued three times by the Yankees until John Sterling took the job.
Ray Buck of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram says the U.S. Open in primetime would be made perfect if Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson were dueling down the back nine.
Mel Bracht of the Daily Oklahoman says the U.S. Open will a great event for primetime. In his weekly notebook, Mel tells us that a local sports radio station will be getting a stronger signal. And the U.S. Open is among Mel’s weekend viewing picks.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell has the best way to view the U.S. Open if you’re at Torrey Pines this weekend.
Joe Favorito talks about beach tennis gaining popularity.
Awful Announcing has the video where Mike Breen wasn’t ready for Stuart Scott’s toss during the Game 4 postgame at the NBA Finals last night.
Apparently, Jeff Van Gundy declared the NBA Finals at 2-2 in the 1st quarter! The Big Lead has the video.
Michael David Smith of the AOL Fanhouse blog has Triumph the Insult Comic Dog going over the line at the Belmont Stakes.
The Crowe’s Nest has the video of Jonathan Papelbon vowing to Comcast SportsNet New England that the feud between the Red Sox and Rays will continue this season.
That will do it for now.
Well, U.S. Open has been the dominant sports story of the day. As much as I enjoy criticizing ESPN, I will give the network praise today for live online coverage of the U.S. Open and the Euro 2008 soccer tournament. Through ESPN360, I was able to keep track of the Open and Croatia-Germany thanks to a couple of mouse clicks. And thanks to U.S. Open’s website, I could watch NBC’s coverage of the tournament when it went on the air. And unlike ESPN360 which would air promos and ads, U.S. Open.com would just cutaway to a shot of the Pacific Ocean, sometimes catching off-air comments like Johnny Miller patting himself on the back for noticing Tiger Woods grimace during his golf swing.
Overall, it was a fun day to keep track of sports online. And some of the bigger events to watch online while you’re at work (make sure you get your work done before watching sports at your office) in the next two months include Wimbledon, the Open Championship and of course, the Summer Olympics in Communist China.
The one drawback from ESPN’s multi-platform coverage was during its US Open Extra program between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. If you’re going to promise wall-to-wall coverage of golf’s toughest test, give us full coverage during your US Open Extra program. Don’t overload it with ads and features while Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott are ready to tee off at 7. Yes, there’s online coverage on ESPN360, but not everyone has access to ESPN’s broadband service, so throw viewers a bone.
Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union agrees with my assessment.
The Sports Media Watch has the ratings of the U.S. Open since 1998.
Mike Reynolds of Multichannel News writes in his blog that ESPN has set things up rather nicely for some ratings records for the U.S. Open.
Tim Lemke of the Washington Times says putting the U.S. Open in primetime will be an interesting experiment.
Darren Rovell of CNBC likes the logo for this year’s U.S. Open tournament.
Awful Announcing says the US Open Extra program got ESPN off to a confusing start. AA also has video from Turn Back the Clock Day at Wrigley Field and on WGN-TV.
Jim Williams of the DC/Baltimore Examiner says Jim McKay was truly a nice man.
Chris Pursell of TV Week wonders where Michael Strahan will end up, Fox, NFL Network, CBS or NBC.
Richard Durrett of the Dallas Morning News writes that Texas Rangers outfielder Milton Bradley tried to confront Kansas City Royals TV broadcaster Ryan Lefebvre over comments he made last night.
Maury Brown of the Biz of Baseball says MLB.com will be releasing a new widget for the iPhone 3G when it comes out next month.
John Eggerton of Broadcasting & Cable writes that ESPN is buying a high school sports website.
Broadcasting Engineering talks about some new wrinkles in ESPN’s MLB telecasts.
Mike DeCourcy of the Sporting News says the A-10′s biggest challenge especially for new league commissioner Bernadette McGlade, is the conference’s TV contract with CBS College Sports.
That will do it for now. The Friday megalinks should be up sometime around noon.
I’m at my office checking the links for you.
We begin with the Boston Herald’s Jessica Heslam talks with ESPN’s Michele Tafoya who has been covering the Celtics’ Kevin Garnett since he was drafted out of high school.
Don Stacom from the Hartford Courant writes that ESPN is asking its hometown of Bristol, CT to rezone 14 acres of property for a potential expansion of its headquarters.
Jay Posner of the San Diego Union-Tribune talks about ESPN/NBC aiming to show every nook and cranny of the Torrey Pines golf course during the U.S. Open. And Jay gives us the ratings from San Diego last weekend.
Barry Horn from the Dallas Morning News says the U.S. Open is the one golf tournament best suited for primetime TV.
Matt Michael of the Syracuse Post-Standard profiles a local catering company that provides food for NBC Sports.
Jeff Hash from the EPL Talk soccer blog says viewership numbers for Euro 2008 on the ESPN family of networks have been pretty decent.
Ken Schacter of the Seeking Alpha blog says ESPN is seeking digital rights for technology that has yet to be invented.
Berry Tramel of the Daily Oklahoman gives his Top Ten list of sports broadcasters.
Don Kaplan of the New York Post reports that retired New York Giant Michael Strahan is being courted by CBS and Fox. And there’s no need to describe Strahan as “gap-toothed”. Seems like a shot to me.
Larry Williams of the Charleston (SC) Post and Courier says sports radio host Mark Packer (son of Billy) is expanding his show to the local area.
Bob Molinaro of the Hampton Roads (VA) Virginian-Pilot says Jim McKay has set a standard that the sports media today can’t reach.
Wayne Friedman of the Media Daily News writes that the NBA Finals are scoring well in the ratings for ABC.
Bob Raissman from the New York Daily News says despite the NBA’s scandals, people are tuning in to watch the Celtics-Lakers.
Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says ESPN/ABC NBA analyst Bill Walton will be back on the air tonight after being out for several months due to a back injury.
Sam Amick of the Sacramento Bee says Ron Artest of the Kings is providing NBA analysis for a local radio station.
Mike Lucas of the Capital (WI) Times profiles FSN Wisconsin reporter Trenni Kusnierek who came back home to work.
Doug Robinson of the Deseret (UT) Morning News profiles Ed Eyestone who will do track & field analysis for NBC during the Summer Olympics.
That will do it for now.
On this Wednesday, Southern New England is much cooler and less humid than the last few days so I’m not sweating as much.
Going over the linkage for you, let’s start with Michael Hiestand of USA Today. He writes that Jim McKay did not regret leaving TV.
Richard Sandomir of the New York Times has highlights from yesterday’s funeral service for McKay.
Mike Klingaman of the Baltimore Sun says those who attended the funeral was a who’s who from the broadcasting industry.
Dave Carey of the Baltimore Examiner says the memories of Jim McKay will live on.
Ben Nuckols from the Associated Press writes that Jim McKay was remembered as a family man and a great broadcaster.
Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel wonders if a Jim McKay would be successful in today’s broadcasting world.
Tim Cronin of the Southtown (IL) Star says McKay will be missed.
Leonard Shapiro of the Washington Post writes that Jim Nantz is proof that nice guys can finish first.
Daryn Kagan, formerly of CNN, profiles Jim Nantz on her website.
The Sox & Dawgs blog has a clip of the extremely silly Sox Appeal reality show that neither Don Orsillo or Jerry Remy seemed to understand. I just don’t understand Sox Appeal period.
A few things from last night’s NBA Finals Game 3 on ABC. First, Ray Frager of the Baltimore Sun notes that ESPN aired an expletive live from Kobe Bryant’s postgame press conference.
One of the silliest things ABC showed last night was the robot “Wall-E” as it tried to tie in the new Disney movie with the NBA Finals. Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News has a separated at birth feature.
And courtesy of Newsday’s Neil Best, the Big Lead has NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy mixing up his Hollywood celebrities during last night’s game.
Ken Schott of the Schenectady Gazette writes in his blog that he’s back at work after being sick over the weekend.
Nick Canepa of the San Diego Union-Tribune tells us that Bill Walton will be back behind the mic for the NBA Finals after a bad back left him motionless since February.
Steve Serby of the New York Post talks with CBS’ Phil Simms who feels Michael Strahan would be a natural for TV.
Jon Friedman of Marketwatch.com is worried that Rick Reilly may lose his charm working for ESPN.
John Scheibe from the Los Angeles Times talks about the U.S. Open TV coverage.
David Teel of the Newport News (VA) Daily Press says Curtis Strange will be back in the broadcast booth for both ESPN and NBC during the U.S. Open.
William Houston from the Toronto Globe and Mail writes that NBC will focus on Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson this week.
Steve McClellan of Adweek states that the US Golf Association is launching a new ad campaign aimed at softening the game’s image.
Molly Willow of the Columbus Dispatch reviews tonight’s HBO documentary on the 1960 U.S. Open.
Gina Keating of Reuters says ESPN President George Bodenheimer is enthusiastic on the network’s ad growth over the next few years.
Mike Donaghue of the Burlington (VT) Free Press reports that former Vermont basketball coach Tom Brennan is ending his morning drive radio show. Brennan will remain with ESPN as a studio analyst.
Jay Jenkins of the Charlottesville (VA) Daily Progress writes that the University of Virginia is still looking for a radio play-by-play voice for its football program.
Alex Woodson of the Hollywood Reporter says FSN is going to pick up the Rock Paper Scissors Championship marking the third media outlet to carry the program in as many years. James Hibberd of the Reporter reports that the NBA and NHL Finals are doing well for their respective networks.
That’s it for now.
As I watch the Red Sox-O’s game in the cool basement of my house, I’ll give you some linkage.
Justin Terranova of the New York Post writes in his TV Sports blog that Fox Sports is the early favorite to bring newly-retired Michael Strahan into their fold. And Justin has comments from Strahan’s former teammate, Tiki Barber now of NBC.
Newsday’s Neil Best went to Strahan’s retirement announcement which seemed to be covered by every media outlet possible. Neil says Michael was in such a good mood that he even seemed to enjoy a give-and-take with the same reporters with whom he had a love-hate relationship. Neil provides the transcript from Strahan’s announcement. And Neil has video from CBS News of Jim McKay’s funeral in Baltimore today.
Andrew Beyer of the Washington Post pays tribute to McKay and his role in the Sport of Kings.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News gives us an update on ESPN/ABC’s Mike Breen who has seemed to have all types of physical ailments recently.
The Sports Media Watch says Games 1 and 2 of the NBA Finals were the most watched primetime programs of last week.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell finds something on which Deadspin’s Will Leitch and author Buzz Bissinger can agree.
Michael Malone of Broadcasting & Cable writes that ESPN plans to re-launch its website this summer with a kinder, gentler look.
Larry Barrett of Multichannel News says viewership for the just-completed French Open on ESPN2 was up signficantly from last year. Also from Multichannel, Linda Moss writes that Dish Network subscribers will get interactive coverage of the U.S. Open for the first two days of the tournament.
Westwood One Radio says it will have coverage of the U.S. Open this weekend.
John Consoli of Mediaweek tells us that TNT scored with its first NASCAR telecast of the year.
Julianne Smolinski of TV Week says CBS Sports plans to add some action sports programming this fall.
I’ll see you on Wednesday.
As I crank the air conditioning in my office, it’s time to give you some links so you can be a sedentary and remain cool on this scorcher of a day. We’re expecting temperatures to reach the upper 90′s here in Southern New England and it’s just too hot to be outside.
Starting with Newsday’s Neil Best, he writes in his Tuesday column about Michael Strahan’s retirement and his next career as a TV analyst. And Neil has more about Strahan in his blog. Neil has some items that did not make his column.
Alan Pergament of the Buffalo News says Jim McKay was truly a broadcast pioneer.
George M. Thomas of the Akron Beacon Journal admires McKay’s dedication.
Bob Wolfley in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes that Jim McKay certainly went the distance to bring Wide World of Sports into our living rooms.
Jim Carlisle from the Ventura County Star writes that Jim McKay never allowed himself to become part of the story he was covering.
From the New York Times’ archives, we have Richard Sandomir’s review of the 2003 HBO documentary, “Jim McKay: My World in My Words”.
USA Today’s Michael Hiestand says despite having a stellar matchup for the NBA Finals, the ratings have not followed the media hype.
Chicago Tribune media writer Teddy Greenstein says while Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti may not be liked nationally, he’s now taking hits from his own Sun-Times colleagues.
The San Jose Mercury News’ John Ryan says the International Olympic Committee should look in the mirror when it considers the problems in Communist China over potential broadcast restrictions.
Dusty Saunders from the Rocky Mountain News has a review of tomorrow’s HBO documentary on the 1960 U.S. Open.
Keith Groller from the Allentown (PA) Morning News says the HBO documentary is another in a long line of excellent programs by the network.
Craig Dolch from the Palm Beach Post says Tiger Woods is the only reason why this week’s U.S. Open is moving into primetime.
Molly Yanity of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer writes that 7 University of Washington games will be seen on national TV through ESPN, FSN or Versus.
And here’s the complete PAC 10 football TV schedule.
Greg Hansen of the Arizona Daily Star says the impending retirement of PAC 10 Commissioner Tom Hansen (no relation) may not be a totally good thing and may not mean migration of games to ESPN.
Joseph Mantone of the Wall Street Journal talks with Tennis Channel CEO Ken Solomon about the struggle to reach more subscribers.
Robert J. Terry of the Baltimore Business Journal reports that another arbitrator has ruled that Time Warner Cable must carry MASN in North Carolina. Back in January, a Federal arbitrator said Time Warner discriminated against MASN in favor of its own channels.
Roger Van Der Horst of the Raleigh News & Observer says Time Warner is not going to give up without a fight.
Jeffrey Flanagan of the Kansas City Star says Time Warner Cable missed one batter during a key stretch in the Yankees-Royals game yesterday.
Daniel Dale of the Toronto Star writes about CTV wrestling the Hockey Theme away from CBC.
Peter Cheney of the Toronto Globe and Mail says CTV came in and scooped up the song from under CBC’s nose.
Bruce Dowbiggin of the Calgary Herald says fans will eventually get over hearing the Hockey Night in Canada theme on TSN.
I’ll stop here for now.
I’ll give you a few more links tonight before calling it a night.
First, Ken McMillan of the Times Herald-Record (NY) gives a remembrance of Jim McKay in his blog.
Ray Frager of the Baltimore Sun writes that McKay’s former TV station, WMAR, will air a special on McKay starting tomorrow.
The Sports Media Watch says the blowout of Roger Federer by Rafael Nadal in the French Open on Sunday led to lower ratings for NBC. SMW also notes that while the ratings for Game 2 of the NBA Finals did better for ABC than last year, they still lag behind from the last time the Lakers participated.
Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union notes that ratings for Game 2 even fell off from Game 1. That might have been partly due to the fact that the Celtics were leading by more than 20 points during the game.
However, Friend of Fang’s Bites, Bruce Allen from the Boston Media Watch has the ratings demographic breakdown of Sunday’s Game 2 as viewership increased 58% from the year before.
The lovely Toni Fitzgerald of Media Life Magazine says the NBA Finals gave ABC a big primetime ratings win on Sunday.
Newsday’s Neil Best praises ESPN for cutting in the Cleveland-Detroit game to show Ken Griffey, Jr’s 600th career home run. Neil says the NFL Network will have blanket coverage of Michael Strahan’s retirement announcement on Tuesday.
Neil is also responsible for the following link. Douglas Quenqua of the New York Times writes that the Sporting News is trying to redefine itself in this day and age.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell chronicles what Big Brown’s owners lost financially when their horse failed to complete the Triple Crown last Saturday.
P.J. Bednarski of Broadcasting & Cable writes that despite the Yankees poor performance on the field, their games are still scoring for the YES Network.
John Consoli of Mediaweek reports that ESPN will show the U.S. Open golf tournament on 15 different platforms. Is that necessary?
Chris Pursell of TV Week wraps up last week’s sports ratings in his Pressbox blog.
The news regarding CTV purchasing what was the Hockey Night in Canada theme remains big news in Canada. Kas Roussy of CBC News tells us what the move means for hockey fans.
Due to my computer problems last week, I could not link to this feature, but I can today. After Ellen announced its Hot 100 list for 2008.
That will do it for now.
From the fine people at HBO Sports comes word that the network will air “Jim McKay: My World in My Words” this week starting on Thursday.
HBO Sports will be re-airing the 2003 documentary “JIM McKAY: MY WORLD IN MY WORDS” later this week.
The one-hour Sports Emmy-winning film — written and narrated by Jim McKay — will air Thursday, June 12 at 7:00 p.m. on HBO as well as Sunday, June 15 at 11:30 a.m. (Father’s Day) on HBO; and Monday, June 16 at 11:55 p.m. on HBO2. All times are ET/PT.
The documentary was well done and if you have yet to see it, take the opportunity to do so this week.
I can give you a few more links today.
Starting with David Scott of Boston Sports Media Watch where he updates us on the John Tomase situation at the Boston Herald.
Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch writes about Jim McKay’s death and the impact of his work on his fellow sportscasters and at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games (and thanks to Richard for the links to this blog).
Tom Jones of the St. Petersburg Times also remembers Jim McKay.
Thanks to Neil Best of Newsday for this link. Michael David Smith of the AOL Fanhouse blog talks with outgoing Deadspin editor Will Leitch as he prepares to take a job with New York magazine.
A few things from Pete Dougherty from the Albany Times Union. First, Pete noticed a substitute host on a local sports radio talk show. Pete has the TV schedule of the US Open this week. And Pete suggests that the NBA would be better served with earlier starting times in the East.
Awful Announcing has ESPN’s schedule for the US Open including hosts, reporters, analysts and start times.
The Sports Media Watch notes that the overnight ratings for Game 2 of the NBA Finals are down slightly from Game 1.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell suggests an ad that FedEx should run in the wake of Big Brown’s last place finish at the Belmont.
Alex Weprin of Broadcasting & Cable writes that Versus has locked up one of its signature events, the Tour de France for five more years. Jon Friedman of Marketwatch.com says the ghost of Lance Armonstrong lingers over this new TV deal.
Maury Brown of the Biz of Baseball blog has the comments from the MLB on TBS crew during yesterday’s Phillies-Braves game.
Here’s a story that is lingering and could be interesting to keep track of. The son of John Facenda, the late voice of NFL Films, is fighting the use of his dad’s voice in the Madden ’06 video game.
Curtis Rush of the Toronto Star says CBC is suggesting mediation in what it says is a final attempt to keep the Hockey Night in Canada theme song on the network. Negotiations between CBC and the music rightsholder, Dolores Claiborne broke down on Friday.
And that will do it for now.
On this back to work Monday, we have a few more tributes for Jim McKay who died Saturday in Maryland.
USA Today’s Michael Hiestand writes that McKay spanned several eras in his career.
Newsday’s Neil Best is amazed that in this day and age, no one has said a bad word about McKay.
Leonard Shapiro of the Washington Post says we have lost a true professional in McKay.
Jim Williams who worked with McKay as an ABC production assistant writes in the DC/Baltimore Examiner that Jim was probably the classiest person he’s ever worked with.
Dan Fleschner of NBC’s Today show writes in the allDay blog at MSNBC.com an appreciation of McKay.
I don’t know who wrote this story in the Joplin (MO) Globe, but this is a first person account of a reporter who interviewed McKay shortly after the Munich Olympic Games in 1972.
Andrew Wagner writes in the OnMilwaukee.com site that McKay was an inspiration to many.
Troy Johnson writes in the Columbus (GA) Ledger-Enquirer says Jim McKay was one-of-a-kind.
Over to the Olympics, Chris Pursell of TV Week, back from a trip Down Under, writes that ESPN and Fox are expected to be in the bidding for the 2014 Winter and 2016 Summer Olympic Games, joining incumbent NBC.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, writing for Pro Football Weekly says despite paying over half a million dollars less than ESPN for the NFL, NBC has the better primetime schedule.
The lovely Toni Fitzgerald of the Carlisle (PA) Sentinel wonders if the NHL is making a TV comeback.
And Toni writes in Media Life Magazine that ABC has a big ratings winner in the NBA Finals.
Ed DeRosa of the Thoroughbred Times says while Saturday’s Belmont Stakes was a ratings winner for ABC, the overnights do not compare to 2004 when Smarty Jones unsuccessfully went for the Triple Crown.
Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union says ESPN is trying to skew the Belmont ratings in its favor.
Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star says ESPN/ABC avoided the steroids issue at the Belmont.
Mike Mulhern of the Winston-Salem (NC) Journal says network executives could not be happier over the ratings for NASCAR.
That’s going to do it for now.
Now that I have my new computer, I can provide you with some weekend stuff that I had been providing before my old battlestation spit the bit. Let me give you some links now. Also, I’ll do the Week Ahead, something that I had been writing occasionally.
First, some links. From Richard Sandomir of the New York Times, he writes that ESPN/ABC took too much of the Big Brown bait and got burned during coverage of the Belmont Stakes. Richard joins Frank Litsky in remembering Jim McKay.
New York Daily News media columnist Bob Raissman tells Showtime to hire Cris Collinsworth for the new version of Inside the NFL.
A few of things from Neil Best of Newsday. First, he reviews ESPN/ABC’s coverage of the Belmont. Next, he gives a list of books and DVD’s that make perfect Father’s Day gifts. And Neil writes an obit for Jim McKay as well.
Now to some more tributes to Jim McKay.
Barry Horn of the Dallas Morning News says McKay was the best in the business.
From the Baltimore Sun where McKay once worked, David Zurawik, Tom Keyser and Justin Fenton combine on an obituary. Dan Rodricks of the Sun says McKay’s integrity was a hallmark throughout his career. And in his Medium Well blog, Ray Frager remembers McKay’s no-nonsense broadcasting style.
ESPN’s Jeremy Schaap gives his thoughts on McKay.
CBS News’ Armen Keteyian also writes his thoughts on McKay’s passing.
Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News says goodbye to Jim.
Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post writes that TV truly lost an icon.
Matt Schudel of the Washington Post also writes a remembrance of McKay.
In his Farther Off the Wall blog, Tom Hoffarth provides two stories he wrote on McKay over the years. The first is on the 25th Anniversary of the Munich Olympics tragedy and McKay’s thoughts on his anchoring of the coverage. And the next entry is on the release of McKay’s second autobiography in 1998.
Steve Springer of the Los Angeles Times talks with former colleague Al Michaels and local sportscaster Jim Hill about their thoughts on McKay.
Ed Sherman of the Chicago Tribune says McKay exuded class, no matter which sport he was calling.
Ron Martin of the Burlington (PA) County Times says McKay was truly an original.
From Jim McKay to the Olympics which Jim loved, we get this story from Steven Wade of the Associated Press who breaks news that the broadcast networks that will air the games to their respective countries including NBC are in a dispute with Olympic organizers over delays over bringing equipment into Communist China and limits on live coverage from Tiananmen Square. We have not heard the end of this story.
That’s it for now. I’ll have the Week Ahead in Sports coming up later tonight.
Yesterday, we learned of the passing of legendary ABC Sports broadcaster Jim McKay. He has left behind a tremendous legacy from his early days with CBS Sports as the host of The Masters to his long career with ABC Sports as he spanned the globe as the host of Wide World of Sports. Today, we look back at his career thanks to video and YouTube, we have plenty of clips to watch.
First, The Archive of American Television conducted an extensive interview with Jim at his Maryland ranch and we have six clips. Unfortunately, I cannot embed them here, but I can link to them. Some of the clips are almost a half hour long, but they are quite interesting to watch. I will link to each of the segments, then I will also give you some of classic calls of which I can embed here.
Here is the first of six segments with Jim McKay from an interview conducted with Jerry Sandusky back in 1998. This goes back to his early days in Philadelphia.
Here’s the second segment as Jim talks about his days working on television in Baltimore.
This is the third segment and Jim talks about broadcasting the 1960 Olympics from Rome for CBS.
In this segment, number four of six, Jim discusses ABC’s coverage of the Olympics including the1972 Munich games.
Here’s Jim talking about his work on Wide World of Sports.
Finally, this is Jim discussing some of the people he has worked with including Walter Cronkite and Howard Cosell.
This is the classic opening of Wide World of Sports which includes clips of Russian gymnast Olga Korbut, motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel, the Little League World Series (which was a staple of Wide World) and barrel jumping (also a staple of Wide World).
Here’s the Wide World close from 1982.
This is the open from the 30th Anniversary program of Wide World in 1991.
From the same 30th Anniversary program, Jim talks with Vinko Bogataj who embodied the Agony of Defeat on Wide World.
I put this in yesterday’s obiturary, but I’ll put in here as well. In 1972, Jim called track & field for the Munich Olympics. This is his call of Dave Wottle winning the 800 meters coming from last place to win the gold medal.
Also from the 1972 Munich games, Jim called gymnastics and this is the moment when Olga Korbut became an international star. His partner was Gordon Maddux.
What made Jim’s career was his hosting of Olympic broadcasts and here is his opening from August 3, 1984 as the Games of the XXIII Olympiad were taking place in Los Angeles and also note some of the announcers working the games for ABC like Al Michaels, Jack Whitaker, Jim Lampley, Howard Cosell and Keith Jackson.
Here’s a preview Jim did for the 1988 Winter Olympics from Calgary. It would be the last games Jim would host. He had a minor role in 2002 for the Salt Lake Games on NBC, but it was very limited.
That’s a brief sampling of Jim’s past work. He will definitely be missed.
Earlier today, this generation’s Olympic host, Bob Costas paid tribute to Jim McKay, the man who paved the way for him and many of today’s sports broadcasters.
Yes, I’m back with a new computer and a few new bells & whistles. Very happy that I can blog again on the weekends. But I’m also sad as well.
Today marks the passing of sports broadcasting pioneer Jim McKay. To me, he defined the host of Olympic broadcasts. He also educated us on Olympic sports, and some of the not-so-mainstream sports. He called the Indianapolis 500, the British Open, the US Open, the PGA Championship, hosted Wide World of Sports and so many programs for ABC Sports. It was hard not to think of a major event for ABC that he couldn’t cover. Jim died today in his native Baltimore at the age of 86.
As ABC Sports evolved in the 1980′s, the network began to broadcast horse racing and McKay was naturally tapped to the be co-host of the telecasts along with Al Michaels. It began Jim’s love affair with the sport and he could not have been happier to host the Preakness Stakes in his native Baltimore.
His signature moment was during the 1972 Olympics in Munich when he was the anchor of ABC Sports coverage of the Israeli athletes hostage situation when he stayed on the air for 16 straight hours. What people didn’t know was that Jim was not the actual primetime host for ABC’s coverage, Chris Schenkel was, but ABC Sports Executive Producer Roone Arledge felt McKay would be better suited to anchor the coverage and when the 11 athletes were killed, Jim said it straightforwardly, “They’re all gone.”
During that Olympics, McKay covered both track & field and gymnastics and this was one of his greatest calls as Dave Wottle of the United States came from last place to win the gold medal in the 800 meters. Marty Ligouri was there to provide color analysis.
Tomorrow, I’ll have some more videos featuring Jim McKay for the Videos of the Week entry, but for now, I do have some tributes from his ABC Sports colleagues including Keith Jackson who was interviewed on ESPN this morning.
Former ABC Sports producer Don Ohlmeyer reflects on McKay’s career:
And Brent Musberger also remembers Jim:
One of the best HBO documentaries was Jim McKay:My World in My Words. There was really only one person who could tell the Jim McKay story and that was Jim himself. He wrote and narrated the 2003 documentary and told his story in the way that only he could.
When you think of how sports broadcasting has been defined, there are several men who have to be mentioned. Roone Arledge, Howard Cosell, Keith Jackson, Brent Musberger, Dick Ebersol, Marty Glickman, Ray Scott, Foster Hewitt, Red Barber, Vin Scully, Mel Allen and Jim McKay all helped to pave the way for the sports broadcasters of today. Today, as Big Brown attempts to become the first horse since Seattle Slew to win horse racing’s Triple Crown, one cannot help but to think about Jim McKay’s legacy to broadcasting and to horse racing.
As mentioned, tomorrow’s Video of the Week segment will be dedicated to Jim McKay.