Let’s get cracking on some fresh content on this Monday afternoon. Plenty of stuff to go over.
- Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch’s Monday column discusses Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed reporting on the Red Carpet at The Oscars and reviews Fox’s Daytona 500 coverage.
- The man who started SportsGrid, ABC News legal analyst Dan Abrams, the site has been sold to RotoExperts.
- I’m getting a lot of reaction to my post on whether Fox can find the proper role for Erin Andrews.
- Randolph May at Multichannel News talks about a case over Comcast’s refusal to move Tennis Channel off a dreaded sports tier.
- To Sports Business Daily where Richard E. Lapchick laments the lack of hiring diversity in the sports media.
- Overseas, ESPN is getting out of the UK television business, selling its channels to BT Group which beat it out for the rights to the English Premier League. ESPN will continue to maintain its digital UK assets and also kill ESPN Classic in Europe and Africa in separate decisions.
- USA Today’s Michael Hiestand feels Fox got off to a fast start with the overnight ratings for the Daytona 500.
- Hiestand also looks at the other sports overnight ratings from the weekend.
- David Lieberman at Deadline says News Corp.’s Deputy Chief Operating Officer James Murdoch (son of Rupert) says even with Fox Sports creating new all-sports cable channels, the company plans to be pennywise and not pound foolish over rights fees.
- In the Sherman Report, Ed Sherman talks with Golf Channel’s David Feherty about the season premiere of his weekly interview show.
- Bruce Allen at Boston Sports Media Watch looks at a preposterous argument put the forth by WEEI’s Gerry Callahan regarding the Daytona 500 and Danica Patrick.
- Bill Carter at the New York Times notes how NBC has had a precipitous fall into the ratings basement after starting off so well when Sunday Night Football was on.
- Phil Mushnick of the New York Post feels the Federal lawsuit against Lance Armstrong wreaks of hypocrisy.
- From Dan Steinberg at the Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog reports that MASN’s Kristina Akra who was the Nationals’ on-field reporter is leaving the network. No word on where she’s going or who’s going to replace her.
- Jim Williams from the Washington Examiner says David Feherty will reveal a different side of golfing legend Jack Nicklaus tonight.
- Tom Jones at the Tampa Bay Times says Fox didn’t do itself any favors during its Daytona 500 prerace coverage.
- The Houston Chronicle’s David Barron notes that a local sports anchor is leaving his station after more than 20 years of service.
- Dan Caesar at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Cardinals fans will be able to see and listen to their team throughout Spring Training.
- Dusty Saunders in the Denver Post writes about a Rocky Mountain TV veteran who wants to return to his sports roots.
- Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News has the SoCal Sports Calendar for this week.
- Tom has the five things he learned from the weekend.
- Bruce Dowbiggin of the Toronto Globe and Mail makes clear of his disdain for CBC’s Don Cherry.
- Paulsen of Sports Media Watch says opposite the Daytona 500, the NBA on ABC took a big ratings hit.
- To Matt Yoder of Awful Announcing who looks at what Joe Buck plans to do with the St. Louis Cardinals if he manages to get the team and Fox Sports Midwest to sign off on his idea.
- Michael Shamburger at The Big Lead says Katherine Webb is 1st Round talent.
Ok, I’m going to end the linkage/notebook there.
Time for the look back at the Year in Sports Media in 2012. Lots of great stuff. The year has been very interesting and we have seen a lot of things.
Just doing a Top Ten is never enough for the Year in Review. It’s always an even dozen with some honorable mentions mixed in.
Let’s go over what were the Sports Media Stories of 2012.
12. Embrace Debate Leads To Rob Parker Suspension
One of the silliest stories in 2012 was ESPN’s commitment to debate programming. Two shows were revamped to accommodate more debate among ESPN personalities, First Take and Numbers Never Lie. Due to outrageous statements made on First Take, mostly by Skip Bayless, the show received lots of attention and increased ratings. But the pressure to stand out may have caught up with Rob Parker who questioned whether DC NFL Team quarterback Robert Griffin III’s authenticity.
It led to Parker’s suspension and allegedly more oversight over the shows. We’ll see if it leads to some more control and fewer outrageous statements.
11. Steve Sabol (1942-2012)
One of the pioneers in sports television passed away in 2012. Steve Sabol’s impact on the National Football League’s popularity through NFL Films cannot be measured. With his father Ed, the Sabols brought fans closer to the game by thinking outside the box. Games weren’t just regular contests, they became movies with Hollywood production values and full orchestrations. Instead of showing games from high in the stadium, NFL Films went to field level and made extreme closeups of the players. In addition, Ed and Steve introduced slow motion photography to sports.
In 2011, Ed Sabol was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It would behoove voters to induct Steve sometime soon to join his dad.
10. Big Media Taps Into New Media
2012 saw Turner Sports purchased the much-criticized and now-improving Bleacher Report, USA Today buying Big Lead Sports and NBC Sports aligned itself with Yahoo! Sports. This is more than getting pageviews and improving comScores, this is about expanding portfolios and attracting younger audiences. According to comScore, Yahoo! has been the most popular sports news site for several years outpacing ESPN.com. Bleacher Report may get criticized for its multiple and questionable slideshows, but its hiring of some respected editors and writers have increased the quality of the site to the point where Turner Sports purchased the site for beaucoup bucks. And I have to make this disclaimer, Fang’s Bites is an independently-owned blog that is affiliated with USA Today Media Group. We will see more purchases in 2013.
9. NASCAR Renews with Fox
Fox Sports was the first of NASCAR’s TV partners to renew its ties with the sport taking the first half of the Sprint Cup season. For an estimated pricetag of over $2.4 billion through 2022, Fox remains with NASCAR in a relationship that dates back to 2002. Fox is expected to put some of its races on its new all-sports channel, but we’ll get to that later. And expect live on-streaming in this new contract. However, NASCAR’s ratings are a question-mark, but bidding for the second half in 2013 is expected to bring even more money. It’s all going to be quite an interesting year for NASCAR.
8. NBC Steals English Premier League and Formula One From Fox
October turned out to be a good month for NBC Sports Group as far as acquisitions were concerned. It first obtained the rights to Formula 1 as Fox gave just a nominal bid. Then a couple of weeks later, it emerged as the frontrunner to the English Premier League and then won out over a concerted combined bid from ESPN/Fox. While NBC Sports Network won’t be known as a college sports destination or for MLB, perhaps it can become an international sports channel with the EPL, Formula 1 and Olympic Sports. NBC Sports Network will have some sports to watch year-round with the English Premier League, Formula 1, MLS and the NHL (when it finally returns).
7. NFL Network Picks Up Its Last Two Holdouts
Since 2010, NFL Network has been gaining momentum in picking up carriage agreements with the major cable providers. It finally was able to sign deals in 2012 with its last two remaining holdouts, first Cablevision in August and then the very last one, Time Warner Cable in September. Thanks to the increased audience, NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football package had record ratings for its new 13 game schedule. It was a struggle for NFL Network to get all eight major cable and satellite providers on board, but after eight years, it finally got it done.
6. MLB New TV Contracts For A Lot of $$$
It started in August when ESPN renewed rights for its three nights of baseball games, a return to postseason and an increased amount of games for a total of $5.6 billion over eight years. Then in October, MLB announced deals with Fox and Turner for a combined $6.8 billion through 2021, providing them with TV Everywhere rights, postseason deals and a package of regular season games. For Fox, it allows the network to put games on its anticipated all-sports cable channel, but again, more on that later.
5. CBS & NBC Announce New Sports Radio Networks
2012 brought two new national networks to the sports talk radio scene. Within two days of each other, NBC Sports Radio and CBS Sports Radio were announced by both companies and with respective partners Dial Global and Cumulus Radio. NBC Sports Radio has been airing limited weekend programming since September, however, CBS Sports Radio chose to wait until this month to begin full operation with a 24/7 lineup. Both have a long way to go to match the firepower and the reputation of ESPN Radio that has been on the scene since the early 1990′s, however, CBS has hired familiar names like Jim Rome, Doug Gottlieb, John Feinstein, Scott Ferrall and Dana Jacobson. NBC will wait until the NCAA Final Four to finalize its weekday lineup. No matter the case, ESPN Radio finds itself with some formidable competition to join Yahoo! Sports Radio and Fox Sports Radio for listeners.
4. ESPN Free Agency
We had some big names leave the ESPN nest, Erin Andrews, Steve Berthiaume, Michelle Beadle, Cindy Brunson, Doug Gottlieb, Dana Jacobson, Michael Yam to name a few, but many stayed including Scott Van Pelt. This seemed to be quite the year for free agency for ESPN. In some cases, the network chose not to renew and wave goodbye to those departing, others decided not to return for other opportunities while in others, ESPN went out of its way to make sure its desired talent stayed. For the first time, ESPN was transparent in making statements about its free agency signings or departures. In the past, it had issued terse statements when media inquiries were made.
3. Fox Spending Spree
As the year-end was approaching, Fox Sports through its parent, News Corp., went on a spending spree unlike any other in sports media. It not only set up an all-sports cable channel for operation in 2013 (again, more on this later), but it bought into the YES Network which will eventually lead into a majority share of the New York Yankees regional sports network and fully purchased Sports Time Ohio for the Cleveland MLB Team. In addition, Fox is reportedly close to signing a long-term deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers for its media rights. News Corp. had money to spend with the company splitting off its publishing holdings into a separate company and of course, the proverbial fiscal cliff where tax credits were about to change. Will we see more of Fox’s financial muscle in 2013? I think that’s a safe bet.
2. The Emergence of Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2
While NBC Sports Network was attempting to bid for major sports properties, Fox Sports was quietly forming its cable sports strategy for 2013 and beyond. We began hearing rumblings about Fox rebranding Speed into an all-sports channel that would be named “Fox Sports 1″ then at the end of the year, the company’s Fuel channel would also be rebranded as “Fox Sports 2″.
In its new contracts with MLB, NASCAR, the Pac-12, UFC and other sports properties it signed in 2012, Fox had a provision to put games and events on Fox Sports 1. As part of its new contract with Major League Baseball, Fox Sports can place 40 regular season games on cable as well as several postseason games. We should expect a number of NASCAR Sprint Cup races on FS1 and most likely see some UFC events as well.
The strategy is in place. Let’s see how it’s enacted in 2013 and beyond.
1. NBC’s Olympics Both Fail and Succeed
Up until the London Olympics begin in late July, NBCUniversal had been downplaying both ratings and financial expectations stating that it expected to lose money and the ratings for a tape delayed event would not be as good as in 2008 when events were carried live from Communist China. Somewhere along the way, something happened. NBC broke even financially on the Olympics and they became the most watched event in US television history. That was the successful part.
The failure was the tape delayed aspect when many viewers wanted to watch events live. The #NBCFAIL hashtag on Twitter quickly spread like wildfire during the first weekend of the Olympics. In addition, online streaming was sluggish and haggard. But even with the delays and streaming problems, Americans still watched in droves. When the games were said and done, NBCUniversal could pat itself on the back.
Struggles of new regional sports networks to gain carriage agreements.
NHL Does Well; But Shoots Itself in the Foot with the Lockout
Tim Tebow Overload
ESPN Continues Dominance in College Sports
It’s official. News Corp. has completed its purchase of regional sports network, Sports Time Ohio and it includes a long-term agreement for the rights to the Cleveland MLB Team. STO had held the rights since 2006. Previously, the rights had been held by Fox Sports Ohio.
No financial terms have been announced, but John Ourand of Sports Business Journal says the purchase price is in the neighborhood of $200-250 million.
No word if STO will remain a separate channel or if it will be folded into Fox Sports Ohio.
We have the press release from Fox Sports on the purchase of STO.
FOX SPORTS MEDIA GROUP COMPLETES ACQUISITION OF SPORTSTIME OHIO
FOX Sports Also Secures Exclusive Long-Term Local Telecast Rights to Cleveland Indians
LOS ANGELES and CLEVELAND – December 28, 2012 – FOX Sports Media Group and SportsTime Ohio today announced an agreement that calls for FOX Sports to acquire SportsTime Ohio, the Cleveland-based regional sports network that has been offering local telecasts of Cleveland Indians games for the past seven seasons.
In addition, FOX Sports Media Group announced that it has secured the exclusive long-term local telecast rights for Indians baseball, ensuring that the Indians will once again be part of the FOX Sports portfolio of regionally televised hometown teams. Prior to the 2006 season, Indians games were locally televised by FOX Sports Ohio.
FOX Sports Ohio serves more than five million homes throughout the state of Ohio, as well as portions of Kentucky, Indiana, western Pennsylvania, western New York, and West Virginia. FOX Sports Ohio is the exclusive regional TV home of the Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Cavaliers, Columbus Blue Jackets, Columbus Crew, Xavier Musketeers, and Cincinnati Bearcats.
SportsTime Ohio also offers other locally relevant sports content, including Cleveland Browns programming, OHSAA football and basketball playoffs and championships, and Mid-American Conference events.
“The acquisition of SportsTime Ohio solidifies our business in Ohio, and FOX Sports Media Group’s new long-term agreement with the Indians reunites the team with the FOX Sports family,” said Jeff Krolik, executive vice president, FOX Sports Networks. “We look forward to once again showcasing the Indians to their fans, as well as working with the Indians ownership to continue to enhance the value of this iconic franchise.”
Cleveland Indians Chief Executive Officer Paul Dolan said: “We look forward to a long-term partnership with FOX that will continue to bring state-of-the-art broadcasts of Indians games to the fans while strengthening the franchise and enhancing our ability to build competitive teams.”
Through its subsidiary FOX Sports Networks (FSN), FOX Sports Media Group is the leader in local sports programming, with 20 owned-and-operated regional sports networks, which collectively produce over 5,000 live local events each year and serve as the exclusive regional TV home to more than half of all MLB, NHL, and NBA teams.
That will do it.
With the proverbial Fiscal Cliff approaching in just a few days, Fox Sports and its owner, News Corp., was in a rush to get this deal done. It appears that Fox Sports will purchase Sports Time Ohio, owned by the Dolan family in the range of $200-250 million as reported this morning by Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand:
Source: Fox Sports is paying between $200-$250M for STO. Deal includes a long-term extension of the Indians’ TV rights.
— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) December 28, 2012
As Ourand tweeted, the deal includes a long-time agreement for the rights to the Cleveland MLB Team. Still no word whether STO will be folded into Fox Sports Ohio which has the rights to the Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Cavaliers, Columbus Blue Jackets and various colleges in the Buckeye State.
In addition to the Cleveland MLB Team, STO has rights to the MAC, Cleveland Browns programming and high school football.
We’ll post the press release when the deal becomes official.
I’ve been bottling up some sports media thoughts from the last time I wrote a similar post. You’re due for some more. Let’s provide you with some. They’re below in bullet form as always.
- We’re getting closer to seeing Fox Sports 1 coming to fruition. While Fox is not saying anything official, behind the scenes, it’s working very hard to show that it is very serious about making this a true alternative to ESPN. In this week’s Sports Business Journal (subscription required), John Ourand writes that Fox has already trademarked “Fox Sports 1,” purchased a dot-com to host a Fox Sports 1 website, developed a logo, and has showed a video to several professional league and college conference officials that displays what the network is all about.
Ourand cites sources who have seen the video that Fox is looking to launch the network in August of 2013, rebranding the existing Speed channel, and then making a big platform launch during Super Bowl XVIII week in February 2014 which will air on the Fox mothership.
While many sports media observers were watching NBC Sports Network to see if it was going to be the challenger to ESPN, Fox has quietly been working to sign long term contracts with existing partners MLB, NASCAR, UFC as well as the Big 12 and the Pac-12 to help establish programming on Fox Sports 1. When the network finally launches next summer, Fox Sports 1 will be in very good position and hit the ground running with some major sports programming, something that NBCSN has been unable to achieve.
And with the NBA and English Premier League coming up for bid in 2015 and the Big Ten in 2016, Fox Sports 1 could make a very good destination for all three.
We’ll be monitoring this story well into 2013.
- In a related note, Fox’s parent company, News Corp., made huge news last week with its purchase of 49% of the YES Network plus reportedly being close to retaining the rights to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a staggering $280 million annually.
Through buying into YES and keeping the Dodgers, News Corp. would have the rights to three of the four MLB teams in the nation’s two largest markets. And with the option to increase its ownership of YES to 80% within three years, Fox is in a very good position to maintain its position in MLB through local rights.
I would not be surprised if Fox goes after ownership stakes in NESN in Boston, co-owned by the Red Sox and Bruins, and Altitude in Denver, partners with the Avalanche and the Nuggets. I don’t think News Corp. is done with its spending spree. It will have a lot of cash to spend as it’s spinning off its publishing unit and focusing solely on television and movies.
By positioning the Fox Sports Nets with long term contracts with several MLB, NBA and NHL teams, Fox ensures the survival of its regional sports networks for many years to come.
- ESPN’s 12 year contract to air the college football playoff plus the Orange, Rose and Sugar Bowls shows that the Alleged Worldwide Leader has faith in the sport and wants maintain its firm control of the postseason.
We saw that when it placed all of the Bowl Championship Series on cable in 2010, that ESPN was very serious about controlling the postseason. And while ABC is given major college football games during the regular season, it carries just a few bowl games, most are aired on either ESPN or ESPN2.
When your humble blogger went to ESPN last year to talk with Executive Senior Vice President of Studio and Event Production, Norby Williamson, he told me that ESPN was the perfect destination for the BCS as the network could provide fans with programming surrounding the games not just pre and post, but through coverage in the days leading up to the Championship Game. I’m sure his feeling has not changed now that ESPN has obtained the rights to the playoffs.
While there’s no doubting that ESPN does college football well, its control of all of the BCS Automatic Qualifying conferences is disturbing. By guaranteeing control through long-term contracts that go well into the next decade, ESPN will continue airing games for the foreseeable future without interruption.
- Whenever I eat dinner at my parents’ house, one program they like to watch while dining is Inside Edition. While the show has its positive qualities, one huge negative is its coverage of celebrities, Lindsay Lohan in particular. It seems every move she makes is extensively covered, no matter how big, no matter how small. One night, as the show was in its 3,608th consecutive day of covering Lindsay Lohan, I said out loud, “This is like ESPN with Tim Tebow,” and it suddenly hit me that Inside Edition’s obsession with Lohan is just like ESPN’s with Tim Tebow.
Now is this so far off? Inside Edition goes to court whenever Lohan violates her probation whether it be drunk driving or stealing a necklace (allegedly). ESPN went to New York Jets training camp to cover Tebow.
Inside Edition went into battle mode when handlers called 9-1-1 when Lohan failed to wake up for a call on set of the Lifetime movie, “Liz and Dick”. ESPN made sure we all celebrated Tim Tebow’s birthday via SportsCenter.
Inside Edition covered Lohan’s snub of ABC’s Barbara Walters. ESPN asked actor Liam Neeson about Tim Tebow even though he was hardly familiar with the QB.
Inside Edition can’t seem to go one day without mentioning Lohan. Doug Gottlieb admitted to Dan Patrick that ESPN management told him to mention Tebow on his radio show.
These are just a few instances, but again, I ask is this so far off to make the analogy that Lindsay Lohan is to Inside Edition as Tim Tebow is to ESPN?
I’m sure I’ll hear from ESPN’s extensive public relations machine on this, but they can’t convince me that Tebow isn’t their Binky.
- I’ve seen all of season 3 of Downton Abbey except for the Christmas Special that will air on ITV in the UK on Christmas Day (naturally). While I won’t give any spoilers, I will give some news that has already been reported. Shirley MacLaine gives some great energy to the first few episodes playing Elizabeth “Cora Grantham” McGovern’s mother, visiting from the United States. The season begins in 1920 with Robert in financial difficulty and Downton’s future in doubt, Mr. Bates in jail and Matthew and Lady Mary engaged.
What transpires next is the usual drama, comedy and plot twists that make the series great. There will be joy and there will be sadness, but you’ll have to see what happens when the third season premieres on PBS on January 6.
I’m giving away nothing. If you want spoilers, buy me a few drinks and I’ll tell you.
We’re done. Enjoy your Tuesday.
It’s been a while since I’ve done linkage. I’ll provide some on this Cyber Monday.
Michael Hiestand of USA Today says having Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship Game will bring in some monster ratings for ESPN.
Chris Chase of USA Today’s Game On notes that the NFL had Rich Eisen and NFL Network pull an interview segment with actor Bradley Cooper due to NFL gambling references.
Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch talks with Turner Sports’ Chris Webber and reviews the weekend in sports television.
Toni Fitzgerald of Media Life writes that Notre Dame is as close to a guaranteed ratings success for college football as anything.
Etan Vlessing of the Hollywood Reporter says the NHL’s TV partners are caught trying to fill programming holes due to the lockout.
Ed Sherman of The Sherman Report has the first of a two part interview with SiriusXM’s Dino Costa.
Brad Gagnon of Awful Announcing writes that the Sunday NFL pregame shows are dramatically losing viewers this season.
The Big Lead notes that ESPN college football analyst Jesse Palmer had to apologize for doing the “Hook ‘Em Horns” sign upside down.
Bruce Allen at Boston Sports Media Watch throws some cold water on some silly agendas by the Hub’s sports writers.
Richard Sandomir of the New York Times says don’t expect too many changes to YES with News Corp. buying a minority stake in the channel.
In the New York Post, Phil Mushnick says Rutgers’ move to the Big Ten is all about the money. Tell me something I don’t know, Phil.
Newsday’s Neil Best talks with John Gilchrist who played Mikey in the iconic Life cereal commercials.
Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union has the college football TV schedule for Week 14.
Keith Groller of the Allentown (PA) Morning Call talks with Eastern PA native Lisa Salters about returning home for ESPN’s Monday Night Football tonight.
It’s official. David Zurawik of the Baltimore Sun hates CBS.
Jim Williams of the Washington Examiner feels Maryland’s move to the Big Ten makes sense.
Tom Jones at the Tampa Bay Times has his review of the weekend in sports television.
Over to Barry Horn of the Dallas Morning News who has a profile of ESPN’s Ed Werder and his daughter’s successful battle to beat a nasty brain tumor.
David Barron looks at a few items in his regular sports media column.
Bob Wolfley at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has ESPN’s Trent Dilfer commenting on the Green Bay Packers’ offensive line.
Paul M. Banks at the Chicago Sports Media Watch notes the high overnight rating for Notre Dame-USC.
Dusty Saunders of the Denver Post says compares the current Broncos radio analyst to the very first one.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News has the sports calendar for this week.
And Tom has the five things he learned from this weekend.
Sports Media Watch says the move of the Thanksgiving Night game from NFL Network to NBC paid off in spades this year.
SMW says the Thanksgiving afternoon game on Fox suffered a drop from the year before.
SMW notes that the early Thanksgiving Day game on CBS had the best ratings of the three games on Turkey Day.
Joe Favorito says Atlantis in the Bahamas is fast becoming the place for premiere college basketball teams.
Adam Herman at the New York Rangers Blog says the NHL instructed NBC Sports not to air a charity hockey game this past weekend.
That’s going to do it for now.
This coming from the always elusive Nikki Finke of Deadline.com, the Los Angeles Dodgers are about to sign a huge rights deal that keeps the team on Fox Sports Prime Ticket for the next two and a half decades.
According to Finke, the Dodgers will receive between $6-7 billion over a 25 year period that would begin after the 2013 season. The Dodgers would receive on average of $280 million per year over the life of the contract.
With Time Warner Cable potentially making a play for the rights, Fox and its owner News Corp. thought it was imperative to keep the Dodgers in the fold. Fox had signed the Dodgers when the team was owned by Frank McCourt, however, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig declared the deal null and void and forced McCourt to sell the team to a group that included former Sony Pictures President Peter Guber and former LA Laker Magic Johnson.
Finke reports that Fox had an exclusive 45 day negotiating period with the Dodgers that expired at the end of this month and used that deadline to its advantage.
Earlier this month, News Corp. purchased a 49% stake in the YES Network which has the rights to the New York Yankees. With this new deal, Fox Sports has rights to three MLB teams in the nation’s two largest markets, the Yankees, the Dodgers and the Anaheim Angels. In addition, Fox has a long term deal with the Texas Rangers.
We’ll await the official word, but Nikki Finke has solid sources and an announcement could be coming very soon.
Let’s do some linkage. I need to do this more than twice a week.
Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch looks at the potential replacements for Jon Gruden in the Monday Night Football booth should he decide to leave as rumored.
John Ourand of Sports Business Journal has a plethora of subjects in his latest media column.
Rachel Bachman of the Wall Street Journal says the expansion of the Big Ten to the Atlantic seaboard is purely for television.
Andy Fixmer and Scott Soshnick at Bloomberg report on a story that bears watching, YES Network will retain the media rights to the New York Yankees through 2042 which opens the door for News Corp. to buy a stake in the channel.
Andy and Alex Sherman from Bloomberg write about Fox opening the door for Fox Sports 1.
Alicia Jessop at Forbes writes that the NBA will stream D-League games on YouTube.
Anthony Crupi at Adweek tells us that NBC is garnering big ad rates for its Thanksgiving Night NFL game.
A story from the weekend, Awful Announcing’s Joe Lucia notes that CBS/Sports Illustrated/Turner’s Seth Davis apologized for calling UFC “homoerotic”.
Todd Spangler from Multichannel News notes that ESPN has rebooted its “Watch ESPN” Xbox 360 app.
Toni Fitzgerald at Media Life says NBC’s Sunday Night Football killed the competition in primetime.
Ed Sherman at The Sherman Report says the NFL game experience doesn’t compare to watching it on your TV.
Jordan Rabinowitz of SportsGrid has video of NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Brad Keselowski drinking on SportsCenter after celebrating his win.
The lovely Kristi Dosh at ESPN.com says both Rutgers and Maryland are in desperate need of the TV money that both institutions will receive as members of the Big Ten Conference.
Ryan Hannable of Boston Sports Media Watch speaks with WEEI’s Glenn Ordway.
Tony LaRoce in the Providence Journal talks with Providence College basketball radio voice John Rooke about a book he’s written about Rhode Island radio.
Richard Sandomir and Amy Chozik of the New York Times write that News Corp.’s stake in YES could value the network as high as $3 billion.
Nate Silver of the New York Times looks at the geography of college football fans across the country and delves into the crazy conference realignment.
Newsday’s Neil Best checks on the progress of Madison Square Garden’s “transformation.”
Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union says Time Warner Cable airs an AHL game on Friday.
David Zurawik in the Baltimore Sun writes that the Big Ten’s TV acumen will help Maryland in the long run.
In the Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog, Dan Steinberg has ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt, a noted Maryland alum, weighing in on the Maryland to the Big Ten move.
Jim Williams of the Washington Examiner speaks with Jim Rome about his new Showtime series.
Stephen F. Holder of the Tampa Bay Times says the Bucs have a long way to go if the team wants to sell out its game against Atlanta and avoid a local TV blackout.
David Barron of the Houston Chronicle says former Astros analyst Jim Deshaies is a candidate for the Cubs TV job.
David says overtime helped push the Texans’ ratings upwards in Houston.
The Indianapolis Star transcribed some of the things ESPN’s Bob Knight said during last night’s Indiana-Georgia game. It marked the first time Knight had called an Indiana game for ESPN.
The Chicago Tribune has an infographic on how many TV viewers each school in the Big Ten can bring to the table.
Dusty Saunders of the Denver Post says Altitude has had to make a programming adjustment without the Colorado Avalanche this season.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News has five things he learned from the weekend.
SportsRantz looks at the reported morning show for CBS Sports Radio.
Classic Sports TV and Media explores when was the actual first college football primetime broadcast.
Tony Manfred at the Business Insider Sports Page notes that this week’s Sports Illustrated cover is basically an ad for adidas.
Sports Media Watch says CBS saw rating increases for its NFL windows on Sunday, but the late games are the second-lowest rated for this season.
SMW notes NBC’s Sunday Night Football wasn’t as big a draw with Ravens-Steelers.
And that will do it for today.
Just made official by YES Network and News Corp., the owner of Fox Sports Media Group, YES is selling a 49% stake in its network to News Corp. In addition, YES will retain the media rights to the New York Yankees through 2042.
The stories that have surfaced about this purchase have stated that News Corp. could increase its stake in YES to as much as 80% within three years. And that the media rights for the Yankees would be worth $350 million annually by the end of the deal.
News Corp. owns 19 regional sports networks across the country as well as a stake in the Big Ten Network. YES is a big feather in its cap.
Here’s the announcement.
NEWS CORPORATION AND YANKEE GLOBAL ENTERPRISES ANNOUNCE NEWS CORPORATION’S ACQUISITION OF AN EQUITY STAKE IN THE YES NETWORK
NEW YORK – November 19, 2012 – News Corporation (NASDAQ: NWS, NWSA; ASX: NWS, NWSLV) and Yankee Global Enterprises today announced an agreement that calls for News Corporation to acquire a 49 percent equity stake in the Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network (YES). The YES Network delivers exclusive live local television coverage of New York Yankees baseball and Brooklyn Nets basketball, as well as other leading local and national sports-related programming. The YES Network also announced a media rights agreement that will keep Yankees baseball on the YES Network through 2042.
The media rights agreement is subject to Major League Baseball approval. The investment is expected to close by the end of the calendar year.
The current owners: Yankee Global Enterprises, Goldman Sachs and other investors will reduce their ownership in connection with this transaction. After three years, News Corporation may acquire an additional stake in the YES Network that could bring its ownership to 80 percent, at which time Yankee Global Enterprises would retain a significant minority stake in the network.
Since its inception in 2002, YES has grown its footprint to include local availability in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, and parts of Pennsylvania, as well as national availability on several cable and satellite television distributors. The network currently showcases live Yankees and Nets games to approximately 9 million households in the teams’ television territory in the New York area. Outside of the New York area, the YES Network also distributes a variety of national programming to millions of homes across the country.
“We’ve long been a believer in the unique appeal of sports entertainment. Partnering upstream with rights holders is even more important today in the dynamic media marketplace in which we compete. This is a tremendous opportunity to enhance News Corporation’s industry-leading portfolio of sports properties, while also strategically re-entering the New York market,” said James Murdoch, Deputy Chief Operating Officer, News Corporation. “The YES Network represents the gold standard for regional sports networks and is a pioneer in sports media. We look forward to working with Yankee Global Enterprises, the network’s management team, and all of our partners to build on a decade of success and take the YES Network to even greater heights.”
Hal Steinbrenner, Chairman of Yankee Global Enterprises, said, “This transaction underscores the great value we and our partners created in establishing the YES Network and sets the network on the path for even greater achievements in the future. We are excited to have News Corporation as a partner. Its stature and acumen in sports broadcasting on a global scale is unmatched. We look forward to the many opportunities for growth and development that this investment by News Corporation will bring to YES. The Steinbrenner family expects to have a continuing, long-term ownership stake in the YES Network and we will continue our yearly commitment of fielding a championship caliber team for decades to come.”
Fox Sports Media Group is the leader in regional sports programming, operating a leading array of 20 owned-and-operated U.S. regional sports networks, which collectively produce over 5,000 live local events each year and serve as the local TV homes to more than half of all MLB, NHL, and NBA teams.
We also have YES’ statement about the News Corp. purchase.
STATEMENT FROM MR. TRACY DOLGIN, PRESIDENT & CEO, YES NETWORK RE: NEWS CORPORATION’S ACQUIRING EQUITY STAKE IN YES
“We at YES, along with the New York Yankees and our financial partners Goldman Sachs, NJ Holdings and Providence Equity, had an incredible opportunity to build a network that quickly became – and remains — the number one regional sports network in the country, based on any metric. We were able to accomplish this because we have the greatest sports brand in the world, the New York Yankees, other important programming such as the rejuvenated Brooklyn Nets, the unwavering support of our board and, last but not least, an incredibly talented and dedicated group of employees.
FOX wrote the book on regional sports networks, and we are excited to partner with FOX and take advantage of this opportunity to build upon our leadership position. In particular, Ray Hopkins (YES Network COO), John Filippelli (YES Network, President of Production and Programming) and I have all previously worked at FOX, and we are eager to renew our working relationships with the company and with many of our friends and former colleagues. At the same time, we are fortunate to continue to benefit from the vision and support of our current ownership. We are particularly thrilled for our valued employees, who will continue with the YES Network and will benefit from the multitude of resources and opportunities that FOX brings to the table. We look forward to having FOX join our winning team.”
About The YES Network
- Launched March 19, 2002
- Exclusive broadcaster of the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Nets
- Most-watched regional sports network in the country the past nine years (Nielsen)
- Distribution within YES’ home-team footprint: approximately 9 million subscribers
- Total national distribution: approximately 15 million subscribers
- Listed among the Top Ten sports business brands in the world by Forbes the past three years
- Since 2003, YES has won 60 New York Emmy Awards and accumulated 266 New York Emmy Award nominations
That will do it.
Let’s do some Friday megalinks. Haven’t done any in a couple of weeks.
The Weekend Viewing Picks have all of your sports and entertainment TV needs.
Time for the linkage.
Michael Hiestand of USA Today notes the rising rights fees for the college football postseason.
Michael writes about Today show Executive Producer Jim Bell coming home to NBC Sports to oversee all Olympic broadcasts.
Chris Chase from USA Today has 60 Minutes responding to Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers’ complaints about a recent profile.
Mike Reynolds of Multichannel News says the Outdoor and Sportsman Channels plan to merge.
Will Leitch at Sports on Earth says the Rick Reilly experiment at ESPN has not worked.
Bryan Curtis of Grantland notes that last night’s Celtics-Nets game was the first game that Brooklyn native Marv Albert got to call in the borough.
Alex Weprin of TV Newser reports that Keith Olbermann will be back on sports television next week by doing a guest stint on a league-owned network.
Matt Yoder of Awful Announcing feels ESPN has lost its viewers trust.
The Big Lead speculates whether Sports Illustrated’s Peter King will remain with the magazine or leave when his contract expires.
Sports Media Watch says despite a fight, ESPN’s ratings for the next-to-last Sprint Cup race of the season finished down from last year.
East and Mid-Atlantic
Chad Finn of the Boston Globe talks with CBS’ Jim Nantz who’s back on the Patriots beat this week.
Chad has five questions with Nantz.
Boston Sports Media Watch Fearless Leader Bruce Allen speculates in SB Nation on who might become the Flash Boy or Girl for WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan show.
Bill Doyle of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette has NESN’s Jack Edwards becoming increasingly skeptical about playing hockey this season.
The New York Times’ Richard Sandomir notes that a new Broadway play will delve into the history of the Yankees.
Amy Chozick and Michael Cieply of the Times write about Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. buying a stake into the YES Network.
Newsday’s Neil Best talks about Mike Emrick calling college hockey tonight.
The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick conducts a character assassination on ESPN’s Dick Vitale.
The Post’s Justin Terranova has five questions for New York Knicks radio voice Spero Dedes.
Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union talks with Dottie Pepper who’s leaving NBC Sports for a position with the PGA of America.
Ken McMillen of the Middletown (NY) Times Herald-Record has Darrelle Revis’ comments to NFL Network’s Andrea Kremer about his season-ending injury for the New York Jets.
Dave Hughes of DCRTV.com writes in Press Box that the ratings increases for the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals reflect their successes on the field.
In the Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog, Dan Steinberg has some thoughts on the NFL Network’s documentary on John Riggins.
Jim Williams of the Washington Examiner talks with ESPN’s NASCAR voice Allen Bestwick about the last race of the season.
David Barron of the Houston Chronicle notes that most CBS stations across the country and even in Texas have chosen to air the Dallas Cowboys over the Texans.
David has a few viewing picks for the weekend.
Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel doesn’t agree with Aaron Rodgers’ complaints about 60 Minutes.
Paul M. Banks at Chicago Sports Media Watch notes that the NCAA has removed one-third of the media’s courtside seats at the Final Four™.
Dan Caesar at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes about a local sports radio host who lost his job after making remarks about African Americans.
Jim Carlisle of the Ventura County Star has his Weekend Viewing Picks.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News looks at a new documentary on the UCLA-USC rivalry.
Tom wonders why it took so long for DirecTV and Time Warner Cable SportsNet to make an agreement.
Tom has stuff that didn’t make it into today’s sports column.
And that’s going to do it.
The man who helped create Fox Sports, David Hill, known on the site as “El Jefe del Mundo” or “El Presidente por Vida”, will no longer be Chairman of the Fox Sports Media Group. In a shakeup at the parent company News Corp., Hill will take a new position, Senior Executive Vice President. Back in 1993, Hill was brought in by News Corp. President and CEO Rupert Murdoch to create the Fox Sports division after the network won the rights to the NFL. During his tenure, Hill helped to obtain the rights to Major League Baseball, the NHL, NASCAR and the World Cup. He also was part of the team that transitioned the old SportsChannel into Fox Sports Net.
Prior to joining Fox, Hill worked for News Corp in the UK creating Sky Television and Eurosport. And he also launched Sky Sports which remains one of the most powerful sports networks in the UK.
This is part of an executive shakeup at News Corp. We have the press release.
David Hill Transitions to Company-Wide Role as Senior Executive Vice president, News Corporation
NEW YORK, July 23, 2012 – News Corporation (NASDAQ: NWS, NWSA; ASX: NWS, NWSLV) today announced a restructuring of the senior leadership team that oversees the Company’s media and entertainment properties. Peter Rice, who has served as Chairman of Entertainment for Fox Networks Group (FNG) since 2010, has been elevated to Chairman and CEO of FNG, where he will oversee all programming and operations for the group, which includes Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox Sports Media Group, FX, Fox International Channels and the National Geographic Channels.
David Hill, who has served as Chairman and CEO of Fox Sports since 1999, has been elevated to Senior Executive Vice President, News Corporation. In this new role Mr. Hill will focus on programming, digital initiatives and other opportunities spanning the breadth of the Company’s operating units across Latin America, Asia, Australia, Europe and the U.S. Mr. Hill will be based in Los Angeles.
In commenting on the promotions, Chase Carey, News Corporation President and COO said: “The contributions that Peter has made to News Corporation over the years are immeasurable. Peter has proven himself at both the Fox Entertainment Networks, and Fox Searchlight before, to be one of the most innovative and strategic leaders in the entertainment industry.”
David Haslingden, President and COO of FNG; and Mike Hopkins, President of Distribution for FNG, both of whom previously reported to Mr. Carey, will now report to Mr. Rice. Randy Freer and Eric Shanks, Co-Presidents of Fox Sports Media Group (FSMG), who previously reported to Mr. Hill, will also report to Mr. Rice. Kevin Reilly, President of Entertainment for Fox Broadcasting Company, and John Landgraf, President and GM of FX, will continue to report to Mr. Rice.
Mr. Carey continued: “David has proven himself to be one of the true visionaries in sports and entertainment across three continents during the last three decades and most recently has helped energize our National Geographic Channels. As we continue to grow our content brands across the world, David’s unique leadership and experience will be invaluable.”
“I am honored to work closely with the excellent executive team at FNG to lead these businesses into their next phase and am grateful to Rupert, Chase and James for this amazing opportunity,” said Mr. Rice. “The talented artists, powerful brands, franchises and live events we have in place across our channels are unrivaled in the media business, and will serve as an invaluable foundation as we embark on another wave of incremental growth.”
“After 30 years spent building our sports businesses into global leaders, I’ve been eager to dive into a broader role that enables me to hunt down untapped programming, investment and digital opportunities all over the world. From sports rights in emerging markets to new overseas digital channels, this new role will allow me to explore and experiment with new programming concepts across the whole of News Corporation in a completely new way,” said Mr. Hill. “I am immensely proud of the work we’ve done to revolutionize the television business, both in the U.S. and in Europe, and I leave Fox Sports in an amazing position, with a great team in place led by Randy and Eric.”
Prior to his post as Chairman of Entertainment, Mr. Rice was President of Fox Searchlight, where he served as the driving force behind the success of the specialty film genre, bringing to the screen some of the industry’s most successful and award-winning films, including Slumdog Millionaire, The Wrestler, Little Miss Sunshine, Sideways and Juno. Before that, as Executive Vice President of Production for Twentieth Century Fox, he worked on a wide range of films including Moulin Rouge, Romeo & Juliet and X-Men.
David Hill has been Chairman and CEO of Fox Sports since 1999, leading what has been America’s No. 1 sports network for 13 consecutive years. Previously, Mr. Hill served as Chairman and CEO of Fox Broadcasting Company from 1997 to 1999, overseeing all programming and operations for the network. In 1993, armed with Fox’s new NFL television rights deal, Hill arrived in the U.S. and served as Fox Sports’ founding President. He previously held several News Corp. posts in the U.K. In 1988, he helped launch Sky Television and Eurosport and later took charge of BSkyB Sports Channel, creating Sky Sports in 1991.
This will have a huge effect on Fox Sports. We’ll see how the relationships that Hill has built over the years will move forward.
Bloomberg’s Andy Fixmer and Alex Sherman are reporting that News Corp., the parent company of Fox plans to launch an all-sports cable network to challenge ESPN. Now News Corp. tried this once before in the 1990′s through its Fox Sports Net affiliates, but after a brief, but failed rivalry, Fox decided to shift the focus of FSN from national to local even though some national programming is distributed on the FSN affiliates.
According to the story, Fox hopes to launch the new channel later this year by possibly converting its existing Fuel channel which focuses mostly on action sports and just began to air UFC programming this year, to the new sports network.
Fox has been accumulating inventory with the acquisition of the rights to Pac-12 basketball and football and reportedly is close to expanding its Big 12 rights. In addition, Fox won the rights for the World Cup starting in 2015 plus with the Fox Sports Net channels, could add more sports properties if it expands its current contracts with MLB and NASCAR.
While NBC has been the most visible as a potential competitor to ESPN with its relaunch of NBC Sports Network from Versus this year, the news of the Fox Sports cable network has come as a surprise.
Certainly News Corp. has the money and power to muster a challenge, but as we saw in the 1990′s, ESPN was able to win over Fox. However, with Fox Sports El Jefe del Mundo David Hill leading the new channel, one can never count him nor News Corp. out of any competition.
This will bear some watching.
For the last week, I haven’t been able to do a full set of links. Work has been crazy, but I hope to give one today. It’s either going to the other office or heading out with the boss to various work sites or head to meetings, but today should be calmer.
I’ve started a series on People You Should Follow on Twitter in response to Sports Illustrated’s list published last week. Part 1 was posted Monday night and Part 2 came out Tuesday night. Look for more installments throughout the week.
Let’s get started.
First, ESPN Ombudsman Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute writes about the ESPN/Bruce Feldman suspension/non-suspension and for some reason, doesn’t do full due diligence on the story.
Ben Koo of Awful Announcing does an excellent point-by-point takedown of the Ombudsman’s acceptance of ESPN’s company line on the Feldman suspension.
Dan Fogarty of SportsGrid has graphic evidence of ESPN Radio Hack Colon Cowherd being a complete idiot.
Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand notes that ESPN is about to fully embrace Twitter and social media.
In the Business of College Sports, Kristi Dosh has a fascinating post on which sports turn a profit for BCS schools and which ones don’t.
Mike Reynolds from Mulitchannel News writes about the Women’s World Cup Final resonating with viewers.
Mike says a marketing firm is looking to package two pre-World Cup Western Hemisphere qualifying tournaments to networks.
Emma Bazilian of Adweek looks at Ross Greenburg’s departure from HBO Sports.
Toni Fitzgerald at Media Life Magazine goes inside the Women’s World Cup’s stellar ratings.
At the Indiana University National Sports Journalism Center, Jason Fry writes about the marriage between sports and Twitter.
Jonathan Wall of Yahoo’s Devil Ball blog critiques ESPN’s coverage of the Open Championship.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell says Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall is suing sports apparel manufacturer Champion for dropping him from endorsements after his tweets about Osama bin Laden last month.
Chad Finn of the Boston Globe delves into the Boston Celtics buying a large stake into Comcast SportsNet New England.
Roger Catlin at the Hartford Courant says ESPN came out as the real winner of the Women’s World Cup Final.
The New York Times’ Richard Sandomir says ESPN produced a fair and compelling Women’s World Cup Final broadcast.
Richard Huff at the New York Daily News looks at ESPN premiering a Spanish language-edition of E:60.
Michael Blaustein of the New York Post writes that ESPN’s miniature cameras at the World Series of Poker are giving competitors an interesting advantage.
At Fishbowl New York, Jerry Barmash reports that Len Berman is dropping his sports reports on a local radio station and will be replaced by the same man who replaced him at WNBC-TV.
Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union has the Open Championship final round ratings.
Evan Weiner at the New Jersey Newsroom wonders what the UK phone hacking scandal could mean for News Corp.’s sports partners here in the US.
From the Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog, Dan Steinberg notes that NFL Today host James Brown didn’t like how DC NFL team coach Mike Shanahan handled QB Donovan McNabb.
Jim Williams of the Washington Examiner looks at the ratings for the Women’s World Cup Final.
Travis Sawchik of the Charleston (SC) Post & Courier says lucrative TV contracts have helped to make college football a big business.
Candace Carlisle of the Dallas Business Journal says Fox Sports Southwest has hired a veteran writer from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram to beef up its online coverage.
Brent Zwerneman of the Houston Chronicle says Texas A&M Regents are concerned over Texas’ Longhorn Network and what it means for the future of the Big 12 Conference.
Ryan Sharp of the Daily Oklahoman writes that Big 12 Conference schools can’t be too happy over the Longhorn Network’s airing of Texas high school football games.
Steven Matthews of the Dayton Daily News says the Western & Southern Open will have plenty of new looks including extensive TV exposure this summer.
Tim Prahl of the Muskego (WI) Patch talks with former MLB Network reporter Trenni Kusnierek about returning home to Milwaukee to co-host a radio show.
Ed Sherman at Crain’s Chicago Business notes two games scheduled for the Chicago Bulls that may never get played.
Kyle Ringo of the Boulder (CO) Daily Camera says the University of Colorado is in a unique position where it can sell the TV rights to its games this season.
Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times goes over some of the changes in the proposed NFL collective bargaining agreement including a new TV package.
Steve Zeitchik of the Times looks at Ross Greenburg leaving HBO.
Elizabeth Salaam of the San Diego Reader says a recent Facebook poll wasn’t kind to Padres TV voice Dick Enberg.
The Canadian Sports Media Blog has some thoughts on various topics.
Sports Media Watch has some news and notes.
And we have some more news and notes from SMW.
Joe Favorito looks at who will benefit when the NFL lockout finally comes to an end.
And there is your full set of links.
Well, I don’t have to rush back to another office today so I’ll provide some much desired linkage. We’ve already heard about Brett Favre this morning and I don’t want to suckered into another summer of “Will he or won’t he” again. Tired of the whole machinations and ESPN having Rachel Nichols stationed in Mississippi reporting every 15 minutes on SportsCenter. I saw the news break on Twitter. Just glad I wasn’t watching ESPN when the news broke.
Ok, to the links.
USA Today’s Michael Hiestand crunches some of the TV ratings numbers from the weekend.
Brian Lowry in Fox Sports.com isn’t a fan of TV dictating game times.
Fox Sports Net Vice President of Public Relations Chris Bellitti breaks news on Twitter that Fox will not bid for the Texas Rangers.
Darren Everson of the Wall Street Journal notes that NFL training camps have become giant reality shows.
Mike Reynolds of Multichannel News says DirecTV is about to do an all-out blitz for its NFL Sunday Ticket package.
Milton Kent of Fanhouse says be prepared to see Kurt Warner on Dancing with the Stars this season.
Clay Travis at Fanhouse talks with SEC Commissioner Mike Slive and how he got the richest media rights deal in college sports.
Trey Kirby of Yahoo’s Ball Don’t Lie blog says expect to see a lot of the Miami Heat on national TV.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell says despite taking a hit to his image, Upper Deck still believes in LeBron James.
Darren wonders why the Miami Heat had to fire its entire season tickets sales staff.
To the Indiana University National Sports Journalism Center and Eric Deggans of the St. Petersburg Times who writes that Shaquille O’Neal is giving us a lesson on how the sports media world has changed in the 21st Century.
Keith Groller of the Allentown (PA) Morning Call notes that Speed is the closest thing a NASCAR fan has to a 24/7 channel dedicated to the sport.
Bob Flounders of the Patriot-News (PA) profiles Michael Barkann of Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia.
Bob has a little more with Barkann.
Sam Sessa of the Baltimore Sun saw ESPN’s corporate letter announcing the closure of the ESPNZone restaurants.
Jim Williams of the Washington Examiner tells us to look for the Ravens to partner with Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic.
In the Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog, Dan Steinberg says LaVar Arrington will join the Post to write a blog.
Hal Boedecker of the Orlando Sentinel says Bright House cable customers are used to disputes as ESPN is in danger of being pulled in September.
Jeff Shain of the Sentinel looks at Whit Watson joining the Golf Channel.
And Hal says Erin Andrews begins her Good Morning America gig on Thursday.
Barry Shlachter of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that News Corp. will not bid for the Rangers.
Jennifer Floyd Engel in the Star-Telegram feels Mark Cuban is in for the Texas Rangers bidding for himself and not the fans.
The Oklahoma City Thunder will put all of its games, except for those picked exclusively by TNT or ABC, on Fox Sports Oklahoma.
Eric Hansen of the South Bend (IN) Tribune looks at Mike Mayock as the new TV analyst for Notre Dame football.
Phil Rosenthal of the Chicago Tribune says the local Fox affiliate is surprised over losing a sports anchor.
Ed Sherman in Crain’s Chicago Business says the White Sox refute manager Ozzie Guillen’s claims about MLB’s treatment of Latin players.
Joe Flint of the Los Angeles Times reports of the long term agreement between CBS and Comcast that carries coverage for CBS College Sports as well.
John Consoli of The Wrap says ESPN is selling BASS, LLC. to a former Time Inc. executive.
AJ Daulerio of Deadspin says it appears the new book on ESPN is going to be a blockbuster.
The Big Lead tells us about some rumblings at Yahoo! Sports.
Steven Collins at Bristol Today notes that actor Mark Wahlberg put ESPN’s public relations at Defcon 4 after an interview with Moviefone.
Sports Media Watch says NASCAR’s ratings bounced back on Sunday.
SMW notes that the Miami Heat will have two big national games in December.
Steve Lepore of Puck The Media teases a five part series on the future of the NHL on US TV.
Emmett Jones in Sports Business Digest praises DirecTV for making its SuperFan package available to all NFL Sunday Ticket subscribers instead of a select few.
SportsbyBrooks notes that ESPN writer Arash Markazi has had stories spiked before.
Bob’s Blitz has video of NESN’s Heidi Watney throwing out the first pitch for the Lowell Spinners during her Bobblehead night.
That will do it.
Looking around, we have some links we can provide. Let’s get to them.
Jon Weinbach of Fanhouse says News Corp., parent owner of the Fox Sports Net affiliates, is heavily weighing a bid for the Texas Rangers in an effort to keep the rights of the MLB team in its fold.
Milton Kent of Fanhouse suggests to ESPN that it disclose its true relationship with LeBron James.
Sports Business Daily looks into ESPN’s decision not to suspend writer Arash Markazi for the spiked LeBron James story.
From Sports Business Journal, John Ourand says one of MLB’s rising executives is leaving the company to join the Wasserman Media Group.
Tripp Mickel writes that MLS’ Board of Governors has voted to extend Commissioner Don Garber deal for four more years.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell notes that shoe company K-Swiss is using “Eastbound and Down” character Kenny Powers in a set of new ads.
Darren says Nike may not be offering a toning shoe, but it is fighting back against Sketchers and Reebok in another way.
Georg Szalai of the Hollywood Reporter says DirecTV is providing its SuperFan package of HD games, online service and Red Zone Channel free of charge to its Sunday NFL Ticket package, but it’s also jacking up the price to over $300.
Georg writes that MSG Network is joining the world of sports radio simulcasts.
Completing a Georg trifecta, he tells us that Dish Network will be filing a complaint with the FCC over Comcast’s refusal to offer SportsNet Philadelphia to the satellite provider.
Brooks Barnes of the New York Times looks at a new Facebook app which allows you to get taped messages from sports and entertainment celebrities for your birthday.
Pete Dougherty in the Albany Times Union says instant replay will be used in the 64th Little League World Series.
David Zurawik and Jamison Hensley of the Baltimore Sun say the Ravens are looking for a TV station to pick up its programming now that its five year partnership with MASN has fallen apart.
The Ravens website is listing WBAL Plus, which is the secondary channel of Baltimore NBC affiliate WBAL, as the carrier for its five TV shows. We’ll see if this becomes official.
Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog notes that ESPN’s Mike Golic and another reporter have passed the now-infamous Albert Haynesworth physical conditioning test.
Sarah Talalay in the South Florida Sun Sentenel writes that the Dolphins and Heat are assuring season ticket holders their food is safe in the wake of an ESPN Outside the Lines report to the contrary.
Barry Shlachter of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram says Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban could be joining a Houston investor’s bid to buy the Texas Rangers.
Scott Dochterman in the Iowa City Gazette says despite the inordinate amount of teams, the Big Ten is going to keep its name.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News feels something isn’t right about the whole ESPN/Arash Markazi/LeBron James situation.
Tom is also feeling uneasy about this whole Twitter thing.
Maury Brown of the Biz of Baseball has been doing yeoman’s work on the Texas Rangers situation and he has the latest which includes Mark Cuban trying to force MLB’s hand in the approval process should he win the auction for the team.
Sports Media Watch says it appears that LeBron James and the Miami Heat will appear on TNT on NBA Opening Night.
SMW cites a New York Daily News report which states the Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks will play on Christmas Day.
SMW notes the low overnights for the Greenbrier Classic on CBS on Sunday.
The Big Lead wonders what’s up with Jason Whitlock at the Kansas City Star?
Steve Lepore at Puck The Media tells us how he would conduct the next World Cup of Hockey.
Emmett Jones at Sports Business Digest suggests the NFL open its books in collective bargaining with the Players Association.
SportsbyBrooks has the real reason why ESPN spiked the LeBron James story.
And that will conclude your Monday Night Links.
Well, my day has been planned for me, but I don’t want to leave you without links so I got up early to provide some until I return home sometime after 6 tonight.
Without further ado, here are the links.
Tom Van Riper at Forbes cautions fans who are caught up in the Pac 10/12 media hype.
John Walters at Fanhouse says the Pac 10/12 has many obstacles to overcome including its TV contracts.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell writes that fans are feeling their NFL game tickets are worth more this year than last.
Darren explains why IMG’s purchase of college sports syndicator ISP is good for the game.
Mike Reynolds of Multichannel News writes that Outdoor Channel gets picked up by Comcast in Houston.
Jesse Quinlan of the Stamford (CT) Advocate talks with ESPN’s Steve Young.
Richard Sandomir of the New York Times reports that there will be no disciplinary action against ESPN writer Arash Markazi on his story about LeBron James’ Boys Night Out in Las Vegas that was eventually spiked.
Phil “Dr. Doom and Gloom” Mushnick of the New York Post now goes after NFL Commish Roger Goodell on last week’s Town Meeting in Green Bay. In Mushnick’s World, nothing is ever good enough for him.
Greg Connors of the Buffalo News notes that the Bills fans can follow their team through Twitter.
The Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg in the DC Sports Bog notes that two local TV reporters attempted the same physical conditioning test that Albert Haynesworth failed twice for the DC NFL team.
Jim Williams of the Washington Examiner writes that the DC NFL team will be well covered by the local media during the preseason.
David Walsh of the Huntington (WV) Herald-Dispatch talks with the Golf Channel’s Rich Lerner about his familiarity of The Greenbrier Resort, site of this weekend’s PGA Tour stop.
Walsh adds that the TV exposure thanks to Golf Channel and CBS to The Greenbrier Resort is good for the local area.
The Miami Herald’s Dan LeBatard says ESPN spiked the LeBron James story for the right reasons. Don’t forget LeBatard appears regularly on ESPN either on Pardon The Interruption or the Sports Reporters.
Barry Horn of the Dallas Morning News has a quick blurb on why Mavericks owner Mark Cuban would be interested in buying the Texas Rangers.
Barry talks with Fox Sports’ Daryl Johnston about picking up a new gig with NFL Network.
Mike Heika of the Morning News reports that News Corp., parent company of Fox Sports and Fox Sports Net, is a bidder for the NHL’s Stars.
MLB Network’s Trenni Kusnierek (and a Friend of Fang’s Bites) suggests we take a break from Facebook and Twitter every once in a while.
Melissa Harris of the Chicago Tribune notes that despite having a championship season, record breaking attendance and TV ratings, the Blackhawks still lost money.
Joe Flint of the Los Angeles Times says Dish Network is taking shots at Comcast for keeping SportsNet Philadelphia off the satellite provider.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News loves a new website which alerts you to big things happening on TV.
Tom has more about the website in his blog.
Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star says the Blue Jays may be out of the pennant race, but continue to do well in the ratings.
Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun talks with Stacey Bieber who is one of the golfers taking part in this season’s Big Break Sandals Resort on Golf Channel.
Sports Media Watch has its weekend ratings predictions.
SMW has some ratings news and notes.
And SMW notes comments from ESPN’s John Skipper that I picked up in the Friday megalinks and bear watching that he feels ESPNews and ESPN Classic are not performing to par and could have an announcement on the two channels in the coming months.
Sox & Dawgs has the video of the Red Sox epic comeback against the Detroit Tigers yesterday.
And that will do it. Enjoy your Sunday.
Against my better judgment, I’m going to give you some more links on this Monday.
Here are some more stories from the Sports Business Journal.
First, Tripp Mickle and John Ourand team up on a story which focuses on the United States Olympic Committee’s attempts to launch a 24/7 all-Olympic sports channel and trying to find a partner.
Jon Show says NBC has reupped home security company, ADT to sponsor its Sports Update segments and a golf event.
Tripp Mickle writes that Major League Soccer is seeing increased attendance, but it’s not translating to TV ratings.
Back to Jon Show, he tells us that the TV networks are still interested in mixed martial arts despite having Elite XC falling by the wayside. And Jon says despite three MMA companies failing this year, those still standing are quite bullish on the sport.
Terry Lefton and Eric Fisher have a wrap up on the World Series.
Our last link from the SBJ, Liz Mullen writes that the Breeders’ Cup plans to reduce ticket prices for next year’s event.
From the Sox & Dawgs blog, we find out that the UConn-Syracuse game on November 15 will be televised at noon on the Big East TV Network.
The Albany Times Union’s Pete Dougherty says Michael Kay has signed a contract extension with the YES Network.
Ray Frager of the Baltimore Sun has more on Baltimore’s first FM sports radio station.
Jim Williams from the DC Examiner also has more on the new station.
Ryan Sharrow in the Baltimore Business Journal says the new sports station will have an all-local show lineup.
John Kieseswetter of the Cincinnati Enquirer says WLW’s Reds Hot Stove League Show premieres tomorrow night.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News tells us that the Spanish language edition of ESPN’s Around the Horn premieres on ESPN Deportes today.
Linda Moss of Multichannel News writes that Disney has signed a major carriage deal with the National Cable Television Cooperative for six HDTV channels including ESPNU, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNews.
Ed Meza from Variety says 39 different companies including ESPN and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. are interested in 37 different media packages from the German Bundesliga soccer league.
Richard Tedesco of Promo Magazine says NFL Network games can be seen live on cell phones running the Sprint Now Network.
Steve Lepore’s Puck the Media blog praises Versus for putting together a Top Shelf broadcast team for tonight’s New Jersey-Buffalo NHL game, but slaps the network for not showing a game on Tuesday.
I want to congratulate Providence sports anchor Frank Carpano who will be inducted into the Silver Circle of the New England Chapter of the Television Academy. I interned for Frank at WJAR-TV and he could not have been any nicer to me.
That’s going to do it. Expect Primetime and Late Night Viewing Picks later. I should have one more post before then.
News Corp., owned by Rupert Murdoch, the company that owns Fox Sports and Fox Sports Net and is in a joint venture with Premiere Radio Networks to run Fox Sports Radio, has entered into a preliminary agreement to purchase Dow Jones & Company for $5 BILLION. That’s right, $5 billion. The deal still needs approval. As a person who doesn’t like media consolidation, I’m hoping the Bancroft family which still owns most of Dow Jones will vote against the deal. The agreement includes the Wall Street Journal which Murdoch covets.
You would think with this big story, it would get coverage on CNBC, Fox News, CNN or MSNBC. Nothing. Zero. Zilch. CNBC which is supposed to be a business news channel is stuck in a Mad Money rerun. Great.