Sports Media Notebook
Let’s do a notebook tonight, shall we? If I can’t do linkage and it always seems something gets in the way these days, I might as well do a notebook.
I’ll try to provide as many links and stories as possible here.
- Interesting story from The Big Lead. The daily 9 a.m.-3 p.m. ET SportsCenter block on ESPN is going to get a bit of a facelift. Jason McIntyre reports that instead of two shifts of three hours, ESPN will go to three two hour blocks. Kevin Negandhi and Hannah Storm will continue to be the combination to start off the block, but instead of going from 9 a.m.-noon, they’ll be reduced by one hour. Chris McKendry/Jay Crawford and Sage Steele/David Lloyd will be the other two weekday teams. ESPN has not confirmed the report, but The Big Lead’s confidence on this story is quite high.
- Here’s another story from The Big Lead. This upcoming season is the last year in Tim McCarver’s contract with MLB on Fox. Jason McIntyre gets comment from Fox on this.
- Add Cablevision to DirecTV and Verizon Fios to the providers tacking on a surcharge on subscribers who have packages with sports regional networks. In Cablevision’s case, it’s a $2.98 monthly fee that begins in April. Mike Farrell of Multichannel News says the surcharge is for subscribers who have the MSG Networks, SNY and YES RSN’s. This is the providers’ pushback on increasing subscriber fees from RSN’s which come as a result of high media rights for various professional teams. We’ll see if there’s any outcry from subscribers.
- ESPN Radio hack Colin Cowherd continues to say stupid things about the Midwest, this time about Indiana Pacers fans. This guy really needs to shut up.
- Joe Posnanski has been officially hired by NBC Sports to become its main columnist on its website and be featured on its multiple platforms. Ed Sherman of The Sherman Report wonders if this is the right move for Posnanski who left the fledgling Sports on Earth site after less than a year.
- Speaking of Ed, he speaks with Jim Romenesko about blogging for little to no money, something I’m quite familiar with.
- From David Goetzl of MediaPost comes this analysis of a lawsuit brought forth by Dish Network against ESPN. Very good background on a dispute that has been simmering for quite some time.
- To Sports Video Group where we have an interesting look at how ESPN3 produces a women’s college basketball that will be streamed on its platform.
- A few items from Paulsen at Sports Media Watch. First, NBA All-Star Saturday on TNT hit a three-year low, but still is among the best ratings ever for the event. Despite Danica Patrick, still not a good start for Fox for the Daytona 500 Speedweeks. And Paulsen has some various ratings news and notes.
- Ken McMillan at the Middletown (NY) Times Herald has the Arena Football League schedule on CBS Sports Network for the 2013 season. CBSSN takes over the rights after the AFL had been on NFL Network from 2010-2012. CBS will have the Arena Bowl in August.
- Robert Feder at TimeOut Chicago notes that Comcast SportsNet has ended its partnership with the Chicago Tribune and will rebrand its roundtable show as SportsTalk Live.
- Bruce Dowbiggin at the Toronto Globe and Mail reviews the first week of TSN’s new radio format and its new afternoon drive host.
- Could the NFL move the Draft to May into a ratings sweeps period? Tim Baysinger of Broadcasting & Cable says it’s entirely possible.
- By the way, this is not necessarily sports media, but it’s related. NBC definitely misses Sunday Night Football. Since the NFL season ended, the Peacock is having a hard time attracting viewers. The network will finish in 5th place in the 18-49 demographic for the February sweeps. Dominic Patten of Deadline notes that NBC will finish below CBS, Fox, ABC and wait for it…. Univision for the first time in its history. It’s not been a good 2013 for NBC thus far.
- This week, Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss passed away at the age of 80. He was first in the L.A. market to televise all of his team’s games creating the Prime Ticket regional sports network to air all of the Lakers’ home games and putting the road games on an over the air station. Before his passing, the Lakers went a step further in creating another RSN, Time Warner Cable SportsNet and doing two feeds, one in English and another in Spanish, another innovation. Jim Carlisle of the Ventura County Star looks at the impact Buss had on sports television.
- Media Life Magazine notes a new study which shows low recall of Super Bowl ads, something the NFL TV partners and its sponsors do not want to hear.
- Jonah Keri at Grantland says MLB has opened up the vault and released some of its old highlights.
- Formula 1′s ratings are down worldwide, a concern for the sport.
I think that’s where I’ll end things for now.
Let’s provide a few items that need to be recognized on this busy Thursday in sports. Updated the Viewing Picks to include Entertainment, MMA, NASCAR and the revised start time for the WGC Match Play Championships. I work over an hour compiling the viewing picks for you, so peruse them and let me know that you’re reading them.
Before I start, I spent Wednesday night catching up with friends from the Providence Clear Channel radio station cluster as we got together to remember Mike Gonsalves, known as Dr. Metal on 94HJY. Throughout the 1990′s and into the 21st Century, Doc (as we affectionately called him) hosted “The Metal Zone” on HJY and was recognized by the metal community for being the only program in the region devoted to the genre.
On February 20, 2003, Doc introduced the hair band Great White at The Station nightclub in West Warwick, RI. At 11:07 p.m., pyrotechnics were set off and the walls and ceiling caught fire. With no sprinklers in the building, the fire quickly spread and the people were trapped inside. Most of those in attendance got out, but 100 people including Doc lost their lives. Four other people who were working for HJY managed to get out alive . It is a tragedy that still affects those of us who have a connection. But last night, a group of us who either worked at WHJY/WHJJ/WSNE and B101 at the time and knew Doc got together to remember him and talk about the good times and our memories of Doc. It was great to see everyone and we gave a toast to Mike. I hadn’t seen many in years, but the dynamics we had quickly came back. There’s something about radio people that binds us together. While the business side is awful, the grunts who worked on the mic and behind the scenes are all of quality. I’m truly blessed to have worked with so many good people and am proud to call them my friends. Thanks to John Laurenti for organizing our get together and thanks to all of the people who attended. I can’t mention them all here, but they all know who they are. And we all miss Doc. Rest in Peace, Mike.
Now to some of the stories that are happening in sports media.
- In his weekly media column, Richard Deitsch has news about Ray Lewis joining ESPN, Gus Johnson critiquing his soccer debut, ESPN’s Il Capo di Tutti Capi, John Skipper denying that SportsCenter is ignoring hockey and a whole lot more.
- Continuing with ESPN, The Big Lead’s Jason McIntyre reports that Bob Knight appears to be on the way out from the Alleged Worldwide Leader. While no one can deny that Knight has an excellent basketball mind, it really hasn’t translated on television. Plus there have been times when he’s appeared aloof on TV or even fallen asleep, traits that don’t endear one to the viewer. Knight originally joined ESPN in 2008 to contribute to its Final Four coverage, but was later signed to a full-time contract. Throughout his tenure at ESPN, Knight has refused to wear ties, refused to call Kentucky by name and really hasn’t distinguished himself as an analyst. If this season is the end for Knight, I can’t see CBS/Turner hiring him nor Fox. I think Knight would probably be happy fishing or hunting and conducting coaching clinics.
- We learned yesterday that baseball legend Joe Garagiola was retiring from broadcasting. Since 1997, Garagiola has been part of the Arizona Diamondbacks television team. He began his broadcasting career in 1955 after being a catcher with the St. Louis Cardinals. After joining the New York Yankees broadcast booth and being on the Today Show, he joined NBC Sports in 1974 on Monday Night Baseball with Curt Gowdy. He became the “A” team play-by-play man in 1977 with analyst Tony Kubek. Moved to the analyst’s chair in 1983 when Vin Scully joined NBC and left the network after the 1988 season. Garagiola always poked fun at himself. He had his own 15 minute pregame show before Monday Night Baseball called “The Baseball World of Joe Garagiola” which showed the humorous side of baseball including bubble gum blowing contests and groundskeeping tips. In the Baseball Hall of Fame Broadcasters Wing, Garagiola certainly has had a celebrated career on TV whether it be in the broadcast booth, working in morning television or hosting the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
- A University of North Dakota hockey radio announcer got suspended for using the phrase “choke job” in a postgame interview.
- I hope this doesn’t get removed from YouTube. This is truly some interesting broadcasting history. This 16 minute clip is believed to be the only footage that still exists of Dizzy Dean and Pee Wee Reese calling a CBS Baseball Game of the Week. It’s from 1961 between the San Francisco Giants and Cincinnati Reds at the old Crosley Field. Dizzy and Pee Wee were a very popular broadcast team. Dean was known for his malapropisms and in this clip, you can hear him attempt to pronounce Joe Amalfitano and Matty Alou. Dean called the Game of the Week for CBS from 1955-1965. At one time, Dean was bored with the game he was calling and suggested viewers change the channel to a game being broadcast on NBC and even mentioned NBC. He did a couple of Monday Night Baseball games on NBC with Curt Gowdy as a guest announcer. Dean was truly a character as a pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, as well as a broadcaster. Some interesting features of the broadcast, no video replay, it wasn’t invented yet and on-screen graphics were few and far between. Do not take it down, MLB.
- Chad Finn of the Boston Globe reports that sports radio station WEEI is making changes to its weekday lineup once again. Kirk Minihane will join the station’s right wing morning show, Dennis & Callahan as a third host. Dennis & Callahan, once a ratings juggernaut, has been trailing Toucher & Rich on CBS’ 98.5 The Sports Hub in the latest Arbitron ratings. This comes after Glenn Ordway was let go last week. I’m hearing that Jen Royle will host a weekend show on the station giving Boston sports radio its first female-fronted show.
- NHL on NBC studio analyst Mike Milbury has once again made a splash. He referred to Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins as “crack addicts” as their play is “addictive.” Awful Announcing has a recap and a video clip.
That’s the notebook for today.
In lieu of linkage which has been sorely lacking, my sincere apologies, I give a sports media notebook which includes some links for you. Life has gotten in the way and you’ve responded by not visiting the site. It tells me you want fresh content so I’ll do my best to provide that to you as often as I can.
- John Ourand of Sports Business Journal tweeted on Tuesday that Fox Sports 1 will be unveiled to advertisers in an upfront presentation on March 5. I expect a full press release and perhaps an embeddable video to place on this site. Fox Sports 1 will take over Speed’s infrastructure on many participating cable and satellite providers in August and its companion channel, Fox Sports 2 will bump Fuel TV from existence.
The new Fox Sports networks will certainly change the sports media landscape almost immediately.
- Also from Ourand with Michael Smith in this week’s SBJ, we find the Big East looks like it has deals in place with NBC Sports Network for football and basketball and CBS for basketball as well. ESPN does have the right to match the offers, but for now, let’s assume that NBCSN has its first pickup of a major college conference, content it desperately needs.
I do expect NBCSN to be a major player for the second half of the NASCAR Sprint Cup season and to perhaps take the Nationwide Series. NBCSN does have some summer holes to fill and NASCAR would fit the bill.
- In the Chicago Tribune, Robert Channick reports that the Cubs have exercised a clause to renegotiate its media rights deal with WGN-TV. The Cubs and WGN have been together since 1948 and has had a national following since the 1980′s when ‘GN followed WTBS and became a Superstation on cable. Since then, WGN’s parent company, Tribune Co. has split the station into two feeds, WGN America which is on many cable and satellite providers across the country and WGN, Channel 9 in Chicago.
Earlier this week, Paul Sullivan in the Tribune reported that the Cubs may choose to leave WGN after the 2014 season and opt to go all-cable, however, it appears the two sides will at least discuss a new contract and Tribune Co. says it wants to keep the Cubs. Major factors in these new talks are the recent megadeals by the New York Yankees, Cleveland MLB Team and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Cubs also need money to help offset costs for renovations to Wrigley Field.
The Cubs are also on Comcast SportsNet in a deal forged with the White Sox, Bulls and the Chicago NHL Team.
We’ll be keeping an eye on what transpires. No matter what happens, the Cubs will be getting more money. A whole lot more.
- I’m saddened to hear that Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Sara Ganim is being harassed by the Paterno “Truthers”. The Philadelphia Magazine blog, the Philly Post reports that Ganim is being subjected to sexist taunts on Twiiter by the people who refuse to believe the Freeh Report. Ganim did very solid reporting on the Jerry Sandusky case and her stories led to the downfall of the former Penn State football defensive coordinator, coach Joe Paterno and the football program, but it does not allow for people to use Twitter to harass and threaten. C’mon, now.
- A Phoenix Coyote fan who is a pediatrician for an Arizona network of hospitals got angry at Adrian Dater, the Colorado Avalanche beat reporter for the Denver Post and told him on Twitter to “go catch a movie in Aurora” and “join Jessica for all I care.” That is in reference to last year’s movie theater shooting in Aurora, CO that left 12 people dead including Jessica Ghawi and 58 others injured.
After outrage from Dater and others, the pediatrician made his account private and then subsequently deleted his account. In addition, his employer has released a statement saying the actions are under review.
I understand getting emotional over your team, but is it necessary to tell a reporter to get shot and wish him dead? Is this what we have become? The last two stories about trolling reporters through Twitter almost leaves me no hope for humanity. Luckily, I remain an optimist, but stories like these make it tough.
We’re done here for now.
Fridays are becoming way too busy for me. I need to find a way to stop it. Anyway, I have some links and thoughts for you in this latest edition of the notebook.
ESPN’s Sean McDonough hopes to return to the broadcast booth after undergoing surgery to correct a rare inner ear condition that caused him to hear things unusually loud. McDonough talked with Chad Finn of the Boston Globe and Michael Hiestand of USA Today about his condition and how it’s prevented him from going back to work.
Fox Sports’ Jason Whitlock has this takedown of ESPN’s First Take and Rob Parker.
So ESPN is dialing back the Tebowmania? Apparently not as Awful Announcing discovered.
Ben Koo of AA found out that NFL Films is producing an edition of “A Football Life” devoted to Steve Sabol. I’m looking forward to seeing this when the documentary is finished. To be honest, just one hour on Sabol’s career will not do justice to his impact on sports television.
As the future of The Big East is still being determined, the Catholic 7 all-basketball schools that have broken away from the conference appear to be talking to both Fox and NBC Sports Network to place their games on one or the other or both. Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated has an extensive article on the Big East’s future. I would think Fox would be the favorite or perhaps, ESPN might jump in to get a package of games.
If you want to know why NBC’s Sunday Night Football is the number one show in primetime television, you have to go back to its genesis when producer Fred Gaudelli worked for ESPN and was producing Sunday night games for the Alleged Worldwide Leader. Deadspin’s John Koblin has a great article on the teamwork between Gaudelli, analyst Cris Collinsworth and director Drew Esocoff.
Another good article from Deadspin on how NFL RedZone is cannibalizing the Sunday afternoon game broadcasts.
Former US Olympian Suzy Favor Hamilton admits to the Wisconsin State Journal that she was a high-priced Las Vegas escort.
While Dan Patrick is on vacation for the holidays, Fang’s Bites fave Bonnie Bernstein will sub for him on Christmas Eve, next Friday and on New Year’s Eve.
In the latest edition of the Sports Media Weekly podcast, you heard former 98.5 The Sports Hub nighttime host Damon Amendolara talking about his new gig as the overnight host for CBS Sports Radio. The Boston sports radio station has named his replacement and it’s a familiar voice to sports radio listeners in the New England area.
For the next Sports Media Weekly podcast on Wednesday, December 26, it’s going to include several sports media observers providing their stories of 2012 and predictions for 2013. I’ve been gathering the stories and predictions from previous guests of the podcast. I hope you’ll enjoy them.
Awful Announcing has Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch talking about his year-end sports media awards.
Jim Williams in the Washington Examiner says college sports are all about the money.
And Eric Deggans of the Tampa Bay Times provides his top sports media stories of 2012 in the Indiana University National Sports Journalism Center.
That will do it.
As the linkage has been lacking, I’m going to try a new feature. In addition to an occasional sports media thoughts post, I’m going to attempt to make this a regular feature. This will incorporate some linkage and some thoughts. Think of it like Peter Gammons’ baseball notes column, but not as extensive.
As I said, I hope this will be a regular feature and I hope you will like it. You may incorporate some snark so if you think I go overboard, certainly let me know in the comments.
Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch issued his 2012 Media Awards. There are some I agree with, others like Joe Buck of which I disagree. But again, that’s his list. I can always provide my own if I can overcome my laziness.
Rob Parker of ESPN (perhaps not for long) issued an apology for his incendiary comments on Robert Griffin III during last week’s First Take. It’s a bit late and rings like someone trying to save his job. ESPN announced today that it has suspended Parker for 30 days and disciplined others involved in the show for allowing the comments to re-air not just one more time, but twice. I’m still bewildered how the controversial comments not only aired in an immediate replay, but also during the euphemistically titled “Best of First Take” in the same day which tells me the producers were not only on board, but also in a disconnect, not thinking the comments were anything out of the ordinary.
Last month, it appeared that the Los Angeles Dodgers and Fox were on the verge of signing a new deal that would make the team very rich in a long-term media rights deal. However, there are a few holdups including satisfying MLB and avoiding another round in U.S. bankruptcy court. An interesting note is that Fox would gain the rights to the Dodgers, create a new regional sports network and have it run by Dick Clark Productions which is owned by DC NFL team owner Daniel Snyder. No matter what happens, it’ll make the Dodgers very wealthy and in the upper echelon of media rights payments from Fox.
We won’t know the NFL Week 17 primetime game until either this Sunday evening or Monday midday. That’s because the Week 17 Sunday night game is not chosen by the league until then. Only one flex for Sunday Night Football this season and that’s this week’s San Francisco-Seattle game which replaced Chargers-Jets. The obvious choice for primetime in Week 17 would be Washington at Dallas, but Cowboys GM & owner Jerry Jones himself says he doubts that it would be flexed. Last year, Cowboys-Giants were flexed into the last game of the season slot. If the NFL wants Dallas-Washington in primetime, I would think that’s where it will go. Plus, NBC would love to have RGIII in primetime.
On this date, NBC decided to conduct an experiment that has not been tried since. It aired the New York Jets at Miami Dolphins game at the Orange Bowl without announcers. The game was played on a Saturday afternoon, and the Jets (like today) were nothing to write home about so NBC made an announcement that it was going announcer-free for the entire game. NFL ’80 pregame host Bryant Gumbel came in and out of commercial breaks to summarize what had happened. NBC employed some enhanced graphics during the game and tried to use extra microphones to bring the sound of the game home to viewers. However, when it was all said and done, many reporters said the game needed announcers and all games have employed them since.
Sports Business Journal has Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch, the Baltimore Sun’s David Zurawik and The Big Lead’s Jason McIntyre talking about the Sunday NFL pregame shows.
SI tennis reporter extraordinaire Jon Wertheim has some interesting news about next year’s US Open in Flushing Meadow. If successful, expect this format to continue. If not, you’ll see CBS wanting to pay less for the tournament or it will move to ESPN2. I’ve said that the US Open should move back a week and end on Labor Day to avoid inclement weather and NFL conflicts in the second week, but no one seems to listen.
Former U.S. Olympian and noted distance runner Suzy Favor-Hamilton was a high-priced Las Vegas escort? Yes, it’s true. It has nothing to do with sports media, but I’ve always had a crush on Suzy Favor-Hamilton.
As I mentioned, I hope to do this regularly for you if I’m not able to do links for you. Let me know what you think.