The Content Factory
I figure it’s time make some sports media predictions for 2009.
The NHL Returns to ESPN – This has been speculated for so long that whenever a writer or blogger has discussed this topic, I have either turned the page or hit “back” on my browser. But I feel that NHL Czar Gary Bettman will finally listen to the NHL Players Association and put the league back on ESPN. He’ll agree to put games on ESPN2, urge NHL2nite to return and place Games 1 & 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals back on the mothership. To appease Versus, Bettman will give the network exclusive rights to one NHL Conference Championship series. ESPN and NBC will share the other series.
MLB Network Will Announce a Second Night of Live Baseball Games – As it currently stands, MLB Network will carry 26 Thursday night games, but after seeing ratings success in 2009, it will announce that it will add a second night of games, either on Tuesday or Saturday for the 2010 season. ESPN will grit its teeth and say nothing.
Ad rates will drop for Super Bowl XLIV on CBS – Due to the tough economy in 2009 and difficulties in selling ads, CBS will actually offer time on Super Bowl XLIV at a discounted rate, below the $3 million that NBC was selling for SBXLIII.
NFL.com will offer NFL Network games online for free - To expand the audience for Thursday and Saturday night games, NFL.com will stream them for free. It will become the second primetime NFL package to go online. Because Big Cable will again refuse to pick up the NFL Network, there will be no complaints from the pay providers.
Tennis Network offers all of its Grand Slam Tournaments online – Just as it did for the French Open, Tennis Network will provide online streaming for all of its Grand Slam coverage, not just from the outer courts as it currently does for the French Open, but Tennis Network will stream its on-air coverage on its website.
The 2016 Olympics are awarded to…. – Chicago. In October, the International Olympic Committee will honor the appearance of President Barack Obama at the 2016 selection by awarding the 2016 Summer Games to the Windy City. In turn, the IOC will open the bidding for the US TV rights and receive a record amount.
CBS and CBS College Sports Win the ACC Football rights – Coming off a weak season, ESPN will let its exclusive negotiating window lapse and this allows CBS to come in to snatch the ACC TV rights away from ESPN. The ACC will not get the money it was looking for. To appease the SEC, CBS will show ACC games in a 12 p.m. ET window, giving the network an afternoon college football doubleheader. CBS College Sports will show primetime games and Raycom will return to syndicate late afternoon games.
The NFL Splits Radio Rights – Westwood One citing cash flow problems will bow out of the bidding for the NFL radio rights ending a 21 year relationship with the league. ESPN Radio will buy the rights to Monday Night Football and the NFL postseason including the Super Bowl. The Content Factory wanting to add live sports to the Dan Patrick Show will purchase the rights to Sunday afternoon games, Sunday night, Thursday and Saturday night games and the Pro Bowl.
One More Sports League Will Announce Suspension of Play – It won’t be one of the Big Four, but another niche sports league will cease operation in 2009 due to the bad economy. It could be the WNBA, it could be World Team Tennis.
Citi Will Remove Its Name from Citi Field After the 2009 Season – Citigroup will remove its sponsorship of the new Mets stadium after the 2009 season following its failed request for another bailout. Congress will get wise to the wishes of its constituents and get tough with the financial institutions. As a result, Citigroup will cut back on sponsorships including Citi Field.
A Major Sports Radio Station Will Switch Formats – Due to the tough economy, CBS Radio will make major cutbacks following the loss of the NFL from sister company, Westwood One. Without the inventory, one major sports radio station in a major market will be forced to fire its entire staff and switch formats to a syndicated news/talk station.
That will do it for my predictions. On December 31, I’ll review them to see how I did.
First, Darren Rovell of CNBC has a few things in one entry including a blurb on GoDaddy.com which is about to hire a new spokesperson who looks like this woman (Olympic swimmer Amanda Beard), not that I object.
The Sports Media Watch blog says Monday Night Football finally saw a ratings uptick last night.
CBS Sports says it and CSTV combined will provide 9 hours of college football coverage this Saturday.
The Detroit Free Press reports the Big Ten Network has picked up Michigan and Michigan State games for October 13.
SI.com picks up an Associated Press story about MLB tweaking the postseason schedule in hopes of bringing in more TV viewers. Neil Best of Newsday has a column for Wednesday about TBS using familiar baseball announcers for its playoff coverage. We had this story yesterday, but I’ll link to it again today. SNY’s Ron Darling has been hired by TBS to join its postseason announcing lineup. Roman Modrowski of the Chicago Sun-Times writes that Cubs fans will have to stay up late for the first two games of the series with Arizona, then have to contend with the Chicago Marathon for a possible Game 4. Peter Mucha in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer warns residents without cable that they’ll have to listen to the radio or internet to catch the Phillies-Rockies series.
TV Week’s Chris Pursell writes in his Pressbox blog about the NFL Network airing its first regular season college football game this weekend. Last December, the NFL Network had some bowl games, but now, the channel is branching out into regular season college football.
OMG! Ron Borges has launched his own website!!! Tell me this isn’t true. Thanks to Boston Sports Media Watch for the link.
I forgot to mention it yesterday, but Dan Patrick began his new radio show for the Content Factory on Monday. You can hear it live from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on his website.
That’s it for now.
Let’s give you a few things on this Thursday afternoon.
First, Dan Patrick has launched a website that includes a couple of videos of him around the house and a blog. Dan says he will let his fans know when and where he will be (Content Factory sometime in September). I will blog Dan’s final hour tomorrow. I thank Neil Best of Newsday for the link to the website.
Neil recaps his attendance at a Fox Sports gathering on Wednesday which unveiled its announcing lineups and plans for the NFL season. Tim McCarver was there and what he was doing at the gathering is beyond me. And Best gives the Fox lineup here.
David Scott of Boston Sports Media Watch talks to the Program Director of Boston classical music station WCRB which was the subject of speculative stories that Dennis & Callahan of WEEI would land there to start up a regional sports network. Naturally, the staffers at ‘CRB were quite surprised to read the news. Owner Nassau Broadcasting would not outright deny the reports to Scott.
NBC Sports tells us that it will have primetime taped coverage of the U.S. Gymnastics Championships this weekend. And that Tiki Barber makes his debut on NBC for Sunday Night Football during halftime of the New York Giants-Baltimore Ravens game.
USA Basketball has announced that ESPN2, ESPN Classic, NBA-TV and FSN will show the FIBA Americas Championship with Fox Sports Net showing the gold and bronze medal games. ESPN2 and ESPN Classic will show all games involving Team USA. NBA-TV will show 40 games of the tournament and FSN will have 12 games. Interesting setup.
Let’s give you a couple of links regarding the Big Ten Network. The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports that the University of Iowa sent out a mass e-mail to fans urging them to call Mediacom cable and demand the Big Ten Network. Randy Petersen of the Des Moines Register says talks between Mediacom and BTN are still ongoing.
Joanne C. Gerstner has a profile on ESPN’s Mike Tirico who remains very busy doing Monday Night Football, college football, the NBA and a bunch of other stuff for the Alleged Worldwide Leader.
William Houston in the Toronto Globe and Mail says Canadians will be able to watch every CBC Hockey Night in Canada game online.
Speaking of online, Tim Lemke of the Washington Times says more sporting events are being made available online.
Subscribers to Sirius Satellite Radio will be able to listen to New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush every week on Sirius NFL Radio. Orbitcast which covers satellite radio news has the story.
Primetime and Late Night Viewing Choices coming up.
Let’s give you some more links today. It’s just so hot in my office, I’ve got to finish this set and I’m getting out of there.
In his Watchdog blog, Newsday’s Neil Best says it’s nice to have Mike and the Mad Dog back together again on WFAN. They’ve been apart due to their vacations since June.
Over to the Sports Media Watch blog where we find out that The Content Factory has apparently hired former ESPNer Michael Irvin who was inducted into Pro Football’s Hall of Fame this past weekend. Irvin joins Dan Patrick who has already been hired to do a show for the company. The question is, can Irvin carry his own show? I was not a fan of his work at ESPN where Michael seemed to yell every time Chris Berman went to him on NFL Countdown. I hope Michael won’t be yelling on his radio show.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell wonders if Tiger Woods is worth the price of endorsement for some companies including American Express which is actually dumping him in. Tiger does make a lot of money, but Rovell questions if Woods has enough bang for the big bucks he’s being paid.
Richard Sandomir of the New York Times looks at the radio and TV calls of Alex Rodriguez’ 500th homer and Barry Bonds’ 755th home run. Sandomir praises former Pawtucket Red Sox announcer Dave Flemming who called Bonds’ homer on KNBR and current Red Sox announcer Dave O’Brien who had the call on ESPN2. Jim Williams in his Watch This! blog in the DC/Baltimore and San Francisco Examiners says Frank Robinson will be on hand representing MLB during the Bonds Watch tonight.
TBS Sports has announced a new online broadband channel on MLB.com called “The Hot Corner”. This starts in September in anticipation of TBS’ extensive postseason coverage. It will include a pre-game show for the playoffs. And Paul Gough of the Hollywood Reporter has written a story on this new channel.
Starting Thursday, PGATour.com will offer broadband coverage of the PGA Championship at Southern Hills in Tulsa, OK. For the first and second rounds, the website will have simulcasts of TNT’s coverage, plus coverage of select groups of players. On the weekend, CBS’ coverage will not be available online, only the coverage of select groups. The site for online coverage is here.
R. Thomas Ulmstead of Multichannel News reports on a very interesting clause in the NHL’s contract with Versus. Both parties can pull out after this coming season if the channel doesn’t reach certain distribution levels. Ulmstead says it appears Versus isn’t interested in ending its deal and will continue with a planned three year extension into the 2010-11 season. We’ll see how this develops.
From the Oakland Tribune, Andy Altman-Ohr writes that the Bay Area media will have Friday’s Bill Walsh memorial service covered like a blanket.
Keith Jarrett of the Asheville (NC) Citizen-Times says while conferences like the ACC and SEC are paid handsomely by the TV networks to air their football and basketball games, smaller conferences like the Southern Conference (SoCon) have to pay to get their games broadcast.
Doug Smith of the Toronto Star has a suggestion for the CBC when it comes to airing Raptors games (scroll down). Hire Fang’s Bites fav, Stacey Dales (yes, she’s Canadian).
Those are your links for now. Primetime and Late Night Viewing Picks coming up