Fox Sports 1 is now 100 days from launching. Fox has released the programming schedule for Saturday, August 17. Fox Sports 1 gets its official kickoff at 8 a.m. Eastern with NASCAR Live and 7½ of NASCAR coverage culminating with the Camping World Truck Series race live from Michigan International Speedway at noon ET.
Following NASCAR, FS1 goes into MMA mode as it gets ready to air its first UFC card live from Boston with prelims at 6 p.m. and the main bouts at 8 p.m.
Then at 11 p.m., it will be the premiere of Fox Sports live with the TSN dynamic duo of Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole. So lots of things.
We also get details of Fox Sports 1′s other shows that will premiere in its first week including the Regis Philbin-hosted project and other programming. Check it out below.
Day 1 Schedule Set; Key Talent Hires Made; New Programs Developing
New York – Today marks the start of the 100-day countdown to the historic launch of FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports’ new national multi-sport network, and much has been accomplished since its official unveiling just over two months ago. The channel’s launch schedule is set, key talent and production hires have been made, and programs have been developed. The Day 1 schedule and initial programming highlights are presented here, while the latest information on talent and programming developments are being announced in separate releases bundled and issued today to mark the milestone.
“We’ve been working for months now, but a lot has come together in the time since we officially unveiled our plans for the launch of FOX Sports 1 in March,” said Eric Shanks, FOX Sports’ Co- President and COO. “The programming schedule has been solidified, and we really come out of the gate incredibly strong from Day 1.”
“Obviously, we knew from the start that finding highly skilled and talented senior production executives and talent to fill key roles would be essential to our success,” added FOX Sports Co- President and COO Randy Freer. “It’s fun to see the team take shape, and there’s an incredible energy and enthusiasm present that people share when they’re working on something they’re passionate about.”
FS1 officially launches at 8:00 AM ET on Saturday, Aug. 17 and includes 18 hours of original programming on Day 1, 16.5 hours of which are live, kicking off with NASCAR LIVE from Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich. Seven hours of NASCAR programming follows, highlighted by live flag-to-flag coverage of the NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES race from MIS (12:30-2:30 PM ET). UFC takes center stage beginning at 5:00 PM with UFC TONIGHT, followed by UFC ON FS1 SATURDAY PRELIMS (6:00-8:00 PM ET) before the main event in prime time, UFC ON FS1 SATURDAY, live from TD Bank Garden in Boston (8:00-11:00 PM ET). FS1’s Day 1 wraps with the maiden telecast of FOX SPORTS LIVE, the network’s flagship news, opinion and highlights program. FS1’s Day 1 schedule is as follows (all times ET; L denotes Live):8:00-8:30 AM — NASCAR LIVE (L)8:30-9:30 AM — NASCAR SPRINT CUP PRACTICE (L)9:30-11:00 AM — NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES QUALIFYING (L)11:00 AM-12:00 PM — NASCAR SPRINT CUP FINAL PRACTICE (L)12:00-12:30 PM — NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK RACE PRE-RACE (L)12:30-2:30 PM — NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES RACE (L)2:30-3:30 PM — TRACKSIDE LIVE (L)3:30-4:00 PM — UFC ULTIMATE INSIDER4:00-5:00 PM — UFC UNLEASHED5:00-6:00 PM — UFC TONIGHT (L)6:00-8:00 PM — FOX UFC SATURDAY PRELIMS (L)8:00-11:00 PM — FOX UFC SATURDAY (L)11:00 PM-12:00 AM — FOX SPORTS LIVE (L)12:00 AM-1:00 AM — FOX SPORTS LIVE (L)1:00-2:00 AM — FOX SPORTS LIVE (L)
Once past the launch, the stage is set for several major premieres on Monday, Aug. 19, including CROWD GOES WILD (formerly Rush Hour), starring Regis Philbin (weekdays 5:00- 6:00 PM); FOX FOOTBALL DAILY, hosted by Curt Menefee and Jay Glazer (weekdays, 6:00- 7:00 PM); and FS1’s MONDAY NIGHT FIGHTS franchise (9:00-11:00 PM), with bouts from Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions.
FS1’s exclusive live coverage of the 2013-14 UEFA Champions League season begins on Tuesday, Aug. 20 and Wednesday, Aug. 21 (2:00-5:00 PM ET), providing the preeminent competition in world club soccer greater with early round exposure than ever before. Later on Aug. 21, live coverage of the NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES race from Bristol Motor Speedway is on display in prime time (7:30-10:30 PM). The prime time schedule on Thursday, Aug. 22 features exclusive live action from CONCACAF Champions League, the most prestigious club competition in North American soccer (8:00-9:30 PM).
Next up is the first UFC-branded Wednesday night on Aug. 28 featuring a FOX UFC WEDNESDAY LIVE event and prelims scheduled from 8:00-11:00 PM ET.
The 2013-14 college football season premieres on Thursday, Aug. 29 (8:00-11:30 PM), followed by a game on Friday, Aug. 30 (8:30 PM ET-12:30 AM ET) and a tripleheader on Saturday, Aug. 31 (12:00-4:00 PM; 4:00-8:00 PM; and 10:00 PM-2:00 AM). Game action on Aug. 31 is preceded by the weekly two-hour FOX COLLEGE SATURDAY pregame show (10:00 AM-12:00 PM). Between the late afternoon and late night games are two hours of hard-hitting UFC 164 Prelims (8:00-10:00 PM).
FS1’s third live UFC event comes Wednesday, Sept. 4, with an action-packed two hours preceding the season premiere of THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER (10:00-11:00 PM ET). As previously announced, THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER, UFC’s signature reality series, moves to its new Wednesday 10:00 PM home that night, where it anchors the network’s Wednesday prime time UFC block. The coming season features UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and challenger Cat Zingano as coaches.
That will do it.
Announced tonight during The Ultimate Fighter 17 Season Finale on FX and now just made official by Fox Sports (a press release at 10:58 p.m. ET!!!), we learn that TUF will move to Fox Sports 1 in when its new season premieres in September. The show will air on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET. TUF 18 will feature UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and challenger Cat Zingano as coaches. Both women and men will take part in the new season of The Ultimate Fighter.
The Ultimate Fighter will be part of Fox Sports 1′s UFC programming on Wednesday nights. That will include some live fights.
Here’s the press release from Fox Sports.
TUF to Anchor New Network’s Wednesday Night UFC® Block
Season 18 to Feature First-Ever Women Coaches and Competitors
LAS VEGAS – A new network, new day and time, new coaches and new captivating storylines.
The Ultimate Fighter®, the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s® (UFC®) signature reality series, moves to FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports’ newly minted multi-sport national cable channel, when it returns in September. The series, featuring UFC® women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and challenger Cat Zingano as coaches, also moves to Wednesday evening at 10:00 PM ET where it anchors FS1’s prime time UFC programming block. FS1 launches Saturday, Aug. 17 and season 18 of The Ultimate Fighter premieres Wednesday, Sept. 4 (10:00 PM ET).
“Bringing The Ultimate Fighter to FOX Sports 1 is like adding a big bat to an exciting young lineup,” said Shanks. “TUF has jump-started the careers of dozens of fighters, many who have gone on to become UFC champions. It’s going to be a welcomed addition to FOX Sports 1, and the perfect anchor for our Wednesday prime time UFC block. We’re absolutely thrilled to have it.”
“Season 17 of The Ultimate Fighter just ended and it was the best season we’ve ever done,” said UFC® President Dana White. “Season 18 is going to be historic and groundbreaking with the first-ever women coaches, and men and women training and living together, and we’re excited to be airing it on the best new sports network in the country, FOX Sports 1.”
Earlier this year, UFC announced that Rousey, who defeated challenger Liz Carmouche in the UFC’s first women’s bout during UFC® 157, would serve as the first-ever woman coach on the series alongside the winner of today’s Miesha Tate vs. Cat Zingano No.1 contender fight.
Moments ago Cat Zingano defeated Miesha Tate by TKO (referee stoppage) in round 3 at The Ultimate Fighter Finale event in Las Vegas.
Together Rousey and Zingano will mentor male and female bantamweight (135 lbs) fighters – living and training together – vying for the title of The Ultimate Fighter and a six-figure contract with the UFC.
“Having the opportunity to help fighters kick off their careers – especially the women – is an amazing experience,” said Rousey. “I’ve had the chance to be a guest on past episodes, and I felt the passion, determination and commitment these fighters bring to the sport. I can’t wait to start coaching this next history-making season on this exciting new network.”
The Ultimate Fighter, which debuted in 2005, has launched the careers of more than 100 UFC fighters and has produced past champions such as Forrest Griffin, Rashad Evans, Michael Bisping and Matt Serra. Bantamweights were most recently featured on The Ultimate Fighter 14, when John Dodson emerged as the season’s winner.
At launch, FOX Sports 1 is available in over 90 million homes, making this the biggest sports cable network launch in history, and one of the largest network launches ever. It boasts nearly 5,000 hours of live event, news and original programming annually. In addition to TUF 18, over the course of the year FS1’s Wednesday night UFC programming includes live fight events; UFC TONIGHT, the weekly authority for UFC news and information; and the best library programs.
That is all.
During the event that introduced US version of Fox Sports 1 to the world (let’s not forget the original Fox Sports 1 in Australia), we learned that the network has been built upon what Fox is calling “7 Sports Pillars,” College Basketball, College Football, MLB, NASCAR, NFL, Soccer and UFC fights.
Let’s go over what each pillar will bring to Fox Sports 1.
While it was not formally announced on Tuesday, we can expect Fox Sports 1 to be the official cable home of the new Big East, those “Catholic 7″ basketball-only schools to be joined by Butler and Xavier from the A-10 and maybe even Creighton from the Missouri Valley. The new Big East will join the Big 12, Conference USA and Pac-12 on Fox Sports 1. Expect to see basketball games in the winter on Monday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.
Games from C-USA, the Big 12 and Pac-12 will be on Thursday nights as well as triple and quadrupleheaders on Saturdays. In addition, Erin Andrews will host a Saturday morning pregame show on FS1. The Fox Mothership will continue to air college football games on Saturday nights. The 2013 schedule for Fox includes Notre Dame at Stanford as well as the Big Ten Championship and the Cotton Bowl.
In 2014, Fox’s new contract with Major League Baseball kicks in. Fox Sports 1 will air a full schedule of 26 regular season games which will include games from its Fox Sports Net affiliates. Expect to see plenty of the New York Yankees from YES, the Anaheim Angels from Fox Sports West and the Texas Rangers from Fox Sports Southwest. In addition, Fox Sports 1 will carry two League Division Series and a number of League Championship Series. The LCS was the latest development. Fox’s broadcast schedule will reduce from 24 regular season games this year to 12 in 2014. Fox will still carry the All-Star Game, most of the LCS and the entire World Series.
As Speed converts to Fox Sports 1, its NASCAR coverage will carryover to FS1. This will include the entire Camping World Truck Series and the familiar NASCAR RaceDay and NASCAR Victory Lane programs from Speed. In 2015, selected Sprint Cup races will move to Fox Sports 1 as will the All-Star race. The Daytona 500 Speedweeks festivities which include the Twin 125′s and the Duel will be aired on FS 1.
While Fox Sports 1 doesn’t have the rights to show games, it will have a daily program, Fox Football Daily which will include the cast of Fox NFL Sunday. The show will air daily at 6 p.m. ET. Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long, Jay Glazer, Gus Johnson, Erin Andrews and Mike Pereira are listed as participants, but as the show evolves, this falls under the category “subject to change.” This show will premiere when Fox Sports 1 launches in August.
It’s expected that Fox will do away with Fox Soccer and convert it to FX2, an all-entertainment channel. With the loss of the English Premier League to NBC, Fox will move the UEFA Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup and CONCACAF events to Fox Sports 1. UEFA Champions League and Europa League will be aired on Tuesday through Thursday afternoons. And when Fox’s contract with FIFA begins in 2015, Fox Sports 1 will air Women’s World Cup games that year and in 2019 and the men in 2018 and 2022. Other soccer leagues that were part of Fox Soccer Plus can be expected to be dispersed to Fox Sports 2 when that channel launches at a later date.
On Fox Sports 1′s launch date in August, a UFC card will be aired. Also, Fox Sports 1 will be the home to UFC programming on Wednesday nights. During Super Bowl XLVIII week, Fox Sports 1 is expected to have a card the night before the Big Game. Super Bowl Saturday normally has a UFC pay per view, but it’s expected to be aired on FS1 in 2014.
The news about Regis Philbin was confirmed on Monday during his appearance on of all places, “The View.” Regis will be host of “Rush Hour” which will have a panel of guests from the media, sports and fandom. This will air at 5 p.m. ET and lead into Fox Football Daily.
At 11 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1 will air Fox Sports Live, the challenger to ESPN’s venerable SportsCenter. According to the Fox Sports executives, the network will invest heavily into a newsgathering operation that will produce a nightly program that will review the day’s events. A morning edition of Fox Sports Live will begin airing in January.
The Fox Sports Net affiliates and local Fox TV stations will be encouraged to contribute reports to Fox Sports Live.
It’s been seen on the Cotton Bowl and on the Daytona 500, the double box that will air commercials and also show live action so viewers don’t miss anything. Reviews on this has been mixed thus far, but I expect this to win fans over during NASCAR coverage.
Fox Sports Go will be an mobile and tablet app that will stream live events from Fox Sports, Fox Sports 1 and the Fox Sports Net affiliates. Subscribers to participating cable and satellite providers will have to authenticate in order to watch the events on their mobile device.
And there in a nutshell is what you’ll see on Fox Sports 1 when it launches on August 17.
The worst kept secret in sports media finally gets pushed from behind the curtain and will be officially unveiled to advertisers and the media on Tuesday. Fox Sports officials will be at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York to tell the world what the average fan will see on the new Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 networks when they launch this summer.
Unlike previous Fox launches when the broadcast company started completely new channels from scratch, it’s using existing infrastructure from Speed to form Fox Sports 1 and from Fuel TV to build Fox Sports 2.
And using existing partnerships with Major League Baseball, NASCAR, the Big 12 and PAC-12 along with UFC, the channels will have an extensive inventory of live sports to show. Plus, with an expected partnership with the breakaway “Catholic 7″ from the old Big East conference to form a new Big East conference, Fox Sports 1 and 2 will have live college basketball games in November.
Over the last year, Fox has flown under the radar to bring its new networks into fruition. While NBC Sports has attempted to add major sports to its arsenal, Fox has used its relationships to convince its partners to sign off on shuffling inventory from the Fox Television Network to its cable channels. As a result, Fox will have 14 MLB games starting in 2014 compared to 24 this year. Also, several NASCAR Sprint Cup races will go to Fox Sports 1 after being on Fox for several years.
While it appears Fox is positioning itself as a bona fide challenger to ESPN, it still has a long way to go if it truly wants to mount a fight. Even so, Fox and ESPN have become dance partners in college sports with the Big 12, the Pac-12 and look to partner with the old Big East and the Catholic 7. Just last year, ESPN and Fox filed a joint bid for the English Premier League before losing out to NBC. So as Fox starts the new sports networks, it’s also forming an Unholy Alliance with the one network that it along with CBS, NBC and to a certain extent, Turner Sports are hoping to knock down.
In addition to the live games, Fox Sports 1 will have talk shows. Regis Philbin announced on “The View” Monday that he will host a show on the network that will be modeled after “The View” itself. John Ourand of Sports Business Journal reported last year that Jay Mohr, a host on Fox Sports Radio, was in talks for his own series on FS1.
With Tuesday’s announcement, Fox Sports 1 and 2 become the New Kids on the Sports Block. The key for success will be clearance among increasing militant cable and satellite providers which are balking at paying high subscriber fees due to sports rights. Richard Sandomir and Amy Chozick of the New York Times report that Fox is seeking $1 per subscriber for FS1. After the euphoria of launching a new cable network comes the reality of gaining cable carriage. We’ve yet to hear if Fox has been able to get agreements from the major providers like Bright House, Cablevision, Comcast, Cox, DirecTV, Dish, Suddenlink and Time Warner among others. If Fox Sports 1 and 2 are cleared throughout the country, then it will be a major hurdle that will be out of the way.
And if Fox Sports 1 is able to get an NFL package and NBA games to add to their other properties, then the road for the networks will be paved with gold. Right now, the networks will be given a head start with MLB, NASCAR, college football and basketball, MMA, World Cup Soccer and additional soccer games coming Fox Soccer. If more properties can be added, then Fox will be in very good position as it heads into the next decade.
The journey for the new Fox Sports entities begins on Tuesday. Whether it will be smooth sailing or a stormy ride will be determined over the next few years.
Saturday was certainly the interesting day in sports with two sports outside of the major four dominating headlines. Let’s go over them in bullet form.
- In what normally is the start of NASCAR’s Nationwide Series became the sports and also news story of the first part of Saturday when a crash at Drive4COPD at Daytona became more than just a race. As cars were speeding towards the checkered flag, Regan Smith and Brad Keselowski crashed. That caused Kyle Larson’s car to go airborne and hit a support fence. It also caused one of his tires to fly into the grandstand. At last check, 28 fans had been injured from the flying debris from the track.
ESPN which was carrying the race elected to run past its signoff time and run into the North Carolina-North Carolina State college basketball game to cover the situation and get interviews with drivers and NASCAR President Mike Helton to find out what happened.
ESPN’s crew did a solid job in gathering information, but the real spotlight shined on Speed for its coverage for two hours on its SpeedCenter program. Adam Alexander anchored the coverage and it covered all angles from the crash from the drivers to the fans who were injured in the stands updating news as it became available, airing the surreal NASCAR press conference and tapping the NASCAR on Fox crew to report the news. In this case, ESPN gets a B for its coverage of the crash and Speed gets the A+.
- After NASCAR, the focus shifted to Mixed Martial Arts and UFC’s pay per view event which had its first female fight headline the card. As usual, Mike Goldberg set up Joe Rogan as much as he could. Rogan tapped into his comedian inner self by suggesting people leave “flaming poop” at International Olympic Committee headquarters over the decision to remove wrestling from its roster after 2020. It certainly was a strange comment, but it was due to Dan Henderson wearing trunks with a Twitter hashtag seeking to keep wrestling in the Olympics past 2020.
But that was not the main focus of the pay per view telecast, it was Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche as the main fight and it did not disappoint. While the fight lasted one round, it had a lot of action has Rousey had to overcome a chokehold and Rousey doing her patented armbar to win her 7th consecutive fight and retain the UFC’s Women’s Championship. Judging by the reaction on social media, there were a lot of buys for the fight and more than the usual attention on a UFC pay per view. Of course, Twitter reaction does not necessarily translate to ratings, but I’m thinking the interest into Rousey may have won UFC some fans on Saturday. And with Rousey’s win, expect her star to rise with interviews on mainstream programs like The View, Live with Kelly and Michael and Today’s 4th hour with Hoda and Kathie Lee.
- One story that quietly surfaced on Saturday was the potential NHL conference realignment worked out between the league and the NHL Players Association. You may remember the league tried realignment before the lockout, but it was rejected by the NHLPA. But this time, the league worked with the players and we have some interesting results.
Detroit and Columbus would both go East. The Eastern half of the league would have two eight team “conferences”. Out West, there would be two seven team “conferences” and an interesting feature as unveiled by CBC’s Elliotte Friedman on Hockey Night in Canada, there would be Wild Cards in the East to offset the higher playoff chances in the West. That could lead to some very interesting playoff potential and ratings for the NHL’s TV partners. If this is approved and Detroit heads back East, it brings back the old Toronto-Detroit Original Six rivalry into play and it also has five of the Original Six in the East. Chicago would remain in the West.
There’s a lot of TV potential with this new realignment. NBC’s focus could remain totally in the East if Detroit moves out from the West. And Hockey Night in Canada wherever it lands could see more Detroit games for its 7 p.m. ET window.
Certainly some interesting news coming out of the NHL on Saturday.
Ok, some thoughts for you on this Sunday. Back later today.
We have this from Fox Sports that its latest broadcast of the UFC did well in the overnights as compared to its previous card in the summer.
According to Fox, last night’s UFC received a 2.8 overnight rating with a 5 share. That’s up 65% from August’s broadcast.
Here’s the blurb from Fox.
Los Angeles, CA – In what proved to be the greatest UFC fight card in the history of broadcast television, Saturday night’s UFC on FOX 5, headlined by Lightweight champion Benson Henderson retaining his title against top contender Nate Diaz delivered in and outside the Octagon. UFC on FOX 5 scored a 2.8/5 overnight rating/share for a quadruple header of action packed fights according to Nielsen Media Research.
Saturday night’s 2.8/5 overnight rating/share is a +65% improvement over UFC on FOX 4 this past August. Preceded by three extraordinary preliminary matchups on FOX, the network’s main event between Diaz and Henderson averaged a 3.6/7 metered market rating/share from 10:00pm – 10:30pm ET. The night’s third fight between Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Alexander Gustafsson averaged a 2.8/5, followed by BJ Penn taking on Rory MacDonald (2.7/5) and Mike Swick versus Matt Brown (2.4/5).
Las Vegas led all markets with a 6.3/11 metered market rating/share followed by Louisville (5.0/8), Sacramento (4.7/9), Columbus (4.6/8) and Phoenix (4.2/8). A national rating for UFC on FOX 5 is available at a later date.
There you have it.
Let’s do some linkage for you as we hit mid-week.
Once again, a shameless plug. Here are some Quick Wednesday Sports Media Thoughts which were written very early this morning.
USA Today’s Michael Hiestand talks with former ESPN’er Dana Jacobsen who will be part of CBS Sports Radio’s morning show when the network launches in January.
Tim Baysinger of Broadcasting & Cable says ESPN will donate $1 million to the Jimmy V Foundation for cancer research.
Brian Steinberg at Advertising Age looks at which marketers have bought time for Super Bowl XLVII on CBS.
E.J. Schultz of Ad Age says ad agency powerhouse Wieden & Kennedy has won the right to produce Oreo’s Super Bowl spot.
Michael Bradley in the Indiana University National Sports Journalism Center says regional sports networks need to spend big money for rights to local teams otherwise they’re stuck without programming.
At Fangraphs, the always lovely Wendy Thurm looks at the Los Angeles Dodgers’ megadeal with Fox plus displays what all of the MLB teams generate in local rights fees.
Ed Sherman at The Sherman Report says the Dodgers’ contract with Fox proves that the rich just get richer.
Ed looks at this year’s National Sporscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame ballot.
Matt Yoder of Awful Announcing has the disturbing news that ESPN2′s First Take will be expanding to Saturday mornings after college football season.
Matt has a look at Fox Sports 1.
Bob Kennedy of the Stamford (CT) Advocate says NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus will receive a local honor next week.
Richard Sandomir of the New York Times delves into why the late Marvin Miller is not in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Keith Olbermann pays tribute to Miller.
Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post writes that while the Los Angeles Dodgers’ TV rights are about to be settled, the Nationals’ through MASN still remains up in the air.
Jim Williams from the Washington Examiner talks about Marvin Miller’s impact on baseball.
Ragan Robinson of the Gaston (NC) Gazette says local entrepreneurs got the seal of approval from ESPN for their golf gadget.
Barry Jackson at the Miami Herald has the comments from TNT’s Charles Barkley on the Heat.
Jacques Couret of the Atlanta Business Chronicle says Fox Sports South and its affiliated regional sports networks have hired a new Executive Producer.
Mel Bracht from The Oklahoman has a look at the local weekend TV ratings.
John Kiesewetter of the Cincinnati Enquirer notes that audio of Bengals QB Andy Dalton will be aired on two national mid-week NFL shows tonight.
Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers apologizing to fans on his weekly radio show.
Danny Ecker from Crain’s Chicago Business notes that the Bulls practice facility could get a lot of money for its naming rights.
The Peoria (IL) Journal Star reports that four Illinois State basketball games will be picked up by Comcast SportsNet Chicago.
Scott D. Pierce of the Salt Lake Tribune writes that one weekend late night sports TV show tops the local ratings.
Sports Media Watch notes that ESPN’s Monday Night Football suffered a ratings decline for Panthers-Eagles earlier this week.
Adam Guillen, Jr. of SB Nation’s MMA Mania reports that Fox is hoping to sign a UFC event for Super Bowl XLVIII weekend in February 2014.
Tony Manfred at the Business Insider’s Sports Page has women’s soccer star Hope Solo blaming the media for reporting on her husband’s domestic violence issues. Hope is a nut.
And I managed to squeeze out some good linkage today. Enjoy your Wednesday.
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.
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.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship and the Fox Sports Media Group have announced their broadcast schedule for the upcoming year. There will be four UFC on Fox events, the first one in 2013 to be held in January in Chicago. The other UFC on Fox events take place in April, July and December.
In addition to the Fox cards, there will be several live events on FX and Fuel throughout the year.
And let us not forget another season of The Ultimate Fighter on FX which premieres in January.
Here’s the UFC on Fox press release and a look at some of the schedule highlights for 2013. Check it all out.
Plus, Highlights from FX and FUEL TV and Pay-Per-View Schedule, including JONES vs. SONNEN, a Championship Fight at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
Las Vegas, Nev. – The Ultimate Fighting Championship® (UFC®) and FOX Sports gear up for an exciting new year of UFC coverage by unveiling the 2013 UFC® on FOX broadcast schedule featuring four live events on FOX. Next year, UFC® on FOX kicks off on Saturday, Jan. 26 at the United Center in Chicago, with additional events planned on April 20, July 27 and Dec. 14.
Other highlights from the 2013 FX, FUEL TV and Pay-Per-View schedule include UFC®: JONES vs. SONNEN, which will be held at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. on Saturday, April 27. Charismatic star Chael Sonnen will get a shot at UFC champion Jon Jones’ light heavyweight title on April 27 after the two serve as coaches opposite each other on Season 17 of The Ultimate Fighter®, which will debut in January 2013 on FX.
“2013 is shaping up to be a huge year for the UFC and we can’t wait to bring more great fights to FOX!” said UFC President Dana White. “We’re going to continue to take the UFC all over the world putting on the biggest and best fights. FOX is an amazing broadcast partner and we’re going to do some big things next year.”
UFC 2013 Schedule Highlights:
Date Location Event Saturday, Jan. 19 Brazil UFC on FX: BELFORT vs. BISPING Saturday, Jan. 26 United Center, Chicago, Ill. UFC on FOX Saturday, Feb. 2 Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, Nev. UFC 156: ALDO vs. EDGAR** Saturday, Feb. 16 International Event UFC on FUEL TV Saturday, April 20 City to be announced UFC on FOX Saturday, April 27 Prudential Center, Newark, N.J. UFC: JONES vs. SONNEN** Saturday, July 27 City to be announced UFC on FOX Saturday, Dec. 14 City to be announced UFC on FOX
*Please note this is not the full 2013 schedule. Additional FX, FUEL TV and Pay-Per-View events and on-sale dates will be announced at a later time. For more information, visit www.ufc.com/schedule.
**Live on Pay-Per-View
And we’re done here.
As we speed into the last quarter of 2012 and prepare for what’s ahead in 2013, there is one thing that is on the horizon for US sports fans and that is the expected appearance of a new all-sports cable channel. No, it’s not NBC Sports Network, although its trials and tribulations this fall will be the subject of a sports media thoughts post this week.
Sometime over the next two years, Fox Sports will announce that the sometimes all-motorsports, sometimes reality channel SPEED will be converted to an all-sports channel that will air MLB, Big 12 and Pac-12 sports, MMA, some NASCAR and anything else it can its hands on. You’re seeing a little bit of this through Fox’s increased sports programming on FX. Two Saturdays ago, FX had a college football doubleheader followed by a UFC on FX Fight Night.
Imagine that next year on the new SPEED which will in all likelihood be rebranded as Fox Sports 1. Why Fox Sports 1? Because it will be part of a company rebranding of Fox’s other sports channels, Fox Soccer and Fuel as Fox Sports 2 and Fox Sports 3, respectively. And there is precedence for this. Fox’s Australian channels are called Fox Sports 1, 2 and 3. Each channel serves to carry certain sports and big events like the Olympics or the Australian Open.
For American sports fans, expect the sports properties to line up as follows once the rebranding takes shape:
FOX SPORTS 1 (FORMERLY SPEED)
- College Basketball (Big 12 & Pac-12)
- College Football (Big 12 & Pac-12)
- English Premier League (Survival Sunday)
- Mixed Martial Arts (UFC)
- UEFA Champions League
- World Cup Soccer
FOX SPORTS 2/FOX SPORTS 2 PLUS (FORMERLY FOX SOCCER/FOX SOCCER PLUS)
- English Premier League
- Scottish Premier League
- UEFA Champions League
- UEFA Europa League
- Australian Rules Football
FOX SPORTS 3 (FORMERLY FUEL)
- Extreme Sports
- Australian Rules Football
- Mixed Martial Arts (UFC)
Fox has already signed for 40 MLB games on Fox Sports 1, taking 14 games away from its over the air package and another 13 away from TBS to form the new slate of games on cable. In addition, the new cable channel will air some League Division Series games starting in 2014.
Fox is about to announce a renewal of its NASCAR rights and expect part of its current schedule of 13 races in the early portion of the Sprint Cup calendar to migrate to Fox Sports 1. If Fox keeps the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, the races could be split among Fox Sports 1 and 3.
And if Fox manages to hold off Al Jazeera’s expected bid for the US rights to English Premier League games, perhaps Fox Sports 1 could gain a package of early Saturday or Sunday morning matches with the rest going to Fox Sports 2.
There are a lot of possibilities for the Fox Sports channels. It could also be in very good position to gain NBA games when the new set of packages go to bid in 2014. And let us not forget about a potential 8 game Thursday Night NFL package that could cover the first half of the regular beginning in 2014 that Fox would certainly be interested in.
It was thought that NBC was positioning itself to challenge ESPN’s supremacy, but with its acquiring of MLB, NASCAR and college sports plus the World Cup in 2015, Fox just might have leap frogged ahead of the Peacock as ESPN’s main opponent.
Let’s go over what’s coming up on the next NFL Sunday.
Our NFL Week actually began on Thursday? – Yup. First of 13 Thursday Night Football games on NFL Network this season.
So I won’t hear a disclaimer for “60 Minutes” on CBS at 7 p.m.? – Not when the Tiffany Network has the NFL doubleheader. With the late games now starting at 4:25 p.m. ET, both CBS and Fox have to make adjustments. When CBS has the doubleheader, primetime will start at 7:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. CT. In the Mountain and Pacific time zones, the Sunday primetime lineup won’t change. The entire CBS lineup will be pushed back a half-hour and there won’t be any shows that will be preempted.
What’s with Fox showing this soccer documentary? – On five Sundays, Fox will run programming either before or after its single NFL game depending on when your contest will air in your region. This week, Fox airs the premiere of its Fox Soccer documentary series called “Being: Liverpool”. On three other Sundays, Fox will air tape delayed coverage of English Premier League action. And on the other Sunday being programmed by Fox, it will have a UFC special previewing that weekend’s MMA card on the network.
Blackouts? Tell me about the blackouts? – None this week. The San Diego Chargers narrowly avoided embarrassment by having its home opener and tribute to the late Junior Seau blacked out. An extension to sell the last remaining tickets worked. The Dolphins did not sell out their home opener, but the team bought all of the remaining tickets and the game against the Raiders on Sunday will be seen in South Florida. Finally, the Cincinnati Bengals sold out their home opener after problems selling out last season.
What are your Games of the Week, compadre? – On CBS, I’ll choose Baltimore at Philadelphia (Greg Gumbel/Dan Dierdorf). Ravens look really good. Philadelphia has to show something after barely defeating my Browns last week. The other for CBS is Tennessee at San Diego (Ian Eagle/Dan Fouts). It should be a rather emotional scene as the Chargers pay tribute to the late Junior Seau before the game.
For Fox, I choose New Orleans at Carolina (Ron Pitts/Mike Martz/Kristina Pink) as both teams have to show something after lackluster performances last week. And Dallas at Seattle (Kenny Albert/Daryl Johnston/Tony Siragusa) as we need to know if both teams were really what we saw in Week 1. Was Dallas really as good as it showed in the NFL Kickoff Game against the New York Giants? And what about Seattle? Questions abound after its loss to Arizona.
Anything else? – Sunday Night Football with a decent game as the Detroit Lions take on the San Francisco 49ers (Al Michaels/Cris Collinsworth/Michele Tafoya). I wonder what “Get Off My Lawn” commentary Bob Costas will make on Sunday.
That concludes the Viewing Guide for Week 2 in the League Where They Play for Pay.
In a repeat of last year’s successful programming of NFL Sundays, Fox Sports has decided to bring back tape delayed English Premier League games and UFC shows to help fill the period before or after NFL regional action on five separate weeks.
Fox found an audience for the English Premier League games and the UFC shows also brought a lead-in audience to the 4:05 p.m. ET game or held their audience after the 1 p.m. contests.
Fox will start the programming this week with the premiere episode of “Being Liverpool”, a new documentary series that will air on Fox Soccer throughout the season. The show will air either at 3 p.m. ET for markets getting the 4:05 game or at 4:30 p.m. following NFL action.
Fox has announced three English Premier League games, two of which involve Manchester United, to fill time and then on December 2, Fox will have a UFC special that will preview a mixed martial arts card on the network the following weekend.
Here’s the schedule for Fox NFL Regional Sundays.
Ground Breaking Series BEING: LIVERPOOL Premieres Sunday, Sept. 16
English Premier League & UFC’s Road to the Octagon Heat Up Fall NFL Schedule
New York, NY – FOX Sports brings fans an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at soccer’s most iconic football club, the best matches in English Premier League Soccer and the most intense, in-depth preview of UFC on FOX 5 to complement singleheader NFL action on Sundays this fall.
It all begins this Sunday, Sept. 16 with the premiere of BEING: LIVERPOOL, a ground-breaking profile of the Liverpool Football Club. The documentary marks the first time that cameras have been allowed inside a English Premier League locker room, with FOX Sports onsite during the club’s formative transition under new manager Brendan Rodgers. The six-episode series is narrated by Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner Clive Owen.
BEING: LIVERPOOL airs either preceding (3:00 PM ET) or following (4:30 PM ET) local NFL on FOX singleheader coverage, with two repeats that night on FOX Soccer. Future episodes of BEING: LIVERPOOL debut in prime time on FOX Soccer and MundoFOX beginning Sunday, Sept. 23 (9:00 PM ET/PT).
FOX Sports’ regular season English Premier League (EPL) coverage kicks-off Sunday, Sept.23 with a tape-delay match featuring Liverpool vs. Manchester United. It is the first of three marquis matches showcasing some of the world’s most storied soccer clubs. In addition to the Sept. 23 match, FOX Sports airs EPL contests on Sunday, Oct. 7 when Newcastle takes on Manchester United (tape-delay) and Sunday, Nov. 4 when Liverpool and Newcastle face-off (tape-delay). All three tape-delay games, which air either from 2:00-4:00 PM ET or 4:30-6:30 PM ET, will have aired live earlier in the day on FOX Soccer.
On Sunday, Dec 2, in anticipation of the UFC’s next live prime time main event on FOX the following weekend, FOX Sports offers UFC’s ROAD TO THE OCTAGON, a powerful one-hour, behind-the-scenes look at the fighters’ preparation leading up to the Saturday, Dec. 8 bouts.
NFL game assignments determining what time these specials air regionally are announced two weeks prior to game day.
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 16, 2012
3:00 – 4:00 PM ET for markets getting 4:00 PM NFL
4:30 – 5:30 PM ET for markets getting 1:00 PM NFL
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2012
BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE SOCCER
Liverpool vs. Manchester United (Tape-Delayed)
2:00 – 4:00 PM ET for markets getting 4:00 PM NFL
4:30 – 6:30 PM ET for markets getting 1:00 PM NFL
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 7, 2012
BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE SOCCER
Newcastle vs. Manchester United (Tape-Delayed)
2:00 – 4:00 PM ET for markets getting 4:00 PM NFL
4:30 – 6:30 PM ET for markets getting 1:00 PM NFL
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2012
BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE SOCCER
Liverpool vs. Newcastle (Tape-Delayed)
2:00 – 4:00 PM ET for markets getting 4:00 PM NFL
4:30 – 6:30 PM ET for markets getting 1:00 PM NFL
SUNDAY, DECEMBER, 2, 2012
UFC’S ROAD TO THE OCTAGON
3:00 – 4:00 PM ET for markets getting 4:00 PM NFL
4:30 – 5:30 PM ET for markets getting 1:00 PM NFL
There you have it.
Let’s provide some mid-week linkage before I get too busy later on.
Austin Karp of Sports Business Daily writes that NBC’s overnight rating for Tuesday’s Olympic primetime was up from the comparable night four years ago.
Tripp Mickle of SBJ says NBC is about to set up a set of exhibition beach volleyball matches between the US and China later this year.
In an SBJ podcast, Tripp meets with Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch to talk about the media coverage of the 2012 Olympics.
Tim Goodman of the Hollywood Reporter will not complain about NBC’s Olympic coverage.
Daniel Miller of the Reporter says swimmer Ryan Lochte is in discussions to star in his own reality TV show.
Also from the Reporter, Marisa Guthrie has five lessons NBC should learn from the 2012 Games.
Another from the Reporter, a majority of those polled think Ryan Seacrest is doing a good job at the Olympics? Who is being polled?
And finally from the Reporter, Eriq Gardner reports that the NCAA has been ordered to hand over TV licensing revenue documents in a case involving video game manufacturer Electronic Arts which is using likenesses of student-athletes without permission from the athletes themselves.
Stephen Douglas at The Big Lead has video of Lolo Jones breaking down on the Today Show this morning.
Meanwhile, Glenn Davis of SportsGrid has video of medal winners Dawn Harper and Kellie Wells being rather candid about their opinions on Lolo with Michelle Beadle this morning.
Jen Floyd Engel at FoxSports.com says despite what the media says, this is not the Olympics of the Woman as the media is stating.
Graeme McMillan of Time asks if NBC should offer the Olympics as reality TV or just straight sports?
Joe Posnanski talks with former NBC Sports Emperor Dick Ebersol about working his last Olympics for American television, the 2012 London Games.
Reid Cherner of USA Today’s Game On has a look at the upcoming slate of 30 for 30 documentaries.
Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated profiles ESPN’s Joe Tessitore who is getting a high profile college football assignment after years of taking on crazy schedules.
SI’s Richard Deitsch has a college football roundtable featuring writers Stewart Mandel, Andy Staples and Holly Anderson on what they expect from the TV side of the sport this season.
Tim Baysinger of Broadcasting & Cable says NBC Sports Network is setting viewership records with Olympic programming.
Tim writes that AT&T U-Verse has signed a new agreement to carry NFL Network and RedZone.
Mike Reynolds of Multichannel News says the 2012 Olympics are on pace to become the most-watched TV event in US history.
Anthony Crupi of Adweek writes that online sports viewers can tolerate the bombardment of ads seen during the Olympics.
Thomas Pardee of Advertising Age says the Olympics are topping social TV sites like GetGlue, but HBO’s True Blood is showing its reach.
Toni Fitzgerald of Media Life looks at the winners and losers from broadcasting the Olympics.
Phil Swann at TV Predictions says DirecTV may be adding five new channels including one sports network run by Al Jazeera.
Ed Sherman of The Sherman Report notes that a former Boston Globe college sports columnist is now on his own and got a big scoop this week.
Ed has a couple of NBC Sports-related announcements that have nothing to do with the Olympics.
Ken Kerschbaumer of Sports Video Group looks at NBC’s operations at Olympic Stadium.
ESPN’s Darren Rovell notes that it’s better for sponsors that Michael Phelps remain retired instead of him being an active Olympian.
CBS Radio has officially announced that Scott Zolak will be the radio analyst for New England Patriots games starting this Thursday. He replaces Gino Cappeletti who retired last month.
Ken Schott from the Schenectady Gazette writes that NBC is getting a mixed ratings bag for the Olympics from the last few days.
Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union tells readers where they can find this week’s New York Giants preseason opener.
Pete has ESPN’s schedule of MLB games for most of this month.
Ken McMillan of the Middletown (NY) Times Herald-Record notes that former Jets and Giants coach Bill Parcells will appear on ESPN Radio NY opposite his buddy, WFAN’s Mike Francesa during NFL season.
Ken says NBC Sports Network will have Olympic reruns throughout August.
From the Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog, Dan Steinberg notes that ESPN Radio Hack Colin Cowherd is up to his old tricks again.
Eric Deggans from the Tampa Bay Times wonders if the Olympic promos for the NBC’s “Go On” might actually hurt the show in the long run.
Adam H. Beasley of the Miami Herald looks at last night’s Hard Knock premiere on HBO.
Izzy Gould at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel writes that the Miami Dolphins put the team up for display on Hard Knocks.
Gould says Hard Knocks did not explore the Dolphins’ injuries.
Mel Bracht from The Oklahoman says the local NBC affiliate’s ratings are down from 4 years ago.
T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times talks with Vin Scully about calling Sandy Koufax’s perfect game back in 1965.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News says Scully made a great argument for using instant replay in baseball during an argument on the field Monday night.
The Canadian Sports Media Blog says while viewers in the Great White North are complaining about Olympic coverage, the ratings are saying otherwise.
Ben Koo of Awful Announcing goes in-depth into the Turner Sports purchase of the Bleacher Report.
Matt Yoder of AA defends Lolo Jones against the very strange media backlash that began over the weekend in the New York Times.
John Koblin of Deadspin writes that even our troops stationed abroad are victims to NBC’s tape delays and can’t watch the Olympics live!
Sports Media Watch says UFC on Fox set yet another record low for mixed martial arts on network TV.
The Big Lead, in a sponsored post, speaks with CBS’ Clark Kellogg.
That is going to do it for today.
UFC hits the New York market and primetime on Fox tomorrow night. From the Izod Center in East Rutherford, NJ, UFC has a card of four fights including the headliner, lightweights Nate Diaz against Jim Miller for a title shot. This marks the first time for UFC in East Rutherford since 2001.
Curt Menefee will be the host on Fox. He’ll be joined by Randy Couture and Brian Stann for pre and postfight analysis. Calling the fights as usual will be Mike Goldberg and ultimate conspiracy theorist Joe Rogan (have you ever heard an interview with Joe Rogan? The man is insane with his theories).
Anyway, Fuel has the prelims tomorrow at 5 p.m. ET, then Fox hits the air at 8 p.m. ET and will devote its entire primetime schedule to UFC.
Here’s the Fox press release.
Lightweight Contenders Diaz & Miller Headline Impressive Quadruple Header
UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture and UFC Middleweight Fighter Brian Stann Join Curt Menefee for Pre and Postfight Coverage on FOX Sports
Action Kicks Off on FUEL TV with Live Coverage on Saturday with Prelims & Postfight Shows
FOX Deportes, FOXSports.com on MSN & FOX Sports Radio Provide Additional Coverage & Analysis
New York, NY – Once again, UFC ON FOX invades primetime with a two-hour quadruple-header this Saturday, May 5 (8:00-10:00 PM ET) live from Izod Center in East Rutherford, NJ.
The night’s main event features two of the most exciting 155-pounders in the world as lightweight contenders Nate Diaz (15-7-0) and Jim Miller (21-3-0) go five rounds to get one step closer to a coveted title shot. The remaining main card bouts include welterweight contenders Josh Koscheck (19-5-0) vs. Johny Hendricks (12-1-0), middleweights Rousimar Palhares (23-3-0) vs. Alan Belcher (16-5-0) and heavyweights Pat Barry (7-4-0) vs. Lavar Johnson (16-5-0). Koscheck and Hendricks are both dominant wrestlers with one-punch KO power. Palhares is the middleweight division’s most-feared submission ace, while Belcher is considered a rising star at 185-pounds. Barry and Johnson are two of the most lethal strikers setting up an explosive heavyweight fight. This is the UFC’s first trip to East Rutherford, NJ since 2001 when Tito Ortiz defeated Elvin Sinosic to become the UFC light heavyweight champion.
FOX Sports’ Curt Menefee kicks off the night, hosting pre- and postfight coverage alongside UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture and UFC middleweight fighter Brian Stann. Couture is the only UFC fighter to ever win the UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight titles. He proved age was not an issue when he became the oldest man ever to win a UFC title at the age of 43. Stann is coming off a knockout win over Alessio Sakara earlier this month in Sweden. The former Marine is quickly becoming a fan favorite for both his work inside and out of the Octagon. An impressive performance as a guest analyst on FUEL TV in February led to an outpouring of fan support and a spot on the UFC on FOX desk Saturday night. Once the battles begin, UFC announcers Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg have the call.
Action kicks off Friday, May 4 (4:00 PM ET) with the live UFC Weigh-In on FUEL TV. Karyn Bryant hosts the show from FUEL TV’s Los Angeles studios, while UFC veteran Kenny Florian and current UFC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson offer analysis. Saturday, May 5 (5:00 PM ET), FUEL TV begins live coverage of the night’s undercards, live from East Rutherford, New Jersey. UFC Prelims on FUEL TV are hosted by Rogan and Goldberg. FUEL TV wraps coverage of the main event with the live UFC Postfight Show on FUEL TV immediately following UFC on FOX Saturday, May 5 (10:00 PM ET). Jay Glazer leads the one-hour recap from FUEL TV’s Los Angeles studios, with Florian and Henderson’s analysis. Ariel Helwani interviews fighters backstage after the bout.
FOX Deportes simulcasts the prelims and main card fights on Saturday, May 5 beginning at 5:00 PM ET.
FOX Sports Radio also simulcasts the main card fights beginning at 8:00 PM ET. Following the fights, mixed martial arts expert Larry Pepe hosts a FOX Sports Radio wrap-up show with interviews and call-ins from 10:00 PM-1:00 AM ET. Fans can tune into their local FOX Sports Radio affiliate or listen live at www.FOXSportsRadio.com.
In addition to providing editorial content leading up to and following the fights, FOXSports.com plans to live stream the press conference on Thursday, May 3 (2:00 PM ET) and the weigh-ins on Friday, May 4 (4:00 PM ET).
This will be the third UFC on FOX event. History was made in November when the UFC made its broadcast television debut on FOX and a record audience tuned in as challenger Junior dos Santos defeated defending champion Cain Velasquez in a first round knockout to claim the coveted heavyweight crown. More than 5.7 million viewers tuned in to make it the most-watched UFC event ever and the most-watched professional fight of any kind on any network since 2003. January’s UFC on FOX event from the United Center in Chicago dominated the night on the important younger demographics, with FOX’s 2.4 among Adults 18-49 nearly beating the combined ratings of ABC, CBS, and NBC (2.5 combined) and FOX’s 2.5 among Adults 18-34 easily beating those three network competitors combined (1.4). The three-bout broadcast on FOX averaged 4.7 million viewers from 8:00 PM – 10:19 PM ET.
DATE TIME EVENT NET Saturday, May 5 5:00 PM ET UFC Prelims on FUEL TV FUEL TV/FOX Deportes Saturday, May 5 8:00 PM ET UFC ON FOX: DIAZ VS. MILLER FOX/FOX Deportes/FOX Sports Radio Saturday, May 5 10:00 PM ET UFC Postfight Show on FUEL TV FUEL TV Saturday, May 5 10:00 PM ET UFC Postfight Show with MMA Expert Larry Pepe FOX Sports Radio
That will do it.
Let’s get to some linkage. Four days in a row. Let’s keep up the momentum.
Chris Mortensen of ESPN reports that the NFL is considering suspending the Pro Bowl.
Stuart Kemp of the Hollywood Reporter writes that BBC’s staff to cover the London Olympics will outnumber the British athletic contingent to the Games.
Tim Baysinger at Broadcasting & Cable says NBC Sports Network has renewed NFL Turning Point for three more seasons.
Anthony Crupi of Adweek notes that Tide is now the Official Laundry Detergent of the NFL.
To E.J. Schultz of Advertising Age who writes that UFC sponsor Anheuser-Busch gave a warning over its fighters’ racist and homophobic comments.
Ed Sherman of the Sherman Report talks with ESPN analyst Bill Polian who will spending his first NFL Draft outside of a War Room.
Ed says NBC will be rooting hard for the New York Rangers tonight in its Game 7 against the Ottawa Senators.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk says despite an ugly domestic dispute involving his estranged wife this week, Deion Sanders will appear on NFL Network’s Draft coverage.
Dan Daley at Sports Video Group says audio from the Olympics will be all-digital unlike in past years.
Karen Hogan of SVG goes inside ESPN’s NFL Draft coverage.
This pains me, but I’ll post this. Glenn Davis of SportsGrid has the audio of the Washington Capitals series-winning goal by Joel Ward to defeat the Boston Bruins in Game 7 last night. And there were some idiotic racist tweets following the game. Those Bruins fans do not represent me. Stupid fucks.
Timothy Burke at Deadspin has the YES video of two Texas Rangers fans oblivious to a crying kid while they pose with a ball they caught during last night’s game with the Yankees. Luckily, the kid got another ball, but that couple should know to give the ball to the kid. Man alive.
Ty Duffy at the Big Lead looks at Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee using the “bad journalism” claim to hide behind the problems that led to the downfall of former football coach Jim Tressel.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell notes that Jeremy Lin’s uniform now outsells Kobe Bryant’s.
Speaking of Darren, he was the guest on the 100th edition of Sports Media Weekly and the podcast is a very good listen if I do say so myself.
Hispanic Business looks at the deal between Oscar de la Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions and Fox Deportes to put more boxing on the network.
Newsday’s Neil Best talks about ESPN Radio NY moving to the FM dial as early as next week.
Justin Terranova of the New York Post says ESPN confirms what the Post reported earlier this week.
Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News says ESPN Radio takes over a legendary FM frequency.
Kieran Darcy of ESPN NY writes about the ESPN Radio move.
Jerry Barmash of Fishbowl NY also has a story on the ESPN Radio-to-FM flip.
Jerry looks at the ratings for the New York Rangers on MSG Network.
Richard Sandomir from the New York Times talks with ESPN NFL Draft analyst Bill Polian.
Richard writes that the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs are a ratings hit thus far.
Broadway World notes that NBC’s Al Michaels was honored by Fordham University with an award named after his idol, Vin Scully.
Pete Dougherty at the Albany Times Union says a local sports anchor is leaving town next month.
Pete has the dates, but not times for the NHL Stanley Cup Western Conference Semifinals.
Ken McMillan from the Middletown (NY) Times Herald-Record says NBC Sports Network will air the IIHF World Hockey Championships next month.
Over to Crossing Broad where it has audio of Phillies radio announcer Larry Anderson yelling at the team to appeal a play.
Dan Steinberg at the Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog says the last 24 hours have been great for local sports.
Dan writes that the ratings for Caps-Bruins, Game 7 were high, but not quite a record.
Dan has the newspaper front pages from DC and Boston regarding the Caps-Bruins series.
Dan has video of ESPN’s Neil Everett imitating the Caps radio call of the winning goal against the Bruins.
The Washington Examiner’s Jim Williams says it will be hard to choose either ESPN or NFL Network to watch for NFL Draft coverage.
Steven Campbell in the Tampa Tribune profiles SportsCenter anchor Sara Walsh who grew up in the local area.
Tim Griffin in the San Antonio Express-News says the NBA’s TV ratings couldn’t be any higher despite the lockout that almost wiped out the season.
David Briggs of the Toledo Blade has highlights of a talk that Fox Sports President Ed Goren gave at Bowling Green University.
In Chicagoland Radio and Media, we learn that Comcast SportsNet and WMAQ-TV will merge their sports staffs continuing what has already occurred between CSN Bay Area and KNTV in San Francisco.
At the new Chicago Sports Media Watch, Paul M. Banks talks with Ed Sherman.
The Reno (NV) Gazette Journal says the Perpetually Angry Doug Gottlieb of ESPN will be in town in July for an event.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News says the NHL has announced the dates for the Los Angeles-St. Louis series.
Bruce Dowbiggin at the Toronto Globe and Mail wonders how best to approach the media in a hockey-crazy country.
Sports Media Watch looks at the ramifications if the NFL ends the Pro Bowl.
SMW has some ratings news and notes.
Steve Lepore at Puck The Media notes solid ratings for the Devils-Panthers series.
Matt Yoder at Awful Announcing has video of Hawk Harrelson doing what he does best, being a homer on Comcast SportsNet Chicago.
TVSpy has video of a young Jim Nantz working in Salt Lake in a hot tub with Utah Jazz point guard John Stockton among others. Hello!
And that’s going to do it for supersized set of links.
Why not do some links while I can?
We begin with USA Today and the national NFL TV schedule for this upcoming season.
Carolyn Giardana with the Hollywood Reporter writes that NBC will utilize Avid Technology systems to develop video feeds for the London Summer Olympics.
George Winslow at Broadcasting & Cable says NESN has selected Sony to manage its video content.
Mike Reynolds of Multichannel News writes that NBC is utilizing the “TV Everywhere” initiative to stream the Olympics live to mobiles, tablets and computers.
Mike talks with MLB Network President and CEO Tony Petitti about the new “Strike Zone” feature and what the network has in store for the next 12 months.
MediaRantz looks at the reaction from sports broadcasters upon learning that American Bandstand and New Year’s Rockin’ Eve host Dick Clark had died.
Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that a baseball panel will settle a dispute between the Baltimore Orioles and the Washington Nationals over how much MASN should pay the Nats for their media rights. The Nats’ rights are undervalued compared to what other teams are currently being paid.
A.J. Perez of Fox Sports talks with sports documentarian Sean Pamphilon whose audio of former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is front-and-center of the New Orleans Saints Bountygate scandal.
Ed Sherman at the Sherman Report feels sportswriters are unappreciated by the Pulitzer Prize committee. I agree.
Matt Yoder of Awful Announcing gets together with Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch, Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand, Dan Patrick Show Executive Producer Paul Pabst to hold the first ever NFL Media Fantasy Draft. Great stuff from AA.
Dan Fogarty of SportsGrid says the NFL wants ESPN and the NFL Network to stop spoiling draft picks.
Andrew Gauthier of TVSpy notes that a long-time sports anchor in Sioux City, IA is moving a seat to the right to become his TV station’s news anchor.
Gavin O’Malley at MediaPost says even though it’s not an Olympics rightsholder, Fox is making a commitment to cover the Olympics online.
David Goetzl of MediaPost writes that in this increasingly DVR timeshifting world, viewers still want to see their sports live and not delayed.
Timothy Burke at Deadspin noticed that a Miami TV station showed the wrong logo when reporting on the Florida Panthers win over the New Jersey Devils the other night.
Greg Wyshynski at Yahoo’s Puck Daddy finds that Hockey Night in Canada’s PJ Stock is endorsing Depends adult diapers in Canada????
The great Judy Battista of the New York Times talks with the NFL schedule maker Howard Katz who can’t please everyone.
Steven Silver at Philadelphia Magazine’s Philly Post blog wonders if national announcers are biased against the city as some fans perceive.
In Press Box, Dave Hughes of DCRTV.com profiles one Baltimore sports radio host who has changed stations, but vows to continue doing what he’s been doing.
Chris Korman of the Baltimore Sun says the Washington Nationals are looking to get more money from the Baltimore Orioles majority-owned MASN.
Jim Williams of the Washington Examiner talks with Capitals TV voice Joe Beninati about the team’s series with the Boston Bruins.
Chuck Carroll at CBS Washington looks at Britt McHenry’s decision to stay at WJLA-TV instead of taking a job with Fox Sports San Diego. Britt was also a candidate to replace Heidi Watney on NESN and Kim Jones on YES.
Tom Jones in the Tampa Bay Times talks with hockey charlatan Pierre McGuire about the perceived increased disrespect in the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Mel Bracht of The Oklahoman says ESPN’s Skippy Bayless was ripping the Oklahoma City Thunder this week.
Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes that NFL Network has another Top 100 show.
Howard Sinker of the Minneapolis Star Tribune gave ESPN a try to get a different perspective on the Minnesota Twins.
Scott D. Pierce of the Salt Lake Tribune says Utah Jazz broadcasters Craig Bolerjack and Matt Harpring make no bones about rooting for their team, but don’t call them homers.
Rob Katowski of the Las Vegas Review-Journal says a proposed merger between the Mountain West and Conference USA could still happen as long as the two leagues agree on sharing TV rights.
Tim Sullivan with the San Diego Union-Tribune writes that the impasse between Fox Sports San Diego and Time Warner Cable is preventing Padres fans from seeing their team.
Sports Media Watch says ESPN has a tapped a man no one has ever heard of to host The ESPY’s.
SMW notes that former Portland Trail Blazer and NBA analyst Steve “Snapper” Jones has been plagued by massive health issues.
SMW has some ratings news and notes.
Steve Lepore at Puck The Media says Game 2 of the Florida Panthers-New Jersey Devils series did very well for NBC Sports Network last Sunday.
Steven Morocco and John Morgan of MMA Junkie write that UFC wants a similar TV deal in the UK as it has with Fox in the States.
EPL Talk looks at Fox going all out for the English Premier League’s final day of the season next month.
Guyism notes that twice this week, MASN Nationals reporter Kristina Akra got soaked with Gatorade.
And that’s going to do it. Found more links than I thought I would and that’s very good for you.
I haven’t done a sports media thoughts post in a while and there has been so much that has transpired since the last time I wrote one. As always, they’re in bullet form. Let’s do this.
- Just four days into the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs and I like how the networks of NBC are handling the games. With CNBC, NHL Network and NBC Sports Network airing the games, fans can now choose which contest he or she wants to watch. My only pet peeves, there should be more updates on games on other networks. At least give us a drop down menu from the scoreboard bug to update us. Also, I wish NBC Sports Network and CNBC would not rely on simulcasts from CBC, TSN or Comcast SportsNet affiliates. Versus under the old Comcast ownership could get away with it, but not NBC. NHL Network can pull off the simulcasts because its talent is focused on the studio, but not on NBC Sports Network or CNBC. I know there are a lot of games in the first round, but at least try to produce what’s on your network instead of depending on others to do the work for you, especially for games played in the United States.
- To ESPN’s free agent crop and we know that former First Take co-host Dana Jacobsen has already left the Alleged Worldwide Leader. Michelle Beadle could be the next to go. Her representatives are now free to talk with other networks after her exclusive negotiating period with ESPN lapsed on Friday. I think she’s leaving, but exactly where is the $64,000 question. Based on her interview with The Big Lead, one could intelligently wager that one of her potential targets is a morning show like Today or Good Morning America. I honestly don’t think sports is in her long-term plans, although one never knows.
As far as the other free agents Erin Andrews and Scott Van Pelt, I tend to think both will remain at ESPN. For Erin, her best chance to leave was two years ago. Her options are a bit more limited now. Scott Van Pelt enjoys doing radio and I think he’ll remain at ESPN as CBS’ radio options are not national and NBC doesn’t have radio resources.
- If Fox Sports gets its rumored cable sports network off the ground, it’ll be welcomed by your humble blogger. It would have plenty of inventory with Big 12 and Pac-12 college sports. In addition, if Fox expands its NASCAR inventory, it could place Sprint Cup races on the network. UFC events could go there as well. And there’s always the big wild card that’s up for bid this year, MLB and if the NFL decides to ever put a Thursday night package up for bid, Fox certainly has deep pockets to possibly make a go at ESPN. And there’s the Big East Conference whose rights are up this year as well.
And in a related note, the announcement by Fox to give a majority of Saturday night primetime hours to sports is a smart move. Saturday nights are a dead night for the networks, although Fox did pretty well with Cops and America’s Most Wanted. Still, getting the coveted 18-49 demographic to watch MLB, NASCAR, UFC, college football and the MLB Postseason on a Saturday night is a very good move. Could this be a harbinger for Fox’s all-sports cable network? Perhaps. But if this does very well, I could see Fox potentially making this move permanent on Saturday nights. It only makes sense.
And if Fox does really well, could other networks follow? ESPN already programs ABC during college football season. Would NBA games make a move to Saturday night? What about NBC placing the NHL during Saturday primetime to possibly market the game even further? Would CBS be interested in airing college basketball during the winter as a lead-in to “48 Hours”? In 2011, CBS aired North Carolina-Duke in primetime to great success. Would the Tiffany Network want to move games to primetime in advance of the NCAA Tournament? Fox’s move to sports in primetime is not only a Great Experiment, but also a potential for other networks to bring their inventories to a new timeslot.
- I may be one of the few who’s watching, but count me as one who enjoys viewing the NBC Sports Network’s CNBC Sports Biz: Game On! with Darren Rovell and Erin Sharoni. While Darren has alienated some with his Super Bowl party rant on Playboy Playmates and at Jaime Edmondson plus creating social media accounts for his newborn daughter and we can’t forget his Twitter feuds with Richard Deitsch, Richard Sandomir and Bomani Jones, I can look past them and enjoy his sport business show. Darren knows his stuff and has helped to make sports business a viable news beat. I’ve enjoyed the pace of Game On! and it’s obvious that Darren knows what he’s taking about. The show’s ratings could be better, but it appears NBC is committed to airing it through this year. And it’s hit its stride as the show has explored the price of tickets to the economics of the NFL and college sports.
That’s all. Enjoy your Easter Sunday.
We now will post the entire Fox Sports Saturday primetime press release. No need to reinvent another introduction. Read the press release. For reals. Seriously.
Big Events Dominate Saturday Nights from April to December
Almost 100 Hours of MLB, College Football, NASCAR, NFL & UFC Scheduled
New York & Los Angeles — As the song goes, Saturday night’s alright for fightin’ … and kickin’ … and racin’ … and pitchin’ … and hittin’. Sorry Elton.
Over the last several months FOX Sports has methodically developed an unprecedented prime time sports broadcast schedule on Saturday nights beginning this month and extending into December. Utilizing an enviable combination of college football, Major League Baseball, NASCAR, NFL and UFC events, FOX Sports has a big-time sports event scheduled on 28 of 32 Saturday nights from April 14 through December 8.
After the run kicks-off on April 14 with NASCAR Sprint Cup Racing from Texas, FOX comes back with prime time NASCAR Sprint Cup races from Richmond on April 28 and Darlington on May 12. Sandwiched in-between is this year’s second UFC on FOX event, live from Izod Center in East Rutherford, NJ. Afterward, the schedule into early summer is dominated by Baseball Night in America, MLB on FOX’s unprecedented eight straight weeks of prime time Saturday baseball. After a mid-summer UFC event in Los Angeles on Aug. 4, the network goes on a 15-consecutive week Saturday night tear starting Sept. 1 and ending Dec. 8, bolstered by college football and highlighted by World Series Game 4 on Oct. 27, the Big Ten Football Championship Game on Dec. 1 and wraps with a UFC on FOX event on Dec. 8.
“We see Saturday nights as the perfect home for quality sports programming, especially in spring and fall,” said Eric Shanks, Co-President and COO, FOX Sports Media Group. “We’ve been working hand-in-hand with our entertainment division and partners, and we’ve put together a solid schedule that gives us a consistent Saturday night franchise for the first time ever.”
The schedule is led by 12 college football contests (to be announced) plus the Big Ten Football Championship Game, and eight regular-season Major League Baseball games plus Game 4 of the World Series. Those 22 events form the backbone of FOX Sports’ Saturday prime time experiment, rounded out by three NASCAR Sprint Cup races and three UFC events. Altogether, the 28 upcoming dates combine for approximately 100 hours of live sports programming, and the number swells to over 100 when the UFC on FOX event on Jan. 28 and Budweiser Shootout on Feb. 18 are included.
In addition to FOX Sports’ prime time Saturday night schedule, the network also has as many as 20 more nights of prime time sports in 2012, a figure which includes the already played Cotton Bowl (Jan. 6), NFC Championship Game (Jan. 20) and re-scheduled Daytona 500 (Feb. 27). MLB on FOX postseason coverage dominates this slate, with as many as six NLCS and six World Series games possible, plus July’s jewel, the 83rd MLB All-Star Game accounting for 13 of the 19. NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day weekend in May, two NFL preseason games in August and the Pac-12 Football Championship Game on Nov. 30 round-out the schedule which has the potential to add almost 70 prime time hours to the 100 scheduled for Saturdays.
FOX SPORTS 2012 SATURDAY NIGHT PRIME TIME SCHEDULE
Jan. 28 UFC
Feb. 18 NASCAR (Bud Shootout)
April 14 NASCAR (Texas)
April 28 NASCAR (Richmond)
May 5 UFC
May 12 NASCAR (Darlington)
May 19 Baseball Night in America
May 26 Baseball Night in America
June 2 Baseball Night in America
June 9 Baseball Night in America
June 16 Baseball Night in America
June 23 Baseball Night in America
June 30 Baseball Night in America
July 7 Baseball Night in America
Aug. 4 UFC
Sept. 1 CFB
Sept. 8 CFB
Sept. 15 CFB
Sept. 22 CFB
Sept. 29 CFB
Oct. 6 CFB
Oct. 13 CFB
Oct. 20 CFB
Oct. 27 World Series
Nov. 3 CFB
Nov. 10 CFB
Nov. 17 CFB
Nov. 24 CFB
Dec. 1 Big Ten Championship
Dec. 8 UFC
ADDITIONAL 2012 FOX SPORTS PRIME TIME SCHEDULE
Fri. Jan. 6 Cotton Bowl
Sun., Jan. 20 NFC Champ Game
Mon., Feb. 27 Daytona 500^
Sun., May 27 NASCAR (Charlotte)
Tue., July 10 MLB All Star Game
Thur., Aug. 16 NFL Preseason^^
Fri., Aug. 17 NFL Preseason^^
Sun., Oct. 14 NLCS Game #1
Mon., Oct. 15 NLCS Game #2
Thur., Oct. 1 NLCS Game #4
Fri., Oct. 19 NLCS Game #5*
Sun., Oct. 21 NLCS Game #6**
Mon., Oct. 22 NLCS Game #7*
Wed., Oct. 24 WS Game #1
Thur., Oct. 25 WS Game #2
Sun., Oct. 28 WS Game #4
Mon., Oct. 29 WS Game #5*
Wed., Oct. 31 WS Game #6*
Thur., Nov. 1 WS Game #7*
Fri., Nov. 30 Pac 12 Championship
^ Rain Delayed Coverage
* If Necessary
** Scheduled for afternoon but moved to prime time if no ALCS Game #7 needs to be played
That is all.
I’m away from my computer and not able to post the complete Fox Sports press release on its Saturday Primetime schedule. It starts this Saturday, April 14 with the NASCAR Sprint Cup event in Texas and goes all the way to December 8.
Fox Sports will fill 28 out of the 32 week span with 8 consecutive weeks of MLB to be titled “Baseball Night in America” (yes, a shot at NBC), four NASCAR races, four UFC events, the World Series and college football including the Big Ten Championship.
Here’s the Fox primetime schedule.
FOX SPORTS 2012 SATURDAY NIGHT PRIME TIME SCHEDULE
Jan. 28 — UFC
Feb. 18 — NASCAR (Bud Shootout)
April 14 — NASCAR (Texas)
April 28 — NASCAR (Richmond)
May 5 — UFC
May 12 — NASCAR (Darlington)
May 19 — Baseball Night in America
May 26 — Baseball Night in America
June 2 — Baseball Night in America
June 9 — Baseball Night in America
June 16 — Baseball Night in America
June 23 — Baseball Night in America
June 30 — Baseball Night in America
July 7 — Baseball Night in America
Aug. 4 — UFC
Sept. 1 — CFB
Sept. 8 — CFB
Sept. 15 — CFB
Sept. 22 — CFB
Sept. 29 — CFB
Oct. 6 — CFB
Oct. 13 — CFB
Oct. 20 — CFB
Oct. 27 — World Series
Nov. 3 — CFB
Nov. 10 — CFB
Nov. 17 — CFB
Nov. 24 — CFB
Dec. 1 — Big Ten Championship
Dec. 8 — UFC
ADDITIONAL 2012 FOX SPORTS PRIME TIME SCHEDULE
Fri. Jan. 6 — Cotton Bowl
Sun., Jan. 20 — NFC Champ Game
Mon., Feb. 27 — Daytona 500^
Sun., May 27– NASCAR (Charlotte)
Tue., July 10 — MLB All Star Game
Thur., Aug. 16 — NFL Preseason^^
Fri., Aug. 17– NFL Preseason^^
Sun., Oct. 14 — NLCS Game #1
Mon., Oct. 15 — NLCS Game #2
Thur., Oct. 1 — NLCS Game #4
Fri., Oct. 19 — NLCS Game #5*
Sun., Oct. 21 — NLCS Game #6**
Mon., Oct. 22 — NLCS Game #7*
Wed., Oct. 24 — WS Game #1
Thur., Oct. 25 — WS Game #2
Sun., Oct. 28 — WS Game #4
Mon., Oct. 29 — WS Game #5*
Wed., Oct. 31 — WS Game #6*
Thur., Nov. 1 — WS Game #7*
Fri., Nov. 30 — Pac 12 Championship
^ Rain Delayed Coverage
* If Necessary
** Scheduled for afternoon but moved to prime time if no ALCS Game #7 needs to be played
I’ll be back later with more.
Let’s do some links on this Monday.
Michael Hiestand of USA Today says the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Game has become a showcase for upcoming NBA talent.
Mike Reynolds from Multichannel News writes that NBC Sports Network will get a lion’s share of coverage for the London Summer Olympics.
Brian Stelter of the New York Times reports that no-talent hack Ryan Seacrest has signed a new contract with NBCUniversal that also gives him a role on NBC’s Olympic coverage. I shudder at the thought.
Chris Ariens at TVNewser says NBC is putting former Today Show co-host Meredith Viera on the Olympics Opening Ceremony with Bob Costas and Matt Lauer.
Joe Posnanski talks about leaving Sports Illustrated for a new venture with MLB Advanced Media and the USA Today Sports Group. Disclosure: Fang’s Bites is an independently-owned site affiliated with USA Today Sports Group and had no prior knowledge of Posnanski’s move nor of the joint venture with MLBAM.
ESPN.com’s Kristi Dosh, a.k.a. The Sports Biz Miss handicaps the upcoming MLB TV rights deal negotiations.
King Kaufman at the Bleacher Report explains why the site will never do April Fools’ parodies.
Matt Yoder of Awful Announcing has some readers’ suggestions for CBS’ Jim Nantz to close out tonight’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship including one from yours truly.
The great Maggie Hendricks of Yahoo’s Cagewriter has some suggestions on how FX and the UFC can improve the new Ultimate Fighter reality show.
Today is World Autism Awareness Day. You may know a parent, a friend, a relative or a neighbor who is affected by Autism in one way or another. Maury Brown of the Biz of Baseball writes in his SportsBash site on how he has been personally affected.
My good friend (despite her being a Yankees fan) Alison Faye in Tales of a Rocket Scientist also writes about her experience with her son who has Autism.
Brandon Costa of Sports Video Group notes that CBS’ courtside cameras give the network some signature shots for the Men’s Final Four.
Brandon also looks at CBS’ studio set and Super Slo-Mo cameras at the Superdome for the Final Four.
Richard Sandomir of the New York Times looks at the new Broadway play focusing on Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.
Phil Mushnick of the New York Post mourns the passing of New York Cosmos great Giorgio Chinaglia.
Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union notes that the Final Four received its best ratings on CBS in a decade.
Ken Schott from the Schenectady Gazette writes that the local cable news network will cover Union in the NCAA Frozen Four this week.
Ken McMillan at the Middletown (NY) Times Herald-Record says a local radio station will cover high school sports.
Jim Wiliams of the Washington Examiner talks with Jim Nantz about his unique double of calling the Final Four and The Masters® in successive weeks.
Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times reviews the weekend in sports television.
Tom also talks with the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball crew.
Sam Pennington of Suthern Gameday remembers the late Hall of Fame voice of the Kentucky Wildcats, Caewood Ledford.
David Barron from the Houston Chronicle notes two personnel moves at one local sports radio station.
Bob Wolfley at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel explores the average age of those watching various sporting events.
Dusty Saunders of the Denver Post says the first week in April is a literal smorgasbord for the sports fan.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News explores the reasons why MLB clubs are so gung-ho on regional sports network rights fees.
Tom has your sports calendar for this week.
Raju Mudhar of the Toronto Star has what writers outside of Canada are saying about the Blue Jays.
Bruce Dowbiggin of the Toronto Globe and Mail was amused by a verbal sparring match aired in Canada over the weekend.
Barry Petchesky at Deadspin looks at one April Fools newspaper column that went published without being properly vetted.
Sports Media Watch says ratings for the NBA on ABC saw big increases.
Steve Lepore of Puck The Media says the NHL on NBC also had a good number.
And Joe Favorito says Fenway Park is ready to celebrate its Centennial.
As promised earlier today, I’m giving you more links. I was out earlier today and I’ll be out again tomorrow so it’s going to be a bit crazy for me. So let’s get to the linkage right now.
Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch looks at the media circus that was the Tim Tebow press conference at the New York Jets practice facility on Monday.
Speaking of Richard, he and CNBC’s Darren Rovell were locked in Round 2 of their Twitter feud. This was fun while it lasted as Matt Yoder of Awful Announcing recaps.
Matt notes that Al Trautwig of MSG Network had a slip of the tongue.
And Matt is gleeful that ESPN’s Jonathan Coachman also had a similar slip.
Christina Settimi of Forbes looks at baseball’s biggest local cable TV rights deals.
George Winslow of Broadcasting & Cable says ESPN has promoted an executive to handle its international digital media efforts.
Sam Laird of Mashable notes that the Boston Bruins have launched their own social media portal, believed to the first in pro sports.
Todd Cunningham at The Wrap says with Tiger Woods win this past weekend, CBS now looks forward to having masterful ratings for The Masters® in two weeks.
Dale Buss of Brand Channel writes that Jockey brand underwear welcomed Tim Tebow to New York as only it could.
Kevin Kaduk of Yahoo’s Big League Stew has one of the funniest on-screen graphics pulled by Fox Sports Midwest during a St. Louis Cardinals exhibition game.
Jesse Sawyer of the Avon (CT) Patch says ESPN’s Kenny Mayne has sold his Connecticut home over half a year after he moved his family to Washington State.
Phil Mushnick of the New York Post hates everybody.
Breaking the Bob Raissman ban to note that the New York Daily News curmudgeon feels Tim Tebow is already a pro at handling the Big Apple media circus.
Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union notes that the ratings for the NCAA Tournament this past weekend took a huge hit thanks to Tiger Woods.
Greg Connors of the Buffalo News writes about ESPN’s three month-long initiative to celebrate Title IX.
Keith Groller of the Allentown (PA) Morning Call talks about the departure of local native Meredith Marakovits for the bright lights of New York.
Dan Steinberg at the Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog tells us that he’s going to have a partner on the blog.
And Sarah Kogod introduces herself to DC Sports Bog readers in her first post.
Jim Williams of the Washington Examiner talks with Tennis Channel’s Mary Carillo.
Tom Jones from the Tampa Bay Times reviews the weekend in sports television.
Mel Bracht of The Oklahoman notes that the Oklahoma City Thunder set a new ratings record.
John Kiesewetter at the Cincinnati Enquirer says a nationally syndicated radio morning show will be in town for Reds Opening Day.
Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says Wisconsin-Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 did well in the local ratings.
Scott D. Pierce at the Salt Lake Tribune says BYU basketball coach Dave Rose has a future in TV if he so chooses.
Joe Flint of the Los Angeles Times says an investment bank helped to broker the Pac-12 media rights contract with ESPN and Fox plus other huge sports and entertainment megadeals.
Joe reports that DirecTV and Tribune are in a dispute over the company’s TV stations and this could include WGN America which carries a bunch of sports programming.
Bruce Dowbiggin of the Toronto Globe and Mail has yet another amazingly uninformed column not realizing that CBS and Turner share the NCAA Tournament and CBS no longer regionalizes games. Many Canadian college basketball fans are aware of this, yet Bruce is not.
Sports Media Watch looks at the lower ratings generated by the NCAA Tournament over the weekend.
SMW has the viewership for the first primetime effort by ESPN2′s First Take.
To Macgasm where we learn that ESPN is teaming with Apple to make sports scores available on the Siri voice platform on the iPhone 4S.
Joe Favorito asks does UFC really needs New York to be successful?
Jim Connelly at USCHO.com wonders if ESPN is doing more to hurt the NCAA Men’s Hockey Tournament than help promote it.
Maury Brown at the Biz of Baseball wonders when MLB Network will hit Canada.
And we’ll end it there. Good night.
Let’s do some linkage on this Super Bowl Weekend.
The Weekend Viewing Picks have my sports and entertainment suggestions.
Time for your links. As you can imagine, many of the stories will deal with Sunday’s Super Bowl.
Michael Hiestand of USA Today talks with NBC’s Bob Costas about his past experiences in hosing a Super Bowl pregame show.
The Nielsen Wire Blog has a look at the 10 Most Liked Super Bowl ads in the last five years.
Daisy Whitney at MediaPost says a large portion of viewers go online to look up information about a Super Bowl ad.
Wayne Friedman of MediaPost writes that the Super Bowl is reaching almost half of all female viewers.
Peter Pachal of Mashable says NBC will hold a Google+ hangout to after the Super Bowl to discuss the ads.
Marisa Guthrie of the Hollywood Reporter talks with NBC Sports Group Fearless Leader Mark Lazarus about the Super Bowl, winning the Olympics and losing Wimbledon to ESPN.
John Eggerton in Broadcasting & Cable writes that a fan lobbying group hopes the FCC will call for the elimination of the NFL’s antiquated TV blackout rules.
John says a Michigan man has been charged with illegally streaming NFL games online.
Thomas Umstead from Multichannel News says Saturday’s UFC pay per view event will be available in 3-D for the first time.
Todd Spangler of Multichannel looks at Verizon’s streaming of Sunday’s Super Bowl on select mobile devices.
Adweek talks with Sports Illustrated/NBC’s Peter King.
Tim Nudd from Adweek notes the return of the E*Trade baby to the Super Bowl.
The International Olympic Committee has awarded the Japanese rights for the 2014/16 Games at a much lower rate than the US rights paid by NBC.
Robert Livingston at Games Bid says the 2014 Olympics in Sochi will be the first to be produced in 3-D TV.
André Lowe of the Jamaica (yes the country) Gleaner says ESPN has gathered some former NFL players in a cruise ship for the Super Bowl at Sea. I’m not making this up.
Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch
Allison Stoneberg at ESPN’s Front Row discusses how the network’s producers book guests for the studio and radio shows during Super Bowl Week.
Jack Dickey at Deadspin explains how the New York Times really messed up the story of former Yale quarterback Patrick Witt.
Dylan Stableford at Yahoo’s The Cutline explains why the Puppy Bowl has become so popular on Super Bowl Sunday.
Sports Media Watch delves into the expanded NFL Network Thursday Night Football schedule.
SMW has a few ratings news and notes including one on the Winter X Games.
Ken Kerschbaumer of Sports Video Group goes behind the scenes with NBC’s Super Bowl production crew.
Jason Dachman of SVG goes into NBC’s first-ever online streaming of the Super Bowl.
And Dan Daily from SVG writes about this year’s Super Bowl World Feed.
Steve Lepore at Puck The Media says Wednesday night NHL games are doing well for NBC Sports Network.
Northeast & Mid-Atlantic
Chad Finn of the Boston Globe speaks with NBC’s Rodney Harrison on the unspoken revenge factor for the New England Patriots in this year’s Super Bowl.
Bill Doyle of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette has NBC’s Cris Collinsworth talking about the Super Bowl.
Richard Sandomir of the New York Times says one of the Mets’ TV partners may help to bail out the team from its financial troubles.
Judy Battista of the Times reports on the expanded Thursday Night Football schedule.
Stuart Elliot of the Times says the Shazam mobile app will play a prominent role during many Super Bowl ads.
A rare appearance by Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News in the links. He has his Top 5 Super Bowl announcing teams of all-time.
Phil Mushnick from the New York Post has some Super Bowl storylines the media has missed.
Ken Schott at the Schenectady Gazette looks at the NFL Network announcement of five more games added to Thursday Night Football.
Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union has NFL Commish Roger Goodell shooting down rumors of more Monday Night Football doubleheaders.
Pete says Commissioner Goodell is firing a warning shot at Time Warner Cable.
Pete reviews the 11 men who have called a Super Bowl on network television.
The Crossing Broad blog says the Philadelphia Daily News and Inquirer may be on a slow death march to oblivion.
Keith Groller of the Allentown (PA) Morning Call discusses NBC’s coverage of Super Bowl XLVI.
David Barron from the Houston Chronicle notes that NBC’s Rodney Harrison may be an ex-New England Patriots, but he says he can remain fair.
David says NFL Network gets a beefed up schedule next season.
Mel Bracht of the Daily Oklahoman says NBC’s Cris Collinsworth gets to call his second Super Bowl on TV.
Mel notes that College GameDay will be covering the Big 12 on Saturday.
John Kiesewetter of the Cincinnati Enquirer notes that one local radio show will be on radio row in Indianapolis today.
Scott Olson of the Indianapolis Business Journal says ESPN is very happy about choosing Pan Am Plaza as its Super Bowl headquarters this week.
The Indianapolis Star has what journalists are saying about the city as a Super Bowl host.
Bob Wolfley in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says two participants in last year’s Big Game will be on NBC’s Super Bowl pregame show.
Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Cardinals TV voice Dan McLaughlin will return to call games this season.
Steve Walentik of the Columbia (MO) Tribune calls ESPN’s Jay Bilas, “College Hoops’ Deepest Thinker.” Ok.
John Maffei of the North County Times says Al Michaels still loves calling Super Bowls.
Jim Carlisle of the Ventura County Star says Michaels is hoping for overtime.
Jim has NBC’s Rodney Harrison keeping the David Tyree catch from Super Bowl XLVII in proper perspective.
Richard Varrier of the Los Angeles Times looks at the Fed crackdown on websites that were illegally streaming NFL games.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News talks with former Lakers voice Paul Sunderland and lists the 20 best play-by-play men in Southern California.
Tom has more about Paul in his blog and adds a couple of media notes.
Susan Krashinsky of the Toronto Globe and Mail explains why Canada can’t see the U.S. Super Bowl ads in real time.
The Canadian Sports Media Blog has NBC’s Super Bowl production by the numbers.
And that’s going to do it for the links. Enjoy the Big Game.
UFC on Fox’s official debut last Saturday scored lower than its November special premiere, but when you look inside the numbers, Fox is happy with the ratings in the 18-34 and 18-49 categories. For advertisers, that’s what they want to hear.
The final rating for the mixed martial arts tripleheader was a 2.6 with a 5 share. The broadcast garnered 4.7 million viewers for the night.
In addition, Fox beat the other broadcast networks in the 18-34 and 18-49 demographics. Fox stresses that the audience grew with each passing fight which again is encouraging for the network.
Let’s take a look at the Fox press release and the numbers for the entire card.
Saturday night’s UFC on FOX event from the United Center in Chicago posted a 2.6/5 national rating/share, according to figures released by Nielsen Media Research today. As expected, FOX dominated the night on the important younger demographics. FOX’s 2.4 among Adults 18-49 nearly beat the combined ratings of ABC, CBS, and NBC (2.5 combined) and FOX’s 2.5 among Adults 18-34 easily beat those three network competitors combined (1.4). The three-bout broadcast on FOX averaged 4.7 million viewers from 8:00 PM – 10:19 PM ET.
The two-hour event, the first official network broadcast of FOX’s partnership with UFC, is off slightly (-16%) from the UFC on FOX premiere in November (3.1/5), which was only one hour and featured a highly-anticipated heavyweight championship fight. When comparing similar time periods for the two events, FOX posted a 3.0/5 from 9:00 – 10:15 PM ET, off only a tenth from the November UFC fight.
In several meaningful demographics, the last hour of Saturday’s broadcast rated higher than November’s UFC premiere on FOX with Men 25-49 up +3%, Men 25-54 up +3%, Men 35-54 up +4%.
As anticipation to the night’s main event grew so did the ratings and viewership. The night’s first match between Demian Maia and Chris Weidman scored a 2.2/4 rating/share. The next fight between Chael Sonnen and Michael Bisping grew to a 2.7/5. Fans tuned in to see former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans take on undefeated former national champion wrestler Phil Davis with that bout posting a 3.4/6. More than 6 million viewers watched the five-round bout where Evans defeated Davis by unanimous decision.
The top five metered markets for Saturday’s UFC on FOX event are: Las Vegas – 4.1/8; Louisville – 4.1/7; Indianapolis – 3.9/7; Greenville – 3.9/6; Tulsa – 3.9/6; and Knoxville – 3.9/6.
And there will be another press release coming up.
Since late last night, I’ve been culling linkage for today. Let’s get to them.
Terry Lefton and Daniel Kaplan at Sports Business Journal discuss how Indianapolis hotels are gouging customers for Super Bowl Week.
Anick Jesdanun of the Associated Press reviews NBC’s online presentation of the Super Bowl for this Sunday.
Sergio Non of USA Today looks at the UFC on Fox rating from Saturday.
Michael Learmonth of Advertising Age says USA Today’s Super Bowl Ad Meter wrecked Super Bowl ads for good.
Tim Goodman of the Hollywood Reporter has an appreciation for The Beautiful Game.
Tim Nudd of Adweek looks at the highly successful “This is SportsCenter” ad campaign.
Wayne Friedman of MediaPost says NBC is copping $4 million per Super Bowl ad.
Toni Fitzgerald of Media Life Magazine writes that a survey shows that a majority of readers feel Super Bowl XLVI will set a viewership record.
Toni gives us a media buyer’s primer on the Super Bowl.
Diego Vasquez of Media Life says advertisers want to get buzz about Super Bowl commercials weeks before the Big Game.
The Daily says it appears Madonna’s set list for the Super Bowl halftime show has been leaked.
Peter Schrager of Esquire lists 10 current NFL players who could make a second career on TV.
Glenn Davis of SportsGrid notes that Jerry Seinfeld and the Soup Nazi will appear in a Super Bowl ad.
Frances Martel of Mediaite reviews the ESPN2 show, “Dan Le Batard is
Extremely Crazy Highly Questionable.”
Robert Littal of Black Sports Online has details of the Mexican TV reporter who made an impression during Super Bowl Media Day.
Ken Kerschbaumer of Sports Video Group looks at ESPN taking over Pan Am Plaza in downtown Indianapolis for the Super Bowl.
Karen Hogan of SVG writes that sports has entered into reality TV in a big way.
Summer Harlow of the University of Texas Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas writes about CBSSports.com’s firing of Adam Jacobi over his premature report on Joe Paterno’s death.
Karen Rosen of TV Guide talks with ESPN’s Hannah Storm about her NFL special tonight.
All Access says a new ESPN Deportes Radio affiliate will launch tomorrow in Chicago.
Mark Miller of Examiner.com says Gary Thorne makes his Pro Bowling announcing debut this Sunday on ESPN.
Larry Mahoney of the Bangor (ME) Daily News speaks with former MLB’er Matt Stairs who joins NESN as a studio analyst for the 2012 season.
Michael Hayes of the Clinton (CT) Patch says ESPN will report from the geological center in between Gillette and Met Life Stadiums on Sunday.
Richard Sandomir of the New York Times has an interesting story on a small Connecticut NPR station which has a sports talk show that is not your typical run-of-the-mill program.
Judy Battista of the Times notes that the NFL will address head safety in one its in-house ads during the Super Bowl.
David Hinckley of the New York Daily News says rivals WFAN and ESPN Radio New York are squaring off in their Giants Super Bowl coverage.
Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union notes the release of ESPN’s Bracketbusters schedule.
Stacy Jones of the Newark (NJ) Star-Ledger says Super Bowl advertisers are hoping to hook viewers from their computers and mobile devices as well as through their TV’s.
Neal Zoren of the Delaware County Daily Times notes Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s countdown of the worst sports villains of all-time.
Long-time New Orleans sports anchor Jim Henderson is retiring from WWL-TV, however, he’ll remain as Voice of the Saints.
Dave Walker of the New Orleans Times-Picayune gets reaction Henderson on his retirement.
David Barron of the Houston Chronicle discusses the busy Super Bowl week and the ads.
Dennis Manoloff of the Cleveland Plain Dealer speaks with ESPN’s Erin Andrews about sports, life and her hosting the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission Annual Awards Banquet this week.
Tim Evans of the Indianapolis Star says Radio Row at the Super Bowl is the perfect place for star gazing this week.
Emily Hatton of the Indy Star gives us an inside look at ESPN’s Pan Am Plaza set.
Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has NBC’s Bob Costas calling for a revote if National League MVP Ryan Braun of the Brewers loses his appeal for testing positive for steroids last year.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch says ESPN College GameDay visits the Missouri campus this weekend.
Brian Gomez of the Colorado Springs Gazette says ESPN may pull the Winter X Games out of Aspen after an 11 year relationship.
Jason Blevins of the Denver Post writes that ESPN has been airing this year’s Winter X in 3-D.
Jill Painter of the Los Angeles Daily News says longtime UCLA voice Chris Roberts was honored by his peers as was Daily News sports media writer Tom Hoffarth.
And Tom writes an appreciation for being honored last night.
Matt Yoder of Awful Announcing has videos of the Big Ten Network going behind the scenes with Gus Johnson.
Josh Tinley of Midwest Sports Fans explains how the Super Bowl got its name and why every game has Roman numerals.
The Canadian Sports Media Blog notes the NHL All-Star Game did really well for CBC.
And that will do it for now.
I don’t know why they’re mighty, but they’re here. Let’s get to them.
USA Today’s Mike McCarthy looks at Super Bowl Media Day which will be covered from all angles on both ESPN and NFL Network.
Preston Bounds from Sports Business Daily lists the top 11 most marketable NFL players. Your humble blogger is quoted in the story.
At the Poynter Institute, Kelly McBride takes both the New York Times and Yale Daily News to task for their handling of the Patrick Witt alleged sexual assault story.
Michael O’Connell of the Hollywood Reporter writes that the NFL Pro Bowl gave NBC a Sunday primetime win over weak competition.
Anthony Crupi of Adweek notes that marketers and star players are for the most part, a winning combination.
Tim Nudd from Adweek looks at the advertiser rundown for Sunday’s Super Bowl on NBC.
Tim loves the extended Honda Ferris Bueller-themed Super Bowl ad.
Back to Crupi who delves into the April launch of Univision Deportes.
Adweek talks with Jim Rome about his move from ESPN to CBS.
At the Indiana University National Sports Journalism Center, Eric Deggans of the Tampa Bay Times says social media campaigns can enhance and also detract from the Super Bowl viewing experience.
The Nielsen Wire blog looks at the spending trends for Super Bowl ads over the last five years.
Ken Kerschbaumer of Sports Video Group notes that NFL Network is gearing up for a very busy Super Bowl Week.
Patrick Burns of Deadspin breaks down ESPN SportsCenter’s coverage from last week.
At All Things Digital, Peter Kafka says it’s ESPN that’s weighing down your cable bill.
Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe writes that NESN has made additions to its Red Sox broadcast team.
Here’s a rarity, Phil Mushnick of the New York Post giving praise and today he’s dishing it out to Knicks radio voice Spero Dedes.
Bob’s Blitz has caught WFAN’s Mike Francesa in a lie regarding his Super Bowl XLVII prediction.
From the Albany Times Union, Pete Dougherty notes that former Indianapolis Colts GM Bill Polian has signed with SiriusXM to co-host some radio shows.
Tom Jones at the Tampa Bay Times looks back at the weekend in sports television.
Cleveland Plain-Dealer ombudsman Ted Diadun discusses the reassignment of Browns beat writer Tony Grossi after a private tweet about Browns owner Randy Lerner went public.
The Waiting for Next Year blog looks at the Plain-Dealer decision.
Also from the Plain-Dealer, Bill Lubinger writes about how local TV rights money is playing a huge role in baseball free agency signings.
Dusty Saunders from the Denver Post notes that MLB Network has plucked Root Sports’ Alana Rizzo for a national gig.
Tom Hoffarth at the Los Angeles Daily News has the sports calendar for this week.
Friend of Fang’s Bites Jackie Pepper is heading to the Super Bowl.
John Daly of the Daly Planet looks at NASCAR taking over operation of its website from Turner Sports.
John also looks at the future of NASCAR’s Nationwide Series on ESPN.
Sports Media Watch has the overnight ratings of the NHL All-Star Game and Australian Open finals.
Joe Lucia at Awful Announcing says UFC on Fox’s ratings may have gone down from its November debut, but they’re still good in the desired demographic.
That will do it.
Fox had a brief one fight UFC premiere in November, but on Saturday, the partnership between the two parties begins. Three fights will be seen on Fox starting at 9 p.m. ET with the prelims on Fuel at 5. Chicago’s United Center will be the venue.
Curt Menefee will be the host. Randy Couture and current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones will join Curt.
As usual, the extremely talkative Mike Goldberg and conspiracy theorist Joe Rogan will be ringside to call the action.
Jay Glazer will be the host for the UFC shows on Fuel.
Light heavyweights Rashad Evans and Phil Davis will be the main event for the night. We have the Fox Sports press release for you.
UFC ON FOX TRIPLEHEADER LIVE FROM CHICAGO SATURDAY NIGHT – UFC on FOX officially kicks off its partnership with a two-hour tripleheader broadcast on Saturday, Jan. 28 (8:00-10:00 PM ET), live from the United Center in Chicago. In the night’s main event, former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans (21-1-1) takes on undefeated former national champion wrestler Phil Davis (9-0-0) to determine the next challenger to the 205-pound title currently held by Jon Jones. The co-main event features middleweight contender Chael Sonnen (27-11-1) battling British star Michael Bisping (23-3-0) for the right to fight champion Anderson Silva. The action begins with dangerous Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu master Demian Maia (15-3-0) taking on unbeaten Chris Weidman (7-0-0). Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan call all the action inside the Octagon and versatile broadcaster Curt Menefee hosts pre- and postfight coverage with UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture and the aforementioned Jon Jones offering their insights on the action. During prefight coverage, fans get a special behind-the-scenes look at preparation for their big night in Chicago, including a feature on Rashad Evans as he and his family balance the excitement of being part of the main event in Chicago with the stress and tension of his brother’s impending deployment.
“This is the show that officially starts our deal with FOX and we’re bringing what the fans want – a night packed with great fights,” UFC President Dana White said. “We’re kicking this thing off with an incredible tripleheader. Rashad Evans looked fantastic in his last fight against Tito Ortiz and he wants to get the belt back. But Phil Davis is no joke. He’s undefeated at 9-0 and has stormed through guys like Brian Stann, Alexander Gustafsson and Rogerio Nogueira. He wants the title shot just as bad as Rashad.”
The weekend’s action kicks off Friday, Jan. 27 (5:00 PM ET) with the live “UFC on FUEL TV: Weigh-in.” Jay Glazer hosts the show while UFC veteran and FUEL TV’s “UFC Tonight” host Kenny Florian steps in as the analyst, commenting on all the activities from Chicago. Two-time MMA Journalist of the Year Ariel Helwani interviews fighters backstage. FUEL TV coverage continues Saturday, Jan. 28 (5:00 PM ET) with three hours of live preliminary bouts. Glazer is joined by Florian to introduce the fight, while Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan call the action live inside the Octagon. Helwani will interview fighters live backstage. Following these preliminary matchups on FUEL TV and three main events on FOX Sports, coverage returns to FUEL TV for the post-fight wrap-up show (10:00 PM ET).
History was made in November when the UFC made its broadcast television debut on FOX and a record audience tuned in as challenger Junior dos Santos defeated defending champion Cain Velasquez in a first round knockout to claim the coveted heavyweight crown. More than 5.7 million viewers tuned in to make it the most-watched UFC event ever and the most-watched professional fight of any kind on any network since 2003.
FLORIAN: IT’S TOO EARLY FOR DAVIS TO FIGHT EVANS – FUEL TV’s UFC analyst Kenny Florian doesn’t believe Phil Davis is ready to fight Rashad Evans in the UFC on FOX main event Saturday, Jan. 28 (8:00 PM ET) from the United Center in Chicago. “It’s one or two fights too early for Phil Davis to fight Rashad Evans,” said Florian. “Evans’ experience and his ability to put it all together will be the difference. He’s going to win and face [current Light Heavyweight Champ] Jon Jones later this year.” Florian also picks Chael Sonnen over Michael Bisping and Chris Weidman over Demian Maia in the other main card match-ups.
Follow the talent on Twitter at: @jayglazer; @kennyflorian; @arielhelwani
Friday, Jan. 27
UFC ON FUEL: WEIGH-IN LIVE
Saturday, Jan. 28
UFC ON FUEL: PRELIMINARY MATCHES:
Dunham vs. Lentz/Russow vs. Einemo
Swanson vs. Roop/Oliveira vs. Wisely
Johnson vs. Roller/Beltran vs. Johnson
Saturday, Jan. 28
UFC ON FOX:
Maia vs. Weidman
Sonnen vs. Bisping
Evans vs. Davis
Saturday, Jan. 28
UFC ON FUEL: POST-FIGHT SHOW
*All times Eastern
That will do it.
Don’t have time to provide a full set of links today so I’ll give you what I’ve culled thus far. Some good stuff here.
Some stories from this week’s Sports Business Journal.
First, John Ourand reports that ESPN and MLB could butt heads over TV Everywhere streaming rights. ESPN has its model. MLB has its silly subscription model. We’ll see where it ends.
SBJ’s Liz Mullen talks with Fox NFL Sunday’s Michael Strahan about the transition from his playing career to a broadcasting career and goes inside his day on the Fox set during NFL season.
Liz chronicles the NFL Broadcast Boot Camp held every year to give players a taste of being in front of the camera.
And SBJ lists some of the current players and coaches who could make a go at broadcasting when they decide to leave the field.
One story that bears watching. Last week, the FCC opened a review on the antiquated NFL blackout rules and Todd Shields of Bloomberg has a story on it.
Richard Sandomir of the New York Times wrote about the FCC blackout review as well.
Gary Holmes at MediaPost looks at how the NFL continues to be a ratings draw over a 40 year span.
Tennis Channel announced on its Facebook page that it’s back on Verizon Fios systems.
Mike Reynolds at Multichannel News has a story on the new Tennis Channel/Verizon agreement.
John Eggerton of Multichannel says Tennis Channel wants the FCC to force Comcast to adhere to an Administrative Law Judge ruling stating the cable provider has to offer the network to its subscribers as an equal to its own Golf Channel and NBC Sports Network.
Broadcasting & Cable’s Ben Grossman talks with NASCAR head honcho Brian France about the future of the sport on TV and how ESPN needs to improve its presentation.
Eriq Gardner of the Hollywood Reporter says a throwaway line from the Baltimore Ravens’ Terrell Suggs on Sunday Night Football back in November is now the subject of a nasty trademark dispute.
Dan Fogarty of SportsGrid has details on the budding feud between UFC’s Dana White and ESPN over a report on Outside the Lines that looked at fighter pay.
Timothy Burke’s Mocksession site has a funny error from ESPN promoting tonight’s Big Ten basketball game.
Nate Smeltz at ESPN’s Front Row PR blog provides an inside look at how a game becomes SportsCenter highlight.
Shirley Brady at Brandchannel previews some of the Super Bowl ads that will air during the Big Game.
Sports TV Jobs looks at the Ten Worst Moments in Sports TV history.
At Boston Sports Media Watch, former Comcast SportsNet New England anchor/reporter Jackie Pepper chronicles her rise from covering sports in a very small market to Boston, the 7th largest in the country.
Newsday’s Neil Best tweeted that Josh Lewin of the Lisping Lewins is a candidate to join the New York Mets radio booth.
Neil says WFAN’s Mike Francesa has a new name for his show.
Neil says Giants-Packers topped the ratings on Sunday.
Back to Richard Sandomir of the New York Times who looks at Fox Sports’ NFL Rules analyst Mike Pereira making a rare disagreement over a call during Sunday’s Giants-Packers game.
Pete Dougherty at the Albany Times Union notes a local sports reporter has been suspended for making an obscene gesture on the air.
David Zurawik of the Baltimore Sun says it appears the Ravens set a viewing record for Sunday’s game against the Texans.
Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog says former Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams joins a local radio station as an analyst.
David Barron of the Houston Chronicle says the Texans-Baltimore game set a local ratings record.
David says a local TV station made a tasteless report on the Detroit Pistons’ emergency landing on Monday.
Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel looks at the ratings for the Giants-Packers playoff game.
Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times says new TNT analyst Shaquille O’Neal is enjoying his new role on TV.
Rick Westhead of the Toronto Star says the International Olympic Committee has thrown out the joint bid by Bell Media/CBC for the 2014/2016 Games.
Mike Silva in his Sports Media Watchdog introduces Mets fans to Josh Lewin.
Steve Lepore at Puck The Media notes that NBC got a decent rating for the NHL last Saturday.
That’s going to do it.
I’ll provide a quick set of links for you on this New Year’s Day. Because 1/1/2012 falls on a Sunday, it doesn’t feel like a holiday. It’ll feel more like the holiday tomorrow with college football and the NHL Winter Classic. Let’s look at what we have for you.
First, Rich Sands from TV Guide tells us what’s in store for NBC Sports Network when it officially changes from Versus tomorrow. Lots of interesting events including Olympics this year.
The Sports Biz Miss, Kristi Dosh, has a story at ESPN.com on the MSG Network/Time Warner Cable dispute.
John Ourand from Sports Business Journal has Time Warner Cable’s full statement in reaction to its dispute with MSG Network.
Mike Reynolds at Multichannel News has Time Warner Cable’s side of the dispute.
Mike writes about MSG and MSG Plus going dark on TWC as of midnight today.
Multichannel News says Fuel TV is stepping into the UFC Octagon in a big way with a 24 hour marathon today.
Richard Sandomir of the New York Times also writes about the MSG/Time Warner Cable dispute.
Ken Schott from the Schenectady Gazette says 2012 isn’t starting out the right way for Knicks and Rangers fans who subscribe to Time Warner Cable.
Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union wishes ESPN’s college football announcers would learn the rules.
Pete has a poll on the MSG/Time Warner dispute.
At the Bergen (NJ) Record, Evan Weiner says consumers are the ones holding the bag in the MSG/Time Warner fight.
Over to the Philadelphia Daily News and Les Bowen who wants to know who exactly his colleague Bill Conlin really is. Conlin is accused of molesting several children in the 1970′s.
Jim Williams at the Washington Examiner talks with NBC Sports executive Jon Miller about tomorrow’s launch of NBC Sports Network.
Jeff Moss at the Detroit Sports Rag gives his Best and Worst in Motor City Sports Media in 2011.
Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch looks back at St. Louis sports media in 2011.
At the Salt Lake Tribune, Scott D. Pierce says CBS provided its best announcers for the Sun Bowl involving Utah while ESPN gave viewers scrubs on the Armed Forces Bowl with BYU.
To the Toronto Globe and Mail where Bruce Dowbiggin says the NHL labor talks will be a big story in 2012.
The Canadian Sports Media Blog provides its Big Dozen Sports Media Stories in 2011.
Sports Media Watch provides some predictions for 2012.
Steve Lepore of Puck The Media has a suggestion to make the NHL Winter Classic better.
And that’s going to do it for today.
Time for the Fang’s Bites Sports Media Year in Review. The year isn’t big enough for a Top Ten, but it is big enough for a Big Dozen. Let’s get to the list and we’ll count down from 12 and also have some Honorable Mentions.
12. ESPN The Book
One of the most anticipated books of the year for the sports media was “Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN” co-authored by Tom Shales and James Andrew Miller. Some of the more salacious and sensational stories were leaked and released before its publication. But when all was said and done, the tome was more of a detailed history lesson of how ESPN was created and rose to become the biggest content provider in sports media. The book became a New York Times best seller and is being made into a major motion picture by 20th Century Fox.
11. ESPN vs. NBC
The battle lines have already been drawn between the two networks, but with owner, Comcast, merging its cable sports properties of Versus, Golf Channel and the Comcast SportsNet regional affiliates under the NBC Sports Group, the Peacock is positioning itself to become a major competitor to ESPN. NBC Sports has already obtained Major League Soccer and horse racing, increased NHL content, announced an Olympic presence and will create a Sunday NFL pregame show for Versus which will be rebranded this weekend.
ESPN is not sitting back aggressively expanding its college sports portfolio and keeping Monday Night Football.
With MLB, NASCAR and the BCS up for bid in 2012, NBC Sports could be strengthened with more content for its cable properties or ESPN could continue its monolithic path to World Domination.
10. UFC Signs With Fox
Mixed Martial Arts went mainstream with the Ultimate Fighting Championships signing an 8 year, multi-million dollar contract with Fox. The first UFC bout on Fox in November didn’t last very long, but it did do well in the key male demographics. Starting in January, UFC programming will be seen on various Fox platforms including FX and Fuel. Both sides expect to reap huge benefits and I would not doubt to see UFC get big bids for its second network contract in eight years.
9. Long-time Executives Leave Their Respective Networks
Just before NBC Sports was about to present its bid for the Olympics, Emperor Dick Ebersol resigned over a contract dispute. While observers thought it would leave NBC Sports vulnerable, it still won the rights for four Olympiads and kept Sunday Night Football. While he may have clashed with the new Comcast administration, Ebersol’s legacy on the network over two decades cannot be diminished. He is still working for NBC as a consultant on Sunday Night Football and will assist on the 2012 London Olympics.
HBO Sports President Ross Greenburg resigned in July after being with the network for 33 years. Under his tenure, Greenburg increased HBO’s commitment to documentaries and created the successful 24/7 reality series, not just focusing on the network’s signature sport of boxing, but reaching out to NASCAR and the NHL. Greenburg is now producing content for both NBC Sports and the NHL.
And George Bodenheimer announced late this year that he would leave as President and become Chairman of the Alleged Worldwide Leader. He’ll be succeeded by Vice President of Content John Skipper. Bodenheimer steered ESPN into high definition and helped to create ESPN 3D. Plus, he was able to make Monday Night Football into a cable series after 35 years as a network TV mainstay. Bodenheimer, who I’ve jokingly labeled the ESPN Dictator will no longer be in a day-to-day role with ESPN.
8. NBA/NFL Lockout Coverage
Two sports leagues stressed out their fans by making them wait out negotiations over collective bargaining agreements with their players. Instead of anticipating the draft or schedule releases, coverage over labor talks dominated sports media. As negotiations dragged on, reporters were camped out waiting for the latest news which came out as quickly as toothpaste being pushed out of a tube.
NFL Network and ESPN went wall-to-wall with non-stop coverage as a deal neared. The same for NBA TV.
Both leagues finally hashed out agreements and brought labor peace. Eventually, the NFL only lost a preseason game after a ten year CBA with its union. The NBA wasn’t as lucky as almost two months of its schedule was lost and it had to proceed with a reduced 66 game schedule.
7. ESPN/Univision Lose the World Cup to Fox/Telemundo
Honestly, who saw this coming? ESPN’s signature global sports event has been the World Cup. It’s been carrying the event since 1994. Univision’s history with the World Cup dates back to 1978. Both networks have been known for carrying the World’s biggest soccer games. However, that will change in 2015 when Fox and Telemundo take over the English and Spanish language US rights respectively for two Men’s and Women’s World Cups through 2022.
ESPN and Univision were simply outbid by Fox and NBC, the owner of Telemundo. One could argue that the World Cup whose ratings have been steadily going up became a desired property thanks to ESPN’s and Univision’s coverage.
ESPN and Univision get one more World Cup to bid farewell to FIFA and that will be in Rio in 2014.
6. NBC Sports Group Keeps The NHL
Fending off a spirited bid by ESPN, NBC signed a 10 year deal to keep the NHL in the fold in a combined network and cable bid. After pledging to increase games on cable and also give fans national access to all postseason games on its platforms, NBC Sports Group was able to keep the NHL rights. Now the NHL has a permanent place to call its home and NBC has firmly committed to hockey which pleases the sport’s fans to no end.
And please, let’s not mention that ESPN would be better for the NHL.
5. ESPN’s Influence on College Sports including The Longhorn Network
It’s amazing to see how much inventory ESPN has collected in college sports. Not only has it signed the ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12, SEC, several non-BCS conferences and a few individual schools to long-term contracts, it also has created the Longhorn Network for the University of Texas. The whole concept of the Longhorn Network has led to massive upheaval among the BCS conferences with Texas A&M leaving the Big 12 and heading to the SEC, the Big East’s Pittsburgh and Syracuse leaving for the ACC and other schools wanting to leave their leagues for bigger exposure and more ESPN cash.
And not only does ESPN have a hand in these chess games (despite massive denials), it has to cover all of this leading to conflicts of interest. And while ESPN pays megabucks for the NFL, its roots are firmly entrenched in college sports as we have seen with its new contract with the NCAA to air several championships.
ESPN also owns a whole host of bowl games and college basketball tournaments all of which are needed inventory for programming. By owning the games, ESPN doesn’t have to pay a rights fee. Crowds aren’t needed because ESPN makes money once the ads are sold and fees are paid by the cable and satellite providers.
ESPN’s influence in college sports will be a story that will followed for several years to come.
This story became a story thanks to SportsbyBrooks and social networking. Without these two combinations, an ESPN internal suspension might not have been noticed, reported and scrutinized. This all began with then-ESPN.com college football writer Bruce Feldman co-authored a book with former Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach. In the book, Leach alleged that then-ESPN college football analyst Craig James had a hand in his firing from the school over treatment of James’ son.
Feldman says he informed his bosses that he was writing a book with Leach and got their blessing. When the book was released, ESPN suspended Feldman. It was there that blogs and social networking got involved. SportsbyBrooks reported that Feldman was suspended. ESPN denied it. Other college football writers who follow Feldman on Twitter noticed he wasn’t tweeting. The story boomeranged on ESPN. It didn’t end until Feldman left ESPN for CBS Sports.
But this whole story made observers wonder why ESPN chose to hang its hat with James.
3. CBS, ESPN, Fox and NBC Renew the NFL at a Hefty Price
Starting in 2014, the NFL will receive an estimated $5 billion in rights fees from its TV partners. That’s a huge increase from the current amount from the four networks. In addition, all of the current packages will remain with the current networks so there will be no upheaval as in the past three NFL TV contracts.
All of the networks except for ESPN have signed on for 9 years. ESPN reupped for 8. ESPN looks like it will enter the postseason with a Wild Card Playoff game. NBC gains a Thanksgiving Night game, a Divisional Playoff game and more flex scheduling. CBS and Fox also get some flex scheduling to boost their ratings.
And with CBS, Fox and NBC paying on the average of $1 billion each, the NFL has fattened its war chest. Expect another partner for a Thursday Night Football package to be announced sometime in 2012.
The NFL is the ratings king and the money is proof.
2. NBC Keeps the Olympics at a Hefty Price
There were indications before the bidding for the 2014/16 Olympics that NBC was vulnerable (see #9 above). Long-time NBC Sports Emperor Dick Ebersol had left. ESPN and Fox showed indications that they wanted to take the Games away from NBC which had been broadcasting the Olympics since 1988. It looked like the International Olympic Committee was poised go with another TV partner. But when all was said and done, NBC had ponied up $4.38 billion for four Olympiads from 2014 through 2020 and the Olympics were firmly under the NBCUniversal umbrella.
What happened? ESPN bid for only one set of Olympics, 2014/16 and Fox made two separate bids and came close at $3.4 billion. However, when it came time to step up, NBC did and kept the Games in a very spirited bid to the IOC.
After losing money on the 2010 Winter Olympics, NBC’s parent company, Comcast claims it will be profitable on the four set of Games. That remains to be seen.
1. Penn State/Syracuse Media Coverage
Scandal once again dominated the sports media. However, in the case of Penn State, it wasn’t sports writers who uncovered the alleged molestation of young boys by former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. Taking the lead in the coverage was the Harrisburg Patriot-News and in particular, crime reporter Sarah Ganim. Also, Penn State’s student newspaper, the Daily Collegian didn’t sit tight either reporting the story. The national media finally caught up and Bob Costas’ interview of Sandusky on NBC’s Rock Center raised eyebrows. And while ESPN tried its best to report the story, it was way behind. The Sandusky scandal will continue as it goes to trial and it won’t be going away any time soon.
As for the Syracuse story on the alleged molestations by former Syracuse assistant coach Bernie Fine, ESPN had a tape of Fine’s wife, Laurie, talking to one of the accusers. The problem was, it was 8 years old and ESPN gave the appearance that it sat on the story. While network bosses tried to explain their decision, some accused ESPN of not giving what they had to the police. No matter of the explanations, ESPN’s role in this story will be debated and whatever it says won’t be enough for some critics.
There were lessons learned in the reporting of both scandals. We learned that local reporters on the ground will always have an advantage over national correspondents. And we learned that while ESPN has a good stable of reporters, it can’t be everywhere.
- ESPN Fires Ron Franklin
- CBS/Turner 1st Partnership on the NCAA Tournament is Successful
- NFL Films Founder Ed Sabol Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame
- ESPN Nabs Wimbledon from NBC
- Los Angeles Lakers Sign Long-Term Deal to Create a Regional Sports Network With Time Warner Cable
- Los Angeles Dodgers Fight with Fox Over Media Rights
- Gus Johnson Leaves CBS for Fox
- Women’s World Cup Scores For ESPN
- Hank Williams, Jr. Pulled From Monday Night Football
- Matthew Barnaby Loses ESPN Gig
Coming up before the year is over, Best and Worsts in Sports Broadcasting in 2011 and Predictions for 2012.