Let’s do some Tuesday links. Lots of stuff to get to.
Michael Hiestand of USA Today writes that Bob Costas is receiving his share of criticism for his anti-gun commentary during halftime of Sunday Night Football.
Busted Coverage has video of Bob Costas telling Dan Patrick that he’s not backing off on his anti-gun comments.
Michael Katz of USA Today’s Game On blog recaps Vin Scully’s first and way too brief foray into Twitter on Monday.
From Yahoo’s Cagefighter, the great Maggie Hendricks tells us that Mixed Martial Arts viewing will be different in 2013.
Mike Reynolds from Multichannel News says Universal Sports will be moving its operations from Los Angeles to the Comcast Media Center in Denver.
From Advertising Age, Brian Steinberg writes that Mercedes-Benz plans to bring out some big guns for its Super Bowl ad in February.
ESPN’s Darren Rovell notes that Lincoln cars are looking to make a return to Super Bowl advertising.
Tom Conroy of Media Life Magazine reviews the new NFL Films-produced Travel Channel documentary series on the Cleveland Browns support staff.
Ed Sherman at The Sherman Report reviews two documentaries that debut this week.
The Nielsen Wire says the Los Angeles Lakers are the most marketable of all NBA teams.
Steve Burton of WBZ-TV in Boston is the only one reporting that the NHL Lockout is close to ending.
Bill Carter of the New York Times says Bob Costas put the spotlight on himself with his anti-gun Sunday Night Football halftime commentary.
The New York Daily News reports that the Jets have renewed their radio rights deal with ESPN Radio New York.
Jerry Barmash at Fishbowl NY says YES Network had its best ratings ever for a Nets game.
Pete Dougherty from the Albany Times Union says Monday night’s Giants-DC NFL Team contest hit the ratings jackpot for ESPN.
Chris Korman of the Baltimore Sun writes that the Orioles are denying yesterday’s Sports Business Journal report that Fox Sports attempted to buy MASN.
Sarah Kogod from the Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog tells us that many DC-area athletes stayed up to watch Robert Griffin III on Monday Night Football.
Erik Wemple at the WaPo talks about sports networks tackling political topics.
Tom Jones at the Tampa Bay Times reviews what happened on sports television over the weekend.
The Fort Pierce (FL) Tribune reports that the local ESPN Radio affiliate will continue to produce nightly sports report for the local NBC and Fox stations.
David Barron of the Houston Chronicle says Jim Deshaies’ departure for Chicago is a big loss for the Astros.
Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer says Fox is close to purchasing Sports Time Ohio and gaining the rights to the city’s MLB team.
Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune talks about the Cubs hiring a new analyst.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News has the five things he learned from the weekend.
Joe Flint from the Los Angeles Times says NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football is eating into the ratings of the league’s other TV partners.
Sports Media Watch notes that the MLS Cup had a slight decline in its overnight ratings as the game moved from a Sunday night to late Saturday afternoon.
The Huffington Post has video of ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit giving Northern Illinois blackboard material by ripping the team’s invitation to the Orange Bowl.
That’s where I’ll end it today.
I’ll provide a few thoughts as we hit midweek. They’ll be in bullet form, of course.
- First, here’s hoping the people of New Orleans will be ok in the midst of Hurricane Isaac. They’ve put up with way too much from Hurricane Katrina to Hurricane Gustav and the BP oil spill, I pray they endure this without major damage.
- I’m going to be interested to see how Fox Sports’ new primetime college football package is going to fare against ESPN’s venerable lineup. Fox will focus on the Big 12 and Pac-12. ESPN/ABC can tap plenty of major conferences from the Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC and place any big game it wants on ABC, ESPN and ESPN2. We’ll see if Fox can hold its own.
- As both CBS and NBC attempt to get their sports radio networks off the ground, both are hoping to get that big name to anchor their lineup. CBS has Doug Gottlieb thus far. The rest of the dayparts have to be filled. NBC has Erik Kuselias plus a few other hires including Rodney Harrison for a weekend show. One of the X Factors for NBC is if it can land Dan Patrick and lure him away from DirecTV/Fox Sports Radio and get him for the 9 a.m. – noon ET slot. That would give NBC some credibility, stations and a big hole filled.
- Original MLB Network reporter Trenni Kusnierek, who’s been co-hosting an afternoon drive radio show in Milwaukee, is shipping up to Boston where she will become an anchor/reporter for Comcast SportsNet New England. In effect, she replaces Nicole Zaloumis who is at NFL Network.
- While the Pac-12 Networks have launched up and down the West Coast, it has yet to sign satellite providers DirecTV and Dish Network. Issues include the high price per subscriber and the seven networks under the Pac-12 umbrella. DirecTV just wants to carry the national network, but the league wants it to pick up everything. No sign of an agreement with either provider in the near future.
- And speaking of disputes, Time Warner Cable continues its holdout of NFL Network. While the network was able to pick up Cablevision this month, it still can’t get Time Warner in the fold. And it appears that there isn’t an agreement in sight. Time Warner can create its own Southern California regional sports network and attempt to get the Dodgers, but it remains steadfast in its refusal to provide NFL Network and also continues to be stubborn in not picking up MASN in North Carolina. It’s all about power and money in these disputes and who will blink first. Right now, neither Time Warner nor NFL Network are willing to talk. That’s too bad for the consumer.
- It’s unfortunate that none of NBCUniversal’s networks will carry the Paralympics live which begin this week in London. NBC Sports Network will air taped specials in September. Not good enough. Many of these athletes are quite courageous and it would be nice to get some live coverage to learn their stories. It’s not necessary for NBC to pick it up, but how about NBC Sports Network or Universal Sports? They need the inventory. C’mon, NBC.
And we’re done.
To mark the 100 days countdown to the XXX Olympic Summer Games in London, Universal Sports began a “Countdown to London” show that airs Wednesday nights at 8 p.m. ET. Each week, the series will profile athletes who we’ll watch in late July/early August in London on the networks of NBC.
This Wednesday, the show will air features on swimmer Janet Evans who at the age of 40 hopes to make her fourth Olympics. And we’ll see a report on USA beach volleyballers Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser who will defend their 2008 gold medal in London.
There will also be a look back at past Olympics and an update on the latest news leading up to the Opening Ceremony on July 27.
Here’s a preview from Universal Sports.
Universal Sports Network’s Countdown to London Returns with Interviews with Gold Medalists Todd Rogers, Phil Dalhausser and Janet Evans
Second Edition of Weekly Studio News Show Provides Updates on Olympic Hopefuls and Storylines Leading Up to 2012 Olympic Games in London
Los Angeles – April 23, 2012 – Universal Sports Network will continue its weekly studio news show titled Countdown to London that provides a comprehensive look at the most compelling stories leading up to the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The second edition of Countdown to London will air this Wednesday, April 25 at 8 p.m. ET and is hosted by Craig Hummer and Amy Bender. The show anchors Universal Sports Network’s exclusive coverage of Olympic qualifying and trials events during the coming three months.
This week’s Countdown to London will feature will gold medalist swimmer Janet Evans who will discuss her pursuit of a comeback to the Olympics at the age of 40. The Countdown Conversation with Fred Roggin will welcome reigning gold medalists beach volleyball players Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser who will appear in the studio fresh off the opening event of the international beach volleyball season. In addition, Olympic swimming analyst and gold medalist Rowdy Gaines will join the show to discuss other news from the world of swimming including Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and other top swimmers who will be competing this summer.
The show’s other weekly features include Reliving the Glory with flashbacks to great moments in Olympic history with the airing of archived short films by legendary Olympic filmmaker Bud Greenspan, On the Web, a social media roundup of Olympic athletes and news, Inside the Research Room to check-in with the NBC Olympics production team to see what stories they are working on heading into the Games, as well as additional content including event previews, breaking news coverage and a weekly update from a journalist from London.
For a highlight from Countdown to London feature “Claressa Shields Fights Like a Girl,” view below.
That will do it.
Let’s do some long overdue linkage for you. It’s been owed big time.
We begin with Mike McCarthy of USA Today who writes that a San Diego sports anchor is in trouble for referring to NASCAR driver Danica Patrick as a “B.”
Michael Hiestand from USA Today says the NBA All-Star Game’s overnight ratings are down from last year.
Michael says Fox did its best to hype Danica Patrick during Sunday’s Daytona 500 rain delay coverage.
John Daly at the Daly Planet is doing yeoman’s work in updating his site on Fox’s plans for the Daytona 500 which is now scheduled to air at 7 p.m. ET.
The Nielsen Wire blog says despite her lack of multiple victories, Danica Patrick remains the most known motorsports driver.
The Associated Press says Fox Sports is looking to extend its current rights deal with NASCAR that will expire in 2014.
Michael Schottey at Bleacher Report has some suggestions on how to improve NFL Scouting Combine coverage.
Mike Reynolds of Multichannel News writes that Universal Sports has picked up a carriage deal with Dish Network giving the satellite provider “TV Everywhere” rights.
Jeanine Poggi of Advertising Age says CBS/Turner will make a big marketing push for March Madness.
Newsday’s Neil Best talks with new Mets radio voice Josh Lewin.
Phil Mushnick of the New York Post finds something to complain about today.
Pete Dougherty at the Albany Times Union writes that ESPN has unveiled its primetime ACC football schedule.
Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog looks at one local anchorman’s thoughts about changing the name of the DC NFL Team.
Skyler Swisher of the Daytona Beach (FL) News-Journal talks with ESPN motorsports pit reporter Jamie Little.
Tom Jones at the Tampa Bay Times looks back at the weekend in sports television.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Bob Wolfley says the paper’s readers blame ESPN for ruining Ryan Braun’s reputation.
Shane Nyman of the Green Bay Gazette feels ESPN is overgushing over Jeremy Lin.
Dusty Saunders at the Denver Post reviews ESPN’s documentary on Magic Johnson’s announcement that he was HIV Positive.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News has your sports calendar for this week.
Andrew Bucholz at Awful Announcing writes about ESPN college football analyst Ed Cunningham winning an Oscar for Best Documentary feature last night.
That will do it for now.
Starting on Friday, Universal Sports will air the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament. This will be the first international soccer tournament for the U.S. Women’s National Team since the World Cup in Germany last summer. This tournament will take place in Vancouver and involve teams from the Western Hemisphere including Mexico, Guatemala and the Dominican Republic.
Universal Sports will have all of the US Women’s National Team’s games in group play as well as the semifinals live. NBC Sports Network will carry the finals on January 29. In addition to airing the games on TV, they will be streamed for free at UniversalSports.com.
We have the Universal Sports press release.
Universal Sports Network Kicks Off LIVE Multiplatform Coverage of CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Soccer Tournament with Two Teams Advancing to 2012 Summer Olympics in London
Network Adds Two-Time Olympic Gold Medalist and World Cup Champion Brandi Chastain as Analyst for Tournament
Los Angeles – January 16, 2012 – Universal Sports Network announced today production plans for its exclusive English-language telecasts of the 2012 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying soccer tournament with coverage beginning Friday, January 20. The network’s coverage includes of all United States matches including a semi-final from the tournament, as well as a re-air of NBC Sports Network’s finals match. The network will provide tournament coverage of five matches both on-air and through free online streaming at UniversalSports.com. The tournament will take place January 19-29 from Vancouver, Canada. A full schedule is below.
Calling the network’s tournament coverage will be Glenn Davis, voice of two World Cups and part of NBC’s coverage of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, and two-time Olympic gold medalist and two-time FIFA World Cup Champion Brandi Chastain. Chastain will draw from her nearly 25-year soccer career, including a 16-year tenure on the U.S. women’s national team.
In addition, Universal Sports Network will offer studio coverage with Pre-Game, Post-Game Report and Halftime Report, which will feature interviews with members of the U.S. women’s team including Abby Wambach, Hope Solo, team captain Christie Rampone and head coach Pia Sundhage.
“We look forward to showcasing this exciting event across multiple platforms and featuring the U.S. women’s national team, who have the well-earned reputation as one of the most dominating teams in international soccer,” said David Sternberg, CEO of Universal Sports. “As momentum builds to the 2012 Olympic Games in London, the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying tournaments are yet another example of our high-caliber, world class programming that adds to the value of Universal Sports Network.”
The U.S. women’s team, currently ranked first in the FIFA World Rankings and the defending Olympic champions, are led by Solo, Wambach and Rampone, will make its first major tournament appearance since the FIFA World Cup last summer, where the Americans placedsecond after losing on penalty kicks to Japan. The United States will play Mexico, who upset the Americans in the semifinals of last year’s CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifying, as well as Guatemala and the Dominican Republic in the group play of the tournament.
Universal Sports Network will also have exclusive English-language telecasts of the 2012 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying tournament, which takes places March 22-April 2. The opening rounds will be played in Carson, Calif., and Nashville, Tenn., with the semifinals and final taking place at the new LIVESTRONG Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas. Telemundo will provide Spanish-language television coverage of tournament in the U.S.
Universal Sports Network/UniversalSports.com Schedule
January 20 — 10:30 p.m. LIVE, USA vs. Dominican Republic
January 22 — 7:30 p.m. LIVE, USA vs. Guatemala
January 24 — 10:30 p.m. LIVE, USA vs. Mexico
January 27 — TBD LIVE, Semifinal
January 29 — 8:00 p.m., Final (NBCSN)
January 29 — 11:00 p.m., Final (NBCSN re-air)
And that does it for this post.
I’m going to provide a few links for you since they’ve been lacking here over the last few days.
We begin with Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deistch who talked with ESPN’s Brent Musburger who will call Monday’s BCS National Championship Game.
Mike Reynolds from Multichannel News talks with ESPN’s Chris Fowler about the BCS National Championship Game.
Lang Whitaker from GQ talks with ESPN’s Erin Andrews in advance of Monday’s BCS National Championship.
Brian Lowry at Variety writes that as sports rights fees become more expensive, expect cable to take over for network TV and pass on the cost to consumers.
Mike Ozanian at Forbes reports that Fox Sports is giving individual teams equity stakes in its regional sports networks to prevent them from taking offers from competitors.
Andy Fixmer of Bloomberg says this season’s NFL’s TV ratings were off slightly from last year.
USA Today’s Mike McCarthy notes that Pittsburgh Steelers QB Roethlisburger is blaming ESPN for overhyping Denver QB Tim Tebow.
Michael Hiestand from USA Today says the Orange Bowl on ESPN drew its lowest BCS TV ratings ever.
CJ Fogler of SportsGrid has videos of TNT paying tribute to the late Jim Huber this week.
Tom Lorenzo from SportsGrid has the video from last night’s Saturday Night Live’s Charles Barkley Post Game Translation App. Sharp-eyed viewers may notice Hazel Mae making an appearance.
Charles Apple of The American Copy Editors Society feels ESPN should be more careful in its on-screen graphics.
Anthony Crupi of Adweek notes that CBS/Turner has signed Northwestern Mutual to be the exclusive insurance sponsor of the NCAA Tournament.
Timothy Burke at Deadspin did some investigating and found that salsa music played during last week’s Sunday Night Football game came directly from the NBC truck.
Dave Kindred at the Indiana University National Sports Journalism Center laments the death of the newspaper sports column.
Eric Deggans from the Tampa Bay Times provides his 2012 sports media predictions in the National Sports Journalism Center.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell says LSU coach Les Miles stands to get millions if he wins the BCS National Championship.
Ken Belson of the New York Times says ESPN has obtained the rights to the New York City Marathon and pledges to show it live across the country, something NBC’s Universal Sports could not do.
Phil Mushnick at the New York Post feels the New York Jets coaching staff is just plain insensitive.
Ken Schott at the Schenectady Gazette informs readers what MSG Network is airing today as its dispute with Time Warner Cable continues.
Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times-Union says what a lot of people tweeted yesterday, that Mike Mayock talked too much during yesterday’s Cincinnati-Houston game.
Ken McMillan from the Middletown (NY) Times Herald-Record says YES will air a handful of Fordham basketball games.
Greg Connors of the Buffalo News says the Bills will have a new flagship radio station for next season.
T.J. Pignataro of the News says the Sabres TV ratings have suffered since Time Warner Cable removed MSG Buffalo from its lineup.
In the New Jersey Newsroom, Evan Weiner warns you that your cable bill will go up this year and sports will be to blame.
Bob Fernandez of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes that Comcast’s distribution deal with Disney, ESPN in particular, shows that the company is thinking about the long-term.
Mike McGovern of the Reading (PA) Eagle pays tribute to the late Jim Huber.
Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post says Nationals TV voice Bob Carpenter will return in 2012.
The Huntington (WV) Dispatch feels ESPN needs a geography and history lesson about West Virginia.
David Knox from the Birmingham (AL) News talks with ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit about the BCS National Championship Game.
Dave Walker at the New Orleans Times-Picayune profiles LSU radio voice Jim Hawthorne.
Nakia Hogan of the Times-Picayune talks with an ESPN executive who denies the network has undue influence over college sports.
Berry Tramel of the Daily Oklahoman delves into Oklahoma University’s deal with Fox Sports to air sports on two of its regional sports networks.
Bob Wolfley at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes that the Packers increased their TV ratings this season.
Bob says Milwaukee did not necessarily rate well for Monday Night Football.
The Chicago Tribune picks up a Variety story that Fox Sports wants to develop original programming that would air after live events.
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times says the Disney family is interested in buying the Dodgers.
Joshua Myers of the Seattle Times says the MLS’ Sounders have found an analyst for its games, but is still missing a play-by-play man.
Lehia Apana from the Maui (HI) News says Golf Channel’s coverage of this year’s Tournament of Champions has a few new wrinkles.
Sports Media Watch says despite strong numbers, last night’s Detroit-New Orleans drew the NFL’s lowest ratings for a Wild Card Playoff in three years.
SMW says Cincinnati-Houston suffered a precipitous ratings drop from last year’s Saints-Seahawks game.
Matt Yoder of Awful Announcing reviews Gus Johnson’s first year as top college football man for Fox.
In the Sports Media Watchdog, Mike Silva speculates on who should replace WFAN’s Mike Francesa if he leaves in 2014.
And that will conclude the links for today.
Universal Sports has already started to air the FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup season and it will continue all the way to the end at the World Cup Finals in Schladming, Austria in March.
The World Cup season took a break for Christmas and resumes today in Lienz, Austria with the Women’s Giant Slalom. You’ll see US skiers like Lindsay Vonn, Julia Mancuso, Ted Ligety and Bode Miller on the slopes.
Let’s take a look at the Universal Sports press release.
Universal Sports Network Rings in the New Year with Alpine Ski World Cup Skiing in Austria, Italy and LIVE Coverage from Croatia
U.S. Skiers Continue to Surge Heading into 2012 Races
Los Angeles — Universal Sports Network will close out 2011 and ring in 2012 by showcasing American elite skiers Lindsey Vonn, Julia Mancuso, Ted Ligety and Bode Miller competing against the world’s best during stops in Lienz, Austria (Dec. 28-29), Bormio, Italy (Dec. 29) and Zagreb, Croatia (Jan. 3, Jan. 5).
Coverage in Lienz, Austria begins Wednesday, December 28 at Noon ET with Women’s Giant Slalom and continues Thursday, December 29 at 2 p.m. ET with the Women’s Slalom. Also on Thursday, December 29, the men will compete in Bormio, Italy in the Downhill at 11 a.m. ET.
Coverage continues in the New Year on Tuesday, January 3 at 11:30 a.m. ET and Thursday, January 5 at 11 a.m. ET with the Women’s Slalom and Men’s Slalom, respectively, LIVE from Zagreb, Croatia.
The U.S. skiers continue to turn in strong performances on the World Cup circuit, with Vonn continuing to build the buzz on her strong season, most recently finishing eighth in the Slalom in Flachau, Austria and holding an impressive 230 point lead in the overall World Cup standings. Teammate Mancuso is currently eighth in the standings. In addition, two American men hold top 10 spots in the standings with Ligety, currently third, finishing fourth in the Giant Slalom in Alta Badia, Italy, and Miller, holding the seventh spot, boosted by a second place finish in the Super G in Val Gardena, Italy. Austrian Marcel Hirscher leads the menâ€™s standings and has emerged as the athlete to beat on the circuit.
Universal Sports Broadcast Schedule
schedule subject to change
ALL TIMES ET
Ski World Cup: Lienz, Austria — SDD
Wed., Dec. 28: Noon — 2:00 PM, Women’s Giant Slalom, Universal Sports
Thurs., Dec. 29: 2 PM — 4:00 PM, Women’s Slalom, Universal Sports
Ski World Cup: Bormio, Italy — SDD
Thurs., Dec. 29: 11 AM — 1 PM, Men’s Downhill, Universal Sports
Ski World Cup: Zagreb, Croatia — LIVE
Tues., Jan. 3: 11:30 AM — 1 PM, Women’s Slalom, Universal Sports
Ski World Cup: Zagreb, Croatia — LIVE
Thurs., Jan. 5: 11 AM — 12:30 PM, Men’s Slalom, Universal Sports
Ski World Cup: Bad Kleinkirchheim, Austria — SDD
Sat., Jan. 7: 11 AM — 1 PM, Women’s Downhill, Universal Sports
Sun., Jan. 8: 11 AM — 1 PM, Women’s Super G, Universal Sports
Ski World Cup: Adelboden, Switzerland — SDD
Sat., Jan. 7: 2 PM — 4 PM, Men’s Giant Slalom, Universal Sports
Sun., Jan. 8: 2 PM — 4 PM, Men’s Slalom, Universal Sports
Ski World Cup: Wengen, Switzerland — SDD
Fri., Jan. 13: 11 AM — 1 PM, Men’s Super Combined, Universal Sports
Sat., Jan. 14: 2 PM — 4 PM, Men’s Downhill, Universal Sports
Sun., Jan. 15: 2 PM — 4 PM, Men’s Slalom, Universal Sports
Ski World Cup: Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy — SDD
Sat., Jan. 14: 11 AM — 1 PM, Women’s Downhill, Universal Sports
Sun., Jan. 15: 11 AM — 1 PM, Women’s Super G, Universal Sports
Ski World Cup: Kitzbuehel, Austria — SDD
Fri., Jan. 20: 11 AM — 1 PM, Men’s Super G, Universal Sports
Sat., Jan. 21: 11 AM — 1 PM, Men’s Downhill, Universal Sports
Sun., Jan. 22: 2 PM — 4 PM, Men’s Slalom, Universal Sports
Ski World Cup: Maribor, Slovenia — SDD
Sat., Jan. 21: 2 PM — 4 PM, Women’s Giant Slalom, Universal Sports
Sun., Jan. 22: 11 AM — 1 PM, Women’s Slalom, Universal Sports
Ski World Cup: Schladming, Austria — LIVE
Tues., Jan. 24: 2 PM — 4 PM, Men’s Slalom, Universal Sports
Ski World Cup: St. Moritz, Switzerland — SDD
Sat., Jan. 28: 11 AM — 1 PM, Women’s Downhill, Universal Sports
Sun., Jan. 29: 1:30 PM — 3:30 PM, Women’s Super Combined, Universal Sports
Ski World Cup: Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany — SDD
Sat., Jan. 28: 2 PM — 4 PM, Men’s Downhill, Universal Sports
Sun., Jan. 29: 11 AM — 1 PM, Men’s Super G, Universal Sports
ADDED TO SCHEDULE: Ski World Cup: Chamonix, France- SDD
Fri., Feb. 3: 11 AM — 1 PM, Men’s Downhill, Universal Sports
Ski World Cup: Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany — SDD
Sat., Feb. 4: 11 AM — 1 PM, Women’s Downhill, Universal Sports
Sun., Feb. 5: 11 AM — 1 PM, Women’s Super G, Universal Sports
Ski World Cup: Chamonix, France — SDD
Sat., Feb. 4: 2 PM — 4 PM, Men’s Downhill, Universal Sports
Sun., Feb. 5: 2 PM — 4 PM, Men’s Super Combined, Universal Sports
Ski World Cup: Sochi, Russia — SDD
Sat., Feb. 11: 10 AM — 12 PM, Men’s Downhill, Universal Sports
Sun., Feb. 12: 10:30 AM — 12:30 PM, Men’s Super Combined, Universal Sports
Ski World Cup: Soldeu, Andorra — SDD
Sat., Feb. 11: 12:30 PM — 2:30 PM, Women’s Giant Slalom, Universal Sports
Sun., Feb. 12: 8 PM — 10 PM, Women’s Slalom, Universal Sports
Ski World Cup: Sochi, Russia — SDD
Sat., Feb. 18: 11 AM –1 PM, Women’s Downhill, Universal Sports
Sun., Feb. 19: 11 AM — 1 PM, Women’s Super Combined, Universal Sports
Ski World Cup: Bansko, Bulgaria — SDD
Sat., Feb. 18: 2 PM — 4 PM, Men’s Giant Slalom, Universal Sports
Sun., Feb. 19: 2 PM — 4 PM, Men’s Slalom, Universal Sports
Ski World Cup: Moscow, Russia — LIVE
Tues., Feb. 21: 11 AM — 12:30 PM, City Event, Universal Sports
Ski World Cup: Bansko, Bulgaria — SDD
Sat., Feb. 25: 11 AM — 1 PM, Women’s Downhill, Universal Sports
Sun., Feb. 26: 11 AM — 1 PM, Women’s Super G, Universal Sports
Ski World Cup: Crans-Montana, Switzerland — SDD
Sat., Feb. 25: 2 PM — 4 PM, Men’s Super G, Universal Sports
Sun., Feb. 26: 2 PM — 4 PM, Men’s Giant Slalom, Universal Sports
Ski World Cup: Kvitfjell, Norway — SDD
Sat., March 3: 2 PM — 4 PM, Men’s Downhill, Universal Sports
Sun., March 4: 11 AM — 1 PM, Men’s Super G, Universal Sports
Ski World Cup: Ofterschwang, Germany — SDD
Sat., March 3: 4:30 PM — 6:30 PM, Women’s Giant Slalom, Universal Sports
Sun., March 4: 2 PM — 4 PM, Women’s Slalom, Universal Sports
Ski World Cup: Are, Sweden — SDD
Fri., March 9: 11 AM — 12 PM, Women’s Giant Slalom, Universal Sports
Sat., March 10: 10 AM — 11 PM, Women’s Slalom, Universal Sports
Ski World Cup: Kranjska Gora, Slovenia — SDD
Sat., March 10: 11 AM — 12 PM, Men’s Giant Slalom, Universal Sports
Sun., March 11: 11 AM — 12 PM, Men’s Slalom, Universal Sports
Ski World Cup: Schladming, Austria — SDD — World Cup Finals
Wed., March 14: 11 AM — 12:30 PM, Men’s Downhill Final, Universal Sports
Wed., March 14: 1:30 PM — 3 PM, Women’s Downhill Final, Universal Sports
Thurs., March 15: 11 AM — 12:30 PM, Men’s Super G Final, Universal Sports
Thurs., March 15: 1:30 PM — 3 PM, Women’s Super G Final, Universal Sports
Sat., March 17: 11 AM — 12:30 PM, Women’s Slalom Final, Universal Sports
Sat., March 17: 1:30 PM — 3 PM, Men’s Giant Slalom Final, Universal Sports
Sun., March 18: 11 AM — 12:30 PM, Men’s Slalom Final, Universal Sports
Sun., March 18: 1:30 PM — 3 PM, Women’s Giant Slalom, Universal Sports
That will do it.
As we get into the home stretch and the Christmas holiday is now just a week away, let me offer a few thoughts on sports media this morning. As usual, they’ll go in bullet form.
- So we have a couple of cable carriage disputes looming large as we end 2011. Looks like MSG Network and Time Warner Cable are heading towards a train wreck unless something drastic happens. It appeared the two sides were heading towards an agreement, but now, MSG Media is encouraging TWC subscribers in New York and Buffalo to find another cable provider in case MSG Network, MSG Plus, MSG Plus 2 and MSG Buffalo are pulled. It’s another example of both sides accusing the other of making ridiculous demands. And in the end, it’s the consumer that gets the shaft, not the cable or content provider.
- The other sports channel that’s in danger of being dropped is Universal Sports. A whole slew of providers are threatening to drop the channel on New Year’s Day unless NBCUniversal can convince them to keep it. Just this year, Universal Sports got an agreement with DirecTV, but any gains made with DirecTV will be lost when it goes dark on a bunch of providers that put it on a sports tier. Universal Sports airs Olympic sports that don’t get much play on the regular networks. Here’s hoping that this dispute will be resolved as well.
- With bowl season starting, I wonder how major college football has gone so long without a legitimate playoff system. The NCAA manages to get a championship done in the other divisions including the smaller Division I schools. Yet, the bowls and college presidents somehow think that they must protect the “integrity” and the “sanctity” of their systems. The Bowl Championship Series has done nothing but raise more questions and the fact that we have a #1 vs. #2 matchup involving teams from the same conference and also a rematch from a game this year totally stinks. Yet, the bowls make money from shoddy accounting and executives lining their pockets. The bowls make their matchup choices based on which schools “travel well” and can sell their allotment of tickets. Often these trips are money losing operations, but because the bowls have such a grip on the BCS schools, they refuse to change. Here’s hoping that at least we get a +1 addition to the BCS when the current TV contract with ESPN ends because what we have is not working right now.
- While we have seen resolution of TV rights for the NHL, Olympics, World Cup and NFL this year, it’s 2012 where we could see some upheaval in rights. Bidding for MLB and NASCAR will open up and there’s a lot of interest in baseball. Walking, Talking Conflict of Interest Bud Selig has said there’s more networks bidding for the rights than at any time. In the last contract, TBS took postseason rights from ESPN and half of the League Championship Series. We’ll see if Turner remains in the baseball business. Will NBC get back into baseball after leaving in 2000? Can Fox stay with MLB despite declining ratings in the regular season and postseason? Will ESPN spend to break back into the playoffs? We’ll find out when the new contracts are signed.And what about NASCAR? ESPN went all in to return for the Sprint Cup series. With three networks Fox, TNT and ESPN taking three different approaches to televising the sport, will the higher ups at NASCAR decide to make one certain style uniform or will we see one of the partners drop out? This will be quite interesting to see this play out.
- And lastly, we learned last week that Etta James, a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, is terminally ill. While this is not sport media news, it’s sad to hear that one of the greatest voices in rock history will be leaving us. Etta gave us great songs like “At Last”, “A Sunday Kind of Love”, “Tell Mama” and “Something’s Got A Hold on Me.” She had a heroin addiction in the 1970′s and kicked that. She’s had several health problems over the last few years including dementia, but they don’t diminish what James gave us. She won’t have much more time with us, but her music will live on long afterwards. I’ll leave you with her signature song, “At Last.”
Enjoy your Sunday.
This Sunday, one of the most popular marathons takes place, the New York City Marathon. Universal Sports will have live coverage of the event both on its authenticated channel and online Sunday morning at 9 Eastern time. NBC Sports will air the event on tape delay in a two hour program at 4 p.m. East.
Paul Sunderland and distance runner Josh Cox will call the action for Universal Sports. Jimmy Roberts will host NBC’s highlight show.
The New York City Marathon has a world class field of runners and will also have several celebrities. One particular race within the race I’ll be watching is whether Dan Patrick Show Operations Manager Seton O’Connor finishes ahead of famed Subway™ spokesman Jared Fogel. Here’s hoping Seton will accomplish that and also raise money for LIVESTRONG™ in the process.
Here’s the NBC Sports Group press release.
Universal Sports Network and NBC Sports Present More than 10 Hours of Multi-Platform Coverage of the 2011 New York City Marathon
LIVE Marathon Coverage Begins at 9 a.m. ET on Universal Sports Network; Free Live Streaming of NYC Marathon
NBC Sports Airs a Two-Hour Special Beginning at 2 p.m. ET
New York and Los Angeles – November 1, 2011 – Universal Sports Network and NBC Sports will provide more than 10 hours combined of television and online coverage of the 2011 New York City Marathon this Sunday beginning at 9 a.m. ET. The marathon will air live on Universal Sports Network, with live streaming available on NYCMarathon.org and UniversalSports.com. NBC will present a two-hour marathon special from 2-4 p.m. ET. The television and online coverage will showcase the 26.2-mile race featuring more than 45,000 runners traversing New York City’s five boroughs: Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Manhattan, and finish in world-famous Central Park.
COVERAGE ON UNIVERSAL SPORTS: Universal Sports Network will present LIVE coverage of the 2011 New York City Marathon this Sunday, including pre-race and post-race studio shows. The network’s 30-minute Pre-Race Show will begin at 9 a.m. ET and will feature interviews with 2009 New York City Marathon champion Meb Keflezighi, Inside Endurance athlete Ryan Sutter and Global Senior Director of the Gatorade Sports Science Institute (GSSI) Asker Jeukendrup. In addition, it will profile other race favorites and will review the marathon course. The studio shows will be hosted by Paul Sunderland alongside analyst and elite distance runner Josh Cox.
COVERAGE ON NBC SPORTS: NBC Sports will air same-day taped coverage of the Marathon from 2 – 4 p.m. ET. The two hours of coverage is the only national over-the-air television coverage of any major marathon outside of the Olympics. Coverage is hosted by NBC Sports’ Jimmy Roberts.Headlining this year’s men’s field are 2010 ING New York City Marathon champion Gebre Gebremariam of Ethiopia, 2009 champion Meb Keflezighi of the USA, 2011 Virgin London Marathon champion Emmanuel Mutai of Kenya, Olympians Juan Luis Barrios of Mexico and Jaouad Gharib of Morocco, reigning Boston Marathon champion Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya, Ethiopian Olympic and World Championships medalist Tsegaye Kebede, Moroccan Olympian Abdellah Falil, and American debut marathoners Bobby Curtis and Ed Moran.
Making their ING New York City Marathon debuts are 2011 IAAF World Championships Marathon bronze medalist, Feyisa Lilesa of Ethiopia, 2010 SportZone Half-Marathon (Portugal) champion Stephen Kibet of Kenya, three-time Rome Marathon champion Firehiwot Dado of Ethiopia and World Championships medalist Werknesh Kidane of Ethiopia, along with the second-fastest half-marathoner in the world this year, Matthew Kisorio of Kenya, running his first full marathon ever.
In the women’s race, runners include three-time U.S. Olympian Jen Rhines, New Zealand Olympian Kim Smith, British Olympian Jo Pavey, 2010 Virgin London Marathon runner-up Inga Abitova of Russia, who finished in fourth place last year, Portugal’s championship long-distance duo of Jéssica Augusto and Ana Dulce Félix, U.S. debut marathoners Lauren Fleshman and Molly Pritz, reigning Boston Marathon champion Caroline Kilel of Kenya, 2011 London winner Mary Keitany of Kenya, 2011 Honda L.A. Marathon champion Buzunesh Deba of Ethiopia, Swedish marathon record-holder Isabellah Andersson, and Galina Bogomolova, Russia’s second-fastest marathoner ever. Also competing is former World Cross Country champion and World Championships medalist Werknesh Kidane of Ethiopia, whose husband, Gebre Gebremariam, will defend his title in the men’s race.
This year’s celebrity roster features more than 20 names from a wide range of disciplines, from sports to television to music. Most of them will race for one of the more than 200 charities involved in this year’s ING New York City Marathon’s charity program, which is projected to raise more than $26.2 million, or roughly $1 million per mile. Among those racing are Inside Endurance athlete Ryan Sutter (Inside Endurance/Gatorade), whose journey to the marathon can be found at www.universalsports.com/G, U.S. Olympian speed skater Apolo Ohno (Subway), U.S. Olympian softball player Jennie Finch (Timex), The Weather Channel meteorologist Stephanie Abrams, Hall of Fame hockey player Mark Messier (New York Police & Fire Widow’s and Children’s Benefit Fund and Tomorrows Children’s Fund), model Christy Turlington (Every Mother Counts), model/actress Veronica Webb (Harlem United) and Grammy Award-Winning artist My?a (North Shore Animal League America).
More stuff is on the way.
Staring live early Friday morning on Universal Sports and concluding Sunday afternoon on tape on NBC, the Rugby World Cup concludes. This event has aired for the last few weeks on Universal and NBC Sports.
On Friday at 3:15 a.m. ET, Universal Sports airs the bronze medal match between Wales and Australia. On Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on tape delay, NBC airs the final between home country and world’s #1 seed New Zealand taking on France. The Rugby World Cup has been taking place in New Zealand and the Kiwis are very excited to have their team, the famed All Blacks back in the final.
We have the coverage details from Universal Sports and NBC.
Wales vs. Australia in Bronze Final on Universal Sports
New York and Los Angeles – October 19, 2011 – The 2011 IRB Rugby World Cup will conclude this Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on NBC with exclusive coverage of the highly anticipated Final between France and New Zealand. Universal Sports will reair the final at 8 p.m. ET. Universal Sports Network will also showcase the Bronze Final between Wales vs. Australia LIVE on Friday at 3:15 a.m. ET, with a re-air of the match at 7 p.m. ET.
The famed New Zealand All Blacks, the World No. 1 team, will attempt to capture a second world title after a 24-year draught, in its first World Cup Final appearance since 1995. New Zealand’s last world title, 24 years ago, was against France in 1987. Though a surprising finalist, France previously beat New Zealand in the 1999 World Cup semifinals and in the quarterfinals of the 2007 tournament.
Fans can also watch the World Cup Final and Bronze Medal match on-demand the following day on UniversalSports.com as part of an online subscription package.
Coverage on both NBC and Universal Sports will feature a studio pre-game show and halftime and post-game shows with Fred Roggin and Bill Seward alongside former USA Rugby Captain Brian Hightower.
Universal Sports and NBC Sports Broadcast Schedule
Date Time (ET) Match Network
October 21 3:15 a.m. LIVE Wales vs. Australia (Bronze Final) Universal Sports
7:00 p.m. Wales vs. Australia (Bronze Final) Universal Sports (Re-Air)
October 23 3:00 p.m. France vs. New Zealand (Final) NBC
8:00 p.m. France vs. New Zealand (Final) Universal Sports (Re-Air)
www.universalsports.com/socialscrum, fans can engage with the event as well as each other as they cheer on their favorite team and catch up on scores, standings and updates. Social Scrum will display Twitter feeds from fans around the world who are talking about the Rugby World Cup and provide live updates from the event.
That will do it.
I’m going to post as many links as I can. It’s part of the day where I could be leaving at any time. Let’s do this.
Michael Malone of Broadcasting & Cable looks at Universal Sports moving from an over-the-air/cable multichannel to an all-cable network.
Multichannel News reports that Univision has renewed its rights with the NFL as the official Hispanic broadcaster of the league.
Self Magazine had ESPN’s Erin Andrews do a CrossFit photo shoot. As usual, she looks great.
Karen Hogan at Sports Video Group notes that the New York Football Giants have developed their own mobile app.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell says student road trips are going to be big losers if the college sports conference super shuffle continues.
Darren writes that the Interactive Fan Cam can become a big revenue stream for college sports.
At the Poynter Institute, Jason Fry says the rules for sports journalism in covering teams have changed dramatically in the last few years.
Newsday’s Neil Best talks with the head of programming for NBC Sports/Versus about upgrading the cable channel’s programming.
Neil says the New York Giants return to hosting Monday Night Football for the first time since ABC had the package.
Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union has the Week 3 college football TV schedule.
Ken Schott from the Schenectady Gazette says Turner Sports has grabbed the Coaches vs. Cancer college basketball tournament for truTV.
Ken says NHL Network will air 32 preseason games starting next week. Hockey’s back!
Jim Williams of the Washington Examiner talks with an ESPN programming executive about how the WNBA is doing on the network.
Tom Jones from the St. Petersburg Times spends a couple of minutes with ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit.
Mel Bracht from the Daily Oklahoman writes that ESPN college football analyst David Pollack might be on the fast track to getting more work with the network.
Mel asks David to preview Saturday’s Oklahoma-Florida State game which will be aired on ABC.
Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel previews a new ESPN college football studio show.
Bob has Kirk Herbstreit talking about Wisconsin’s quarterback.
Bob notes that the Green Bay Packers will get the attention of the Sunday NFL pregame shows this week.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News has this week’s NFL TV schedule for SoCal.
Tom previews tonight’s NFL Films doc on Patriots coach Bill Belichick.
And I’m told we’re shutting down for the day. I’ll be back later with more stuff.
Because I was a jobsite for most of the morning and into the early afternoon, I wasn’t able to supply links today. I’ll get to them now.
Austin Karp leads the Sports Business Daily team in looking at the overnight ratings for the Monday Night Football doubleheader on ESPN.
Eric Fisher of Sports Business Journal writes that ticket broker StubHub has signed ESPN’s Erin Andrews for an ad campaign to appeal to women.
Eric looks at HBO’s corporate parent Time Warner pulling out all of the stops to promote this Saturday’s Floyd Mayweather-Victor Ortiz fight on pay per view.
USA Today’s Michael Hiestand provides his take on some of the weekend TV ratings.
I wondered where Brian Lowry of FoxSports.com has been. He had not written a column since August, but returns this week to talk about the NFL’s TV partners handling of the 9/11 tributes on Sunday.
Tim Baysinger of Broadcasting & Cable writes that HBO will carve out a six hour block of programming on its HBO Zone channel leading up to this Saturday’s Mayweather-Ortiz fight.
Andrea Morabito of B&C says CBS saw a ratings jump for the U.S. Open Men’s Final in the late Monday afternoon timeslot.
Anthony Crupi of Adweek tells us that a shift of several sports events to cable hurt broadcast ad sales in the first half of this year.
Toni Fitzgerald from Media Life says the ratings proved that NFL fans don’t remember the lockout.
You’ve probably seen it by now, but here’s Ron Jaworski saying, “Shit” on Monday Night Football as provided by Timothy Burke from SportsGrid. And here’s the subsequent apology. For the most part, Jaws said it on cable. It’s no big deal, but it was still funny.
Dan Fogarty of SportsGrid has excerpts of Chris Russo’s appearance on the Howard Stern Show on Sirius XM, discussing former ESPN’er Steve Phillips’ past problems.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell says U.S. Open men’s champion Novak Djokovic’s sponsor has failed to properly promote its client while paying him a lot of money.
Darren says the 10th anniversary of 9/11 led to a boom in oversized U.S. flag rentals.
Ken Belson and Richard Sandomir of the New York Times delve into why MLB rejected the New York Mets’ plans to wear caps honoring the first responders for their game on 9/11/11.
Kimberly A. Martin of Newsday reports that a New York radio personality is defending his father who used an illegal taser during a fight with a Dallas Cowboys fan during the Jets game on Sunday night.
Newsday’s Neil Best says the Cowboys-Jets game set a Sunday Night Football viewing record for NBC.
Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union talks about the ratings for Monday Night Football and the U.S. Open.
From the DC Sports Bog at the Washington Post, Dan Steinberg says the local ratings for the New York Giants-DC NFL Team were very good.
Jim Williams of the Washington Examiner says he’s not surprised over the record ratings for Sunday Night Football.
Barry Jackson in the Miami Herald isn’t a fan of former CNN anchorman Rick Sanchez in the Florida International football radio booth.
David Barron at the Houston Chronicle has a look at the local college football TV ratings.
Mel Bracht of the Daily Oklahoman lists the local weekend sports TV ratings.
John Kiesewetter of the Cincinnati Enquirer says the Bengals scored on local TV.
John says Fox Sports Ohio airs a documentary on Pete Rose’s hit record.
Bob Wolfley at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says former Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez did well in the Entourage series finale on Sunday.
Dan Caesar in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that the Rams’ ratings for their season opener were down from a year ago.
The Los Angeles Times reports that former ESPN’er and ex-Chicago Sun-Times columnist Jay “The Rat” Mariotti pleaded no contest to charges stemming from an assault and stalking case involving his former girlfriend.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News writes that Universal Sports is testing how much you want the Olympic sports channel on your cable system.
TSN host Michael Landsberg feels guilty he didn’t see the signs for Wade Belak’s suicide.
Ryan Yoder of Awful Announcing wonders if ESPN is heading towards premium cable channel land.
And that is it for the linkage.
Time for some links. I expect press releases galore today announcing NFL ratings news so before they come fast and furious, I’ll do some linkage.
USA Today’s Michael Hiestand says the NFL and its TV partners handled their 9/11 tributes yesterday as best as they could.
Scott Woolley at Forbes.com writes that cable operators are ready to fight ESPN over its huge rights deal for Monday Night Football.
David Lieberman of Deadline says the battle lines are drawn between cable operators and ESPN.
In the Hollywood Reporter, Lindsay Powers reports that the NFL saw its best season opening primetime ratings in 15 years.
Michael Malone of Broadcasting & Cable notes that NBC’s Universal Sports is going to be a cable-only channel starting in 2012. Universal is on several NBC owned-and-operated local digital channels and will be removed starting in January.
Mike Reynolds of Multichannel News says Universal Sports has begun an ad campaign asking cable and satellite distributors to pick it up in time for the 2012 Olympics.
Anthony Crupi at Adweek asks if the flashy Maryland football uniforms were a nightmare or a brilliant marketing scheme for athletic apparel manufacturer, Under Armour.
Anthony says Dunkin’ Donuts will be sponsoring ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown this season.
Toni Fitzgerald from Media Life Magazine writes that the NFL regular season opener last Thursday really scored for NBC.
Kat Stoeffel of the New York Observer notes that former Boston Globe curmudgeon Charlie Pierce is joining Bill Simmons’ Grantland. Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch points out that it comes after Pierce lambasted Simmons last December.
Dan Fogarty of SportsGrid has the video of NASCAR driver Tony Stewart being a dick to Associated Press reporter Jenna Fryer.
Deadspin has video of Fox Sports’ Chris Myers ordering a stiff drink on the air.
TMZ says former ESPN SportsCenter anchor Josh Elliot could replace Good Morning America co-host George Stephanopoulos.
ESPN’s Front Row PR blog profiles the man who literally drives the bus for Monday Night Football.
Phil Mushnick of the New York Post believes everything in the world is bad.
Ron Musselman of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes that the Temple-Penn State game will be on ESPN this Saturday.
David Zurawik of the Baltimore Sun has fun with the CBS NFL Today analysts picking Pittsburgh before yestserday’s game with the Ravens.
Leigh Pressley of the Charlotte Observer says a local man will be seen on Golf Channel’s Big Break reality show this month.
Paul Woody of the Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch profiles ESPN NASCAR pit reporter Jamie Little.
Paul also talks with ESPN’s NASCAR pit studio stage manager who is from Virginia.
Gary Smits of the Florida Times-Union says ESPN College GameDay comes back to Tallahassee this Saturday after a 10 year absence.
Tom Jones of the St. Petersburg Times reviews the weekend in sports television and radio.
Mike Baldwin of the Daily Oklahoman writes that Oklahoma University is in a mini-slump when College GameDay goes to one of its games.
Ed Sherman of Crain’s Chicago Business is amazed at the local TV ratings for the Bears season opener.
Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes that Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers will be seen on Golf Channel this week as part of an NFL-themed program.
Dusty Saunders of the Denver Post talks with ESPN NFL analyst Trent Dilfer who will be working tonight’s Oakland-Broncos game.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News has your sports calendar for this week.
Bruce Dowbiggin from the Toronto Globe and Mail notes that one local talk show host was on the warpath last week.
Susan Krashinsky of the Globe and Mail explores the potential new partnership between Canadian TV rivals CTV and CBC for the 2014/16 Olympics.
Jamie Sturgeon of the National Post writes about Rogers’ decision to pull out of Canada’s Olympic Broadcast Consortium.
Dusan Belic of IntoMobile says the NFL has launched a new Android tablet app.
Ben Koo of Awful Announcing explains why ESPN’s GamePlan college football pay per view package has been rendered obsolete and worthless by ESPN.
Matt Clapp at AA has the stirring video of America’s Unofficial Anthem Singer, Jim Cornelison, helping to kick off the NFL season before yesterday’s Atlanta Falcons-Chicago Bears game.
Joe Favorito says even in its worst times, hockey finds a way to heal the sport and its players.
Dug out as many links as I could today. That’s it for now. More press release posts as they come in.
I wasn’t able to link yesterday due to some personal commitments. I’ll be doing some today.
Mike McCarthy of USA Today says ESPN yanked teams with anti-Semitic names from its fantasy football leagues.
Daniel Riley of GQ speaks with the best baseball announcer of all-time, Vin Scully about his greatest calls.
John Eggerton of Broadcasting & Cable notes that the American Cable Association is blasting ESPN for its huge rights contract for Monday Night Football.
Mike Reynolds from Multichannel News writes that NBC and Universal Sports have begun to air coverage of the Rugby World Cup.
Mike writes that YES Network is coming in to air Fox NFL Sunday for Fox in New York for one week only.
Eric Deggans from the St. Petersburg Times writes in the Indiana University National Sports Journalism Center that fans will be footing the bill for the NFL’s recent megadeal with ESPN.
Brandon Costa at Sports Video Group says NFL Films will have a nationwide tribute to 9/11 before all games today.
Dan Fogarty at SportsGrid notes that TNT’s Charles Barkley wasn’t quite himself doing an interview on ESPN yesterday.
Timothy Burke of SportsGrid has the audio of Yankees broadcaster John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman using a cell phone to broadcast a game last week.
Former CNN correspondent Kelly Wallace, now of iVillage, speaks with NBC Sunday Night Football sideline reporter Michele Tafoya about balancing motherhood with her job.
Rob Neyer at SBNation wonders if MASN handled Orioles analyst Mike Flanagan’s death properly.
Ian R. Rapoport of the Boston Herald has a look at the NFL Films documentary on Patriots coach Bill Belichick.
Newsday’s Neil Best talks with some of New York’s sports figures who remember 9/11.
Claire Atkinson of the New York Post reports that some cable providers are unhappy over ESPN’s megadeal for Monday Night Football and may fight back.
Ken Schott from the Schenectady Gazette says the local CBS affiliate will be throwing Monday’s U.S. Open men’s final to another station.
John Brennan of the Bergen (NJ) Record writes that several NHL promos for the league’s TV partners are being shot in Newark, NJ.
Keith Groller of the Allentown (PA) Morning Call says a rainout prevented a local minor league baseball announcer from making a signature call.
Jim Williams of the Washington Examiner talks with NBC/Versus’ programming chief about its new lineup.
Lauren Bailey of the Charlotte Observer profiles an Emmy-award producer who has helped to shape the way ESPN does its features.
Tom Jones at the St. Petersburg Times has your NFL Viewing Guide for this season.
Norm Sanders of the Belleville (IL) News-Democrat remembers a local man who worked behind the scenes for both CBS and Fox Sports.
Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes that the NFL Films documentary on Patriots coach Bill Belichick lifts the curtain on some of his mysterious persona.
Dan Caesar in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Cardinals’ ratings are down compared to last year.
Dr. Michael Chung writes in the Kansas City Star that based on its TV ratings, baseball might be in trouble.
Jason Franchuk of the Provo (UT) Daily Herald compares how the Longhorn Network shapes up against BYUtv.
Marcus Vanderberg of Fishbowl LA says Kings on-air personality Heidi Androl won’t be returning to her duties with Fox Sports West this season.
The Canadian Sports Media Blog notes that CTV and CBC will team up for the Canada’s Olympic Broadcasting Consortium’s bid for the 2014/16 Games. Rather shocking. That would be like NBC and CBS teaming up for a joint Olympic bid here.
And the CSM writes that former Hockey Night in Canada insider Scott Morrison has joined his on-air partner Jeff Marek at Rogers Sportsnet. In fact, Morrison now becomes Marek’s boss.
Sports Media Watch looks at the ratings for the NFL regular season opener on NBC.
SMW says ESPN’s college football Labor Day game did not do well in the ratings.
Steve Lepore of Puck The Media says the New Jersey Devils have chosen the man to replace Mike Emrick as lead play-by-play voice.
And that is going to be it. The Sunday NFL pregame quotage is in so I’ll be posting that in the next hour.
This week, both Universal and NBC Sports will air live coverage from the Visa Championships, USA Gymnastics national championships starting on Thursday and lasting until Saturday. NBC’s Olympic gymnastics announcing team of Al Trautwig, Elfi Schlegel and Tim Dagget will call the action on both networks. It culminates with NBC airing the women’s competition in primetime on Saturday.
Universal will also air “Around The Gym”, a wraparound show that will be hosted by 2008 Olympic All-Around champion Nastia Liukin. We have details and the broadcast schedule for the Visa Championships which will take place in St. Paul, MN this week.
OLYMPIC MEDALISTS SHAWN JOHNSON, JONATHAN HORTON AND ALICIA SACRAMONE HIGHLIGHT NBC SPORTS’ AND UNIVERSAL SPORTS’ LIVE COVERAGE OF THE 2011 VISA CHAMPIONSHIPS
Women’s Finals Live Saturday on NBC in Primetime
Universal Sports’ “Around the Gym” with Olympians Nastia Liukin and John Roethlisberger to provide Comprehensive Pre- and Post-Competition Coverage
NEW YORK AND LOS ANGELES – August 17, 2011 – NBC Sports and Universal Sports will continue their extensive gymnastics coverage by combining to present 13 hours of the Visa Championships, USA Gymnastics’ national championships, this week from the XL Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. Universal Sports will present live coverage of the women’s competition this Thursday at 8 p.m. ET and the men’s competition Friday at 8 p.m. ET. NBC Sports will carry live primetime coverage of the women’s final day competition on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET and taped coverage of the men’s final day coverage on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. ET. NBC’s Olympic gymnastics broadcasting team of Al Trautwig, 1984 Olympic gold medalist Tim Daggett, Olympian Elfi Schlegel and Andrea Joyce will call the competition with David Michaels directing all production for both NBC Sports and Universal Sports.
Universal Sports’ pre- and post-competition show Around the Gym returns for its second year. Around the Gym will again be hosted by 2008 Olympic all-around gold medalist Nastia Liukin and three-time Olympian John Roethlisberger. Around the Gym will provide an inside look at the competition, featuring interviews, commentary and analysis both before and after the daily events. The 30-minute shows will air live starting Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET, prior to the first session on Universal Sports, and immediately following coverage at 10 p.m. ET. On Friday, Around the Gym will start pre-competition coverage at 7:30 p.m. ET and post-competition at 11 p.m. ET. Universal Sports will also broadcast Around the Gym following NBC’s coverage of the women’s final day of competition on Saturday at 10 p.m. ET.
UniversalSports.com will provide free, live simulstreams of the competitions and Around the Gym, along with extensive competition highlights, photos, news and blogs, plus athlete interviews and other behind-the-scenes content. Fans can also access Universal Sports’ new iPad app for up-to-date broadcast schedules, breaking news, video highlights, special features and more.
The Visa Championships determine the U.S. champions and the national team for both the junior and senior elite levels in men’s and women’s gymnastics. This year’s competition will feature many of the biggest names in the sport. The women’s field is particularly star-studded, with Olympic all-around silver medalist and former world champion Shawn Johnson competing in her first VISA National Championship since her medal winning performances at the 2008 Beijing Games. Also, 2008 Olympic Team silver medalist Alicia Sacramone will look to continue her dominance on the vault, where she has won five previous national championships and is the reigning world champion.
The highly competitive women’s field also features 2010 world all-around bronze-medalist and defending U.S. champion Rebecca Bross; 2011 American Cup champion Jordyn Wieber, 2008 Olympic team silver medalistand former world champion Chellsie Memmel, and 2010 world all-around finalist and 2011 CoverGirl Classic Champion Alexandra Raisman;
The men’s field is highlighted by 2008 Olympic team bronze medalist and two-time and defending U.S. champion Jonathan Horton. In 2010, Horton landed on his first world all-around podium, winning the bronze medal in Rotterdam. Nationally, Horton will face tough competition from 2010 U.S. all-around silver medalist, Danell Leyva, who challenged Horton at last year’s national championships, but fell about 2.3 points short of the title.
2011 NBC Sports and Universal Sports Broadcast/Web Schedule
(All Times ET):
8/18, Around the Gym (LIVE), 7:30 p.m., Universal Sports TV
8/18, Women’s Competition (LIVE), 8 p.m., Universal Sports TV and web
8/18, Around the Gym (LIVE), 10 p.m., Universal Sports TV
8/19, Around the Gym (LIVE), 7:30 p.m., Universal Sports TV
8/19, Men’s Competition (LIVE), 8 p.m., Universal Sports TV and web
8/19, Around the Gym (LIVE), 11 p.m., Universal Sports TV
8/20, Women’s Competition (LIVE), 8 p.m., NBC
8/20, Around the Gym (LIVE), 10 p.m., Universal Sports TV
8/20, Women’s Competition (NBC Re-Air), 10:30 p.m., Universal Sports TV and web
8/21, Men’s Competition (Tape Delay), 4:30 p.m., NBC
And that does it.
On Tuesday, I did the links in the evening, but today, the linkage is coming out early. Let’s get to them.
Michael Hiestand of USA Today writes that Fox plans to use its college football sideline reporter more as an analyst on the field, rather than give injury updates.
To the Wall Street Journal where Sam Schechner and Alexandra Berzon write about poker programming falling off TV due to the recent Fed crackdown of offsite gambling sites.
The Sports Biz Miss, Kristi Dosh, writes in Forbes that the settlement of the NFL lockout does not bode well for the NBA players in their dispute with the league.
Cam Martin of SportsNewser notes that former Access Hollywood and Insider host (and Betsy admirer) Pat O’Brien returns to CBS as the host of a new poker series. Pat used to be NBA, MLB and Olympics host for CBS Sports a long, long time ago. I think he’s better known now for his entertainment work than his sports career.
Ben Grossman of Broadcasting & Cable has Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban being bullish on cable saying it’s the best way to distribute video rather than the internet.
Mike Reynolds at Multichannel News says Universal Sports, which is now available on DirecTV, is airing “One Year To Go” programming as we’re now a year away from the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.
Ki Mae Heussner from Adweek says ESPN’s Erin Andrews was among those taking part in an event hosted by Marie Claire magazine.
Tim Nudd at Adweek looks at the State of MLS as it hits its All-Star Game tonight.
Timothy Burke of SportsGrid has the video of the controversial ending between the Atlanta Braves and Pittsburgh Pirates in the 19th inning.
Ken Kerschbaumer of Sports Video Group notes that ESPN.com has reworked its video player to stream 720p clips.
At Yahoo’s From the Marbles blog, Jay Busbee has ESPN’s NASCAR crew telling Dale Earnhardt, Jr. that it’s time to be a man.
The Big Lead notes that ESPN is all over football right now even though baseball is approaching one of its busier times of the season.
Awful Announcing is now at the finals of its Joe Morgan Memorial Tournament. Finalists might surprise you.
All Access says ESPN Deportes Radio has picked up another affiliate, this time in South Florida.
Richard Sandomir from the New York Times the victims of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme are now focusing on the Mets ownership and what they knew of Madoff’s shenanigans and when they knew it.
Tom Spousta of the Times notes that Texas’ rivals in the Big 12 are seeing more than burnt orange in regards to the Longhorn Network.
Pete Tobey at the Glen Falls (NY) Post-Star says local native Dave Strader is leaving his Phoenix Coyotes post to work for the NHL on NBC/Versus.
Bob Smizik of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says CBS Radio is making a hard charge at the Pittsburgh Pirates rights as Clear Channel tries to hold onto them.
Fox Sports Southwest has formally announced that Friday nights will be devoted to high school football programming.
Brent Zwerneman at the Houston Chronicle notes that the Big 12 has called a meeting on what to do about the Longhorn Network.
Steve Watkins of the Cincinnati Business Courier says Fox Sports Ohio is offering some online features as a companion to its Reds game broadcasts.
Robert Feder at TimeOut Chicago says NBC Chicago has hired the replacement for the late Daryl Hawks on its sports staff.
Vahe Gregorian at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that the Big 12 hierarchy is feeling that the issues surrounding Longhorn Network can be fixed.
Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star says a switching error caused the Royals-Red Sox extra inning game to go off the air on Fox Sports Kansas City late Monday night and a streetball program to go on briefly its place.
Chris Dufrense of the Los Angeles Times says Pac-12 schools remain euphoric about their $3 billion media rights contract with ESPN and Fox, but there are still some issues that hang over the conference.
Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News caught up with Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott and spoke with him about several issues facing the league.
Robert Collias of the Maui (HI) News reports that NBC golf analyst Mark Rolfing is sounding off after being dropped as the Executive Director of a PGA Tour stop.
Susan Krashinsky of the Toronto Globe and Mail writes that Rogers Sportsnet has purchased Setanta Sports Canada and will rebrand the channel under the Sportsnet name.
Erik Spanberg from Scene Daily has ESPN being hopeful that the upward trend on NASCAR’s TV ratings continue as it takes over the Sprint Cup schedule for the rest of the season.
Sports Media Watch has some various ratings news and notes.
The Business Insider Sports Page has its suggestions as who should be cause in the ESPN Book movie.
And I’m done with the links for now.
After being teased with a one month trial back in September of 2009 when Versus was pulled from DirecTV, Universal Sports is now on the satellite provider full-time as of today. The channel will be in the provider’s Sports Pack on channel 625. Universal has been in the midst of providing coverage of the World Swimming Championships from Communist China and in late August, the network owned by NBC Universal will air exclusive coverage of the IAAF World Championships from Daegu, South Korea. It’s about time Universal Sports has hit DirecTV and this provides the channel with access to as many as 19 million subscribers. From now until September, all DirecTV viewers will be able to see the Universal before it goes behind the Sports Pack tier. We have the giddy press release from Universal Sports.
Los Angeles, CA – July 27, 2011 — Universal Sports is making its DirecTV debut today on channel 625. For the first time ever, DIRECTV’s 19.4 million U.S. customers will be able to watch the world’s top athletes competing in championship events from around the globe. including the Swimming World Championships currently underway in China, the IAAF Track and Field World Championships in late August, and the third and final Grand Tour of the summer cycling season, the Vuelta a España (starting August 20).
Universal Sports will also begin its new “Countdown to London” multi-platform programming today with one year to go before the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. The day of programming, entitled “Countdown to London, One Year to Go”, will give fans a special look back at the greatest moments from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, as well as, primetime coverage from the 2011 Swimming World Championships in Shanghai. The network’s 2008 Olympic Games retrospective will include the highlight series, “Pieces of 08”, and a re-airing of the captivating 2008 Opening Ceremony.
Beginning in September, DIRECTV viewers will be able to check out on both Universal Sports and DIRECTV pay-per-view the 2011 Rugby World Cup, where host New Zealand, England, South Africa and the U.S. will compete for the sport’s quadrennial world championship.
On June 15, 2011, Universal Sports and DIRECTV announced a multi-year, multi-platform distribution agreement, the first between the two companies. In the deal, the network agreed to launch on a free preview basis to all DIRECTV customers on July 27, before moving to DIRECTV’s SPORTS PACK and other select packages on October 1, 2011. Also, Universal Sports’ ownership of full digital rights to its content will allow DIRECTV’s customers to enjoy the network’s programming on the Internet, mobile devices and tablets as DIRECTV rolls out its multiplatform offerings in the near future.
I’m working on the links right now. I hope to have them finished before lunchtime on the East Coast.
Announced today by NBC Sports Group’s Universal Sports arm, the Olympic sports channel has signed a five year deal to air a whole slew of skiing events including Alpine Skiing, Ski Jumping, Cross Country, Nordic Combined and Snowboarding. Universal Sports will get to show events from the International Ski Federation starting this year and run through the 2015-16 season.
We have the official announcement from Universal Sports.
Multi-discipline agreement ensures U.S. coverage of top international skiing and snowboarding events for next five seasons
Network will be home to the 2013 FIS Alpine and Nordic World Championships
Los Angeles, CA—June 27, 2011 – Universal Sports network, the premier destination for Olympic-related sports programming, and international sports marketing company Infront Sports & Media have announced an exclusive media rights agreement for a comprehensive number of International Ski Federation (FIS) World Cup events through the 2015-16 season. The deal covers each of the World Cup races for FIS Alpine Skiing, Ski Jumping, Cross Country, Nordic Combined, Snowboard and Freestyle, or almost 200 events per season, beginning in the fall of 2011.The new agreement includes rights in the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands on all platforms, including television, on-line and mobile.
“The agreement with Infront allows our network to continue bringing multi-platform coverage of the FIS World Cup events to millions of winter sport enthusiasts across the U.S.,” said David Sternberg, CEO of Universal Sports. “We are excited to showcase some of the greatest athletes on the planet competing week in and week out at stunning venues around the world.”
“The United States is one of the major sports markets worldwide and – with its successful athletes and prestigious races – also a key nation in skiing,” said Bruno Marty, Infront’s Executive Director Winter Sports. “The prolonged agreement with Universal Sports ensures that the extensive US audience is connected to the FIS World Cup events on a long-term basis. Universal Sports has acquired the rights to transmit an impressive 1,000 events to TV screens across the country over the next five years – in turn this will generate comprehensive exposure for one of the most popular winter sports in the world.”
“In the past you’d see one or two big races broadcast on TV each season, but the FIS World Cup is about a full season of skiing with a million factors coming into play at each race,” said Bode Miller, a five-time Olympic medalist. “The guys who are fast all season are able to process all of those factors, break them down and take the right amount of risk. You can’t see that in one race. It’s cool that Universal Sports is stepping up to show the full World Cup story.”
As part of the deal, Universal Sports has also licensed three dedicated magazine programs on FIS Snowboard, Freestyle and Alpine Skiing. Each magazine series is made up of regular 25-minute shows featuring race action, interviews, backstage shots and stories of interest from the world’s top winter sports resorts.
Finally, in a separate agreement with Infront, Universal Sports has also acquired the U.S. media rights for the 2013 FIS Alpine and Nordic World Ski Championships. These biennial events will take place from February 4 to 17, 2013 in Schladming, Austria, and February 20 to March 4, 2013 in Val di Fiemme, Italy, respectively.
That will do it.
Even though I didn’t links on Wednesday, it feels I haven’t done them in ages. You’re owed a chunk of them. Here goes.
David B. Wilkerson at Marketwatch.com says ESPN is not worried about losing NFL programming.
At NPR, Frank Deford says there has to be a reason why ESPN didn’t bid hard for the Olympics.
Marisa Guthrie of the Hollywood Reporter notes that Universal Sports has finally signed a long-awaited distribution deal with DirecTV.
Lindsay Rubino of Broadcasting & Cable writes that last night’s Stanley Cup Final Game 7 won the night for NBC in key demographics.
Mike Reynolds from Multichannel News reports that CBS Sports Network picks up Comcast subscribers in three Southern markets.
Mike talks with Comcast SportsNet Chicago’s Jim Corno about running the area’s various sports networks over the years.
Emma Bazilian of Adweek writes that NBCUniversal has signed a deal with comic book creator Stan Lee’s Guardian Media Entertainment to market the NHL’s Superhero franchise which to date, no one understands. I saw the Guardians unveiled during the NHL All-Star Game earlier this year and I had no idea what it was supposed to represent.
Toni Fitzgerald of Media Life says Stanley Cup Final Game 7 finished rather well for NBC last night.
Marcus Vanderberg of SportsNewser has video of ESPN’s Michelle Beadle admitting on Live with Regis & Kelly that she’s watched internet porn.
Glenn Davis of SportsGrid has some videos from last night’s crazy riots in Vancouver that took place after Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. Now imagine if the Canucks had won!
Here’s today’s front page of the Vancouver Province showing what the story was last night.
The Vancouver Sun’s front page had what the story should have been.
This is the front page of the Boston Herald. I like this picture.
And the Brockton (MA) Enterprise with a classic front page.
Noah Davis at the Business Insider Sports Page says it’s obvious that tablets are the future of magazines.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell says Chinese tennis star Li Na has signed an endorsement deal with Mercedes Benz.
The Big Lead has tennis analyst John McEnroe calling for a Hard Knocks-type reality series to help market the sport.
All Access says the St. Louis Rams have signed a new deal to remain in their current flagship radio station.
John Altavilla of the Hartford Courant writes that Comcast SportsNet New England will air select Connecticut Sun WNBA games.
Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union talks about CBS signing a new six year deal with the Big Ten for basketball.
The Buffalo Sabres have announced a new broadcast team for selected road games for next season.
The Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg in the DC Sports Bog says local ratings for Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final were very good. They were certainly higher than the national number.
Jim Williams at the Washington Examiner talks about the NHL’s ratings for Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Jim says the U.S. Open at Congressional will be covered like a wool blanket this week.
Jimmy Burch of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram talks about the launch date for ESPN’s Longhorn Network.
David Barron of the Houston Chronicle has a couple of sports media notes.
Mike Finger of the Chronicle discusses the launch of the Longhorn Network plus its quest to get carried throughout the Lone Star State and beyond.
Michigan Live says the University of Detroit will name its basketball court after ESPN’s Dick Vitale. He coached there before going to the NBA and then to ESPN in 1979.
Bob Wolfley in the Milwaukee Journal notes that Cincinnati Bengals Dhani Jones gave NFL Network a list of the top NFL linebackers that includes himself.
Ed Sherman of Crain’s Chicago Business says Cubs owner Ed Ricketts did not help himself by talking to the media this week.
Scott Dochterman in the Iowa City Gazette discusses CBS signing a new deal with the Big Ten for basketball.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News says the Wimbledon finals can be seen in 3-D at various theaters around SoCal.
In another uniformed column, the Toronto Globe and Mail’s Bruce Dowbiggin feels Twitter is what ails everything in sports.
Sports Media Watch looks at the NBC’s overnight ratings for the Stanley Cup Final Game 7.
Steve Lepore at Puck The Media has the half hour overnight ratings breakdown of Game 7.
Yahoo’s Greg Wyshynski explains how NBC got good ratings for Game 7 despite having a Canadian team in the Stanley Cup Final.
Matt Yoder at Awful Announcing can’t believe the wallpaper Don Cherry used as a suit for CBC’s Coach’s Corner last night.
SportsbyBrooks looks into yet another plagiarism charge against Denver Post columnist Woody Paige.
Chris Hadley at The Sports Tube remembers NBC’s failed Olympics Triplecast experiment for the 1992 Barcelona Games.
Dave Kohl at Major League Programs feels sports radio in both Dallas and Miami failed by not having local programming immediately following the NBA Finals Game 6 to give fans opportunities to vent or celebrate.
We’ll leave it there for now.
After being on for a very short month in September 2009 during a dispute with Versus, then being dropped, Universal Sports will finally get full-time carriage on DirecTV. Starting in August, Universal will get a free preview for all subscribers, then move to its Sports tier and eventually going to other packages in October. Universal will air the World Track & Field Championships in August plus other Olympic sports events. Here’s the official announcement.
Network will be Available on Top U.S. Satellite Provider beginning in August
Los Angeles, CA – June 15, 2011– Universal Sports Network, the premier destination for Olympic-related sports programming, and DIRECTV, the world’s largest pay TV provider, today announced a multi-year, multi-platform distribution agreement, the first between the two companies. Under the terms of the deal, the network plans to launch on a free preview basis to all DIRECTV customers by early August, before moving to DIRECTV’s SPORTS PACK and other select packages on October 1, 2011. The announcement was made today by David Sternberg, CEO, Universal Sports and Derek Chang, EVP, Content Strategy and Development, DIRECTV.
In addition to the linear TV network, Universal Sports’ ownership of full digital rights to its content will allow DIRECTV’s customers to enjoy the network’s programming on the Internet, mobile devices and tablets as DIRECTV rolls out its multiplatform offerings in the near future. Universal Sports subscribers will also have access to supplemental live Internet streams of events not aired on the linear network.
“DIRECTV is the recognized leader in sports and we are very excited to be joining DIRECTV’s incredible lineup of sports programming with our multi-screen content offering,” said Sternberg. “This is an important step forward for both Universal Sports and DIRECTV’s customers, who will soon have the opportunity to watch all of our world-class sports coverage on any devices they want. We look forward to enhancing DIRECTV’s value proposition to all sports fans.”
“With the launch of Universal Sports Network in SPORTS PACK, we are enabling the many sports fans across our customer base to discover the wide variety of Olympic-related sports coverage available on this unique channel,” said Chang. “And it’s a great warm-up for next year’s Olympics telecast.”
DIRECTV’s 19.4 million U.S. customers will enjoy the initial free preview and can watch the world’s top athletes competing in championship events from around the globe this summer, including the U.S. Swimming National Championships in early August, the IAAF Track and Field World Championships in late August and the third and final Grand Tour of the summer cycling season, the Vuelta a España (starting August 20). Among the Olympians expected to compete exclusively on Universal Sports will be swimmers Ryan Lochte and Natalie Coughlin, sprinters Usain Bolt and Tyson Gay and cyclists Alberto Contador and Mark Cavendish. Most of these athletes and more will be prominent in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, England.
Then, beginning in September, DIRECTV viewers will be able to check out on both Universal Sports and DIRECTV pay-per-view the 2011 Rugby World Cup, where host New Zealand, England, South Africa and the U.S. will compete for the sport’s quadrennial world championship. Select matches of the Rugby World Cup, as well as certain events from the IAAF World Championships, will also be made available to DIRECTV in 3D, a first for Universal Sports.
That’s going to do it for now.
With Rugby Sevens an Olympic sport starting in 2016, the NBC Sports Group is introducing the American audience to the game. This weekend, we have the Collegiate Rugby Championships in Philadelphia and The Group will be all over it. Starting at noon today, three of The Group’s networks will be airing the event. If you have all of the networks, you can see coverage going from noon until 8 p.m. ET and not leave your couch. Well, you should get up and go outside during that stretch, but anyway, I digress. Here’s the press release from The Group.
14 HOURS OF LIVE COVERAGE OF THE 2011 USA SEVENS COLLEGIATE RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP JUNE 4-5 ON NBC, VERSUS AND UNIVERSAL SPORTS
Network’s to Give Rugby Fans Unprecedented Coverage this Weekend, Including Eight Straight Hours on Saturday
NEW YORK (June 2, 2011) –NBC, VERSUS and Universal Sports will offer extensive live coverage of the 2011 USA Collegiate Rugby Championships this Saturday and Sunday from Philadelphia, Pa. Universal Sports will kick-off the event with two hours of live coverage on Saturday beginning at 12 noon ET, immediately followed by VERSUS coverage from 2-4 p.m. ET. NBC will pick up the rugby action at 4 p.m. ET, and VERSUS will continue coverage from 6-8 p.m. ET.
Sunday’s coverage will showcase live Quarterfinal matches on Universal Sports followed by all the Semifinal coverage on VERSUS. NBC Sports will then air the Bronze Medal, Challenger Final and Championship Final matches from 4-6 p.m. ET. The Championship Final will feature extended, ten-minute halves.
The second-annual tournament features 16 college teams including Notre Dame, Boston College and Penn State as well as last year’s tournament champion University of Utah and runner-up University of California.
The matches consist of seven players per team playing on the same size pitch as a traditional 15’s rugby match. Teams compete in one of four pools and l play seven-minute halves, with only a two-minute halftime, making the play extremely quick and exciting. It was recently announced that Rugby Sevens will be an Olympic sport starting in 2016 and the USA Sevens Rugby Collegiate Championships offer fans a preview of the talent pool available for the U.S. Olympic team.
Veteran announcer Todd Harris will call the game action from PPL Park and will be joined in the booth by analyst Brian Hightower, a former USA Rugby World Cup 99’ participant. Marty Snider will report from the sidelines.
Live schedule for the 2011 USA Sevens Collegiate Rugby Championships (all times ET, subject to change):
Saturday, June 4
12-2 p.m. ET — Universal Sports
2-4 p.m. ET — VERSUS
4-6 p.m. ET — NBC
6-8 p.m. ET — VERSUS
Sunday, June 5
12-2 p.m. ET — Universal Sports
2-4 p.m. ET — VERSUS
4-6 p.m. ET — NBC
You probably didn’t see this since you were probably at work or if you were at home, may not have access to Universal Sports. Well, Usain Bolt was on the track in Rome on Thursday for the IAAF Diamond League Golden Gala. It was Bolt’s first 100 meters race of the year and the first time he was on the track since August of last year. This comes courtesy of Universal Sports and I thank them for allowing me to embed this video here. The races are called by BBC Sport announcers. I think this is Steve Cram on the call for the Usain Bolt race.
As you saw, Bolt edged fellow Jamaican Asafa Powell.
Our next video is from the Women’s 400 meters and American Allyson Felix won this rather handily. Olympic silver medalist and current world champion Sanya Richards-Ross finished a disappointing fifth.
And that will do it. Again thanks to Universal Sports for giving me the videos to post for you. The next IAAF Diamond League meet will be the Steve Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, OR and will be aired on NBC Sports.
Starting Saturday, NBC’s Olympic sports channel, Universal Sports, will begin coverage of the Giro d’Italia. Universal will have multi-platform coverage of the 23 day event that roams all over Italy. In addition to live daily coverage, Universal will provide nightly one-hour recaps of the event. And of course, you can watch the coverage on UniversalSports.com for a fee. We have details from Universal Sports right here.
Universal Sports Presents over 45 Hours of LIVE Comprehensive Coverage of the First Grand Tour of 2011, the Giro d’Italia Cycling Race
23 Days of Multi-Platform Coverage Begins on Saturday, May 7, 2011 at 9:30 a.m. ET
Spanish Cyclist Alberto Contador Seeks Sixth Grand Tour Title
May 5, 2011—Los Angeles, CA— Universal Sports presents over 45 hours of LIVE comprehensive coverage of the 2011 Giro d’Italia Grand Tour cycling event. The network will cover the race on its television, on-line and mobile platforms beginning this Saturday, May 7 at 9:30 a.m. ET. The 94th annual race will feature many of the world’s top riders as they battle across 1,500 miles through mountainous Italy with the hope of obtaining each day’s coveted prize, the “Maglia Rosa,” Giro’s pink leader jersey.
Universal Sports will have daily live coverage of every stage, including a post-race report, and primetime re-airs nightly at 8:00 pm ET. On the two rest days, the network will air the “Giro Race Review” show, featuring highlights of the race so far and an analysis of upcoming challenges. The broadcast team consists of Steve Schlanger on play-by-play and Todd Gogulski, former teammate of Lance Armstrong and Greg LeMond, serving as the network’s cycling analyst.
The network’s digital platform, UniversalSports.com, will offer the ultimate online experience for cycling fans with live, pay-per-view coverage of the complete race that will include athlete profiles, expert analysis, highlights, photos and recaps. Universal Sports’ Facebook page will host a free viewing party of stage one on Saturday, May 7 at 9:30am ET and fans will get the opportunity to LIVE chat with Brent Bookwalter from the BMC Racing Team.
Alberto Contador of Spain enters the 2011 Giro d’Italia in search of his sixth Grand Tour title. He won the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta á Espana in 2008 and then went on to win the Tour de France in 2010. During that Tour win, however, the Spaniard tested positive for a banned substance and was suspended from competition. He’s since been cleared of wrongdoing by the Spanish Cycling Federation, but the UCI (cycling’s governing body) and WADA (World Anti-doping Agency) have appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The CAS said it will make a final decision before the 2011 Tour de France.
With reigning champion Ivan Basso concentrating on other races, 2009 champion Denis Menchov will look to join an elite field of riders to win the Giro d’Italia more than once. Italians Stefano Garzelli, Michele Scarponi and Basso’s teammate, Vincenzo Nibali, will all look to keep the pink jersey in Italy.
Highlighting the 2011 Giro field for the Americans are sprinter Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervelo), climber Craig Lewis (HTC-Highroad), Chad Beyer (BMC) and Peter Setina (Garmin-Cervelo). Farrar will look to take home the coveted sprinter’s title. He is considered one of the fastest sprinters in the field and won two Stages during the 2010 Giro d’Italia. However, the American will face strong competition from Britain’s Mark Cavendish of HTC-Highroad, who won multiple sprint stages in both the Tour de France and Vuelta á Espana last year. With Cavendish’s speed and Lewis’ strength as a climber, HTC Highroad could be a strong contender for the overall team win. Beyer and Setina will be making their Grand Tour competition debut and look to be solid contributors to their respective teams.
Universal Sports’ complete cycling coverage includes more than 10 premier road cycling races, including two of the three Grand Tours of cycling—Giro d’Italia and Vuelta á Espana—as well as many other UCI Championships and World Cup races in road cycling, track, mountain bike and cyclocross. A complete schedule of all Universal Sports cycling programming is available at universalsports.com/cycling.
And that will do it for this post.
On this first day in May, it is time to take a look at how a couple of networks could improve their presentations during postseason time. As teams raise their game, so should the networks as more people watch and focus on the action on the court or the ice. This is not where networks should skimp and give the fans the impression that they’re cheap.
Not Stepping Up in the Postseason
We’re seeing this especially in the NBA and NHL Playoffs where NBA TV and Versus are showcasing their respective sports during the most important time of the year for both leagues. However, what they doing is leaving fans with a bad taste by not giving them national broadcasts and using local feeds catered to local markets.
It’s one thing to do this during the regular season. NBA TV will tap local feeds to give fans a taste of the local announcers and that’s ok. Regular season is fine to this. But during the postseason, this is where NBA TV which is run by Turner Sports can use TNT’s announcers for the calls. There have been blatant examples where NBA TV used local feeds for national audiences and it led to some awkward moments.
Last week in the Sports Media Weekly podcast, I asked the Vice President of Content for NBA Digital, Albert “Scooter” Vertino if this policy will be reconsidered for next season and he said it will be. I certainly hope so because fans expect to hear neutral calls during the postseason.
Imagine if Major League Baseball allowed local TV feeds in the postseason (they don’t, but let’s say they do) and TBS decided to use the WGN America feed of the Chicago White Sox and fans were subjected to Hawk Harrelson’s homer announcing. It would not go over well at all. It’s the same instance where NBA TV and Versus are tapping into local feeds and dissing the fans.
Versus, which is the exclusive cable partner for the NHL, did exactly this in the first round and now into the second round of the postseason. It tapped into Comcast SportsNet local feeds in Chicago, Philadelphia, San Jose and Washington and to augment its coverage. It’s one thing when action overlapped and Versus was joining in progress, but it’s totally another to use them for an entire game as was the case with the Chicago-Vancouver and the San Jose-Los Angeles series. Yes, Versus and Comcast SportsNet are under the same corporate umbrella, but there’s no reason why we should be hearing local announcers at this juncture.
And it happened again Friday night with Game 1 of the San Jose-Detroit series. There’s no way this should occur, especially in the 2nd round. There are fewer games and more staff is available. This smacks of laziness and refusal to give fans the best product possible.
I certainly hope next season, both Turner Sports and Versus will rectify this. And with Versus promising to air every NHL playoff game nationally, it had better step up and not provide local feeds. Fans around the country deserve better.
Where Was Figure Skating Last Week?
This past week, the World Figure Skating Championships took place in Moscow, a month after it was originally scheduled for Tokyo, Japan, however, as we know, the earthquake and tsunami forced the event to move. Unless you are a big figure skating fan, you probably didn’t know that the event was taking place because none of the major networks, ESPN/ABC, CBS, NBC, Versus, Fox/FX/Fox Sports Net carried it. While NBCUniversal has the rights to the event, it chose to air the Worlds on Universal Sports, which is carried on NBC local affiliates’ secondary digital channel in several markets or on cable sports tiers which is home to networks like Tennis Channel, ESPN Classic or ESPNU.
You could have also seen the Worlds online, but for a fee. Of course, only diehard fans would shell out the money to watch the Championships, but this is not unlimited access that an over the network or even ESPN could provide.
Ever since the oversaturation of figure skating in the mid-1990′s, the sport has struggled to find an audience. After the monster ratings following the Tanya Harding-Nancy Kerrigan incident during the 1994 Olympics, networks tried to cash in by creating a plethora of figure skating programming, but the viewership bottomed out and in the 2000′s, the World Championships have struggled to find a home. ESPN had the rights, but allowed the contract to expire and NBC picked them up. Last year, Oxygen and NBC shared the event.
NBC aired the US Figure Skating Championships in conjunction with Universal this year, but at least gave the event a showcase including the ladies event live in primetime. I had originally thought NBC would do something similar with the World Championships, but was surprised to learn that Universal would carry the entire event this year.
And while I’m sure Universal treated the event well, figure skating fans had to scramble to see it. Next year’s event is scheduled for Nice, France and I’m not sure if NBC will lend the event to Universal again. If figure skating wants to gain popularity, putting the event on Universal may not be the way to go unless NBC and Comcast get more aggressive to place the channel on more cable and satellite providers.
One Last Thought
Friday was the last day for one of the nicer sports TV public relations people. Megan Bondi left Turner Sports to become a full-time mom. Now, that name is probably familiar to you unless you work in the industry. Since Fang’s Bites started receiving press releases from the networks, Megan has been one of the people who have patiently answered my silly questions and requests without sending back an angry reply. Actually, no one at the sports networks has sent back an angry reply, but I’m sure some people at ESPN would like to.
Megan has worked tirelessly providing press releases for the NBA, Open Championship, PGA Championship, MLB and this year for the first time, the NCAA Championship.
You may think writing press releases is easy, but having done them, it’s not. You have to make sure quotes are correct, ratings information is accurate, ensure that the message is not being altered and make sure that the network is being promoted all at the same time. Public relations also deals with suggesting interviews, e-mailing or calling reporters or bloggers at all times of the day and it’s not really a 9-5 job.
Through it all, Megan did it wonderfully and treated me with kindness. The old saying goes you treat people like you want to be treated and I have nothing but the utmost respect for her and the others at Turner Sports. Megan will be missed and I wish her nothing but the best of luck in the next phase of her life.
And those are your Sunday thoughts for today.
This event was to be held in Tokyo last month, but the earthquake in Japan forced the International Skating Union to delay the World Figure Skating Championships and eventually move it to Moscow after receiving assurances and hotel rooms in Russia. So a month later, the event will be held this week. Universal Sports will carry the event on TV and online. The online viewing is available for a fee, but if you have Universal Sports as part of your over the air NBC station or on your cable provider sports tier, then you’re in luck and you’ll be able to watch the figure skating. However, if you don’t have Universal Sports, then online may be for you.
We have the details of Universal Sports’ coverage which will be led by Andrea Joyce.
Universal Sports Presents Unprecedented Multi-Platform Coverage of the 2011 ISU World Figure Skating Championships
Universalsports.com and Icenetwork.com Partner to Stream Competition LIVE
Television Broadcast Includes Over 14 Hours of Coverage
Los Angeles, CA—April 11, 2011—Universal Sports presents unprecedented multi-platform coverage of the 2011 International Skating Union (ISU) World Figure Skating Championships, in Moscow, Russia. The championships, originally scheduled for mid-March in Tokyo, Japan, were relocated to Moscow after the unfortunate and devastating earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis. The event is now set for April 27-May 1.
The network will broadcast over 14 hours of coverage and will air every event. Primetime coverage will begin April 27 at 6 p.m. ET with the men’s and pairs short programs and continue throughout the week with the rest of the competition. The Universal Sports broadcast team includes Andrea Joyce (play-by-play), 1984 Olympic silver medalist Peter Carruthers (the men’s and pairs analyst), 1998 Olympic gold medalist Tara Lipinski (ladies analyst) and Judy Blumberg (ice dancing analyst).
Universal Sports’ digital platform, Universalsports.com has partnered up with icenetwork.com to deliver LIVE on-line coverage, on a subscription basis, of the 2011 World Championships, beginning with the men’s short program on April 27 at 5:30 a.m. ET. Universalsports.com will also feature full replays, highlights and analysis.
“While we all keep the people of Japan in our hearts, we are glad the athletes will be able to compete in the 2011 World Figure Skating Championships,” said Perkins Miller, COO of Universal Sports. “With 14 hours on-air and another 30 hours online in partnership with icenetwork.com, we know our fans will be able to celebrate this great event whenever and wherever they want.”
“We look forward to our athletes competing in Moscow,” said David Raith, Executive Director of U.S. Figure Skating. “We are excited our fans will be able to watch all of the action on Universal Sports and icenetwork.com.”
The ladies competition features reigning Olympic champion Yu-Na Kim of South Korea, who seeks to reclaim her 2009 World title. Kim has not competed since finishing second at the 2010 World Championships. Challenging her will be Mao Asada of Japan, the 2010 defending World champion. Reigning U.S. champion Alissa Czisny and 2010 Olympian Rachael Flatt will compete for a spot on the podium.
On the men’s side, defending World champion Daisuke Takahashi leads a talented group of men from Japan against last year’s World silver medalist Patrick Chan of Canada. Ryan Bradley leads the contingent of U.S. men hoping to reach the podium.
In the pairs competition, 2010 World champions Pang Qing and Tong Jian of China look to defend their title against Germany’s Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy. While in the ice dancing event, reigning Olympic and World champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada will square-off against chief rivals Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the United States. For Davis and White, a gold medal at the 2011 World Championships would mean a first-ever World title for a U.S. ice dancing team.
2011 World Figure Skating Championships Broadcast/Web Schedule
All times ET
Men’s Short Program - 5:30 AM, universalsports.com/icenetwork.com
Opening Ceremonies - 10:45 AM, universalsports.com/icenetwork.com
Pairs Short Program - 11:30 AM, universalsports.com/icenetwork.com
Shorts: Men’s & Pairs - 6:00 PM, Universal Sports TV
Men’s Free - 5:00 AM, universalsports.com/icenetwork.com
Pairs Free - 10:00 AM, universalsports.com/icenetwork.com
Men’s Free - 6:00 PM, Universal Sports TV
Pairs Free - 8:00 PM, Universal Sports TV
Ladies Short Program - 5:30 AM, universalsports.com/icenetwork.com
Dance Short Program – 10:30 AM, universalsports.com/icenetwork.com
Shorts: Ladies & Dance - 6:00 PM, Universal Sports TV
Ladies Free - 5:30 AM, universalsports.com/icenetwork.com
Dance Free – 10:30 AM, universalsports.com/icenetwork.com
Ladies Free - 6:00 PM, Universal Sports TV
Dance Free - 8:00 PM, Universal Sports TV
And that will do it.
Two time Olympic gold medalists Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor are announcing that they’re coming back for one more run at the London games next year. The duo told Universal Sports that they would return after both took leaves for various reasons since winning the gold in Communist China in 2008.
We have the press release and video highlights of the interview.
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Olympic Gold Medalists Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Talk With Universalsports.com
First Interview for the Beach Volleyball Duo Since Recently Announcing They Will Reunite for 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England
Los Angeles – March 8, 2011 – Olympic gold medalists Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh talk exclusively with Universalsports.com via video chat about their decision to team up for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. The beach volleyball duo announced on March 4, 2011 via nbcsports.com that they will be playing together for a third straight Olympics with the hopes of bringing home their third gold medal. May-Treanor and Walsh took home gold medals in the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games.
Since the 2008 season, May-Treanor and Walsh have only played in one tournament together. Walsh took a leave of absence for most of the 2009 and 2010 seasons to start a family with husband and fellow beach volleyball pro Casey Jennings. In 2009, May-Treanor missed most of the season with a ruptured Achilles. Walsh was expected to play the 2011 season with Olympian Nicole Branagh, after May-Treanor announced she was not going to compete.
Universal Sports will continue their coverage of beach volleyball throughout 2011. The network, teamed up with NBC Sports, will serve as the U.S. television home of the 2011 FIVB World Championships in Rome, Italy and will also televise the FIVB Swatch World Tour. Fans can also follow Misty and Kerri’s comeback on universalsports.com.
Interview with Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh:
Following are highlights of interview with Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh:
May-Treanor on being back with Walsh: “If I want to stop playing, I want to stop playing with Kerri. I want to do it the right way… I wanted to come back with the person that — we did everything together.”
May-Treanor on duo’s chemistry: “Our experience together, I want to say it’s going to be like riding a bike, but obviously we’re going to have to work harder. We’re older, things have changed in our lives, but definitely we know what it takes and we know what each other’s going to put into it. And it’s there, we just need to bring it out.”
May-Treanor on expectations for the duo: “We want to go out and win every tournament. We want to come back where we left off.”
Walsh on hearing news that May-Treanor wanted to come back: “I’m so excited and shocked.”
Walsh on how difficult winning a third gold will be (they said winning in Beijing was a lot harder than Athens because of the expectations): “This is going to blow Beijing out of the water, I think for a lot of reasons. The world has gotten so much better at this sport. The physicality of the teams has just increased so much and you’re not going to have any easy games.”
Walsh on expectations for the duo: “We’re older, we have more responsibilities, but we’re expecting the same results. We’re planning on going out there and kicking butt.”
Walsh on being back with May-Treanor: “It’s like a fresh start. I honestly feel like it’s back in 2001 when we first started playing together, because it’s new and exciting. We both have so much that we want to accomplish and finish on a high note together.”
This weekend is a big weekend for rugby fans. First, BBC America is airing the Seven Nations Rugby tournament on Saturday. And also on Saturday as well as Sunday, NBC and Universal Sports are teaming up to show the USA Sevens Rugby Tournament live from Las Vegas. NBC is airing this because rugby sevens will be an Olympic sport staring in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. This is a chance for viewers to become familiar with the sport which is a shorter form of a regular rugby match in both teams and time limits. This will mark the first time the USA Sevens Rugby Tournament will be aired on network TV in America.
This is the joint release from NBC Sports and Universal Sports.
NBC Sports and Universal Sports Present More Than 15 Hours of LIVE Coverage of the USA Sevens from Las Vegas
Marks the First Time Ever This Event Will be Aired Live on U.S. Network Television
NEW YORK – February 9, 2011 – NBC Sports and Universal Sports will present more than 15 hours of live coverage of the USA Sevens Rugby from Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, Nev., this Saturday and Sunday. This marks the first time ever that this event will be aired live on U.S. network television.
NBC Sports will have two broadcasts throughout the weekend with four hours of live coverage, including the Cup final (Sunday 4:30 p.m. ET). Calling the action will be Terry Gannon (play-by-play), Dave Sitton, who has played, coached and broadcast rugby for more than 30 years (analyst) and Marty Snider (reporter). Rob Hyland, who serves as NBC Sports’ lead producer for collegiate sevens rugby and Notre Dame football, will produce the world feed broadcast reaching out to over 140 different countries, with NBC Sports veteran producer David Gibson producing the NBC Sports and Universal Sports broadcasts.
Universal Sports will kick-off Saturday’s broadcast at 2:00 p.m. ET and feature 11 hours of live coverage for the weekend, including the Cup Semi-finals (Sunday 2-4:30 p.m. ET) and the Shield, Bowl and Plate finals (Sunday 6-8 p.m. ET). Universal Sports will have a studio show that will be hosted by Fred Roggin and Bill Seward. Universalsports.com will stream the entire event live on a subscription basis along with replays, highlights and analysis. All of this content is available on-demand by visiting universalsports.com/rugby.
USA Sevens International Rugby Championship Broadcast Schedule(All times LIVE)
Saturday, February 12
NBC Sports Broadcast Schedule
3:30 PM – 6:00 PM ET
Featured Games: England vs. France, USA vs. Samoa and New Zealand vs. Kenya
Universal Sports Broadcast Schedule
2:00 PM – 3:30 PM ET
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM ET
9:30 PM – 1:00 AM ET
Featured Games: South Africa vs. USA, Australia vs. Scotland and Cup Quarterfinals
Sunday, February 13
NBC Sports Broadcast Schedule
4:30 PM – 6:00 PM ET
Featured Game: Cup Final, teams TBD
Universal Sports Broadcast Schedule
2:00 PM – 3:30 PM ET
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM ET
Featured Games: Cup Semi-Final; Shield, Bowl and Plate Final
Rugby Sevens features seven players per team playing on the same size pitch as a 15’s match and offers non-stop action where speed, high scoring and athleticism dominate the competition. The format allows for constant entertainment with each match split into two seven-minute halves and a new match starting about every 20 minutes. Rugby Sevens will be an Olympic sport starting in 2016.
NBC Sports and Universal Sports will continue their coverage of rugby throughout the year. The networks will serve as the exclusive U.S. television home of the 2011 Rugby World Cup this fall in New Zealand and will also televise the 2011 Rugby Sevens Collegiate Championship this June in Philadelphia.
That will end the blogging until the morning.
Last night during the Minnesota Vikings-Philadelphia Eagles game, Bob Costas announced that NBC’s sister network, Universal Sports will air a nine day tribute to Olympic documentarian Bud Greenspan who passed away over the Christmas holidays. Greenspan made great films on the Olympics and also directed the official movies for the Games dating back to 1984 in Los Angeles. In his films, you can see where Greenspan could find stories other people could not and finding the athletes to tell their stories added insight to the event footage.
We have a press release from Universal Sports. For many of you, it’s the secondary digital channel on your NBC affiliate. For others, you may have it on your cable provider. I had for literally a month on DirecTV. I hope one day to get it back, but it won’t be in time for the Bud Greenspan tribute. Here’s the schedule of films you’ll see starting this weekend.
Universal Sports Presents “Nine Nights of Glory” – A Tribute to Iconic Olympic Filmmaker Bud GreenspanNetwork To Air Nine Consecutive Nights of Greenspan’s Official Olympic Films Beginning this Saturday at 9pm ETWestlake Village, CA – December 29, 2010 – Universal Sports will pay tribute to iconic Olympic filmmaker Bud Greenspan in the coming days with “Nine Nights of Glory.” Beginning this Saturday, New Year’s Day at 9 p.m. ET, Universal Sports will air a different award-winning Greenspan Olympic film for nine consecutive nights. The tribute comes days after the death of Greenspan, who passed away on Christmas Day after a long fight with Parkinson’s disease.“Bud Greenspan represented the spirit of the Olympics and his films captured the amazing accomplishments of Olympic athletes from all nations,” said David Sternberg, CEO of Universal Sports. “We are honored to pay homage to such a distinguished filmmaker. His passing is a major loss to the Olympic movement, but he will live on forever through the majesty of his documentary films.”Greenspan, instantly recognized by his trademark black-rimmed glasses on a shaved head, began his engagement with the Olympics after putting together a short film on U.S. Olympic weightlifter John Davis in 1948. His passion for the Olympic Games sparked his filmmaking career and he became the official Olympic filmmaker in 1984 at the Los Angeles Olympics, a title he carried with him for seven more Olympics. Greenspan, who won eight Emmy Awards and a Peabody Award, also received accolades as a recipient of the Olympic Order, which is the International Olympic Committee’s highest award, and in 2004 was inducted into the United States Olympic Hall of Fame.“Nine Nights of Glory” Television Schedule:
January 1, 2011 Los Angeles ‘84 9:00 PM ET January 2, 2011 Calgary ‘88 9:00 PME T January 3, 2011 Lillehammer ‘94 9:00 PM ET January 4, 2011 Atlanta ‘96 9:00 PM ET January 5, 2011 Nagano ‘98 9:00 PM ET January 6, 2011 Sydney ‘00 9:00 PM ET January 7, 2011 Salt Lake City ‘02 9:00 PM ET January 8, 2011 Athens ‘04 9:00 PM ET January 9, 2011 Torino ‘06 9:00 PM ET
If you have the opportunity to watch or DVR the documentaries, by all means do so. You’ll get hooked on Greenspan’s storytelling and his way of weaving a storyline together. His films were love letters to the Olympics. It’s one reason why I stop and watch the Olympics every two years.
Well, it’s been a long ten days since I last did linkage. First, it was the Thanksgiving holidays, then work became crazy. I was able to do press releases as they came into the Fang’s Bites inbox, but you’ve been owed some so let’s get to it without further delay.
Mike Reynolds at Multichannel News writes about the big viewership for the Miami-Cleveland NBA game on TNT.
Mike says Comcast SportsNet California remains off Dish Network systems after being removed before Thanksgiving Day.
Michael Malone from Broadcasting & Cable says NBC Sports and sister network Universal Sports will air a prestigious international rugby competition starting this weekend.
Dave Kindred at the Indiana University National Sports Journalism Center says the Arizona Republic reporter who asked Cardinals quarterback Derek Anderson about his smiling during a bad loss on Monday Night Football was not trying to goad him into a meltdown.
Anthony Crupi from Mediaweek discusses how Super Bowl XLV on Fox will have plenty of car ads.
Speaking of Super Bowl ads, Natalie Zmuda of Advertisting Age mentions that Best Buy will be making its first appearance in the Big Game in 2011.
EJ Schultz of Ad Age says by not abandoning Tiger Woods, Nike helped its bottom line.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell notes that former NFL QB Kurt Warner will be an Amway endorser.
Richard Sandomir of the New York Times talks about the marriage of the New York Yankees, the Big East Conference and ESPN for the new Pinstripe Bowl.
Phil Mushnick of the New York Post continues his nasty vendetta against WFAN’s Mike Francesa by calling him out on his interview earlier this week with New York Governor David Patterson. Nice mention of Friend of Fang’s Bites, Bob’s Blitz.
Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union mentions that ESPN wants its analysts to be highly sought after.
Ken Schott from the Schenectady Gazette breaks news that a local Capital Region sports anchor is leaving for a bigger market.
Jim Williams of the Washington Examiner has comments from CBS’ Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson on today’s SEC Championship game.
Jim says MASN will air coverage of a local basketball tournament.
Tom Jones of the St. Petersburg Times has some sports media stories in a rare weekend column.
Barry Horn from the Dallas Morning News reviews ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary on the SMU football program.
John Kiesewetter of the Cincinnati Enquirer says the Reds will be bringing back its radio booth intact for next season.
Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says the Sunday Night Baseball changes by ESPN are definitely an upgrade.
On Friday, we learned of the death of beloved Chicago Cubs third baseman and radio analyst Ron Santo. He was 70. Ron battled diabetes throughout his career and dealt with bladder cancer in his later years. With Ron, you knew where he stood. There were the Cubs and there was everyone else. His love for the Cubbies came through the radio every day. Even though he was never objective, that was ok. He did praise the opposing team whenever there was a good play, but through it all, Santo was the Cubs. And he was also a great third baseman. Why he isn’t in the Baseball Hall of Fame is beyond me. That snub hurt him until his dying day. Let’s hope Ron gets in the next time the Veterans Committee meets.
Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune writes the obituary for Santo.
Phil Rogers of the Tribune also remembers Santo.
David Haugh from the Tribune says the Cubs have lost their heart and soul with Santo’s passing.
WGN Radio has some of Ron’s best highlights and also some audio reaction to Santo’s death.
Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Sun-Times says Ron Santo embraced life.
Ed Sherman from Crain’s Chicago Business has an obituary for Santo from 2003 as he had a health scare back then.
MLB.com has compiled some highlights of Santo’s playing career.
And the Chicago Cubs’ website has a special section devoted to Ron Santo.
MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann feels Santo should be in his rightful place in the Hall of Fame.
Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that Kurt Warner will be in the booth to witness two of his former teams play on Sunday.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News has his extensive media notes.
Sports Media Watch notes that the Miami-Cleveland game on Thursday was the third highest watched NBA regular season game since last the 1990′s.
SMW says ABC’s Saturday Night Football got its highest rating of the season last week.
Joe Favorito says we’ve come a long way in the manner we view Russia in the sports world.
Brendan Frazier at Sports Business Digest talks about how two Los Angeles-based groups are pursuing the Minnesota Vikings.
And there you have it for the linkage. Glad to have it back.
Not many of you are into figure skating, I’m aware of that, but maybe there’s the viewer who wants an occasional peak at various competitions and I’m willing to keep you informed on the sport.
This weekend, NBC Sports and its sister network, Universal Sports, continue their commitment to figure skating by airing 14 live hours of Skate America which is being held in the lovely city of Portland, OR this weekend. Coverage begins Friday and will last through Sunday. Universal airs the bulk of the coverage, Friday and Saturday. NBC steps in with the ladies free skate on Sunday afternoon, right opposite the Fox NFL late game, Cowboys-Giants for most of the country. Anyway, for those wanting a break from the traditional fall sports of college football and the NFL, maybe this is for you.
18 U.S. figure skaters, five 2010 Olympians set to competeNovember 11, 2010 – New York and Westlake Village, Calif.: NBC Sports and Universal Sports will highlight 18 U.S figure skaters this weekend, with 14 hours of LIVE television coverage of the 2010 Skate America in Portland, Ore. The event starts tomorrow (Friday) and runs through Sunday, and serves as stage four of six in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series. Universal Sports will kick-off the LIVE coverage tomorrow at 10 p.m. ET with the men’s and pairs short program and NBC Sports will wrap up the coverage on Sunday at 4 p.m. ET with the ladies free skate. Calling the action from the Rose Garden Arena for NBC Sports and Universal Sports will be Terry Gannon, Andrea Joyce, Scott Hamilton and Tracy Wilson, with Peter Carruthers joining the Universal Sports broadcasts.Vancouver 2010 Olympians Rachael Flatt, Meryl Davis, Charlie White, Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett will lead the U.S. team as they compete against skaters from 14 different countries for points and prize money in the series. Along with Denney and Barrett, the pairs’ competition will feature the young Chinese duo Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, who fell just short of the gold at Cup of China, and Russian duo Lubov Iliushechkina and Nodari Maisuradze who were the gold medalists at Skate Canada.UniversalSports.com will also provide event coverage, including highlights, interviews, news, photos and analysis.
NBC SPORTS & UNIVERSAL SPORTS LIVE BROADCAST SCHEUDULE2010 SKATE AMERICA
Date Network Discipline Time Friday, November 12 Universal Sports Pairs short program, men’s short program 10:00 p.m.–1:30 a.m. ET Saturday, November 13 Universal Sports Ladies short program, short dance 5:00 p.m.- 8:30 p.m. ET Saturday, November 13 Universal Sports Men’s free skate 10:00 p.m.–12 Midnight ET Saturday, November 13 Universal Sports Pairs free skate 12:30 a.m.–2:00 a.m. ET Sunday, November 14 Universal Sports Free dance 2:00 p.m.–3:30 p.m. ET Sunday, November 14 NBC Sports Ladies free skate 4:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m. ETThe Grand Prix Series consists of six international events in a cumulative point-scoring format. Approximately 300 athletes from 30 countries are expected to participate in the series, and each athlete is eligible to score points in two of the six scheduled events. The top six point-earners in each the disciplines qualify for the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Beijing, China, from December 9-12. Athletes will compete for a total of more than $1.35 million in prize money throughout the series.
There you have it.