Ok, time for some links on this Columbus Day holiday for some of you.
Michael Hiestand of USA Today has a bunch of news and notes in his Monday sports media column including a recap of the NFL Today interview with scab NFL referee Lance Easley.
Tim Baysinger of Broadcasting & Cable says the first-ever MLB Wild Card Games did well for TBS last Friday.
Mike Reynolds from Multichannel News says Time Warner Cable SportsNet has signed its first affiliate for its Los Angeles Lakers-centric regional sports network.
Over to Ed Sherman at The Sherman Report. He talks with Steve Madden, the man in charge of Sports on Earth, the joint venture between USA Today and MLB Advanced Media. Disclaimer: Fang’s Bites is an independently-owned blog affiliated with USA Today Media Group.
Glenn Davis of SportsGrid has video of San Diego Super Chargers safety Atari Bigby’s creative introduction on Sunday Night Football.
Matt Yoder at Awful Announcing notes that NBC’s Cris Collinsworth called New Orleans’ game-ending strip sack of San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers just before it occurred.
Brandon Costa at Sports Video Group says MLB Network prepared to air its first postseason games not knowing where they would be.
ESPN’s Darren Rovell tells us that MLB teams don’t keep any of the playoff ticket money the games generate.
Jim Romenesko notes how ESPN edited a blogger’s KKK-Rod headline.
Richard Sandomir of the New York Times says the Mets are looking for ways to refinance its huge debts through its regional sports network, SNY.
As usual, Phil Mushnick of the New York Post hates everything on television.
Jerry Barmash of FishbowlNY notes that long-time New York Knicks analyst John Andariese is retiring.
David Zurawik of the Baltimore Sun says TBS stepped up to the task for the New York Yankees-Orioles game on Sunday.
David says CBS’ Ian Eagle got the job done during yesterday’s Baltimore Ravens-Kansas City Chiefs game while his partner, Dan Fouts did not.
Tom Jones from the Tampa Bay Times reviews the weekend in sports television.
Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel reports that Fox Sports Florida will air all 81 Magic games this season instead of splitting them between FS Florida and Sun Sports.
David Barron at the Houston Chronicle says the Astros are considering replacements to its radio team of Dave Raymond and Brett Dolan who were let go last week.
David says ESPN’s Jon Gruden brings his enthusiasm for the NFL to Monday Night Football.
Bob Wolfley at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reviews the CBS NFL Today interview of former scab referee Lance Easley.
Missouri Sports Magazine notes that the Kansas City Royals have set a ratings record for the 2012 season.
Dusty Saunders from the Denver Post says Sunday gave sports fans plenty of action to watch.
Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic says there are a number of candidates to replace the Diamondbacks TV team of Daron Sutton and Mark Grace who were let go by the team after the season.
Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times says the Lakers have become the least-viewed team in the NBA thanks to its deal with Time Warner Cable Sports.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News has your sports calendar for this week.
Tom has the five things he learned from watching sports over the weekend.
Jon Wilner at the San Jose Mercury News updates us on the Pac-12 Network and its dispute with DirecTV.
Bruce Dowbiggin of the Toronto Globe and Mail says fans are split over which side to support in the NHL lockout.
Ryan Lambert at Yahoo’s Puck Daddy looks at ESPN picking up KHL games in the wake of the NHL lockout.
Ty Duffy at the Big Lead says MLS is doing well at the gate, but not on TV.
Media Rantz informs us that former NFL Network original Kara Henderson left broadcasting to get married. Congrats to Kara.
That’s going to do it.
I wanted to do a piece of site business before doing some rare Sunday linkage and rare linkage in general. Thanks to you, August was the best month ever as far as site visits are concerned. Whether it was due to you visiting over the Olympics schedules or wanting to see who Nicole Zaloumis was all about, Fang’s Bites had over 102,000 unique hits. While this is not in Deadspin or Big Lead range, both get way over 100,000 hits on a bad day, it’s a big deal for me. And this was even during a stretch when I couldn’t post due to the Office Move From Hell, so I thank you for visiting and returning during August. I hope you continue to visit during the fall months.
And because of that office move, I wasn’t able to do what is the bread and butter of this site, the links. I haven’t been able to provide them in several weeks. Let’s start September anew and provide good links to you as I used to.
One of the bigger stories from Saturday was the pre-emption in most of the country of the debut of the Fox College Saturday pregame show hosted by Erin Andrews, Joey Harrington and Eddie George. Because two Fox Saturday Baseball games ran long, it wiped out Erin’s Fox debut. Only 10% of the country saw the pregame show in its entirety.
Media Rantz looks at why this happened.
Sports Media Watch says it wasn’t the start that Fox wanted in its first season of covering college football full-time.
Former USA Today sports media and business writer Mike McCarthy writes in his new $ports Biz USA site that Alabama coach Nick Saban came off as a jerk (what else is new?) in a halftime interview with ESPN’s Heather Cox.
Nicole Auerbach at USA Today at the Campus Rivalry blog asks readers about the debut of Samantha Steele on ESPN’s College GameDay.
Karl Taro Greenfeld at Bloomberg Businessweek takes a look at ESPN’s business model.
George Winslow at Broadcasting & Cable says the embattled Longhorn Network got a big pickup before yesterday’s Texas season opener.
Multichannel News reports that the Athletic Director of the University of California-Berkeley ceremoniously dumped her DirecTV subscription over the satellite provider’s refusal to pick up Pac-12 Network.
Adweek looks at an unexpected shakeup at ESPN The Magazine.
Christopher Heine of Adweek notes that the Mohegan Sun casino has pulled ads from Penn State’s Beaver Stadium.
Adweek’s Anthony Crupi looks at this year’s crop of Nissan Heisman House spots that will air before each and every ABC Saturday Night Football game.
And Emma Bazilian of Adweek notes that USA Today is rolling out a new high school football magazine in 11 markets.
Dylan Murphy at SportsGrid noticed that ESPN’s Bottom Line obscured key sideline replays in two college football games yesterday.
Joe Lucia at Awful Announcing says DirecTV is slashing prices of its UFC pay per views.
That will do us for now. I may add more links later.
Back to work for many of you after the Memorial Day holiday. Because of my crazy schedule, I didn’t get to enjoy it, but you don’t care about that. Let’s do links.
John Ourand of Sports Business Journal reports that Cox Communications has dropped the New Orleans Hornets allowing Fox Sports to swoop up the rights.
Mike Reynolds from Multichannel News takes a look at the US TV coverage of the French Open.
Georg Szalai of the Hollywood Reporter writes that UK’s Channel 4 plans extensive coverage of the 2012 London Paralympics which will be held two weeks after the Summer Olympics.
Tim Nudd of Adweek reviews the latest WatchESPN spot.
Alex Weprin of TVNewser reports that HBO’s Real Sports host Bryant Gumbel will co-host Live with Kelly next week.
Evan Weiner at Examiner.com explains how NBC’s huge rights fee effectively ended Qatar’s bid for the 2020 Olympics.
Ed Sherman from The Sherman Report interviews legendary sportswriter Frank Deford.
Ed writes that USA Today’s Sports section is changing its reporting strategy.
Media Rantz remembers the Marv Albert arrest 15 years later. Disclosure: I’m quoted in this very well-researched article.
Will Brinson at CBSSports.com writes that Showtime/NFL Films has quietly dumped Warren Sapp from “Inside the NFL”, however, he remains on NFL Network.
Evan Sporer of SportsGrid has the great video of a soldier home from Afghanistan surprising his daughters at Sunday’s Minnesota Twins game. It has nothing to do with sports media. I’m just a huge sucker for reunion videos.
Chadd Scott at ChuckOliver.net explores how TV money has led to the “Wal-Martization” of college football.
Joe Lucia at Awful Announcing notes that former ESPN college football crackpot Craig James is running below “Undecided” in the Texas U.S. Senate Republican primary. Always a good place to be when trying to run a successful campaign.
Bob’s Blitz says former Miami sports radio talker Sid Rosenberg has a new gig.
The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick actually heaps praise this morning. And he does it to Hall of Fame hockey voice Mike Emrick.
Ken Schott from the Schenectady Gazette says Time Warner Cable will air some local high school lacrosse playoff games.
Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union notes that the NBA Draft Lottery will air from New York’s Times Square for the first time ever.
Ken McMillan at the Middletown (NY) Times Herald-Record writes that apparently NFL Network will no longer air CFL games.
Ken adds that there’s no New York City radio home of the 2012 Olympics as of yet.
Ken provides the Compass Media college football schedule for the 2012 season.
And Ken has the Sports USA college football schedule as well.
Tom Jones from the Tampa Bay Times looks back at the weekend that was in sports television.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald notes that embattled South Florida sports radio talk show Sid Rosenberg is about to start a new gig.
David Barron from the Houston Chronicle says a local sports radio station is about to acquire a rival FM station.
Jerry Garcia from the San Antonio Express-News says TNT’s Shaquille O’Neal spent some time talking to a local TV station and defending his co-hort Charles Barkley.
Roy Bragg of the Express-News says the Chuckster was glad to meet the peeps in San Antonio on Monday.
Paul M. Banks at Chicago Sports Media Watch has some linkage of his own to provide.
Scott D. Pierce at the Salt Lake Tribune talks with Utah Jazz TV voice Craig Bolerjack.
Dusty Saunders of the Denver Post looks at the mtn.: The Final Days.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News notes that a hockey primer from 1993 still holds true today.
Steve Ladurantaye from the Toronto Globe and Mail writes that Rogers and TSN are smelling blood and plan to bid for CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada package.
Bruce Dowbiggin of the Globe and Mail says Rogers Sportsnet has snatched IndyCar rights away from TSN.
The Canadian Sports Media blog looks at the silly PR hockey wars being conducted by Rogers Sportsnet and TSN.
Sports Media Watch gives us the overnight ratings for the Indianapolis 500 on ABC.
Steve Lepore at SB Nation’s Puck The Media predicts the ratings for this year’s Stanley Cup Final.
Joe Favorito says things are looking good at NBC Sports.
Jordan Golson at MacRumors talks with ESPN’s NASCAR pit reporter Dave Burns about using an iPad for his reports.
That’s going to do it for now.
I’m going to down a few quick thoughts as I’m going to busy during the day so I don’t know if I’ll be able to post much. I’ll give you some thoughts to tie you in the interim.
- I was saddened to hear that USA Today laid off reporters in its sports section. Those cut included media and business writer Mike McCarthy who became a friend to your humble blogger, Tom Weir of the extraordinary Game Om! blog and Tom Pedulla who described his surreal experienceof losing his job to Ed Sherman of The Sherman Report.A piece of disclosure here. Fang’s Bites is part of the USA Today Media Group, but is an independently-owned blog. I was not aware of the layoffs until they were reported. I certainly hate to see anyone lose a job, especially in this economy. Here’s hoping Mike and Tom W. will find new positions soon.
- The move by the New Orleans Times-Picayune to reduce printing its newspaper to three days a week this fall stinks to high heaven. I know we’re in a digital age, but journalism is not about how many clicks you can attract. It’s about serving the community and acting as a check on local government. I hope the Times-Picayune can find a balance that keeps the organization alive.
- With NBC announcing the amount of hours it will provide on its various platforms for the London Olympics it’s a step in the right direction. With some 272½ hours on the main network, plus another 5,262½ hours on cable and online combined, we’ll see a plethora of Olympic coverage this summer. I hope NBCUniversal will step up. I’m still dreading seeing Ryan Seacrest while looking forward to seeing Michelle Beadle in London.
- I heard through a couple of sources that Friend of Fang’s Bites Jen Royle was approached by ESPN for an unspecified role. Not sure if it means TV or radio. She nor ESPN are officially talking. I’ll let you know if anything develops.
- And congratulations to Steve Lepore of Puck The Media. He’s moved his site to SB Nation where he’ll continue to provide his quality work.
And that will end the thoughts. Enjoy your Friday.
Let’s do some links on this Monday.
Michael Hiestand of USA Today says the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Game has become a showcase for upcoming NBA talent.
Mike Reynolds from Multichannel News writes that NBC Sports Network will get a lion’s share of coverage for the London Summer Olympics.
Brian Stelter of the New York Times reports that no-talent hack Ryan Seacrest has signed a new contract with NBCUniversal that also gives him a role on NBC’s Olympic coverage. I shudder at the thought.
Chris Ariens at TVNewser says NBC is putting former Today Show co-host Meredith Viera on the Olympics Opening Ceremony with Bob Costas and Matt Lauer.
Joe Posnanski talks about leaving Sports Illustrated for a new venture with MLB Advanced Media and the USA Today Sports Group. Disclosure: Fang’s Bites is an independently-owned site affiliated with USA Today Sports Group and had no prior knowledge of Posnanski’s move nor of the joint venture with MLBAM.
ESPN.com’s Kristi Dosh, a.k.a. The Sports Biz Miss handicaps the upcoming MLB TV rights deal negotiations.
King Kaufman at the Bleacher Report explains why the site will never do April Fools’ parodies.
Matt Yoder of Awful Announcing has some readers’ suggestions for CBS’ Jim Nantz to close out tonight’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship including one from yours truly.
The great Maggie Hendricks of Yahoo’s Cagewriter has some suggestions on how FX and the UFC can improve the new Ultimate Fighter reality show.
Today is World Autism Awareness Day. You may know a parent, a friend, a relative or a neighbor who is affected by Autism in one way or another. Maury Brown of the Biz of Baseball writes in his SportsBash site on how he has been personally affected.
My good friend (despite her being a Yankees fan) Alison Faye in Tales of a Rocket Scientist also writes about her experience with her son who has Autism.
Brandon Costa of Sports Video Group notes that CBS’ courtside cameras give the network some signature shots for the Men’s Final Four.
Brandon also looks at CBS’ studio set and Super Slo-Mo cameras at the Superdome for the Final Four.
Richard Sandomir of the New York Times looks at the new Broadway play focusing on Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.
Phil Mushnick of the New York Post mourns the passing of New York Cosmos great Giorgio Chinaglia.
Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union notes that the Final Four received its best ratings on CBS in a decade.
Ken Schott from the Schenectady Gazette writes that the local cable news network will cover Union in the NCAA Frozen Four this week.
Ken McMillan at the Middletown (NY) Times Herald-Record says a local radio station will cover high school sports.
Jim Wiliams of the Washington Examiner talks with Jim Nantz about his unique double of calling the Final Four and The Masters® in successive weeks.
Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times reviews the weekend in sports television.
Tom also talks with the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball crew.
Sam Pennington of Suthern Gameday remembers the late Hall of Fame voice of the Kentucky Wildcats, Caewood Ledford.
David Barron from the Houston Chronicle notes two personnel moves at one local sports radio station.
Bob Wolfley at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel explores the average age of those watching various sporting events.
Dusty Saunders of the Denver Post says the first week in April is a literal smorgasbord for the sports fan.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News explores the reasons why MLB clubs are so gung-ho on regional sports network rights fees.
Tom has your sports calendar for this week.
Raju Mudhar of the Toronto Star has what writers outside of Canada are saying about the Blue Jays.
Bruce Dowbiggin of the Toronto Globe and Mail was amused by a verbal sparring match aired in Canada over the weekend.
Barry Petchesky at Deadspin looks at one April Fools newspaper column that went published without being properly vetted.
Sports Media Watch says ratings for the NBA on ABC saw big increases.
Steve Lepore of Puck The Media says the NHL on NBC also had a good number.
And Joe Favorito says Fenway Park is ready to celebrate its Centennial.
I haven’t provided links on schedule so let me try to do it now.
We begin with Michael Hiestand of USA Today who talks about NBCUniversal’s big plans to blanket Super Bowl XLVI next week.
Wow. The secret organization Anonymous plans to attack ESPN.com over its support of SOPA and PIPA. In case anyone from Anonymous is reading, Fang’s Bites is an ardent critic of both bills.
Adrian Melville of Forbes says Fox is hoping to retain the US rights to the English Premier League.
Jeff Roberts at paidContent looks at USA Today Media Group’s purchase of Big Lead Sports.
Funny post. It’s a long one, but stay with it. Complex provides the 100 Worst Sports Tweets in history.
The Nielsen Wire blog reviews the year in sports advertising for 2011.
Rarely do we link to Self Magazine, but it has a story on ESPN SportsCenter anchor Sage Steele training for the upcoming Disney Princess Half Marathon.
Lacey Rose at the Hollywood Reporter writes that current NFL Network analyst Kurt Warner will host a USA Network reality show that will premiere later this year.
James Hibberd at Entertainment Weekly looks at NBC’s plans for the Super Bowl.
John Eggerton from Broadcasting & Cable says Massachusetts US Senator John Kerry wants DirecTV and Sunbeam to pledge that Super Bowl XLVI won’t be blacked out in Boston. Sunbeam’s WHDH-TV is off DirecTV right now over a carriage dispute and it’s the NBC affiliate.
Tim Nudd of Adweek says clothing retailer H&M is trying to put out a social media firestorm in advance of its first-ever Super Bowl ad.
Ken Wheaton at Advertising Age says CareerBuilder is keeping its lovable chimps for this year’s Super Bowl commercial.
Ad Age’s Michael Learmonth has the best Super Bowl ads ever.
Diego Vasquez from Media Life Magazine speaks with two people from a research firm to find out why some Super Bowl ads fail to connect with viewers.
Karlene Lukovitz from MediaPost’s Marketing Daily says Papa John’s is betting on the Super Bowl coin flip to help sell pizzas.
Toni Fitzgerald of Media Life notes that the NBA’s ratings despite the lockout are way up from last year’s record.
Dan Fogarty of SportsGrid catches ESPN2′s Patrick McEnroe firing off an “F” bomb during the Australian Open coverage last night.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell has some myths and facts about the Super Bowl ticket market.
Mary Alice Gill from the Nashua (NH) Telegraph writes about the DirecTV/Sunbeam dispute that could affect Boston’s watching of the Super Bowl.
Johnny Diaz of the Boston Globe says area bars with DirecTV are scrambling for other possible ways to show the Super Bowl.
At SB Nation Boston, Kat Hasenauer Cornetta looks at how small market New England sports radio stations try to serve the needs of their audience.
Stuart Elliot of the New York Times says the pregame show has begun for the Super Bowl ads.
To Newsday and Neil Best who writes that reporter Kim Jones is leaving the YES network.
Justin Terranova and Phil Mushnick of the New York Post report that Jones is talking with a national network.
Don McKee of the Philadelphia Inquirer has an obituary for the late Andy Musser.
Ray Didinger of Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia remembers Musser.
David Jones from Florida Today feels ESPN’s deal with the SEC is bad for the league.
Gregory A. Hall of the Louisville Courier-Journal notes that NBC has brought the Breeders’ Cup back under its fold.
The Houston Chronicle’s David Barron says a long-time local TV sports director is leaving after this year.
Mel Bracht from the Daily Oklahoman notes that the NFL Conference Championship Games drew big ratings locally.
Steve Nitz of the Morris (IL) Daily Herald is no longer a fan of ESPN.
NBC’s Michele Tafoya is ending her Minneapolis radio show.
Jon Bream at the Minneapolis Star Tribune says Tafoya has grown tired of a weekly 7 day grind between her show and Sunday Night Football.
David Brauer of MinnPost.com writes that Tafoya’s ratings weren’t great.
Bruce Pascoe of the Arizona Daily Star looks at ESPN’s College GameDay’s visit to the University of Arizona campus this weekend.
Anthony Gimino of the Tucson Citizen says CBS Sports Network will have inside access to Rich Rodriguez and the University of Arizona during National Signing Day.
Bruce Dowbiggin from the Toronto Globe and Mail wonders if TSN’s Dave Hodge was reaching when he tried to tweet a connection between Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas and the KKK after Thomas refused to go to the White House earlier this week.
The Canadian Sports Media Blog looks at CBC’s dropping of the Curling’s Grand Slams.
To the Big Lead and Jason McIntyre who has a profile of ESPN Radio Hack Colin Cowherd. Actually it’s a very good profile.
Ryan Yoder at Awful Announcing has the Top 10 Sports Media Busts.
Blythe Brumleve at AA looks at CBS’ client stroke for E-Trade during the NFL Today on Sunday.
Sports Media Watch notes that the NHL is getting increased ratings on both NBC and NBC Sports Network.
Steve Lepore of Puck The Media wants the in-game coach interviews during NHL games to end.
Steve tells us where the AHL All-Start Game can be seen in your market.
SportsRantz says NBC Sports Network is using the Super Bowl to get a ratings boost.
And Morgan Wick informs us what the Breeders’ Cup move back to NBC means.
And that is it.
Here’s a story to start our Tuesday. USA Today Media Group has purchased Big Lead Sports. If you’re a regular visitor to Fang’s Bites, you’ll know that this site is a member of Big Lead Sports, but is not owned by the blogging network and fantasy sports company. Now, USA Today has obtained the assets of Big Lead Sports. It has been a minority shareholder in the group and today announced the full acquisition of the site.
USA Today not only gets a huge blogging network, but now gets into fantasy sports. Financial terms of the acquisition have not been announced.
We have the press release from USA Today.
MCLEAN, Va., Jan. 24, 2012 — The USA TODAY Sports Media Group announced today that it has completed its acquisition of Fantasy Sports Ventures (FSV) and Big Lead Sports, the largest independent digital sports property in North America. USA TODAY’s parent company, Gannett Co. Inc., was already a significant minority shareholder of FSV and elected to complete the purchase through an acquisition of FSV’s assets. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
When all FSV assets are ultimately combined with the other properties within the USA TODAY Sports Media Group, the digital property is expected to become one of the top five sports sites on the web based on the most recent comScore metrics. The digital assets that currently make up the USA TODAY Sports Media Group include USATODAY.com/sports; digital outlets associated with 81 local Gannett newspapers and 23 Gannett-owned broadcast television stations; HighSchoolSports.net; and the BNQT Media Group, which includes MMAjunkie.com.
“This deal represents a major step forward for us, giving us dramatically more scale and a great ability to provide engaging, relevant content across the entire spectrum of sports fans,” said Tom Beusse, president of USA TODAY Sports Media Group. “The Big Lead sites fit very nicely into our existing portfolio, and now give us an unmatched sports platform to go along with our existing national and local strengths. These new content distribution outlets will enable us to better serve sports enthusiasts while providing advertisers and marketers with a one-stop solution for all of their sports marketing needs.”
With nearly 19 million unique visitors in the latest comScore report, the FSV and Big Lead Sports property provide distinct and independent coverage of every major sport, including football, baseball, basketball, auto racing, hockey, soccer, college sports, high school sports and fantasy sports. The sites include the TheBigLead.com, a leading source of breaking news and commentary across all sports, as well as well-respected sports sites that include BaseballHQ.com, KFFL.com, TheHuddle.com, Baseball-Reference.com, HoopsWorld.com, HoopsHype.com, and many others.
“We are very proud that we built Big Lead Sports into the No. 1 independent online sports property,” said Chris Russo, founder and chief executive officer of Big Lead Sports. “Joining the USA TODAY family will enable Big Lead Sports to grow further and provide a new and bigger platform for our talented writers, contributors and advertising partners.”
“The Big Lead sites have done a great job developing unique, independent voices and distinct points of view,” said Dave Morgan, the USA TODAY Sports Media Group’s senior vice president of content and editor-in-chief. “This acquisition extends our reach and deepens our engagement with core sports audiences, and is a strong complement to our position as a leading national sports property.”
The acquisition also provides USA TODAY Sports Media Group with a strong initial footprint in fantasy sports. Last year more than 32 million consumers in the U.S. actively participated in fantasy sports. Among the assets in the FSV/Big Lead Sports property are more than 25 fantasy games and products, with more than 500,000 active and paying subscribers.
The USA TODAY Sports Media Group encompasses all sports initiatives across USA TODAY, as well as Gannett Co. Inc.’s 81 community newspaper properties, 23 broadcast television stations, HighSchoolSports.net, BNQT.com and MMAjunkie.com. USA TODAY is owned by Gannett Co., Inc.
The sale should not effect the operation of Fang’s Bites unless USA Today wants to purchase us as well. I keed.