Let’s provide a few sports media thoughts on this Sunday. You know they’ll be in bullet form.
- ESPN’s live coverage of Wimbledon has been a joy over the last two weeks. Most everything has been shown on the Family of Networks. And in the second week when both ESPN and ESPN2 were deployed for the Round of 16 and the Quarterfinals, viewers were able to switch in between matches on Centre Court and the outer courts for the first time. No longer did viewers have to wait through frustrating NBC tape delays or find illegal back door internet feeds. Everything was shown live.
We’ve seen similar coverage on the U.S. Open with ESPN2 and Tennis Channel on the early rounds, but this could be a model for future Grand Slam tournaments. I’d like to see ESPN do this on the Australian and U.S. Opens for the later rounds as well.
I’ve liked the Breakfast at Wimbledon studio shows. This has given SW19 a special big event feel on ESPN. Hannah Storm has done well as host and interviews conducted by Mike Tirico have gone smoothly.
As far as the announcing is concerned, this is where ESPN needs some improvement. Chris Fowler talks too much and tries to steer analysts to his point of view. In addition, he attempts to do analysis which is the analysts’ job. I don’t mind if the play-by-play person challenges the analyst, but Fowler often makes loaded points and questions to ensure the analyst agrees with him. That’s not what he’s there for. During the Ladies Final between Agnieszka Radwanska and Serena Williams, there was a point in the second set with Serena leading 4-3 where Fowler asked Chris Evert if Radwanska was feeling the match was slipping away. Evert disagreed, Fowler kept pressing. Radwanska would eventually win the second set and I certainly felt Radwanska at 3-4 would not think the match was slipping from her grasp.
I’d like for ESPN to utilize Mike Tirico in the booth in the Semifinals and Finals. While Mike is certainly a very good host as he’s proved these last two weeks, he’s also very good on tennis play-by-play. And while it’s obvious ESPN original Cliff Drysdale is being phased out, I still think he still can serve aces in the booth.
As far as the analysts are concerned, bringing in John McEnroe was a very good move and Chris Evert has been decent, I am not enamored with Pam Shriver and she’s to the point of being very annoying.
Also, during the first week, ESPN appears to be too much in love with the studio and doesn’t show enough action. There seems to be too many interviews and talk, and not enough play on the court.
For the fortnight, I give ESPN a B minus for the first week and a B plus for the second week.
- Saturday night ended Fox’s eight week run of “Baseball Night in America”. While the ratings were a mixed bag, I think Fox may increase the number of primetime games next season. As Fox looks to provide sports the opportunity to program Saturday nights, why not go to primetime? And I like having the afternoons freed up for local games. Now if only Fox can provide fans with access to its out-of-market games either online or through the MLB Extra Innings package.
Having national games starting at 7:15 p.m. ET has been quite enjoyable.
- Did you notice that NBC is airing the Tour de France live on both days this weekend? That’s to fill the holes left from losing Wimbledon to ESPN. Expect that to become a permanent fixture from now on. I just wish NBC had called it “Croissants and Cycling” or something to that effect.
Those are the sports media thoughts.
ESPN’s first year of airing the entire Wimbledon fortnight has been a success. Ratings steady with last year, online viewership way up and the audience is skewing younger.
It all ends on Sunday with a historic Gentlemen’s Final between Roger Federer and Scot Andy Murray. ESPN will air Breakfast at Wimbledon with Hannah Storm anchoring at 8 a.m. ET followed by the Gentlemen’s Final at 9 a.m.
Chris Fowler, Patrick McEnroe and John McEnroe will have the call in the commentary box.
ABC will carry highlights of the match starting at 3 p.m. ET. By the way, ABC was the first US TV network to carry Wimbledon. It did on Wide World of Sports in the 1960′s before NBC began its 43 year relationship with the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in 1968 that ended last year.
Here’s the ESPN preview for tomorrow’s match.
Federer Seeking Record-Tying 7th Title & No. 1 Ranking, Murray Hopes to End 76-Year Drought
History will be made in the Wimbledon Gentlemen’s Championship live on ESPN on Sunday, July 8, at 9 a.m. ET. Either Roger Federer will gain his record-tying seventh crown at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, or a kingdom will celebrate the end of a 76-year drought.
Federer has 16 Major titles, the most of any man in tennis history, but none since the 2010 Australian Open. Now 30, a victory Sunday not only would tie Pete Sampras with seven Wimbledon victories, it might be even more noteworthy in that he would regain the No. 1 ranking. Also, it would be the 286th week of his career he has held the top spot, again tying Sampras for the most ever in men’s tennis.
Andy Murray of Scotland carries the athletic hopes and dreams of long-suffering fans on his shoulders in his quest to be the first man from Great Britain to win the local tennis Major since Fred Perry in 1936. It has been almost as long since a British man has played in the final – Bunny Austin in 1938. He has played in three Grand Slam event finals (two Australian Opens, one US Open) and has not won a set.
The Gentlemen’s Championship will be preceded at 8 a.m. by the one-hour Breakfast at Wimbledon, hosted by Hannah Storm. ABC will reair the finals on the day they take place, July 7 and 8, at 3 p.m.
All the action on ESPN is also available through WatchESPN online at WatchESPN.com and on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app. ESPN 3D will televise both Championships live.
ESPN and Wimbledon
The new schedule for ESPN’s 10th Wimbledon – exclusive and all-live – is the result of a 12-year agreement between ESPN and the All England Lawn Tennis Club announced just after the conclusion of the 2011 Championships. The remaining schedule:
Date Time (ET) Event Network Sun, July 8 8 a.m. – 9 a.m. Breakfast at Wimbledon ESPN/ESPN3 Live 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Gentlemen’s Championship
No. 3 Roger Federer vs. No. 4 Andy Murray
ESPN/ESPN3D/ESPN3 Live 3 – 6 p.m. Gentlemen’s Championship ABC Tape
That is all.
We have this from ESPN discussing the viewership both on TV and online for The Championships, Wimbledon. ESPN says the combined viewership for ESPN/ESPN2 is up 24% from when the cable portion of last year’s tournament on solely on ESPN2. And the rating is up this year averaging 0.6 from 0.5 last year.
ESPN says the younger male demographic is up from the time NBC/ESPN2 aired the fortnight in 2011. In addition, online viewership has jumped a whopping 86% from last year.
So ESPN is happy taking over the entire rights to Wimbledon from NBC. And I’m sure the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club is pleased that it’s not hearing complaints about tape delayed shenanigans.
Here’s the ESPN press release.
ESPN Sets Wimbledon Records, Young Male Audience Grows, Digital Usage Soars
Live Championships This Weekend Have History Calling
The all-new, all-ESPN, all live Wimbledon is reaching more people, has brought ESPN its largest audiences in 10 years at the All England Lawn Tennis Club and a much younger audience to the television while driving a surge in consumption across digital platforms.
- Through Wednesday, July 4, the audience for this year’s ESPN/ESPN2 presentation was 24 percent larger than ESPN2’s audience in 2011, 727,000 viewers (P2+), up from 588,000. The average rating is up 20 percent, from 0.5 to 0.6 (U.S. ratings), according to Nielsen.
- The ESPN/ESPN2 rating is equal to last year’s NBC/ESPN2 coverage, but the key male demographic groups are enjoying strong double-digit increases in impressions: Men 18-34 up 28 percent, Men 18-49 up 30 percent, and Men 25-54 up 21 percent.
- Two ESPN telecasts during the fortnight stand as ESPN’s most-watched ever from Wimbledon – 979,000 homes on Saturday, June 30 and 978,000 on Wednesday, July 4. Each earned a 1.0 coverage rating, tying ESPN’s best ever at Wimbledon. Two of the three previous 1.0 ratings also came on a July 4: ESPN2 on July 4, 2007, for the Ladies’ Quarterfinals; ESPN on July 4, 2003, for a Gentlemen’s Semifinal; and ESPN on July 1, 2004, for a Ladies’ Semifinal. Saturday’s 10-hour, 10-minute ESPN telecast (the third longest Wimbledon telecast ever, behind only an ESPN2 telecast in 2010 and Day One this year) – earned a 0.9 U.S. rating, the best for the “middle Saturday” since 2007 (1.0).
- Through Saturday, June 30, 19.2 million people had watched Wimbledon on ESPN or ESPN2, an increase of 32 percent compared to the same point a year ago (14.5 million).
- On Wednesday, July 4, the value of the ESPN / ESPN2 “Cross Court Coverage” was on display as both networks aired live matches, with ESPN2 airing nine hours and ESPN on the air for seven of those hours. The ESPN/ESPN2 combined rating was 1.0, up 43 percent from 0.7 for ESPN2/NBC last year. The audience was up 51 percent, to 1,354,000 viewers from 895,000. The key male demographic groups all more than doubled: Men 18-34 up 134 percent, Men 18-49 up 123 percent, and Men 25-54 up 122 percent.
Digital Usage Nearly Doubled
- Through July 4, ESPN3/WatchESPN has registered 72.1 million live minutes of viewing across all platforms, up 86 percent compared to the same point in 2011.
The Championships Conclude with History Beckoning
ESPN’s exclusive presentation of Wimbledon will culminate with a live national telecast of the Ladies’ Championship on Saturday, July 7, and the Gentlemen’s Championship on Sunday, July 8, both at 9 a.m. ET. Both will be preceded at 8 a.m. by the one-hour Breakfast at Wimbledon, hosted by Hannah Storm. ABC will reair the finals on the day they take place at 3 p.m.
All the action on ESPN is also available through WatchESPN online at WatchESPN.com and on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app. ESPN3 and ESPN 3D will televise both Championships live. In addition, ESPN3 will stream all matches on Centre Court (starting at 9 a.m.) and No. 1 Court (starting at 8 a.m.), including the Gentlemen’s and Ladies’ Doubles Championships live and in their entirety following the Ladies’ Championship.
Both matches will offer potential historic outcomes:
- In the Ladies Championship, either a tennis legend will further elevate her legacy, or an emerging star will win her first Major and will become the top-ranked woman in the world. Serena Williams, the No. 6 seed, will be vying for her 14th Major title and fifth at Wimbledon, but her first since Wimbledon two years ago. Since then, a series of health issues derailed her career. On the other side of the net, No. 3 Agnieszka Radwanska is playing in her first Major final but will be the top-ranked player in the world with a win. She is the first Pole to play for the Wimbledon Championship since Jadwiga Jedrzejowska in 1937.
- In the Gentlemen’s Championship, either Roger Federer will gain his record-tying seventh crown at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, or a kingdom will celebrate the end of a 76-year drought. Andy Murray of Scotland carries the athletic hopes and dreams of Great Britain on his shoulders in his quest to be the first man from Great Britain to win the local tennis Major since Fred Perry in 1936. It has been almost as long since a British man has played in the final – Bunny Austin in 1938.
And ESPN previews Saturday’s Ladies’ Final between Serena Williams and Agnieszka Radwanska.
Radwanska in First Major Final; Serena Gunning for 14th Major but First in Two Years
When ESPN televises live the Wimbledon Ladies Championship on Saturday, July 7, at 9 a.m. ET, either a tennis legend will further elevate her legacy, or an emerging star will win her first Major and will become the top-ranked woman in the world.
Serena Williams, the No. 6 seed, will be vying for her 14th Major title and fifth at Wimbledon, but her first since Wimbledon two years ago. Since then, a series of health issues derailed her career. On the other side of the net, No. 3 Agnieszka Radwanska is playing in her first Major final but will be the top-ranked player in the world with a win. She is the first Pole to play for the Wimbledon Championship since Jadwiga Jedrzejowska in 1937.
Chris Evert on the Matchup, and Serena
“The Championship is Serena’s to win or lose. She controls every point with her power, be it her serve or her return. It will be interesting to see Radwanska’s game plan. She can’t try to overpower Serena. She will have to mix it up and get Serena off her rhythm.
“Since Serena has been back, look at her results in Majors. She was understandably rusty here last year, got tight in the US Open final, and had bad losses in Australia and Paris. But it’s a different Serena we see now. We haven’t seen Serena play as well as she has these last two matches since before she hurt her foot. She has great power and movement and the confidence she needs to go with that.”
ESPN and Wimbledon
The new schedule for ESPN’s 10th Wimbledon – exclusive and all-live – is the result of a 12-year agreement between ESPN and the All England Lawn Tennis Club announced just after the conclusion of the 2011 Championships. The remaining schedule:
Date Time (ET) Event Network Sat, July 7 8 a.m. – 9 a.m. Breakfast at Wimbledon ESPN / ESPN3 Live 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Ladies’ Championship
No. 3 Radwanska vs. No. 6 Williams
ESPN / ESPN3D / ESPN3 Live 3 – 6 p.m. Ladies’ Championship ABC Tape Sun, July 8 8 a.m. – 9 a.m. Breakfast at Wimbledon ESPN / ESPN3 Live 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Gentlemen’s Championship ESPN / ESPN3D / ESPN3 Live 3 – 6 p.m. Gentlemen’s Championship ABC Tape
That does it.
Time for Friday linkage.
The Weekend Viewing Picks have your sports and entertainment suggestions. Let’s get cracking.
Michael Hiestand from USA Today looks at TNT’s plans to go mostly split-screen during breaks for Saturday’s NASCAR race.
Tom Perrotta of the Wall Street Journal reports that the one Wimbledon souvenir the players want is the towel.
Alex Sherman at Bloomberg Businessweek talks with NBC Sports Chairman Mark Lazarus about the Olympics.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk says enhancing the NFL fan experience might bring more people to games.
Ed Sherman of The Sherman Report is happy to learn that Jeremy Schaap’s ESPN Radio show is now available as a podcast.
Bob Pockrass at The Sporting News says NASCAR hopes that NBC Sports will be a bidder for the sport’s TV rights.
Mike Reynolds of Multichannel News says ESPN Deportes scored with the EURO 2012 Final last Sunday.
Mike says Golf Channel has selected the venue for the next season of “Big Break”.
Christopher Heine of Adweek says MLB’s allowing Twitter votes for the All-Star Game for the first time may have had a hand in deciding which league hosts the World Series.
Jason Del Ray of Advertising Age says the impending Turner Sports purchase of Bleacher Report makes sense.
Wayne Friedman at MediaPost says the NFL easing requirements on local TV blackouts shows the league wants to reach the casual fan.
Dan Daley at Sports Video Group says ESPN will be utilizing plenty of microphones at the MLB Home Run Derby.
Awful Announcing’s Matt Yoder has a screengrab of a Canadian TV station messing up the Steve Nash trade to the Lakers.
And Matt has found an episode of Judge Sapp. Yes, that’s Warren Sapp.
The Big Lead soaked up the latest Twitter battle between ESPN’s Darren Rovell and Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch.
MediaRantz looks at the top 5 ESPN plagiarism scandals.
Nick Bromberg of Yahoo’s From the Marbles blog wonders what is the big deal with the TNT/truTV simulcast of NASCAR’s Sprint Cup race on Saturday.
Joe Favorito likes how MLS has adopted “Food Week” to get fans to explore its markets’ restaurants.
East and Mid-Atlantic
At SB Nation Boston, Bruce Allen says it was time for Erin Andrews to leave the ESPN Mothership.
Jerry Barmsah of Fishbowl NY says CBS Radio’s WFAN could be headed to FM and could take the Yankees with it.
Yes, Phil Mushnick of the New York Post, we know you hate ESPN.
Justin Terranova of the Post has five questions for ESPN tennis analyst Brad Gilbert.
Ken McMillan from the Middletown (NY) Times Herald-Record says the MLB Extra Innings pay per view package will be free next week.
Don Laible of the Utica (NY) Observer-Dispatch talks with the NHL on NBC’s Dave Strader about calling Olympic basketball.
Ken says a local minor league baseball team has found a new radio home.
Dave Sottile of the Harrisburg (PA) Patriot-News says there are no plans to bring Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic to the local area.
Tim Richardson in Press Box looks at the differences between the Washington Nationals and MASN over the team’s TV rights fee.
Jim Williams of the Washington Examiner talks with MLB Network’s Chris Rose.
Kyle Veazey of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal says a popular local sports radio host is changing stations.
At the Houston Chronicle, David Barron writes that the new Comcast SportsNet Houston will air Conference USA football featuring the University of Houston.
Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says MLB feels it has restored integrity to the All-Star Game. It’s an exhibition game!
Paul M. Banks of the Chicago Sports Media Watch wonders who had the best mock NBA Draft?
Paul Christian at the Rochester (MN) Post-Bulletin says the new TV voice of the Minnesota Wild will have an exciting team to call this season.
Dan Caesar from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch talks about Erin Andrews making her Fox debut next week.
Dan writes that Blues analyst Darren Pang turned down a full-time offer from TSN and will remain in St. Louis.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News has this harsh takedown of Erin Andrews.
Here’s Tom’s column which has a little more on the last post.
Tom also links to reaction to his Erin Andrews column.
Matt Rudnitsky of SportsGrid replies point-by-point to Hoffarth.
John Maffei of the North County Times writes about Erin Andrews joining Fox.
Jim Carlisle of the Ventura County Star talks with Fox’s Joe Buck on the challenges of calling the MLB All-Star Game.
Jim has his Weekend Viewing Picks.
Matthew T. Hall at the San Diego Union-Tribune wonders where’s the fan outrage in the Fox Sports San Diego-Time Warner Cable dispute leaving Padres games off TV.
Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News tries to clear up some confusion over the Pac-12 Network.
And that will conclude our links for today.
It was nice having the Wimbledon Ladies Semifinals all live on ESPN today. Had NBC and ESPN2 shared coverage as in the past, you know the Victoria Azarenka-Serena Williams match would have been held on tape delay by the Peacocks until noon in all time zones. Instead, ESPN aired that match live when it began and carried it through to its conclusion without having to fill time with a doubles contest or something taped from the day before.
And with the Gentlemen’s Semifinals on Friday, it will be the same scenario for ESPN. Both the Novak Djokovic-Roger Federer and Andy Murray-Jo-Wilfried Tsonga matches will be seen live starting at 8 a.m. ET. Now let’s play “what if?” Had NBC had the rights this year, it would have carried Djoko-Fed forcing ESPN to stall. And most likely with the Murray-Tsonga match running into NBC’s window, the Alleged Worldwide Leader would have had to carry that match on tape at 3 p.m. ET after NBC had finished its coverage. But in the Brave New World of entirely live tennis from SW19, ESPN carries both matches live preceded by Breakfast at Wimbledon at 7 a.m. and we’re all happy tennis fans.
So the Men’s semifinals will be all live on ESPN tomorrow. Djoker Nole-Federer kicks it off with Murray-Tsonga following. And it’s quite interesting to see a Djokovic-Federer semifinal being an opening act, but with the UK rooting for Murray, it’s understandable why that match is the “nightcap” in the tennis doubleheader on Centre Court tomorrow.
Here’s the ESPN press release.
Federer-Djokovic to Meet for First Time at Wimbledon in Friday’s Semifinal
Four of Top Five Seeds Meet for Place in Sunday’s Championship
A dream matchup of two of tennis’ all-time best who have met 26 times but never at Wimbledon highlights the Gentlemen’s Semifinals live on ESPN on Friday, July 6, at 8 a.m. Novak Djokovic,– the world’s top ranked player and defending champion – will face six-time winner Roger Federer, seeded No. 3. Federer, with an unmatched 16 Grand Slam titles, owns a 14-12 career record against Djokovic, who owns six Major crowns and has won their last three meetings. The two have met in the semifinal round in six of the last eight Majors, but have never played on the grass courts of Wimbledon.
With No. 4 seed Andy Murray – carrying the weight of a 76-year drought for men from Great Britain at Wimbledon into his fourth straight appearance in the semifinals – playing No. 5 seed Jo Wilfried Tsonga, four of the top five seeds have reached the penultimate stage of tennis’ most storied event.
Those matches, plus the Ladies’ Championships on Saturday, July 7, and the Gentlemen’s Championship on Sunday, July 8, will be preceded by the one-hour Breakfast at Wimbledon, hosted by Hannah Storm (7 a.m. Friday, 8 a.m. Saturday and Sunday). ABC will reair the finals on the day they take place, July 7 and 8, at 3 p.m.
All the action on ESPN is also available through WatchESPN online at WatchESPN.com and on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app. ESPN 3D is televising live the final five days of action from Centre Court beginning with the men’s quarterfinals Wednesday, July 4, through the Championships.
Patrick McEnroe on the Semifinals
“Federer and Djokovic is obviously the blockbuster matchup. Can Federer find the magic to get back to the final? This may be his best chance to win another Major. It’s his favorite surface and Nadal is out of his way. The clock is ticking.
“The clock is also ticking on the Brits…since 1936. Despite that pressure, this is Andy Murray’s best opportunity to win his first Major, also based on Nadal losing. Butit won’t be easy. Tsonga is a Big Spot Player. He’s at his best in the biggest matches, especially here. He’s going to bring a lot of exuberance and passion. It’s a very, very tough ask for Andy, but he can counterpunch Tsonga’s firepower with guile.”
The Ladies Championship will see No. 6 seed Serena Williams vying for her 14th Major title and fifth at Wimbledon play No. 3 Agnieszka Radwanska who is playing in her first Major final but will be the top-ranked player in the world with a win She is the first Pole to play for the Wimbledon Championship since Jadwiga Jedrzejowska in 1937.
ESPN and Wimbledon
The new schedule for ESPN’s 10th Wimbledon – exclusive and all-live – is the result of a 12-year agreement between ESPN and the All England Lawn Tennis Club announced just after the conclusion of the 2011 Championships. The remaining schedule:
Date Time (ET) Event Network Fri, July 6 7 – 8 a.m. Breakfast at Wimbledon ESPN / ESPN3 Live 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Gentlemen’s Semifinals
No. 1 Djokovic vs. No. 3 Federer
No. 4 Murray vs. No. 5 Tsonga
ESPN / ESPN3D / ESPN3 Live Sat, July 7 8 a.m. – 9 a.m. Breakfast at Wimbledon ESPN / ESPN3 Live 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Ladies’ Championship
No. 3 Radwanska vs. No. 6 Williams
ESPN / ESPN3D / ESPN3 Live 3 – 6 p.m. Ladies’ Championship ABC Tape Sun, July 8 8 a.m. – 9 a.m. Breakfast at Wimbledon ESPN / ESPN3 Live 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Gentlemen’s Championship ESPN / ESPN3D / ESPN3 Live 3 – 6 p.m. Gentlemen’s Championship ABC Tape
That will do it.
So weird to have the 4th of July in the middle of the week. You get the holiday after two work days and then have two work days afterwards. Some of you have the entire week off which is good, but for me, there’s no such thing as a vacation. In fact, I haven’t had a vacation since August 2001. That’s true. Anyway, you don’t care about that. Let’s get to the links.
Michael Hiestand of USA Today lists which sports media personality has donated money to which politician.
Michael says ESPN NASCAR pit reporter Jamie Little will work her last race for a few months this weekend.
The BBC reports that a single yellow cable that will carry the Olympics from London to Europe was almost cut in Belgium.
Trefis Team at Forbes says ESPN contributes heavily to Disney’s stock price, but that could be reduced over time.
Keach Hagey of the Wall Street Journal looks at the new NBC Sports/Sports Illustrated partnership.
Mike Barnes of the Hollywood Reporter says former mustachioed Oakland Raiders defensive lineman turned pitchman Ben Davidson has died at the age of 72.
Mike Reynolds at Multichannel News writes that ESPN set a viewership record for the EURO 2012 final.
Bill Cromwell of Media Life reports that NBC is close to selling out its Olympic ad inventory.
The Associated Press says the ACC has signed a 12 year deal with the Orange Bowl.
Ed Sherman at The Sherman Report talks with Chris “Mad Dog” Russo about his two decade long partnership with WFAN’s Mike Francesa.
Joe Lucia at Awful Announcing writes that ESPN’s Chris Fowler gave John McEnroe a lesson about Twitter parody accounts at Wimbledon this week.
Joe tells us about reporter-on-reporter Twitter crime between ESPN’s Buster Olney and CBS’ Jon Heyman.
Melissa Jacobs at the Football Girl agrees with Erin Andrews’ assessment that sideline reporters are a necessity when used correctly.
Speaking of Erin, she speaks with Adam Silverstein of the Only Gators blog about moving to Fox.
Dave Nagle in ESPN’s Front Row public relations blog notes the network’s new broadcast position at Wimbledon.
Richard Sandomir of the New York Times says Barclays’ recent troubles are trickling down to the Brooklyn Nets as they prepare to occupy their new home.
Claire Atkinson of the New York Post reports that The Whistle, a sports media company geared towards kids, will have a programming block on NBC Sports Network starting in September.
Dan Steinberg in the Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog notes that DC NFL Team radio analyst Sam Huff will work a reduced schedule this season.
Mel Bracht at The Oklahoman says the U.S. Olympic Trials topped the local ratings this past weekend.
Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes that Annika Sorenstam joins the NBC golf team this weekend at the U.S. Women’s Open.
Paul M. Banks at Chicago Sports Media Watch urges the White Sox to calm down in asking people to do last-minute voting for the All-Star Game.
Scott D. Pierce of the Salt Lake Tribune says the Pac-12 Network will be a success in Utah knowing the failings of the mtn.
Bill Mooney of the Thoroughbred Times says Fox Sports Net will air the West Virginia Derby next month.
Media Rantz notes that the NBC President who was responsible for the “Heidi Game” and forever changed how sports was aired on TV has passed away.
The Canadian Sports Media Blog says CTV will bring back a few features for this year’s Olympics that were used in 2010 for Vancouver.
EPL Talk has a partial list of English Premier League games that will be aired in the States on ESPN2 and Fox Soccer.
Sports Media Watch says TNT took a ratings hit for last Saturday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race.
Emmett Jones at Sports Business Digest notes that the US Olympic Committee will pass on bidding for the 2022 Games dashing hopes for a couple of cities. It means the earliest an Olympics will be held in the United States will be 2024.
And those are the links that I could manage to squeeze out of the internet today.
This is why the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club chose ESPN to air The Championships, Wimbledon for 12 years. After seeing NBC tape delay semifinal action and receive complaints for years on end, ESPN will air both live on Thursday starting at 8 a.m.
We’ll have Angelique Kerber of Germany facing Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland in the first semifinal. In the second match, it’ll be Belarus’ Victoria Azarenka, the winner of the Australian Open, squaring off against the USA’s Serena Williams.
ESPN begins its coverage with “Breakfast at Wimbledon” hosted by Hannah Storm at 7 a.m. Then at 8 a.m., the semifinals on Centre Court. We have the ESPN press release for you.
Serena vs. Azarenka, Kerber vs. Radwanska: Four of Top Eight Seeds to Meet for Place in Final
Federer-Djokovic to Meet for First Time at Wimbledon in Friday’s Semifinal
Four of the top eight Ladies seeds will square off in Wimbledon semifinals live on ESPN on Thursday, July 5, at 8 a.m. ET. No. 2 Victoria Azarenka, the current Australian Open title holder, will meet four-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams, seeded No. 6. Agnieszka Radwanska, the No. 3 seed, will meet No. 8 Angelique Kerber. Neither has ever played in the final of a Grand Slam event. The winners will meet in the Ladies’ Championship live on ESPN for the first time Saturday, July 7, at 9 a.m. Depending on the outcome, either Azarenka or Radwanska will be ranked No. 1 on Monday, July 9.
Both Gentlemen’s Semifinals will be seen live on ESPN on Friday, July 6, at 8 a.m. and include a dream matchup – the world’s top ranked player and defending champion Novak Djokovic against six-time winner Roger Federer, ranked No. 3. Djokovic, with six Major crowns, and Federer, who owns an unmatched 16, have never played on the grass courts of Wimbledon.
Those matches, plus the Championships on Saturday and Sunday, July 7 and 8, will be preceded by the one-hour Breakfast at Wimbledon, hosted by Hannah Storm (7 a.m. Thursday and Friday, 8 a.m. Saturday and Sunday). ABC will reair the finals on the day they take place, July 7 and 8, at 3 p.m.
All the action on ESPN is also available through WatchESPN online at WatchESPN.com and on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app. ESPN 3D is televising live the final five days of action from Centre Court beginning with the men’s quarterfinals Wednesday, July 4, through the Championships.
Date Time (ET) Event Network Thur, July 5 7 – 8 a.m. Breakfast at Wimbledon ESPN / ESPN3 Live 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. Ladies’ Semifinals ESPN / ESPN3D / ESPN3 Live Fri, July 6 7 – 8 a.m. Breakfast at Wimbledon ESPN / ESPN3 Live 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Gentlemen’s Semifinals ESPN / ESPN3D / ESPN3 Live Sat, July 7 8 a.m. – 9 a.m. Breakfast at Wimbledon ESPN / ESPN3 Live 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Ladies’ Championship ESPN / ESPN3D / ESPN3 Live 3 – 6 p.m. Ladies’ Championship ABC Tape Sun, July 8 8 a.m. – 9 a.m. Breakfast at Wimbledon ESPN / ESPN3 Live 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Gentlemen’s Championship ESPN / ESPN3D / ESPN3 Live 3 – 6 p.m. Gentlemen’s Championship ABC Tape
This being the first year of a 12 year contract with the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, ESPN’s expanded all-cable coverage of Wimbledon is even with last year. ESPN says its combined ratings with ESPN2 for the first six days of the two week tournament are 0.5, even with last year when NBC and ESPN2 aired the entire proceedings. ESPN points out that its audience is younger especially in male demographics.
The Alleged Worldwide Leader points out that the online audience through ESPN3 and WatchESPN has gone up dramatically from last year.
So let’s take a look at the ESPN press release on its Wimbledon coverage.
ESPN’s 10th Wimbledon – exclusive and all live – enjoyed an eight percent increase over its household audience last year through the first six days of marathon telecasts, highlighted by its biggest household audience ever in 10 years, for Saturday’s latest-ever finish at Wimbledon.
After six days, the ESPN/ESPN2 presentation is up eight percent in household impressions to 569,000 homes compared to ESPN2’s telecasts last year (based on a 0.5 US rating both years), according to Nielsen.
ESPN/ESPN2 are even with last year’s ESPN2/NBC rating of 0.5 (US rtg) to date. Nevertheless, the audiences for the key male demos are all seeing an advantage over last year — M18-34 is up 13 percent, M18-49 is up 20 percent, and M25-54 is up 11 percent.
On Saturday, the ten-hour, ten-minute ESPN telecast (the third longest Wimbledon telecast ever, behind only an ESPN2 telecast in 2010 and Day One this year) – earned a 0.9 US rating, the best for the “middle Saturday” since 2007 (1.0). The ESPN coverage rating of 1.0 ties the ESPN Wimbledon record (two previous 1.0 ratings: ESPN2 on July 4, 2007 for the Ladies’ Quarterfinals, and ESPN on July 4, 200 for a Gentlemen’s Semifinal). The telecast ended with Andy Murray’s victory over Marcos Baghdatis in the latest-ever finish at Wimbledon (11:02 p.m. in London).
Digital consumption of Wimbledon action on ESPN3 and WatchESPN through six days has soared over the usage a year ago. Through the first week of Wimbledon, there was a total of 46.6 million live minutes consumed across all platforms (computer, smartphone, tablet and Xbox), up 67 percent from 2011 through the same point.
The ESPN/ESPN2 “Cross Court Coverage” – an unprecedented approach whereby ESPN focuses on Centre Court matches while ESPN2 offers fans a “grounds pass” with action from Court 1 and other courts – will continue with all-day marathons on both networks today, Tuesday, and Wednesday, July 4.
ESPN will present the semifinals and finals live Thursday – Sunday. All four days will commence with the one-hour Breakfast at Wimbledon, hosted by Hannah Storm. ABC will reair the finals on the day they take place, July 7 and 8, at 3 p.m. ET.
All the action on ESPN and ESPN2 is also available through WatchESPN online at WatchESPN.com and on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app. ESPN 3D will televise live the final five days of action from Centre Court beginning with the men’s quarterfinals Wednesday, July 4.
The new schedule is the result of a 12-year agreement between ESPN and the All England Lawn Tennis Club announced just after the conclusion of the 2011 Championships. The remaining schedule:
Date Time (ET) Event Network Wed, July 4 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. Gentlemen’s Quarterfinals ESPN2 / ESPN3 Live 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. Gentlemen’s Quarterfinals,
ESPN / ESPN3D / ESPN3 Live Thur, July 5 7 – 8 a.m. Breakfast at Wimbledon ESPN / ESPN3 Live 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. Ladies’ Semifinals ESPN / ESPN3D / ESPN3 Live Fri, July 6 7 – 8 a.m. Breakfast at Wimbledon ESPN / ESPN3 Live 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Gentlemen’s Semifinals ESPN / ESPN3D / ESPN3 Live Sat, July 7 8 a.m. – 9 a.m. Breakfast at Wimbledon ESPN / ESPN3 Live 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Ladies’ Final ESPN / ESPN3D / ESPN3 Live 3 – 6 p.m. Ladies’ Final ABC Tape Sun, July 8 8 a.m. – 9 a.m. Breakfast at Wimbledon ESPN / ESPN3 Live 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Gentlemen’s Final ESPN / ESPN3D / ESPN3 Live 3 – 6 p.m. Gentlemen’s Final ABC Tape
We’re done here.
Ok, maybe you’re not jonesing for the linkage, but at least you can read them at your leisure. Sometimes I think way too long about the title of the post and this is the case today. Anyway, let’s get to the links.
Joel Schectman of the Wall Street Journal reports that NBC and Google are preparing for possible hacking or denial of service attacks of online Olympic streams next month.
Lindsay Rubino at Broadcasting & Cable writes that NBC with U.S. Olympic Trials coverage in Track & Field, Swimming and Gymnastics won primetime on Sunday.
Mike Reynolds from Multichannel News says ESPN and ESPN2 are seeing huge ratings gains from Wimbledon.
Mike writes that NBC Sports Group has expanded its commitment to its Fight Night.
Anthony Crupi at Adweek says Fox Sports has sold out its ad inventory for the MLB All-Star Game.
Crupi says NBC scored with the U.S. Olympic Trials over the last week and a half.
Wayne Friedman of MediaPost says if Sunday is any indication, NBC should do really well with the Olympics later this month.
George Szalai of the Hollywood Reporter notes that BBC’s sports broadcasts of EURO 2012 and Wimbledon are leaving rival ITV in the ratings dust.
Nat Ives from Advertising Age notes that NBC and Sports Illustrated are teaming up for a monthly show.
Sam Marmudi of Marketwatch.com says NBC is getting ready for an Olympic takeover.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo! writes that MLB’s antiquated blackout policy is hurting the sport.
Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com says the media could be allowed to see the college football playoff selection process.
At the Indiana University National Sports Journalism Center, Eric Deggans from the Tampa Bay Times writes that Erin Andrews is another example of ESPN losing another big name star.
Ed Sherman at The Sherman Report talks about why it’s important for Fox to have Erin Andrews make her debut next week at the MLB All-Star Game.
Jason Dachman of Sports Video Group says ESPN plans to change its production model of the X Games as it expands globally.
Darren Rovell bids farewell to CNBC.
At the ESPN PR Front Row blog, Mike Humes says the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest brings back memories for college basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla.
Timothy Burke of Deadspin notes that Texas Rangers TV voice Dave Barnett who had a strange on-air moment last month, will be taking a medical leave for the rest of the season.
Andy Smith of the Providence Journal writes that almost a million people watched the America’s Cup World Series races on NBC over the weekend.
To Richard Sandomir of the New York Times, who looks at the on-going MLB TV rights negotiations. Some interesting news from Richard in the article.
Newsday’s Neil Best discusses MLB All-Star voting with Commissioner Bud Selig and Fox’s Joe Buck and Tim McCarver.
Bob’s Blitz has video of some of the WFAN gang with CBS Radio bigwigs ringing the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange last week.
The Albany Times-Union’s Pete Dougherty says the PGA’s AT&T National on CBS set a six year ratings high.
Ken McMillan of the Middletown (NY) Times Herald-Record reports that NESN National is available to local Verizon Fios subscribers.
Ken says NBA TV is gearing up for Summer League games.
Dan Steinberg at the Washington Post’s DC Bog has ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian predicting good things for the Nationals.
Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times reviews the weekend in sports television.
Shannon Owens of the Orlando Sentinel recaps Erin Andrews’ appearance on the Dan Patrick Show today.
David Barron from the Houston Chronicle says Samantha Steele of the Longhorn Network could be the beneficiary of Erin Andrews’ departure from ESPN.
Mel Bracht of The Oklahoman talks about Dave Barnett’s decision to take a medical leave from calling the Texas Rangers.
Gregg Tunnicliff of the Flint (MI) Journal talks with a long-time racing commentator.
Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has MLB Commissioner Bud Selig not having a problem with the sudden surge of fan voting from the Bay Area for the All-Star Game.
Scott D. Pierce of the Salt Lake Tribune says the Pac-12 Network is set to launch in 40 million homes next month.
Michael Gehiken of the San Diego Union-Tribune says the eased NFL blackout rules probably won’t affect the Chargers this coming season.
Sports Media Watch has some ratings news on the U.S. Olympic Trials and Baseball Night in America.
SMW notes that Wimbledon as an all-cable event is performing on par with last year.
Jason Lisk at The Big Lead is happy to note that ESPN blowhard Skip Bayless is wrong about racial profiling American white players in the NBA Draft.
Matt Yoder has some thoughts on ESPN’s EURO 2012 coverage.
Joe Favorito wonders if brands can make their Olympic sponsorship gambles pay off despite not having a name athlete to cling to.
And we’ll wrap up with Dave Kohl at The Broadcast Booth who looks back at WFAN’s 25 years in operation.
And we’re done.
Let’s do some Tuesday links.
We’ll start with Matt Hayes of AOL Sporting News and he writes that the BCS is looking for a $5 billion TV deal over a decade for its new college football playoff.
In the Indiana University National Sports Journalism Center, Michael Bradley says the new college football playoff still can be improved.
Eric Fisher and John Ourand of Sports Business Journal write that the Washington Nationals and MASN continue to be at odds over what the team’s TV rights are worth.
Maury Brown in Baseball Prospectus goes inside the Nats/MASN TV rights dispute.
Mark Buteau and Alex Duff of Bloomberg report that NBC has signed a long-term extension to lock in the Tour de France.
Etan Vlessing of the Hollywood Reporter says CBC and CTV are dropping their joint bidfor the 2014/2016 Olympic Games.
Charlie Warzel of Adweek says the PGA and Turner Sports are parting ways as the golf association will handle its digital rights in-house and no longer outsource it to Turner.
Tim Baysinger from Broadcasting & Cable writes that Ion will provide the WWE with a third night of programming.
In Multichannel News, Tim has an article about NFL Network’s NFL AM show.
Media Life Magazine notes that a Spanish language ad ran during ABC’s NBA Finals broadcasts.
Ty Duffy at The Big Lead says CBS’ Jim Nantz is now pimping his own wine label. Surprised it’s not called “Hello, Friends.”
Matt Yoder of Awful Announcing has the amazing video of Mike Tyson on ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption giving a preview of his new one-man Broadway play.
Dmitry Chesnokov of Yahoo’s Puck Daddy notes that the KHL has officially announced plans to play in the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn while trashing New York’s Madison Square Garden in the process.
The ESPN Front Row blog fires a shot at the new upstarts CBS Sports Radio and NBC Sports Radio Network on behalf of ESPN Radio.
Ben Lee at Digital Spy UK says Wimbledon’s primetime coverage on BBC2 drew over a million viewers.
Tara Pringle Jefferson at Loop 21 has six questions for ESPN’s Sage Steele.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell says NBA Draft prospect Anthony Davis has trademarked his unibrow.
Darren wonders if US Olympic 100 meter sprinter Justin Gatlin can be marketable once again after sitting out a four year ban for steroids.
Sports Video Group notes that NESN has signedanother content sharing agreement with a third New England TV station, this time in Vermont.
All Access interviews a radio industry analyst who feels the new CBS Sports Radio will do well for the parent company.
Ian Bethune at Sox & Dawgs has the funny video of NESN’s Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy entertaining the viewers during a Red Sox rain delay last night.
Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston writes about the Red Sox being in no rush to replace their late public address announcer Carl Beane.
Claire Atkinson of the New York Post reports that a positive FCC ruling for Tennis Channel in its carriage dispute against Comcast could lead to more viewers for the network and make it more attractive to potential buyers.
Bob’s Blitz has WFAN’s schedule for Sunday when it celebrates 25 years as the Nation’s first sports radio station.
Kimberly A. Martin of Newsday notes that E! will air a special on New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow.
Neil Best of Newsday looks at ESPN’s start-to-finish coverage of Wimbledon.
Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union has MLB Network’s live game schedule through the end of July.
Keith Groller of the Allentown (PA) Morning Call profiles a former local sports anchor who’s making his mark in Detroit.
Laura Nachman says a part-timer at Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia is now part of the regional sports network’s starting team.
Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog notes that Washingtonian magazine readers aren’t enamored with the Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin.
Tom Jones of the Tampa Bay Times chastises readers who complained about weather alerts about Tropical Storm Debby that cut into sports action.
At the Miami Herald, Barry Jackson looks at anti-Heat media comments almost a week after the team won the NBA Championship.
Marc Weiszer of the Athens (GA) Banner-Herald writes that ESPN is producing a documentary on the 2008 SEC Tournament game between Alabama and Mississippi State that was interrupted by a tornado that ripped through Atlanta.
Jimmy Smith of the New Orleans Times Picayune reports that the Hornets will have the soon-to-be Fox Sports New Orleans to call their home. Fox Sports NO will replace Cox Sports which is getting out of the pro sports business.
Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says NFL Network will air clips of a Brett Favre interview all week long.
Danny Ecker of Crain’s Chicago Business says the local Comcast SportsNet affiliate will launch a new trivia game show.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News has a clip of Frank Deford’s appearance on last night’s Colbert Report.
Simon Houpt and Steve Ladurantaye of the Toronto Globe and Mail look at CBC and CTV ending their joint bid for the 2014/16 Olympics after two prices were rejected.
Ann Dempsey from the Toronto Star also has a story on the CBC/CTV disbanding.
Bill Harris in the Toronto Sun says Olympic viewing in Canada after this year is up in the air.
Monika Warzecha of Toronto Life wonders if Canadians will be stuck watching NBC for the 2014/16 Olympics.
The Canadian Sports Media Blog notes TSN did well in showing the NHL Draft and EURO 2012.
Sports Media Watch has some various ratings news and notes.
Emmett Jones at Sports Business Digest says NBC and Shazam have teamed up to provide interactive coverage of the London Olympics.
And that’s going do it for our linkage.
Let’s do some links on a rainy Monday in Southern New England.
Michael Hiestand of USA Today looks at NFL Network’s new morning show.
Michael says ESPN has not confirmed whether Chris Berman will call a Monday Night Football game on the opening weekend of the season.
John Ourand of Sports Business Journal reports that CBS is about 80% sold for the Super Bowl.
Terry Lefton of Sports Business Journal says Pepsi has signed a deal to sponsor the Super Bowl halftime show.
Mike Ozanian of Forbes notes that the Miami Heat is on the verge of getting a huge deal with Fox Sports Florida.
Former ESPN First Take co-host Dana Jacobsen writes in her blog that she was molested as a child. Courageous for her to speak publicly about this.
Scott Roxborough and Stuart Kemp of the Hollywood Reporter note that yesterday’s Italy-England EURO 2012 Quarterfinal game became the highest-rated and most watched game of the tournament in Europe.
Mike Reynolds from Multichannel News looks at ESPN going all in at Wimbledon.
Rich Thomaselli of Advertising Age wonders now that LeBron James has won a championship, will he reach Michael Jordan levels in marketing?
Staci D. Kramer of paidContent says ESPN’s streaming of the NBA Finals drew a decent audience.
Ed Sherman from the Sherman Report writes that sportswriter Frank Deford will appear on tonight’s Colbert Report.
The Big Lead looks at alleged bias by the HBO Boxing crew from the Manny Pacquaio-Timothy Bradley fight.
Matt Yoder of Awful Announcing reviews the train wreck that was Charlie Sheen’s guest appearance on Fox Saturday.
Matt analyzes the moves by CBS and NBC to create their own sports radio networks.
Dylan Murphy at SportsGrid says a French soccer player cursed out a reporter after the team’s loss at EURO 2012 last week.
Also from SportsGrid, Dan Fogarty notes that Oprah Winfrey will interview LeBron James and the Miami Heat this weekend which has train wreck potential written all over it.
Evan Weiner at Examiner.com writes that the NFL has a long way to go to get a foothold in Europe.
Newsday’s Neil Best talks with some of the people who have worked at WFAN during its past 25 years.
The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick says college presidents’ pleas to pray for the Jerry Sandusky abuse victims ring hollow. Did Phil want them to go to Jerry Sandusky’s jail cell and shoot him dead?
And Phil goes after his favorite target, WFAN’s Mike Francesa.
Jerry Barmash at Fishbowl NY talks with WFAN Operations Manager Mark Chernoff about the nation’s oldest radio station turning 25.
Jerry says a 1010 WINS sports anchor wants to go after those who mispronounce “Wimbledon”.
Bob’s Blitz has the WFAN 25th Anniversary lineup for this Sunday.
Ken McMillan of the Middletown (NY) Times Herald-Record says a New York-Penn League minor league baseball team won’t have a radio partner this year.
Greg Connors of the Buffalo News talks with Jim Rome about his CBS Sports Network show.
Jim Williams of the Washington Examiner notes that ESPN will be providing a lot of tennis action over the next fortnight.
At Chicago Sports Media Watch, Paul M. Banks talks with Danica Patrick about her transition from IndyCar to NASCAR.
Dusty Saunders at the Denver Post writes about ESPN’s extensive Wimbledon coverage.
Tom Hoffarth from the Los Angeles Daily News has the sports calendar for this week.
Brent Schrotenboer of the San Diego Union-Tribune says all of San Diego State’s football games will be seen on TV, the question is where?
Bruce Dowbiggin at the Toronto Globe and Mail suggests that the NHL expand Hockey Night in Canada to Sundays.
Raju Mudhar with the Toronto Star writes about technology and sports melding together.
At Frontstretch, Amy Henderson writes that TV is actually hurting NASCAR and turning fans off.
Back to Paul M. Banks at the Sports Bank and he has video of ESPN’s Jenn Brown taking batting practice at the College World Series.
MediaRantz reviews WFAN at 25.
MediaRantz says noted Florida sports radio bad boy Dan Sileo could be headed to the new CBS Sports Radio.
Steve Lepore of Puck The Media says NBC’s shuffle of the NHL Draft wasn’t great, but it wasn’t the worst thing in the world.
Sports Media Watch says the NBA Finals’ ratings were down from last year.
SMW writes that MLB on Fox took a hit opposite the U.S. Open.
But SMW says this past weekend, MLB on Fox did significantly better.
Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo’s The Dagger blog writes that ESPN expects to replace analyst Hubert Davis with Jalen Rose on College GameDay.
Paul Magno at Yahoo says boxing may return to network TV as Oscar de la Hoya tries to bring a fight to CBS.
Kris Hughes at Rant Sports asks if Time Warner Cable could purchase the Longhorn Network from ESPN?
Gaslamp Ball talks with the head of Fox Sports San Diego.
And that will do us for today.
Just received from Tennis Channel, it’s announcing a contract extension for host Bill Macatee. Bill has been the host for all four Grand Slams, in particular, the French Open. He’ll continue to host French Open Tonight and Wimbledon Primetime for Tennis Channel. And he’ll be the on-site host for the Australian and U.S. Opens. No terms of the new agreement were disclosed.
Tennis Channel also announced that Wimbledon Primetime will air throughout the fortnight of the tournament. Previously, it had stopped airing after the first ten days of Wimbledon. The show will hit the air at 5 p.m. with a four hour program showing matches, interviews and features. Then a second all-new three hour show will immediately follow and air until midnight ET.
Details of the Tennis Channel announcement are below.
Multiyear Agreement Keeps Sports Broadcasting Star at all Four Majors
Changes in store for Fifth Year of Wimbledon Primetime as Mary Carillo Joins Telecast and 14-Hour Coverage Windows are Unveiled with New, State-of-the-Art Set
LOS ANGELES, June 22, 2012 -Tennis Channel, the only 24-hour, television-based multimedia destination dedicated to both the professional sport and tennis lifestyle, has extended its longtime relationship with veteran sportscaster Bill Macatee (@BMacatee). The multiyear agreement keeps Macatee front and center with the network during its coverage of the sport’s four major tournaments – Wimbledon, US Open, French Open and Australian Open – a role he has held since 2007 when the channel first began covering majors with the French Open. He has been a driving member of Tennis Channel’s on-air team at every subsequent major, and has been involved in other series and specials for the network away from these events throughout the year.
During the US Open and Australian Open, Macatee lends more than two decades of anchor and play-by-play skills to Tennis Channel’s on-air booth, introducing each day’s coverage and detailing the match action and on-court excitement as it unfolds. One of the pre-eminent interviewers in television today, he also holds exclusive conversations at these events, skills Tennis Channel utilizes further with studio shows Wimbledon Primetime and French Open Tonight (shows Macatee also produces). The programs bring players, experts and other tennis personalities into viewers’ homes via engaging, intimate discussions that go beyond forehand winners and third-set rallies. Popular with both audiences and interviewees who make repeated appearances, they are unique in televised tennis coverage, trading on the network’s year-round familiarity with the tennis world, as well as Macatee’s inquisitive, analytical perspective and conversational demeanor.
“It’s been an honor to be part of Tennis Channel as we’ve grown from our first major steps at the French Open into the round-the-clock destination we are today during the Grand Slams,” said Macatee. “I’m excited to continue this journey and really looking forward to the breakthroughs we’re adding to this year’s edition of Wimbledon Primetime in London during the next two weeks.”
The announcement comes on the eve of Tennis Channel’s fifth year of Wimbledon coverage via nightly series Wimbledon Primetime, which will undergo a significant evolution in 2012. In the first year of a 12-year extension with the All England Lawn and Tennis Club that was announced in the fall, on-air personality Mary Carillo is new to the show this summer. With Macatee, she joins the returning Martina Navratilova (@Martina), Lindsay Davenport (@LDavenport76), Justin Gimelstob (@justingimelstob) and Bud Collins (@budcollins). Carillo, popular with viewers for her candor and straightforward points of view, began working with Tennis Channel in 2011 during the French Open and US Open, events that are on her schedule again this year.
Wimbledon Primetime also will debut a state-of-the-art set that will prove to be the largest on-site television studio in tournament history, a “mission control” center that will allow the network to stay engaged with action throughout the grounds. A wider-ranging format is also in store for 2012. Unlike the single solid, four-hour block of interviews and match coverage of the past, this year Tennis Channel will offer seven nightly hours of original Wimbledon programming. The four-hour Wimbledon Primetime‘s first edition each night will include three hours of on-court stories and encore match coverage, followed by an hour of fast-paced highlights and interviews. This will be followed immediately by a second edition with three entirely new hours of the day’s best tennis before the concluding, rapid-fire hour. Also new in 2012, the program will run all 14 nights of the tournament, through the final Sunday, as opposed to the 10 nights of previous telecasts, which ended with the women’s semifinals on the second Thursday.
Wimbledon Primetime‘s 2012 schedule has been broadened to allow viewers far more opportunities to stay on top of the sport’s oldest major, with a round-the-clock formula that has bred success at other majors. Last year the show began at 7 p.m. ET and re-aired only once during the evening, starting at 11 p.m. ET. With the second run’s conclusion at 3 a.m. ET, viewers were left without coverage until the following day. This year Wimbledon Primetime will run for 14 continuous hours, from the end of one day’s play to the start of the next. The initial editions will air from 5 p.m.-9 p.m. ET and 9 p.m. 1 a.m. ET., followed by a four-hour encore (1 a.m.-5 a.m. ET) and two one-hour encores (5 a.m-6 a.m. ET, 6 a.m.-7 a.m. ET).
Exceptions to the schedule occur on Sunday. June 1, and Saturday and Sunday, June 7 and 8. On these nights the show will air from 7 p.m.-11 p.m. ET, with encore editions from 11 p.m.-3 a.m. ET and 3 a.m.-7 a.m. ET. Adjustments to the 2012 schedule of Tennis Channel’s prime-time French Open Tonight this past month contributed to that program’s largest tune-in ever, with an estimated 290,000 average viewers, a 24% increase over 2011.
Tennis Channel’s Web site, www.tennischannel.com, will post Wimbledon Primetime interviews and features, as well as tournament highlights and photo galleries. Tennis reporters Steve Flink, Joel Drucker (@joeldrucker) and Matt Cronin (@TennisReporters) will cover the event online again this year, and visitors will be able to enter the network’s “London Calling” Wimbledon sweepstakes and “Racquet Bracket” tournament prediction game. Members of the media, television viewers and tennis fans can stay engaged with Tennis Channel through Facebook (www.facebook.com/tennischannel), Twitter (www.twitter.com/tennischannel) and YouTube (www.youtube.com/tennischannel).
That is it.
I don’t know why I made a Casablanca reference in the headline, but it seemed to be right. Starting this year, ESPN begins the first of a 12 year partnership with the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club to televise the Championships Wimbledon from start to finish. It marks the first time that all of the action will be seen on one network from beginning to end.
ESPN will start its coverage of the first four days of the Fortnight on ESPN2, Monday, June 25. Then the ESPN Mothership will air its first-ever action from SW19 starting on Friday, June 25.
What makes ESPN’s coverage unique will be that both ESPN and ESPN2 will carry matches simultaneously starting with the Round of 16 on Monday, July 2 through the Gentlemen’s Quarterfinals on Wednesday, July 4.
From Thursday, July 5 through Sunday, July 8, ESPN will be the network of record for Wimbledon ending with the Gentlemen’s Finals.
I already told you about the “Breakfast at Wimbledon” pre-match program that premieres on the middle Saturday of action on June 29 and will air consecutively from July 5 – 8.
For those of you who don’t have cable, ESPN throws scraps to ABC with a highlight program on the middle Sunday, June 30 from 3 – 6 p.m. ET and again the following weekend by showing the Ladies and Gentlemen’s Finals on tape delay. If both matches end under three hours, then they’ll be shown in their entirety.
Altogether, ESPN and ESPN2 will air a total of 140 hours of tennis action. ESPN 3D which 73 people across the country will carry the Gentlemen’s Quarterfinals through to the Final. And ESPN3 will have a lot of matches that won’t be seen on TV. Got it? Good.
And I buried the lede. The most important thing in all this? No more NBC tape delayed shenanigans! Everything will be live!
Here’s ESPN’s press release on the whole Wimbledon enchilada.
140 Live Hours on ESPN & ESPN2 including “Cross Court Coverage,” Highlights on ABC, Nine Screens on ESPN3
John McEnroe Makes ESPN/Wimbledon Debut, “Breakfast at Wimbledon” Returns as ESPN Preview Show
A new era of television coverage for one of sport’s most prestigious and historic events will begin when ESPN presents The Championships, Wimbledon complete, live and exclusively across its networks from first ball Monday, June 25, with day-long marathon telecasts through to the Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Finals, Saturday, July 7, and Sunday, July 8, respectively. ESPN’s 10th Wimbledon will expand to 140 live hours in high definition on ESPN HD and ESPN2 HD – including three days when the two networks offer all-day “cross court coverage” (airing matches simultaneously) – plus highlights and reairs of both Finals on ABC. All the action on ESPN and ESPN2 is also available through WatchESPN online at WatchESPN.com and on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app.
In addition, ESPN3 will also increase its schedule to more than 800 hours of a multi-screen offering – all available TV courts (up to nine) presented from first ball to last ball each day – which will be available along with ESPN and ESPN2’s action via the WatchESPN app. The service will also offer matches on demand after they occur.
The new schedule is the result of a 12-year agreement between ESPN and the All England Lawn Tennis Club announced just after the conclusion of the 2011 Championships.
As previously announced, ESPN 3D, which presented its first tennis at Wimbledon a year ago with one live match and others on delay, will televise five days of action live from Centre Court. ESPN 3D’s coverage will begin with the Gentlemen’s quarterfinals Wednesday, July 4, and continue through the Finals. Each day’s telecast will be reaired that night at 9 p.m.
“This Wimbledon is the culmination of a dream we at ESPN have had for more than 10 years, to deliver every match and every key moment live as it happens to fans wherever they are,” said John Skipper, ESPN president. “The Club entrusted the care of their wonderful event to us and we intend to fulfill their trust and present a Wimbledon that uses modern technology to serve fans across all devices while being mindful of the great history and traditions of the fortnight.”
As previously announced, Hall of Famer John McEnroe is adding Wimbledon to his ESPN repertoire, having worked the US Open since 2009. He will be joined by returnees Darren Cahill, Cliff Drysdale, Mary Joe Fernandez, Brad Gilbert, Patrick McEnroe and Pam Shriver. Chris Fowler will call matches and serve as studio host, sharing that role with Hannah Storm and Mike Tirico. The voice of ESPN’s Monday Night Football, Tirico has worked the US Open for ESPN as a host and calling matches and will fill those roles in his Wimbledon debut. Tom Rinaldi will provide essays and features.
Surveying the Fields
Three players dominate the top of the men’s game with 28 of the last 29 Major championships – No. 1-ranked and defending champion, Novak Djokovic, two-time champ and No. 2 Rafael Nadal who recently defeated Djokovic for the French Open crown, and No. 3 Roger Federer, who counts six Wimbledon crowns in his tally of 16 Grand Slam titles. Everyone else – starting with British hopeful No. 4 Andy Murray seeking his first Grand Slam title and hoping to end Great Britain’s 76-year Wimbledon drought (Fred Perry, 1936) – is hoping for a slot in the semifinals.
Among the women, it’s a very different story. Six different women have won the last six Majors, but having regained the No. 1 ranking with the French Open championship, 2004 Wimbledon winner Maria Sharapova is the favorite in a crowded field. Serena Williams has four Wimbledon trophies, and looks to rebound from her first-round ouster in Paris and her No. 6 ranking. No. 2 Victoria Azarenka won this year’s Australian Open, No. 3 Agnieszka Radwanska has never reached a Major semifinal, No. 4 Petra Kvitova is the defending champ, No. 5 Sam Stosur won the 2011 US Open and former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki is ranked No. 7. The field also includes two big names with a combined 11 Major titles – Venus Williams has five Wimbledon victories among her seven Major wins, and Kim Clijsters would love to add a Wimbledon crown to her collection of four Major victories in what is likely her final Wimbledon, having announced she will retire this year.
Scheduling Highlights: All Live, ESPN & ESPN2’s “Cross Court Coverage” for “Greatest Day in Tennis”
For the first time in the U.S., ESPN networks will show all of Wimbledon live, from first ball through the finals, including up to nine courts simultaneously on ESPN3 and an unprecedented ESPN/ESPN2 dual network “cross court coverage” approach for July 2-4:
- ESPN2 HD will begin daylong live weekday programming Monday, June 25, at 6:30 a.m. and continuing each weekday through Wednesday, July 4, at 7 a.m. (except Friday, June 29)
- ESPN HD will first be live on Friday, June 29, from 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. and then on Saturday, June 30, starting at 7 a.m. with Breakfast at Wimbledon, a one-hour preview of the day’s matches that marks the return of the iconic branding after that being featured on air for many years. Breakfast at Wimbledon will also precede the network’s live, national telecasts of the Gentlemen’s and Ladies’ Semifinals and Finals, Thursday, July 5 – Sunday, July 8.
- On the “middle Sunday,” a scheduled day off as is Wimbledon tradition, ABC will broadcast a three-hour review of the first week at 3 p.m. ABC will also reair the finals on the day they take place, July 7 and 8 at 3 p.m.
- For the second Monday – Wednesday (July 2-4), ESPN will be live alongside ESPN2 to allow for live coverage of each and every match from the Round of 16 and Quarterfinals. In this unprecedented “Cross Court Coverage,” ESPN will focus on Centre Court matches while ESPN2 offers fans a “grounds pass” with action from Court 1 and other courts. The first of these three days, Monday, July 2 – when all 32 players are on the court in eight Gentlemen’s and eight Ladies’ Round of 16 matches, something that is unique to Wimbledon – is commonly referred to as “the greatest day in tennis.”
- ESPN 3D will pick up coverage with live Centre Court action Wednesday, July 4 through the Finals.
- ESPN3 will provide a multi-court offering of live play, including a simulcast of ESPN and ESPN2, with all-day coverage from all nine TV courts plus press conferences totaling more than 800 hours. In addition, the service – which reaches more than 73 million U.S. homes – will offer replays on demand.
ESPN3 is ESPN’s live multi-screen sports network, a 24/7 destination that delivers thousands of global sports events annually and accessible online via WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app and through ESPN on Xbox LIVE to Gold level members. It is currently available to 73 million homes at no additional cost to fans who receive their high-speed Internet connection or video subscription from an affiliated service provider. The network is also available at no cost to approximately 21 million U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel via computers connected to on-campus educational networks and on-base military networks.
The WatchESPN App – for fans who receive ESPN’s linear networks as part of their video subscription via Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, Verizon FiOS TV or Comcast Xfinity – will provide access to for ESPN2’s live coverage online at WatchESPN.com and through the WatchESPN app on smartphones and tablets, in addition to ESPN3’s multi-screen offering.
ESPN On Demand (TV/Mobile) will offer historic matches and highlights of the 2012 Gentlemen’s and Ladies’ finals.
ESPN Mobile will provide point-by-point coverage of every Wimbledon match with live scores on the ESPN mobile Web and ScoreCenter app. Additionally, ESPN will offer video highlights of Wimbledon via the ScoreCenter app for iPhone. ESPN Alerts will also notify fans who opt in to receive alerts of developing stories, match results and highlights.
ESPN Mobile TV will simulcast 105 hours of live ESPN/ESPN2 coverage throughout the tournament.
ESPN Interactive TV, now in its fifth year at Wimbledon, will provide multi-screen coverage of five matches in addition to the match airing on ESPN2 or ESPN through the second Monday of the tournament on ESPN3 and through DirecTV. Fans will also receive interviews, features, press conferences and, new for 2012, a studio wrap-around presence hosted by SportsCenter anchor Ryan Burr with a roster of guest analysts. In addition to the video offerings, DirecTV viewers can access results, schedules, draws and other interactive features through the remote control “Red Button.” In total, ESPN will provide more than 350 hours of coverage through this unique application.
ESPN Classic will air four great Wimbledon Gentlemen’s Finals from the past, each upon a significant anniversary – matches won by Bjorn Borg (1977), Jimmy Connors (1982), Andre Agassi (1992) and Roger Federer (2007). Each match will air twice on the day of the anniversary (except Federer’s 2007 victory, which took place on July 8).
Date Times (ET) Event Mon, July 2 1 a.m. & 10 p.m. 1977 Gentlemen’s Final: 35th Anniversary of Bjorn Borg defeating Jimmy Connors for the second of five consecutive Wimbledon titles Wed, July 4 1 a.m. & 6:30 p.m. 1982 Gentlemen’s Final: 30th Anniversary of Jimmy Connors defeating John McEnroe in five sets Thur, July 5 1 a.m. & 6:30 p.m. 1992 Gentlemen’s Final: 20th Anniversary of 22-year old Andre Agassi defeating Goran Ivanisevic Mon, July 9 2 a.m. & 11 a.m. 2007 Gentlemen’s Final: 5th Anniversary of Roger Federer’s Fifth Wimbledon title, defeating Rafael Nadal
More Wimbledon from ESPN, Inc.
ESPN.com will have previews, reviews, the latest news and videos and more:
- Courtcast: A multi-tool application with live events via the ESPN3 syndicated player, all-court scoring, match stats, Cover It Live conversations, poll questions, rolling Twitter feeds and scrolling bottom line;
- Slam Central: A daily destination for all Wimbledon fixtures;
- Five Things We Learned: Video series reviewing the top news of the day;
- Grass Stains: A daily notebook wrapping up the best and worst of the day;
- Digital Serve: Daily original videos previewing the next day;
- Star Watch: Daily blog focusing on one of the game’s elite.
espnW.com will offer daily columns, blog posts and video, with an emphasis on the women’s side of the tournament.
ESPNDeportes.com will provide live scores and draws, in depth news and coverage of Latin American players, columns, blogs, live chats, video, highlights and news, including ESPiando Wimbledon that will recap the day’s play.
ESPN International will reach 33 million homes in Spanish speaking Latin America and the Caribbean with over 90 live hours of television across ESPN Latin America and ESPN Caribbean. In addition to daily primetime highlight programs on ESPN Latin America, ESPN+ in the Southern Cone and ESPN Dos in the Northern Cone will supplement the coverage on ESPN Latin America with an additional 50+ live hours. Also, ESPN’s broadband service, ESPN Play, will offer over 700 hours of live coverage throughout both regions with over 10 simultaneous early round windows available.
ESPN & WIMBLEDON 2012
Date Time (ET) Event Network Mon, June 25 6:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Early Round Action ESPN2/ESPN3 Live Tue, June 16 – Thur, June 28 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Early Round Action ESPN2/ESPN3 (begins at 6:30 a.m.) Live Fri, June 29 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Early Round Action ESPN/ESPN3 Live Sat, June 30 7 – 8 a.m. Breakfast at Wimbledon ESPN/ESPN3 Live 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. Quarterfinals ESPN/ESPN3 Live Sun, July 1 3 – 6 p.m. Highlights of Week One ABC Tape Mon, July 2 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. Round of 16 ESPN2/ESPN3 Live 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. Round of 16, Centre Court ESPN/ESPN3 Live Tue, July 3 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. Ladies’ Quarterfinals ESPN2/ESPN3 Live 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. Ladies’ Quarterfinals,
ESPN/ESPN3 Live Wed, July 4 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. Gentlemen’s Quarterfinals ESPN2/ESPN3 Live 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. Gentlemen’s Quarterfinals, Centre Court ESPN/ESPN3D/ESPN3 Live Thur, July 5 7 – 8 a.m. Breakfast at Wimbledon ESPN/ESPN3 Live 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. Ladies’ Semifinals ESPN/ESPN3D/ESPN3 Live Fri, July 6 7 – 8 a.m. Breakfast at Wimbledon ESPN/ESPN3 Live 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Gentlemen’s Semifinals ESPN/ESPN3D/ESPN3 Live Sat, July 7 8 a.m. – 9 a.m. Breakfast at Wimbledon ESPN/ESPN3 Live 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Ladies’ Final ESPN/ESPN3D/ESPN3 Live 3 – 6 p.m. Ladies’ Final ABC Tape Sun, July 8 8 a.m. – 9 a.m. Breakfast at Wimbledon ESPN/ESPN3 Live 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Gentlemen’s Final ESPN/ESPN3D/ESPN3 Live 3 – 6 p.m. Gentlemen’s Final ABC Tape
And that is the end of a very lengthy press release.
In a move that will please many tennis fans, ESPN is bringing back “Breakfast at Wimbledon” and making it the name of a pregame show that will air on the middle Saturday of action on June 30 and then for the final four days of the tournament from the Gentlemen’s and Ladies’ Semifinals through to the Gentlemen’s Finals on July 8.
“Breakfast at Wimbledon” was first used by NBC for its first live men’s final back in 1977, but dropped over the last few years. When ESPN took the rights to the full Wimbledon fortnight last year, the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club asked the Alleged Worldwide Leader to bring back the name according to USA Today’s Michael Hiestand.
So for the next 12 years, “Breakfast at Wimbledon” will be an official program during ESPN’s coverage of the tournament.
We have the ESPN announcement plus a very nice logo.
As ESPN prepares for its new role as the exclusive home of live Wimbledon action from first ball to the finals across its networks, an iconic branding will return, Breakfast at Wimbledon. That title – which has not been in use for several years – will serve as the name of the on-site, pre-match show leading to five days when the ESPN network alone is televising matches.
The one-hour Breakfast at Wimbledon will debut at 7 a.m. ET on “the middle Saturday” (June 30) when ESPN covers matches from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. (or later as need be). It then returns for the final four days of the tournament, the Gentlemen’s and Ladies’ Semifinals and Finals, Thursday, July 5 – Sunday, July 8. For the semifinals, Breakfast at Wimbledon will air at 7 a.m. On Championship Weekend, the show will air at 8 a.m. with the Finals beginning at 9 a.m. The show will also be seen on ESPN3, as well as WatchESPN which includes ESPN and ESPN2 online at WatchESPN.com and on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app.
“The essence of ESPN’s approach as the new home of Wimbledon is to present the Championships as never before while remaining true to the event’s history and traditions, and the ‘Breakfast at Wimbledon’ moniker has strong brand equity with the American sports fan,” said Jason Bernstein, ESPN senior director, programming and acquisitions. “Our world-class production team has created attractive graphic treatments that marry the tradition of Wimbledon to the evolution of its brand and programming offerings such as behind-the-scenes features, insightful commentary from our talented roster of commentators, and social media elements bringing fans closer to The Championships than ever before.”
In addition to getting viewers ready with a preview of the day’s big matches, Breakfast at Wimbledon will offer the latest news, analysis and discussion, features and interviews, special guests and more from ESPN’s team of analysts.
Chris Fowler and Hannah Storm return as hosts of ESPN’s Wimbledon telecasts, with Fowler also continuing to call matches as well. Mike Tirico, the voice of Monday Night Football who has worked US Open telecasts as a host and calling matches, will join the Wimbledon team in those two roles.
ESPN & Wimbledon
ESPN will televise The Championships, Wimbledon across its networks starting Monday, June 25, with day-long marathon telecasts through to the Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Finals, Saturday, July 7, and Sunday, July 8, respectively. ESPN3 will again offer its multi-screen offering of all televised courts, including a simulcast of ESPN/ESPN2 telecasts. All the action on ESPN and ESPN2 is also available through WatchESPN online at WatchESPN.com and on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app. The new schedule is the result of a 12-year agreement between ESPN and the All England Lawn Tennis Club announced just after the conclusion of the 2011 Championships.
That will do it.
Before the day is through, let’s do some linkage for you.
Steve Berkowitz from USA Today looks at the Pac-12′s TV contract which is the richest in college sports (for now).
Speaking of USA Today, Ed Sherman of The Sherman Report says the newspaper is restructuring its sports department and about a dozen staffers have been laid off. That includes Friend of Fang’s Bites Mike McCarthy and Game On! blogger Tom Weir. Very sad to see this. I met Mike a few years ago when we covered an event at ESPN. Good reporter and writer. I hope to be linking to him again soon.
Ed also writes about ESPN holding onto the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.
ESPN Ombudsman Jason Fry of the Poynter Institute watches ESPN’s interviewing guru critique the questioning style of some of its reporters.
Marisa Guthrie at the Hollywood Reporter looks at NBCUniversal’s plans to offer some 5,500 hours of coverage on the Olympics.
John Eggerton of Broadcasting & Cable says Golf Channel will have live coverage of U.S. Open qualifying on June 4.
Tim Baysinger at B&C recaps last night’s Sports Business Journal/Sports Business Daily’s Sports Business Awards.
Rich Thomaselli from Advertising Age says the NHL’s social media and traditional ad campaigns have helped bring casual fans to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
After being disrespected by its own local media last week, the Los Angeles Kings made this infographic giving a brief history on its logo, names of players and number of times the team has been in the postseason. This season, the Kings have stepped its social media campaign and website to provide fans with a very humorous, but also informative experience. Keep it up, Kings. You guys rock!
Eric Deggans of the Tampa Bay Times, writing in the Indiana University National Sports Journalism Center, notes the difficultly for women to find a proper role in sports television.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell says Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton’s past is preventing collectors from lining up at his doorstep.
Congratulations to Steve Lepore of Puck The Media who has become SB Nation’s NHL Media writer. Steve is a hard worker who has created a very good niche for himself. And his first column for SB Nation is about the ratings for the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Western Conference Final clincher.
Steve also writes about the controversy over NHL on NBC charlatan Pierre McGuire’s withholding of information over an incident between the benches during Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Final.
Jerry Barmash of Fishbowl NY says MSG Network will air two specials on the upcoming Belmont Stakes in which I’ll Have Another will go for horse racing’s Triple Crown.
Ken Schott from the Schenectady Gazette says in addition, MSG Plus will air some horse races this summer.
Pete Dougherty at the Albany Times Union writes that ESPN has expanded its 3-D coverage of Wimbledon.
Ken McMillan from the Middletown (NY) Times Herald-Record says Al Jazeera will be launching two soccer channels this summer.
Keith Groller at the Allentown (PA) Morning Call looks at ESPN on ABC’s plans for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.
Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog says former ESPN’er Dave Feldman is leaving the local market to go home to his native Northern California.
Dan says former DC NFL Team running back and sports radio host John Riggins will be hosting an outdoors show next year.
Jim Williams from the Washington Examiner says a deadline is fast approaching in which the Nationals will find out how much MASN will be paying them for TV rights.
Mark Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times says the Rays are paying tribute to Fox Sports MLB reporter Ken Rosenthal by wearing bow ties.
Tom Jones of the Times says MLB Network analyst Mitch Williams ripped Tropicana Field.
David Barron from the Houston Chronicle looks at the proposed uses for the abandoned Astrodome.
John Kiesewetter in the Cincinnati Enquirer says Fox Sports is on the Reds’ bandwagon.
Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes that MLB Walking, Talking Conflict of Interest Bud Selig is holding firm to his retirement date.
Paul M. Banks at Chicago Sports Media Watch says the Big Ten Network has helped to expand the league and in part, raise Northwestern’s profile.
Gordon Monson of the Salt Lake Tribune says even though the Utah Jazz bought the sports radio station where he works, he’ll remain an independent voice.
Chris Jenkins from the San Diego Union-Tribune says Fox Sports San Diego’s Mark Sweeney is a natural fit as Padres analyst.
Tim Sullivan of the Union-Tribune says he enjoys listening to the Padres on the radio.
The Los Angeles Daily News’ Tom Hoffarth can’t believe he’s seeing a farmers dating service ad on NBC Sports Network.
Laura Stone of the Toronto Star writes that a new feature by CBC for the NHL Stanley Cup Final has some hardcore female sports fans hopping mad.
Timothy Burke at Deadspin looks at the Twitter police for college sports programs.
Sports Media Watch notes the increased ratings for the series-clinching game of the NHL Stanley Cup Western Conference Final on NBC Sports Network.
Joe Favorito examines the right way and the wrong way to attract Twitter followers.
Dave Kohl at The Broadcast Booth marvels at the LA media for getting the Kings logo and players wrong during local newscasts.
And I’ll end the linkage there for now. Enjoy the rest of your day.
ESPN 3D, a network about 64 people across the country have, will air the last five days of tournament action from the hallowed grounds of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club also known as SW19 also known as Wimbledon.
Now that ESPN has the full rights to the entire tournament beginning this year, ESPN 3D gets into the act for the second consecutive year and with an expanded schedule that includes both the Ladies and Gentlemen’s Finals.
ESPN 3D begins its coverage with the Gentlemen’s Quarterfinals on Wednesday, July 4. All of the action that will be aired on ESPN 3D will be live.
Here’s the announcement.
Cliff Drysdale: “It’s like you are on the court!”
ESPN 3D, which presented the first televised 3D tennis last year at Wimbledon, will expand its schedule for the upcoming Championships with live telecasts for the final five days of the tournament – Wednesday, July 4, through the Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Finals on Saturday, July 7, and Sunday, July 8. All the matches aired on ESPN 3D will be competed on Wimbledon’s famed Centre Court, and will be reaired that night at 9 p.m. ET.
“On the dawn of new era of Wimbledon for fans with ESPN’s exclusive and all-live multi-platform approach, it is only appropriate that ESPN 3D be there providing a unique view of Finals and the critical matches leading to them,” said Bryan Burns, ESPN vice president, strategic business planning. “We are proud to continue ESPN’s heritage as a leader in technical innovations and that the ESPN 3D schedule is filled with top-level Championship events from around the world.”
Jed Drake, ESPN senior vice president and executive producer, said, “ESPN 3D adds to our depth of coverage with a compelling new look at ESPN’s top events. It joins our long list of Emmy Award-winning innovations, including in-car cameras, the 1st and Ten line, the K Zone, tennis’ ShotSpot and the Virtual Playbook.”
Last year at Wimbledon, ESPN 3D aired one Gentlemen’s semifinal live (Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. Novak Djokovic), plus the other semi and both Finals on a delayed basis. Cliff Drysdale, who has been with ESPN since the network’s first tennis telecast in 1979, worked that first ESPN 3D telecast with Brad Gilbert. Drysdale says, “The picture is spectacular. You get a whole different view. It’s like you are on the court and it comes right at you. It’s amazing.”
ESPN 3D at Wimbledon 2012
Date Time (ET) Event Wed, July 4 8 a.m. Two Gentlemen’s Quarterfinals LIVE 9 p.m. Two Gentlemen’s Quarterfinals Reair Thur, July 5 8 a.m. Two Ladies’ Semifinals LIVE 9 p.m. Two Ladies’ Semifinals Reair Fri, July 6 8 a.m. Two Gentlemen’s Semifinals LIVE 9 p.m. Two Gentlemen’s Semifinals Reair Sat, July 7 9 a.m. Ladies’ Final LIVE 9 p.m. Ladies’ Final Reair Sun, July 8 9 a.m. Gentlemen’s Final LIVE 9 p.m. Gentlemen’s Final Reair
And that will do it.
Yes you do. It’s overdue. I thought being on unemployment would give me more time for doing the site. Instead, I have less. I don’t know how that’s happened.
Anyway, here are some links for you.
USA Today’s Michael Hiestand has soon-to-be NBC’s Michelle Beadle saying even she’s sick of the coverage on where she’s going next.
Michael takes a look at the Weekend TV ratings.
Nicole Auerbach of USA Today says Laurie Fine, wife of ex-Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine, has officially filed her libel lawsuit against ESPN.
At Sports Business Journal, John Ourand and Michael Smith report that the Southeastern Conference, in the midst of restructuring its media rights deal with CBS and ESPN, could be resurrecting its plans to start an SEC Channel.
Mike Reynolds from Multichannel News goes over the “trade” between TBS and MLB Network giving the young network its first postseason action this season.
Tim Baysinger of Broadcasting & Cable says ESPN 3D will air the last five days of Wimbledon later this summer.
David Mercer of the Associated Press says citing low ratings, the Big Ten Network will drop academic non-sports programming in order to air higher rated sports.
Anthony Crupi of Adweek talks about GM pulling out of advertising in Super Bowl XLVII.
Brian Clapp at Sports TV Jobs tells aspiring sports TV anchors how to thrive in local markets despite the shrinking amount of time in newscasts.
Dan Fogarty from SportsGrid has video of TNT’s Charles Barkley admitting to America that he waxes his eyebrows.
Eric Goldschein of SportsGrid has this funny video of Saturday Night Live’s Jay Pharoah getting Stephen A. “A is for Acrimonious” Smith down pat.
From the New Haven Register, David Borges talks with long-time Red Sox radio voice and Connecticut native Joe Castiglione about his career and his new book.
Ken Schott at the Schenectady Gazette talks about CBS Sports sublicensing some college basketball games from ESPN.
Pete Dougherty in the Albany Times Union has the French Open TV schedule.
Pete says the overnight ratings for the Preakness Stakes dropped double digits from last year.
Jonathan Tannenwald of Philly.com says NBC Sports Network will tap some familiar names to call MLS action this weekend.
David Zurawik of the Baltimore Sun says NBC got the job done in its Preakness Stakes production.
Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog says Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic is on the RGIII train.
The increasingly bitter Thomas Boswell of the WaPo feels MASN should pony up for the Washington Nationals media rights.
Jim Williams at the Washington Examiner writes that outgoing NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora is looking forward to working and writing for CBS.
Eric Deggans of the Tampa Bay Times says two writers from the newspaper including sports media writer Tom Jones will co-host a new morning show for the local sports radio station. Jones will now stop covering sports radio to avoid a conflict of interest.
Iliana Limón Romero of the Orlando Sentinel says the Big East is hopeful of finding a suitable TV suitor for the league.
David Barron from the Houston Chronicle has some sports media observations.
Mel Bracht at The Oklahoman writes that TNT’s Charles Barkley is looking forward to visiting Oklahoma City for the NBA Western Conference Finals.
John Kiesewetter of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes that the Reds gave local radio station WLW a big ratings win last month.
Bob Wolfley in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel looks at the local weekend ratings.
Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says a technical glitch forced Cardinals fans to watch Fox Sports San Diego’s feed of last night’s Redbirds-Padres game and listen to Dick Enberg which is not a bad thing at all.
Bryce Miller of the Des Moines Reigster says Iowan and Olympics hurdler Lolo Jones is on a media blitz.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News says the Dodgers will honor long-time Spanish radio voice Jaime Jarrin next month.
Timothy Burke at Deadspin has video of NBC Sports Network’s Doc Emrick ripping diving in soccer.
Steve Lepore of Puck The Media says ratings for the NHL Conference Finals on the NBC Sports Group are down.
Matt Yoder of Awful Announcing has some of Pam Ward’s “Greatest” hits over her years calling college football.
That will do it for now.
Starting in June, John McEnroe adds Wimbledon to his ESPN portfolio. Since 2009, he’s been working the U.S. Open for ESPN2. Now, he will work the Great Fortnight at SW19 for the Alleged Worldwide Leader. That completes the broadcasting Grand Slam for Johnny Mac this year as he worked the Australian Open for Fox Sports in Australia, he’ll do the French Open for Tennis Channel and NBC, Wimbledon for ESPN2 (not sure if he’ll continue with the BBC) and the U.S. Open for ESPN2 and CBS.
Under the new agreement with ESPN, he’ll continue to do analysis on the U.S. Open for the network.
Here’s the John McEnroe announcement.
Multi-Year Deal includes Continuing to Work US Open
John McEnroe, whose Hall of Fame career was launched by reaching the Wimbledon semifinals in 1977 as an 18-year old amateur and who later played one of the sports’ iconic matches on the famed Centre Court, will add Wimbledon to his ESPN duties starting this summer. The seven-time Grand Slam title winner has worked the US Open for ESPN since 2009 and will continue to do so under the terms of this multi-year agreement.
McEnroe won 77 singles titles in his legendary career, highlighted by four US Open titles and three at Wimbledon. He also won 10 more major championships in doubles or mixed doubles. Although a loss, his five-set duel with Bjorn Borg in the 1980 Wimbledon Gentlemen’s Final – highlighted by McEnroe surviving an 18-16 fourth set tiebreak – is one of the most memorable events in tennis history. An avid Davis Cup participant, he led the U.S. to five championships. He also won the NCAA title while attending Stanford.
Well-known for his brash on-court behavior, McEnroe has earned a reputation for insightful and outspoken commentary on television. The frequent pairing with his brother Patrick on ESPN’s US Open telecasts has created a unique, lively and perceptive duo.
“We are thrilled to expand John’s role with ESPN to include the site of some of his greatest accomplishments, the grass courts of Wimbledon,” said John Wildhack, ESPN executive vice president, production. “His rare combination of insight, candor and personality behind the microphone mirrors the multi-talented player he was on the court.”
John McEnroe said, “I have enjoyed working the past three years with my ESPN teammates at the US Open and I am looking forward to expanding my role at Wimbledon, beginning with the new expanded schedule we have this year. Like ESPN, I am committed to working hard and giving my best to help our sport grow in the U.S. and around the world.”
Did You Know?
- John played in ESPN’s first tennis telecast, just one week after the network debuted 32+ years ago on September 7, 1979. It was a Davis Cup tie against Argentina in Memphis on September 14. ESPN’s Cliff Drysdale was on the call.
- John played in two memorable Davis Cup marathons on ESPN – the decisive quarterfinal victory over Sweden’s Mats Wilander in 1982 in St. Louis and a loss to Germany’s Boris Becker in 1987 in Hartford, Conn. Each match lasted over six hours.
- John’s younger brother Patrick has worked for ESPN since 1995. John defeated Patrick in the finals for his 77th and last singles title (Chicago, 1991, 3-6, 6-2, 6-4).
That will do it.
Linkage has been scarce around the site this week, but I should be able to get a good set of megalinks in today as we head into NCAA Tournament Selection Sunday. You deserve the links and I thank you for your patience around some server problems this week.
As usual, you can check the Weekend Viewing Picks for all weekend sports and entertainment recommendations.
Let’s get to the linkage.
Michael Hiestand of USA Today profiles ESPN’s bracketologist Joe Lunardi who got a big endorsement from Louisville’s Rick Pitino this week.
Erik Spanberg at Sports Business Journal looks at Major League Soccer hoping for big returns from its new contract with NBC Sports.
Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch explores NBC’s new approach to airing soccer and reviews ESPN’s new documentary on Magic Johnson.
Karen Hogan at Sports Video Group looks at ESPN’s innovative plans for MLS games this season.
Lindsay Flans of the Hollywood Reporter says A-List celebrities have caught Linsanity fever.
And the Reporter provides a seating chart of where celebrities sit at Madison Square Garden to get a glimpse of Jeremy Lin.
At the Indiana University National Sports Journalism Center, Michael Bradley feels the mid-major conferences sacrifice regular season integrity in exchange for TV exposure with their post-season tournaments.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell is recovering after his alma mater, Northwestern, played its way out of the NCAA Tournament this week.
Joe Favorito says even in this day and age, the little guy can make a splash in sports marketing.
Sports Media Watch has some ratings news and notes.
SMW notes that NBC Sports will replace the departed Wimbledon with the Tour de France this summer.
Ben Koo of Awful Announcing says ESPN Films is suffering from an identity crisis.
Steve Lepore at Puck The Media says NBC’s innovation in hockey production is now extending to the soccer pitch.
Dave Kohl at the Broadcast Booth isn’t a fan of speculation.
At Yahoo’s Ball Don’t Lie blog, Dan Devine says Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban made a gay joke at Bill Simmons’ expense with him present.
Erik Malinowski of Deadspin says Cuban has apologized for making that remark.
East and Mid-Atlantic
The Boston Globe’s Chad Finn looks at CBS/Turner’s plans for the NCAA Tournament.
Chad notes that a prodigal son is returning to WEEI this weekend.
Boston Sports Media Watch’s Bruce Allen at SB Nation Boston says the Boston Herald will miss Patriots beat reporter Ian Rapoport as he departs for NFL Network.
George Cain at Sports of Boston compares and contrasts the two sports radio stations ratings.
Bill Doyle of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette says different generations watch sports differently.
Paul Devlin of the New Canaan (CT) Patch talks with ESPN High Grand Poobah of News Vince Doria.
Newsday’s Neil Best talks with Magic Johnson about ESPN’s documentary on his HIV announcement 20 years ago.
Neil notes the opening of a new Broadway play on the rivalry between Magic and former Boston Celtics star Larry Bird.
Neil says it’s time for our annual search to find truTV for the NCAA Tournament.
Phil Mushnick of the New York Post goes after the “gang mentality” in football.
The Post’s Justin Terranova has five questions for NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger.
Jerry Barmash at Fishbowl NY notes that MSG Network is about to unveil a new baseball-centric show.
Chris Boyle at the Merrick (NY) Patch says two alumna of a local high school, now ESPN personalities, made a visit to their old stomping grounds.
Pete Dougherty at the Albany Times Union notes that Buffalo Sabres games are back on MSG after a technical glitch prevented fans from seeing their games for two weeks.
Pete talks with Uncle Verne Lundquist of CBS who’s going into his 49th year of broadcasting.
Ken McMillan of the Middletown (NY) Times-Herald Record says a local man has been chosen to take part in this year’s MLB Fan Cave.
Keith Groller of the Allentown (PA) Morning Call talks with ESPN’s Mike Tirico who says he’ll miss working with Ron Jaworski every Monday Night.
Jim Williams of the Washington Examiner speaks with tennis Hall of Famer and ESPN analyst Chris Evert.
Luke DeCock of the Raleigh News & Observer says for the first time, viewers in the ACC footprint can see ESPN’s coverage of the ACC Tournament.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald likes watching the ESPN/ABC NBA studio show.
David Barron at the Houston Chronicle notes that Comcast SportsNet Houston is getting ready for its fall launch.
And David expands on his column on CSN Houston in his blog.
Mel Bracht of the Daily Oklahoman has a few Sooner State sports media news and notes.
Jeff Moss at Detroit Sports Rag has a field of 64 to decide the Worst Detroit Sports Media Personality.
Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says CBS and Turner are enjoying their NCAA Tournament partnership.
Ed Sherman at Crain’s Chicago Business has his weekly winners and losers in sports business and media.
Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reviews the one week experiment of Joe Buck and Tim McKernan co-hosting a radio show that could turn into something bigger down the road.
Dan says don’t expect too many changes for this year’s NCAA Tournament coverage on CBS and Turner Sports.
John Maffei at the North County Times writes that if NCAA Tournament coverage ain’t broke, then CBS and Turner aren’t going to fix it.
John says Fox Sports San Diego is set to launch any day now, provided MLB approves the Padres’ deal to air games on the network.
Jim Carlisle of the Ventura County Star says the success of the CBS/Turner NCAA Tournament consortium surprised officials at both companies.
Jim says Peyton Manning’s former coach, Tony Dungy now of NBC, feels San Francisco would be a good fit for him.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News looks at Magic Johnson’s life-changing announcement, 20 years later.
Tom explores how Time Warner Cable will present LA Galaxy games while it’s still in the process of launching its new SoCal regional sports network.
Tom has a few items that didn’t make his weekly media column.
Percy Allen of the Seattle Times notes that ESPN will air next year’s Pac-12 Basketball Championship Game.
Rosie DiManno of the Toronto Star says CBC’s Don Cherry and Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke are acting like a couple of spoiled divas in their public spat.
And that’s going to do it for today. Enjoy your sports weekend.
Last week, I asked you to vote on which themes should be the “official” tunes for each sport. This was a fun post and it was linked from Sports Illustrated. I appreciate all of the votes. The polls are now closed so let’s take a look at the results. I’ll provide the number of votes, the percentages and the video that will become the “Official” Theme Song for each sport. Some of the results will not be surprising, others may be.
Here they are:
Total Votes: 765
Which Should Be The “Official” Theme For MLB?
|ESPN’s MLB Theme||381||50%|
|MLB on Fox||299||39%|
|ABC’s Monday Night Baseball||85||11%|
The winner: MLB on ESPN
Total Votes: 713
Which Theme Should Be The “Official” Song For College Football
|SEC on CBS||367||51%|
|Present ESPN Theme||243||34%|
|Old School ESPN Theme||103||14%|
The winner: SEC on CBS
Total Votes: 719
Which is Your Choice for “Official” Theme For College Basketball
|CBS/Turner March Madness||628||87%|
|ESPN College Basketball (1995-2001)||62||9%|
|NBC’s 1980′s Theme||29||4%|
The winner: CBS/Turner March Madness
Total Votes: 748
What Should Be the “Official” Theme of the NBA?
|NBA on NBC “Roundball Rock”||663||89%|
|NBA on TNT||48||6%|
|NBA on CBS||37||5%|
The runaway winner: Roundball Rock
Total Votes: 735
Your Choice for “Official” Theme of the NFL
|ESPN’s Monday Night Football “Heavy Action”||343||47%|
|NFL on Fox||225||31%|
|NBC’s Sunday Night Football||141||19%|
|NFL on CBS “Pots and Pans”||26||4%|
Our winner: Monday Night Football “Heavy Action”
While this remix is good, I prefer the ABC version used in the late 1980′s.
Total Votes: 479
Which Should Be The “Official” Theme For The NHL?
|NHL on ESPN||225||47%|
|Hockey Night in Canada/Hockey Theme||161||34%|
|The Hockey Song by Stompin’ Tom Connors||37||8%|
|NHL on NBC||36||8%|
|NHL on Fox||20||4%|
The Winner: NHL on ESPN over my wishes for Hockey Night in Canada, but the voters have spoken.
Total Votes: 295
Which Do You Like As the “Official” Theme for Tennis
|Wimbledon on NBC||175||59%|
|USA Network’s US Open Theme||99||34%|
|BBC Wimbledon Theme||21||7%|
The winner: Wimbledon on NBC
Total Votes: 315
What Should Be Our “Official” Theme For Sports Anthologies?
|ABC’s Wide World of Sports||240||76%|
|CBS Sports Spectacular||52||17%|
The overwhelming winner: ABC’s Wide World of Sports as it should be.
This was very enjoyable to do. I hope to do similar polls with you in the future.
Since television began, theme songs have helped us to identify our favorite programs. This is certainly the case in sports where the theme for Monday Night Football, Sunday Night Football, Wide World of Sports, the Olympics, The Masters and others have become iconic.
I thought about writing a post on which themes should be the “official” one for each sport since Paulsen at Sports Media Watch suggested ESPN trade for NBC’s “Roundball Rock” which became so identifiable with the NBA in the 1990′s.
So in this post, I’m going to provide nominees for each sport from the various networks and have you vote on which one should be the “official” theme. Results will be released next Sunday.
Two examples of how themes are identified with sports. The Olympics on American television have been introduced with”Bugler’s Theme” composed by Leo Arnaud. Played originally on ABC’s coverage of the Olympics starting in 1968, it was purchased by NBC and used starting in 1992 all the way to the present.
Here’s Bugler’s Theme in its original version.
And this is the version used by NBC which is composed by John Williams combining “Bugler’s Theme” with “Olympic Fanfare” which was written for the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.
The Masters has its own theme that has been used on CBS and around the world. The theme’s name is “Augusta”.
Those are two examples of iconic sports theme tunes. Now let’s go through the nominees for each sport. There will be no more than three for each sport except for the NFL and NHL otherwise this post could get ridiculously long.
I have three nominees for Baseball.
This is ABC’s Monday Night Baseball theme from the late 1970′s and one of my all-time favorites.
Here’s the MLB on ESPN theme. This is the current incarnation.
And the MLB on Fox theme that was used from 1996 through 2010, then Fox decided to use its NFL theme for all sports.
CBS March Madness Theme recut for its partnership with Turner Sports.
NBC’s College Basketball Theme from the mid-1980′s. Yes, NBC once had college basketball, kids.
ESPN’s college basketball theme from 1995 through 2001.
The SEC on CBS theme first introduced for Super Bowl XXI and subsequently used on its college football coverage, first the old CFA package in the late 1980′s, brought back in 1996 when CBS came back into college football after losing the sport in the early 1990′s and has been used ever since.
ESPN’s present College Football theme.
ESPN’s old College Football theme used until 1999. I like this one better than the current theme.
Here’s the NBA on CBS theme used from 1982 until 1990 when it left the sport for good. This is a clean copy of its open utilized from 1982 through 1988. The black spots are for video and voiceover. One of my all-time favorites.
The current NBA on TNT theme as composed by Trevor Rabin.
And you can’t have an NBA theme poll without NBC’s Roundball Rock composed by John Tesh and considered by many as the best sports theme of all-time. I’m inclined to agree.
NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
We have four choices, one for each network.
This is known as the NFL on CBS “Pots and Pans” theme that was used from 1986 through 1988. I’ve preferred this theme over the others have been utilized since. And ignore the quality of the video, just listen to the theme. And it was called “Pots and Pans” because some fans thought it sounded like pots and pans banging.
The NFL on Fox theme, now the music used for all sports, originally composed in 1994.
NBC’s Sunday Night Football theme composed by John Williams. We’re not using the “I’ve Been Waiting All Day For Sunday Night” sung by Faith Hill for obvious reasons. Someone put a compilation of the current themes together. I like it.
ESPN’s Monday Night Football Heavy Action theme.
I’ll do five here.
The NHL on ESPN theme that was used through 2005.
How about the NHL on Fox theme that was used from 1995 through 1998? Here’s a compilation of the theme. You can still hear it on Fox Sports Net affiliates that carry the NHL locally.
Here’s the NHL on NBC theme that is currently being used. Different variation from its main theme, but you get the idea.
The Hockey Song by Stompin’ Tom Collins, probably the second most beloved hockey theme in Canada.
The old CBC Hockey Night in Canada theme which is now known as the Hockey Theme as it was purchased and now owned by TSN. Used since 1968.
We have three candidates for tennis.
The NBC Wimbledon theme which won’t be heard anymore as ESPN has the rights to the tournament.
When NBC was in the bad habit of tape delaying matches, I would find ways to watch BBC’s coverage which was always live. I got used to its Wimbledon theme and grew to like it.
And USA Network’s US Open theme music that we no longer hear unfortunately. Remember when USA actually had sports?
I don’t have a clean copy of ESPN’s tennis theme so the three we have will have to suffice.
Finally, we have the sports anthologies from the networks. This should be quite interesting to get your take. Anthology shows would put together various different events in one show, like track & field, barrel jumping, tennis or diving. ABC’s Wide World of Sports was the first of its kind on American television and then the other networks followed until the anthologies went extinct.
First, from across the pond, BBC’s Grandstand which was one of the longest running sports series on television. This ran until 2007. These are various opens from the 1990′s. This theme is catchy.
Here’s the open from the CBS Sports Spectacular from 1979 using Emerson, Lake & Palmer.
NBC had SportsWorld in the 1970′s and 1980′s. I like this music.
And the original that started it all in the U.S., ABC’s Wide World of Sports. The voiceover is from the late Jim McKay. This open is from 1984.
And that is going to do it. Vote and leave your comments on any omissions below.
Time for the Fang’s Bites Sports Media Year in Review. The year isn’t big enough for a Top Ten, but it is big enough for a Big Dozen. Let’s get to the list and we’ll count down from 12 and also have some Honorable Mentions.
12. ESPN The Book
One of the most anticipated books of the year for the sports media was “Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN” co-authored by Tom Shales and James Andrew Miller. Some of the more salacious and sensational stories were leaked and released before its publication. But when all was said and done, the tome was more of a detailed history lesson of how ESPN was created and rose to become the biggest content provider in sports media. The book became a New York Times best seller and is being made into a major motion picture by 20th Century Fox.
11. ESPN vs. NBC
The battle lines have already been drawn between the two networks, but with owner, Comcast, merging its cable sports properties of Versus, Golf Channel and the Comcast SportsNet regional affiliates under the NBC Sports Group, the Peacock is positioning itself to become a major competitor to ESPN. NBC Sports has already obtained Major League Soccer and horse racing, increased NHL content, announced an Olympic presence and will create a Sunday NFL pregame show for Versus which will be rebranded this weekend.
ESPN is not sitting back aggressively expanding its college sports portfolio and keeping Monday Night Football.
With MLB, NASCAR and the BCS up for bid in 2012, NBC Sports could be strengthened with more content for its cable properties or ESPN could continue its monolithic path to World Domination.
10. UFC Signs With Fox
Mixed Martial Arts went mainstream with the Ultimate Fighting Championships signing an 8 year, multi-million dollar contract with Fox. The first UFC bout on Fox in November didn’t last very long, but it did do well in the key male demographics. Starting in January, UFC programming will be seen on various Fox platforms including FX and Fuel. Both sides expect to reap huge benefits and I would not doubt to see UFC get big bids for its second network contract in eight years.
9. Long-time Executives Leave Their Respective Networks
Just before NBC Sports was about to present its bid for the Olympics, Emperor Dick Ebersol resigned over a contract dispute. While observers thought it would leave NBC Sports vulnerable, it still won the rights for four Olympiads and kept Sunday Night Football. While he may have clashed with the new Comcast administration, Ebersol’s legacy on the network over two decades cannot be diminished. He is still working for NBC as a consultant on Sunday Night Football and will assist on the 2012 London Olympics.
HBO Sports President Ross Greenburg resigned in July after being with the network for 33 years. Under his tenure, Greenburg increased HBO’s commitment to documentaries and created the successful 24/7 reality series, not just focusing on the network’s signature sport of boxing, but reaching out to NASCAR and the NHL. Greenburg is now producing content for both NBC Sports and the NHL.
And George Bodenheimer announced late this year that he would leave as President and become Chairman of the Alleged Worldwide Leader. He’ll be succeeded by Vice President of Content John Skipper. Bodenheimer steered ESPN into high definition and helped to create ESPN 3D. Plus, he was able to make Monday Night Football into a cable series after 35 years as a network TV mainstay. Bodenheimer, who I’ve jokingly labeled the ESPN Dictator will no longer be in a day-to-day role with ESPN.
8. NBA/NFL Lockout Coverage
Two sports leagues stressed out their fans by making them wait out negotiations over collective bargaining agreements with their players. Instead of anticipating the draft or schedule releases, coverage over labor talks dominated sports media. As negotiations dragged on, reporters were camped out waiting for the latest news which came out as quickly as toothpaste being pushed out of a tube.
NFL Network and ESPN went wall-to-wall with non-stop coverage as a deal neared. The same for NBA TV.
Both leagues finally hashed out agreements and brought labor peace. Eventually, the NFL only lost a preseason game after a ten year CBA with its union. The NBA wasn’t as lucky as almost two months of its schedule was lost and it had to proceed with a reduced 66 game schedule.
7. ESPN/Univision Lose the World Cup to Fox/Telemundo
Honestly, who saw this coming? ESPN’s signature global sports event has been the World Cup. It’s been carrying the event since 1994. Univision’s history with the World Cup dates back to 1978. Both networks have been known for carrying the World’s biggest soccer games. However, that will change in 2015 when Fox and Telemundo take over the English and Spanish language US rights respectively for two Men’s and Women’s World Cups through 2022.
ESPN and Univision were simply outbid by Fox and NBC, the owner of Telemundo. One could argue that the World Cup whose ratings have been steadily going up became a desired property thanks to ESPN’s and Univision’s coverage.
ESPN and Univision get one more World Cup to bid farewell to FIFA and that will be in Rio in 2014.
6. NBC Sports Group Keeps The NHL
Fending off a spirited bid by ESPN, NBC signed a 10 year deal to keep the NHL in the fold in a combined network and cable bid. After pledging to increase games on cable and also give fans national access to all postseason games on its platforms, NBC Sports Group was able to keep the NHL rights. Now the NHL has a permanent place to call its home and NBC has firmly committed to hockey which pleases the sport’s fans to no end.
And please, let’s not mention that ESPN would be better for the NHL.
5. ESPN’s Influence on College Sports including The Longhorn Network
It’s amazing to see how much inventory ESPN has collected in college sports. Not only has it signed the ACC, Big Ten, Pac-12, SEC, several non-BCS conferences and a few individual schools to long-term contracts, it also has created the Longhorn Network for the University of Texas. The whole concept of the Longhorn Network has led to massive upheaval among the BCS conferences with Texas A&M leaving the Big 12 and heading to the SEC, the Big East’s Pittsburgh and Syracuse leaving for the ACC and other schools wanting to leave their leagues for bigger exposure and more ESPN cash.
And not only does ESPN have a hand in these chess games (despite massive denials), it has to cover all of this leading to conflicts of interest. And while ESPN pays megabucks for the NFL, its roots are firmly entrenched in college sports as we have seen with its new contract with the NCAA to air several championships.
ESPN also owns a whole host of bowl games and college basketball tournaments all of which are needed inventory for programming. By owning the games, ESPN doesn’t have to pay a rights fee. Crowds aren’t needed because ESPN makes money once the ads are sold and fees are paid by the cable and satellite providers.
ESPN’s influence in college sports will be a story that will followed for several years to come.
This story became a story thanks to SportsbyBrooks and social networking. Without these two combinations, an ESPN internal suspension might not have been noticed, reported and scrutinized. This all began with then-ESPN.com college football writer Bruce Feldman co-authored a book with former Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach. In the book, Leach alleged that then-ESPN college football analyst Craig James had a hand in his firing from the school over treatment of James’ son.
Feldman says he informed his bosses that he was writing a book with Leach and got their blessing. When the book was released, ESPN suspended Feldman. It was there that blogs and social networking got involved. SportsbyBrooks reported that Feldman was suspended. ESPN denied it. Other college football writers who follow Feldman on Twitter noticed he wasn’t tweeting. The story boomeranged on ESPN. It didn’t end until Feldman left ESPN for CBS Sports.
But this whole story made observers wonder why ESPN chose to hang its hat with James.
3. CBS, ESPN, Fox and NBC Renew the NFL at a Hefty Price
Starting in 2014, the NFL will receive an estimated $5 billion in rights fees from its TV partners. That’s a huge increase from the current amount from the four networks. In addition, all of the current packages will remain with the current networks so there will be no upheaval as in the past three NFL TV contracts.
All of the networks except for ESPN have signed on for 9 years. ESPN reupped for 8. ESPN looks like it will enter the postseason with a Wild Card Playoff game. NBC gains a Thanksgiving Night game, a Divisional Playoff game and more flex scheduling. CBS and Fox also get some flex scheduling to boost their ratings.
And with CBS, Fox and NBC paying on the average of $1 billion each, the NFL has fattened its war chest. Expect another partner for a Thursday Night Football package to be announced sometime in 2012.
The NFL is the ratings king and the money is proof.
2. NBC Keeps the Olympics at a Hefty Price
There were indications before the bidding for the 2014/16 Olympics that NBC was vulnerable (see #9 above). Long-time NBC Sports Emperor Dick Ebersol had left. ESPN and Fox showed indications that they wanted to take the Games away from NBC which had been broadcasting the Olympics since 1988. It looked like the International Olympic Committee was poised go with another TV partner. But when all was said and done, NBC had ponied up $4.38 billion for four Olympiads from 2014 through 2020 and the Olympics were firmly under the NBCUniversal umbrella.
What happened? ESPN bid for only one set of Olympics, 2014/16 and Fox made two separate bids and came close at $3.4 billion. However, when it came time to step up, NBC did and kept the Games in a very spirited bid to the IOC.
After losing money on the 2010 Winter Olympics, NBC’s parent company, Comcast claims it will be profitable on the four set of Games. That remains to be seen.
1. Penn State/Syracuse Media Coverage
Scandal once again dominated the sports media. However, in the case of Penn State, it wasn’t sports writers who uncovered the alleged molestation of young boys by former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. Taking the lead in the coverage was the Harrisburg Patriot-News and in particular, crime reporter Sarah Ganim. Also, Penn State’s student newspaper, the Daily Collegian didn’t sit tight either reporting the story. The national media finally caught up and Bob Costas’ interview of Sandusky on NBC’s Rock Center raised eyebrows. And while ESPN tried its best to report the story, it was way behind. The Sandusky scandal will continue as it goes to trial and it won’t be going away any time soon.
As for the Syracuse story on the alleged molestations by former Syracuse assistant coach Bernie Fine, ESPN had a tape of Fine’s wife, Laurie, talking to one of the accusers. The problem was, it was 8 years old and ESPN gave the appearance that it sat on the story. While network bosses tried to explain their decision, some accused ESPN of not giving what they had to the police. No matter of the explanations, ESPN’s role in this story will be debated and whatever it says won’t be enough for some critics.
There were lessons learned in the reporting of both scandals. We learned that local reporters on the ground will always have an advantage over national correspondents. And we learned that while ESPN has a good stable of reporters, it can’t be everywhere.
- ESPN Fires Ron Franklin
- CBS/Turner 1st Partnership on the NCAA Tournament is Successful
- NFL Films Founder Ed Sabol Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame
- ESPN Nabs Wimbledon from NBC
- Los Angeles Lakers Sign Long-Term Deal to Create a Regional Sports Network With Time Warner Cable
- Los Angeles Dodgers Fight with Fox Over Media Rights
- Gus Johnson Leaves CBS for Fox
- Women’s World Cup Scores For ESPN
- Hank Williams, Jr. Pulled From Monday Night Football
- Matthew Barnaby Loses ESPN Gig
Coming up before the year is over, Best and Worsts in Sports Broadcasting in 2011 and Predictions for 2012.
In the wake of its announcement of carrying the French Open until 2022, Tennis Channel announced this week a renewal of an agreement with the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet to continue airing “Wimbledon Primetime” through 2023. While ESPN2 has the rights to air live tennis starting next year, Tennis Channel has been airing BBC’s coverage of the matches through the semifinals throughout the fortnight.
The new agreement allows Tennis Channel to air its program all the way until the end. Bill Macatee has been the host and Martina Navratilova has been the analyst. They will continue their roles with the program for the foreseeable future.
We have the announcement from Tennis Channel.
Network to Expand Coverage from First Monday through Final Sunday During Prestigious Grass-Court Tournament
LOS ANGELES and LONDON, Oct. 12, 2011 -Tennis Channel and the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC) have agreed to a multi-year extension of Wimbledon Primetime, the network’s nightly program that brings its audience the day’s best tennis, encore matches, original features and coverage from in and around Wimbledon Village. Today Ian Ritchie, chief executive, AELTC; and Ken Solomon, chairman and CEO, Tennis Channel; announced the extension, which runs through 2023.
Solidifying the network’s relationship with the most prestigious grass-court tennis tournament in the world – and the sport’s oldest of its four major competitions – into the next decade, the new agreement also expands Tennis Channel’s overall Wimbledon coverage. Beginning in 2012, Wimbledon Primetime will air each evening of the two-week tournament. The network will also produce a 30-minute preview edition of the program that will run during the two weeks leading up to the event. This marks a significant broadening of Wimbledon Primetime‘s nightly reach, which previously had started on the first day of tournament play and concluded midway through the second week.
“We are most pleased to extend and expand our relationship with Tennis Channel,” said Ritchie. “Their nightly Wimbledon Primetime coverage has been a great success since its debut in 2008, bringing the best of the Championships, Wimbledon, to the largest possible American audience during the highest-viewer evening hours. The telecast allows fans to stay on top of everything that’s happened each day with the editorial scope and depth of an organization whose sole, year-round focus is the sport of tennis.”
“We’re deeply honored to extend our relationship with the All England Lawn Tennis Club for the coming decade, one of the most beautiful and hallowed places in the world of athletic competition,” said Solomon. “Wimbledon Primetime has become a nightly institution for both die-hard tennis fans as well as more casual viewers who watch and enjoy world-class sports.”
Wimbledon Primetime has been a pillar of the network’s complete Championships coverage since its premiere. Hosted by veteran sportscaster and Tennis Channel Grand Slam lead commentator Bill Macatee along with tennis legend Martina Navratilova, Wimbledon Primetime brought one of tennis’ most beloved events to prime-time audiences for the first time in U.S. television history. The program offers more than 100 hours of match play, analysis, player interviews, expert-guest features and complete highlights. Wimbledon Primetime also includes expert commentary and insight from former players Lindsay Davenport and Justin Gimelstob.
In addition to continued production of the network’s evening program, www.tennischannel.com features daily highlights, exclusive guest interviews, bloggers, columnists and other tournament-related content. The Wimbledon-themed sweepstakes and “Racquet Bracket” tournament prediction game have also proven to be popular on-line features.
That’s going to do it.
I’m at work again, but I’m trying to cope by flicking on the Watch ESPN for the Women’s World Cup game against Brazil. I’ll give you what linkage I can find today.
Mike McCarthy of USA Today says Turner Sports has reportedly hired Shaquille O’Neal for its NBA coverage. Still no official comment from Turner.
John Eggerton of Multichannel News reports on an FCC Enforcement Bureau recommendation to an administrative law judge about carriage for Tennis Channel.
Mike Reynolds from Multichannel recaps YES’ special postgame show on Yankees shortshop Derek Jeter after he achieved baseball immortality on Saturday.
Mike writes that YES saw a ratings season high for the Jeter 3,000th hit game.
From Advertising Age, Brian Steinberg asks if Wimbledon is willing to put its matches all under one TV roof, will other sporting events follow its lead?
Yahoo Sports’ Michael Silver talks with NFL Network’s Rich Eisen about how the channel is handling the lockout.
Stephen Douglas at The Big Lead wonders if the LPGA should be selling sex to help market its stars.
Marcus Vanderberg at SportsNewser says Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson has issued a statement about berating a caller with a gay slur late last month.
Marcus points out that CNN is no longer into sports.
Jesse Sawyer from the Avon (CT) Patch notes that ESPN’s Kenny Mayne will be hosting a football skills clinic this week. Before ESPN, Kenny was the starting quarterback at UNLV. The story also reveals that Kenny is moving back to Seattle, WA where he lived before hitting it big with ESPN.
Newsday’s Neil Best has the transcripts of both the radio and TV calls of the Jeter 3,000th hit.
Neil talks about a new era of TV coming into Wimbledon for next year.
George Vescey of the New York Times says the best way to view the Tour de France is from your TV.
Karen Crouse of the Times talks with an LPGA Tour rookie Ryan O’Toole who prepared for life on the tour through Golf Channel’s Big Break reality show.
Brent Briggeman of the Colorado Springs Gazette also spoke with O’Toole about her time on Big Break.
Ken Schott from the Schenectady Gazette says ESPN2 will have the replay of today’s dramatic USA-Brazil Women’s World Cup game which had a lot of twists and turns.
Adam Sichko of the Albany (NY) Business Review notes that a local company will help produce live horse racing from nearby Saratoga for NBC.
Jim Williams from the Washington Examiner talks about Showtime getting into the sports reality TV realm with the new MLB TV series, “The Franchise”.
Mel Bracht of the Daily Oklahoman talks with ESPN’s Nomar Garciaparra about the Home Run Derby.
From the Dallas Morning News, Barry Horn discusses the Longhorn Network making some on-air hires.
David Barron of the Houston Chronicle tries to reassure readers about the availability of the Longhorn Network.
Kevin Benz at Culture Map Houston wonders if ESPN is making the Longhorn Network all about ESPN instead of University of Texas sports.
Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Bengals talks with ESPN Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden about the NFL lockout.
Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says TBS and MLB Network analyst John Smoltz still has a dream to be a professional golfer.
Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch talks with Fox’s Joe Buck about his recovery from an ailment that affected his voice. And many of you have either tweeted or e-mailed me about this and have noticed how he has sounded since the Super Bowl. Dan’s story pretty much explains what happened.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News says Joe Buck didn’t mince words when it came to the Dodgers ownership debacle.
That’s going to do it for today.
I haven’t done a Sunday Thoughts post in a very long while. I’ve been wanting to do one, but either due to my day being planned for me or having to go to work or going out on Saturday and getting up late the following day, things haven’t worked out. But today, we have a nice harmonic convergence where everything came together for this post. Let’s get this done before things change.
Hey, We Should Have Bob Costas & Al Michaels Call Baseball Again!
On Friday, we finally got the awaited pairing of Bob Costas and Al Michaels on the New York Mets-San Francisco Giants game on MLB Network. Judging from their performance on MLB Network, SNY and Comcast SportsNet BayArea, I would welcome the teaming up of the two announcers again.
Costas had asked Michaels to join him on a broadcast and after clearing of schedules, the idea came to fruition with Al joining Bob at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
During the broadcast, Costas & Michaels split the first three innings on MLB Network before splitting the 4th and 5th on the Mets network, SNY, then heading over to the Giants’ flagship of Comcast SportsNet Bay Area for the 6th and 7th and finally ending on MLB Network for the 8th and 9th.
I was able to see all three broadcasts with the help of DirecTV, MLB.TV and the MLB At Bat iPad app. Officially, Michaels had not called a baseball game since the 1995 World Series, although he did a guest spot on ESPN a few years back. No matter when Al last called baseball, an entire generation of sports fans have not. While Costas to Michaels suggested that calling baseball after 16 years was like riding a bicycle, Al replied, “If the bicycle has me saying, ’3rd and 5′, then you know you’re in trouble.”
Al did show some rust in his first and half inning on MLB Network, but grew more comfortable as the game went along. He weaved tales of his time calling baseball locally in Cincinnati in the early 1970′s which led to an appearance on NBC TV and radio for the 1972 World Series, and in San Francisco which came in handy for the appearance on Comcast SportsNet.
One thing about baseball is the ability to tell stories during a broadcast and Michaels is an expert at it. During his time on all three networks, Michaels talked about calling the 1989 World Series for ABC and being in San Francisco when the massive earthquake hit during the first minutes of the broadcast’s open.
Costas and Michaels sometimes did play-by-play for each other, but it was ok. And so was not having an analyst. It reminded me of a radio MLB broadcast which usually has two play-by-play men alternating innings. Throughout their time on MLB Network, SNY and CSN Bay Area, Bob and Al had great chemistry, playing well off each other and showing humor throughout the game such as Michaels marveling at the immaculate booths of SNY and CSN while Al kept a mess in MLB Network’s.
MLB Network, SNY and CSN all weaved Bob’s and Al’s calls from the past, splicing in moments from past postseasons. However, the best tape came from CSN and was from 1975. It was Michaels’ radio call of the last out of a no-hitter thrown by Giants pitcher Ed Halicki. Al told Costas that it was the first time he had heard the tape since calling the game way back when.
While the shuffling from MLB Network to SNY to CSN back to MLB Network might have been confusing, it was to give audiences in New York and San Francisco an opportunity to hear Bob and Al as the national broadcast was blacked out in the local markets.
From what I heard on Twitter, the feedback from fans was mostly positive. People wanted to hear more of Bob and Al and hoped to see them work together again. I certainly hope we don’t have to wait 16 years for Michaels to call another game. In fact, I would think if the NFL lockout lasts into August, we might hear Al call another baseball game then.
ESPN Taking Another Event That Used To Be On Network TV
The big news last week was ESPN purchasing all US media rights for Wimbledon for the next 12 years. Of course, NBC had aired the event for 43 consecutive years ending last Sunday, July 3. I can go into the maddening tape delay policies that drove fans to the internet to look for illegal feeds and how it led Wimbledon to turn to ESPN, but I won’t. That’s not the point here.
The point of this thought is yet another event that goes all-cable starting next year. While ESPN can say those who have the rabbit ears can still see Wimbledon on ABC, they will just be table scraps or taped highlights on the middle Sunday of the fabled fortnight and on the day of the ladies’ and gentlemen’s finals.
While fans will soak in the live coverage on both ESPN and ESPN2 next year, it means another event that had been on over the air TV won’t be from 2012 through 2023. I’m not going to be like some newspaper reporters who claim that they’re looking out for the little guy who doesn’t have cable. There aren’t that many and most of the country watches TV through cable or satellite. But I still lament the loss of a great event from network TV. And while the playing field between cable/satellite is almost level with network TV since the digital conversion, you wonder if more events will be heading to the pay side.
Let’s face it, over the last few years, ESPN has purchased the rights to the Bowl Championship Series, the Open Championship, NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup and now Wimbledon. All had been broadcast mainstays, but no longer. And in 2015, the NCAA Final Four® becomes a cable event every other year alternating between TNT and CBS.
For ESPN, it’s certainly about ratings and money, but at the same time, the channel doesn’t have to have the ratings of ABC, NBC or CBS because the audience is smaller and the network doesn’t have to worry about spilling into other programming. ESPN can be flexible since it’s airing just sports and not a myriad of daytime, news and entertainment programming. And ESPN doesn’t have to respond to affiliates that can hold the network hostage.
But even with all this, I don’t see an end to the migration of events to cable. There may be a time where NBC may want to get out of the tennis business now only having the French Open. Perhaps Tennis Channel will take that all to itself leaving just the U.S. Open as the lone tennis Grand Slam event on network TV. That hasn’t happened yet, but it might.
ESPN’s main rival is NBC. Comcast is hoping to build Versus as a competitor and alternative to ESPN. There will be plenty of opportunities for the two companies to bid against each other for events and you can rest assured that the money will be flowing. It also means more events will move to cable, leaving a much smaller pie for the broadcast networks to fight over.
And that concludes the Sunday thoughts
While I’m at work on this Saturday, I’ll do some linkage for you.
Marcus Vanderberg at SportsNewser notes that Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson used a gay slur to berate a caller on a Sirius XM radio show last week.
At The Grio, Marcus looks at the legacy of the train wreck that’s known as “The Decision” a year later.
According to The Wrap, ESPN Classic will become the home of the recently wrapped “Friday Night Lights” series.
Newsday’s Neil Best looks at the record viewership for the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on ESPN.
At the Buffalo News, Greg Connors reviews HBO’s documentary on Curt Flood.
In the New Jersey Newsroom, Evan Weiner has written a FAQ on the NBA and NFL lockouts.
From the Baltimore Sun, Matt Vensel writes that a local sports radio talk show host is on the streets looking for a new gig.
At the Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog, Dan Steinberg notes that Capitals voice Joe Beninati and John Feinstein will call Kastles World Team Tennis matches this summer.
The St. Petersburg Times tells readers not to expect the NFL Network on Bright House cable systems anytime soon.
The Dallas Morning News’ Barry Horn says the incident from Thursday’s Oakland-Texas game where a fan died trying to catch a ball tossed into the stands by Josh Hamilton was greatly mishandled by both of the networks covering the contest.
Andrew Ferraro of the Houston Chronicle writes that an exhibition NHL game scheduled for Reliant Stadium in September has been canceled and Fox Sports Southwest is now looking for another way to get the Dallas Stars into the Houston market.
Berry Tremel at the Daily Oklahoman says the Longhorn Network taking a Big 12 Conference game from Fox Sports Net is opening a can of worms for fans.
Rick Noland from the Elyria (OH) Chronicle-Telegram says we should forget about celebrating any anniversary of “The Decision.”
Steve Watkins of the Cincinnati Business Courier says the ratings for the Reds on Fox Sports Ohio are up significantly from last season.
Dave Lubach of the Sheboygan (WI) Press recaps an appearance by CBS/Golf Channel personality David Feherty at a charity golf event.
Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune says Fox Sports North will be airing a Minnesota Wild reality show over the next few months.
Tavis Govindjie of the Marin (CA) Independent Journal gives us this profile of a Comcast SportsNet Bay Area graphic designer.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that Oakland A’s TV voices Glen Kuiper and Ray Fosse have come under fire for being insensitive during the incident in Arlington that killed a fan. In their defense, they did not know how far the fan fell nor did they know his condition. It’s easy to sit here and criticize, but at the time, they did not know how serious the situation was.
Cam Inman of the Oakland Tribune talks with former ABC/CBS/NBC NFL analyst John Madden about the lockout and the Madden NFL ’11 video game.
The Hamilton Spectator in Canada notes that some recently found CFL footage discovered in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame has been digitized and put online.
Derek Zona of SB Nation ranks all of the NHL TV broadcasters from top to bottom.
Mike Silva’s New York Baseball Digest didn’t think the Bob Costas-Al Michaels mashup for last night’s Mets-Giants game was anything special. I disagree.
Dave Kohl in Major League Programs explains why ESPN went all in for its Wimbledon bid.
World Cup Buzz says ESPN is doing the Women’s World Cup right this year.
EPL Talk has the US TV schedules for the English Premier League “friendlies” that will take place this month.
Quite a few links today which is good to see after working into the wee hours of this morning on the Megalinks. I’ll be back tomorrow with more linkage.
Been a busy day at work once again. Doing these late and I’ll try to put forth as many links as I can before being told to leave the office.
Sports Business Daily takes a look at the one year anniversary of the infamous “The Decision” that made LeBron James a pariah in Cleveland and most of the country.
Patrick Kemp at the Buffalo News reports that ESPN NHL analyst Matthew Barnaby will perform 500 hours of community service as he was sentenced Wednesday for a domestic disturbance case involving his estranged wife and her boyfriend. I asked ESPN for a statement on this matter and received this response: “Now that its (sic) gotten to the point in the process, we need to regroup and have follow up conversations.” This means that ESPN is evaluating Barnaby’s employment for the upcoming NHL season.
At The Sweet Science, boxing writer Thomas Hauser remembers fellow colleague and former Boston Herald columnist George Kimball who has passed at the age of 69.
Michael Woods of The Sweet Science also pauses to reflect on Kimball.
Another former Kimball colleague, Michael Gee gives his thoughts on his friend’s passing in the Boston Herald.
Lesley Goldberg of the Hollywood Reporter has a preview of Showtime’s MLB reality show, “The Franchise” focusing on the San Francisco Giants.
Tim Baysinger at Broadcasting & Cable looks at CBS’ Jim Nantz getting an award from the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
At the Indiana University National Sports Journalism Center, Eric Deggans of the St. Petersburg Times says ESPN winning the Wimbledon media rights is just a small part of a big battle between ESPN/Disney and Comcast/NBC.
Sheldon Spencer at ESPN Front Row talks with original ESPN’er Bob Ley on who he follows on Twitter. I’m honored to be one of those to be followed by Mr. Ley.
Last night, comedian Artie Lange made his first radio appearance since his suicide attempt and subsequent departure from the Howard Stern Show. Dylan P. Gadino of Punchline live blogged the guest spot Artie did with fellow comic Nick DiPaolo on Fox Sports Radio. Reading Gadino’s writing, it’s apparent he is not a sports fan.
Fox Sports Radio host Ben Maller writing in Yahoo’s The Post Game chronicles how he lost 200 pounds.
Dan Fogarty has audio of ESPN Radio hack Colin Cowherd blaming Canada for its health care system and insinuating Tiger Woods takes steroids.
CTV has finally relaunched its Olympics site for the 2012 London Games.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell marvels at how 2018 Olympics host Pyeongchang, Sout Korea is already halfway finished in building venues and it was just awarded the Games on Wednesday.
Marc Berman at the New York Post writes that Spero Dedes’ deal to become the radio voice could be in limbo stemming from his DWI arrest over the weekend.
Newsday’s Neil Best says ticket prices remain high for upcoming Yankees games as fans try to see the contest where Derek Jeter gets his 3,000th career hit.
From the Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog, Dan Steinberg notes that a Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic anchor gave a tongue-in-cheek motivational speech to interns.
Writer John Feinstein explains why he quit doing Navy football radio broadcasts effective immediately.
Gary Dinges of the Austin American-Statesman says the ESPN-owned Longhorn Network has chosen the site for its studios and named three of its on-air staffers.
Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Bengals writes that former radio voice Brad Johansen will call the team’s preseason games on TV starting this season, provided there is a preseason.
Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says the Pro Football Hall of Fame is ready to say hello to CBS’ Jim Nantz.
Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News feels the Pro Football Hall of Fame redeemed itself with Jim Nantz after selecting Chris Berman as its TV-Radio Award recipient last year.
Tom transcribes what Colin Cowherd said about the Dodgers today.
The Toronto Sports Media Blog notes that former CBC Hockey Night in Canada Radio host Jeff Marek has officially joined Rogers Sportsnet.
The Canadian Sports Media Blog writes about Jeff Marek’s role with Sportsnet.
Canadian Sports Media Blog notes that TSN has picked up the Canadian rights to Wimbledon starting next year.
And Canadian Sports Media tells us that TSN’s arrangement to air The Championships, Wimbledon is similar to ESPN’s.
Barry Pachesky of Deadspin says ESPN’s deal with Wimbledon is the future of sports television.
Deadspin’s Brian Hickey notes that Versus had a big, blue phallic symbol creep into its Tour de France coverage.
SportsbyBrooks has word on some college football network TV on-air hires.
SMW notes that the ratings for last weekend’s NASCAR Daytona 400 on TNT fell from last year.
EPL Talk notices that FIFA is considering to break up the 2022 World Cup in Qatar into three 30-minute periods due to the oppressive heat and humidity.
The latest Awful Announcing podcast has the great Darren Rovell of CNBC.
That’s going to do it for today.
I couldn’t get to the Tuesday links as it got quite busy at work and at night, my boss gave me so many things to do that I didn’t finish until late. I’m trying to squeeze in some linkage here for you while I can.
From USA Today, J. Michael Falgoust talks about what the NBA and its players are doing during the lockout and how it all affects NBA TV’s programming.
Michael Hiestand of USA Today looks at Bob Costas and Al Michaels teaming up to call a baseball game for MLB Network this week.
The lovely Kristi Dosh at Forbes says an NFL labor settlement would definitely help the NBA owners in its labor dispute.
Kristi adds that the NFL players are under the gun to resolve the lockout.
Brian Clapp at TV Sports Jobs says the NBA lockout is giving the NHL an opportunity to have a stage all by itself.
At SportsGrid, Dan Fogarty notes that during Michelle Beadle’s ESPN podcast, Linda Cohn could not understand why anyone could think the acquitted Casey Anthony is hot.
Mike Barnes at the Hollywood Reporter notes that Pyeongyang, South Korea will be the host of the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Marisa Guthrie at the Reporter writes that ESPN is hopeful in adding analyst John McEnroe to its Wimbledon coverage next year.
R. Thomas Umstead with Multichannel News looks at HBO and MLB Productions co-producing a new documentary focusing Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit.
Mike Reynolds of Multichannel says the new Longhorn Network will air two Texas football games this fall.
Toni Fitzgerald of Media Life writes that Fox is planning to use the MLB All-Star Game next week to hype its new X-Factor show starring Simon Cowell.
Alan Abrahamson at USA Olympics Committee site says one man was the deciding factor in bringing the Olympics to South Korea again.
ESPN Front Row’s Sheldon Spencer talks with network executive John Wildhack about bringing the full Wimbledon tournament to the Alleged Worldwide Leader.
Joe Yerdon of the great Pro Hockey Talk site notes that Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke is angry at a local columnist for criticizing him for taking a trip to Afghanistan to visit Canadian troops.
CNBC Darren Rovell says Nathan’s gets a lot of out of its sponsorship of the annual Hot Dog Eating Contest.
Darren notes that former UConn men’s basketball star Kemba Walker has signed a lucrative shoe contract with Under Armour.
Darren also talks with Walker and an Under Armour exec about the new deal.
Richard Sandomir of the New York Times explains why the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club chose to take Wimbledon away from NBC and hightail it to ESPN.
Newsday’s Neil Best says ESPN has made the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest into Must See TV.
Neil also has the breakdown of which innings Bob Costas and Al Michaels will call on Friday on MLB Network for the New York Mets-San Francisco Giants game.
Jessica DiNapoli of the Southampton (NY) Patch report that incoming New York Knicks radio announcer Spero Dedes was arrested for driving while intoxicated over the holiday weekend.
Jim Williams of the Washington Examiner looks at ESPN’s winning bid for Wimbledon.
David Barron of the Houston Chronicle says a veteran local sports personality returns to the radio later this month.
Kyle Swenson of Clevescene notes that the Cleveland baseball team-owned STO may be up for sale.
Bob Wolfley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has Bob Costas talking about baseball on the radio.
Bob also talks about ESPN breaking NBC’s serve on Wimbledon.
Scott Collins of the Los Angeles Times has a story on the local public television station making due without PBS and notes that former ESPN host Roy Firestone will be hosting a show there.
At the Toronto Globe and Mail, Bruce Dowbiggin says TSN will be looking into violence in sports.
I’ll hold it there for now. I’ll add more links later.
Earlier today, ESPN officials held a media conference call announcing its obtaining of the US media rights to Wimbledon. Also in attendance were officials from the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. Notice in this press release about the stressing of live tennis coverage starting next year and for the next 11 years after that. While the All England Club was appreciative of its relationship with NBC, you can tell that it heard the complaints about the network’s tape delays and finally decided to do something about it.
Tennis fans will be elated with increased opportunities to watch live matches especially during the second week of coverage. No longer will fans have to resort to finding matches online at backdoor websites. Plenty of opportunities to watch live tennis both on TV and online. This is a long press release. Get ready to scroll. Check it out.
Today, ESPN announced an extension and expansion of rights for the Championships, Wimbledon — including exclusive live television rights — in a 12-year agreement with the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. A conference call for media was held with Ian Ritchie, chief executive of the All England Club, Mick Desmond, the commercial director, ESPN executive vice president, content, John Skipper, and John Wildhack, executive vice president, programming and acquisitions. This press release has all the details.
Below are highlights from the call.
IAN RITCHIE: Hello, everybody, good afternoon. Delighted to be able to talk to you. Just to say we’re obviously extremely pleased and delighted by this new deal for an you unprecedented 12 years as far as the Club’s concerned. I think one of the key things for us to look at has been how we partner with people around the world, and we’ve had the pleasure of a nine?year partnership already with ESPN, so we very much know the organization and how they represent the Championships in the USA in particular. We felt it was very important to have a single narrative across the two weeks of the Championship, and we believed that we’ve achieved that by this deal. If you couple that with the production strength, and promotional strengths, particularly across a multi?platform delivery as we have with ESPN, we believe that the story of the Championships will reach the maximum number of people. I think important for us as well has been the essential nature of live coverage. We want to see as many games live on TV as we can manage, and we think that again gets across the message of the Championship. We want to reach as many people as possible in the USA. I think it was very interesting with Novak Djokovic when he won, talked about how when he was four he watched Wimbledon on TV in Serbia. And we want to reach as big an audience as possible of young people, committed fans, and newcomers across as many platforms as possible, and we believe this arrangement meets all of those criteria.
One final thing from me in the introductory remarks, the Club as a whole has always looked at tradition as well as innovation. We also look very carefully at all factors, not just money. This has been a deal that’s born great account to all the factors that I’ve just talked about, of which, money is only one, but by no means is the preeminent one. So just to conclude my opening comments, we’re absolutely delighted by this deal, and we look forward to a fantastic partnership over the next 12 years.
JOHN SKIPPER: Thank you, Ian. We’re thrilled to have reached an agreement with the Club on an unprecedented, long?term, all?in deal. We understand the great honor and privilege we have to have the responsibility to work with the Club to present the Championships in the United States. We have learned over the last nine years the sort of beautiful combination that the Club has of a real tradition and innovation. They sort of manage to do both, which is to honor ?? this is the 125th Championship this year. I refer to them sometimes as sneakily innovative. Because while having the reputation of strawberries and cream and at the Championships they have also put a roof on the stadium. They’ve introduced games on mobile platforms. The Club has been terrific with working with us on innovative production. We did 3D this year for the first time, and we look forward to continuing that tradition.
We look forward to introducing tennis to new generations of fans in the United States, across all of our platforms. I am particularly thrilled that we’re able to conclude this over 4th of July weekend. I feel pretty confident we’re ushering in a new era of Anglo?American harmony that hopefully our governments will follow. That’s a joke (laughing). But we’ll be happy to answer ?? well, between Ian and we have a model of Anglo?American harmony, and Ian and I will be happy to answer any questions that you might have.
Q. Ian, you talked about wanting to have the entire tournament in the same place. Did you see any evidence where viewers were confused? Did you think you were confusing viewers a little bit by bouncing around to different places?
IAN RITCHIE: I think we definitely felt that we wanted very positively to bring it together into one arena. And I think for the points you mentioned. I think if you have two separate organizations telling the story, inevitably there is a danger of it being confused. You want some consistency to it. You want to bring a combined and coherent promotional package to it as well. In the process that we’ve undergone in the last few weeks and months, we made it clear to our existing partners NBC and ESPN and to others, that we saw advantages of a coherent single partnership. And we made that clear that that was really one of our objectives right from the start. Yes, you’re right. We seek to improve how the Championships is seen in the USA, and we believe this arrangement on the principles that I just talked about, helps to achieve that.
Q. Mr. Ritchie, I’m curious, because I don’t think I’ve heard your voice or an All England Club voice talking about how you feel about NBC tape delays ?? their past practice of tape delaying things up to the semifinals or tape delay by time zones, where something is live 9:00 in the east and on tape delay in other regions. How do you feel about the fact that they wouldn’t have changed this until 2014 had they gotten the deal?
IAN RITCHIE: Well, I’m sure tape delay has its place. You look at this when you’re analyzing the ratings too. But certainly in my mind live is preeminent, and live is the nature of the game now on sports around the world not just for tennis, but for other ones as well. Certainly a factor we looked at in the new deal in the future was very much can we put live out. As John was saying earlier, we have a fantastic amount of matches here beyond the Centre Court. Quite often we look at very small proportions of the matches being shown, and that’s why, again, it’s helpful to have multiple platforms. So I think, sure, there is a place for time delay. Sure there is a place for highlights. But there is no question with the sports viewer nowadays wants to see things live. Therefore, as far as we’re concerned, undoubtedly one of the advantages with this arrangement was to increase the amount of live coverage of Wimbledon. That is definitely a positive.
Q. Can you say whether you’ve tried to persuade NBC to change its tape delay policy?
IAN RITCHIE: I don’t want to talk about the past. I’m more interested in talking about the future here. We’ve had a great partnership for over 43 years with NBC, and they know how the broadcasting works. But, yes, of course we’ve had conversations about this issue. And I think you understand from my comments that we believe live is very important.
JOHN SKIPPER: And we did at the request of the Club, we did present a programming schedule for the two weeks that maximized the matches that we could show across all of our platforms and live. You’ll see particularly as we go into the second week of the tournament, we’ll basically be live on ESPN1 and 2 for the principle length of the play throughout the second week of the tournament, with simultaneous live matches on both of those networks as well as matches from as many as ten courts live on ESPN3.Com. We already had this year 650 hours live of matches on ESPN3.Com, which is a network which provides us with a real advantage at showing fans as many live matches as possible with as broad a selection of different players from different nationalities as possible. We’ll continue to increase the amount we show on that. I don’t know if I can confirm it yet. But we’re getting dangerously close to 1,000 hours of live tennis during the two weeks.
Q. Will there be a lot more hours on television next year? Also, are there any other sort of changes you have in the production?
JOHN SKIPPER: There will be more hours on television. We can get you, Michael, the guys can get you very close to exact numbers. Because clearly it will change depending on length of matches next year the exact number of hours we’re planning. But yes is the answer. We will have more live matches on television next year, and we’ll supplement that with more matches on mobile and internet platforms. The production, we continue to want to innovate and do new things that you’ll see us doing more 3D with the Club. I think you’ll look for us to continue to find interesting, graphic ways to show shot trajectories and speeds. We’re very happy with our current talent, and while we’re always looking to supplement and add things, this year we were able to add Chris Evert who I thought was just spectacular for us. We were thrilled with her performance. We’re always looking, if we can add talent of that caliber and level of expertise, we will, but we don’t have right now specific plans.
Q. If I could follow up on John McEnroe. Would you be interested in him?
JOHN SKIPPER: We already work with John on the US Open, and we’ve expressed to John before that we would love to expand our relationship with him. But I’m not announcing anything. But we think John McEnroe‘s very strong on this. We’d love to have him at the US Open, and we’d love to continue to talk to him.
Q. I’ll ask the money question. I know Mr. Ritchie said it wasn’t the driving factor. I heard earlier today a figure in the neighborhood millions for the broadcasting cable in its entirety. Can you comment on that or offer any guidance, and then just one quick follow?up for Mr. Skipper?
IAN RITCHIE: It’s Ian here if I can deal with that. One of the beauties of being a private member’s club is we never discuss the commercial nature of the deal. So I’m sorry I can’t confirm or deny. Certainly as far as we’re concerned, we would not normally discuss the value of the deal. But just to say, clearly it is a significant one, and it’s over 12 years, and it’s one we’re very happy with.
Q. In terms of ?? I understand NBC really wanted this. They also had a plan to put things on Versus and go live in a couple of years which maybe wasn’t fast enough for Wimbledon. But how important was this for you guys, even symbolically to take the corners of NBC Sports coverage all these years, especially when there is a lot of talk about them wanting to build Versus up to be something of a competitor to ESPN? Obviously they’re starting way behind, but is it as much a symbolic thing for you guys as well as just a good property to have?
JOHN SKIPPER: It’s a great property to have. We’ve been in business with the Club for nine years. We’ve loved that association. It’s been great programming for ESPN. We are always excited about being able to acquire the highest world quality championship products. You know, over the last few years we have looked to crown champions on ESPN, and this was a unique opportunity when the Club came to us to talk about a single narrative and a single partner. Regardless who the competitors would have been, that’s the nature of the opportunity here. We didn’t have to spend any time thinking about what it would do or not do to somebody else. We knew that NBC valued and had done a terrific job for 43 years. But for us it was a unique opportunity to improve our offering at ESPN.
Q. Ian, are you concerned at all about taking live matches off of broadcast TV and putting them on to (cable)? And John, how much did you consider putting live matches on ABC? Was that part of these considerations at all?
IAN RITCHIE: I think in terms of coverage, we’re looking at the totality here, and looking at the growth of the numbers that appear on the broadcast outlets as well as the coverage that it has digitally, and how we see that and look at that as well over the next 12 years of this deal. We feel extremely comfortable that we’ll look at a growth level in terms of the number of people watching Wimbledon, and reaching the sorts of demographics as well that we want to reach. So certainly, as I say, we feel very happy with that and see that we believe in totality. We’ll be looking at more people watching more tennis across the USA. If I may just say one thing as well, we felt over the last nine years that as far as the Club’s concerned, we believe and feel that ESPN gets that sort of tradition and innovation mixture that we are always looking at; therefore, will promote as well these activities and the Club and the Championships in the best possible way.
JOHN SKIPPER: From our point of view, we value very much our opportunities to put ESPN on ABC, and we’ll take advantage of that. Our intention is to re?air both the men’s and the women’s final on ABC, but it will be a re?air. And we will do on the middle Sunday, which is a day of rest. We will do a three?hour special on ABC which will basically recap the first week and set up the up the second week. We think that’s a great way to use the broadcast platform to make people aware of what’s happened and what’s coming up. So we value that, but Ian will tell you, we were always pretty consistent that we were looking to get the Championships of the Championships on ESPN here.
DAVE NAGLE: I’ll point out those ABC re?airs of the finals are at 3 p.m. Eastern time of the day they occur.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about the mobile coverage plans that you have with this deal? Will anything be exclusive on your mobile platforms?
JOHN SKIPPER: Our principle use of mobile will be for our Watch ESPN applications, which is the ability of all of our fans to get the ESPN linear networks on internet and mobile, but it’s the 24/7 linear networks. Most of the mobile viewing will happen on the linear network through mobile platform. As you guys know, that usage is becoming increasingly important to us. We’ll of course have mobile applications for getting scores, for seeing highlights, that will be exclusively mobile. But my guess is that most of the mobile viewing will be the nature of when these matches occur. Many of them being early morning in the U.S. or the work hours in the U.S. Lots of people will take advantage to watch the linear networks on a mobile device.
Q. Obviously NBC is ramping up Versus right now. Do you feel there are any other properties out there right now you have your eyes on? Do you feel you’re in an arm’s race with Versus as NBC tries to ramp them up as well?
JOHN SKIPPER: Look, the next rights negotiation I get to do no with no other bidders will be the first. We have had competitions always for rights to major sporting events. We are cognizant of the fact that NBC Comcast is a formidable competitor and will be at the table, and has been at the table over the last six or eight months for rights. But we also expect to see some of our other long?term competitors at the table. We respect what they do. We’re cognizant that they’re there and they’re formidable. But it doesn’t really change the nature of what we do. You know, the value of live events is very important. I think we’ve realized that and tried to assemble over the past few years a portfolio of rights that was unprecedented. We have every intention to continue to increase rights where we have the opportunity to get great events like the Championships at Wimbledon.
Q. The last few years the American presence at Wimbledon in the later rounds has been decreasing year after year. Is that a concern going forward at all? That the American interest in tennis may be waning a little bit because there have been fewer and fewer American players?
JOHN SKIPPER: Ian, I’m going to jump in first, and tell me if you have any different point of view. We are not ?? it would be wonderful if a great American men’s player emerged sometimes during this 12 years. Of course, we do believe that at some point during the 12 years you’ll have lots of Americans to be competitive. But we love what’s happening right now. You have some of the greatest players in the history of the game in Nadal and Djokovic and Federer, we hope Murray and some of the other guys continue. So it did not trouble us during these discussions that there is not a Top 5 American men’s player. Of course we have to prepare ?? we hope the Williams sisters who have been dominant and spectacular in the last six, seven, eight years. We hope we’ll see them for the next three or four years. But, again, we didn’t make this bid predicated upon players being from the U.S.
Q. To follow up on that, do you ever see a time back in the ’70s, and ’80s, when it was McEnroe and all those great American players, Connors and those type of people, do you ever see a renaissance of that again or do you think those days are over?
JOHN SKIPPER: Well, once again, what you have now is a replica of that; they just aren’t from America. The McEnroe?Borg, Connors?Gerulaitis, the four guys you’ve got now kind of have the same thing going in a way, right? You’ve got the precision of Federer and the precision of Borg. You’ve got the emotion of Murray and the emotion of Connors. The street fighter of Nadal. You’ve got now guys as good as you had then in as fierce a rivalry and as dominant, they just aren’t American. It’s impossible to predict where the next guys will come from.
IAN RITCHIE: I think we feel that it transcends nationality. You have to say that. We’ve not had a British winner since Fred Perry. So certainly the British feel you can support many other international players as well. As far as Wimbledon’s concerned, it’s an event. It’s the tennis event as well, but it’s also become slightly more than only tennis. I think in the same way as far as we understand it talking to people around the world, people become almost less partial. They’re just as capable of supporting any nationality as long as they’re seeing great players. The one thing that is guaranteed is they’ll see great players performing at their best.
Q. Following on the whole mobile discussion, how important are linear television ratings? Because clearly NBC’s coverage of the finals, the ratings have trended down. Have you looked at that and what you attribute that to? What are your expectations for the ratings for the matches on ESPN?
JOHN SKIPPER: I’ll echo something which Ian said before relative to how he thinks about this, because it is exactly the way we think about it. We are interested in the totality of the audience. We, like everybody else, get excited when we can aggregate a large audience for a single three?hour match. And we will do everything we can and we believe we’ll be able to increase ratings, as we have on a number of properties we manage, by sort of having a single narrative, having all the platforms we have, having all the promotional power we have to get people to a single three?hour match. But we are much more interested in what we can aggregate around a thousand hours, and what the total audience ?? and hopefully that’s what advertisers care about and rights holders care about. What are the total number of people you can deliver to us over a large body of matches and hours? And I have no doubt that the overall audience and total audience will go up over time. That’s what we care about. It’s a little bit ?? it’s becoming a little anachronistic just to look at what the three?hour television audience was. You probably know. I mean, last year on the World Cup, everybody looks at the television rating compared to what it had done before. We were fortunate it was up close to 50%. But the greater increase was the audience on mobile and internet devices, which is usually not included as part of the apples to apples comparison. We’re pretty confident that more people will watch the final next year. Whether more people will watch the final next year on television, I’m less confident of. It doesn’t matter to me.
Q. I understand that. I guess the reason that we kind of focus on the anachronistic linear television ratings is that is what brings in the proportionally the most advertising dollars.
JOHN SKIPPER: Correct. Also, the rating services have struggled to ?? and by the way, they’re working very hard to do it, but it’s a struggle to measure. They have a measurement method that’s worked for a long time. They’re trying to figure out, Nielsen and others are trying to figure out how to capture the overall audience across more platforms. It’s not only where the highest number of dollars are but also what they can capture. We don’t have any choice. It’s hard. Otherwise you’re saying, Geez, if you take this score and this research and add this together and compare it, it becomes incomprehensible. But it will catch up. The measurement will catch up and we’ll have a way to look at the total audience, and I believe it will be up.
IAN RITCHIE: I think what we said earlier, a single, coherent, promotional strategy across the two weeks is going to add, as well, to the number of eyeballs that really watch whatever medium is deployed to get them there. And we certainly have been in the last nine years very impressed with ESPN’s promotional strategy. I think applying that across the full two weeks, and we spent a chunk of time discussing the variety and the depth of the promotional strategy that ESPN will give to this, and I think that was, indeed, a very positive factor in helping us get to this decision.
Q. Ian, how challenging was it to turn away from such a long?time partner as NBC?
IAN RITCHIE: Oh, I think it was challenging. I think, yes, it was. Undoubtedly a factor that we weighed in the balance was the long?term association that the Club have had with NBC. It was not something that we turned away from lightly. We tried to conduct an extremely fair process across the parties that were interested in our proposition. And, as I say, we tried to weigh and did weigh all the factors. Not just simply ratings, not just simply digital activities and promotional and not just for money. You know, as far as I’m concerned, I think we gave everybody, I hope, a very clear opportunity to put their best foot forward. Have to say all of them did. Yes, we had a difficult decision to reach in terms of bearing all of those in mind. But we very clearly came to the view, as I said earlier, and we’re delighted with the conclusion that we’ve reached.
Q. What is your status with Tennis Channel right now?
IAN RITCHIE: We’ve still got some conversations to have with them. Again, they’ve been a very good partner that we’ve dealt with over the last few years, and we would hope ?? and perhaps John can comment on this as well ?? we would hope to see if we can find a continuing arrangement withthem. But that’s still got a little bit of work to do.
JOHN SKIPPER: We have genuinely enjoyed working with Tennis Channel. We have arrangements with them on the US Open, Australian Open and French Open. We have indicated an interest. I met with Ken Solomon of the Tennis Channel while I was in London. We’ve indicated an interest to continue working with them. The continued success of the Tennis Channel is advantageous to us. The more people that watch tennis throughout the year helps build an audience for the big events, which is where we’re principally at. So we’ve generally found cooperating with the Tennis Channel to be in our self interest.
Q. My question is a Bristol question, which everyone has been on pins and needs to hear. John Skipper, congratulations on getting this deal. Could you please tell me what it will mean for the rank and file in Bristol? Are you going to be schlepping a bunch of people across the pond and having a lot of people working over there or can you give me a little flavor of what it means?
JOHN SKIPPER: The main thing it means is our folks are very, very proud at this arrangement. I’ve gotten lots and lots of congratulatory emails and attaboys in the hallway. Our guys take a great deal of pride in our association with world quality events. It won’t mean a significant difference in the contingent we take. We take a nice group over to London for a long encampment somewhere between two and three weeks, and they’re there for the duration of the tournament. We’ve made those people very happy, because they have traditionally spent the last couple of days doing Sportscenter updates and highlights and interviews. The opportunity now to be involved in the finals event, they’re thrilled. I’ve heard from a bunch of them, so this is a huge morale booster for our guys. People are happy in Bristol.
Q. How many people will be involved in working in England?
JOHN SKIPPER: We’ll follow up to get a number. I don’t know what the number is. It will not change significantly. Because remember, we’re bringing hundreds of hours back to the U.S. already. I think NBC was doing about 38. So we’ve got most of the scale we need there already.
There you have the transcript. Linkage coming up later.
Just looking over the press release for ESPN’s announcement on obtaining the rights to Wimbledon and there are some very interesting features that we will see in this new 12 year agreement that begins next year. For starters, there will be no more live over the air coverage. Wimbledon now becomes an all-cable affair.
Second, as we know by now, NBC is out. The peacock’s association with the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club ended last Sunday after 43 years. We have NBC to thank for bringing us “Breakfast at Wimbledon”, but the tape delays that have angered fans over the years are no more.
Here are highlights of what you’ll see in the next dozen years of coverage on the ESPN networks.
- ESPN will air the men’s and women’s semifinals and finals live.
- ESPN and ESPN2 will air simultaneous coverage on the second Monday through Wednesday allowing for full coverage of the Round of 16 as well as the men’s and women’s quarterfinals.
- ESPN will produce a taped highlights package for ABC that will air on the middle Sunday or the rest day of the fortnight.
- ABC will air same day coverage of the women’s and men’s finals at 3 p.m. ET.
So this will lead to some innovative coverage and some channel switching in the second week of Wimbledon.
Here’s the press release from ESPN:
ESPN Acquires All Wimbledon Live U.S. TV Rights Including Singles Finals
Twelve-Year Agreement Starting in 2012
ESPN has acquired the exclusive U.S. television rights to live action from The Championships, Wimbledon, including both the Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Singles Finals, in a 12-year agreement with the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club beginning in 2012. Comprehensive coverage from start to finish across a variety of platforms will result in more tennis for fans and all of it live.
ESPN will present Wimbledon on its multimedia array of platforms, including both ESPN and ESPN2 simultaneously the second Monday-Wednesday. This will allow for expanded coverage of the Round of 16 and live telecasts of all quarterfinals. ESPN will televise the semifinals and finals. ESPN on ABC will broadcast a three-hour highlights show on the “middle Sunday” of the tournament, and will reair the finals on a same-day basis at 3 p.m. ET.
In addition to the newly acquired rights, all of ESPN’s existing coverage will continue — television, broadband, mobile, and other rights in the U.S., Latin America and Canada (through 2021). Since 2003, ESPN networks have aired approximately 100 hours annually – with another 650 on ESPN3.com, primarily on weekdays and capped by one Ladies’ and one Gentlemen’s semifinal. Through 2023, the television schedule will increase to more than 140 hours, including full live national coverage of the semifinals and finals. ESPN3.com’s schedule will expand to 750 hours, also with the semifinals and finals presented live.
Ian Ritchie, Chief Executive of The All England Lawn Tennis Club, said: “We are delighted to be extending our partnership with ESPN, in a move which will consolidate our U.S. media rights under the auspices of a single partner. This new agreement will bring increased live coverage of The Championships and ensure that the huge international audience for Wimbledon can now enjoy all the drama and colour of the Fortnight through a sustained narrative delivered with clarity, continuity and consistency across a wide range of platforms.”
George Bodenheimer, president, ESPN and ABC Sports, said, “We are proud to have been a partner of The All England Club the past nine years and are thrilled to be given continuing responsibility for honoring Wimbledon’s rich tradition. Over the next 12 years, we’ll work closely together to move coverage of this great event forward with live coverage on television and using all the latest technologies and screens.”
ESPN and Wimbledon
Currently, in addition to an already extensive TV schedule, ESPN’s Wimbledon rights include live matches on ESPN3.com (with the semifinals and finals available on delay) (Editor’s note: a concession to the cable and satellite operators), ESPN Mobile TV, ESPN Interactive TV, the WatchESPNApp, ESPNNetworks.com and Spanish-language ESPN Deportes, as well as distribution to 30 million homes in Latin America via ESPN International and in Canada via TSN. In addition, ESPN.com has extensive reporting with news, analysis and video from Wimbledon, ESPN The Magazine previews the competition while ESPN Classic shows great matches from the past and ESPN 3D aired its first tennis at this year’s Championships.
I’ll provide more details of the agreement as they become available. In the meantime, tennis fans will certainly have a smorgasbord of live action, something they’ve been craving for a long time.