New England Patriots

SMWeekly151

Sports Media Weekly No. 151- Brian Berger, Sports Business Radio & Bob Socci, New England Patriots

Another action-packed edition of Sports Media Weekly is upon us.

Ken Fang of Fang’s Bites and I are joined for our news segment by Brian Berger, host of Sports Business Radio.

We begin the show looking at the news that the NFL is moving the date of next year’s NFL Draft to May.  This will benefit the league’s broadcast partners ESPN and the NFL Network who’ll be able to charge more for advertising during the ratings “sweeps” month.

We then move into the realm of ESPN Radio with its announcement that it will provide out-of-market coverage of five NFL teams’ games beginning this fall.  ESPN also made news this week with the hiring of southern U.S. sports radio legend Paul Finebaum.

We move on to discuss how the hiring of Robert Lipsyte as the new ombudsman at ESPN may, or may not,  result in any significant changes at the World Wide Leader.

We end the segment by looking at plans by Sports Illustrated to produce a daily 30-minute talk show on SI.com beginning this Monday.

Our second guest this week is Bob Socci, current radio voice for the Pawtucket Red Sox, who will soon become the new radio voice of the New England Patriots, replacing the legendary Gil Santos.  Bob discusses his good fortune in getting both the PawSox and Patriots jobs in a matter of weeks.  Socci will be leaving the PawSox in July to begin his work in Foxboro.

AFC Champ Feature

All NFL Media is Local- 2013 AFC Championship Game

We have built up a section of our site that links to a post on each team in the NFL and the local media outlets that cover that team.  It’s a one-stop-shop for fans to get information on their favorite team through some of the people and organizations who cover them every day.

For the NFL Conference Championships we will re-post the entries for each team, as a way for you to get ready for the game, again, through the work of the local media in each market.

Here is a look at the broadcast information and local media outlets covering the Baltimore Ravens and the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game:

AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

National Television:  Fox Sports.  Pre-game coverage starts at 6:00p.m. ET with James Brown, Dan Marino, Boomer Esiason and Bill Cowher.  Kick-off is 6:30p.m. ET with Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Steve Tasker and Solomon Wilcotts on the call.

National Radio-  Dial Global is the national radio rights holder for the game.  Kevin Harlan, Dan Fouts and Mark Malone describe the action.

Baltimore Ravens Local Media

Newspaper- One of the most underrated mid-sized newspapers in the Country is the Baltimore Sun.  It has a long tradition of having a comprehensive sports section.  The online version of the paper has a page dedicated to the Ravens. Beat writers Jeff Zrebiec (Twitter), Aaron Wilson (Twitter), Matt Vensel (Twitter), Mike Preston, and Edward Lee also maintain the Ravens Insider Blog. Columnists Kevin Cowherd (Twitter) and Peter Schmuck (Twitter) will also offer commentary on the team.

Baltimore has its own weekly sports newspaper, the Press Box.

Sports Radio- WBAL and 98 Rock serve as the home of the Ravens Radio Network. Gerry Sandusky (Twitter), Stan White, and Qadry Ismail (Twitter) call the action.  To talk Ravens, tune into sports talker 105. The Fan.

Television-  Among the television stations on the Baltimore beat include WBALWBFFWJZ and WMAR.  Comcast SportsNet Baltimore and Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN) also cover the Ravens.

Blogs-  Check out Ravens NewsRavens GabBaltimore BeatdownThe Purple Chaos, and  Ebony Bird for independent coverage of the team.

New England Patriots Local Media

Newspaper- Many newspaper outlets cover the Pats, but the two biggest names are the Boston Globe (subscription may be required) and the Boston Herald. The Globe online is handled through Boston.com. The paper’s sports section includes a page dedicated to the Pats (Twitter). Beat writers Greg A. Bedard (Twitter), Michael Witmer and Shalise Manza Young (Twitter), feed into the paper’s Extra Points blog.  Chris Gaspar (Twitter) and Dan Shaughnessy (Twitter) will also add their thoughts on the team.

The Herald  also has a page dedicated to the Pats.  Beat writers Jeff Howe (Twitter) and Karen Guregian (Twitter) also contribute to the paper’s The Blitz blog.  Columnist Steve Buckley (Twitter) will also let his thoughts be know on the team from time to time.

Sports Radio- 98.5 The Sports Hub serves as the flagship of the Patriots Radio Network.  Gil Santos returns on play-by-play, joined by analyst Scott Zolak (Twitter).  Sports radio talk is dominated by The Sports Hub and WEEI.

Television- Some of the television outlets covering the Pats include, WBZWCVBWHDH and WFXT.  Boston also has coverage of the team from regional networks Comcast SportsNet New England and NESN.  ESPNBoston also follows the team.

Blogs- There are no shortage of independent blogs covering the Pats.  Among them are Patriots LockerPatriots Gab and Pats Pulpit.

Broncos/Patriots Rating Good,But No Record

Last night’s anticipated match-up between the Broncos and Patriots netted CBS an overnight rating of 20.6.  The game was the highest rated Divisional prime time playoff game in 11 years.

It was also  the second-highest AFC Divisional playoff game in 18 years.

Much was made that this game had the potential to shatter records.  But New England’s 45-10 victory assured that the ratings would not reach to that level.

More when we get it.

Patriots Feature

All NFL Media is Local- New England Patriots

Let’s look at the media group that covers the New England Patriots

Newspaper- Many newspaper outlets cover the Pats, but the two biggest names are the Boston Globe (subscription may be required) and the Boston Herald. The Globe online is handled through Boston.com. The paper’s sports section includes a page dedicated to the Pats (Twitter). Beat writers Greg A. Bedard (Twitter), Michael Witmer and Shalise Manza Young (Twitter), feed into the paper’s Extra Points blog.  Chris Gaspar (Twitter) and Dan Shaughnessy (Twitter) will also add their thoughts on the team.

The Herald  also has a page dedicated to the Pats.  Beat writers Jeff Howe (Twitter) and Karen Guregian (Twitter) also contribute to the paper’s The Blitz blog.  Columnist Steve Buckley (Twitter) will also let his thoughts be know on the team from time to time.

Sports Radio- 98.5 The Sports Hub serves as the flagship of the Patriots Radio Network.  Gil Santos returns on play-by-play, joined by analyst Scott Zolak (Twitter).  Sports radio talk is dominated by The Sports Hub and WEEI.

Television- Some of the television outlets covering the Pats include, WBZWCVBWHDH and WFXT.  Boston also has coverage of the team from regional networks Comcast SportsNet New England and NESN.  ESPNBoston also follows the team.

Blogs- There are no shortage of independent blogs covering the Pats.  Among them are Patriots LockerPatriots Gab and Pats Pulpit.

We know there are other news organizations covering the Pats.  Add your favorites in the comments section.

NFL Local Sports Media- New England Patriots

Being one of the best teams in the NFL brings with it some tough media…and it doesn’t get much tougher than the group that covers the New England Patriots

Newspaper- We know that many newspaper outlets cover the Pats…what we miss you can add in the comments. But the two biggest names are the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald. Both papers offer comprehensive coverage of the Patriots in their sports section and in dedicated pages on their web sites. Each paper also has blogs for the Pats; The Globe’s Mike Reiss’ Reiss’ Pieces and the Herald’s John Tomase and Karen Guregian’s Point After.

Sports Radio- WBCN serves as the flagship of the Patriots Radio Network.  Gil Santos returns on play-by-play, joined by analyst Gino Cappelletti.  Sports radio talk is dominated by powerhouse WEEI.  ESPN Radio Boston is also an alternative for Pats’ fans.

Television- Some of the television outlets covering the Pats include, WBZ, WCVB, WHDH and WFXT.

Blogs- There are no shortage of independent blogs covering the Pats.  Among them are Patriots Locker, Patriots Gab, Pats Pulpit, and the Patriot Act.

We know there are other news organizations covering the Pats.  Add your favorites in the comments section.

The Herald’s John Tomase Responds

Another chapter in the erroneous report that the Patriots videotaped the Rams walkthrough at Super Bowl XXXVI came about today from the Boston Herald beat writer who penned the  story, John Tomase.

In my post earlier this week I questioned the reality that some reporters rush to judgement on stories in this 24/7 news cycle we all live in.  Tomase revealed as much when he wrote:

The confirmed presence of a member of the team’s video staff at the walkthrough reinforced my belief that it was filmed. Secondhand sourcing took on added weight. When I got word that other reporters had picked up the scent, it only steeled my resolve not to get beat.

In the piece Tomase gave readers a general overview of how the story developed.  He then admitted where, in hindsight, the story all went awry:

I already had been able to verify that a member of the team’s video staff had been setting up a camera at the walkthrough, but on the final, crucial point of whether the camera was actually rolling, I made a devastating leap of logic and assumed that’s what I was being told rather than confirming it explicitly. I considered the fact that it was taped unassailable.

And this is the exact point at which the story broke down.

Despite other media reports, Tomase said he did not rely on only one source for the story.  Outside this blog, I have wanted Tomase to revel his sources, especially if they had deliberately misled him in any way.  This guy’s reputation is on the line if if I had been purposely misled, my internal defense mechanism would have kicked in.  But it appears these sources did not intentionally mislead Tomase.  You can sense this in his tone:

There has been a clamoring for me to identify the sources used in my story. This I cannot do. When a reporter promises anonymity, he can’t break that promise simply because he comes under fire. I gave my word, and the day I break that word is the day sources stop talking to me.

I accept that explanation.  I would have liked to have seen more details as to the specific evidence Tomase amassed in developing the story.  Those did not come.

Although he did sound contrite, I am sure some will not be forgiving after reading Tomase’s piece.  New England fans are really steamed over the media coverage of this story, this one included.

Let’s hope all of us in the sports media have learned something from this episode.  Although I doubt we did.

Is Being First Really Worth It?

No one wants to admit when they’re wrong.  Especially members of the media.

But that’s what happened yesterday following NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s meeting with former Patriots’ videographer Matt Walsh in the Spygate case.

The Boston Herald did admit it erred in its report two days before the Super Bowl that the Pats had taped the Rams walk-through prior to Super Bowl XXXVI in New Orleans back in 2002.  We now know through Goodell that as far as the NFL’s investigation and Walsh’s comments are concerned, no taping ever took place.

There is some great local commentary on the Herald’s error by Bruce Allen at Boston Sports Media Watch and David Scott at Scott’s Shots.  Both are a must read.

The Herald will be facing much more deserved scrutiny in the days and weeks ahead over its apparent shoddy work.  What bothers me is that the practice of throwing out innuendo to see if it sticks is becoming more and more prevalent across all sports media platforms.

We are all to blame.  In the world of the 24/7 news cycle no one wants to be left behind.  The pressures are enormous.  The money involved more so.  There are more journalists (including bloggers) digging for stories for print, television, radio, and online sources. 

All of this leads to the mentality that any news, no matter the source or circumstances, must be reported, for fear that not doing so will result in less readers and loss in revenue.  I have never subscribed to this.  I guess that’s why I don’t get as many readers as others. (Check my BallHype rating in the right sidebar)  I pride myself in first attempting to be right, not necessarily first.  Heaven knows I am far from perfect.

We in the blogosphere should take some responsibility for this.  The Deadspins of the world have created this reality.  Ethics be damned.  It is what it is.  I still believe their content has an audience and should not be restricted.   But some of their work does not pass the credibility test, in my opinion. 

When those sources gain credibility, others in the media feel the need to match it.  That may have been the case with the Herald story.  The practice lessens the general quality of reporting.  Thankfully a good deal of those in the media still take their journalistic integrity seriously.  As that generation passes on, I fear the craft will suffer. 

Maybe Buzz Bissinger was right after all..

Speculation on Parade

I am spending my lunch hour watching ESPN’s special coverage of the meeting today between NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and former Patriots videographer Matt Walsh…and I am being told emphatically that the New England Patriots are Satan.  At least according to those on the ESPN set.

Trey Wingo, Mark Schereth, and Chris Carter are spewing so much speculation and innuendo that anyone watching can come to no other conclusion.

There were so many examples of attempting to mislead the viewer that I lost count. At one point Wingo speculated that although there is no proof the Patriots taped defensive signals during any of their Super Bowl victories, he questioned why the Patriots’ offense was so much more effective in the second half of Super Bowl XXXVIII against the Carolina Panthers, insinuating that the Pats used information collected during the first half.  Even though Wingo did make note that the Panthers scored more points in the second two quarters as well, the emphasis was squarely on the Patriots.

Schlereth and Carter both questioned the taping of opponents not in their division, insinuating that the Patriots must have used the tapes during the game in question, as there was no guarantee they would meet these non-divisional foes later that same season. 

Even after Goodell addressed the media and said Walsh indicated the tapes were not used during he course of the game, Schlereth and Carter would not let it rest.  They kept hammering the speculation that despite the proclamation, it doesn’t mean it did not take place.

Today’s coverage does nothing to paint the media as being responsible.  The conduct of the ESPN crew is another example of the need for the media to perpetuate rumors to further a story.

So if you can’t beat’em…join’em.

Just because we don’t have any evidence, it doesn’t mean that the other 31 teams did not also tape oponents’ signals.  Also, even though we don’t have any evidence, it doesn’t mean that Mark Schlereth and/or Chris Carter did not take steroids.  Sounds ridiculous? You bet.  Stick to what we know.  Playing the speculation game does no one any good.

Game Preview- Super Bowl XLII, New York Giants vs. New England Patriots

We have two weeks to discuss this Super Bowl match-up.  Why get caught-up with the opinions of those in the national media when the best news about these teams will come from their local outlets?  So, get prepped for the big game through the work of the New York and Boston media…

New York Giants (13-6)

The Giants enter the game winners of ten straight road games…and they are considered the road team in the Super Bowl.  Get all the back stories directly from the team from its website.

Being in the number one media market in the country affords Giants’ fans a nearly unlimited supply of news about the team.  On the print side, New York is the only city to support four dailies, The New York Times, The New York Post, The New York Daily News, and Newsday.  The papers offer Giant-specific pages and will undoubtedly develop special Super Bowl sections as well.

New York is home to the first, and some will say the most popular, sports radio station in the country, WFAN.  The flagship station of the team will undoubtedly have comprehensive coverage of the game both in the city and in Arizona.  New York’s other sports radio outlet, WEPN, is also expected to play a big role leading up to the game.

The Gotham City media coverage would not be complete without mentioning television outlets WABC, WNBC, WCBS, and WNYW.

Independent Giants’ blogs? Where do we begin?  Check out Giant Football Blog, Big Blue View, Giants Bits, Giants Gab, and Giants Locker.  I don’t want to slight others.  Add your favorites through the comments.

New England Patriots (18-0)

The Patriots are looking to make history.  Will the Boston media be the ones to play-up a new Boston/New York rivalry?  Before kick-off you can probably count on it.  You won’t hear any of that, however,  on the Patriots’ website.

Boston has arguably the toughest and most critical sports media.  Both The Boston Globe and The Boston Herald will breakdown this game from every conceivable angle.  As with their New York colleagues, make sure to check-out the Patriots’ specific pages and dedicated Super Bowl sections.

Sports radio powerhouse WEEI will have wall to wall coverage of the game.  The station is already promoting its anticipated presence in Arizona.  The ESPN Radio outlet in town, WAMG, will also provide their view of the game.

The Boston television outlets will once again be making the trip to the big game.  Find out more from WCVB, WBZ, WHDH, and WFXT.

Boston sports fans usually have some of the most innovative blogs.  Check out the Pats on Land of Patriots, Patriots Locker, Murphy’s Patriots, and Patriots Gab.  Missed some?  Add them in the comments.

I know this is not a comprehensive list of local media coverage of both teams.  I understand there are outlets in New Jersey and upstate covering the Giants and ones in Providence, the Boston suburbs, and all of New England that follow the Pats.  And let’s not get into the mixed loyalties of those in Connecticut.

If you follow some of these links and you are not ready for the game, you have no one to blame but yourself.  So there.

Food, A TV Network, and One NFL Team

I was taken aback a little yesterday afternoon during the Steelers-Patriots game when CBS announced its partnership with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft in the construction of the first CBS Scene restaurant adjacent to Gillette Stadium.

The idea of television getting into the restaurant business is nothing new.  ESPN and Fox Sports have restaurants located at multiple locations across the country.  CBS has identified a potential market and is taking advantage.

What I don’t like is the perception, rightly or wrongly, that somehow CBS will be tied to the brand that is the New England Patriots.  The images of Kraft and CBS President Les Moonves in Kraft’s luxury box was a bit troubling.  There have been accusations in the media that CBS is pro-Patriots.  The announcement of this venture will do nothing to quell those calls.

It would have been in the best interest of all parties involved for CBS to open up their restaurant in large cities as has been done by their media competitors.  Even if there is no conflict, the perception will still exist.