Sports Media Weekly No. 177- 2013 Year in Review

Welcome to the final edition of Sports Media Weekly, not only for 2013 but for the foreseeable future.

Ken Fang of Fang’s Bites and I use this final program to look back at some of the notable sports media stories for 2013 and what we can expect for 2014.

Among the items up for discussion:

The launch of Fox Sports 1;
Rights fees for the U.S. Open and Canadian NHL changing hands;
The return of Keith Olbermann to ESPN;
NCAA Basketball coverage changes coming in 2014;
Ratings, ratings, ratings;
The passing of Pat Summerall and Ken Venturi and the retirement of Tim McCarver and Dan Dierdorf;
Looking ahead to 2014 with the Winter Olympics and the World Cup.

For the second portion of the show Ken pulled a fast one on me as he spoke with members of the media on what was supposed to be their look back at the year, but instead they directed their remarks elsewhere:

Richard DeitschSports Illustrated
Steve LaporeAwful Announcing
Dan LevyThe Bleacher Report
Paulsen, Sports Media Watch
Neil Best, Newsday
Joe Flint, LA Times
John Ourand, Sports Business Journal
Ian Eagle, CBS Sports
John Daly, The Daly Planet
Matt Yoder, Awful Announcing
Michelle Beadle, NBC

I want to thank everyone on that list for their kind remarks.  It means a lot.

I also want to thank all of you who have made Sports Media Weekly a successful four-plus year endeavor.  It is what I will miss the most as I suspend Sports Media Journal.

Have a great 2014.  All the best!


Who Called Your NFL Team’s Games the Most in 2013?

We did this research last year, and we thought we would do it again to end the 2013 NFL season.

We examined the network play-by-play pairings for each regular season game in the league this year and noted which announcer called which teams’ games.  As in years past patterns emerge, generally the better teams in each conference have their games called by the higher-ranked broadcasters on each network.

The list you are about to see for each team pairs it ONLY with the play-by-play voice calling the game.  There are instances where play-by-play men work with different analysts (i.e. Thomm Brennaman filling-in for Joe Buck during the baseball playoffs with Troy Aikman) so instead of listing the results based on broadcast teams, we will link them only with the play-by-play announcer.

Here is each NFL team, along with the announcer who called their games the most, with the number of games in parentheses:

Arizona Cardinals- Dick Stockton & Sam Rosen (3 each)
Atlanta Falcons – Kevin Burkhardt (4)
Baltimore Ravens – Jim Nantz & Greg Gumbel (3 each)
Buffalo Bills – Greg Gumber & Ian Eagle (3 each)
Carolina Panthers- Chris Myers (4)
Chicago Bears- Thomm Brennaman (4)
Cincinnati Bengals- Greg Gumbel & Marv Albert (3 each)
Cleveland Browns- Kevin Harlan (6)
Dallas Cowboys- Al Michaels (4)
Denver Broncos- Jim Nantz (5)
Detroit Lions- Thomm Brennaman (4)
Green Bay Packers- Joe Buck (7)
Houston Texans- Kevin Harlan (4)
Indianapolis Colts- Al Michaels, Greg Gumbel, Kevin Harlan, Ian Eagle, & Bill Macatee (2 each)
Jacksonville Jaguars- Bill Macatee (5)
Kansas City Chiefs- Jim Nantz (3)
Miami Dolphins- Mike Tirico, Jim Nantz, Greg Gumbel, Marv Albert, Ian Eagle, & Chris Myers (2 each)
Minnesota Vikings- Thomm Brennaman (3)
New England Patriots- Jim Nantz & Greg Gumbel (4 each)
New Orleans Saints- Joe Buck (3)
New York Giants- Kenny Albert (4)
New York Jets- Greg Gumbel (5)
Oakland Raiders- Marv Albert (4)
Philadelphia Eagles- Kenny Albert (3)
Pittsburgh Steelers- Al Michaels, Jim Nantz & Ian Eagle (3 each)
San Diego Chargers- Ian Eagle (4)
San Francisco 49ers- Joe Buck (3)
Seattle Seahawks- Chris Myers (5)
St. Louis Rams- Chris Myers (4)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Kevin Burkhardt (4)
Tennessee Titans- Greg Gumbel, Kevin Harlan, Marv Albert, Ian Eagle, Steve Tasker & Andrew Catalon (2 each)
Washington Redskins- Dick Stockton (3)

Now let’s look at each broadcaster and which team he covered the most this season.  Brad Nessler of the NFL Network once again wins the award for most diverse announcer, having called games featuring different teams for each of the network’s 13 games.  So, in effect, Nessler called one game for 26 teams this year.  Here is the rest of the list, sorted by network:

NBC Sports

Al Michaels- Denver Broncos (4)


Mike Tirico- Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins, Chicago Bears, New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers & Seattle Seahawks (2 each)
Chris Berman- Houston Texans & San Diego Chargers (1 each)

CBS Sports

Jim Nantz- Denver Broncos (5)
Greg Gumbel- NY Jets (5)
Kevin Harlan- Cleveland Browns (6)
Marv Albert- NY Jets, Cleveland Browns, & Oakland Raiders (4 each)
Ian Eagle- San Diego Chargers (4)
Spero Dedes- Jacksonville Jaguars (3)
Bill Macatee- Jacksonville Jaguars (5)
Andrew Catalon- Tennessee Titans & Jacksonville Jaguars (2 each)

Fox Sports

Joe Buck- Green Bay Packers (7)
Kenny Albert- NY Giants (4)
Dick Stockton- Washington Redskins, Arizona Cardinals & St. Louis Rams (3 each)
Chris Myers- Seattle Seahawks
Kevin Burkhardt- Atlanta Falcons & Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4 each)
Thomm Brennaman- Detroit Lions & Chicago Bears (4 each)
Sam Rosen- Arizona Cardinals (3)
Gus Johnson- Detroit Lions & Minnesota Vikings (1 each)
Justin Kutcher- Tennessee Titans & Arizona Cardinals (1 each)
Tom McCarthy- Cleveland Browns & Detroit Lions (1 each)

Have a Happy New Year!

Sports Media Weekly No. 176- Ed Sherman, The Sherman Report

Only two editions of Sports Media Weekly remain and this week Ken Fang of Fang’s Bites and I are joined by Ed Sherman of The Sherman Report.

We begin the program looking at news that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) may be taking a look at relaxing the blackout rules sports leagues impose on local television coverage of sports if the local’s team’s arenas are not sold out.

We next take a look at the college bowl season which gets underway this week and ESPN’s plans for what it calls a “Megacast” of the BCS Championship Game.

NBC today announced its 1,539+ hours of coverage for the Sochi Winter Olympics which begin in February.  In the news it was announced that all major events will be telecast live and then re-played in prime time–a move the three of us agree will benefit viewers and should not negatively impact NBC’s prime time ratings.

We wrap-up the news segment by looking at how ESPN has won a duPont Award for a segment on Outside the Lines while the show appears to be less of a priority in Bristol.

Ken and I will return on Monday, December 30th for our look back at the top sports media news of 2013 and what we can expect for the new year.

And yes, Ken and I do discuss my announcement of the closing of Sports Media Journal on January 1st.

With All Good Intentions

An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.  (Buddha)

 In 2007 I started Sports Media Journal (SMJ).   As our About Us page states, the idea was to create “a site where you’ll find out more about the people and organizations that manage and report sports.”

Even though the sports media beat was well-covered on a national and local level back then, I felt a need to delve deeper.  My idea was to provide commentary and interview the people who make up this industry.  I was able to do much of that over the last six-plus years, especially on the podcast we launched with Ken Fang of Fang’s BitesSports Media Weekly.

I began Sports Media Journal as a hobby, as do many others who create blogs.  I knew that the success of the blog would be based on consistent, quality writing that is not found anywhere else.  Even though I did have advertising on the site, the future of SMJ was never contingent on making a profit.

I have a full-time job outside of SMJ which is the focus of my weekdays.  Spending time with my wife and daughter take-up the remaining hours of the week.  I could not be happier when it comes to my personal and professional life.  I am truly blessed.

In recent months it has been more difficult to post regularly on SMJ.  My level of interest in sports media has waned.  And as I creep closer to 50, I feel the need to simplify my life.

Therefore, as of January 1, 2014, Sports Media Journal will be no more.  I will still own the domain and over the next few months the blog’s content will be migrated away from a hosted site to a free website service.  I can still be reached at keith@sportsmediajournal.com.

I am eternally thankful to those of you who made SMJ a regular stop for news and information.  It amazes me how many of you are as interested in sports media as me.

I have met some incredible people both inside and outside the sports media industry over the six-plus years I have owned SMJ.  I have made many new friends.

Even though I leave the sports media beat, there are so many people doing great work. Among them:

Looking back I have no regrets in starting Sports Media Journal.  Ideas spring to life.  People evolve.  Peace.




Fox Retains Rights to UEFA Champions and Europa League Soccer

Last week’s speculation is now official: Fox Sports has renewed its exclusive U.S. rights to the UEFA Champions and Europa Leagues.

The terms of the agreement call for Fox to continue to televise the matches exclusively through the 2017-2018 season. Fox has had the Champions League Rights since 2009 and the Europa League since 2012.

Under the agreement Fox plans coverage across multiple channels and platforms including Fox Sports, Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2, Fox Deportes, Fox Sports Regional Networks and FOX Soccer Plus, as well as online via FoxSports.com and on mobile devices through the Fox Sports GO app.

“We are elated to continue our partnership with UEFA and serve as home of its flagship properties through at least 2018,” said David Nathanson, General Manager and Chief Operating Officer of FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2.  “The combination of UEFA Champions and Europa leagues provides viewers with the complete club competition experience at the highest level.   The fact that all the leading European teams and players continue to be seen on one destination speaks to FOX Sports’ commitment to showcase the world’s best.  No other sports television franchise has an elite international soccer schedule that even comes close.”


Sports Media Weekly No. 175- Joe Flint, LA Times & Joe Tessitore, ESPN

The weather is frigid across much of the country so why not cozy up to the latest edition of Sports Media Weekly?

Ken Fang of Fang’s Bites and I are joined for our news segment this week by Joe Flint, media and entertainment reporter for the LA Times.

We dream of warm weather to start the show, talking about the news that ESPN will add Curt Schilling to its Sunday Night Baseball broadcast booth.  Schilling replaces Orel Hershiser, who will be joining the broadcast team for the Los Angeles Dodgers new regional sports network which will launch in 2014.

We move to the NFL, discussing the flexing of Bears/Eagles to NBC’s Sunday Night Football for week 16 while Patriots/Ravens moves to CBS at 4:25pm ET.  We also speculate as to which game will be flexed to SNF for the week 17 finale.

For the second straight week we talk Canadian sports media as it was announced that CTV and TSN will be the home for NFL football north of the boarder.

We end the news segment looking at the report by John Ourand at Sports Business Journal that Fox appears to be the front runner to retaining the rights to the UEFA Champions League matches here in the United States.

Our second guest this week is ESPN’s Joe Tessitore.  Ken speaks with Joe about his upcoming new role as lead studio host for the SEC Network which will launch late next summer.

Curt Schilling Joins Sunday Night Baseball Crew

With the announcement that Orel Hershiser will be working on the Los Angeles Dodgers game telecasts, ESPN wasted no time today announcing who will take his place on the Sunday Night Baseball broadcast crew.  Curt Schilling will fill Hershiser’s role beginning next season.

Schilling has served as a Baseball Tonight studio analyst since 2010, and has also provided analysis for select MLB game telecasts on ESPN. He will continue to make studio appearances for the network.

“I’m excited to join an already outstanding team,” said Schilling. “I would like to bring a perspective that will help fans get inside the head of the guy on the mound, and behind the plate, while also helping fans to better understand the work and preparation that goes into pitching in the big leagues.”

“Curt is one of the most unique announcers we have ever had on baseball, or any other sport, for that matter.” said Jed Drake, ESPN executive producer and senior vice-president, production. “He speaks his mind, and when he does, it is almost always fascinating, insightful and quite often, provocative. People will watch Sunday Night Baseball because of what Curt might say – that’s a rare gift. And, did I mention that he was a ferocious competitor, who has three World Series rings? Enough said.”

Photo Courtesy ESPN

Sports Media Weekly No. 174- John Ourand, Sports Business Journal

After a week off for the holiday Ken Fang of Fang’s Bites and I are back for another edition of Sports Media Weekly.

Joining Ken and me this week is John Ourand from Sports Business Journal.

We start the show by looking back at the big sports media story from a week ago, the news that Rogers Communications has won the sole national NHL media rights in Canada away from TSN and CBC.  We look at the impact the deal will have in Canada as well as what it may mean for sports rights deals here in the U.S.A.

We move on to the NFL and the news from Fox Sports that it has already sold its entire ad inventory for February’s Super Bowl XLVIII.  The news proves once again that football is king on TV and with sponsors.

We look back at the spectacular weekend of college football and, in particular, CBS’ coverage of the Alabama/Auburn Iron Bowl.  We all give kudos to CBS for its coverage of the game and striking the right tone both in pictures and in words from Verne Lundquist, Gary Danielson, and Tracey Wolfson.

As ESPN prepares for coverage of its final World Cup for a while we discuss the potential U.S. rights fee battle for the UEFA Champions League matches.  Fox Sports currently holds the rights, but ESPN and NBC are looking to snatch the package away.

We wrap the show by discussing Deadspin’s purchase of a baseball Hall of Fame vote and how that may shake out.

Sports Media Weekly No. 173- Brian Berger, Sports Business Radio

It’s been an interesting sports media week and we have it covered on Sports Media Weekly.

Joining Ken Fang of Fang’s Bites and me for the program this week is Brian Berger of Sports Business Radio.

We begin the program looking at the appearance late this afternoon of Alex Rodriguez on the Mike Francesa radio program on WFAN in New York.  Rodriguez sought the sympathetic ear of Francesa after storming out of his hearing today with an arbitrator over his 211 game suspension issued by Major League Baseball earlier this year.  Brian, who also works as a media consultant for athletes, chimes in on whether Rodriguez’ strategy will pay off for him in the court of public opinion.

Over to the the NFL next and Ken’s piece on Awful Announcing on the flex options that await the league’s media partners when the new television contracts take effect next year.

We then move to the news that CBS NFL game analyst Dan Dierdorf will be retiring at the end of the current NFL season after 30 years televising games for CBS and ABC.

College basketball may be seeing quite the change in coverage at the NCAA Final Four beginning next year as Turner Sports takes over televising the national semi-final games.  John Ourand at Sports Business Journal  has the details.

We wrap the news segment by looking at the news by NBC that Bob Costas will be adding late night hosting duties to his primetime gig at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Costas to Host Primetime and Late Night Sochi Olympics Coverage

It looks like NBC will be asking more from its biggest sports personality for the 2014 Sochi Olympics.  Today the network announced that Bob Costas will host both the network’s primetime and late night coverage of the Winter Games this February.

Costas will be serving as primetime host for the 10th time in Sochi.  He recently served as host of both primetime and late night telecasts in 2000.

“With unmatched experience in the host chair, Bob’s historical perspective and expertise will serve as a foundation for our Sochi coverage both in primetime and late night,” said Jim Bell, Executive Producer of NBC Olympics. “There is no one better than Bob to lead us in telling the stories of the athletes and competition that captivate fans around the world.”

“The Olympics are a unique television event,” Costas said. “They involve classic sports coverage, of course, but also many elements of storytelling and travelogue aspects that are not part of the usual sports broadcast. They are a three-week miniseries which, if done well, should bring viewers not only compelling athletic performances, but a sense of the host city and country, and an appreciation of what is a truly global gathering.”