ESPN.com

Sports Media Digest- April 10, 2012

Wednesday Night Baseball Returns to ESPN-  ESPN will have its first Wednesday Night Baseball telecast of the year tomorrow night as the Marlins take on the Phillies in Philadelphia.  Dave O’Brien and Nomar Garciaparra will call the action with Pedro Gomez reporting from the field.  First pitch is 7:00p.m. ET.

MLB Network Launches Strike Zone Channel- The MLB Network is launching a new channel today which will take viewers on a whirwind tour of all the Major League action on Tuesday and Friday nights.  MLB Network Strike Zone Channel will be on the air those two nights  will bring fans to every game across the league, with up-to-the-minute highlights, live look-ins and updates, all commercial-free.  Currently the new network can only be seen by subscribers of Brighthouse Networks, Dish Network, DiecTV, and Time Warner Cable.

Heat/Bulls and Mavericks/Warriors This Week’s TNT Double Header-  A battle for the top spot in the Eastern Conference headline this week’s NBA double header on TNT.  The Miami Heat travel to the Chicago Bulls for game one beginning at 8:00p.m. ET.  Marv Albert, Steve Kerr, Mike Fratello, and Craig Sager will be on hand.  The nightcap at 10:30p.m. ET will pit the Dallas Mavericks at the Golden State Warriors.  Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, and Cheryl Miller have the call.

Masters Coverage Online Does Well for ESPN-  ESPN.com’s coverage of the 2012 Masters, including its ESPN Mobile Web and ScoreCenter, saw an average minute audience of 44,700, up 15% over 2011.  The ESPN.com golf index page saw average daily unique visitors up three percent, while average total minutes per day to the section were up 17 percent.  Additionally, the average daily unique visitors to golf content on the ESPN Mobile Web were up 25 percent.

ESPN Podcasts Fare Well for March-  Podcast downloads from ESPN.com for the month of march totalled 49 million, up 73% from last year. That number made March the best ever in terms of total downloads for one month.  The top five podcasts downloaded included  The BS Report with Bill SimmonsFirst TakePardon The InterruptionFirst Draft and Fantasy Focus Baseball.

Motor Sports and Bull Riding on CBS Sports Spectacular This Weekend-  This weekend, the CBS Sports Spectacular will feature a variety of motor sports and the latest from the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) tour.  Saturday at 2:00p.m ET dirt track racing takes center stage at the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals from Tulsa, OK.  Sunday at 1:00p.m. ET the Monster Energy AMA Supercross event from New Orleans will air.  At 2:00p.m. ET the PBR 15/15 Bucking Battle will air to cap the weekend.

Sports Media Digest- April 3, 2012

CBS Sees Ratings Jump For NCAA Championship Game-  CBS reports that the ratings for yesterday’s NCAA Men’s Division I Championship between Kentucky and Kansas came in nationally at 12.3, up 5% over last year’s final between UConn and Butler.  The game averaged 20.9 million viewers, up 4% from 2011.  Over the entire tournament TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV averaged a 6.1 rating down from last year’s 6.4 mark.  This year’s tournament averaged 9.6 million viewers compared to 10.2 million last year.

Plurality of Brackets on ESPN Selected Kentucky-  It is no surprise that with the number 1 team in the country winning the championship, a good number of brackets completed in ESPN’s Bracket Challenge had Kentucky on top.  Just over 35% of the 6.45 million brackets completed selected Kentucky to win it all.  Only 6.2% had Kansas as the winner.

Kellerman Hosts Face-Off With Mayweather and Cotto on HBO Tonight-  In preparation for the May 5th bout between Floyd Mayweather and Miguel Cotto, Max Kellerman will host Face Off With Max Kellerman: Mayweather/Cotto tonight at 8:45p.m. ET on HBO.  During the interview the two fighters face-off and answer Kellerman’s questions.  The fighters also get the chance to address each other and their fans.

TNT NBA Double Header Thursday-  TNT will again prep itself for an NBA twin bill this Thursday.  Game one at 7:00p.m. ET will pit the New York Knicks at the Orlando Magic.  Marv Albert, Mike Fratello, and David Aldridge will have the call.  The nightcap at 9:30p.m. has the Boston Celtics at the Chicago Bulls.  Kevin Harlan, Steve Kerr, and Reggie Miller will be on hand.

CBS Sports.com Launches Fantasy Baseball Show-  Beginning tomorrow, CBS Sports.com will be producing regular programs for fanatasy baseball players.   Fantasy Baseball 360 will be available daily from 5:00p.m. to 6:00p.m. ET.   Jorge Sedano will host the show and be joined by fantasy baseball experts Nando Di Fino, Al Melchior and Scott White along with CBSSports.com’s MLB Insider Jon Heyman and Baseball Columnists Scott Miller  and Danny Knobler.

Entz Named Executive VP at Fox Sports-  Fox Sports has announced that it has promoted John Entz to the position ofExecutive Vice President, Production and Executive Producer, FOX Sports Media Group.  Entz will oversee all studio and event production for the networks and entities within Fox Sports Media Group, including FOX Sports, the FOX Sports Regional Networks, SPEED, FOX Deportes, FOX Soccer, FUEL TV and FOXSports.com.  Entz also serves in an advisory capacity to the Big Ten Network.

ESPN Plans to Cover the Women’s Final Four

ESPN has the exclusive television rights to telecast the NCAA Women’s Division I Basketball Championship. And it plans additional coverage at this weekend’s Final Four in Denver.

Game coverage will be led on the court by Dave O’Brien and Doirs Burke, with Holly Rowe and Rebecca Lobo working the sidelines.  Trey Wingo will host the pre-game, halftime, and post game shows with analysts Carolyn Peck and Kara Lawson.

ESPN will employ 21 cameras for the event at the Pepsi Center.  It will be incorporating innovations which has not been part of its women’s telecasts to date.  Among them are; virtual shot clocks on the court; super-slow-motion cameras, and a microphone on the lead referees for the semi final and final game.

ESPN.com and espnW.com will continue to have continuing coverage of the teams right through the end of the tournament.

Television coverage begins this Sunday at 6:00p.m. ET Here is the full schedule on ESPN, ESPNU, and ESPN3:

Date Time (ET) Telecast Networks
Sun, Apr 1 6 p.m. NCAA Women’s Final Four Special Presented by Capital One ESPN / ESPN3
  6:30 p.m. National Semifinal:
No. 1 Connecticut vs. No. 1 Notre Dame
ESPN / ESPN3
  8:30 p.m. National Semifinal:
No. 1 Stanford vs. No. 1 Baylor
ESPN / ESPN3
Tue, Apr 3 3 p.m. Crunch Time: Women’s Tournament ESPNU
  5 p.m. The Experts: NCAA Women’s Tournament Special ESPNU
  6 p.m. College Basketball Live: Women’s National Championship Special ESPNU
  6 p.m. College Basketball Live: Women’s National Championship Special ESPNU
  7:30 p.m. NCAA Women’s Championship Special Presented by Capital One ESPN / ESPN3
  8:30 p.m. National Championship ESPN / ESPN3

ESPN’s Coverage of the Men’s Final Four

Even though it does not have the television rights to telecast the tournament, ESPN plans extensive coverage of the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Final Four from New Orleans.

ESPN will have two studio set locations in New Orleans, one inside the Mercedes Benz Superdome and another in Jackson Square.  Rece Davis and SportsCenter anchor John Anderson will share hosting duties. Dick Vitale, Jay Bilas, Digger Phelps, Jimmy Dykes, Bob Knight, Hubert Davis and Len Elmore will provide analysis. ESPN.com senior writer Andy Katz and reporter Shannon Spake will provide news and updates from New Orleans.

Reports from New Orleans will be highlighted by daily SportsCenter segments Thursday, March 29, to Monday, April 2; two two-hour College GameDay Driven by State Farm shows before the semifinals (Saturday, March 31, at noon ET) and championship (Monday, April 2, at 7 p.m.); a two-hour College Basketball SportsCenter Special on Saturday, March 31, at 4 p.m.; and a SportsCenter special between the semifinal games Saturday, March 31, at 8 p.m.

ESPNU will also be providing coverage via its Tournament Countdown programming.

Sports Media Digest- March 26, 2012

Woods Win at Bay Hill Sparks Strong Ratings for NBC- Tiger Woods’ victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational yesterday scored NBC an overnight rating of 4.8, up a whopping 129% over coverage of the event from 2011.  It’s also the best overnight rating for the Bay Hill event since Woods won the tournament in 2009.  Ratings for Friday’s coverage of the tournament on the Golf Channel came in at 1.4, 75% higher than a year ago.

Bracket Stats from ESPN.com and CBS Sports.com-  As we get further along in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament both CBS and ESPN are puching the success rates, or lack thereof, of the participants in their respective bracket competitions.  On ESPN.com, only 0.4 of the 6.45 million brackets submitted have correctly selected the Final Four.  Similar results were seen on CBS Sports.com’s bracket competition, where only 0.35% of the 5.1 million entries selected the Final Four.  In both instances Kentucky remains the favorite to win it all.

Building and Installation of Final Four Court to be Spotlighted on CBS Sports Network- CBS Sports Network will air a one hour documentary into the making and installation of the floors to be used at the NCAA Men’s Final Four in New Orleans.  Court of Champions explores the court’s journey from a sustainable forest on a Native American Reserve in Wisconsin to the Superdome in New Orleans.  The documentary will debut on CBS Sports Network Sunday April 1st at 9:00p.m. ET.

NIT Semifinals Tomorrow on ESPN2-  Lost in all the hoopla of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, the national semifinals of the NIT will take tomorrow night in ESPN2.  Game one will begin at 7:00p.m. ET as UMass takes on Stanford.  Following game one Minnesota will take on Washington.  The championship game will take place Thursday night at 7:00p.m. on ESPN.

Magic at Knicks NBA Match-up on Wednesday-  ESPN’s Wednesday night NBA action will feature the Orlando Magic at the New York Knicks.  The game tips-off at 8:00p.m. with Dan Shulman and Doris Burke on the call.

Father/Son Golf Tourney Returns to NBC-  After a three year hiatus, The Father/Son Challenge will return and air on NBC.  The tournament had a 14 year run pairing a golf professional with his son.  The tournament returns via a title sponsorship by PNC Bank.  To qualify for the PNC Father/Son Challenge, participants must have won either a major championship or Players Championship in their career. The professional’s partner must not have held a Tour card at any point in their career.  The 36 hole Father-Son Challenge will be played Dec. 15th and 16 at The Ritz-Carlton Club at Grand Lakes Resort in Orlando.

Sports Media Digest- March 15, 2012

Record Number Fill Out Btackets at ESPN.com- Nearly 6.45 million brackets were filled out as part of ESPN’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Challenge.  That’s a 8.9% increase over last year’s record of 5.9 million brackets. Those who took part selected Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio State and North Carolina more than any others to reach the Final Four. Of those 35% picked Kentucky to win it all.

NBC Sports to Present Seven Notre Dame Football Telecasts in 2012-  When the college football season begins this fall, seven Notre Dame home games will be telecast on NBC.  NBC Sports Netowrk will also provide coverage of the Blue-Gold Spring Game on April 21st.  Here is the schedule of Notre Dame football on NBC (all times ET): Apr. 21 Blue-Gold Spring Game 1:30 p.m. NBC Sports Network, Sept. 8 PURDUE 3:30 p.m. NBC, Sept. 22 MICHIGAN 7:30 p.m. NBC, Oct. 6 MIAMI (Soldier Field) 7:30 p.m. NBC, Oct. 13 STANFORD 3:30 p.m. NBC, Oct. 20 BYU 3:30 p.m. NBC, Nov. 3 PITTSBURGH 3:30 p.m. NBC, Nov. 17 WAKE FOREST 3:30 p.m. NBC.

Friday NBA Double Header on ESPN-  ESPN will again provide a NBA double header this Friday.  The opener tips-off at at 7:oop.m. ET with Mike Tirico, Doris Burke and Lisa Salters calling the Miami Heat at the Philadelphia 76’ers. The San Antonio Spurs will travel to the Oklahoma City Thunder at 9:30p.m. ET with Dan Shulman and Chris Mullin on the call.

Fantasy Baseball Preview Tonight on ESPN-  As part of it’s new season of fantasy baseball at ESPN.com, ESPN will telecast the Baseball Toningt Fantasy Draft Show.  The program airs tonight at 9:30p.m. on ESPN. Steve Berthiaume will host, and will be joined by ESPN.com senior fantasy analyst Matthew Berry, MLB Insiders Buster Olney, Keith Law and Eric Karabell, baseball analyst Chris Singleton, and injury expert Stephania Bell.

Fox Preps for Next NASCAR Sprint Cup Event-  Fox will be televising this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race from the Bristol Motor Speedway.  The Ford City 500 begins at 12:30p.m. ET.  Chris Myers will anhcor the pre-race show along with Darrell and Michael Waltrip.  Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip, and Larry McReynolds will call the race.

Formula One Racing on SiriusXM Radio-  SiriusXM Radio will be the satellite radio home of every 2012 FIA Formula One World Championship race.  Coverage on Sirius channel 94 and XM channel 208 begins this weekend with the Formula 1 Qantas Australian Grand Prix, which will air Sunday, March 18 at 2:00 am ET.

ESPN Set for WNBA Finals

ESPN has announced the schedule for the WNBA Finals, featuring the Atlanta Dream and Minnesota Lynx, which begins on Sunday, October 2nd.

Pam Ward will serve as play-by-play voice for game one of the best-of-five series, joined by analysts Rebecca Lobo and reporter Heather Cox.  Terry Gannon will take over on play-by-play beginning with game two.

Cindy Brunson will serve as host of ESPN’s WNBA Finals studio program, joined by analyst Carolyn Peck.

Complete coverage will also be available on ESPN.com and espnW.

Here is the full WNBA Finals schedule:

Date Time (ET) Game Network
Sun, Oct 2 8:30 p.m. WNBA Finals – Game 1:

No. 3 seed Atlanta at No. 1 seed Minnesota
Pam Ward, Rebecca Lobo & Heather Cox
ESPN/ESPN3
Wed, Oct 5 8 p.m. WNBA Finals – Game 2:

No. 3 seed Atlanta at No. 1 seed Minnesota
Terry Gannon, Rebecca Lobo & Heather Cox
ESPN2/ESPN3
Fri, Oct 7 8 p.m. WNBA Finals – Game 3:

No. 1 seed Minnesota at No. 3 seed Atlanta
Terry Gannon, Rebecca Lobo & Heather Cox
ESPN2/ESPN3
Sun, Oct 9 4 p.m. *WNBA Finals – Game 4:

No. 1 seed Minnesota at No. 3 seed Atlanta
Terry Gannon, Rebecca Lobo & Heather Cox
ESPN2/ESPN3
Wed, Oct 12 8 p.m. *WNBA Finals – Game 5:

No. 3 seed Atlanta at No. 1 seed Minnesota
Terry Gannon, Rebecca Lobo & Heather Cox
ESPN2/ESPN3

Sports Media Weekly Podcast Special Edition- Kenny Mayne

Sports Media WeeklyWe have a special edition of the Sports Media Weekly Podcast for you today.

Ken Fang of Fang’s Bites joins me as we sit down for an interview with ESPN’s Kenny Mayne.

We spend our time talking with Kenny about his early football career, his rise through the ranks of the ESPN family of networks, and his current role of being the host of offbeat features and the star of the ESPN.com webisode Mayne Street.

Ken and I will be back later in the week for our regularly scheduled podcast.

MNF Again Records Monster Ratings

For the third consecutive week, Monday Night Football on ESPN has recorded impressive ratings numbers.

The 11.5 rating for Monday’s 21-7 Cowboys win over the Panthers makes the game the highest viewed cable television program for 2009.

Through three weeks (four games) of the NFL season, ESPN’s MNF is
averaging a 10.4 rating.

There is also good news when it comes to those checking NFL content on ESPN.com.  Over 102 million page views took place online at the WWL from Monday through Tuesday at noon.

Can ESPN expect the MNF trend to continue?  This Monday is Packers/Vikings with Brett Favre playing his former team for the first time.  You tell me.

Via ESPN PR

ESPN.com Takes Home Webbies

webby_logoSome say the Webbies are the Academy Awards for websites.  Then the red carpet must be out because the winners of the 2009 edition of the awards have been announced.

The only category we care about is the winner in the Sports Category.  And to no one’s surprise ESPN takes home the prize.   They won the backing of both the judges and the web community who took part in the voting.  Other nominees included ESPN Euro 2008, Lacoste Future, NBC Olympics.com, and NHL.com.

The WWL’s mobile application also took the Webby in the Sports Category of that competition.

You can find all the 2009 Webby winners here.  Some of these sites are really amazing.  Now you can begin wasting the rest of your day.