Sports Media Digest- April 17, 2013

30 for 30 Short Features Bill Parcells First Year as Giants Coach–  The latest in a series of ESPN’s 30 for 30 film shorts is available for viewing on Grantland.  The Irrelevant Giant looks at Giants coach Bill Parcells in his rookie and the selection of Cal running back John Tuggle as the last player taken in the 1983 draft.

CBS Sports Network to Supplement Showtime’s Coverage of Mayweather/Guerrero-  The CBS Sports Network will provide over 10 hours of coverage surrounding Floyd Mayweather’s debut fight on Showtime against Robert Guerrero on Saturday, May 4th .  Among the coverage will be the official weigh-in on May 3rd and a replay of both fighter’s previous bouts.

ESPN to Provide Two Hour NFL Schedule Release Provide–  When the official 2013 NFL schedule is released tomorrow night, ESPN will produce a 2-hour special. SportsCenter Special: NFL Schedule Release airs at 8:00 p.m. ET on ESPN2. Trey Wingo will host with analysts Ron Jaworski, Bill Polian and Jason Taylor.

MLB Network to Televise Live Minor League Baseball-  The MLB Network today released a schedule of five minor league baseball games which will be telecast on the network.  The five game early-season slate is capped off by the Triple A All Star Game on July 17th.  Here is the schedule:

April 22 – Buffalo Bisons (Toronto) at Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Philadelphia), 10:30 a.m. ET
April 30 – Buffalo Bisons (Toronto) at Rochester Red Wings (Minnesota), 11:30 a.m. ET
May 13 – Toledo Mud Hens (Detroit) at Indianapolis Indians (Pittsburgh), 11:00 a.m. ET
June 11 – Columbus Clippers (Cleveland) at Gwinnett Braves (Atlanta), 12:00 p.m. ET
July 17 – Triple-A All-Star Game – International League at Pacific Coast League in Reno, NV, 9:00 p.m. ET

Sports Media Digest- March 27, 2013

1972 USA Basketball Team Focus of Next 30 for 30 Short–  The next ESPN 30 for 30 short is now available for viewing on Grantland and it looks at the 1972 Olympic gold medal basketball game between the USA and Russia.  Silver Reunion features a look back at the end of the controversial game through the eyes of all 12 members of the U.S. team.

MLS Coverage Saturday on NBC Sports Network–  The NBC Sports Network will continue its coverage of Major League Soccer (MLS) with a match this Saturday.  Arlo White, Kyle Martino, and Russ Thaler will have the call as New York Red Bull hosts the Philadelphia Union Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Boxing After Dark Returns to HBO- Boxing returns to HBO this weekend with its Boxing After Dark series.  Jim Lampley, Max Kellerman, and Roy Jones, Jr. are ringside for Brandon Rios vs. Mike Aalvarado II and Terence Crawford vs. Breidid Prescott beginning at 10:15p.m. ET.

Friday Night Fights on ESPN–  This week’s edition of Friday Night Nights on ESPN will feature Middleweight contender Brian “The Warrior” Vera and “Donatas Bondas” Donatas Bondorovas in the 10-round main event. Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas have the call with Todd Grisham as pre and post fight host.   Alex Pombo and Delvin Rodriguez will call this week’s fights for ESPN Deportes’ Viernes de Combates (Friday Night Fights) with Leopoldo Gonzalez and Pablo Viruega in the studio.

HBO Wins Peabody Award for Real Sports–  HBO Sports announced that Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel won a Peabody Award for its enterprise coverage during 2012.  HBO will receive the award at the Peabody Awards ceremony May 20th in New York.

PBA Tour This Weekend on ESPN–  ESPN will provide live coverage of the next stop of the Pro Bowlers Association (PBA) Tour and PBA League with coverage of the Barbasol PBA Tournament of Champions.  Lon McEachern and Randy Pedersen have the call Sunday at 2:30p.m. ET.

Sports Media Digest- February 13, 2013

Walt “Clyde” Frazier Focus of Next ESPN 30 for 30 Short–  The next ESPN 30 for 30 short looks at NBA Hall of Famer and Knicks broadcaster Walt “Clyde” Frazier, particularly his style and his rhyming couplets.  Disdain the Mundane can be seen now over at Grantland.

Duke Coach Krzyzewski to be Featured on CBSSN’s One2One–  The CBS Sports Network (CBSSN) will spotlight Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski during its production of One2One.  Alaa Abdelnaby will host the 30 minute program which airs next Tuesday, February 19th at 6:30p.m. ET.

Next Sirius XM Radio “Town Hall” will Feature Jeff Gordon and Rick Hendrick–  The next edition of Sirius XM Radio’s “Town Hall” series will feature a fan Q&A with NASCAR Champion Jeff Gordon and Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick.  The event will take place Thursday, February 21st from Daytona Motor Speedway and can be heard on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio (channel 90 on Sirius and XM Premier).   ESPN analyst and former NASCAR team owner Ray Evernham will moderate the discussion.

BTN to Provide Coverage of Seven Big Ten Conference Winter Sports Championships–  The Big Ten Network (BTN) announced its scheduled coverage of seven Big Ten Conference winter sports championships.  Action begins next week with Indoor Track and Women’s Swimming and Diving.  Here is the BTN schedule:




Air Date and Time (ET)

Indoor Track & Field

February 22 – 23

Geneva, OH

Saturday, March 2 at 12 PM

Women’s Swimming & Diving

February 20 – 23


Sunday, March 3 at 10:30 AM

Men’s Swimming & Diving

February 27 – March 2


Saturday, March 9 at 10 AM


March 9 – 10


Sunday, March 10 at 2:30 PM (LIVE)

Women’s Gymnastics

March 23

Michigan State

Saturday, March 23 at 1 PM (LIVE)

Saturday, March 23 at 6 PM (LIVE)

Men’s Gymnastics

April 5 – 6


Friday, April 5 at 8 PM (LIVE)

Saturday, April 6 at 8 PM (LIVE)

ESPN Sets Schedule for Next Round of 30 for 30 Documentaries

The next round of ESPN Films 30 for 30 documentary series will begin this fall.

The series kicks off with Broke on Tuesday, Oct. 2, at 8 p.m. on ESPN/ESPNHD and will air on consecutive Tuesday nights in October, concluding the 2012 run with one film airing in December after the Heisman Trophy Presentation. The 30 for 30 documentaries airing this fall are: Broke9.79*There’s No Place Like Home, Benji,Ghosts of Ole Miss, and You Don’t Know Bo.

Here is the full schedule:

  • Tuesday, Oct. 2, 8 p.m. – Broke (Billy Corben)
  • Tuesday, Oct. 9, 8 p.m.   9.79* (Daniel Gordon)
  • Tuesday, Oct. 16, 8 pm– There’s No Place Like Home (Maura Mandt and Josh Swade)
  • Tuesday, Oct. 23, 8 p.m. – Benji (Coodie and Chike)
  • Tuesday, Oct. 30, 8 p.m. – Ghosts of Ole Miss (Fritz Mitchell)
  • Saturday, Dec. 8, 9 p.m. –  You Don’t Know Bo (Michael Bonfiglio)

ESPN also announced that the 30 for 30 Shorts will begin showing on September 26th.

The first short will be Arnold’s Blueprint, which focuses on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s teenage years in the Austrian Army.

Here is a list and description of the other 30 for 30 Shorts planned for

The Arnold Palmer
 Barry Gordon
Summary: An exploration into the history, mystery and industry surrounding “The Arnold Palmer,” the lemonade-and-iced tea beverage that has become a piece of Americana.

Holy Grail: The T206 Honus Wagner
 Nick and Colin Barnacle
Summary: The T206 Honus Wagner baseball card is over 100 years old, worth more than 2 million dollars, and has a life story that is a marriage of myth and reality. Only a handful have ever come to market but the wealth and heartbreak created by this two-inch tall piece of paper is unimaginable. The T206 Honus Wagner: equal parts nightmare and fantasy.

The Other Side
Director: Vanessa Roth
Summary: When 18 children – nine from Palestine and nine from Israel – come together to form a kids soccer team, they come face-to-face with the other side for the first time in their lives. United by the common goals of teamwork and dedication to a shared purpose, they confront generations of fear head on. Is peace through sports really possible, or is it hopelessly naive to think that a handful of 12-year-old soccer players can begin to change their world?

Sports Media Digest- July 10, 2012

Bob Costas and Jerry Seinfeld Looks Back at Abbott & Costello’s Who’s on First The MLB Network’s Bob Costas will sit down with comedian Jerry Seinfeld to look back at the 60th Anniversary of the first television airing of Abbott & Costello’s legendary Who’s on First routine. Costas & Seinfeld: Who’s on First? features extensive footage of the routine that TIME Magazine named as the best comedy sketch of the 20thcentury, interspersed with comments from Seinfeld on his favorite moments and how “Who’s on First?” influenced him as a comedian, writer and baseball fan.  The program debuts Thursday at 7:00p.m. ET.

My Wish Returns to SportsCenter July 15th– For the seventh year ESPN’s SportsCenter will spotlight sports-themed wishes granted through the Make-A-Wish Foundation to children with life-threatening medical conditions.  The My Wish series debuts Sunday, July 15th on the 10:00a.m. ET edition of the program and will continue daily at 3:00p.m. through Friday, July 20th.  LeBron James, Mark Sanchez, DeShean Jackson, Kyle Busch, Rory McElroy, and Alexander Ovechkin will be the athletes featured on this season’s segments.

U.S. Senior Open Thursday and Friday on ESPN-  ESPN will once again have early round coverage of the U.S. Senior Open. First and second round coverage from Lake Orion, Mich begins at 3:00p.m. ET with Sean McDonough, Andy North and Curtis Strange.

Grantland Looks at the History Behind the Start of WFAN- Bill Simmons’ Grantland has an oral history at the genesis of WFAN, the first 24/7 sports radio station in the country.  Through interviews with 60 people who were, at one time or another, involved with WFAN, the 15,000-plus word story (from 100 hours of tape and a transcript of 1,250 pages) details, among other things: the rough start for the station; the boost given by Don Imus and the ascent and ultimately the separation of station icons, Mike Francesa and Chris Russo.

Sports Media Digest- March 7, 2012

ESPN Reports Most Watched College Men’s Hoops Season Ever-  ESPN reports that the 2011-2012 men’s college basketball season was the most watched ever.  After 130 regular-season games in 2011-12, ESPN posted a 1.1 rating, up 10 percent from last season’s 1.0.  Also, ESPN ended the season averaging 1,061,000 households for a one percent increase from 2010-11.  College hoops on ESPN2 was also up by 33%.  Online viewing of college basketball on ESPN3 and WatchESPN was up 56% over the 2010-2011 season.

Strong Viewership for Combine on NFL Network-  The NFL Network today announced that for the second year in a row, over 6.5 million viewers combined tuned in for coverage of the NFL Scouting Combine.  2012 saw 6.51 million viewers tune in while 6.55 million were connected in 2011.  Sunday’s session with quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers was the most watched single day ever for the combine, with 450,000 viewers tuning in.  Online viewership of the combine across multiple platforms was up 37% over last year.

Hockey Action on NBC Sports-  NBC Sports has a wide schedule of hockey coverage, both college and the NHL, over the next week. Coverage begins this Friday as UMASS is at #1 Boston College (John Walton and Ken Hodge on the call) beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN).  On Sunday at 12:30p.m. ET NBC has coverage of the Bruins at the Penguins (Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk and Pierre McGuire ).  That night at 8:00p.m. ET the Kings travel to the Blackhawks (Dave Strader and Brian Engblom) on NBCSN.  Monday at 9:00p.m. ET NBCSN has the Ducks at the Avalanche (John Ahlers and McGuire).  Tuesday has the Hurricanes at the Rangers (Strader and Engblom) at 7:30p.m. ET on NBCSN while that same network will carry the Avalanche at Sabres (Emrick, Olczyk, McGuire) Wednesday at 7:30p.m. ET.

Simmons Takes The B.S. Podcast to TV-  ESPN announced today that Grantland Editor in Chief Bill Simmons will be producing an episode of his B.S. Podcast for television, with guest Magic Johnson.  The B.S. Report Special: Magic Johnson  will air on Sunday, March 11th at 10:30 p.m. ET, immediately following the 9:00 p.m. premiere of The Announcement, an ESPN Films and NBA Entertainment production looking back at Johnson’s announcement of his HIV infection.

CBS Sports Network Expands Coverage of Lacrosse-  The CBS Sports Network today announced it will boost its coverage of lacrosse with the addition of the National Lacrosse League (NLL) and Major League Lacrosse (MLL), as well as an extensive slate of college games.  The network will air 39 games this season beginning on March 30th.  Bremt Stover will handle play-by with Casey and Mike Powell as analysts.

NBC Sports Moving Eight Hours of Live Tour de France Coverage from NBCSN to NBC-  The NBC Sports Group has announced that eight hours of live coverage of the Tour de France on July 7th and 8th will move from the NBC Sports Network to NBC.  Coverage of those two mountain stages will begin each day at 8:00a.m. ET.  This marks the first time that the Tour de France will be broadcast live on network television.  NBC will have tape delayed coverage of the Tour on July 1st and July 22nd.

Soccer Journalist Steve Davis Joins NBC Sports Digital-  The NBC Sports Group today announced that respected soccer journalist Steve Davis will be joining the NBC Sports Digital team and be the featured writer for ProSoccerTalk on, which officially launched today. Davis will contribute regular posts and provide video reports to, and is expected to be an occasional guest onNBC SportsTalk, the daily hour-long news and information show the new NBC Sports Network.

Robles Joins ESPN and NCAA Wrestling Analyst-  ESPN today announced that it has hired three-time All-American and the 2011 NCAA Wrestling Champion Anthony Robles to serve as a wrestling analyst.  ESPN3 and ESPNU will provide coverage of the NCAA Wrestling Championships beginning March 15th.

Sports Media Digest- March 1, 2012

James Brown Joins CBS News as Special Coorespondent-  CBS announced today that James Brown has been named a Special Coorespondent for CBS News.  Brown begins his expanded dutings this Saturday on CBS This Morning Saturday and will contribute original reported pieces and will appear on various CBS News broadcasts.  Brwon will continue in his role as host of The NFL Today pre-game show.

Keller Joins ESPN as Soccer Analyst-  ESPN today announced that former U.S. National goalkeeper Kasey Keller is joining the network as a soccer analyst. Keller will make his debut March 12th and will primarily serve as a studio analyst for select MLS and U.S. Men’s National Team matches, and be part of ESPN’s presentation of the UEFA European Football Championship™ 2012 from June 8 – July 1.

President Obama Joins Simmons for B.S. Report–  ESPN has announced that President Barak Obama is the next guest on Bill Simmons’ B.S. Report podcast on Grantland.  The President spent 25 minutes with Simmons.  You can see clips and download the podcast here.

College, NHL Hockey Action This On NBC-  NBC Sports will carry both college and NHL hockey through the middle of next week.  College hockey takes center stage tomorrow night as #9 Denver takes on Nebraska-Omaha at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN).  Two NHL games take place Sunday with Boston at New York Rangers at 12:30 p.m.ET on NBC then Philadelphia at Washington at 7:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Monday has Buffalo at Winnipeg at 8:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN.   Tuesday brings Minnesota at Colorado at 9:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN while Toronto will be at Pittsburgh beginnint at 7:30 p.m. ET also on NBCSN.

 2012 NBA TV Mid-Season Report Tonight on NBA TV- NBA TV will produce its 2012 Mid-Season Report tonight at 6:00p.m. ET.  David Aldridge will host the program along with analyst Steve Smith and’s Steve Aschburner in studio.  Guest analysts include Ken Berger from and Howard Beck from the New York Times.

NBC Sports and the Golf Channel Provide Innovative View of Honda Classic-  This week’s PGA Tour stop, the Honda Classic, will air on the Golf Channel and NBC.  NBC wil have traditional coverage of the tournament Saturday and Sunday at 3:00p.m. ET.  The Golf Channel will be simultaneously live, but be providing coverage of only the 15th, 16th, and 17th holes at the PGA National Resort Championship Course dubbed “The Bear Trap” after designer Jack Nicklaus. On-air commentators will for the Golf Channel will include Gary Williams calling the action at the 15th and 17th holes, Jerry Foltz at 16

Path to the Draft Returns to NFL Network-  The sixth season of the NFL Network’s pre-draft series Path to the Draft will debut on Monday, March 5th, at 6:00p.m.ET.  The program will run Monday through Friday until the NFL Draft on April 26th.   Paul Burmeister and Fran Charles will serve as hosts.  Mike Mayock will be the lead analyst, providing news reports, one-on-one interviews, in-studio guests, player rankings and profile features, exclusive mock drafts and analysis on if a prospect’s stock is rising or falling.

NBC Sports to Air America’s Cup Races in 2013-  The NBC Sports Group has announced that it will televise the 34th America’s Cup races in September 2013.  The first two days of live racing from San Francisco will be broadcast over-the-air across the United States on September 7-8, 2013 on NBC, with the remaining races airing on NBC Sports Network.

Gymnastics on NBC and Universal Sports this Weekend- NBC Sports and Universal Sports Network will provide live, exclusive coverage of the year’s first international gymnastics competition, the 2012 AT&T American Cup. Coverage begins this Saturday on Universal Sports Network at 11:30 a.m. ET and continuing on NBC at 1:00 p.m. ET.  Universal will also have coverage of the Nastia Liukin Cup beginning Friday at 7:30p.m. ET

Sports Media Weekly Podcast No. 54- Lisa Horne, Fox

Sports Media WeeklyBecause I am away on business we were not going to produce a podcast this week. But because there is so much happening, we decided to produce a show as scheduled.

Ken Fang at Fang’s Bites and I begin our discussion with the news that Michele Tafoya left her sideline reporting role for Monday Night Football on ESPN to the same position on Sunday Night Football on NBC.  We also discuss what the future holds for former SNF sideline reporter Andrea Kremer.

We also spend time reviewing this week’s winners at the 32nd Annual Sports Emmy Awards presentation.

Ken and I recap coverage by ESPN and the NFL Network of the NFL Draft and a look ahead at Bill Simmons’ new online venture Grantland.

The other top story of the week was the announcement that the Pac 12 has agreed to a new television agreement with ESPN and Fox Sports.  Lisa Horne, college football writer at joins us to talk of the implications of the new deal, which goes into effect in 2012.

Cast of Journalism Stars Tapped to Write for Simmons’ Grantland

The new ESPN-driven website for Bill Simmons has a name, and a staff to go along with it.

The new site, which has been in the works by Simmons and the WWL for quite some time, will be called Grantland, named after legendary sportswriter Grantland Rice.

Simmons will be the Editor-in-Chief, overseeing a staff of editors and writers in what is being billed as a sports and pop culture website.  Former GQ and Entertainment Weekly Senior Editor Dan Fierman will be the lead editor on the site.

Among the consulting editors will be Chuck Klosterman, Malcom Gladwell, and Dave Eggers.  Here are some of the feature writers..

  • Michael Weinreb, author of the much-acclaimed books Bigger Than the Game and Game of Kings, as well as a feature writer for’s E-Ticket and GQ;
  • Katie Baker, a contributor to the New York Times Magazine, Deadspin, Gawker, and, who worked for Goldman Sachs for six years before deciding to write full-time;
  • Molly Lambert, a popular blogger and most recently the managing editor of This Recording;
  • Chris Ryan, who has written about soccer for GQThe Village Voice, and the Wall Street Journal;
  • Robert Mays III, an award-winning feature writer, who most recently worked at the Boston Globe;
  • Bill Barnwell, managing editor of Football Outsider and a statistical consultant for Major League Baseball, who has written for The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal, and ESPN The Magazine.
  • Patrice Evans, creator of The Assimilated Negro (TAN) blog and author of the forthcoming book Negropedia. He has contributed to The New York Times, Gawker, and other major outlets.

Simmons from the ESPN press release:

“I grew up loving The NationalSpy Magazine and Inside Sports,” said Simmons, who authored the No. 1 New York Times bestseller, The Book of Basketball, and was a co-creator of ESPN’s Peabody Award winning series 30 for 30. “Those three publications meant an inordinate amount to me, and I’m hoping that people will feel the same about this site.

“As we planned it over the last 18 months, my No. 1 goal was to figure out how to capture the spirit and creativity of 30 for 30 and transfer it to a website. We wanted original voices, and we found a bunch of them already. We’re going to take chances, come up with a few premises and ideas that you haven’t seen before, and be consistently entertaining day after day. You will never know what to expect when you come to the site – in a good way. That’s our ultimate goal.”

I have always been neutral about Simmons’ work, while others have strong opinions.  Being and old school journalist I love the name and await the site’s launch.