SBD/Issue 222/Sports Media

Media Notes

ESPN Ringing Up Viewers With “The Contender”

A source said that Warriors TV announcer Bob Fitzgerald will replace Basketball HOFer Rick Barry on KNBR-AM’s 12:00-3:00pm PT show. Barry, who had co-hosted the show with Rod Brooks for 1-1/2 years, parted ways with the station yesterday. KNBR Program Dir Lee Hammer said, “His contract is over, and we mutually decided it would be best to part ways.” Barry “stress[ed] that he was not fired, and that his situation had no hint of the tumult felt at KNBR,” including the firing of Larry Krueger last year (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 8/15).

SOMETIMES A FANTASY: An L.A. TIMES editorial stated the ruling that fantasy baseball Web sites do not need an MLB license to use players’ names or statistics “struck a welcome note of restraint against baseball’s expansive interpretation of its rights. ... There’s nothing wrong with team owners running a fantasy league. ... What’s wrong is the league’s attempt to control the news from the playing field” (L.A. TIMES, 8/12). In California, Rick Hurd wrote of the ruling, “Greed is the brain, heart and soul behind just about everything baseball does. And though this does not make the sport unique in any way, it continues to amaze with the depths it’ll sink to exploit the customer. ... Thankfully, some sanity still exists” (C.C. TIMES, 8/13).

NOTES: The two-hour debut of ESPN’s “The Contender” on July 18 drew 1.256 million viewers, but that number “has risen in each of the three subsequent weeks.” Of the 1.88 million viewers last Tuesday, 70% were in the 18-49 demo (DAILY VARIETY, 8/15)....Sources said that the Canucks have reached a deal with Rogers Sportsnet that will include 42-45 games this season. The renewal “was delayed by the club’s new ownership, which may have overvalued the rights” (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 8/15).

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