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Magic-Lakers Draws Most Finals
Game Two Viewers Since '04
VOICE OF REASON: In L.A., Diane Pucin writes under the header, "Jeff Van Gundy Gives Fans Little To Criticize." Van Gundy, whose brother Stan coaches the Magic, said that during Sunday's broadcast on ABC, he "probably wasn't as vocal about criticizing some officials' calls he thought went the Lakers' way." Near the end of the first quarter of Game Two when a blocking foul was called on Magic C Dwight Howard, ABC analyst Mark Jackson "immediately said it was a bad call and waited for Van Gundy's response." However, there was an "uncomfortable silence, as if Van Gundy were biting his tongue," which he "admits he was." Van Gundy said, "I'm doing my best. But it's hard. I haven't hid it, I won't hide it now. He's my brother. This is the biggest moment of his life. I want him to win. So it's hard. Do I find myself pulling my punches? Probably. Do I think twice before I make a criticism about the Lakers? Absolutely. But, hey, how much could they have been criticized so far? Not much" (L.A. TIMES, 6/9). On Long Island, Neil Best writes through the first two games, Jeff Van Gundy's "sibling allegiance to the Magic's coach has not been evident." But even so, it is "asking a lot of viewers to listen without wondering how his opinions are informed and/or influenced by his relationship" with his brother. Best: "It's a phenomenon both interesting and distracting" (NEWSDAY, 6/9).
IF A BASKET IS SCORED ... : SI.com's Richard Deitsch noted with 24.4 seconds remaining in the second quarter of Game Two, ABC cameras "inexplicably ... focused on Magic forward Rashard Lewis heading to the bench" as Lakers F Pau Gasol made a basket. It was the "final basket of the first half, but we never saw it" (SI.com, 6/8).
Red Wings Have Shown Away Playoff Games
At Joe Louis Arena For More Than A Decade
FALLING RATINGS IN CANADA: Penguins-Red Wings Game Five on Saturday averaged 1.612 million viewers on the CBC, marking the "lowest-rated game of the series, and a sharp drop from the 1.929 million viewers" who watched Game Four Thursday on the net. The CBC's broadcast of Game Five in '08, which went to triple overtime, attracted 2.708 million viewers (CP, 6/8). In Toronto, Chris Zelkovich wrote the Finals are "turning out to be a bit of a ratings dog for CBC, with audiences down 15[%] after the first five games," and if the series ends tonight, this "could be one of the least-watched Stanley Cup finals in years." CBC Sports' Scott Moore: "We're slightly mystified and slightly disappointed. Maybe it's a case of been there, done that and Saturday's blowout certainly didn't help. But beyond that we're not really sure what's happening." Moore added that "despite the decrease, the network was meeting its ratings commitment to advertisers." He added that he does not believe the "fact the series started on NBC this year, as opposed to CBC having exclusive rights for Games 1 and 2 in 2008, played any role." Moore noted that the "vast majority of Canadians watch their hockey on Canadian channels." Moore: "NBC really isn't a factor" (THESTAR.com, 6/8).
GET YOUR CLICKER READY: On Long Island, Neil Best writes the "biggest shame" of tonight's sports TV offerings is the "conflict between the NBA and NHL Finals." Best: "Why did the NHL wait three days between Games 5 and 6, with another three-day gap to come if there is a seventh game?" Best writes his "educated guess is that NBC prefers to show low-rated NHL games on Fridays and Saturdays, which are low-priority nights, rather than giving up a midweek night," and by "spreading out the last three games from Saturday to Tuesday to Friday, NBC dedicates only one non-weekend prime time to hockey" (NEWSDAY, 6/9). In Rochester, Bob Matthews writes, “Obviously, the NHL and NBC should’ve done the logical thing and scheduled Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals for Monday. It would’ve had a captive sports audience with the Game 3 of the NBA Finals scheduled for tonight” (ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE, 6/9).
Premier League Clubs In England, Scotland
Awaiting Millions Of Pounds From Setanta
DEFAULTING ON CONTRACTS: Sources said that Setanta "could be placed into administration later this week if new funding could not be secured for the business," and such a move would "threaten 430 jobs, including about 200 in Ireland." In Ireland, Ciaran Hancock notes Setanta "has recently tried to renegotiate" its sports rights contracts, "in some cases seeking to shave 25[%] off the costs." Setanta also owns rights to the Scottish Premier League (SPL), but the company yesterday "missed another" US$4.8M payment to the SPL, putting Setanta "in default of its contract with the SPL, which only recently agreed to a new four-year deal with Setanta for live rights to Scottish soccer." Setanta also is due to pay about US$55.6M to the EPL "later this month as part-payment for its live rights" (IRISH TIMES, 6/9).
Ripples From Disappearance Of
Setanta Would Spread Broadly
EVENTS LIST A TAX ON SPORT? In Manchester, Mark Sweney reports BSkyB has "attacked the government's review of the so-called 'crown jewels' sporting events reserved for free-to-air television, arguing the policy acts as a 'tax on sport' that subsidises terrestrial broadcasters." BSkyB also argues that the policy "reduces competition for media rights," and the broadcaster believes that sports governing bodies "should be allowed to make their own decisions to maximise the value of their TV rights, free of political interference." BSkyB in a filing with the U.K. Department of Culture, Media & Sport said, "Listing an event against the wishes of a sports body means that it becomes a forced seller of its rights and denies it the ability to get a fail deal from its chosen broadcast partners." BSkyB CEO Jeremy Darroch today "staunchly defended BSkyB's position" in the debate over cricket's potential inclusion on the list, saying that terrestrial broadcasters "have no appetite for providing the extensive coverage that it offers and which is needed to build the profile" of the sport (GUARDIAN.co.uk, 6/9).
Twitter Will Start Testing Verification Service
This Summer For Public Officials, Celebrities
PLAYERS AT RISK: In Philadelphia, Ashley Fox writes it is "simple to pretend to be an athlete -- all you need is a valid e-mail address to sign up for a Twitter account." And while impersonating someone is a violation of the site's terms of service, that "doesn't appear to be much of a deterrent." Twitter has "burst on the scene so quickly that none of the four major pro sports leagues has rules prohibiting athletes from participating," but the NFL is "concerned about Twitter's reach and scope." NFL security officials following April's draft "made their annual presentation to the players on all 32 teams," and this year the presentation covered "online impersonations through social-networking sites, including Twitter, and online gambling." In a 12-minute video as part of the presentation, the league "warned against cyberstalking." Fox notes the "rapid dissemination of information, including false information, could have problematic consequences once the NFL season begins" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 6/9). In Denver, Dave Krieger writes the downside of Twitter is that "it's the Wild West out there," as "anybody can pretend to be anybody and say anything." A user registered under the name cbillups7 drew "more than 2,000 followers by identifying himself as Chauncey Billups and his location as 'Mile High.'" However, the only Nuggets players "actually on Twitter, as far as the club knows," are Gs J.R. Smith, Dahntay Jones and Sonny Weems (DENVER POST, 6/9).
NO SETTLEMENT: Twitter's Stone, in a blog post, wrote reports that Twitter "has settled a law suit and officially agreed to pay legal fees" to La Russa are "erroneous." Stone: "Twitter has not settled, nor do we plan to settle or pay. With due respect to the man and his notable work, Mr. La Russa's lawsuit was an unnecessary waste of judicial resources bordering on frivolous. Twitter's Terms of Service are fair and we believe will be upheld in a court that will ultimately dismiss Mr. La Russa's lawsuit" (BLOG.TWITTER.com, 6/6).
Click To Watch "Race Buddy" Signal
End To Fox' 13-Race Sprint Cup Schedule
Writer Says NBC Announcers, Camera
Operators Reacted Well To Court Stormer
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: In Oklahoma City, Mel Bracht reports NBA Draft prospect F Blake Griffin will be featured in the second season of ESPN's "The Rookie." The show will consist of "three webisodes on ESPN.com and a half-hour special June 30 on ESPNU and ESPN2." Producer Ron Wechsler said that the first "three- to five-minute webisode will debut Wednesday and focus on" the May 19 NBA Draft Lottery. Bracht notes the half-hour special on June 30 will "focus on the June 25 draft in which Griffin is expected to be taken No. 1" by the Clippers (DAILY OKLAHOMAN, 6/9).
WNBA NEWS & NOTES: The WNBA Chicago Sky and Comcast have "reached an agreement to broadcast five games this season" in Chicago on Comcast Channel 100, and have "formed a partnership to present additional Sky content via Comcast Digital On Demand, Channel 1." The on-demand content will include "additional games, team and player special features and game highlights." The Sky also announced a "new TV broadcast team," with Brent Stover serving as play-by-play announcer and Illinois Daily Herald columnist Patricia Babcock McGraw serving as analyst for the five games on Channel 100 (Illinois DAILY HERALD, 6/9)....The WNBA Seattle Storm and FSN Northwest have reached an agreement for the net to televise five Storm games this season (Storm).
NOTES: In Detroit, Tom Gage reports Tigers radio play-by-play announcer Dan Dickerson "wasn't cleared to travel with the team on its current 11-game trip" due to his "leg injury and subsequent surgery." As a result, Tigers analyst Jim Price and FS Detroit announcer John Keating will be in the radio booth for the road trip (DETROIT NEWS, 6/9)....ESPN Deportes Radio 1540 Dallas has obtained the rights to the Spanish-language broadcasts of MLS FC Dallas' 19 remaining regular-season games this season. The agreement began with Sunday's Earthquakes-FC Dallas game (ESPN Deportes).