SBD/Issue 204/Sports Media

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  • Ebersol Believes USOC's Plans For TV Net Could Hurt Chicago Bid

    Ebersol Feels Possibility Of USOC
    Network Jeopardizes Chicago's Bid
    NBC Sports & Olympics Chair Dick Ebersol criticized the USOC's new Olympic TV network, blaming the organization for "jeopardizing Chicago's chances to win the 2016 Summer Olympics," according to Philip Hersh of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. IOC officials last week also expressed frustration with the USOC's announcement of the network, and Ebersol said the "only thing that can cost Chicago the Games is continuing squabbles between the two parties." Ebersol: "This one clearly is all on the USOC, no two ways about it. ... Chicago has the best American bid I have ever seen. It is heartbreaking to see the continuing USOC-IOC squabbles get in the middle of it." But when asked whether the latest tension between the two organizations "doomed Chicago's bid," Ebersol said, "Absolutely not." Ebersol added Chicago needs to "make sure the IOC knows they were blind-sided just like the IOC was and that they will do their best as intermediaries to bring peace to the valley." Ebersol, who confirmed he was "aware of the IOC's position, denied he or NBC had any role in making the dispute public." He said, "I don't want to diminish the USOC. I have no intent of doing anything other than hoping the parties will get together as soon as possible and work this out" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 7/12). CRAIN's CHICAGO BUSINESS' Ed Sherman writes, "Ebersol has been dealing with the [IOC] for more than 20 years. If anyone knows how the IOC works, it is him" (, 7/13).

    LET'S TALK IT OVER: A USOC official said that plans are "being made for talks" between the IOC and USOC, though there is "no word on when meetings might be scheduled to resolve the differences." However, IOC Marketing Commission Chair Gerhard Heiberg said that the U.S. Olympic Network "can be a plus for the U.S." Heiberg: "They have been talking about this for a long time and finally they launch it. I hope and think it will be a positive thing for the U.S. It will draw a lot of attention to the Olympic Games and Olympic sports." Heiberg added that he "does not believe the Olympic TV channel could spell trouble for the Chicago 2016 bid." Heiberg: "I don't think it will have an impact on the voting of IOC members. If it should, it might even be positive. ... The U.S. is putting more emphasis on Olympic sports." IOC member Gunilla Lindberg added, "It is always good to keep the profile up every year for the Olympic Games and the Olympic Movement" (, 7/10). DAILY VARIETY's Cynthia Littleton noted the "question of whether the IOC can block the USOC from moving forward with the channel remains up in the air" (, 7/12).

    STAYING THE COURSE: The AP's Eddie Pells reported NBC "plans on bidding for rights to televise the 2014 and 2016 Olympics" despite the new network. NBC Sports Senior Dir of Communications Brian Walker yesterday said that "nothing had changed in the network's intentions to bid for the games." The IOC is likely to postpone bidding for the two Games "until after the 2016 Games are awarded in October." NBC has televised every Olympic Games since '00 (AP, 7/12).

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  • Obama Reportedly To Appear On Fox' All-Star Game Coverage

    Obama Scheduled To Throw Out First
    Pitch At Tomorrow's All-Star Game
    President Obama will join Fox play-by-play announcer Joe Buck and analyst Tim McCarver during the net's coverage of tomorrow's MLB All-Star Game, according to sources cited by Richard Deitsch of The White House had been "considering Fox Sports' request to interview the President during the game," and Obama is "expected to be in the booth sometime between the third and fifth inning." Obama also is scheduled to throw out the first pitch at tomorrow's game. Deitsch noted ESPN, which will cover the Home Run Derby tonight, has "also put in a request to interview Obama." ESPN Manager of Communications Nate Smeltz: "We're waiting to hear back on his availability" (, 7/12). Fox Sports President Ed Goren said he is "confident" that Obama will be "in the booth sometime during the game." Goren: "That would be wonderful." USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand notes Fox is "likely to get the president during the second or third inning," and is "pretty much open to anything else the First Fan is willing to do on-air." Prior to the game, Busch Stadium and Fox's TV compound will be "cleared so it can be swept by security" (USA TODAY, 7/13). Goren said that Obama's presence "could cause some logistical maneuvering for the network but that viewers shouldn't notice." Goren: "There may be some limitations as to camera movement. It certainly involves a lot more communication. But it's not a big deal. It will be seamless to the viewer certainly." In St. Louis, Dan Caesar noted Fox "plans no cutbacks" from its telecast of last year's All-Star Game (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 7/10).

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  • Media Notes

    YAHOO SPORTS' Brian Murphy writes golfer Cristie Kerr was the "unfortunate target" of NBC's Johnny Miller during the net's coverage of the U.S. Women's Open yesterday. Kerr entered the final round leading by two shots but lost the tournament by two shots to Eun Hee Ji. Miller opened yesterday's coverage by citing Kerr's "failure to hang on at Nabisco this spring." When Kerr made bogey on the 13th hole to "fritter away her lead, Miller offered up a casual, 'She's falling apart a little, just like Nabisco.'" Murphy: "The traditions of summertime: burgers on the grill, vacations to the lake, and Johnny Miller eviscerating a player & or several -- at our national championship" (, 7/13).

    OPEN WIDE: In London, Jeory & Borland reported the BBC is dispatching a "420-strong army to cover The Open golf championship in Scotland this week." But "not one member of staff, including the main presenter Gary Lineker and commentator Peter Allis, will be put up in hotels." Instead, they are "being herded into university halls and shared rented houses." Jeory & Borland: "Perhaps shamed after lavish expenses bills were exposed this month, no senior executives are planning to attend" (London SUNDAY EXPRESS, 7/12). Meanwhile, in N.Y., Phil Musnick notes ABC/TNT's British Open coverage "will in most part be taken from the international feed, thus those tuning in to watch only Tiger Woods play will be disappointed." The event also "will not be seen in the States in HD" (N.Y. POST, 7/13).

    TV TALKS: ACC Commissioner John Swofford said that negotiations for a new TV contract "could begin soon, though he declined to set a specific timetable." Swofford also "hasn't ruled out the possibility of the ACC launching its own TV network, similar to the Big Ten's Big Ten Network." Swofford: "I think everything is on the table" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 7/13).

    LINEUP CHANGE: PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Mike Florio cited a source as saying that the Boston Herald's John Tomase is "off the Patriots' beat." Ian Rapoport, who has covered the Univ. of Alabama for the Birmingham News, "will take the lead position, with Karen Guregian serving as backup." Tomase "still will be working for the Herald, covering the Red Sox" (, 7/12). Rapoport wrote, "Moving to Boston, with such a large media market, in the city where I was born, to cover an NFL team ... it's an opportunity I could not pass up" (, 7/10).

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