SBD/Issue 234/Sports Media

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  • ESPN Planning Limited Showing Of USC-Ohio State Game In 3-D

    ESPN Will Show USC-Ohio State
    Game In 3-D In Limited Locations
    ESPN today is expected to announce that the September 12 USC-Ohio State football game "will have a limited showing in 3-D," according to Diane Pucin of the L.A. TIMES. The 3-D version "will be available at the Galen Center in Los Angeles and the ESPN Zone at LA Live as well as at a single theater in Columbus, Ohio; Hartford, Conn. (for ESPN invitees) and Hurst, Texas." ESPN VP/Emerging Technology Anthony Bailey said that Hurst was chosen because ESPN "would like to see how a 3-D broadcast would do in a place unaffiliated with either team playing." Bailey said that the USC Alumni Association "will control tickets for the Galen Center showing." Fans at the ESPN Zone in L.A. "will be randomly invited to an upstairs room where the game will be available in 3-D." There will be "no tickets for sale for any of the viewing sites." Bailey: "The goal of the production is to learn more." Bailey also said that ESPN "would be using its own camera crews and production trucks and will have a separate announcing crew -- Mark Jones and Bob Davie will call the 3-D telecast while Brent Musburger, Kirk Herbstreit and reporter Lisa Salters will do the regular ESPN telecast" (L.A. TIMES, 8/24).

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  • Start-Up Fanbase.com An Almanac Of Every Pro, College Sports Team

     
    A new Web site called Fanbase is “creating an almanac of every professional and college athlete and team, no matter how obscure,” according to Brad Stone of the N.Y. TIMES. The company and its investors, including Epinions.com Founder Nirav Tolia, are betting sports fans and former athletes “will want to review and update Web pages devoted to their thrilling victories and bitter defeats.” The site is backed with $5M from venture capitalists, and it contains “varying amounts of information, like rosters and game scores, on 21,000 teams and 1.73 million athletes.” Much of the Web site's information has been found by "digitizing thousands of team media guides over the last year," and the site's founders hope that current and former athletes and fans "will visit the site and upload commentary and correct inaccuracies, just as enthusiasts provide much of the information in Wikipedia.” Fanbase “plans to expand over the next few months to include individual sports like golf, skiing and tennis," and eventually wants to add “pages for high school teams.” The company “plans to make money be attracting a large audience and then selling advertising, and by letting users create and sell merchandise like customized team T-shirts” (N.Y. TIMES, 8/24).

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  • PGA Tour Launching iPhone App Around Playoffs For FedEx Cup

    The PGA Tour has launched its first iPhone application around the start of the Playoffs for the FedEx Cup, which start this Thursday. The free application, sponsored by Nike Golf, offers live leaderboards, tee times, course breakdowns, video clips, player profiles and stats and Shot Tracker, the play-by-play function formerly called ShotLink that’s available at PGATour.com. The application will also have live, streaming video for events with Live@ coverage on PGATour.com, which offers live coverage of one or two holes. The application was developed by July Systems in concert with Turner Sports and the PGA Tour. Following the playoffs, the application will have coverage for every event on the PGA Tour schedule.

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  • People & Personalities: Collinsworth Set To Step Into "SNF" Booth

    NBC Reportedly Always Planned To
    Put Collinsworth (r) On "SNF"
    SI.com's Richard Deitsch reports NBC execs had "always planned to replace" retired broadcaster John Madden with Cris Collinsworth, who co-hosted the net's "Football Night In America" from '06-08. But the timetable "got moved up dramatically when Madden announced in April that he was leaving NBC's broadcast booth." Deitsch writes Collinsworth and NBC play-by-play announcer Al Michaels "blended well" during the net's August 9 Bills-Titans HOF Game telecast. Collinsworth: "I may never be as good as John Madden, but it doesn't mean I can't do a good job in my own right and that's all I am trying to do." But Deitsch notes "one major difference between Collinsworth and Madden is that Collinsworth will editorialize in the booth far more than his predecessor." Collinsworth: "I offend people. I know that. There are a lot of people who don't like a football analyst on the games doing that. They just want a straight calling the game and there are a lot of places that they can hear that. But that's not what I do" (SI.com, 8/24).

    CHANGES FOR THE GOOD: In Buffalo, Alan Pergament wrote ESPN "MNF" analyst Jon Gruden "sounds like he has the potential to be the new generation's version of John Madden." Gruden "has been impressive" during the net's coverage of preseason games, as he is "knowledgeable, enthusiastic, funny and a bit of a teacher" (BUFFALO NEWS, 8/22). Meanwhile, in Denver, Dusty Saunders writes NBC "FNIA" analyst Tony Dungy "could be the most interesting of all the new football 'experts' working for the networks this fall." Dungy "often presents a thoughtful demeanor -- a change from the quick, shoot-from-the-hip style of many former coaches and players" (DENVER POST, 8/24).

    GLAD TO BE BACK: In Boston, Adam Kilgore noted NESN Red Sox analyst Jerry Remy, "for the first time since April, when the exhaustion of recovering from an infection owing to complications following his lung cancer surgery forced him from his duties," worked Friday's Yankees-Red Sox game for the net. Remy: "I just want to get back doing what I enjoy doing. That's baseball." Kilgore noted Remy "intends to call every home game that NESN broadcasts." The Red Sox have two road trips remaining, and Remy "will likely not work those games" (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/22).

    Keegan Signs As ESPN's
    Lead Premier League Analyst
    LINE CHANGES: The DENVER POST's Saunders reports in what "some believe is a cost-cutting measure," Altitude Sports & Entertainment Avalanche radio play-by-play announcer Norm Jones "is out" and radio analyst Marc Moser will handle play-by-play and color responsibilities. Jones, who has covered hockey in Denver for more than 35 years, is "expected to stay with the Altitude organization in some capacity" (DENVER POST, 8/24). Meanwhiel, the GLOBE & MAIL's Bruce Dowbiggin reported Sirius XM "NHL Home Ice" host Gary Green is "stepping down from full-time hosting" of the show. Green said that his stadium-arena architecture company, BBB Architects, "demands more full-time attention," but added that he will "continue with his NHL Network TV gig and some Home Ice appearances" (GLOBESPORTS.com, 8/23).

    COMING ONSIDES: In Manchester, Mark Sweney reports ESPN has signed former English soccer club Newcastle United manager Kevin Keegan as "lead analyst for its Premier League football coverage this season." Keegan will appear alongside studio host Ray Stubbs. ESPN also has signed Russia men's national soccer team coach Guus Hiddink "for an unconfirmed number of Premier League games this season" (GUARDIAN.co.uk, 8/24).

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  • Media Notes

    Lewis (l), HBO's "Boxing After Dark" Praised
    As Most Compelling Sports-Event Coverage
    In St. Petersburg, Tom Jones wrote HBO's "Boxing After Dark" remains the "most compelling sports-event coverage on television," as "no coverage offers more access or better analysis." Saturday's broadcast crew featured Bob Papa, Max Kellerman and Lennox Lewis, and they "had their usual outstanding night" (TAMPABAY.com, 8/23). Meanwhile, YAHOO SPORTS' Kevin Iole writes HBO has "tied its future" to Golden Boy Promotions, the "No. 2 promoter in the sport behind Top Rank, which has a deeper and more promotable stable." Golden Boy, "whether or not it has television-worthy bouts, has several years' worth of dates" on HBO, which means viewers are "not getting the best boxing available on HBO." Iole: "You're getting the best boxing Golden Boy can deliver. There's a significant difference" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/24).

    CUTTING BACK: On Long Island, Neil Best reported the Westchester Journal News is "in the midst of shedding a depressingly large chunk of its newsroom staff," and the Yankees are now the only pro sports team the paper "plans to cover both home and away." Journal News Giants beat reporter Ernie Palladino and Jets reporter Jane McManus last week "chose to leave in advance of layoff announcements," and "so did the sports section's assignment editor" (NEWSDAY.com, 8/21).

    WINTER WONDERLAND: The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER's Etan Vlessing reported the CBC is "set to roll out winter sports-themed TV programming." The network has "ordered a sitcom pilot ... based on the popular Canadian curling movie 'Men With Brooms'" (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 8/21).

    RACKET BRACKET: Fanball.com has struck a deal with the USTA to build and operate the '09 U.S. Open Bracket Challenge, a free contest that will be housed at usopen.org and features a top prize of a trip to next year's Open. The effort is part of a broader revamping of the U.S. Open Series' Web presence to include a series of interactive and social media features (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).

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