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IMPACT ON SPORTS: In Milwaukee, Dave Kallmann wrote the dispute is not good for "fans of the IRL, NHL, college football and the Tour de France, among other sports." DirecTV not carrying Versus is the "last thing the IRL needs as it tries to build its fan base complete and high-quality broadcasts" (JSONLINE.com, 8/24). The INDIANAPOLIS BUSINESS JOURNAL's Anthony Schoettle wrote while DirecTV "doesn't represent a huge viewing universe, the IRL can hardly afford to lose access to its more than 17 million North American subscribers" (IBJ.com, 8/24). Meanwhile, YAHOO SPORTS' Maggie Hendricks reported World Extreme Cagefighting's (WEC) September 2 WEC 43 event in Youngstown, Ohio, has been postponed until October 10. But the "good side of this postponement is that it gives executives from Versus a chance to work out a deal with DirecTV" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/24).
REALLY IN GOOD FAITH? The SPORTING BLOG's Dan Levy wrote both sides "claim to be working in good faith on a fair-market deal, but one has to wonder if DirecTV is turning the screws on Versus because the network is owned by Comcast." Levy: "Or conversely, is the network trying to overcharge DirecTV as part of some weird, face-spiting, counter-intuitive plan to have the network on fewer television services, thus giving Comcast (the cable carrier) more exclusivity with the NHL and other sports leagues that have coverage deals with Versus" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 8/24).
Bornstein Says NFL Network Is
In Discussions With Many Carriers
THAT'S THE TICKET: Colts QB Peyton Manning made the media rounds yesterday to advertise DirecTV's new service that provides Sunday Ticket subscribers with access to games on laptops and mobile devices. Manning said, "It shows the commitment that DirecTV has to taking care of the fans." He added he would use the new features "on my cell phone a lot" to watch Giants games, or to "watch some other teams in our division play" ("Power Lunch," CNBC, 8/24). He added fans this season can watch all games on Sunday Ticket "in high-definition, which is new" ("NFL Total Access," NFL Net, 8/24).
Mayweather (l), Marquez Fight Will Be Shown
In HD In At Least 170 Theaters Across Country
HEAD-TO-HEAD BATTLE: In Philadelphia, Bernard Fernandez writes the "ante has been upped in the high-stakes game of poker that pits the boxing match against UFC 103, whose main event is Vitor Belfort against Rich Franklin, which will be televised via pay-per-view that night from Dallas." But UFC President Dana White "has denounced Mayweather-Marquez as a fight that 'nobody wants to see' and as a reason why 'boxing keeps hurting itself'" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 8/25). UFC is airing a live commercial-free show on Spike leading into the start of the PPV that will feature several undercard bouts (THE DAILY).
McMahon Wants To Launch
Channel In Next Two Years
BETTER WITH AGE? The L.A. TIMES' Flint reported McMahon now is "hawking a kinder, gentler, wrestling show." Gone is "much of the sexual innuendo, over-the-top trash talk, blood-spattering bouts and scantily clad female wrestlers that fueled the WWE's 'Attitude Era' of 10 years ago when the company was locked in a death match" with Ted Turner's World Championship Wrestling, which McMahon eventually acquired. While the new direction has "generated a certain measure of controversy," the strategy has "proven effective." After toning down the content, McMahon "went to his network partners and asked them to reconsider the ratings assigned to the show." As a result, the "milder programming, which now usually garners a TV-PG rating from WWE's TV partners, has cleared the way for more blue-chip advertisers to come aboard, including Pepsico, AT&T and Procter & Gamble" (L.A. TIMES, 8/24).
USTA Will Stream More Than 150 Matches
From U.S. Open For Free At USOpen.org
OPEN FOR BUSINESS: SI.com's Jon Wertheim wrote ESPN "has done right by tennis recently," and he is "eager to see how the network discharges its duties in its first year covering the U.S. Open." The network's talent is "generally quite good." Host Chris Fowler "is a plus," and analysts Brad Gilbert and Darren Cahill "ought to have their own reality show." But Wertheim has "one quibble: Can we stop this practice of zooming in on the poor line judges after their call was proved incorrect by replay?" (SI.com, 8/24).
GOOD FIT: On Long Island, Neil Best writes it is "nearly as difficult to judge announcers during preseason as it is players," but early signs are that ESPN "MNF" analyst Jon Gruden "will fit right in." The net is "pleased" with Gruden, but it "knows there is a good chance he soon will leave." Best: "If Gruden lasts even two seasons before getting back into coaching, it will be a minor upset" (NEWSDAY, 8/25).
LEAVE THE KIDS OUT OF IT: In St. Petersburg, Tom Jones wrote of ESPN's coverage of the Little League World Series, "No one can convince me that putting 12-year-old kids on television in pressure-packed games is a good idea. ... What's even more disgusting is listening to the announcers talk about how pure this all is, how this is what sports is all about, kids playing the game for the joy of it. If it is pure and how the game is meant to be, it wouldn't involve television cameras and postgame interviews" (TAMPABAY.com, 8/23).
NEW FRONTIER: THE WRAP's Dylan Stableford reported The Huffington Post will launch a sports section in October, following new sections for books and technology that debut next month. The Huffington Post co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief Arianna Huffington: "We always knew that with our core values of news and opinion and community, we wanted to cover more than just politics. We needed to speak to more than that, to move like an Internet newspaper" (THEWRAP.com, 8/24).