SBD/Issue 51/Sports MediaPrint All
A panel of reporters and editors from THE DAILY, SportsBusiness Journal and Sporting News has named CBS’ Gary Danielson the top football broadcaster, according to SBJ’s Rob Knapp, who writes Danielson combines “preparation, football smarts and an almost eerie ability to make observations just as they come into play in the game.” The panel took several different qualities into mind while making the list, and accuracy “was the baseline for professionalism.” Accuracy applies to “both positions in the booth, but the brunt falls on the play-by-play announcer, who communicates to the audience what is going on as it happens.” Announcers have the “least control” over their voice, but it is “no less important, and it’s something that all the other good attributes in the world can’t overcome.” Preparation is important, as those who know the “most about their teams and have the most related subjects and statistics to talk about will succeed even when the drama on the field fades.” The panel “liked analysts who are willing to call players out within the context of the game,” but it was “divided on how outspoken play-by-play announcers should be.” Meanwhile, a broadcaster’s on-air personality played a role, as the job “goes beyond words and delivery and extends to the connection that an announcer makes with a viewer.”24. Gus JohnsonMemorable calls make him perfect announcer for YouTube generation. Some questioned whether he should save excitement for biggest of big plays.25. Dick EnbergMakes more mistakes than he used to, but he’s an artist with the language and delivers his catchphrase “Oh, my!” with trademark good cheer.
Panelists from SBJ/SBD: Rick Ellington, Betty Gomes, Bill King, Rob Knapp, John Ourand, Paul Sanford. From SN: Marcus DiNitto, Jim Gilstrap, Dan Graf, Bob Hille, Vinnie Iyer, Derek Samson
WHAT WE LIKE: SBD’s Rick Ellington writes Danielson “can be summed up in one word: homework,” as no other announcer “comes into a broadcast better prepared and with a better knowledge of the teams playing.” SBJ’s Betty Gomes writes while not everyone “appreciates Collinsworth’s commentary,” she would “much rather have a game analyst who’s willing to call someone out.” Gomes: “Keep the catchphrases and hyperbole. I’ll take Collinsworth’s honesty.” SBD’s Paul Sanford writes Michaels “brings a credibility to the broadcast that is unmatched in today’s world of sports broadcasting. When viewers hear Michaels’ voice, they know they’re about to watch a big game.” SBD/SBJ’s John Ourand writes Nantz “calls football games the way I want to hear them. He has perfected an understated delivery that shows a tremendous amount of respect for the events he covers.”
WHAT WE DON'T LIKE: SBJ’s Gomes writes she does not have an issue with Johnson’s “level of excitement,” but she does “cringe at replays of Johnson’s call of Brandon Stokley’s tipped-ball touchdown” in the Broncos’ Week One win over the Bengals. Gomes: “Johnson’s call was so over the top that it was out of line with what I expect to hear as an NFL fan.” Sporting News’ Marcus DiNitto writes Gruden “shows promise as an analyst, but I was higher on Gruden in the preseason, before his constant use of hyperbole and coach-speak and his fawning over players and coaches began wearing thin.” Meanwhile, SBJ’s Bill King writes Tirico “would be fine on the second or third crew on CBS or Fox, but viewers deserve more on the NFL’s showcase games. They deserve a style. An angle. Maybe even the occasional moment of honest criticism” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 11/23 issue).
DANIELSON PICK IS ON THE MARK: In Birmingham, David Knox wrote the selection of Danielson as the top announcer “gets no argument here.” Knox: “He makes the SEC broadcast the best of the day, maybe the best of the weekend” (BIRMINGHAM NEWS, 11/21). The WASHINGTON EXAMINER’s Jim Williams wrote Danielson is “very entertaining and best of all speaks his mind.” Michaels has been “outstanding for a number of years and he remains the standard by [which] others are measured,” while “no one sells a game better” than Musburger (EXAMINER.com, 11/22). SPORTINGNEWS.com’s Dan Shanoff wrote, “I love the pick of Gary Danielson as the top football announcer – if you hate the SEC, though, he might not be for you” (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 11/20). But in Dallas, Barry Horn wrote the list appears to “have a Southeastern Conference fixation,” as Danielson “is good with X’s and O’s but too often sounds like a SEC homer” (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 11/22).
Writer Says Herbstreit Gets "Better And
Better Every Season"
ANOTHER OPINION: FANGSBITES.com’s Ken Fang presented his top play-by-play men and analysts in separate lists. He put Michaels atop the PBP list and wrote, “Probably the best all-around play-by-play voice ever. … There’s no one better at setting the scene, giving perspective and breaking down complicated moments than Al.” CBS’ Ian Eagle, who is not on the SBD/SBJ/SN list, ranked sixth for Fang, who wrote, “CBS would do everyone a favor in promoting him to the 3rd or 4th [NFL] announcing team next season.” Simms was the top analyst, with Fang writing, “He’s not afraid to admit he’s wrong. He studies tape every week and can spot things in the booth that other analysts cannot.” NBC’s Pat Haden is the highest-ranking analyst not on the SBD/SBJ/SN list, and Fang wrote, “It’s too bad that Notre Dame has fallen off the nation’s radar because Pat Haden would be considered one of the elite analysts” (FANGSBITES.com, 11/19).
CBS' saw its NFL Week 11 national window telecast jump 4.2% in overnight ratings from last year, and saw regional action up double digits. NBC's Eagles-Bears "SNF" was down double digits from Week 11 year, when the net carried Cowboys-Redskins. "SNF" was the No. 1 Sunday primetime broadcast for the ninth time in 10 weeks, and up against the "American Music Awards" on ABC from 8:30-11:00pm ET, NBC "SNF" was up 22%. Eagles-Bears earned a 29.6 in Chicago and a 27.2 in Philadelphia. Fox also saw its second-best singleheader of the season, trailing only a 12.5 overnight in Week Three (THE DAILY).NFL WEEK 11 OVERNIGHT NIELSEN RATINGSNET'09 GAMEOVERNIGHT'08 GAMERAT.% +/-Fox(single)12.2(single)11.28.9%CBS(regional)11.1(regional)10.011.0%CBSJets-Patriots (62%)14.9Chargers-Steelers (65%)14.34.2%NBCEagles-Bears12.1Cowboys-Redskins13.5-10.4%
WORKING AROUND THE BAN: In Chicago, Kyle Koster notes while the Bears "denied NBC's request for access" to QB Jay Cutler, coach Lovie Smith and GM Jerry Angelo prior to last night's game, NBC used comments from members of the Chicago media "to paint a picture of a season of great expectations -- both for Cutler and the Bears -- falling flat on its face during its 'Football Night in America' broadcast." The "only quote from Cutler came from a postgame news conference" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 11/23). Also in Chicago, Vaughn McClure reported Sports Illustrated also "came to Chicago with hopes of getting a one-on-one interview with Cutler, but the Bears quarterback was off-limits outside of his Wednesday news conference." Smith again stated that he "wanted his players to focus on the game" (CHICAGOBREAKINGSPORTS.com, 11/22).
NO NEED TO CENSOR? YAHOO SPORTS' Matthew Darnell notes CBS during yesterday's Bills-Jaguars game "refused to show a replay of the injury" to Bills OL Eric Wood, who suffered a "sickening" broken leg. Darnell writes, "I'm philosophically opposed to CBS refusing to replay an injury because they've deemed it too graphic for me. ... The fact of the matter is that an injury to Eric Wood is a major part of the game. Networks are supposed to show major parts of the game" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 11/23).
Writer Says Fox' Tim Ryan
Is Underrated As Analyst
TRUCK PULL: SPORTINGNEWS.com’s Dan Levy notes seven of the 52 messages ESPN’s Tom Jackson has posted on his Twitter account since opening it in September have been about GMC. Jackson has tweeted “just six times since October 30 and two of them have been ads for GMC.” When asked if ESPN has an “issue with one of their lead analysts using his ESPN-sanctioned Twitter feed to plug sponsors,” ESPN Communications & Media Relations Dir Bill Hofheimer said, “While GMC does work with ESPN overall, it does have some individual deals beyond that with our commentators. I understand TJ does PSAs for GMC. This is probably tied into that.” Levy writes this is “not unlike something similar to what Howie Long does for Chevy with those constant TV spots, but it does open the door to look at ESPN’s Social Networking policy” (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 11/23).
GO-TO SITE: In N.Y., Richard Sandomir profiled Pro Football Talk Founder Mike Florio, who "has turned his blog ... into a leading source of information" about the NFL. Florio works "from his house in a quiet subdivision" in Bridgeport, West Virginia, and he said, "I'm a product of the age. I can sit in my basement and be in touch with everyone." Sandomir noted NBCSports.com became ProFootballTalk.com's "home in July in a revenue-sharing deal that preserved Florio's independence and has vastly increased his traffic." Omniture data indicated that Pro Football Talk "had 2.9 million unique users in October, nearly tripling the 979,000 from the same month a year ago, before the NBC deal was made." In that same comparison, the site's "page views swelled to 32.4 million from 13.2 million." ComScore indicated that NBCSports.com, "helped by PFT," has "climbed six spots to be the 11th most popular sports Web site." NBC Universal Sports & Olympics Senior VP/Business Development Kevin Monaghan: "We thought we needed a keystone for the site, and Mike has provided that. He's been a much bigger help than we imagined" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/21).
Simmons Will Only Tweet About
Book Tour Over Next Two Weeks
A FIRST FOR ESPN: ESPN VP/Communications Mike Soltys said that this is the network's "first Twitter suspension" (USA TODAY, 11/23). ESPN.com VP & Editor-in-Chief Rob King on his blog wrote, "We have internal guidelines designed to inform how we discuss the topic of sports media. These guidelines are important [to] us, because they help maintain the credibility with which ESPN operates. No one knows the guidelines better than Bill Simmons." King added while it is "unfortunate -- and sometimes painful -- that not everyone outside of ESPN chooses to play by such rules, we choose to hold ourselves to higher standards." King: "Regardless of the provocation, Bill’s communication regarding WEEI fell short of those standards. So we’ve taken appropriate measures" (ESPN.com, 11/20). FANHOUSE.com's Will Brinson wrote Simmons is "still apparently allowed to tweet about his book tour." The point of the suspension is not that Simmons was "offensive or even rude, it's that ESPN had to take some kind of action, otherwise they were opening the door for other employees to abuse social media and then having to dole out what might be perceived as unfair punishment" (FANHOUSE.com, 11/21).
SIMMONS E-MAIL WITH THE DAILY: The following is the full e-mail interview with Simmons this morning.
Q: Do you agree with suspension?
Simmons: ESPN believed that some of my Tweets failed our new social media policy. I discussed it with Rob King. We decided that it would be best for everyone if I took a 2-week break from Twitter except for tweets about my book tour.
Q: Did you personally feel you crossed the ESPN guideline?
Simmons: I don't know. Did our "partner" WEEI cross ESPN guidelines by ripping me for 20 solid minutes on the day of my book signing in Boston -- my hometown, by the way -- making me their "Fraud of The Week" and proudly displaying this segment on its website? Or by lying to its listeners and claiming that I was scheduled to appear on their radio show on Nov. 10th and backed out because I was "afraid" to come on? What was worse? That's why the situation escalated on my end. I kept waiting for ESPN Radio to handle its "partner" and it didn't. I ended up handling things for myself, and poorly.
Q: Do you feel the suspension was due to ESPN's business relationship with WEEI?
Simmons: I sure hope that's not the case, since that would mean they valued ESPN Radio's 2-month partnership with a local radio station over their 8 and a half year relationship with me.
Q: Will this stop you from tweeting as much?
Simmons: I am in the process of figuring that out.
Q: How/why did you get the exemption to tweet from the book tour?
Simmons: I received an overwhelming amount of feedback from readers in every city about how they were keeping up with the tour through Twitter. To suddenly halt that process with 4 cities to go would have been an enormous mistake.
Clippers Announcers Lawler (l) and Smith (r)
Pulled From Friday's Telecast
TNT NBA announcer Marv Albert said reports of a scuffle involving himself and members of rapper 50 Cent's entourage while preparing for an appearance on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" are "upsetting." Albert said that he "found various online accounts of things Albert says never happened." Albert: "I kept reading about new things that never happened. Maybe it will keep going until Jimmy Kimmel gets punched." He added, "Maybe I'll look back and think it's humorous" (USA TODAY, 11/23). More Albert: "As much as I value my street cred, my posse and his posse weren't even in the same room (N.Y. POST, 11/23).
Oregon-Arizona On ABC (In Yellow) Not
Shown To "Significant Chunk" Of Country
MISSING THE SPOT: In St. Petersburg, Tom Jones wrote ABC/ESPN "continues to show a blatant conflict of interest with its commercials for its NBA coverage." A new spot featuring Magic G Vince Carter with announcers Mike Breen and Mark Jackson is the "latest in a series of commercials featuring NBA players mixing with ABC/ESPN announcers who cover their games," which "makes the viewer question the announcers' comments every time they talk about a player who has appeared" in a TV spot with them (TAMPABAY.com, 11/22).
THAT'S THE CABLE TALKING: In N.Y., Arango & Carter in a business-section cover story wrote under the header, "Unsteady Future For Broadcast: A New Economic Model Gives Cable Firmer Footing." Profit margins for cable nets are "much better compared with broadcast," and "illustrative of this is a comparison of NBC to ESPN." Revenue for the two networks last year was "roughly equal," as NBC generated about $5.6B in ad revenue while ESPN generated about $6B in revenue -- $1.6B from ads and $4.4B from sub fees. But ESPN was "vastly more profitable" with a cash flow of about $1.4B, compared to $304M for NBC (N.Y. TIMES, 11/21).