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MLB and Fox will start Game Three of the World Series an hour earlier than the other games. The 6:57pm ET start time on Saturday, Oct. 30, marks the earliest start for a World Series game since Game Six of the '87 Twins-Cardinals World Series. Game Four of this year's Series will start at the conclusion of Fox's NFL games that next day. "The changes we made with Fox last year to start the World Series games earlier helped increase viewership including more young fans, and we are optimistic that the earlier start time for Saturday's Game Three will keep us moving in the same direction," MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said. The move to an earlier start time came after "an additional level of advertising support from Chevrolet," the league and Fox said. Fox Sports President Eric Shanks: "We've said over the years that if advertisers were willing to support earlier starts at prime time levels, we'd be able to begin games earlier" (John Ourand, THE DAILY). SI.com's Tom Verducci notes Game Three, hosted by the AL team, will start "an hour earlier than Game 3 last season and more than 100 minutes earlier from as recently as 2007." Saturday is "traditionally the lowest-rated night for television viewing," and since Fox asked in '07 to "begin the World Series on a Wednesday, Game 3 has been the lowest-rated game of the past three World Series by a wide margin." MLB and Fox hope that the earlier start time "allows fans in the Eastern time zone, especially younger fans, to watch the entire game while also building an audience before prime time college football viewing options" (SI.com, 9/30).'10 WORLD SERIES START TIMESGAMEDATEHOSTFIRST PITCH (ET)1Wednesday, October 27NL7:57pm2Thursday, October 28NL7:57pm3Saturday, October 30AL6:57pm4Sunday, October 31AL8:20pm5Monday, November 1AL7:57pm6Wednesday, November 3NL7:57pm7Thursday, November 4NL7:57pm
HANGING WITH MR. COOPER: White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper yesterday revealed that he "will serve as a pre and post-game commentator for TBS" during the MLB playoffs. Cooper, who will "make his observations from home," will provide analysis for the ALDS series between the Rays and either the Rangers or Twins (CHICAGOBREAKINGSPORTS.com, 9/29).
Texas AD Says Network Was
Only An Option In Big 12
Univ. of Texas AD DeLoss Dodds said there is "lots of interest" in the school creating its own TV network, according to Brad Townsend of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. Dodds said, "It'll probably be in place, hard start, in the Fall of 2011. We're talking to two or three different entities. It's been very encouraging. It think it's the right thing for us to do. We can only do it in the Big 12. We couldn't have done it in the Pac-10." Dodds added, "If you look at it financially, it's going to be positive. If you look at it for recruiting, it'll be positive." When asked about distribution for the network, Dodds said, "We're going to get it out there. We're going to film all stuff and get it out on our network. You name the platform, we're going to put it on that platform. ... If you're in West Texas, you can get it. If you're in New York, you can get it on some platform. I'm not smart enough to know how this works, but I've got a good idea (what will happen). We get this network up and it's strong and healthy and doing all the things we think it's going to do." Dodds added, "Ten years from now, the conference TV package is up for football and we walk in the room with our own network, that's huge leverage. We could almost say, 'Well, we'll do our own games.' It's huge leverage in the future. And it's a platform we may need in the future. If we need it, we've got it. Who knows where TV is going, but we're going to have ours" (DALLASNEWS.com, 9/30).
LOCAL TIES OUTWEIGHED NETWORK FOR SEC: SEC Commissioner Mike Slive discussed the decision not to create a network for the league and said that conference officials examined the Big Ten Network because they "really believe down here we could do a channel and do it very successfully." Slive: "We looked at that, we looked at the NFL Network, we looked at The mtn. But we had a characteristic here that's different than those, and that is the local packages that our institutions have developed over the years. If you do a channel, you can't keep those local packages." Slive noted the SEC is the "most widely distributed conference in the country" with its current 15-year deals with CBS and ESPN, while the member schools also were "able to keep their local packages and provide the fans with what they want, and that is a very significant source of revenue" ("The Tony Barnhart Show," CBS College Sports, 9/28).
Fox Directing Fans To New Website
Amid Carriage Dispute With Dish
In Ft. Lauderdale, Sarah Talalay reported the “carriage dispute between Dish Network and Fox could result in South Florida Dish Network customers missing” Heat games, which begin airing on Fox-owned Sun Sports on Tuesday. If a new carriage agreement is not reached by midnight tonight, Dish customers “will lose access” to Sun Sports and FS Florida. That also means Magic games -- and the debut of Amway Center -- would “be missing for Dish Network customers in central and northern Florida.” In addition, Marlins and Rays fans with Dish Network could miss the teams’ final regular-season games this weekend. Talalay wrote the “fight's gotten nasty enough that Fox is placing ads in area newspapers” today about the dispute and “directing fans to a website for details called getwhatipaidfor.com” (SUN-SENTINEL.com, 9/29).
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS: Chandler (Ariz.) High School AD Dave Shapiro and Hamilton (Ariz.) High School AD Dick Baniszewski said that ESPN is “paying their institutions $1,000 apiece” to air their football matchup Friday night, the same price local broadcaster Cox “forks over to televise high school games.” ESPN will bring in seven cameras, a 30-person crew and two light towers as the “lighting at Chandler’s Austin Field wasn’t sufficient for the network.” ESPN will determine "when the national anthem will be played, when the teams can come onto the field, even the brand of sports drink that can be displayed on each sideline.” Shapiro said, “That’s OK. We’re both Gatorade schools” (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 9/30).
BETTER THE SECOND TIME AROUND? On Long Island, Neil Best reported former ESPN MLB analyst and FanHouse.com contributor Steve Phillips “could be in line for a full-time gig at Sirius XM as a morning man” on Chris Russo’s “Mad Dog Radio” channel. Phillips has been “working hard over the past year to rehabilitate his career, including a fantasy sports show on Sirius and regular appearances on WFAN as a fill-in host over the summer and as a contributor to Mike Francesa’s afternoon show" (NEWSDAY.com, 9/29).
NBA PEOPLE & PERSONALITIES: Former T'Wolves VP/Basketball Operations and coach Kevin McHale said that he is “returning for a second season as an analyst for NBA TV and Turner Broadcasting." McHale said that he “has no plans to return to coaching” (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 9/30) Meanwhile, former NBAer Malik Rose will serve as a studio analyst for FS Oklahoma during Thunder road games and select home games. Rose served as studio analyst for the Knicks last season and was a color analyst for the NBA D-League Austin Toros (DAILY OKLAHOMAN, 9/30).