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After 10 years, Time Warner Cable and NFL Network finally have agreed to a carriage deal, according to multiple sources. The deal has not been signed, but the two sides have agreed to terms that should see NFL Network and NFL RedZone launch by this Sunday's NFL games. The deal, which was first reported by Bloomberg, could be announced as soon as Friday afternoon. Sources said TWC will carry NFL Network on its digital basic tier and will carry NFL RedZone on its sports tier. Bright House Network and former Insight subscribers also will get access to both networks, but it is not known where they will reside. As with most cable carriage agreements, the deal is for multiple years. TWC was the final remaining holdout among cable operators in refusing to cut a carriage deal. Cablevision last month signed a deal for NFL Network and NFL RedZone. The network increased its live game schedule from eight to 13 games this season, a fact one source pointed to as a potential reason for a deal getting cut. TWC was close to a deal to carry the channels last year, but talks blew up at the last minute over digital rights -- TWC wanted more than NFL Network was willing to provide, sources said. It is not clear how those digital rights are allocated in this new deal.
As the NHL “orchestrates another controversial lockout narrative,” the league is “faced with a massed choir of players, agents, journalists, statisticians, humorists, cranks, idlers and outright liars vying for the last word on how the NHL is doing” due to the influx of social media outlets, according to Bruce Dowbiggin of the GLOBE & MAIL. Twitter did not exist during the ‘04-05 lockout, and almost “everyone concedes that, because of social media, the NHL is running uphill in this PR battle" compared to the last work stoppage. Former NHLPA Exec Dir Paul Kelly said, “Twitter has changed the landscape since the last CBA negotiation in that every development in this standoff has gone viral almost instantly. Social media has also allowed the parties to attempt to shape public opinion directly and through surrogates, including players, agents, owners, friendly media sources and others.” That has caused the NHL “to scramble to appear sympathetic to the Internet voices.” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly in an e-mail wrote, “We understood going into this that the landscape was going to be different with the prevalence of social media.” Dowbiggin notes NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has reportedly “shuttered his own Twitter account, and the NHL’s own Twitter account has been mute on labour issues.” However, NHLPA members “aren’t being shy.” Dowbiggin: “Don’t look for the online rhetoric to cool soon. It won’t much change the NHL’s bargaining tactics, but the hatin’ will make the postlockout reconstruction that much more difficult than in 2005” (GLOBE & MAIL, 9/21).
EDWARDS UPDATE: In Boston, Chad Finn notes per NESN Bruins announcer Jack Edwards' contract, the net "is not obligated to pay him during a work stoppage, though he said they have not yet discussed whether this will be the case." Edwards "emphasized that his bosses at NESN are 'hustling their butts off' to find a role for him" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/21).
Doug Gottlieb will make his CBS Sports Network debut Oct. 22 as the host of a new late-night talk show on the cable channel. The one-hour show, called "Lead Off," will occupy the 12:00-1:00am ET time slot. Dick Clark Productions will produce the show from CBS Sports Network's Orange County, Calif., studio. Channel execs describe the show as fast-paced and forward-looking, with a mix of guests, highlights and debate segments. The show continues CBS Sports Network's strategy of peppering its schedule with original talk shows and radio simulcasts. "Together with 'Rome,' we're bracketing primetime by providing fans with informative, topical and entertaining programming," said CBS Sports Exec VP and CBS Sports Network President David Berson. CBS Sports also plans to have Gottlieb host a radio show on CBS Sports Radio, which launches in January. In addition, he will serve as a college basketball studio and game analyst for CBS Sports.
The chart below lists final Nielsen ratings from recent sports telecasts. All ratings listed are U.S. ratings (THE DAILY).
FIFA World Cup Qualifier: Mexico-Costa Rica9/11Univ.8:30-11:02pm1.83,669 Liga MX: Leon-Chivas de Guadalajara9/14Telem.10:30pm-12:34am0.5979 NCAA Football: Notre Dame-Michigan State9/15ABC8:06-11:42pm3.24,977 Lucas Oil Off Road Pro2 (taped)9/15CBS1:30-2:30pm0.3n/a "CBS College Football Special"9/15CBS2:30-3:00pm0.4n/a "College Football Today"9/15CBS3:00-3:30pm0.7n/a NCAA Football: Alabama-Arkansas9/15CBS3:30-7:00pm3.2n/a MLB: (regional)9/15Fox4:00-7:15pm1.6n/a NCAA Football: USC-Stanford9/15Fox7:51-11:25pm2.53,856 "Road to the Ryder Cup"9/15NBC1:00-1:30pm0.3n/a Red Bull Signature Series: U.S. Open of Surfing (taped)9/15NBC1:30-3:30pm0.4n/a MLS: Sounders FC-Timbers9/15NBC3:30-6:00pm0.4576 "The NFL Today"9/16CBS12:00-1:00pm2.3n/a "NFL on CBS": (regional)9/16CBS1:00-4:15pm8.613,400 "NFL on CBS": Jets-Steelers (82%)9/16CBS4:15-7:30pm12.219,900 "Fox NFL Sunday"9/16Fox12:00-1:00pm2.9n/a "NFL on Fox": (single)9/16Fox1:00-4:05pm12.0n/a "Being: Liverpool"9/16Fox4:30-5:30pm1.1n/a Track & Field: Diamond League (taped)9/16NBC12:00-1:00pm0.7n/a Cycling: La Vuelta a Espana (taped)9/16NBC1:00-2:00pm0.5n/a London Paralympics (taped)9/16NBC2:00-3:30pm0.5n/a Women's soccer friendly: U.S.-Australia9/16NBC3:30-6:00pm0.5667 "Football Night in America"9/16NBC7:30-8:15pm5.99,406 "Sunday Night Football": Lions-49ers9/16NBC8:31-11:15pm12.921,334 TELECASTDATENETTIME
"Monday Night Football": Bengals-Ravens9/10ESPN6:55-10:20pm7.010,904 "Monday Night Football": Chargers-Raiders9/10ESPN10:20pm-1:31am6.810,450 "Thursday Night Football": Bears-Packers9/13NFLN8:30-11:41pm5.38,559 NCAA Football: Florida-Tennessee9/15ESPN6:06-9:42pm3.15,076 "Thursday Night Pregame"9/13NFLN8:00-8:30pm3.24,824 NASCAR Sprint Cup: Geico 400 (Chicagoland)9/16ESPN2:00-5:10pm2.63,949 "Thursday Night Postgame"9/13NFLN11:44pm-12:28am1.72,457 NCAA Football: Texas-Ole Miss9/15ESPN9:42pm-12:52am1.52,412 "Sunday NFL Countdown"9/16ESPN10:00am-1:00pm1.62,172 "College GameDay"9/15ESPN10:00am-12:00pm1.51,964
News Corp. COO Chase Carey Thursday at the Goldman Sachs' Communacopia Conference "declined to say whether or not Fox would launch a national sports network, but made it clear that the company likes sports." Carey said cable channels Speed and Fuel give Fox "a real opportunity to do some exciting things." CABLEFAX DAILY notes both have been "discussed as possible channel flips for an upcoming national sports net." Carey: "We think sports content opens an array of opportunities for us" (CABLEFAX DAILY, 9/21).
AWARDS TIME: Dan Patrick and Mike Francesa won Marconi Awards from the National Association of Broadcasters. Patrick was honored as the best Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year and Francesa was named Major Market Personality of the Year. Boston's WEEI won a Marconi award as the Sports Station of the Year. The awards were handed out at the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show in Dallas Thursday night (John Ourand, THE DAILY).
JIMINY CRICKET: In N.Y., Shivani Vora noted ESPN is "devoting a significant portion of its stateside broadcast" to cricket. This week, ESPN "began showing the T20 World Cup live for viewers in the United States for the first time since the tournament started in 2003." The net has "promised cricket fans more than 1,500 hours of cricket programming from 2012 to 2015, the fruits of an exclusive deal signed with the global rights holder, ESPN Star Sports, in March 2011" (NYTIMES.com, 9/20).