Sunoco Debuts "Essence Of Racing" Campaign Executive Transactions Isiah Thomas Expected Backlash Over Hiring FanDuel Brings On Most Of Zynga Sports Team Georgia Approves Increased Athletic Budget Kentucky Adding Ribbon Boards At Rupp IndyCar Ponders How To Attract Fans Long Term Jeff Gordon Hired As Full-Time Analyst For Fox Danica's Sponsorship Status To Be Telling For NASCAR Classified Advertisements
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At least six groups are "believed to have submitted bids to buy The Boston Globe," including Red Sox Owner John Henry's Fenway Sports Group, according to sources cited by Beth Healy of the BOSTON GLOBE. Henry "made his bid along with his New England Sports Network co-owner, Delaware North Cos.," for which Bruins Owner Jeremy Jacobs serves as Chair & CEO. Sources said that Henry "mulled acquiring the Globe in recent years, after the Times Co. put it up for sale" in '09 and "threatened to shut down the newspaper." But Henry "did not submit a bid at that time." The Kraft group, founded by Patriots Owner Robert Kraft, previously "withdrew from the bidding." The dollar amounts of the bids "could not immediately be learned," but prior estimates "have ranged from" $70-120M (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/28). In Boston, Chris Cassidy cited media experts as saying that readers "could be crying foul" if Henry and Jacobs buy the Globe, "fearing the beleaguered broadsheet would shy away from hard-hitting coverage." The potential conflicts "could be difficult to deflect." A source said that editors, "feeling ownership pressures, may avoid running hard-hitting Red Sox coverage or breaking a controversial Bruins story, if they fear it would upset top brass -- especially in a struggling journalism job market." Media analyst Ken Doctor said that it "wouldn't be the first marriage between a newspaper and a professional sports team," as the Chicago Tribune owned the Cubs and Wrigley Field until '07. Doctor "didn't think the possible Globe-Red Sox conflict would hurt Henry's chances in the actual bidding process" (BOSTON HERALD, 6/29).
Clippers coach Doc Rivers addressed his move from the Celtics and comments made by ESPN's Bill Simmons during the net's NBA Draft broadcast. Appearing on WEEI’s “Salk & Holley” show on Friday Rivers said he, along with Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge and team ownership "came up with this and obviously I had to leave." Rivers: "If you want to say I quit, you can say that and that’s fine but I thought he had an agenda.” Rivers said he and Simmons “were bad” when he first got to Boston and Simmons “did everything he could to try to get me fired.” Rivers said Simmons “wrote letters, he actually wanted to have a sit down with one of our owners about firing me, so he had an agenda.” Rivers: “Thank God our owners didn’t believe him. They actually laughed at him and thought he was a joke. And thank God they didn’t believe him or think his opinion was enough to do that and allow me to stay in a very difficult time and win.” Rivers added of Simmons, “If you're going to go on a national broadcast and talk about something, you got to have your facts right or you can’t be careless and reckless, and I thought that’s what he was last night. I don’t care if he doesn’t like me or not but just speak the truth” (“Salk & Holley,” WEEI-FM, 6/28). Rivers noted Simmons is “not a fan of mine” and said, “Bill’s a fan. Is he qualified to do the NBA? We can debate that all day” (“The Dan Patrick Show,” 6/28). Simmons on Friday wrote on Twitter, "I'd be careful, Glenn. Seriously. Stop talking. You are making sh*t up" (TWITTER.com, 6/28).
TOUCHY, TOUCHY: In Akron, George Thomas wrote the TV exchange "made for great, honest television on Rivers' part." Thomas: "But I had to wonder if Simmons crossed an invisible line that few sports journalists cross. Yes, we all have favorite teams in favorite sports, but for the most part, we don’t allow it to affect our jobs and observations." Thomas wrote, "Good television it was, but I suspect it might be a moment Simmons eventually regrets. ... More and more, it seems that sports fans love to engage in groupthink and appreciate talented writers such as Simmons who can put into words his attachment to the Celtics with sincerity normally reserved for loved ones" (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 6/29). SI.com's Richard Deitsch wrote, "The sequence of ESPN reporter Shelley Smith asking Clippers coach Doc Rivers a question, Rivers going off on Bill Simmons, and Simmons firing back at Rivers was riveting, uncomfortable and -- best of all -- honest television on a network that too often manufactures debates and B.S. arguments -- no pun intended. A great moment for ESPN because viewers were treated to authenticity" (SI.com, 6/30).
Fox Sports and NASCAR are "involved in discussions to broadcast at least half of the Nationwide Series as well as adding some additional" Sprint Cup Series races beyond its current eight-year extension, according to sources cited by Jim Utter of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. ABC/ESPN currently "broadcasts the entire Nationwide schedule." However, Nationwide Insurance last week "asked for an extension of its exclusive negotiating window to extend its current deal so that it would know what the series' TV partners will be." Sources said that Fox is "looking to perhaps add some of the Cup races broadcast by TNT to its lineup and broadcast the Nationwide Series during the same period on the schedule." The Nationwide races "would likely appear" on FS1. ESPN/ABC "has not yet started negotiations with NASCAR on extending its TV deal covering the Nationwide Series but is expected to by next month." Nationwide Series races have been "aired exclusively by ABC/ESPN" since '07 (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 6/29).
In N.Y., Bob Raissman wrote if ESPN wants its coverage of former Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez' case to "have more depth, it should call on" the net's Ray Lewis "to offer commentary." However, a source said that the prospect "was never in the cards" because Lewis’ start date per his contract is "not until August." Raissman wrote Lewis when he joins the net "must speak candidly" about the Hernandez case "while reflecting on his own past." But even if Lewis is "willing to talk openly about Hernandez, and the NFL’s problems with guns and lawlessness, ESPN did not hire him to be its NFL 'crime' reporter." The "problem is compounded by the fact that Lewis is a TV novice." He will have a "great opportunity to quickly establish his credibility," but if he "stonewalls in a venue where he’s paid to be candid, Ray Lewis will have a very short TV career" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/30).
AS THE WORLD TURNS: In Orlando, Josh Robbins noted the Magic have "reached an agreement in principle" with former NBAer Jeff Turner to "serve as the team's color commentator" on its FS Florida broadcasts. Turner is "expected to sign a multiyear deal," and will "replace popular color commentator Matt Guokas, whose contract wasn't renewed by the team" following the '12-13 season. Turner "served as Guokas' fill-in in recent seasons when Guokas missed games because of illness" (ORLANDOSENTINEL.com, 6/28).
IN THE BOOTH: NESN on Friday hired Gary Striewski as feature reporter and sports anchor. Striewski previously worked as a reporter and anchor for Houston-based KPRC-NBC (NESN)....The Arizona Republic's Dan Bickley will host the new radio show entitled "The Dan Bickley Show with Vince Marotta" on Phoenix-based KTAR-AM beginning July 29. The show, also available online, will air weekdays from 12:00-2:00pm MT (AZCENTRAL.com, 6/28).
CBSSPORTS.com's Jeremy Fowler reported the SEC, Pac-12 and Big 12 acknowledged that they are "open to more weeknight games beyond" '13. With a "new 24-hour, ESPN-run channel looming in 2014, even the SEC could expand its current agreement of two Thursday night games." Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said that he "suspects ESPN would like his conference in more Friday night games." A Pac-12 source confirmed that the league "could increase its slate of eight weeknight games per year" (CBSSPORTS.com, 6/28).
BUILDING A NEW BRAND: AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco said one of the keys to building the league is "the TV exposure we are going to get." He added, "It is especially significant for schools coming into the league that didn't get exposure before. ... If they win and play competitively on that large stage, because they are getting exposure on TV, not only will they build their brand, the league will build its brand." Aresco: "We have a strong promotional plan with ESPN, which has promised significant support. We ourselves with new media, social media, that's important. ... We have to do our share as a conference to make sure we are relevant. And we will be" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 6/30).
DIGITAL REVOLUTION: In Ft. Lauderdale, Dieter Kurtenbach noted the FAU football program has "made a clear push to promote its brand on social media ahead of the 2013 season." The digital push has been "evident in two places: Twitter and YouTube." Every FAU coach and a "good deal of the staff have joined or ramped up their profile on the microblogging service, while the FAURecruiting YouTube page has fed football-starved FAU fans" (SUN-SENTINEL.com, 6/28).
THE MISSING LINK: In Austin, Kirk Bohls noted Texas still "hasn't announced a third football game to be shown on the Longhorn Network this fall." UT men's AD DeLoss Dodds, asked if Kansas is still the targeted game, said, "There's conversations" (STATESMAN.com, 6/30).