NFFC's Charges Against NFL Thrown Out Motorsports HOF To Re-Open In Daytona Pepsi Moji Night At Yankee Stadium BS&E May Open Naming-Rights Division Tharp Named Darlington Raceway President Meeting Scheduled On Golfers Skipping Rio Serena Draws Praise For Wimbledon Outfit NBC Plans Record Amount Of Olympic TV NC Lawmakers Consider HB2 Revisions Indians' Streak Helps Ticket Sales
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Fox' Jay Glazer said there were "absolutely no restrictions" on his interview with suspended Dolphins G Richie Incognito that aired this week on "Fox NFL Sunday" and added Incognito conducted the interview "against the wishes of his agent." Appearing on yesterday's "PFT Live" podcast, Glazer said he told Incognito "straight out, 'I'm going to ask you everything. I'm going to tell you right now I'm not holding back and you can't have any control over any of this. The only reason I'm telling you is because I don't want you getting up and walking out after one or two questions.'" PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Mike Florio replied, "That would have been great TV if he had gotten up and walked out." Glazer noted, "But then we have a 30-second interview." Glazer said Incognito "never saw my questions" and the "way I sold" him on doing the interview was the "court of public opinion come Monday, it closes, it's done. Do you want to testify?" Glazer noted he told Incognito, "By you keeping silent anybody that you think is on your side … they won't have a leg to stand on, so this is your chance to testify on your own behalf because come Monday, dude, it's over." Glazer acknowledged when he asked Incognito whether he was ordered by Dolphins coaches to "toughen up" Martin, Incognito gave a "lousy answer." Glazer said Incognito "went into this canned, 'Well, it's a legal thing. I'm not allowed to talk about it. I love Jonathan,' and it kind of went right into Jonathan Martin." Glazer: "It was definitely bad TV." Glazer said Incognito was a "lot more guarded than I expected. I thought he'd be a lot more free" but added that he did not allow Incognito's attorney "in the room" during the interview ("PFT Live," PRO FOOTBALL TALK, 11/11).
SILENCE IS GOLDEN: Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman said Incognito avoiding the topic of whether any orders given to him by the Dolphins coaching staff during the interview was the "most telling thing to me of that interview." Freeman: "If it didn’t happen then he would say it didn’t happen. The fact that he didn’t answer it tells me something came from the coaches as been reported. It seems like to me that the core of this case is who knew what, who told what player to do what and that is yet to be answered” (“Rome,” CBSSN, 11/11).
SHARPE WORDS: In Buffalo, Jeff Simon writes when CBS' Shannon Sharpe during the net's "The NFL Today" on Sunday "had his say on the whole nationally inflammatory brouhaha" over the Martin-Incognito scandal, it was a moment that "stunned me with the rawness of its truth and passion." Sharpe’s "usual role" on the show is to "provide the personality that the ex-coach (Bill Cowher) and the star ex-quarterbacks (Dan Marino and Boomer Esiason) lack." Simon: "What I never expected to see was as much genuine outrage on TV as Sharpe expressed at what he knew of the bullying and hazing 'culture of the Dolphins' locker room'" (BUFFALO NEWS, 11/12).
ESPN earned a 7.9 overnight rating for last night's Dolphins-Buccaneers "MNF" telecast, down 12.2% from a 9.0 overnight rating for Chiefs-Steelers in Week 10 last year. Dolphins-Bucs marks the lowest overnight rating for a Week 10 "MNF" game since Ravens-Browns drew a 7.2 in '09. In Miami, the game earned a 12.1 local rating on ESPN and a 4.3 rating on WSFL-CW for a combined 16.4 rating in the market. In Tampa, the game earned a 14.0 local rating on ESPN and an 8.0 rating on WMOR-Ind. for a combined market rating of 22.0. The top five markets were rounded out by West Palm Beach, Las Vegas and New Orleans (Joe Perez, Assistant Editor).
LOCAL RATINGS: In Houston, David Barron wrote the Texans "lag on the field but roll up great numbers in the Nielsen ratings" in the city. Their seventh consecutive loss on Sunday to the Cardinals "racked up a 27.7 rating" on KHOU-CBS, which "equates to an average audience of 634,153 of Houston’s 2.2 million TV households" (CHRON.com, 11/11)....In Charlotte, Erik Spanberg reported the Panthers-49ers game on Sunday was the "most-watched" local Panthers broadcast of the season, with Nielsen data estimating that 455,580 people saw the game on WJZY-Fox (BIZJOURNALS.com, 11/11).
Tim Tebow making the transition to TV "is the obvious next step" in his career, and seeking a "college football gig is a natural," according to Chris Chase of USA TODAY. The free-agent QB, who has not been signed after being cut by the Patriots in the preseason, has hired CAA Sports to represent both his on- and off-field opportunities, including any possible broadcasting positions. Though Tebow has some NFL credentials, "going back to college seems a better fit." Tebow has a "good camera presence, and he showed an ability to add insight into a broadcast when he discussed on ESPN before last season's Sugar Bowl the importance of maintaining timing with wide receivers during a long break." Given his "inexperience and temperament, a studio gig feels like the best fit for Tebow" (USA TODAY, 11/12). CBSSN's Doug Gottlieb said going into TV is the "right move" for Tebow. Gottlieb: "Capitalize on your success, and hopefully, if he’s true to his word and he wants to preach for something greater, he can use television to continue to be kind of a recognizable presence in the sports landscape.” He speculated Tebow could land at either CBS, which broadcasts a weekly SEC game, or ESPN, which "not only has some SEC games, but they're also starting the SEC Network." That is one place "where they could give him more airtime for other things." CBSSN’s Allie LaForce added, “I don’t think people will take him as seriously talking about professional football. College has to be his niche and that’s where people are going to take him seriously because he was so successful there” (“Lead Off,” CBSSN, 11/11).
NBA TV "Inside Stuff" co-host Grant Hill said that while he "still is mastering the rhythm of television, he's enjoying the challenge." He said, "The storytelling and being able to help create the narrative on guys is enjoyable. Bringing to life the many talents and personalities and interests and hobbies of guys that I saw firsthand as a player is fun. It's great PR for the league." Hill added, "It's a show where the thesis is to showcase guys in a positive light. It's a safe place. As a result, I think players are more willing to open up and show that side of them that maybe at times they're hesitant to reveal" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 11/10).
THREE'S COMPANY: In Tampa, Tom Jones wrote he likes ESPN college football analysts David Pollack and Jesse Palmer, but he does not "want both together." Both are "very good. Separately." However, when they "work together in a three-man booth on Thursday night games with announcer Rece Davis, it's just too much." The two "never shut up." During last Thursday's Oregon-Stanford game, it was "like the two have a bet to see who can use the most words." Pollack and Palmer "have good thoughts, but it's hard to digest their comments when you're always taking another bite" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 11/11).
DYNAMIC DUO: SI.com's Seth Davis wrote Friday's Boston College-Providence game was the "most entertaining game" he watched all weekend, largely because it was "so much fun to hear Gus Johnson and Bill Raftery call a game together again" (SI.com, 11/11). SI.com's Richard Deitsch wrote the Johnson-Raftery pairing "gives FS1 instant credibility with its in-game basketball coverage." It is yet to be seen whether the network's studio team "can duplicate that, and if unlike college football, Fox Sports management will invest in college basketball reporters with journalistic bona fides as their competition in Bristol has done with college sports time and time again" (SI.com, 11/10).
BETTER TOGETHER: In DC, Adam Kilgore cited a source as saying that the Nationals’ broadcasting team on MASN "will almost certainly return intact in 2014." MASN has "picked up play-by-play man Bob Carpenter’s option for the 2014 season." The source said that analyst F.P. Santangelo’s deal "ran out after the season, but MASN offered him a new contract this week and wants him to return" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 11/9).
THE BATTLE RAGES ON: In N.Y., Bob Raissman wrote ESPN host Keith Olbermann's "feud" with WFAN's Mike Francesa, Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton "reminds us of a steel-cage match involving four villains." Raissman: "You don't care who wins. you just want to see them destroy each other." The WFAN contingent's backs "must be hurting from carrying Olbermann," as they actually are "doing him a huge favor." His ESPN2 show "has about as much ratings traction as a bald tire," and that is one reason Olbermann "continues his 'feud'" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/10).
NBC Sports Live Extra offers a mobile application fully stocked with live and archived video from NBC Sports' extensive list of broadcast rights agreements. Users can catch live action from the NHL, EPL, MLS, Notre Dame and the PGA Tour among others. A week with the app served up a clean and simple viewing experience, ads, ads and more ads. The app is segmented into four sections: home, sports, schedule and favorites. The home screen presents timely archived content and showcases live and upcoming events. The layout is straightforward, making it easy for users to quickly understand and navigate the offering. A sport-specific section allows for a deeper dive into content, bubbling up featured video and live programming. The live video lineup is also viewable in a schedule section. Last week the app averaged three live streams per day. While NBC Sports Live Extra is a free app, users are required to authenticate. This process is painless, assuming your cable account user ID and password are handy. NBC Sports Live Extra was reviewed using an iPhone 5 version 7.0.2, with AT&T coverage and Comcast's Xfinity service. The app was developed jointly by Adobe and NBC Sports Group.
WINS: The most notable aspect of the app is the depth and quality of live video. Saturday morning there were five EPL matches being streamed simultaneously, while only one was available on live TV. This is a great example of why die-hard soccer fans should download the app. The app's simple presentation goes a long way. It is clearly built for video, while steering clear of content overload and the "be everything to everyone" strategy. Video can be shared to Facebook and Twitter.
DRAWS: There is a wide variety of archived video within the app that is quickly updated alongside live programming. VOD offerings vary by sport and include a mix of broadcast and digital-exclusive content. EPL highlights are well done. The ability to browse and select favorite content up front is nice, and the app sends a notification each time there is a live stream beginning in selected categories. Tune-in notifications can be set for game time, 15 or 30 minutes out. Score updates and must-see action alerts would be a welcome addition.
PENALTIES: While there is no question that the app provides high quality video, there is an issue with advertising oversaturation. Thirty-second commercials run before all live video regardless of time lapse or number of videos viewed. In many instances, the same ad runs. Last weekend's primary push was tequila, and I do not recall disclosing my age. Good for revenue; bad for users. Live feeds were smooth for the most part, but there were a few frozen moments. The favorites section includes a featured video feed that was not refreshed over a five-day period. The graphic showed a "live" NHL game from Wednesday night, but when clicked on Saturday, an EPL match ran. Finally, game replay sections are broken out for every sport, but there were no replay videos available during the review period. There is no live NFL video available due to rights restrictions. This does not go unnoticed, particularly on Sunday nights, making this app a potential pass-up for NFL fans.
BOTTOM LINE: Live video: check plus. Timely and relevant video-on-demand: check. Simplistic and to the point, NBC Sports Live Extra for iPhone lives up to the mobile viewer's expectations, but falters with a surplus of unchecked pre-roll advertising. A few more bells and whistles might make this experience more compelling, but for now it works. With the '14 Sochi Olympics around the corner, it will be interesting to see what changes -- if any -- are in the blueprint.
Amie Sheridan (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a writer in Philadelphia.