SBD/August 15, 2014/Media

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  • SEC Network Debuts With Three-Hour Version Of "SEC Now," Few Technical Glitches

    The SEC Network debuted Thursday night with a three-hour edition of "SEC Now," the channel's signature studio show, followed by a one-hour special titled, "SEC Storied: The Stars Are Aligned." The net came on the air at 6:00pm ET with a taped introduction from Brent Musburger discussing the accolades and accomplishments of the SEC. Musburger said, "Tonight, we start a new chapter in that history: A place to watch the games, a place to celebrate excellence. This is the SEC Network." After Musburger's opening intro, taped testimonials from former SEC athletes were aired discussing the conference's power and influence (THE DAILY). In Alabama, Joe Medley reviews "SEC Now" and writes the show has the "feel of the NFL Network's studio show, with TV personalities and former players in studio and field correspondents conducting interviews at all 14 league schools." Dari Nowkhah and Maria Taylor "ably anchored" alongside analysts Greg McElroy and Booger McFarland. McElroy and McFarland "made SEC Now happen with sharp analysis but seemingly scripted disagreement." Marcus Spears interviewed Alabama coach Nick Saban after greeting him "with an awkward bro hug in Saban's office." Spears, who played for Saban at LSU, "asked relevant questions ... but the two spent too much time in their brief interview reminiscing" (ANNISTON STAR, 8/15). AL.com's Creg Stephenson is live-blogging the net's opening 24 hours and noted the first highlights shown were from a UAB-Vanderbilt women's soccer game. The "first glitch" on "SEC Now" occurred at 6:30pm when the sound dropped from a live segment at South Carolina. Audio problems continued from Columbia 10 minutes later, when a producer can be heard telling reporter Shannon Spake, "You're good to go." Spake "gives him the 'shut up' hand swipe" (AL.com, 8/14). Tampa-based WHFS-FM's Marc Ryan: "First impression of the @SECNetwork last night: A - incredibly impressive debut. Like Tivo, we'll be saying 'How'd we ever survive w/o it?'"

    IT'S TEBOW TIME: In Jacksonville, Don Coble notes SEC Net's Joe Tessitore and Tim Tebow broadcast live from Gainesville for the channel's debut, but "consistent lightning and intermittent showers" forced them to relocate from in front of Florida Field to the school's indoor football complex. Tebow "clearly didn't possess the polish of a professional television front man," but whether "by design or coincidence, it still worked." However, Tebow "constantly said 'we' when talking about the Gators" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 8/15). In Florida, David Jones notes Tebow talked to current UF QB Jeff Driskel and "added a 'God bless you' at the end of the interview, one of his trade mark comments as a player." Tebow turned 27 on Thursday and was "presented a birthday cake by Albert, the team's mascot" live on air (FLORIDA TODAY, 8/15).

    Print | Tags: Media, SEC, ESPN
  • Big Ten Network's Subscriber Count Up 15% After Deals In N.Y., DC, Northern Virginia

    Silverman estimates an increase of 8 million viewers from last season

    Big Ten Network, "through a series of upgrades with distributors" in the N.Y. and DC markets, "has bolstered its subscriber count by some 15% since the end" of the '13-14 academic year, according to Mike Reynolds of MULTICHANNEL NEWS. BTN President Mark Silverman said that when upgrades "are completed before the Aug. 28 kickoff of the football season the Big Ten Network will count some 60 million subscribers," up from 52 million last spring. BTN's eighth season also "will feature improved positioning on systems owned by Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cablevision and RCN" in the N.Y. TV market, which includes Rutgers. Similarly, Comcast and Cox will boost BTN's availability "in and around the nation’s capital and northern Virginia, where Maryland has a significant fan base." Silverman said that BTN "has picked up better coverage on Time Warner Cable" in L.A., which "will complement carriage on DirecTV." The conference network "is putting the finishing touches on a media plan that will take form on outdoor and digital vehicles and other platforms" (MULTICHANNEL.com, 8/13).

    Print | Tags: Media, Big Ten Network
  • NHL Panthers Bring Back Original TV Analyst Denis Potvin After Five Years With Senators

    Potvin (r) won four straight Stanley Cups with the Islanders as a player

    Hockey HOFer Denis Potvin will return as the color analyst for the Panthers beginning with the '14-15 season "after five years away from the organization," according to George Richards of the MIAMI HERALD. He will re-join play-by-play announcer Steve Goldstein on FS Florida. Potvin was "let go" following the '08-09 season and called Senators games for Sportsnet the past four seasons. Potvin became "available after TSN took over broadcasting Senators games starting this season." FS Florida's Bill Lindsay, who has "teamed with Goldstein the past five years, will stay on as an analyst during intermissions as well as work on the pregame and postgame shows." Lindsay also will do "sideline work during games as well as report from between the benches on select broadcasts" (MIAMI HERALD, 8/15). In Ft. Lauderdale, Harvey Fialkov noted the Panthers' radio team "also has undergone a change in the booth." Randy Moller remains the "voice of the Panthers but Kevin Rogers has been replaced by Alex Donno as the game host" (SUN-SENTINEL.com, 8/14).

    JET SET: In Winnipeg, Tim Campbell notes CFRW-AM has "installed Paul Edmonds as the new full-time radio voice" of the NHL Jets. Edmonds had "been contributing periodically to Jets hockey broadcasts over the last couple of seasons." He joined CFRW's morning show this past February and continued "filling in on hockey broadcasts." Former Jets radio voice Brian Munz will "remain with the station and move to the colour/analyst chair for about half of the team's games" in '14-15. The station said that Munz will "become the station's regular Jets reporter this season" (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 8/15).

    Print | Tags: Florida Panthers, NHL, Media
  • Final Ratings: NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide Series Races Up At Watkins Glen

    The news around Tony Stewart’s incident at a dirt track race last Saturday night contributed to increased viewership around the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen Int’l on Sunday afternoon. ESPN finished with 4.94 million viewers for the Cheez-It 355 at The Glen, marking the race’s best audience figure since the net first aired the race in ’07. ESPN also drew 2.23 million viewers for “NASCAR Countdown” leading up to the race, marking the cable net’s best figure for the pre-race show since Labor Day weekend in ’12, when a Sunday night telecast leading into the Atlanta Motor Speedway race drew 2.91 million viewers. Meanwhile, ABC drew 1.93 million viewers for the Nationwide Series race on Saturday afternoon at WGI, up 12% from the same race in '13, which had to go head-to-head with the PGA Championship.

    The charts below list final ratings and viewership from recent sports telecasts.

    TELECAST
    DATE
    NET
    TIME (ET)
    RAT.
    VIEWERS
    (000)
    PGA Championship: Final Round
    8/10
    CBS
    2:56-9:00pm
    5.3
    8,238
    PGA Championship: Third Round
    8/9
    CBS
    2:00-7:17pm
    3.0
    4,252
    PGA Championship: rain delay coverage
    8/10
    CBS
    2:00-2:56pm
    1.6
    2,365
    NASCAR Nationwide Series:
    Zippo 200 (Watkins Glen)
    8/9
    ABC
    2:15-5:00pm
    1.3
    1,930
    "ESPN Sports Saturday"
    8/9
    ABC
    5:00-6:00pm
    0.8
    1,136
    World of X Games: Games of Skate
    8/10
    ABC
    5:00-6:00pm
    0.6
    823
    U.S. Swimming National Championships
    8/10
    NBC
    4:00-5:30pm
    0.5
    660
    Major League Fishing: Summit Cup Championship
    8/9
    CBS
    1:00-2:00pm
    0.5
    654
    U.S. Swimming National Championships
    8/9
    NBC
    4:00-6:00pm
    0.5
    636
    Ironman World Championship
    8/10
    NBC
    1:30-3:00pm
    0.4
    599
    AMA Motocross
    8/9
    NBC
    3:00-4:00pm
    0.3
    457
    Liga MX: Pachuca-Chivas de Guadalajara
    8/9
    Telemundo
    9:00-11:04pm
    0.3
    427
    MLS All-Star Game (vs. Bayern Munich)
    8/6
    UniMas
    9:30pm-12:00am
    0.2
    410
    World of Adventure Sports
    8/10
    NBC
    3:00-4:00pm
    0.3
    397
    TELECAST
    DATE
    NET
    TIME (ET)
    RAT.
    VIEWERS
    (000)
    NASCAR Sprint Cup Series:
    Cheez-It 355 (Watkins Glen)
    8/10
    ESPN
    1:00-5:43pm
    3.1
    4,939
    NFL Preseason: Browns-Lions
    8/9
    NFL Net
    7:30-10:37pm
    1.8
    2,823
    "NASCAR Countdown"
    8/10
    ESPN
    12:00-1:00pm
    1.5
    2,232
    NFL Preseason: 49ers-Ravens
    8/7
    NFL Net
    7:30-10:22pm
    1.2
    1,808
    PGA Championship: Second Round
    8/8
    TNT
    1:00-7:51pm
    1.2
    1,587
    MLB: Nationals-Braves
    8/10
    ESPN
    8:00-11:17pm
    1.0
    1,464
    NFL Preseason: Cowboys-Chargers
    8/7
    NFL Net
    10:22pm-1:02am
    1.0
    1,448
    NFL Preseason: Saints-Rams
    8/8
    NFL Net
    8:00-11:22pm
    0.9
    1,416
    PGA Championship: Third Round
    8/9
    TNT
    11:00am-2:00pm
    0.9
    1,212
    PGA Championship: Final Round
    8/10
    TNT
    11:00am-2:00pm
    0.9
    1,171

     

    Print | Tags: Media
  • Media Notes

    Bears WR Brandon Marshall will be part of the cast this season for Showtime's "Inside the NFL," and in Chicago, Rich Campbell notes it "remains to be seen just how extensive Marshall's obligations will be." But it "certainly will be worth monitoring as the Bears dive into the regular season." Bears coach Marc Trestman: "I trust Brandon. He asked me about it. I trust him to make decisions that are in the best interests of the team first" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 8/15). Marshall said of how he would approach talking about the Bears on air, "You’ve just got to be transparent and continue to give the audience what they want without crossing those boundaries of hurting the team." In Chicago, Rick Morrissey notes Marshall also "mentioned his work" with WMAQ-NBC the last two seasons as an example of how he can balance playing for the Bears and talking about them on air. Still, Morrissey writes the Bears "are so demanding of their players that this has to be an issue within the organization." There "will be people at Halas Hall who won’t like the idea of the team’s top receiver yapping on his day off rather than resting" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 8/15).

    MISTAKEN IDENTITY: In Las Vegas, Kira Terry noted the Twitter account for ESPN's NASCAR coverage on Thursday mistakenly attached a photo of driver Tony Stewart onto a link to a story about the funeral for Kevin Ward Jr., who was killed by Stewart last weekend. The account also "tweeted the wrong name" in another tweet, identifying the deceased driver as Tony Ward Jr. The account "has since deleted both tweets and tweeted an apology." The tweet: "Deepest apologies to all for getting Kevin Ward Jr.’s name and photo wrong in an earlier tweet today" (REVIEWJOURNAL.com, 8/14).

    WRITER TRANSACTIONS: The INDIANAPOLIS STAR reports columnist Bob Kravitz has left the paper after 14 years "to go work" for WTHR-NBC. Star Managing Dir of Digital & Sports Ronnie Ramos said that the paper "has begun a national search for a major sports columnist" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 8/15)....The Rams on Thursday announced that former Sporting News and Yahoo Sports writer Myles Simmons has joined the team as its primary online scribe (Rams).

    Print | Tags: Media
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