• Podcast: The Rams and L.A.; Mueller's report

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    In the latest NFL Behind the Headlines podcast, NFL writer Daniel Kaplan and Executive Editor Abraham Madkour discuss last week's release of the Mueller investigation as well as the sticky situation with the Rams and Los Angeles.

    Among the comments:

    "This was so heavily anticipated, yet when it came out … and you look at the reaction to this vs. the reactions we were seeing in September and October, it's quite different. There's quite a stark difference."

    "It is the first instance where one of its owners, I don't want to say has gone rogue, but certainly gone outside of what the NFL had laid down as its territory."

    "Not attending the unveiling of a proposed stadium certainly doesn't sound like you're giving it a good-faith effort. … It's almost a bizarre situation where the city and the state are dealing with the NFL and the team doesn't want anything to do with it."

    Tags: NFL, SBJSBD Podcast
  • Podcast: Return of the NHL Wrap-Around

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    In a new season for the NHL Wrap-Around podcast, hockey writer Ian Thomas and Alex Silverman discuss the news coming out of last week's Winter Classic.

    Among the comments:

    "The NHL … since they started doing these back in about 2008, I think has been sort of further refining what it means or what the experience is like for a fan who goes to these games. This has been the first year when I think they really nailed it."

    "The event has become, probably across all sports, probably a top two or three thing you've got to see in your life if you like the experience of being out in a space."

    "From a revenue standpoint, an interest standpoint, viewer standpoint, fan standpoint, it was going to be hard to top last year. It was sort of a perfect storm, literally and figuratively."

    Tags: NHL, SBJSBD Podcast
  • Podcast: Peter Guber, a Hollywood story

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    Senior writer Bill King and Assistant Managing Editor Tom Stinson discuss this week's front-page profile on Hollywood mogul Peter Guber, who is also co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Golden State Warriors and new MLS Los Angeles Football Club.

    Tags: Los Angeles Dodgers, Golden State Warriors, SBJSBD Podcast
  • TV Timeout: He Was Cooler Than The Other Side Of The Pillow

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    After the passing of popular ESPN personality Stuart Scott, countless tributes have come from those in sports and media. Below are many of the compelling comments and memories shared by peers of the late broadcaster in the hours since his death:

    Dan Patrick
    “There were times when I anchored with him, I didn't know what he was saying, but I knew there were people that did understand what he was saying. To have the guts and the courage, that's what's remarkable. I hope we remember Stuart for that, to believe in yourself because in this cookie cutter world that we call sportscasting … Stuart went in and wasn't afraid to have a voice” (“The Dan Patrick Show,” 1/5).

    Rich Eisen
    "A Jewish kid walking on the set and being teamed up with a guy who I’d seen on television, but I’d never met before, a proud African-American Chicagoan by way of North Carolina due to his school bleeding Carolina blue. The two of us became married on television, essentially. He referred to himself as my TV wife. … Lived his life the way his parents wanted him to live it, the way he felt he should live it. He broadcast the same way, a groundbreaking broadcaster in the world of sports television” (“NFL GameDay Morning,” NFL Network, 1/4).

    John Skipper
    "He was a lovely guy. He always had a smile on his face. He was always happy to see you. He engaged. When you saw Stuart in the hall, he stopped and he talked to you. ... He just was a genuinely good guy. So clearly, his spirit is going to be missed around the place” (“The Herd,” ESPN Radio, 1/5).

    Kobe Bryant
    "He was such an amazing person, aside from the fact that he was just phenomenal at what he did. Really, just a trail blazer in the sports industry" ("SVP & Russillo," ESPN Radio, 1/5).

    Jim Nantz
    "We arrived at the stadium this morning and walked right into the news that just crushed us all, the passing of Stuart Scott. ... A career of tremendous accomplishment and class and a life filled with courage. What a man. What a loss today” (“Bengals-Colts,” CBS, 1/4).

    Joe Buck
    "He was in many ways a pioneer. He was a friend to anybody who knew him. He was somebody who was fearless -- fearless on the air, fearless covering sports and fearless for the way he dealt with cancer” (Fox, 1/4).

    Cris Carter
    "As a person who wanted to be a broadcaster, he was a role model for me. He talked on ‘SportsCenter’ like me and my friends talked. He did it his way and was great at it. For me, as a colleague and before we became a colleague, I'm not ashamed to say and he won't even know this -- he was a role model for me and hundreds of other African-American journalists/athletes now, who wanted to be legitimate, and want people to take what we say seriously, just like him. Realize that there never will be another Stu” (“Postseason NFL Countdown,” ESPN, 1/4).

    Keyshawn Johnson
    "One of the things Stu told me when I first took this job was to not change who I was. Be exactly who I'm supposed to be. Looking at him and knowing that he was able to bring the hip-hop culture, that urban feel to television sports broadcasting -- something that's never been done before -- gave me the hope that I didn't have to be some corporate guy” (“Postseason NFL Countdown,” ESPN, 1/4).

    James Brown
    “As extraordinary a talent as he was on air, that which impressed me the most was how valiantly he fought his battle against cancer because he passionately wanted to continue being the father that he was to his two daughters. Stuart Scott was 49 years old and folks he truly was as cool as the other side of the pillow” (“The NFL Today,” CBS, 1/4).

    Lester Holt
    "Known for his great energy and sharp wit, he helped reinvent the language of sports” (“Nightly News,” NBC, 1/4).

    Don Bell
    "A groundbreaker. In an industry where corporate types try to tell you how to go about your business, I believe that was his greatest accomplishment. He was always himself and he was unapologetic about it” (“Fox Sports Live,” FS1, 1/4).

  • Podcast: 2015 Champions class

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    Executive Editor Abraham Madkour and Champions editor Tom Stinson introduce and discuss the 2015 class of The Champions: Pioneers & Innovators in Sports Business. This year's Champions are: Donna de Varona, Len Elmore, David Falk, Russ Granik, Tom Jernstedt and Mike Trager.

    Tags: Champions, SBJSBD Podcast
  • CFP Opener Draws Overnight Ratings Comparable To '14 National Title Game

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    ESPN’s first-ever College Football Playoff semifinal telecasts drew overnight ratings comparable with recent BCS National Championship on the cable net. ESPN began with Oregon’s 59-20 rout of Florida State, drawing a 15.5 overnight for the Rose Bowl telecast. That figure tops the 15.3 overnight for FSU’s win over Auburn in the BCS title game last year and is just below the Alabama-Notre Dame title game from ’13 (15.7 overnight). Each BCS title game on ESPN aired on a Monday night.

    CLOSING OUT THE NIGHT: Meanwhile, Ohio State’s 42-35 upset win over Alabama in the Allstate Sugar Bowl drew a 15.3 overnight. Both CFP semifinal telecasts finished higher than the Alabama-LSU BCS title game in ’12 (13.8 overnight). The final BCS title game on broadcast TV -- ABC’s telecast of Alabama-Texas in ’10 -- drew an 18.2 overnight for a Thursday night telecast.

    RISING UP: When final figures are announced this afternoon, the Oregon-FSU game will likely rank among the top three most-viewed cable TV broadcasts of all time. FSU-Auburn last year remains the third-best audience ever on cable, behind the BCS title games from ’11 (Auburn-Oregon) and ’13.

    IN THE STANDS: The Rose Bowl drew 91,322 fans to Pasadena this year, down from 95,173 last year for the Michigan State-Stanford matchup, which was the event’s best figure since ’98. Meanwhile, the Sugar Bowl drew 74,682 fans to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, marking the game’s best attendance since LSU-Notre Dame drew 77,781 fans in ’07.


    * USA TODAY’s Nancy Armour writes the CFP “proved its worth on its very first try,” and “all but the most disgruntled TCU fan has to admit after Thursday’s games that both Oregon and Ohio State are worthy of the opportunity.”

    * The FLORIDA TIMES-UNION’s Garry Smith wrote Florida State playing in the Rose Bowl for the second straight season “has strained the pocketbooks of even the most well-heeled Seminole Boosters and made the trip to Pasadena … a financial impossibility for the families of most FSU players.

    Winter Classic Overnights Down; 40,000-Plus Jam Into Nationals Park

    Earlier on New Year’s Day, NBC drew a 2.3 overnight for the Capitals’ 3-2 win over the Blackhawks at Nationals Park, marking a record-low figure for an NHL Winter Classic, dating back to the event’s inception in ’08. The previous low was a 2.4 for Rangers-Flyers in ’12. There was no game in ’13 due to the lockout. Blackhawks-Capitals also is down 21% from a 2.9 overnight for Maple Leafs-Red Wings last year. Chicago drew an 11.4 local rating for the game, while DC ranked third with a 5.7 rating. Buffalo was the No. 2 market with a 6.4 local rating. While ratings were down, the Winter Classic drew 60,500 unique visitors on the NBC Sports Live Extra app, up 17% from last year.

    NO CHILLY RECEPTION: MLB.com’s Quinn Roberts wrote the game “drew 42,832 to Nationals Park, validating D.C. as a hockey town.” Players during the national anthem “stood on a sheet of blue ice meant to represent the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.” THE HOCKEY NEWS’ Jared Clinton wrote though the first outdoor game in ’08 will “always be the most memorable … 2015’s Winter Classic will certainly be remembered as one of the outdoor games that stand the test of time.” The “pageantry was given a healthy bump thanks to the team entrances, and the game itself was one of the better outdoor contests the league has seen.”

  • Podcast: Latest NFL 'Behind The Headlines'

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    In the latest NFL "Behind The Headlines" podcast, NFL writer Daniel Kaplan and Executive Editor Abraham Madkour discuss the news coming out of last week's NFL owners meeting in Dallas.

    Among the comments:

    "There's a big sigh of relief from the NFL that they have their new personal conduct policy out. … The onus now shifts in part to the NFLPA, which has criticized the policy and their lack of involvement in creating the policy."

    "The owners continued to rally around Goodell. There's no hint of any insurrection at all. It's business as usual that way."

    "The whole player health and safety issue has really taken a back seat to the domestic violence issue."

    Tags: NFL, SBJSBD Podcast
  • Podcast: The Pegulas' vision for Buffalo

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    Senior writer Bill King and Assistant Managing Editor Tom Stinson talk about Buffalo Bills and Sabres' owners Terry and Kim Pegula's vision for Buffalo and what they mean to the city.

    Tags: Buffalo Bills, SBJSBD Podcast
  • Outback to Fathead: Sponsors activate at bowl games

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    We’ve been tracking for many years how college football bowl sponsors activate with their respective games. Outback, for example, will again this year host an annual welcome dinner in Tampa before its namesake game, with Auburn and Wisconsin players being this year’s guests. At last year’s Outback Bowl, the teams from LSU and Iowa combined to eat 5,000 pounds of food at the welcome dinner — including 750 pounds of steak, 750 pounds of chicken, 900 pounds of ribs, 1,600 coconut shrimp and 160 Bloomin’ Onions.

    In Detroit this month, a sponsor of the inaugural Quick Lane Bowl (Dec. 26, 4:30 p.m. ET on ESPN) will contribute to the player experience in two unique ways. First, Detroit-based Fathead will create, as part of the gift package provided to each Rutgers and North Carolina participant, a custom-made Fathead decal for each player with his likeness. (We’re curious to see if there will be an entrepreneurial player or two who tries to sell his custom Fathead and make money off his own likeness.) The company also, however, will provide a $25,000 custom renovation to the winning team. The winning school can renovate the athletic facility of its choice on its campus, and Fathead will handle the process from start to finish, including site inspections, design choices and ultimately the installation work.

    Tags: On The Ground
  • TV Timeout: Change Of Scenery

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    ESPN’s David Pollack, on the Big 12 being left out of CFP: “If I’m (Commissioner Bob Bowlsby), I don't know if I cost myself a chance to sit at the table and play for the college football final four, but you didn't do yourself any favors and he said that. You need to restructure your format. You need to look in the mirror and fix this” (“College Football Playoff Selection Show,” ESPN, 12/7).

    SOCIAL STUDIES: ESPN’s Howard Bryant said of athletes speaking out on social issues, "There was a time when sports was in front of the country on social issues, whether you're talking about the unpopular Muhammad Ali or you’re talking about Jackie Robinson or Sandy Koufax or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. These guys are at a point now (where) they're more popular than they were back then. They have more power than they had back then” (“The Sports Reporters,” ESPN2, 12/7). FS1’s Peter Schrager, on protests of Rams players last week: “They reminded us yet again that athletes can have the strongest voice in the room, even when no words are needed at all” (“Fox NFL Kickoff,” FS1, 12/7).

    CALIFORNIA DREAMING: CBSSN’s Amy Trask, on the NFL in L.A.: “I don't necessarily think two teams should be placed in this market at least at the outset. The league cannot afford to fail in Los Angeles. It's got to do it right” (“That Other Pregame Show,” CBSSN, 12/7). PFT’s Mike Florio said of the Chargers potentially moving to L.A., “Owners would be inclined to allow a team to move just a fairly short distance, more inclined to do that than have a team move across the country” (“FNIA,” NBC, 12/7).

    POWER PLAY: MLB Network’s Peter Gammons said of the strength of MLB, “This time around, we are looking at a business that has gone from a $1 billion industry in 1995 when Bug Selig really started taking over the business to pretty close to $9 billion now. It tells us a lot about what Bud Selig did to grow this business, how much the owners have incredible confidence in Rob Manfred and his cabinet, as I call it. I think it is really interesting. I don’t ever remember a time when owners have been more confident in the people who are running the game” (“MLB Tonight,” MLBN, 12/7).

    ROOM TO GROW: MLS Commissioner Don Garber, on league expansion: “I don't think we're still fully grown out. We're still going through that growth phase. It's why we are working with our players to try to find the right management of that growth. We're working with our owners, we're working with municipalities, our broadcast partners and long-term relationships” (“MLS Cup,” ESPN, 12/7).

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