• TV Timeout: Pick Me!

    Fox NFL analyst Brian Billick said of cold-weather Super Bowls, “I think Roger Goodell is going to have a problem if this goes off as it appears it might. It looks like a decent day. You better know that Chicago, New England, Baltimore, Philadelphia are going to be lining up outside the offices on Park Avenue of the NFL saying, ‘Hey, what about us?’” (“Fast Money Halftime Report,” CNBC, 1/29).

    OUT OF THE ORDINARY: NBC’s Tony Dungy on the level of hazing Dolphins OT Jonathan Martin endured: “I couldn’t picture anything like this going on in the locker rooms that I was involved in” (“Today,” NBC, 1/29).

    NOT ANOTHER BATTLE: Yahoo Sports’ Pat Forde said of the NCAA’s response to the threat of players unionizing, “The last thing they want is to fight this battle and have this be a real battle” (“The Dan Patrick Show,” NBCSN, 1/29).

    USING THEIR HEADS: CBS Sports Net’s Doug Gottleib said of the new protective caps available to MLBers, “Isn’t it crazy baseball players have been wearing cups forever, but they haven’t protected their heads forever?” (“The Lead Off,” 1/28).

    OUT OF HARM’S WAY? U.S. Olympic snowboarder Danny Davis said of security concerns at the Sochi Games, “I think where we are up in the mountains we’re pretty safe. I’m just going to let that be something we don’t worry about” (“Today,” NBC, 1/29).

  • TV Timeout: Making Copies

    UFC President Dana White said of UFC fighter Roy Nelson applying to become Exec Dir of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, "If he applied at Kinkos he wouldn't get the job, but he's going to run the Nevada State Athletic Commission" ("Fox Sports Live," FS1, 1/28).

    FAKE AND BAKE: CBSSN’s Doug Gottlieb, on the Pro Bowl: “Apparently there are 11 million people that want to watch a fake football game” (“Lead Off,” CBSSN, 1/27).

    GARDEN STATE: FS1’s Regis Philbin, on N.Y. receiving all the fanfare for Super Bowl XLVIII despite it being played in New Jersey: “I feel badly that they are kind of overlooked in all this preceding stuff that’s going on in Times Square, but they don’t have one like that in New Jersey. But they are still carrying the game. The whole day is theirs” (“Crowd Goes Wild,” FS1, 1/27).

    STRAIGHT A’s: S.F. Chronicle’s Susan Slusser said of the A’s stadium issue, “Oakland has come up with a couple different ideas but it’s unclear if there’s the money, if there’s the political will” (“Hot Stove,” MLB Network, 1/27).

  • Vonn’s role with Olympics starts with a whimper on “Today”

    If I’m an executive at NBC Sports, I’m certainly hoping Lindsey Vonn brings more energy and enthusiasm to her new role as an Olympic on-air correspondent than she did during this morning’s promotional interview with Matt Lauer.

    She appeared via satellite on her couch in a knee brace and bandages while petting her dog, Leo, on her lap. Truthfully, I can’t even imagine how difficult it is for Vonn to deal with the bitter disappointment of not being able to ski in Sochi, and it was clearly evident that pain remains during this morning’s interview. 

    Showing little emotion or enthusiasm, she flatly responded that she was “recovering well” from her recent surgery. She was honest while admitting, “It’s going to be really, really hard to watch the alpine events.” She said, “It’s already hard enough. You guys run commercials about Sochi every two minutes, and it’s killing me.”

    Lauer tried to lighten the mood by adding a humorous, “You’re welcome.” But Vonn didn’t take the bait. When he transitioned to promoting her role during the Games, instead of saying what she was looking forward to, she instead flipped it, “I’m NOT looking forward to waking up this early. That’s not going to be fun.” 

    Again, Lauer tried to make light by saying, “You’re welcome.” She finally concluded saying, “I’m looking forward to this new challenge.” Maybe it was the early wake-up call, or still struggling with the immense disappointment of not going to Sochi, but Vonn didn’t bring her “A” game for this one. Following Twitter after, I thought this person, Diane Kaufman, summed it up well:

    Tags: On the Ground
  • TV Timeout: Seven-Day Forecast

    N.Y. Daily News' Mike Lupica, on the cold-weather Super Bowl in N.Y.: “Next Sunday we’ll find out if the broadcast rights should have gone to The Weather Channel” (“The Sports Reporters,” ESPN, 1/26).

    MONEY MACHINE: ESPN’s Bob Ley, on Seahawks CB Richard Sherman’s marketability: “Sherman is already marketing T-shirts based on last Sunday’s interview. I probably just sold a bunch for him. You’re welcome, Richard. … Sherman is a capitalist and long may he wave. But he needs to ensure that his play can cash the checks that his mouth is writing” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 1/26).

    TRAIN IN VAIN? NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said placing a franchise in London "is still down the path but if we continue to see the kind of growth and passion in our fan base over there, yes, a franchise could be possible someday" ("Mike & Mike," ESPN Radio, 1/27).

  • SBJ Champions Podcast: Rick Hendrick

    Executive Editor Abraham Madkour and motorsports writer Tripp Mickle introduce Rick Hendrick as one of this year's Champions: Pioneers & Innovators in Sports Business. In 30 years as a NASCAR team owner, Hendrick has won 11 Cup Series championships and nearly 300 races. This is the first in a series of six profiles of the 2014 class of The Champions.

    Tags: Champion, Champions, Motorsports, NASCAR, CES, SBJSBD Podcast
  • The NHL Shift: Numbers and notes, 1/24/2014

    A look at the past week in the NHL and a glimpse at what’s ahead:

    47 percent:
    The percentage of the league’s teams (14 of 30) that continue to average at least 100 percent in home attendance now well past the midway mark of the season. Last year, 16 of 30 posted at 100% for the entire lockout-shortened season — though those home slates were 24 games per team and started in January.

    John Isley and Southside Johnny of Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes perform at Hard Rock Live! in the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on March 7, 2013, in Hollywood, Fla.
    Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
    07712: The ZIP code of Asbury Park, N.J. — the stomping grounds of rockers Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, who are the musical performers at the Rangers-Devils game Sunday afternoon at Yankee Stadium. How excited was the group about the gig? The league didn’t officially announce the appearance until this morning, but the band broke the news on its Facebook page earlier in the week.

    23,351: The Red Wings’ per-game average — though a wee-bit skewed in that it in factors in the more than 105,000 fans who packed Michigan Stadium for the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 1 (compared to the usual Joe Louis Arena home-game capacity of 20,066). The other 13 clubs at capacity have not benefited from an outdoor game spike, but the Los Angeles Kings (18,130 average) would see a bump to their number after their Coors Light Stadium Series game on Saturday night against the Ducks at Dodger Stadium. The Devils and Islanders, who are the home teams for the two games next week at Yankee Stadium, are not at 100 percent, so the high crowd counts will be especially welcome for them.

    3 p.m.: The time of a special open practice the St. Louis Blues are having today at Yale University as a teamwide show of support to Blues player Jaden Schwartz, whose sister, Mandi — a former player at Yale — died in 2011 at age 23 of acute myeloid leukemia. The Blues also will attend tonight’s game between Yale and Brown, which is Yale’s fourth annual White Out for Mandi event, where fans are asked to wear white and encouraged to make donations to the Mandi Schwartz Foundation.

    7 for 7: After finalizing a sponsorship agreement this week with the Edmonton Oilers, Scotiabank now has deals with all seven Canadian NHL franchises. Scotiabank is the “official bank” of the Oilers, Canucks, Jets, Maple Leafs, Senators and Flames and is a sponsor of the Canadiens. It also is the official bank of the NHL.

    17 hours: That’s how long the coming Carolina-Ottawa game in Raleigh was postponed — from 7 p.m. tonight until noon tomorrow — after Carolina’s scheduled game in Philadelphia was moved from Tuesday to Wednesday because of a snowstorm. The Hurricanes played in Buffalo last night, a makeup of a previously snowed-out game (yes, that’s two snow-postponements for the Canes), and an NHL rule prohibits teams from playing games on three consecutive days. The Hurricanes are offering ticket exchanges to fans unable to change their plans from Friday night to Saturday afternoon — and we’re told that could be a lot — but for fans who can make the Saturday matinee, the team is offering popcorn for $1 and soda for $2.

    Stick Tap
    To executive producer Ross Greenburg and the 75 staffers working on “NHL Revealed,” which debuted Wednesday night on NBCSN. Greenburg and company were able to capture a special personal moment as part of the program, as a crew rode with the Islanders’ Kyle Okposo and wife Danielle to the hospital, staying along in the waiting room until Danielle gave birth to the couple’s first child.

    Looking Ahead
    What else? The Coors Light Stadium Series finally arrives. The NHL continues to say “limited tickets are available” for the Dodger Stadium game tomorrow night and the Rangers-Islanders game at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday; we’re told there’s more than 3,000 left for each. The Rangers-Devils game at the ballpark in the Bronx on Sunday is sold out. Capacity at Dodger Stadium: More than 50,000; Yankee Stadium: more than 45,000.

    Tags: On The Ground
  • TV Timeout: 'Cause I'm The Cashman

    After yesterday's signing of Japanese P Masahiro Tanaka, Yankees GM Brian Cashman discussed how he and General Partner Hal Steinbrenner manage the team. Cashman: "I get to manage things at 5,000 feet, he has to manage things at 30,000 feet. ... He has to take a global view of all aspects of our fan base, which is our customer service side of it, our network and every business stream that goes into this entire model that are the Yankees. And so there's no question that there are certain things that drive interest and drive people to come to the ballpark and turn on the YES Network” (“Mike & Mike,” ESPN Radio, 1/23). Meanwhile, the N.Y. Daily News' Frank Isola said, "This is how you honor the memory of George Steinbrenner. You spend, spend and spend " ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 1/22).

    HOW WAS THE TRIP? NBC's Richard Engel, on trying to enter through security to the "coastal cluster" of venues in Sochi: "It is not easy to get in here. It took us two hours of having our bags checked and x-rayed, you can't go anywhere without a badge. We've seen police wearing portable chemical weapons detectors. This area certainly feels tightly controlled" ("Nightly News," NBC, 1/22).

    FOR THE LAYMEN: NBC Olympic Broadcast Group President Gary Zenkel said, “It's not a traditional sports audience that just wants to know who won and who lost, and because the result may be known in advance means people are going to turn away. In fact, we've seen in London the opposite is true" ("Street Smart," Bloomberg TV, 1/22).

    AN AWARD BY ANY OTHER NAME: Denver Post columnist Woody Paige, on MLB Commissioner Bud Selig winning the first-ever Commissioner Bud Selig Leadership Award: "Cy Young never won the Cy Young Award, Bud. Vince Lombardi never won the Vince Lombardi Award. Why in the world would you even accept an award in your name? Just back off and wait until you actually accomplish something" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 1/22).

    DEAR RICHARD: ESPN's Jemele Hill, on Seahawks CB Richard Sherman: "Don't try to sell me on this idea that you're sorry about the attention but you're capitalizing on all the attention" ("Numbers Never Lie," ESPN2, 1/22).

  • TV Timeout: Dangers In The Safety Dance

    Fox' Daryl Johnston, on the NFL looking into doing away with PATs: “When you talk about safety, how long is it going to be until they change the game at its foundation point? I think this is one of those changes” (“Fox Football Daily,” FS1, 1/21).

    YOU'VE COME A LONG WAY, BABY: Former PGA Tour Commissioner Deane Beman: "I thought, when I played the tour that golf was undervalued and the athletes were under paid and I thought that golf should be a major sport when I became commissioner with a minor sport. It took 20 years to really put the framework together. ... The NFL Super Bowl had been played for 13 or 14 years, so we knew big money was already in sports. But it certainly wasn't in golf from the standpoint of the organization. It was big because of Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, and they made a lot of money, but the rest of the players did not” (“Morning Drive,” Golf Channel, 1/21).

    BITING THE HAND THAT FEEDS: CBS Sports Network's Allie LaForce said of Alex Rodriguez suing the MLBPA, “That is the strongest union in all of pro sports. They have developed the reputation as the sternest and best union when it comes to protecting their players and this guy’s going to try to bring them down with him? The players union is the reason that he’s getting his contract still. ... If this were the NFL, he would've been done a long time ago” (“Lead Off,” CBSSN, 1/21). 

  • TV Timeout: The Importance Of Being Peyton

    Indianapolis Star’s Bob Kravitz, on Broncos QB Peyton Manning’s impact on the city of Indianapolis: “We wouldn’t have Lucas Oil Stadium without Peyton Manning, we wouldn’t have had the Super Bowl which was such a rousing success here in Indianapolis and quite honestly, I don’t know that we would still have this franchise in Indianapolis” (“OTL,” ESPN2, 1/19).

    GOING NUTS? ESPN’s Jemele Hill said of Dodgers P Clayton Kershaw‘s new contract, “If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result than it's official, the Dodgers are nuts” (“Sports Reporters,” ESPN2, 1/19).

    BANNER YEAR: CBS Sports Net’s Jason  La Canfora, on who makes the final decision for the Browns’ head coaching hire: “Its (CEO) Joe Banner’s team, he was given the keys to that kingdom. Mind, body, spirit, soul, it’s yours” (“That Other Pregame Show,” CBSSN, 1/19).

    GLOBAL INFLUENCE: ESPN’s Darren Cahill said of Japanese tennis player Kei Nishikori, “He’s also one of the wealthiest young men in tennis. He has 11 key sponsorships, ranging from Uniqlo, the company that he is wearing with his clothes, to adidas shoes, to Wilson tennis rackets, to Delta Airlines. I think he’s No. 3 or 4 behind Nadal, Djokovic and Federer in money earned off the court in tennis” (“Australian Open,” ESPN2, 1/19).

  • SBJ Podcast: Our thoughts on David Stern

    NBA writer John Lombardo and Executive Editor Abraham Madkour discuss David Stern's impact on the NBA and what his future might hold, in conjunction with SBJ's tribute to Stern's 30 years as commissioner of the league.

    Tags: NBA, SBJSBD Podcast
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