• TV Timeout: Friday Night's Alright For Fighting

    Boxing HOFer Mike Tyson was a guest on "Conan" last night, discussing his new foray into the world of promoting. He called his most recent "Friday Night Fights" event on ESPN "pretty successful," adding that the ratings were what "ESPN believed would happen." When looking for a fighter to promote, Tyson wants someone similar to himself. Tyson: "He wants to be somebody in his life. Maybe he's an insecure guy, maybe people don't respect his family and he wants respect." Conan O'Brien interjected, "Someone who has that edge." Tyson: "No, that he wants to hurt somebody" ("Conan," TBS, 9/4).

    THERE'S AN APP FOR THAT: CBSSN’s Doug Gottlieb was not impressed with the NFLPA partnering with the "Uber" mobile app to help players find a ride to avoid drunk driving incidences, saying, "The NFLPA is kind of taking credit for an app that pre-existed. All players had to do was call a number that was already in their phones. Now all they have to do is press a button that’s in their phones” (“Lead Off,” CBSSN, 9/4).

    LICENSE TO DRIVE: NASCAR driver Kurt Busch said Stewart-Haas Racing co-Owner Gene Haas is a "self-made millionaire that's never had a business partner as such, and he just shoots from the hip as he goes." Busch: "We talked at Indianapolis, we even talked a year ago about this potential type of move. Tony (Stewart) was hung-up with the broken leg. It wasn't quite the formal discussion of it, but Gene Haas was like, 'Hey, I'm going to roll with this'" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 9/4).

  • NCAA asks administrators how they’d redesign Division I athletics

    The NCAA has posted a “Call for Proposals” page online, asking college administrators to provide feedback on how they’d redesign Division I athletics. Among the many questions asked are:

    What should the membership structure look like?
    Should there be further division of schools?
    Can one structure work, or does the NCAA need a different set of rules and championships for each division?
    How should the Division I board be structured? It currently comprises 18 university presidents and chancellors.

    Should athletic directors or faculty members be a part of the board? Should there be a subcommittee of ADs that provide direction to the board?

    The answers to these questions will go a long way toward determining whether the big five conferences — the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC — should play in their own division, a key question hovering over the NCAA.

    Other hot-button issues, such as paying athletes a stipend or a salary, are not part of this survey.

    A special email address has been established to collect the feedback from administrators.

    This is part of a six-month process the NCAA initiated in August to solicit ideas from its membership. This document at http://redesigndivisiononegov.org/ provides direction for the survey, which is due in November.

    Another phase will be implemented on Oct. 29 when the NCAA invites administrators to go before the board and present ideas. Among those groups will be: ADs; faculty athletic reps; commissioners; members of the student-athlete advisory committee; and others.

    The information gathered by the Division I board will be used at the NCAA Convention in San Diego on Jan. 16-17 as part of a town hall meeting for all Division I members.

    The NCAA says the board will look for a strong consensus in certain areas and use that as a basis for future change.

    Wake Forest President Nathan Hatch, the chairman of the Division I board, has appointed a steering committee to guide the redesign. They are:

    • Gene Block, chancellor, UCLA
    • Rita Cheng, chancellor, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
    • Michael Drake, chancellor, University of California, Irvine
    • David Leebron, president, Rice University
    • Harris Pastides, president, University of South Carolina
    • Kirk Schulz, president, Kansas State University

    Tags: Colleges
  • TV Timeout: “The Newsroom” Riffs On Sports

    HBO's "The Newsroom" this week featured a sports-centered exchange between Jeff Daniels' Will McAvoy character and Emily Mortimer's MacKenzie McHale character, who is British. McAvoy was watching a UCLA-Cal football game, when McHale said, "You'll watch anything, won't you?"

    McHale: "Why are there two clocks?"
    McAvoy: "One's the game clock and one's the play clock. The game clock is showing how much time is left in the quarter. The play clock shows how much time is left to get off the play."
    McHale: "You only have a certain amount of time to complete the play?"
    McAvoy: "They only have a certain amount of time to start the play."
    McHale: "Don't have that rule in soccer."
    McAvoy: "They don't have any rules in soccer. That's why you think a game that ends in a zero-zero tie is --"
    McHale: "It's called nil-nil. … Do any other sports have enforced pacing? Does baseball?"
    McAvoy: "No, pitchers commonly go for a sandwich between pitches. Golf, you can be penalized for slow play. Hockey, you can hang onto the puck for as long as you want, but before too long, a guy named Lars is going to hurt you. Basketball has a shot clock. You've got 24 seconds to put up a shot, or in college it's 35. Tennis, you can lose a point for slow play."
    Before leaving the room, McHale looks at the TV and says enthusiastically, "Go, Bruins. Beat the Golden Bears. Beat them as hard as you can. Beat them with impunity."
    McAvoy: "You have no idea what you're saying."
    McHale: "I know."

    The subtext of the discussion of pace-of-play was that the show's fictional ACN news operation may have rushed a story to press without completing due diligence on the facts.

  • TV Timeout: The Return Of Jason

    ESPN’s Jason Whitlock yesterday made his first appearance as a fill-in on "PTI" since his return to ESPN. Below are a few of his more compelling comments.

    -- Jokingly comparing Johnny Manziel's half-game suspension to his hiatus from ESPN: "I got seven years for nothing!"

    -- On the banners featuring Joe Flacco that the NFL hung in Denver to promote next week's season-opener: "Do you know where the easiest place to hide incompetence is, inside a successful organization. There’s no more a successful organization than the National Football League. This is incompetence from the league office. ... This is as bad as Janet Jackson’s nipple at halftime. It's that kind of incompetence." 

    -- On the reported feud between Nets Owner Mikhail Prokhorov and Knicks Owner James Dolan, "These are two wimpy billionaires bickering. ... This is great for the league. These types of feuds and rivalries is what would drive this league. ... It’s going to drive interest into those two franchises."

    -- On Robert Griffin III: "He wants to be Kardashian" (“PTI,” ESPN, 8/28).

  • TV Timeout: Hey Rickie, You're So Fine

    Golf Channel's Kelly Tilghman praised Rickie Fowler for his comedic role in a series of Farmers Insurance spots, calling him “a breath of fresh air." Tilghman: "He's loaded with color, obviously, through his wardrobe and the guy can flat-out play the game of golf. This is the new generation." Golf Channel's Steve Flesch said the ads are "right up the social media alley" and it's "building your image, it’s marketing yourself and you have to have the personality and the gumption to do it. Ricky's doing a good job of it. He's got a little strain of mischief that runs through his blood" ("Morning Drive," Golf Channel, 8/28).

    BYRD WAS THE WORD: ESPN’s Mike Golic said of the Mets trading OF Marlon Byrd the day of a planned promotion featuring Byrd T-shirts: “Obviously you can’t let that interfere with business, but could this have happened a day later? Would it be worse to have Marlon Byrd night to honor Marlon Byrd and then the next day he’s with the Pirates? ... I’m sure that some people think when they read something like that is, ‘Is there no communication anywhere in this organization?’” (“Mike & Mike,” ESPN Radio, 8/28). 

    AMATEUR HOUR? ESPN's Keith Olbermann: "The simple truth is there isn't such thing as 'college' football. ... What we cover and what you watch from East Lansing to College Station to Pasadena, that is college pro football. It's a professional sport. It operates to print money. It's first or second-most marketable asset is paid at the level of, and as inconsistently as, summer interns” ("Olbermann," ESPN2, 8/27).

    EASTERN PROMISES: ESPN’s Chrissie Evert, on the emergence of Chinese tennis players: “I give a lot of credit to Li Na and her leadership, and she told that Chinese Tennis Federation, ‘No, I’m not going to give you 60 percent of my prize money anymore. I want my own coach and I’m going to travel to America.’ She paved the way for all these other Chinese tennis players; very bold move” ("U.S. Open," ESPN2, 8/27).

    A STAR IS BORN: ABC’s Lara Spencer said Haitian tennis player Victoria Duval is "the new darling of the U.S. Open” (“GMA," ABC, 8/28).

    TRAVEL TIPS: ESPN’s Chris Fowler, on fans commuting to Queens for the U.S. Open: “You've got to get the express, the local train out here will kill you” ("U.S. Open," ESPN2, 8/27).

  • Bellator's Making First Foray Into Pay-Per-View Market

    MMA promotion Bellator announced recently it will hold on Nov. 2 in Long Beach,, Calif., its first pay-per-view event. Bellator Chair & CEO Bjorn Rebney said of the prospects of holding future PPV events, “We don’t have any specific plan right now, but I think what happens on Nov. 2 in Long Beach on pay-per-view is going to be a really good indicator of how quickly we get back into that arena of the game.” Rebney said Bellator is not using a set price for the PPV, instead charging between $35-$45. Rebney: “What we’ve done is gone to the different distribution partners and sat in the meetings -- they have differing parts of the country they believe have differing appetites at different price points, so they asked us for some flexibility.” He added, “The pay-per-view industry is not the cornerstone of our business. The UFC does pay-per-views once and sometimes twice a month. I think they do 15 a year at this point, and that’s the primary driver for their business. That’s not the primary driver for our business.”

    He said of Bellator’s traditional tournaments featuring in this or future PPVs, "That’s purely a timing issue. We kick off Sept. 7, and then we’ve got the pay-per-view Nov. 2, so it falls in an area where you’re at the tail end of the semifinals, probably the last week of semifinals, and the beginning of finals.” Rebney: “You could conceivably see a tournament final on the pay-per-view, but it’s literally right at that tipping point. I think we have two more weeks of programming after our pay-per-view in terms of Spike, so if we can get one of the finals on, absolutely.”

    Rebney said the promotion’s reality show on Spike, “Fight Master: Bellator MMA,” has “been a good show.” He said, “I think (Exec Producer Bertram van Munster) and the team did a good job on it, there were some very interesting fighters who have the potential to have a good run with Bellator that came out of it.” Rebney said of the future of the show: “My central focus has been this fall season, which I think is the most stacked season we’ve ever done. At some point, probably within the next couple months, (Spike President Kevin Kay) and I are going to have to talk about the future of that show, and what could conceptually come next, but there haven’t been discussions yet.”

  • TV Timeout: Playing At The Net

    WHAT THEY'RE SAYING AT THE U.S. OPEN: ESPN’s John McEnroe on James Blake announcing his retirement: “I hope that (Andy) Roddick didn’t start a trend, because we are going to run out of Americans if this keeps up.”

    Venus Williams: “It’s good to be here, to see familiar faces since my first time in 1997 with the braids and the beads, so it’s good to be back. ... I’ve got no kids, I’ve no husband, I have, like, no responsibilities so I’ll be playing tennis.”

    Chrissie Evert on the crowd at Louis Armstrong Stadium for Sloane Stephens' opening round victory: "Little rowdiness in this crowd versus Arthur Ashe stadium.” Pam Shriver added, “I like New York rowdy, and at Armstrong, they sit pretty close to the court here and a lot of the stadium is filled with rounds-passed ticket-holders. It can be a very different atmosphere than in Ashe" ("U.S. Open," ESPN2, 8/26).

    THEIR LOSS, OUR NET GAIN: Tennis Channel Chair & CEO Ken Solomon said the net is seeing increased revenues, with "our ad sales growing about an average rate" of 35% a year. Solomon added the Time Warner-CBS carriage dispute is "interesting timing for tennis fans" because Time Warner has "decided to put Tennis Channel on in the interim" for subscribers in New York, L.A. and Chicago. Fox Business' Cheryl Casone: "It could be really good for the Tennis Channel if this dispute continues" ("Markets Now," 8/26).

    WHAT'S THAT RAQUET? Prince Global Sports CEO Mike Ballardie: "The lesson I'm learning is we spread ourselves too thin in our distribution. We went too wide and we went too low in terms of price and image of the brand, and so we're retrenching a little bit. We're going to focus on our specialty and our core customers, and we're going to rebuild as a premium performance and innovative brand" ("Fox Business After the Bell," Fox Business, 8/26).

    PRODUCT PLACEMENT: American Express VP/Entertainment Marketing & Sponsorships Deborah Curtis said the U.S. Open "has always been important" for AmEx and "continues to rise in importance" as a marketing vehicle for the company ("Markets Now," Fox Business, 8/26). 

    DRIVING McDREAMY? Actor Patrick Dempsey appeared on CBS' “Late Show” last night, and host David Letterman asked about driving in the 24-hours of Le Mans, “I hate to ask this, but are you the slow guy on the team?” Dempsey: “I hate to say yes, but you know, I’m a second off here and there" (“Late Show,” CBS, 8/26).

    FANS IN THE DRIVER'S SEAT: NASCAR CMO Steve Phelps described the "actionable data" that the NASCAR Fan & Media Engagement Center is capable of mining: "If we see that fans are confused about a particular call in a race or something happens with a promotional (event), we're able to react immediately and either have our broadcast partner make that change and retell the story in some fashion. But it allows us to do it importantly in real-time." Phelps noted NASCAR is paying HP for the data services, and they "also have an official partnership with them" ("Squawk Box," CNBC, 8/26).

    THE FARMER SAYS: ESPN's Keith Olbermann compared the NFL Super Bowl Selection Committee's decision to award the big game to New York/New Jersey to co-eds picking early morning classes. He said, "This is like when you were in college or high school and it was time to select your courses for next semester and you said, 'Sure, I'll take one at 7:00am. Why not? That's months from now.' Well howdy, it's suddenly months from now" ("Olbermann," ESPN2, 8/26).

  • TV Timeout: Playoffs Paying Off

    PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said of the FedExCup Playoffs, now in their sixth year, "The players are more and more into it, the fans are into it, so that's working really well. And then this year we start our new schedule, so that when we finish the playoffs and the FedExCup is awarded, it also triggers the ballots going out for Player of the Year the players vote on. It also triggers the Arnold Palmer Award, so everything comes to a real end for the first time really in our history of the Tour" ("The Barclays," CBS, 8/25).

    FOOT THE BILL? NBCSN's Kyle Martino said new EPL club Fulham Owner Shahid Khan is "spending money and he's doing the right things, he's said the right things." Martino: "From the moment he came in he understands the culture and is making big signings. You talk about Arsenal, you talk about some other London rivals that aren't spending money, and Shahid Khan's come in and let this team go acquire some players that can make a big difference" ("Premier League Live," NBCSN, 8/24).

    A CLOSE SHAVE? Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan: “Is Brian Wilson enough a man of principle to resist a million-dollar offer to shave his beard and then be a spokesman for 800Razors.com? We shall see” (“The Sports Reporters,” ESPN, 8/25).

    Tags: PGA Tour, English Premier League, Los Angeles Dodgers
  • HBO Documentary 'Glickman,' Debuting Today, Tells Remarkable Story

    Marty Glickman's career included announcing New York Giants, Knicks and Rangers games.
    Photo by: COURTESY OF HBO
    Debuting tonight on HBO is “Glickman,” a documentary about the life of longtime New York announcer Marty Glickman. Christopher Botta reviewed an advance copy of the film and shares his thoughts.

    “Glickman” is a three-star documentary on a four-star subject — a play-by-play announcer with a remarkable backstory that transcends sports.

    For more than 40 years, starting in the 1940s, Marty Glickman’s career included announcing New York Giants, Knicks and Rangers games, along with doing national work for the NBA and on NBC and HBO. Late in his life, which ended in 2001, Glickman was hired by NBC to coach its play-by-play announcers.

    Glickman was a member of the U.S. track team at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games.
    Photo by: COURTESY OF HBO
    A lot of time is spent in the 80-minute documentary showcasing interviews with prime figures in sports, including announcers Marv Albert, Bob Costas and Mike Breen; NBC Commissioner David Stern; and Giants co-owner John Mara. Also featured are actors Elliott Gould and Jerry Stiller, both native New Yorkers, who praise Glickman’s style of play-by-play.

    Much of this portion of the film becomes redundant and is not the most insightful. Albert and Stiller come off best, probably because Albert knew Glickman best on a personal level, and Stiller, a huge Knicks fan, is clearly fond and knowledgeable of Glickman’s work. Where “Glickman” really shines is in its opening 30 minutes, which details the Bronx-born Glickman’s rise as a sprinter. What happens when Glickman arrives in Berlin in 1936 as a Jewish member of the U.S. Olympic track team (the team that starred Jesse Owens) is a vital history lesson. With rare footage and strong storytelling by writer, producer, director and narrator James L. Freedman, Glickman’s Olympic saga and his time in the U.S. Marines are given proper justice. Near the end of the film, there is a remarkable coda to the Berlin tale.

    Martin Scorcese is an executive producer of “Glickman.” It is easy to see why Scorcese, another legendary New York native, would lend his support to this story about an iconic New Yorker and heroic American.

    It has its imperfections, but in the end, “Glickman” is a notable documentary that deserves a large audience.

    “Glickman” debuts today at 9 p.m. ET/PT, with frequent repeats across HBO’s channels the following three weeks.

    Tags: HBO, Christopher Botta, New York Giants, NBA, NBC
  • TV Timeout: Ticket Punching

    Speculation of the NFL selling the rights to its Sunday Ticket to Google continues to be a hot topic. optionMONSTER co-Founder and CNBC contributor Pete Najarian said, “I don't think you can dismiss how popular this would be with advertisers, the ability to target more directly through the Internet these folks that are watching the game … and it does open up the line for betting even more so online" ("Fast Money Halftime Report," CNBC, 8/21).

    QUASI EVIL? ESPN's Max Kellerman, on Lakers G Kobe Bryant selling his mansion, which includes a theater room and shark tank for $8.6M: "Who is he, Dr. Evil?" ("SportsNation," ESPN2, 8/21).

    NO, THANK YOU: When asked what it would take for him to leave the golf course and return to the retail business, former Reebok Int'l Chair & CEO and current Liberty National co-Owner Paul Fireman said, "Much greater incentive than anything you could offer me. I like where I am. I have no ambition to run anything except the private equity company I work with and I love coaching young people and new businesses and businesses that need help. I do not want to be at the head anymore" (“Squawk on the Street," CNBC, 8/21).

    GOLDEN STATE: ESPN's Kellerman said of the Lakers wearing jerseys with sleeves: "I love the colors actually. Green. That's all it's about. It's not to show off or not show off their guns, their pipes. It's because the Lakers can now market these short-sleeve jerseys to make more money." Co-Host Marcellus Wiley added, "But as old as the Lakers are, shouldn't they wear long-sleeves or sweaters or something like that, whatever old people like to wear" ("SportsNation," ESPN2, 8/21).

    BASEBRAWL: UFC President Dana White said of UFC events, "People always ask me, the people who have never been to a UFC fight, they're like, 'Can I bring my kids? Can I bring my wife? Can I bring my girlfriend?' I'm like, 'Are you serious?' Nothing happens at a UFC fight, everybody's cool. Go to a Yankees-Red Sox game! You want to see crazy, go to a Yankees-Red Sox game" ("Fox Sports Live," FS1, 8/21).

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