ESPN leads all networks with 52 nominations for the Sports Emmy Awards, followed by NBC with 25 and HBO with 22 (THE DAILY). DAILY VARIETY's Stuart Levine noted ESPN/ABC's coverage of the '10 FIFA World Cup was the "most honored event with 12 noms, slightly above the 11 earned by NBC for its coverage of the Vancouver Olympics." This year's Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to NBC's Al Michaels during the May 2 ceremony at Frederick P. Rose Hall in N.Y. (VARIETY.com, 3/22). See nominees in select categories below.
INSTANT CLASSIC: In Pittsburgh, Rob Rossi reports HBO's "24/7 Penguins-Capitals: Road to the Winter Classic" earned seven total nominations. Penguins VP/Communications Tom McMillan "wasn't surprised by the Sports Emmy nominations." McMillan: "The series was phenomenal, due in large part to the talent and creativity of the HBO crew. They presented hockey in a way that people hadn't seen it before -- even those of us who work in the game. We'll be rooting for them to win" (Pittsburgh TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 3/23).
UEFA President Michel Platini yesterday confirmed that "all 53 member associations had agreed to a collective selling model" for TV rights to international qualifiers beginning in '14, according to Owen Gibson of the GUARDIAN. England's Football Association "had been concerned that it would be left disadvantaged by the plan but has succeeded in securing minimum guarantees that will bring in about" $41M (all figures U.S.) a year. UEFA as part of the negotiations "dropped an earlier idea to try and centralise the sponsorship and marketing rights." UEFA "will market the collective rights to European Championships and World Cup qualifiers in four-year cycles, beginning in 2014." That leaves the FA "with a dilemma over its FA Cup rights." Under four-year deals "signed at the height of the market, the rights to FA Cup and England internationals were sold" for $695M domestically and $245M overseas. But Setanta, which contributed $245M, then "collapsed into administration and the FA filled the hole by signing a new four-year deal with ESPN." With the two contracts -- one with ITV and one with ESPN -- now "out of sync, it is understood that the FA will attempt to sell a two-year deal to either ITV or the BBC in order to harmonise the cycles again" (GUARDIAN, 3/23). In Ireland, Daniel McDonnell notes UEFA still has to "fully thrash out terms with the various broadcasters and sports agencies around the continent" (Irish INDEPENDENT, 3/23).
The Buccaneers reportedly are the leading candidate to appear on HBO's "Hard Knocks" this summer, and coach Raheem Morris said of participating in the series, "There are a bunch of positives, some negatives. I'm about promoting the beauty of our league. It's something out there in the air. I don't shy away from anything. I want the world to know [QB] Josh Freeman, and some of these young players who make plays for him" (TAMPABAY.com, 3/22). However, columnist Kevin Blackistone said the Buccaneers are a "bad choice" because "you need something with a little bit more sizzle" ("PTI," ESPN, 3/22). Fox Sports Radio's Matt Smith said the Buccaneers "do have interesting personalities," but "you can't top the Jets," the team featured in last year's series ("Jim Rome Is Burning," ESPN, 3/22). Meanwhile, ESPN's Bomani Jones said, "I want to see the only NFL team guaranteed to have a training camp: 'NFL Hard Knocks Park Avenue.' Roger Goodell, Jeff Pash and the other guys that are running football right now" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 3/22).
HITTING A HOME RUN: YAHOO SPORTS' Kevin Kaduk noted MLB's "answer to HBO's Hard Knocks or 24/7 may have finally arrived" in the form of the Showtime series chronicling the Giants. An online trailer features "lots of good behind-the-scenes stuff." Kaduk: "It's apparent from this trailer that the Giants really provide the most relevant mix of great off-field characters and newsworthy on-field challenges to make this a success" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 3/22).
NOT IN THE CARDS ... RIGHT NOW: USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand notes Univ. of Louisville men's basketball coach Rick Pitino will appear on ESPN's studio shows on Thursday and Friday after appearing as an analyst on CBS last weekend. He said that he "would enjoy being an analyst on games or studio shows and does want to stay in the game in some capacity after coaching." But Pitino said a move to TV this year is "highly unlikely." Pitino: "I see myself coaching next year" (USA TODAY, 3/23).
STICKING TO THE ORIGINAL SCRIPT: Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he is "not going to appear on Mike Francesa's WFAN radio show nearly every weekday during the season, as Francesa announced earlier this month." Francesa had said that Girardi would appear briefly between 1:30-2:00pm ET "before every Yankees weekday night game in addition to his regular, lengthier spot on Thursday afternoons." But Girardi said, "The way it was announced is not the way it was talked about. It just didn't work out the way we thought it was going to work out" (NEWSDAY, 3/21).