ESPN/ABC yesterday extended its deal with IndyCar, and in Indianapolis, Curt Cavin wrote it is "fair to say the ABC/ESPN deal was IndyCar’s best offer, and it was probably its best offer by far." Cavin: "I have talked to a half-dozen people so far on all sides of the aisle and not one has told me NBC was going to put races on network AND commit to paying the rights fee that ABC/ESPN has." However, he added NBC "sees IndyCar as a nice product for the soon-to-be-named NBC Sports Channel, and it sees opportunity for growth" (INDYSTAR.com, 8/10).
PLAYING FAVORITES? Univ. of South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier Tuesday appeared on "The Dan Patrick Show" and said he was not sure whether the Univ. of Texas' Longhorn Network was a "fair deal or not" for other schools in the Big 12. When asked about a hypothetical Univ. of Alabama network, Spurrier said, "When Alabama had that ‘Hard Knocks,’ we weren’t all real happy with it. ... The week of the national championship game, ESPN kept playing that commercial, ‘Roll Tide, roll Tide, roll Tide.’ I even asked our commissioner, ‘How much did Alabama pay those guys to do that?’ He said, ‘They didn’t have to pay them anything.’ I said, ‘Well, what happened to ‘Go Gators’ or ‘Rocky Top’ or ‘Go Gamecocks.’ I didn’t think that was all that fair. But as we know, sometimes life isn’t all that fair. We just sort of complain a little bit and then move on” (“The Dan Patrick Show,” 8/9).
COACHES' CORNER: In N.Y., Richard Sandomir noted former NFL coach Bill Parcells is rejoining ESPN this season, and while he "has never been as interesting or quotable" as a studio analyst as he was on the sidelines, "he had the type of credentials that ESPN loves." Parcells won two Super Bowls as a head coach and amassed 172 NFL victories. Conversely, Sandomir noted new ESPN hire Eric Mangini's 33-47 record as an NFL coach, "combined with his blandness, inaccessibility and secrecy as a coach, do not suggest TV greatness" (NYTIMES.com, 8/10).
CHOOSE YOUR WORDS CAREFULLY: GOLFWEEK's Martin Kaufmann notes CBS announcer David Feherty landed a "rare, perhaps unprecedented," interview with caddie Steve Williams after last week's WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, but Feherty's initiall 79-word question was too "convoluted." Kaufmann: "When in the name of Jimmy Roberts is CBS either going to coach up Feherty and Peter Kostis on interview techniques or hire someone who can ask a simple, concise question?" (GOLFWEEK, 8/12 issue).