GOLF.com writers commented on the PGA Tour's new nine-year broadcast agreements with CBS and NBC, and Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem's role in securing the deals. Michael Bamberger wrote, "Tim Finchem must take a bow. Details weren't released but the Tour got a TV deal for the next nine years and purses are going up. ... Finchem and the players saw the economic reality and didn't ask for the moon and I think the decisions they made last week will serve the game well for years to come." Alan Shipnuck added, "This deal clinches Finchem's spot in the commish hall of fame." David Dusek: "Finchem earned whatever golden parachute is in his contract. ... While we wondered how Finchem and his team were going to make that happen in this economic environment, they just went out and got it done." But Gary Van Sickle wrote, "I'll be more optimistic when the hard numbers come out. That the Tour remains on CBS and NBC is quite a coup. Still, it feels like pro golf in America is shrinking" (GOLF.com, 9/6).
IN THE RING: BROADCASTING & CABLE's Ben Grossman reported the WWE "began running spots for its potential new network on Monday," as ads for a WWE Network appeared during "Monday Night Raw" on USA Network. The promos did not give a launch date, but indicated that the net "would be coming in 2012." Grossman noted the ads "included a mix of classic (think Andre The Giant) and current wrestling clips" (BROADCASTINGCABLE.com 9/6). CABLEFAX DAILY notes details surrounding the launch "remain limited." WWE "declined to comment" following the promos, but has said in the past that it "favors a network model featuring multichannel ops as investors." Comcast-NBCUniversal "appears a viable candidate for part ownership of a WWE net given how USA and Syfy both enjoy successful WWE shows and are WWE's last remaining cable partners" (CABLEFAX DAILY, 9/7).
HE'S IN THE GAME: In N.Y., Bob Raissman noted EA Sports' "Madden NFL 12" was just released with Gus Johnson on the play-by-play, and industry sources said that this iteration "is likely Johnson's last Madden game call." But the Fox announcer said that that would be "news to him." Johnson: "From what I understand everything is a go for next year. Nothing has been expressed to me about any changes." Raissman noted "Madden" analyst Cris Collinsworth "is still under contract to EA" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/4).
TAKING IT TO THE NET: Basketball writer Chris Sheridan announced yesterday on Twitter that he has left ESPN after six years and launched a new website, www.sheridanhoops.com (TWITTER.com, 9/6).