In St. Petersburg, Damian Cristodero notes Lightning VP & GM Steve Yzerman believes Versus "unnecessarily" criticized the Lightning during a Nov. 9 game against the Flyers. Yzerman said that it is time to "put the whole 1-3-1 controversy to bed ... especially as it pertains to Versus, whose commentators, he believes, unfairly ignited the whole thing in the first place." Yzerman: "At this stage we decided we have no interest in getting into a feud with Versus." But he added the team holds the "right that we may not cooperate in the future" if Versus analysts "improperly" or "unnecessarily" criticize the team. Cristodereo notes Versus' broadcast of the Lightning-Wild game was the "first with the Lightning since the Philadelphia game, when analysts Mike Milbury, Keith Jones and Pierre McGuire piled on the Lightning for using the defensive 1-3-1 formation they said produces boring hockey" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 11/29).
THE MAGIC FORMULA: The GUARDIAN's John Plunkett noted BSkyB is set to "launch a new sports channel devoted entirely to Formula One motor racing and will use it to drive takeup of high definition television." Sky Sports F1 HD will be the broadcaster's "first channel devoted to a single sport." Sky "bagged UK TV rights to Formula One for the first time earlier this year in a joint deal with the BBC, which previously had exclusive coverage of the sport." The channel, which will "broadcast for all of the nine-month F1 season from next year, will be available to subscribers to Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2, and to non-sports customers who subscribe to its HD services." Sky Sports subscribers without HD "will receive a standard definition version." The broadcaster has "decided to broadcast each race free of ad breaks" (GUARDIAN, 11/25).
SWITCHING SIDES: ESPN.com's Dan Rafael cited sources as saying that Victor Ortiz will fight Andre Berto "at a site to be determined either Jan. 28 or Feb. 11." The fight will be "televised on Showtime, rather than rival HBO, which aired the first bout and has invested millions into the careers of Berto and Ortiz, putting on all of their notable fights over the past several years." A source said that Showtime "bought the fight for $2.25 million," which was "considerably more than HBO's initial offer of $1.75 million and just $100,000 more than HBO's final offer of $2.15 million, the same amount it paid for the first bout" (ESPN.com, 11/24).