SI’s Richard Deitsch examined new Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer's tenure at ESPN and asked, “What did Meyer owe ESPN viewers during his 10-month broadcasting tenure? I'd argue much more than he ultimately gave them.” His representatives “were clearly negotiating with Ohio State for a couple of weeks," as an Ohio State blog "reported as early as Nov. 17 that Meyer had agreed to deal.” Deitsch: “Where I have an objection with ESPN management is this: If you sense or know your broadcaster is negotiating with a university or pro team, why not pull that person from the airwaves during the time he or she is negotiating.” Clearly, the broadcaster's first priority “is no longer the viewer or the network.” In Meyer's case, “we are also talking about an analyst with less than a year's tenure.” ESPN has “plenty of college football talent without him.” ESPN Exec VP/Production Norby Williamson said of hiring Meyer, "I think it was successful. In the year that he was here, he made us better” (SI.com, 11/29).
POPULARITY CONTEST: WFLX-Fox in West Palm Beach will televise Broncos-Vikings at 1:00pm ET Sunday. The matchup “ordinarily would not be a big draw on television, but with Tebow quarterbacking the suddenly streaking Broncos, there should be plenty of interest.” The game “will go head-to-head with the Dolphins' home game against Oakland,” which is scheduled to be televised by CBS, “assuming the Dolphins sell (or give away) enough tickets to avoid a local blackout” (PALMBEACHPOST.com, 11/29).
WINTER BASEBALL COVERAGE: ESPN will cover the '11 MLB Winter Meetings with a daily set of programs from Monday through Thursday, including on-site talent including Karl Ravech, Steve Berthiaume, John Kruk and Chris Singleton. In addition to regular coverage on ESPN, ESPNews will carry "SportsCenter Special at the Winter Meetings" every night at 6:00 pm. Plus, ESPN2 will carry "Baseball Tonight" telecasts, generally at midnight every day during the week (John Ourand, THE DAILY).