In New Jersey, Tom Gulitti reported NBC “blocked the Devils from holding a viewing party for their fans at Prudential Center” for last night’s Devils-Rangers Eastern Conference Finals Game Five after “allowing them to hold one" for Game Two last week. The Rangers, who had a viewing party at MSG for Game Four Monday night, also “will not be permitted to have one" for Game Six tomorrow. A source said that NBC’s decision “was ratings related.” Gulitti noted NBC Sports “did something similar” during the ‘09 playoffs when the Penguins were showing games on a video screen outside old Mellon Arena (NJ.com, 5/23). NBC in a statement said, "Viewing parties can have an adverse affect on viewership and, hence, on our obligations to our advertisers, sponsors and affiliates" (THE DAILY).
SOME THINGS BEST KEPT UNSAID: In Baltimore, Mike Preston writes he hopes ESPN “keeps the microphones out of team huddles” this weekend during the NCAA D-I men’s lacrosse Final Four in Foxboro, Mass. Viewers last weekend “heard a lot of foul language from coaches and some players because those microphones were open.” Preston writes, "There are times when emotions get the best of those involved in the game, but those moments inside a huddle don’t need to be captured on TV, especially from 18-to-22 year-old men” (Baltimore SUN, 5/24).
GENO GETS A NEW NAME: In Hartford, John Altavilla noted SportsNet N.Y. Senior VP/Production & Exec Producer Curt Gowdy Jr. has plans to take Univ. of Connecticut women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma’s show “in a different direction.” There will be a “new show, tentatively to be called ‘Geno’s Legacy,’ intended to feature the coach chatting with a player who has made a difference.” Gowdy is in the process “of reviewing broadcast candidates.” Gowdy said that there “will be a sideline reporter and that ‘we will have more access to Geno during and before games.’” SNY President Steve Raab said that the net “will work with UConn to determine what starting times are best for the women” (COURANT.com, 5/23).
TRAIL BLAZER: SHERMANREPORT.com's Ed Sherman noted Pam Ward and Beth Mowins “were the only two women calling college football games for ESPN last year,” and when the net “cuts the field of female play-by-play voices in half, that’s news.” The net announced earlier this week Ward will not call games this season. She was the “first woman play-by-play voice on college football, beginning her run” in ‘00. Sherman wrote, “ESPN gave her 11 years. It’s not as if Ward was moved out simply because she is a woman” (SHERMANREPORT.com, 5/22).