In Buffalo, John Vogl reported the Sabres made "numerous changes to their television and radio broadcasts.” Rick Jeanneret has signed “a multiyear contract and will do play-by-play for more games than he did last season, when he took several breaks.” Rob Ray “will replace Harry Neale as the lead color analyst.” Neale will join Mike Robitaille “as a regular analyst on the pregame show and intermission reports, while Robitaille will continue to do the postgame show.” Most of Kevin Sylvester's duties “will be on the radio.” Brian Duff “has signed a full-time deal to serve as the host for all the television broadcasts on MSG” (BUFFALO NEWS, 6/12).
KICKED TO THE CORNER: The U.S. men's national soccer team tied Guatemala 1-1 last night, and in Houston, Jose de Jesus Ortiz wrote the television situation for the game made it “sad day in America and a definite step back for soccer in the U.S." The game was only available on PPV in the U.S. -- CONCACAF rules stipulate the host country owns the television rights to games played on its home soil, and Guatemala was unable to come to terms a U.S. outlet. By contrast, Mexico’s World Cup qualifier yesterday aired for free on Televisa. Ortiz: “If soccer is going to make greater strides in the U.S., we need to have the World Cup qualifiers over the air. Free.” MLS and the U.S. Soccer Federation “should buy the rights and use the games as giant infomercials for MLS.” It would be “a great investment in soccer in America” (CHRON.com, 6/12).
NOT THEIR JOB: In N.Y., Tim Rohan asked NCAA President Mark Emmert if he worries conferences “may someday have too much power, leading to a splintering of the NCAA.” Emmert said, “I don’t want athletic conferences to simply be aggregators of media rights. They have a greater responsibility than just that.” He added, “We need them to not just see themselves as people who aggregate media rights. That’s not their job” (NYTIMES.com, 6/12).
MAKING THE GRADE: SI.com’s Courtney Nguyen gave ESPN and Tennis Channel a “B-plus” for their coverage of the French Open and wrote the networks “on the whole … did a great job covering the event.” Nguyen: “I enjoyed the additions of Mary Carillo and Rennae Stubbs, and Lindsay Davenport continues to improve as an analyst.” Tennis Channel’s “French Open Tonight” wrap-up show “finally hit its stride with this tournament, with a good balance of match replays, player interviews, and fun features.” Nguyen gave NBC's coverage a “D,” and wrote, "There was nothing more frustrating than enjoying wall to wall coverage from ESPN and Tennis Channel throughout the first week, only for the weekend to come … and find NBC black out coverage for all the other stations and choose to air a Novak Djokovic blowout, as opposed to a more interesting match” (SI.com, 6/12).