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Volume 24 No. 156


TBS is now averaging a 3.0 overnight Nielsen rating through the first six days of MLB LDS coverage, flat compared to the same period last year. The net was boosted by the Yankees' extra-inning walk-off home run against the Orioles in Game 3 of their ALDS matchup last night, which drew a 4.9 overnight, contributing to a 3.4 overnight for the TBS' doubleheader. That doubleheader average is up 10% compared to the sixth day of coverage last year. TNT also benefited from a walk-off hit in Tigers-A's ALDS Game 4 last night, with the game earning a 2.0 overnight despite going head-to-head with Orioles-Yankees for nearly two hours. Meanwhile, MLB Network aired its second LDS game yesterday, with Cardinals-Nationals Game 3 earning a 0.9 overnight. That figure marks the second best overnight in the net's history, behind only the first postseason game last Sunday, which featured A's-Tigers Game 2.

Rich Hammond, hired three years ago by the NHL Kings "to cover their games and practices with free editorial reign, left his position as the writer for the 'L.A. Kings Insider' blog to take a job with the Orange County Register to cover USC football and basketball," according to Tom Hoffarth of the L.A. DAILY NEWS. Last night in front of a sports business class at USC's Annenberg School of Communications & Journalism, Hammond "elaborated that recent pushback from the NHL for a story he did during the current lockout resulted in him reconsidering how effectively he could continue to work in that role." Hammond's Sept. 17 post was a Q&A with Kings RW Kevin Westgarth, "the most visible of the team's players as he worked with" the NHLPA during CBA talks. Westgarth was "candid in his opinions about both sides of the negotiations." Hammond said, "The league wanted the story taken down. Technically, they were saying that as a team employee, I had to abide by their rules of not discussing the lockout." However, he "stressed the Kings organization did not take issue with it." The story remains posted, but Hammond "wondered about maintaining the integrity of the blog if future restrictions or threats were ever put to him again." Hammond told the USC class that the team "would have preferred he stayed but he 'was not totally convinced the Kings could make (this situation) have a good ending.'" The Kings said that it is their "intention to hire a new writer for the 'Insider' blog" (, 10/11).

The Friends Of Canadian Broadcasting issued a statement on the financial impact of the CBC losing "Hockey Night In Canada," saying that the cost of "replacement programming for almost 400 hours worth of 'HNIC' per season would be far more devastating to the national broadcaster than the simple loss of the NHL games," according to Bruce Dowbiggin of the GLOBE & MAIL. Under its mandate, the CBC "can’t fill those hours with U.S. programming." The net would "have to create Canadian content, which is both expensive and rarely captures anywhere near the audience that 'HNIC' does." FOCB’s statement "estimates that production cost at approximately" $500,000 (all figures U.S.) per hour for a total cost of $200M. Sources also "dispute that figure but admit that the replacement cost would be significant." The statement also reflects a "previous estimate that, while down from a higher split in the past, 'HNIC'’s portion of ad revenues is still about 53 per cent of CBC’s total." The program currently "pays for itself after its estimated" $100M fee to the league. In most years, a "small amount is left over for other CBC programming." FOCB estimates that "leftover" at $15M per year. But a source "disputes that figure." FOCB said that it will "be demanding answers about 'HNIC'’s future" on Nov. 19 when the Canadian Radio-Television & Telecommunications Commission begins its review of the CBC's broadcast licenses. Adding to the CBC’s problems is that the "cost of a new NHL contract is likely to be far more than the $100-million annual cost now paid." The NHL "wants to seriously step up its national Canadian TV revenues in this cycle." It also is "believed to want to diversify those rights across more than a single broadcaster." Sources said that the "next national TV deal might look more like an NFL national contract, spread out across all the interested broadcasters." So, the CBC "might retain a Saturday 'HNIC' package" (GLOBE & MAIL, 10/10).

MONEY MARKET: In Ottawa, Bruce Garrioch wrote with the NHL in a labor stoppage, the CBC, TSN and Sportsnet "might save money initially" because not only do the nets "not have to shell out the huge rights fees they pay to the NHL, they don't have production costs." A TV exec "estimated it typically costs $75,000 to produce a broadcast." CBC was scheduled to show 101 games "if this season had started on time." But if the season is cancelled, "that's $7.6 million not spent on production." TSN and Sportsnet are "doing the same math." While Sportsnet does not have a national contract, it "produces more hockey than anybody else with regional rights in Toronto, Ottawa, Edmonton, Vancouver and Calgary." Still, where the lockout "will hurt is with advertisers" (OTTAWA SUN, 10/10). In Montreal, Brenda Branswell notes RDS Head of Communications & PR Katia Aubin "wouldn't put a figure on the lost advertising revenue caused by the lockout." But she said that the net "saves on production costs and not having to pay broadcast rights while the season is halted." Instead of what would have been today's Canadiens season opener, RDS "will televise the Tournee des joueurs game in Quebec City featuring locked-out NHL players." Canadiens G Carey Price, LW Brandon Prust and Predators D Hal Gill are "among those suiting up" for the 7:30pm ET game. Aubin added with MLB playoffs "the next few weeks it will be wall-to-wall baseball." There also will be "football -- CFL and NFL" (Montreal GAZETTE, 10/11).

ALL AMERICAN: In Buffalo, John Vogl notes the AHL Rochester Amerks yesterday announced that "16 of their games will be shown throughout Western New York on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel." The "first of 14 home games" will air Oct. 19. The games "will be simulcast with the Amerks' radio broadcasts," with Don Stevens doing play-by-play and former NHLer Ric Seiling serving as analyst. TWC also will "broadcast two road games from Syracuse and pick up the Crunch's play-by-play feed" (BUFFALO NEWS, 10/11).

A NEW KIND OF PLAY-BY-PLAY:'s Richard Deitsch wrote of ESPN on Tuesday airing its first KHL game, the "broadcast was surreal ... but a funhouse of ad libs, Cold War comedy, and a focus far away from the play on the ice." ESPN's Steve Levy and Barry Melrose called the game and "their lack of familiarity with some of the KHL's figures provided viewers with memorable moments." Neither "pretended to be KHL savants." They spent "much of the broadcast discussing NHL issues rather than the build-up of play on the ice." Levy said, "I thought there was more value to Barry talking about the NHL lockout among other topics than me naming players no one in our audience has ever heard of who were making insignificant plays." Deitsch noted Melrose throughout the game "channeled his inner Yakov Smirnoff and at one point referenced the Soviet Union in the present tense." ESPN officials "will survey the interest and enthusiasm from viewers and decide whether they want to keep airing games weekly" (, 10/10).

ESPN hired comedian Frank Caliendo to appear on its "Sunday NFL Countdown" show this season. The network says Caliendo will be a regular contributor on the show, though he will not appear weekly. His first appearance will be this Sunday from Bristol, Conn. Caliendo usually will appear in taped comedy segments. Caliendo had been on Fox' NFL pregame show from '03-11. He was replaced this year with Rob Riggle (John Ourand, THE DAILY). AWFUL ANNOUNCING's Matt Yoder writes some of Caliendo's impressions "are legitimately funny, but there's only so long he could make fun of Terry Bradshaw and have it stay amusing and relevant." Yoder: "Hopefully by joining Countdown, Caliendo will have a chance to freshen up his act. And on the plus side, there's now ample opportunities to mock Chris Berman" (, 10/11). Bleacher Report's Dan Levy wrote on his Twitter feed, "As if their pregame show needed more 'yuks.' Plus, Berman already does a great caricature of himself" (, 10/11).'s Mike Foss writes, "The greatest question is why do football pregame shows need a comedian? That's a question rivaled only by why do football broadcasts need horrifically awkward sideline interviews with coaches at halftime?" (, 10/11).

Former NBA coach Stan Van Gundy appeared on WAXY-AM's "The Dan Le Batard Show" yesterday and discussed a report from The Big Lead that NBA Commissioner David Stern "sabotaged" his ability to appear on ESPN's "NBA Countdown" pregame show. Van Gundy said, “No one at ESPN will tell us what happened, and certainly the NBA office isn’t going to tell us what happened. One of the quotes from ESPN in there was basically, 'We had discussions and couldn’t agree on a role.' As is usual in this thing, that’s a bunch of B.S. from ESPN. We actually did agree on a role and then they came back and pulled that. That’s when we knew something was up." He added, "Nobody’s going to give a straight answer because that’s just the way a lot of people operate. They want to operate behind the scenes and not tell people what happened. ... Nobody there’s got the guts to say anything, so that’s what you deal with. You have to deal with a lot of B.S., as you know, in every business.” Van Gundy said Stern and the league office deserve "a lot of credit” because ESPN “pays the league and then the league tells them what to do." Van Gundy: "That’s an interesting dynamic right there and ... it’s more ESPN’s problem. You got to have no balls whatsoever to pay somebody hundreds of millions of dollars and let them run your business.” He continued, “ESPN has the right to do whatever they want for whatever reasons they want. It’s their business. ... Just say what happened" ("The Dan Le Batard Show," WAXY-AM, 10/10).

BACK STORY: NBA Senior VP/Marketing Communications Mike Bass said, “It was ESPN and ESPN alone that made any decisions about Stan Van Gundy” (THE DAILY). An ESPN spokesperson said, “We had discussions with Stan Van Gundy and were interested in a role for him at ESPN. Ultimately, we differed on potential assignments and we moved in another direction.” THE BIG LEAD's Jason McIntyre reported any "significant hires are discussed ... with the NBA," though ESPN "stopped short of using the word 'cleared.'" The spokesperson: "As you would expect, there is a constant two-way communication between media and league partners throughout our industry on various issues.” McIntyre noted Van Gundy's latest comments come after an appearance on Le Batard's show last month during which he was asked, "Who is the biggest dick in sports?" Van Gundy's "answer was, 'I'd say David Stern' followed by a huge pause 'well, just because he's David Stern,' before settling on the owner of the Marlins" (, 10/10).

The PGA Tour saw big gains across each of its media partners during the ’12 FedExCup season. NBC averaged 3.43 million viewers for its weekend telecasts, marking the net’s best average since the current TV contract began in ’07. The previous high was 3.42 million viewers in ’09. This year’s figure also is up 45% from last season. CBS also saw an increase in its audience, averaging 2.75 million viewers in ’12, up 20% from 2.28 million viewers last season.

CABLE: Golf Channel’s PGA Tour viewership this season was up 23% compared to ’11 for coverage which included early rounds (Thursday, Friday), weekend lead-in coverage and primetime replays. The net’s audience this season also is up 51% from ’10. For early round coverage alone, Golf Channel averaged 847,000 viewers for its PGA Tour events, up 29% from last year. In addition, the net saw viewership around the FedExCup Playoffs jump 84% from last year, marking Golf Channel’s best audience around the four tournaments.

'12 VIEWERS (000)
'11 VIEWERS (000)
% +/-
Golf Channel (early rounds)

Comcast SportsNet yesterday announced an agreement with IMG College to air sports programming for Rice Univ. and the Univ. of Houston. CSN Houston will air Rice programming for the next three years, and Houston programming for one year. The agreement includes weekly coaches shows for football and basketball, weekly football press conferences, spring and fall sports specials, a spring football game for each school and additional programming (CSN).

BUCK SHOT: In Milwaukee, Bob Wolfley reports Bucks radio play-by-play announcer Ted Davis "has taken on an added role -- sports talk radio commentator." In his 15th season with the Bucks, Davis "has joined Milwaukee radio station WSSP-AM as a regular contributor" to the station's 2:00-6:00pm CT afternoon slot (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 10/11).

HOOK 'EM: Cablevision said that it plans to make the Longhorn Network accessible "in a small portion of its footprint in the West early next year via a $5.95-a-month sports tier." MARKETING DAILY's David Goetzl notes Cablevision "serves some 300,000 homes in Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming" (, 10/9).