NBC's Bob Costas last night continued to defend his "SNF" halftime comments regarding the Jovan Belcher murder-suicide, saying, "What I was talking about here, and I'm sorry if that wasn't clear to everybody, was a gun culture. I never mentioned the Second Amendment. I never used the words ‘gun control.’ People inferred that. Now do I believe we need more comprehensive and more sensible gun control legislation? Yes, I do. That doesn't mean repeal the Second Amendment.” He added, “No one is saying that Belcher is not responsible. In fact, earlier in the day, I said that I was appalled by the way some of this had been covered initially by some of the sports networks where they made it seem … like there were two victims” ("The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell," MSNBC, 12/4).
SET TO JET: The NFL Jets have signed a multiyear extension with ESPN Radio 98.7 N.Y. to continue as the team's flagship radio station. The station will broadcast every Jets game, as well as pre- and postgame programming. A variety of Jets-related programs will continue to air on the station, including a weekly interview with coach Rex Ryan. Additionally, ESPN Deportes 1050 N.Y. will carry its own broadcasts of Jets games and pre- and postgame shows (Jets).
ACROSS THE POND: The NBA and ESPN have reached a new TV rights deal in the U.K. that will put live NBA games on ESPN in the U.K. and Ireland for the rest of the '12-13 season. ESPN has had NBA rights for the past three years. Until now, both sides had not reached an agreement for this season. Sources say the NBA is still negotiating to place a package on Sky for the rest of this season. The ESPN deal calls for the company's U.K. and Ireland network to air three live games per week for the remainder of the season along with the Western Conference playoffs and the NBA Finals. It will carry its first game of the season tomorrow with the Knicks-Heat matchup (Lombardo & Ourand, SportsBusiness Journal).
GAINING SPEED: Horrow Sports Ventures CEO Rick Horrow noted News Corp. is “moving forward with plans" to turn Speed into Fox Sports 1, an "all-sports TV network by the middle of next year." News Corp. execs believe their company is "uniquely positioned to compete against ESPN because of their previous success breaking into the broadcast and cable news markets with Fox and Fox News, respectively." NBC and CBS also have 24-hour sports networks, but where Fox "hopes to differentiate itself is with distribution and live sports rights." Speed already is in "more than 80 million homes, and Fox owns rights to MLB, NASCAR, college sports and UFC" ("Nightly Business Report," PBS, 12/4).