CBS’ broadcast of the Leo Santa Cruz-Alberto Guevara bantamweight fight on Saturday at the L.A. Sports Arena marks “boxing’s return to network television,” as it is “the first time boxing has been on the network in more than 15 years,” according to Lance Pugmire of the L.A. TIMES. Fight promoter Golden Boy Productions will “allow fans in the Sports Arena for free” for the Santa Cruz-Guevara fight and an earlier fight featuring U.S. Olympic team member Joseph Diaz Jr., and it also is “allowing fans to donate a toy valued at more than $20 to receive two free tickets to the nighttime broadcast” of Amir Khan-Carlos Molina on Showtime (LATIMES.com, 12/10). ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael noted the CBS broadcast “will use Showtime’s announcers.” In addition, fans who “present ticket stubs from the CBS event when purchasing tickets for the Showtime card will receive a 20 percent discount on tickets purchased” (ESPN.com, 12/11). Showtime Sports Exec VP & GM Stephen Espinoza said of the CBS match, “This is a little experiment.” USA TODAY’s Michael Hiestand notes Showtime “reaches about 22 million households and will have shown 27 boxing events this year.” Meanwhile, NBC will broadcast an event on Dec. 22 featuring heavyweights Tomasz Adamek and Steve Cunningham, marking that net's "first boxing since 2004.” NBC Sports Group President of Programming Jon Miller said that NBC Sports Net had “six boxing events this year.” Miller said an event on NBC “was the right way to play it out.” He added that “whether that leads to more broadcast network exposure ... might depend on promoters” (USA TODAY, 12/12).
ESPN Radio 980 DC Dir of Programming Chuck Sapienza yesterday announced hosts Andy Pollin and Steve Czaban "have been temporarily removed" from the station's "Sports Reporters" program due to the "nature of their conversation" last Thursday. Sapienza in a statement said the pair "crossed the line when discussing" transgender college basketball player Gabrielle Ludwig, who was recently profiled in USA Today. Pollin began Monday's show "with an apology, saying, among other things, that no human being should ever be called an 'It'" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 12/11).
GOODBYE TO TEBOW TIME: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Jason Gay wrote ESPN President John Skipper's suggestion that the network's producers had "grown too enamored of the ratings that" talk of Jets QB Tim Tebow provokes was "a reasonable declaration." With Tebow having thrown just seven passes this season, Gay wrote, "Of course, any coverage of Tebow right now is ridiculous." TebowMania probably was "hitting the 16th minute in September -- or maybe last December -- but now it makes no sense" (WSJ.com, 12/11).
MAKING A PITCH: European Union Court of Justice Advocate General Niilo Jaaskinen today in a non-binding opinion said that EU nations can "include the World and Euro championships in lists of events that are 'of major importance' to society and can 'require that they be broadcast on free-to-air television.'" BLOOMBERG NEWS' Stephanie Bodoni notes the statement is a "setback to bids by FIFA and UEFA to hold on to exclusive pay-TV deals." The Luxembourg-based court "follows such advice in most cases" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 12/12).