In Tampa, Damian Cristodero reported the Lightning and Sun Sports “agreed on a contract extension that begins with the 2013-14 season and guarantees at least 70 games televised annually.” It is “believed the deal is for between seven and 10 years and will pay the Lightning more” than the average $6.5M they get from the current contract that was signed in ‘00 and runs through this season. Ratings for Lightning games have “skyrocketed” from .60 local rating in the Tampa-St. Pete market during the ‘09-10 season to a 1.39 rating last season (TAMPABAY.com, 1/2).
LONGER REACH: In Austin, Gary Dinges reported Charter Communications announced Monday that it will make the Longhorn Network “available to many of its subscribers by the time the University of Texas kicks off its 2013 football season this fall.” Charter reports in Texas it "had about 167,000 customers as of June 30, 2012, primarily in the Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston areas.” The company “doesn’t serve Central Texas.” Nationwide, Charter has “about 5.3 million subscribers in 25 states, but plans call for Austin-based LHN to be available only on its cable systems in Texas, Louisiana and Virginia” (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 1/1).
AIRED OUT: In Chicago, Ryan Haggerty reports former NFLer Steve McMichael’s decision to run for mayor of Romeoville, Ill., has “cost him his spot on a Bears pregame show on Chicago’s ESPN radio affiliate.” McMichael was a “longtime analyst for a pregame show on WMVP-AM 1000.” Two days after McMichael filed paperwork to get on the ballot for the April 9 mayoral election, attorney John Fogarty on behalf of one of McMichael’s opponents, Romeoville Mayor John Noak, “sent a letter to the station stating that Noak was reserving the right to request equal air time.” McMichael said that a WMVP-AM official “called him Saturday and told him he would not be allowed on the air the next day for the show before the Bears’ season finale against the Detroit Lions” (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 1/3).
OFF NIGHT: In N.Y., Marc Raimondi cited a report by gossip blogger Terez Owens as saying that UFC play-by-play announcer Mike Goldberg missed UFC 155 on Saturday “because he’s in rehab for pill addiction.” Goldberg “has been with the UFC since 1997 and has not missed a major show before this past weekend.” Announcer Jon Anik, who “does the UFC’s events on FX and Fuel TV, filled in, partnering with longtime color commentator and comedian Joe Rogan” (NYPOST.com, 1/2).