The Senators today announced a "massive 12-year deal for the club’s radio and broadcast rights," and the "winner of the bidding war is Bell Media," according to Bruce Garrioch of the OTTAWA SUN. It is "believed the Senators currently get approximately" C$7M per season for their broadcast rights. The new deal will "allow the club to earn significantly more from its local broadcast package than it has in the past." After Sportsnet outbid Bell Media by paying C$5.2B for national TV rights to the NHL, this decision "doesn’t come as any major surprise." While the current TV rights are held by Sportsnet and radio games are on TSN-owned CFGO-AM, "both agreements expire at the end of the season." The timing "could not be more perfect for the Senators." Next season, TV games will be shown on TSN in English and RDS in French. The French-language radio broadcasts on Ottawa-based CJFO-FM "are not expected to change." This deal "covers 50 games per season." It is "believed the Senators would like play-by-play man Dean Brown and partner Denis Potvin to remain in place but TSN has the final say on talent" (OTTAWA SUN, 1/29). In Ottawa, James Gordon notes TSN already holds local TV broadcast rights for the Canadiens and Jets. Sportsnet's national deal in Canada "came as a surprise blow to TSN, which has built a strong brand around hockey coverage and has generally done an excellent job with the product" (OTTAWA CITIZEN, 1/29).
An argument yesterday between NFL Network's Deion Sanders and Giants Senior VP/Communications Pat Hanlon was "beamed to the free world via the NFL Network" in the wake of Sanders landing the only interview with Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch during Super Bowl Media Day, according to Bob Raissman of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. Hanlon, who was NFL Net's guest analyst for Media Day, with a grin said, "Prime got him. Hey, they said Prime didn’t tackle anybody (when he played). Well, he just ‘tackled’ Marshawn Lynch." Raissman notes while Hanlon "was delivering the word," NFL Net's Marshall Faulk -- who was "taking this whole Lynch thing way too seriously -- glared at the PR man." Sanders then said, "I’m about to go into Beast Mode (on Hanlon). Name one game when you didn’t see me (make tackles) -- especially against the Giants. Show me the tape. See, I get offended when people say that." Hanlon then was "looking for a way out." He said, "When I think about you, I think about you breaking (kicker) Brad Dalusio's leg (in 1999) returning a kickoff." But Sanders shot back, "Let’s not get off the subject." Hanlon: "We can replay the tape. I didn’t say you didn’t tackle. I said THEY said you didn’t tackle." Hanlon added that he "didn’t sense any tension on the set." He even "gave Sanders credit for the interview and introducing Lynch to a large audience not familiar with him." Raissman: "We will at least credit Hanlon and Sanders for carbonating a flat drink" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/29).
READY FOR PRIME TIME? Sanders took a beating on Twitter yesterday for his role in Media Day. SI.com's Richard Deitsch had several anti-Deion tweets, writing, "It's the annual day of the year where it's fun to count how many times Deion Sanders references Deion Sanders. Bet the over." He later wrote, "Like Deion Sanders, I plan on telling Fox Sports president Eric Shanks that 'I appreciate you, man' after we interview later today." FoxSports.com’s Jimmy Traina: “This is my first time ever watching Media Day. I can honestly say Deion Sanders interviewing players is the worst thing I've ever seen on TV." Yahoo Sports' Kevin Kaduk wrote, "Deion Sanders is not making anyone forget Mike Wallace." The South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Omar Kelly sarcastically wrote, "Just saw the Marshawn Lynch interview with Deion Sanders on NFL Network. Sanders deserves an Emmy. Talk about a great interview session" (TWITTER.com, 1/28). Meanwhile, ABC's Jimmy Kimmel said Media Day "takes time away from serious reporters" like Sanders before airing a clip titled "Good Questions with Deion Sanders." After showing the clip, Kimmel said, "They say there are no dumb questions. I think they are wrong, and I think he asked all of them" ("Jimmy Kimmel Live," ABC, 1/28).
Georgia Tech AD Mike Bobinski said that if a proposed ACC Network were to go forward, ESPN will "likely want more 'inventory' to put on the channel, meaning an additional conference game" for football, according to Ken Sugiura of the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION. The ACC and ESPN this week are "expected to have an update on where things stand in regards to a possible ACC channel." Bobinski said it "wouldn’t be the worst thing to have an additional ACC game as opposed to hunting around the country” for a non-conference game. ACC teams currently play an eight-game conference schedule, and there has been "considerable pushback against a ninth game due to Notre Dame’s agreement to play five ACC opponents annually." Georgia Tech, Clemson, Florida State and Louisville "all play SEC opponents" annually, meaning those schools would play "nine conference games, an SEC rival and Notre Dame in the same 12-game season roughly once every three seasons" (AJC.com, 1/28).