SPORTING NEWS' Troy Machir noted FS1 will not discipline "Fox Sports Live" panelist Donovan McNabb for a DUI arrest in Maricopa (Ariz.) County this past January. The Maricopa County Sheriff's Department on Thursday "released McNabb's mug shot." He spent "one day in jail and agreed to a plea deal." FS1 Thursday in a statement said, "We have discussed this situation with Donovan at length, and we’re convinced that he understands the gravity of his offense and is sufficiently contrite. The legal process has been concluded and we plan no further disciplinary action at this time" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 4/17).
HOUSTON, WE HAVE CONTACT: In Houston, David Barron noted regular-season Rockets games on Comcast SportsNet Houston "drew an average audience of just 27,000 households" due to various carriage issues. However, those numbers are "certain to improve" during the team's first-round playoff series against the Trail Blazers, as the first four games will air on TNT or ESPN. A Rockets-Heat game earlier this year on KTRK-ABC drew "just under 150,000 households." Meanwhile, nine games on ESPN "drew about 57,000 households per game, doubling the CSN Houston audience." First-round games "will still air on CSN Houston, but each game also will air on TNT, ESPN, ABC or NBA TV." TNT and ESPN games will "air in Houston on those networks." Rockets-Blazers games on NBA TV "will be blacked out on that channel in Houston" (CHRON.com, 4/17).
STROLL DOWN MAGNOLIA LANE: CBSSports.com generated 111 million minutes for its Masters Live streaming coverage of The Masters, a 28% increase from last year. The site did see an undisclosed reduction in unique visitors from last year, mirroring viewership drops on TV, but still grew consumption, due in part to an increase in programming that grew total digital coverage of the tournament to 125 hours and the addition of a fifth distinct online video channel. The Masters Live streaming was supported by MLBAM (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer).
HOLD THAT THOUGHT: In S.F., Bruce Jenkins writes the Warriors "made a very smart move this week" when they arranged for broadcaster Jim Barnett to "work a certain number of televised games next season." It was reported during the season that Barnett and the club "had reached a 'mutual' decision for him to retire." The team is "in the process of finding a full-time replacement for Barnett, but in the wake of countless e-mails from fans praising his work, club executives found it best to keep him in the loop." A source said Barnett will work "a good, healthy number" of games. Barnett, who has called Warriors games for 29 years, said, "I'm not ready to hang it up just yet" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 4/18).