AD AGE's Michael McCarthy noted Fox Sports and NBC Sports "are already eyeing" the Thursday Night Football package for the '15 NFL season. Those eight games could "help establish their respective sports cable networks ... with advertisers and viewers." NFL VP/Communications Brian McCarthy said that the league "won't start talking to interested bidders" until after this season. He added, "We have to see how it goes this season." CBS Sports said that "it too will cross that bridge next year." Meanwhile, CBS Sports Chair Sean McManus said the network already is attracting "great interest from advertisers" for Thursday Night Football (ADAGE.com, 6/2).
ROBERT'S RULES: ESPN Ombudsman Robert Lipsyte in his most recent column wrote the net's reporting in recent weeks on Donald Sterling and Michael Sam "made many in the audience uncomfortable, if not downright angry, while stimulating necessary discussions about homophobia and racism." But this is a chance to "measure ESPN journalism in an ongoing story against the so-called mainstream media." Lipsyte: "I’m giving out mostly high marks for jobs well done" (ESPN.com, 5/30).
SUMMER LOVE: Comcast SportsNet Northwest and the Trail Blazers yesterday announced that all of the team's NBA Summer League games will air live on the net. The coverage, which includes broadcasters Mike Barrett, Mike Rice and Dwight Jaynes, will expand from recent years, with postgame analysis, highlights and fan interactions following each game (Blazers).
GET WELL SOON: In Baltimore, Peter Schmuck reported Orioles radio play-by-play announcer Fred Manfra, who "underwent hip replacement surgery in April, will be out several more weeks after undergoing a second procedure May 19 to correct a displaced surgical pin in his femur." The Orioles and WBAL-AM "have been plugging" MASN host Jim Hunter and former Orioles P Dave Johnson "into Manfra’s role for the past six weeks." That will continue, but former Orioles P Ben McDonald "also will move into the radio rotation next week" (BALTIMORESUN.com, 6/2).