SI.com Issues Report Cards For Networks' Sports Coverage In '18
SI.com's Jacob Feldman handed out grades for various networks' sports coverage in '18, "breaking down the pluses and minuses for each."
The net's "sports hegemony over the next two to four years feels a lot less like a sure thing." As for its '19 homework, Feldman asked, "Who is ESPN’s rising star?" With veteran faces "across the brand’s top properties, ESPN needs a fresh voice to keep the Barstools of the world at bay."
"Thursday Night Football" this season "finally feels worth watching," and it has "gotten strong ratings" to boot. The net also got a "bit of good soccer news" with the North American bid winning the rights for the '26 FIFA World Cup. Next year's homework: "Consider this a makeup assignment. Fox has a chance to get back into the soccer community’s good graces when it covers next summer’s Women’s World Cup from France."
Unburdened by "merger minutiae, WarnerMedia needs to prove its various properties can cooperate without appearing too corporate." Turning the Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson match into a "sustainable franchise would go a long way."
The "SEC on CBS" continues to "dominate the college football landscape," and the PGA Championship’s move from August to May "should make it more valuable for CBS." '19 homework: Tony Romo's first Super Bowl in February "provides a chance for him to cement his standing among sports analysts."
"Sunday Night Football" remains the sport’s "best telecast, and maybe the best production in all of sports." But whether it is "shrinking game times or incorporating advanced stats and gambling information, the leader has a responsibility to continue innovating on the future of broadcast sports" (SI.com, 12/14).