In Detroit, Justin Rogers writes with the Lions set to miss the playoffs, it is possible the team "might be destined" for HBO's “Hard Knocks” in '19, but "closer inspection suggests that remains highly unlikely." The Lions "meet the qualifications to be forced on to the program by the league," as they "won’t have a new coach, haven’t been to the playoffs the past two years and haven’t appeared on 'Hard Knocks' in the past 10." The question would be "why would HBO choose the Lions?" The team "isn’t compelling and there’s little question Matt Patricia would bristle at showing the public another side beyond the super serious football coach" (DETROIT NEWS, 12/18).
WINDFALL COMING? THE ATHLETIC's Andy Dolan asked, "Is the Cubs’ reluctance to add even more payroll a result of sudden onset panic into how much they’ll really get out of their long-awaited TV deal after this season?" Dolan: "Of course it is." Unless MLB "does the unthinkable and uncouples streaming rights and lets individual teams control them, it’s unlikely the Cubs will get the huge deal they’ve been dreaming of since the day the Ricketts bought the team." They will "get a windfall, but it won’t be nearly as obscene as they once hoped it would be" (THEATHLETIC.com, 12/17).
FAREWELL, FOR NOW: GOLFWEEK's Forecaddie noted Golf Channel analyst Charlie Rymer is departing "Morning Drive" after six years for a "scaled-back" role with the net. Sunday marked Rymer's last show. Rymer said that he will "next be seen" on the net for April’s Drive, Chip & Putt Championship (GOLFWEEK.com, 12/16).
GOLDEN TICKET: PGA Tour Live, the OTT service that streams extensive featured groups during tournament play, has been enhanced and is now available for purchase in the U.S. on NBC Sports Gold. The service will no longer be housed on PGATour.com, and a price of $49.99 is available through the Desert Classic (Jan. 17-20), while a monthly pass can be purchased for $9.99. After Jan. 20, a season pass will cost $64.99 (NBC Sports).