Professional athletes are not alone in getting long-term extensions.
SI.com has learned that Fox Sports is aggressively pursuing ESPN sportscaster Erin Andrews for a role at its network. The network's executives recently met with Andrews regarding a major role in Fox's college football coverage.
The first time I met Hubie Brown, here's what he said to me:
The Poynter Review Project, a process in which a group of Poynter faculty review ESPN content across all platforms and publicly comment on ESPN's efforts, will conclude this November after an 18-month tenure.
Television viewers have long relied on broadcasters to provide analysis and explanations about the often-questionable decisions made by NBA referees.
Hate sells on television, and last year's NBA Finals between Dallas and Miami averaged 17.3 million viewers over six games, making it the league's second-most-viewed championship series since the Pistons-Lakers in 2004 (17.9 million viewers) and only slightly behind the seven-game series in 2010 between the big-market Celtics and Lakers (18.1 million viewers).
(Each month SI.com highlights people in the sports media who have proved newsworthy, both for positive and negative achievements. Since this column has been away the past two months, let's call this the spring media power list)
NEW YORK -- With mascots (Brutus Buckeye, Albert E. Gator, and KC Wolf), a marching band (The Ohio State University Marching Band) and a mélange of on-air talent (Mike Greenberg, Jon Gruden, Sage Steele among others), ESPN held its annual upfront presentation Tuesday afternoon at the Best Buy Theater in New York's Times Square. What are upfronts? It's a network's attempt to woo marketers and media planners to support its upcoming summer and fall schedule, and part of the sell job includes plying said business people with food and entertainment.
The bellowing never stops. It pummels you over the head like a hard rain, and it's forever accompanied by outdated references ("Mel Kiper, to quote Stan Laurel, 'Here's another mess you have gotten me into, Ollie.' ") and long-winded intros that last nearly as long as a Presidential campaign. Mostly, there is Chris Berman simply talking and talking and talking.
It's no Super Bowl. Heck, it's no Monday Night Football, but for an American audience, Monday's Manchester derby -- that is, the English club soccer game between Manchester's two Premier League teams -- is about as big as it gets stateside.
Amanda Davies talks to Edwin van der Sar about former club Manchester United's crucial clash with Manchester City.
The Louisiana State Police said Tuesday that they have joined the FBI in investigating allegations that New Orleans Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis had the ability to eavesdrop on opposing coaches for nearly three seasons.
Suspense is making a comeback at the NFL Draft. Executives at both ESPN and the NFL Network know how much you dislike when they foreshadow or tip picks before the official announcement, so both networks pledged during interviews with SI.com last week that broadcast cameras will no longer show first-round draftees on the phone with their teams before being selected.
ESPN made the first pick of the 2012 NFL Draft back in January, when it enlisted multi-platinum rapper Nas to provide music for the network's coverage. The Queens, N.Y., native is reworking two of his new songs with Austin guitarist Gary Clark Jr., for prospect highlight packages and to be used coming in and out of commercials.
On Thursday night, inside a production truck on a side street near Radio City Music Hall, Charlie Yook will be making multiple decisions about what you see during the NFL Draft.
You don't have to read between the lines to get a sense of how close Warren Sapp was to losing his NFL Network gig. The network's executives on Friday afternoon were blunt about it. "We decided not to fire Warren," said Mark Quenzel, senior vice president of programming and production.
What is the value of having a soccer analyst on the pitch? It's a question MLS viewers will soon be able to weigh in on as NBC's MLS coverage begins Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network.
(Each month SI.com highlights those in the sports media who have proved newsworthy, both for positive and negative achievements.)
Former ESPN writer Anthony Federico apologized Monday for writing an offensive headline about basketball sensation Jeremy Lin, calling it "an honest mistake."
ESPN has fired the employee responsible for writing an offensive headline about basketball sensation Jeremy Lin and suspended an anchor who used the same ethnic slur, the sports network said Sunday.
ESPN apologized Saturday for an offensive headline about New York Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin that appeared on its mobile website after the team's season-high, seven-game winning streak came to an end.
Having dealt with ESPN's Monday Night Football executives over a number of years, I was always struck by the level of support Jon Gruden enjoyed from Jay Rothman, the show's senior coordinating producer. Each of the network's top producers speaks effusively of their NFL talent, but Rothman seemed thunderstruck by the former Bucs coach. He was amped just talking about him, compliments flying out faster than Usain Bolt.
Evaluating sports broadcasting talent is subjective. We each have our favorites. I like Mike Mayock. You like Phil Simms. We all dislike Craig James. While discussing NFL broadcasters over coffee a couple of months ago, James Andrew Miller, the author of the best-selling "These Guys Have All The Fun: Inside The World Of ESPN," and I decided it would be fun to pick the 10 people in NFL broadcasting circles who we considered the most indispensable to their networks. (You can follow Miller on Twitter at @ESPNBOOK).
SI.com highlights a select group in the sports media who were newsworthy, both for positive and negative reasons, in 2011.
Last year confirmed one of the undeniable truisms of sports television: Hate sells.
As the Broncos beat reporter for the Denver Post, Lindsay Jones admits her job description has become "all Tim Tebow, all the time." But over the past two months, Jones has noticed that the Tebow phenomenon has filtered outside her city limits. As she's traveled to cover the Broncos on the road, the reporter says the lead feature in Sunday sports sections is often the Denver quarterback, and that Tebow is a recurring and vibrant subject on the sports-talk debate airwaves as well.
If you are looking to determine the winners and losers from Wednesday's announcement that the NFL had extended television deals with CBS, Fox and NBC, we'll make it easy for you:
The former Penn St. football coach posted $250,000 bail and is free for now. CNN contributor Sara Ganim reports.
Police in Tennessee and the Amateur Athletic Union have launched separate investigations after two former basketball players alleged that the leader of a youth sports organization molested them during the 1980s when they were boys.
ESPN's Mark Schwarz was sitting inside a satellite truck on the campus of Penn State when an unfamiliar number popped up on his cellphone. It was early evening on Nov. 11, a frigid night in State College, Pa., and the reporter was about to make his way toward the Old Main on campus, the site of a candlelight vigil and a moment of silence in support of the alleged victims in the child sex abuse scandal. Schwarz looked down at his phone. The area code was 315, for central New York.
It's a simple question but one I ask myself every time I see an ex-coach appear on the airwaves:
LOS ANGELES -- John Harkes is out and Taylor Twellman is in as ESPN's lead analyst in the booth for MLS and U.S. Soccer broadcasts in 2012, several sources have told SI.com. Harkes, the U.S. Hall of Famer who played in two World Cups, was recently informed that his contract would not be renewed. Twellman, the former New England Revolution star whose playing career was cut short by concussions, has spent this season working in ESPN's studio coverage and as the analyst for local broadcasts of the Philadelphia Union.
The sexual abuse scandal at Penn State has prompted at least one advertiser to pull out of broadcasts featuring the now-tarnished football program.
(Each month SI.com highlights those in the sports media who have proved newsworthy, both for positive and negative achievements.)
Big news in the world of U.S. soccer came on Friday when FIFA awarded the U.S. broadcast rights for 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Fox (English language) and Telemundo (Spanish language). The Sports Business Journal reported the total rights fee for the U.S. to be between $1.05 billion and $1.1 billion, an increase of at least 147 percent over the combined $425 million that ESPN and Univisión paid for the rights to the '10 and '14 tournaments.
Next Wednesday is one of the most important days of the next decade for soccer in the United States. That's when bids are due in Zürich, Switzerland, for the U.S. broadcast rights for World Cups '18 and '22. ESPN, NBC and Fox are expected to bid for the English-language rights, while Univisión and NBC-owned Telemundo are expected to be in competition for the Spanish-language rights. After the bids are submitted on Wednesday -- there will be no formal presentations, as there were for the Olympic rights bids earlier this year -- the FIFA executive committee will meet on Thursday and could reach a decision on the winners as soon as that day.
(Each month SI.com highlights those in the sports media who have proved newsworthy, both for positive and negative achievements.)
ESPN is no longer ready for Hank Williams Jr.
Last month, ESPN golf analyst Paul Azinger offered a 140-character analysis of President Barack Obama's job creation record, a zinger from Azinger that reverberated around the web. Tweeted the analyst:"Facts: Potus has played more golf this month than I have; I have created more jobs this month than he has: #Marthasvineyard
As we sit this week and remember the haunted, sick feelings from September 11, 2001 -- as we summon the emotions from that miserable morning in an instant, as most of us can do -- let me tell you what I was not thinking that day.
College football writer Bruce Feldman, whose reported suspension from ESPN last month produced an uprising on Twitter, has joined CBS as a college football analyst. He will write for CBSSports.com and report on college football across multiple CBS platforms.
Few televised sports inspire more passion than college football, especially when it comes to opinions on announcers and the networks that employ them. With kickoff less than a week away, I asked college football writers Stewart Mandel, Andy Staples and George Schroeder to join me for a roundtable on a number of television-related topics:
Memo to NBA players: It's time to wave the white flag.
PHILADELPHIA -- Three quick thoughts following the U.S.'s 1-1 tie against Mexico in a friendly on Wednesday night ...
AUSTIN, Texas -- The 2011 conference realignment tilt-a-whirl produced three distinct headlines Monday. Each one seemed rife with meaning. But as night fell in Texas, nothing had really changed. Texas A&M continued its slow march toward the SEC.
1. Phil Steele, eponymous college football editor and publisher: For hardcore college football fans, the name above represents glorious information overload. There are plenty of college football preview magazines in the marketplace but none whose annual debut is more anticipated from fans (and media members) the way Steele's is. His 328-page preview guide is, as the man himself likes to say, "120 media guides rolled into one." One of the most notable and appreciated aspects of his guide is that he gives the same amount of coverage to Florida Atlantic that he does Florida.
ESPN has hauled in the NFL's greatest receiver.
While Big 12 athletic directors met Monday to squash yet another crisis sure to expedite that league's imminent demise (a non-story, yet again), the Big Ten announced that all public tickets to its first-ever league championship game sold out in two hours last weekend. That's par for the course in the SEC but was not always the case for the Big 12's now-defunct title game and pretty much unfathomable for the ACC's six-year-old event.
The U.S. aircraft carrier that launched the first attacks against al Qaeda and the Taliban after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks on the United States will be the site of another first, as it hosts the opening game of the 2011 NCAA college basketball season.
In his most memorable call of the Women's World Cup, ESPN announcer Ian Darke howled with delight that "Abby Wambach has saved the U.S.A's life in this World Cup."
There was a time in America, if only for a day, when women's soccer drew more television viewers than the NBA Finals, World Series and Stanley Cup finals.
There's the clock between picks (which always feels too short), dealing with live crowds, keeping up with the inevitable trades and juggling an army of staffers at multiple locations. Television producers have plenty of stories about how tricky covering a draft is, and there were some good things ESPN did last night during its coverage of the NBA draft. There was also the chemistry between analysts Jon Barry and Jeff Van Gundy (Pick an adjective: awkward, bunglesome or nonexistent.)
Sailors hold their babies for the first time as the USS Carl Vinson comes home to San Diego.
Hoops games happen all the time on aircraft carriers, but Tuesday officials from the Navy, the NCAA and Morale Entertainment met to discuss staging a major college basketball game on the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson.
Now, in the heart of baseball season, a time of NBA and NHL championships, another fabulous Nadal-Federer final, the start of golf's U.S. Open and the lockouts -- continued and impending -- in the NFL and the NBA, one name in sport still stands above the rest: ESPN.
As the Comcast/NBC presentation neared its conclusion Tuesday morning at the International Olympic Committee headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, Bob Costas stepped to the front of the room to deliver the emotional highlight of the allocution.
Pennsylvania teen Sukanya Roy was tantalizingly close to the Scripps National Spelling Bee's final rounds in previous years. Now, she's taken the prize.
Tennis Channel has come of age, and at the perfect time: during a Grand Slam event, with the whole world watching.
Over the past 36 months, as he immersed himself in the nation-state otherwise known as ESPN, James Andrew Miller became admittedly obsessed with his subject. Charged with writing a book on one of the great media success stories of all time, Miller found himself struggling to condense a tale of empire building, fierce rivalries, sex and drugs, and self-reverence. He had enough information for multiple books after interviews with more than 550 subjects. The hardest part, he knew, was letting some of it go.
From a national perspective the next two Saturdays are big for MLS and ESPN television, which are pinning high expectations on a pair of marquee rivalry games: this Saturday's Los Angeles-New York showdown (11 p.m. ET, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes) and the following Saturday's first MLS edition of the Seattle-Portland Flannel Hatefest (11 p.m. ET, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes).
We all owe Ryan Mallett a debt of gratitude. Had the Arkansas quarterback not slid down the draft board to the third round, we might not have gotten the moment where the NFL Network won the television draft.
We laughed at Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe last year. We assumed he would preside over the downfall of a conference that should have printed its own money because he couldn't adequately manage the warring factions within. We lampooned him. Someone even started a Twitter feed claiming to be Beebe that gave life to the caricature we created during last year's conference realignment showdown. Even when he brokered a deal that kept the conference together, we gave no credit to Beebe and all the credit to Texas officials for their string-pulling skills. Then we immediately began predicting the Big 12's demise within a few years.
Jay Rothman calls them "the wow guys," the trio of broadcasters headlining the now downscaled main set for ESPN's coverage of the first and second round of the NFL Draft on April 28-29.
1. Rob Neyer -- SB Nation: Arguably the Internet's most influential baseball voice -- the writer Jonah Keri referred to him as a "gateway drug" to baseball on the web -- Neyer left ESPN after 15 years to become the national baseball editor for the sports blog and community site SB Nation.
Last week ESPN and The Poynter Institute announced plans to participate in The Poynter Review Project, a process in which a group of Poynter faculty will review ESPN content across all platforms and publicly comment on ESPN's efforts. Like previous ESPN ombudsmen, Poynter will hold an 18-month tenure in the position. SI.com spoke with Poynter President Dr. Karen B. Dunlap and Ethics Group Leader Kelly McBride on the new partnership:
BracketBusters weekend is here and there's something for everyone who enjoys the mid-major level. Five of the games have significant NCAA tournament implications and many of them feature a star (or stars) well worth watching. Here are the 11 TV games ranked in order of importance and intrigue.
NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock says the Senior Bowl is his favorite time of the year. It is there, on the turf of Ladd-Pebbles Stadium in Mobile, Ala., that the NFL prospects he has studied on film suddenly spring to life. The players either confirm Mayock's initial assessment or prompt him to intensify his film study.
A quick baguette, while stretching my psoas ...
The world's best tennis players are in Australia this week. The sport's best analyst is not. Mary Carillo quietly left ESPN last year during the middle of the U.S. Open, leaving the network with one year remaining on her contract.
Thoughts and observations on the first surge of action from the Australian Open:
Don Ohlmeyer's 18-month tenure as ESPN ombudsman is scheduled to end next month, and should he write a final column or two, he won't have to look far for issues.
THE PICK: Mike Pereira (Fox Sports).
Sports writer Kevin Ding heard familiar words when he tuned into ESPN Tuesday night -- words that he wrote for his Orange County Register column two days earlier.
NEW YORK -- Of course she knew about the streak. The daily reminders from friends and passers-by on campus had buzzed in the ear of Samantha Prahalis for the past two months. Regardless of subject matter and the length of interaction, the Ohio State junior All-America point guard found plenty of conversations punctuated by a two-word conclusion-cum-request:
If you are looking for drama during Saturday night's Heisman Trophy ceremony, you might as well turn the channel to TNT. Rather than create an awkward situation with Auburn quarterback and presumptive Heisman winner Cam Newton live on Saturday night, ESPN landed an exclusive interview with Newton Thursday afternoon at a hotel in Orlando. The interview aired during the Home Depot College Football Awards Show Thursday night, and ESPN officials said they will re-run clips of the interview on other ESPN entities over the weekend, including during the Heisman Trophy Presentation (which airs at 8 p.m. ET Saturday on ESPN and ESPN3.com).
The ESPN sportscaster has rules for hosting a game-day gathering
1. Dave Niehaus, Mariners legend: They lingered in the stands for hours at Safeco Field last Saturday, thousands of Mariners fans paying tribute to Niehaus, the team's voice for 34 seasons and a beloved figure in the Pacific Northwest. The Hall of Fame broadcaster died last Wednesday of a heart attack at age 75. (The Seattle Times website set up a special tribute section for Niehaus, complete with his greatest calls and reflections from fans.)
1. Mark Pain, sports photographer, Mail on Sunday (U.K.): Along with creating one of the most memorable images in recent history -- Tiger Woods shanking a ball during the Ryder Cup directly into his camera -- Pain also created a global phenomenon thanks to a mustachioed mystery man with a cigar in the background of his photo. The famed face in the crowd -- now identified as 30-year-old South London-based investment analyst Rupesh Shingadia -- created a Photoshopping sensation worldwide and entered the phrase "Cigar Guy" into our lexicon. How did the photographer land the shot? Click here for Pain's interview with CBS' The Early Show.
There are numerous problems with the early season play of the New Jersey Devils, but the one that seems to garner the most attention is the issue of supposed scoring star Ilya Kovalchuk being late for a team meeting and drawing the healthy scratch card from rookie coach John MacLean. It made noise throughout the NHL, but comes as no surprise to players who played with Kovalchuk in Atlanta.
USA Today recently dubbed the Miami Heat the team America already loves to hate. But one of the undeniable truisms of sports television is this: Hate sells.
No subject over the last six months, at least based on my in-box, has produced more foaming-at-the-mouth venom than ESPN's broadcast of The Decision. At the time I called it a "self-aggrandizing, selling-out-our-journalistic-soul, narcissistic shamathon," but I've since calmed down.
1. Bucky Gunts, NBC Sports : "Let's face it -- we're all Bucky Gunts here." With those eight magical words from the lips of actor Ricky Gervais, Gunts morphed from a quiet, behind-the-scenes player at NBC Sports to a subject of Emmy stories, a trending topic on Twitter and a viral sensation.
NEW YORK -- As Rafael Nadal smashed a forehand down the line and into his line of sight last weekend, Ken Aagaard, wearing 3-D glasses along with eight other colleagues inside a cramped CBS trailer behind Arthur Ashe Stadium, explained what made tennis one of his favorite sports to watch in 3-D.
Amid the alphabet soup of current television technology, from DVR to 3-D to DirecTV, there is a truism that remains as clear as high-definition television:
If the tour's young players have difficulty relating to the Williams sisters, so adept at balancing tennis against off-court pursuits, imagine their take on Kim Clijsters. In a tournament fraught with peril -- the upsets, the heat, the humidity -- Clijsters moves quietly and comfortably in a world entirely her own.
The mobile advertising business is puny. But don't tell that to Google and Apple.
There is schadenfreude and then there is the frothing-out-of-the-mouth with bloodthirsty delight that CBS Sports.com columnist Gregg Doyel experienced Saturday afternoon after he learned that Jay Mariotti had been arrested in Los Angeles earlier that day. As first reported by The Los Angeles Times, the AOL FanHouse columnist and ESPN Around the Horn contributor was booked on suspicion of felony domestic assault, according to authorities.
Walt Disney Co. posted fiscal third-quarter results Tuesday that topped Wall Street's expectations, led by rebounding sales at its television networks and movie studio divisions.
1. Mike Mayock, Notre Dame Football analyst: You know what you can't fake in broadcasting? Preparation. Ron Jaworski is often praised in this space because when he says he's watched every throw a quarterback made in college, he backs it up through his analysis.
Jim Miller has become the nation's foremost ESPNologist. Over the past two years the writer has interviewed 472 subjects for his upcoming book, Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN. He and co-writer Tom Shales, the longtime Washington Post television columnist, have set a goal to chronicle ESPN from its scrappy beginnings to the infamous LeBronapalooza it hosted earlier this month.
1. Emmet Smith, Deputy Design Director for News, The Cleveland Plain Dealer: For those who celebrate the daily elegance of the newspaper front page, it was a gift of genius: LeBron James walking out of the frame, flanked by a single word headline: GONE. For the past month Smith and Michael Tribble, the design and graphics director for the Plain Dealer newspaper, kicked around ideas on how to portray the inevitability of their city's most famous citizen leaving town. "We wanted to do something special for it," Smith said.
The 2010 NBA free agency period began at 12:01 a.m. on July 1 with players allowed to officially sign with teams on July 8. Here's all the latest news and rumors to keep you up to speed with this summer's elite free-agent class.
In those anxious, heart-stopping moments before LeBron James addresses the nation on the state of the war in Afghanistan, I'd like to ... wait a minute [this is where Jon Stewart puts the fake phone to his ear] ... I've just been informed that the King's special is not about Afghanistan. It is about his deciding in which American city he will pursue his dream -- our dream, really, the dream of our collective nation, or more like the dream of the world, that's it, the whole world, the universe, that dream. Which is to play basketball, make a lot of money, and, dammit, just maybe change humankind for the better.
The show comes with a title befitting Election Day or something equally presidential: "The Decision." It will be preceded by three hours of Super Bowl-style hype and followed by two hours of post-decision analysis. As of now, there is no word whether LeBron James will present a rose to the winning general manager upon making his decision.
He has covered Bush Family politics, the Branch Davidian standoff, a defamation trial against Oprah Winfrey, and even wrote a front-page story for The Dallas Morning News on the physical makeover of Jerry Jones. But only one story has given Chip Brown a national profile. "The Big 12 realignment," says Brown, "is by far the biggest I've ever broken."
1. Buzz Bissinger: It's probably safe to say Bissinger is the only Pulitzer Prize winner on Twitter who uses the term "douche juice" on a regular basis. He also curses. A lot. And he makes no bleeping apologies for it. "That's the way I talk," Bissinger said. "I use the f-bomb more than anyone I know except my deceased father. I use the word f*** a lot. A lot of people have called me angry in my life, including my wives and Steve Wynn. I get really, really heated about things very easily." That makes him a perfect candidate to follow on Twitter.
Fanzone looks at the story of the football boot from Henry VIII to 2010's cutting edge designs.
Ken Rosenthal does not look the part. Slight of frame, measured in tone and unlikely to appear on Dancing With the Stars in this or any other lifetime, Rosenthal is the first to admit Fox Sports did not hire him as a field reporter because he is, in his words, "Mr. Television." But the 47-year-old field reporter for Fox's Major League Baseball broadcast has become one of the best sports voices on television, a prepared, thoughtful and straight-shooting chronicler of his game. "He gives our broadcast incredible ballast," said Fox play-by-play announcer Joe Buck. "There's a credibility factor there."
Brian Windhorst falls asleep next to his iPhone most nights, and when it's not snuggled up next to him, it sits five feet away on his nightstand. When you are ground zero for LeBron James news in Cleveland, a city at DEFCON 1 with the two-time NBA MVP poised to enter the land of free agency on July 1, you give up the luxury of a night of a restful sleep.
Loading weather data ...