Thursday, June 26, 2014

Their Opinion Puts The Times Behind

It is bad enough that too much pure speculation gets mixed in with actual sports news, but even worse when pure opinion does.

The Seattle Times, or as I now should say, the "Seattle daily newspaper" has taken the editorial position that it insists that the Washington Redskins change the name of the team. That is fine. I'm not here to agree or disagree with their opinion.

However, when its Sports Editor decides that the newspaper and its web site will "ban the use of 'Redskins" from its news stories moving forward, this raises another issue. This is damaging to their reporting.

What's next? Maybe they'll insist that the Mariners trade Felix Hernandez at the July trading deadline and until that happens only report that "the right handed starting pitcher pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings last night" in their game story.

Expressing opinions and sparking discussion is fine. But not when it replaces actual news. In this instance, it's not even a local story. It is safe to say that Redskins owner Daniel Snyder is not going to call a press conference to say that "Because of a Seattle daily newspaper I'm going to change the name of my team". But if that newspaper insists on editing sports stories because of its opinion, we might have a solid reason to name another Seattle daily newspaper as our choice of information.

MLB Network does so many things well, and the Tuesday (6/25) Tim Lincecum no-hitter vs. San Diego led to another choice moment for the network. It so happened that MLB Network was airing the St. Louis at Colorado game nationally during the time that the no-hitter was in progress. They not only kept viewers informed of the progress of the no-hitter, but knew to break away from the Cards-Rockies game for live cut-ins during the 8th inning. They stayed with the Giants' feed starting in the bottom of the 8th, between innings, and then the top of the 9th right through the immediate post-game reaction. (The post-game reaction included Lincecum being dunked by his teammates before getting a word out.) Next, MLB Network updated viewers on the Cards-Rockies game and returned for the conclusion before returning for post-game coverage of the no-hitter.

They could easily have only cut over for the final out or not bothered to play this up. Instead, they chose the route of pleasing the majority of baseball fans who were given the chance to watch baseball history being made without distraction.

The University of Kentucky struck even more gold with its new "multimedia" rights deal which will net the school another $210 million over the next 15 years. This is totally separate from the SEC Network and other TV deals the school benefits from. In addition to football and basketball broadcasts, the deal also includes baseball, as well as future naming rights, advertising signage galore, and even some TV game related coverage (such as pre and post-game features).

The same company which will handle the UK media rights also has a similar contract with Alabama, another SEC team, and is handling rights for the SEC package. However, it means that a percentage of Conference football and basketball games will soon be generating literally millions of dollars more in revenue for a couple of the schools ahead of other Conference participants. And this is fair because?

Fox Sports has brought increased credibility to its college football and basketball telecasts with the addition of Tim Brando as one of its lead play-by-play voices. Brando comes over after 18 years with CBS Sports in a similar role. It remains to be seen if Brando will get the opportunity to call as many top quality games as well as reach the same sized audiences he has in prior years unless Fox Sports is eventually able to raise the caliber of games it can televise nationally. Brando also loses out on the chance to call NCAA Tournament games as he was able to do with CBS.

If a broadcast remote fell in the forest and no one heard it, would it matter? Well, the "no one heard it" part applies to NBC Sports Radio this week.

On Friday (6/27), NBC Sports Radio afternoon hosts Mark Malone and Donovan McNabb will air their national afternoon drive show live from an auto parts store in a Chicago suburb. Let's sum this up. Two former NFL players co-hosting a show together in late June, weeks before NFL training camps begin. The remote broadcast is in an auto parts store, not at a stadium, arena, or sports bar. And there is one more important factor. No Chicago area station airs this show, live or on delay.

The real reason for this is that the auto parts store is part of a national chain which is a regular sponsor on NBC Radio Sports, and this remote is part of a series of remote broadcasts scheduled across the country. NBC seems to have a dream that this would help drum up interest in having this show air in Chicago.

Finally, a wonderful idea for the benefit of high school students interested in a possible sports broadcasting career. The "Live Mic Sports Broadcasting Camp" will be held July 24-26 in Ruston LA, with no broadcast experience needed by students who wish to attend. Among the instructors will be Malcolm Butler, who has called Louisiana Tech women's basketball, and ESPN 97.7's Nick White, who has called more than 20 state high school championship games and has hosted sports talk on the station since 2003.

Details at

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