A big break for Fox Sports became even bigger this week. Another schedule flexing brought them this Sunday's (12/14) Cleveland vs. Cincinnati telecast, originally scheduled for CBS. Now, the Browns going with Johnny Manziel as the starting QB brings even more interest to the telecast. Fox has already expanded the number of markets around the country that will not air this telecast ahead of their orginally scheduled Green Bay at Buffalo early regional telecast.
Kevin Burkhardt and John Lynch will have the call on many more Fox stations, which includes Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, and Dallas added to the list. Fox figures to generate significant ratings, especially on the west coast, all day with this telecast leading into its primary doubleheader game of San Francisco vs. Seattle.
A schedule coincidence keeps major midwest markets Chicago, Detroit, and Minneapolis from each of the games, however. These and surrounding markets remain focused on the "local" Central Division, with Green Bay at Buffalo shown early and the Minnesota vs. Detroit game being shown late.
This is an ironic twist for CBS, which lost the Browns telecast due to a flex. As of now it appears that NBC will finish the entire season without flexing any of its Sunday Night Football telecasts, which in recent years has cost CBS a couple of key game telecasts.
Over on the baseball side of things, there is still nothing further or imminent regarding having L.A. Dodgers telecasts on any more stations or providers by the start of the 2015 season. Team President Stan Kasten appeared on MLB Network on Wednesday (12/10), acting as if the team is "concerned" about the situation when asked by host Chris Russo. Kasten basically confirmed my theory within that interview, with comments to the effect of how the team is awaiting the proposed merger of Time Warner with Comcast as a means to increase the distribution. What Kasten neglected to mention is that this proposed merger is likely a long way off if it makes it past the approval process.
Major congratulations to Dick Enberg on being selected to the Baseball Hall of Fame as a result of his many years of broadcasting baseball games. Enberg, in addition to calling games for NBC Game of the Week and post-season coverage during the 70's and 80's, has also had a couple of stints as radio voice of the Angels. He continues as TV voice of the Padres. Oh my!
ESPN officials are most likely jumping for joy about having scheduled their Sunday Night Baseball opener on April 5th as the Cubs hosting the Cardinals. In addition to the managerial debut of Joe Maddon with the Cubs and this history of this rivalry, this game figures to be the debut of Jon Lester in a Cubs uniform as well. Yet, as of press time, the Cubs still do not have a TV arrangement in place for as many as 70 of their regular season telecasts in place yet.
TAMPA: WHFS-FM 98.7 The Fan has given up the struggle to attract an audience, stopping abruptly on December 4th when it went to holiday music during the afternoon. Always a sad thing to have staffers lose jobs, but The Fan never had enough wind from day one.
MINNEAPOLIS: Just as the Twins are strugging to get out of last place for 2015, so is KTWN-FM, which is owned by the Twins. The flagship station has reportedly ordered new web domains after eliminating Eric Perkins as a morning show co-host last week. The station's ratings have barely been better than a 1.0 rating most of the year, failing to gain after the miserable Twins season ended. This would indicate another format change could be in the works prior to the upcoming Twins season.