The NFL having both the money and the power it does has been extremely evident in the media over the past week. We may not like it, but we as fans seem to have to accept it. Here we have all of the big four major network spending a combined billions of dollars for the rights to the games and the coverage, yet they don't question the League taking control over how certain content is handled.
They have put the fear into the media companies that if any of them question the NFL they might not have the opportunity to pay up millions more dollars and get in on the advertising and subscription dollars it generates in return several years from now.
Timing is everything. The League office decides to start paying taxes on its earnings for the first time, rather than have to reveal even more information about its billions of income. They "just happen" to reveal this just before the NFL Draft, which dominated the sports publicity machine for days during late April.
These days all of the national and regional sports networks place an added emphasis on their draft previews even though they do not actually televise the choices. ESPN benefits because Fox, NBCSN, CBS Sports Network, and the regional CSN's and Root Sports add to the hype for the local team choices.
This year, the word was put our there even more heavily that the NFL "requested" that reporters not use social media to report the first and second round draft picks until they were announced on the ESPN and NFL Network telecasts. As The Broadcast Booth sees it, this should be cause for media outrage.
Just because ESPN and NFL Network want a delay so that they can be ready "immediately" with the highlights and profiles of the choices, it should not mean that other reporters should have to wait before reporting the news of these draft picks. This is done by the League for the sole purpose of hyping the telecasts on its own network (NFL Network) and ESPN. This point is further illustrated by the League including ESPN reporters in their request to delay these announcements.
Members of the media should be offended and outraged at this request, pointing out that it's up to NFL Network and ESPN to have their facts and profiles ready and have every pick announced immediately to everyone at the same time.
On Wednesday (5/6) we had still another example of the total control. The NFL announced that they have determined that the Patriots were involved with deflating footballs for the AFC Championship game played in January. Let's get this straight. It took league officials more than THREE MONTHS to come to this conclusion?
Granted, I can't prove this, but my hunch is they were ready with these findings at least two months earlier. However, having done so would have possibly tainted the Patriots and their Super Bowl victory. By delaying this until the middle of the off-season and just after all of the positive coverage of the NFL Draft, the League was able to push this cheating under the turf.
The on-air controversy about this was limited to how the team should or will be penalized in the future, and not about whether or not the Super Bowl participants were achieved fairly and with integrity.
However, if the NFL can get network reporters to wait a few minutes to "report" on the draft and not question a story about the League's multi-million dollar tax situation, they can certainly ask them to bury a story which should have had impact on its integrity. And, obviously, they have, and are getting away with it.
CINCINNATI: WLW Radio's Lance McAlister made news in a different way this past weekend when he took the time to acknowledge the passing of a long time listener on the station's web site. On Sunday (5/3), McAlister posted:
"I was stunned to learn that Roger C. Hamilton passed away unexpectedly on Friday at the age of 51. Roger, known as "Hammy", was a long-time listener and caller to Cincinnati Sports Talk and my shows. Hammy once joined me for an edition of the "Roundtable of Regulars" in December of 2006 (picture below).
Then in June of 2006, I hosted the "Ultimate Trivia Showdown"at Dickmann's Sports Cafe. The contested featured Hammy vs Mike from Fairfield. Steven Sharp (pictured) wrote several of the questions that day and Richard Skinner served as judge and referee. Hammy defeated Mike.
Roger was a friend, loyal listener and a fantastic caller that always added to the show.
My thoughts and prayers to Roger's family. "
MINNEAPOLIS: KFAN 1003 and KTLK 1130 have a new five year extension to continue airing the Vikings games through the 2020 season. This also includes keeping Paul Allen as the play-by-play voice. Terms of the new deal were not disclosed.
SACRAMENTO: KHTK, which has broadcast the Kings games since 1994, has signed a five year extension to run through the 20-21 season on the sports station. What we don't know is whether or not there is an out clause in the event the team does not remain in the Sacramento area during that time.
ATLANTA: This announcement is like making a molehill out of a molecule. WCNN 680 and The Fan 93.7 actually went as far as to make an official announcement about a multi-year partnership with the Atlanta Track Club. The plan is for the sports stations to broadcast from live events such as marathons and other such races. Looks as though the "running" part of this is that the station must be "running" out of content ideas.
COLLEGE STATION TX: The Zone KZNE 1150 has added an FM simulcast on 102.7 as of this week. The flagship station for Texas A&M University play-by-play adds the FM signal in order to compete against KJXJ 103.9 (licensed to Franklin), the ESPN affiliate which began just two months ago.