Even with the concern about leagues and teams taking control of more and more content aimed toward fans, some of it appears to be a positive instead of reducing the negative.
MLB Network, which is delivering on more than 30 hours of live coverage from the Winter Meetings in Nashville, is also set to debut some of the specials it has been producing over the past few months. Later this week (Thursday 12/10) brings the initial showing in prime time of "Royal In Kansas City - 30 Years Later". The documentary includes recalling the team's 1985 World Championship run and then goes current day to feature the team's run to the current World Series championship.
On Friday (12/11) it will be the debut of a documentary about Lenny Randle, one of baseball's biggest characters in the 70's and 80's.
Perhaps even more interesting will be the special about the Astrodome in Houston, which opened 50 years ago, and will also include special events held there in addition to baseball. This show will debut on Tuesday (12/15).
The NBA has partnered with an international digital technology company to develop what it terms an "instant" and custom highlights opportunity. Among the eventual capabilities will be the ability to quickly provide custom highlights during and after games tailored to include specific players. One application reportedly being planned would allow players from foreign countries to be highlighted during and after their games specific to viewers in their home countries.
The "Avgen" platform will also be used to provide alerts and highlights for special accomplishments, such as when a player scores 40 or more points or sets a team or league record.
NBC Sports took the "How quickly they forget!" approach by flexing its Sunday Dec. 20th game, dropping the originally scheduled Cincinnati at San Francisco telecast. It wasn't that long ago when the Bengals were among the league's unbeaten teams, but are now looking to stay ahead of Pittsburgh to win their division.
This move leaves CBS with the Bengals at 49ers game AND Denver at Pittsburgh among its late game choices. It will be interesting to find out early next week which game will get the bigger priority. NBC picked up the Arizona at Philadelphia telecast to make for a rare national showcase of the Cardinals.
NEW YORK: It has been so long that it doesn't seem like that big of a deal anymore, but Mike & The Mad Dog have agreed to reunite on the air - for one night only. At least as of now. Mike Francesa and Chris "Mad Dog" Russo will co-host a charity event at Radio City on March 30th. The pair were, of course, long time co-hosts on WFAN for many years. Francesa is reportedly under contract at WFAN through 2017.
WASHINGTON D.C.: Sorry to learn of the passing of long time sports talker Ken Beatrice, who passed away on Sunday (12/6) at the age of 72. Beatrice is best remembered for his 18 years on WMAL's Sports Call, especially when it came to the NFL.
PHOENIX: Mike Ferrin has been added to the Diamondbacks radio team for the coming season. Ferrin will call some innings to spell Greg Schulte, as well as host the pre and post-game shows on the Diamondbacks Network. He is expected to give up his hosting role on MLB Radio Network, although nothing official has been announced yet.
DENVER: KKFN 104.3 The Fan has chosen its new Program Director. Armen Williams will begin in that role after the first of the year, but is not expected to host a regular air shift. Williams is leaving San Antonio's WTMM 104.5 where he co-hosted afternoons for the past three years.
COEUR D'ALENE: KVNI-AM has dropped its sports talk programming in what is reportedly not a temporary move. The station's transition to all Christmas music is expected to switch to an 80's music format late this month. The station is, as of now, expected to continue to air Seattle Mariners baseball, but no word yet about continuing its University of Idaho football broadcasts next season.