Thursday, March 10, 2016

Thursday Night Football - via Facebook?

Several media insiders are speculating that the live streaming package for NFL Thursday Night Football games this fall could wind up on Facebook. Yahoo, Amazon, and other streaming services are also believed to be in the running, with an announcement about the winning bidder is expected to be made on or around March 20th when NFL owners meet.

Facebook has been quietly looking to become more involved with live streaming over the past few months. Can't help but wonder if they would have a "Most Important Plays" default setting and expect visitors to watch plays shown out of sequence every time they check in.
This would only be for online streaming, since the Go90 service (owned by Verizon) has the exclusive on mobile.

Both the online and mobile streams would be taken from the over-the-air telecast, whether from CBS, NBC, and/or the NFL Network (cable) telecasts.

Speaking of live streaming features, Apple TV has come up with what they call an exclusive technical advancement for the NCAA Tournament which, of course, begins next week.

Those with Apple TV will reportedly be able to watch two separate games via their new "split screen" feature. While the ability to view two games simultaneously is exclusive to Apple TV users, the availability of the tourney by streaming will be available via several platforms, including Amazon Fire and Roku. Those who pay (and the key word is PAY) for cable or satellite TV packages will need to register (as proof of subscription) in order to use the apps to view in that manner.

This will be the first time ever that the entire Final Four will be completely on cable, with Turner Sports showing both the Saturday and Monday game action.

CBS and Turner Sports have added Carter Blackburn as one of their early round play-by-play voices for the tourney, paired with analyst Mike Gminski. Blackburn is still another in a long line of sportscasters who went to Syracuse University, having been a classmate of fellow tournament play-by-play voice Andrew Catalon. He replaces Marv Albert, who continues to reduce his "non-NBA" broadcast schedule.

Here's one you don't see every day. Wisconsin Green Bay play-by-play voice Matt Menzl was asked to leave his play-by-play position during the game against Valparaiso in Monday's (3/7) Horizon League tournament action.

Referee Pat Adams reacted strongly to Menzl's animated description to his radio audience and stopped the game until Menzl left his position. Menzl handed over the microphone to one of the Oakland University play-by-play voices (who was nearby since other conference teams were on hand for the tourney).

After going to meet with school and Horizon League officials nearby, Menzl returned to the microphone within five minutes and continued his call of the game. I'm sure some fans, players, and coaches, are wishing that game officials would be watching what is happening on the court that closely.

ESPN announced a couple of analyst changes for its NFL coverage beginning with the upcoming season. Mike Ditka, a part of the ESPN analyst family since 2004, will no longer be a part of "NFL Countdown" and will be featured during the week on several segments for SportsCenter.

Just retired QB Matt Hasselbeck, who most recently played for the Indianapolis Colts to wrap up an 18 year career, will join both the Sunday and Monday Night editions of "Countdown". As a side note, it's interesting that there were TWO former Colts QB's who just announced their retirements after 18 seasons in the NFL.

This may be a low point for CBS Radio Sports Network. In a strange money grab, the network will air a three hour "special" specific to wrestling late night on Sunday April 3rd. "The Taz Show" will air starting at 11 PM ET following a major wrestling event.

Granted, it is late on a Sunday night, not exactly a peak listening time. However, on that particular Sunday night it is the day of the MLB season openers and the night in between the NCAA Final Four games, with CBS being a TV partner in that event.

Instead, this money grab is to the point that the CBS sports stations in New York, Chicago, Dallas, D.C., and Philadelphia will also stream this 'special'.

ORLANDO: WRSO 810, after more than two years airing CBS Sports Radio Network, has dropped sports in favor of foreign language programming.

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