Thursday, April 21, 2016

Now It Really Is A Mock Draft

While I understand that various sports media outlets are positioning to be the "go to" outlet for football fans on NFL Draft days, the use, or as I should say, overuse, of the 'mock draft' has been growing out of control over the past couple of years.

It used to be that a couple of days before Round 1, some of the football reporters would publish a mock draft, often pointing toward how they think the needs of one or two specific teams will go. No problem with that.

However, it has become numerous media outlets publishing a mock draft with WEEKS to go before the actual draft. That's fine, for those fans who want to invest the time on checking them out. What bothers me even more this year is how these 'expert' mock drafts are suddenly being treated as if they are "news" stories.

Within the past few weeks, it has gotten so bad that ESPN often uses its "Bottom Line" scroll during evening and weekend game times to show that day's "mock draft choices" as if there is some need to know this instantly and has some actual news value.

Sorry, but this is no reason to further delay the NHL scores (for example), which ESPN skips over much of the time because it is the only major sport they do not hold any telecast rights to. Even though ESPN televises the Draft and wants to steer fans away from the NFL Network's competing telecast, they should not be taking away from providing actual information and facts.

Even Fox Sports is among the other networks which seem to think that fans want to see mock drafts instead of current score updates.

I couldn't help but laugh after both of the Draft's top two overall picks were traded in surprise moves over the past couple of weeks. It means that the previous "news" of these mock drafts were rendered useless, as if they were useful before those trades.

In this age when too much of the sports media effort is used to report what some other source is reporting, we don't need any more pure speculation replacing time that should be devoted to factual information.

The Big Ten Conference is expected to be the next of the major conferences to announce its next big TV rights deal. With a package reportedly consisting of about 25 football and 50 basketball games available beginning with the 2017 football season, the word is that Fox Sports, Turner Sports, ESPN, and CBS Sports are all in the running for this "half package" of games.

Turner Sports may or may not win the bidding, but the feeling here is that Turner needs to increase its NCAA regular season coverage in order to set the table with viewers for its NCAA Basketball Tournament coverage each March.

NBC Sports is pleased with its NHL coverage ratings. The 94 games shown throughout the regular season on NBCSN produced the highest cable ratings over the course of a full NHL season, which goes back to 1994. Even with NBC only televising 11 regular season games nationally (with skipping Easter Sunday which had playoff positions on the line), they gained a 6% ratings increase over last season. Early playoff telecast ratings, which include NBC, NBCSN, along with CNBC and USA Network for the early rounds, are also strong. The remainder of the playoff ratings could well depend on how far Chicago, both New York teams, Philadelphia, and Detroit do or don't advance.

DENVER: Status quo for Rockies broadcasts, which have just been extended through the 2021 season with KOA 850 and 94.1. Jack Corrigan, now in his 14th season on play-by-play, continues in that role along with Jerry Schemmel.

SAN FRANCISCO: Status quo for the highly rated KNBR 680 morning show, "The Murph and Mac Show". The contracts of Brian Murphy and Paul McCaffery has been extended by the station as the show celebrates its tenth anniversary.

DALLAS: Mark Cuban should be pleased that his Mavericks are killing in the ratings ahead of the NHL Stars and early season Rangers games, even though the Stars would appear to have a much better chance of post-season success.

This past Monday (4/18) night, the Mavericks close victory over Oklahoma City nearly tripled in the TV ratings (if you combine the local Channel 21 and national TNT telecasts) over the Stars taking on Minnesota in that playoff game on Fox Sports Southwest.

Another very interesting aspect to this is that for Saturday's (4/17) Mavericks opening telecast the ratings for the competing national telecast on ESPN was nearly more than 30% higher than the Channel 21 local telecast.

DETROIT: This missed our column for last week. Sorry to learn of the passing, earlier this month, of longtime Tigers voice Paul Carey, who lost his battle with cancer at the age of 88. Carey is best remembered for his 19 seasons in the booth along with Ernie Harwell, which included the 1968 World Series championship run.

Many have forgotten that Carey's long run on WJR also included stints as play-by-play voice of the Pistons as well as numerous high school football and basketball games.

MADISON: The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee will have a new basketball play-by-play voice for next season to replace Bill Johnson after 16 seasons on the job.

Actually "replacement" is probably not the most fitting term. It seems that Johnson took to social media to announce his resignation from the position. Why? Because he slammed the school administration, calling them "incompetent" and referring to Athletic Director Amanda Braun as "horribly under qualified" in his comments.

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