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Do you know whether or not the new crossflexing system affects/is affected by the SNF protections? On the one hand, it would defeat the point of protections if you could lose the game anyway to a crossflex, but on the other hand, it would defeat the point of crossflexing if the singleheader network could protect the best game from moving to the doubleheader network.

1 day, 20 hours ago on Conversation @ http://awfulannouncing.com/2014/heres-nfl-games-fox-cbs-protected-flexing.html

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You could make the case that if they really wanted to erode the NCAA's rules they should have reported the story. The more flaunting of those rules comes to light, the more ridiculous the NCAA looks.

1 week, 5 days ago on Conversation @ http://awfulannouncing.com/2014/sb-nation-turned-todd-gurley-scoop.html

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Wait, someone wrote an entire book about "female [sports] fandom", and that person told Men's Health that women care more about human interest stories than stats??? How is THAT not the story here?!?

2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://awfulannouncing.com/

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@DennisLaDow And let baseball continue to lose young people because it's so obsessed with preserving "pure" "real baseball"? Do you think football would be the most popular sport in this country if it were still played the same way it was in the pre-AFL era, or even before 1994? Purists like the ones in this thread calling to abolish the DH entirely that want baseball played the way it was in their childhood are holding baseball back and, to the extent baseball's commissioners listen to them, will be the death of it.

1 month, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://bloguin.com/theoutsidecorner

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Perhaps on the day Goodell gets fired Olbermann can throw to Ley saying "there was not so much relief when he left as absolute blanking joy".

1 month, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://awfulannouncing.com/2014/espn2-at-5-p-m-et-is-now-the-best-hour-on-sports-television.html

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I wouldn't read too much into the saga of @fueltv. I doubt Fox intended Fox Sports 2 to have a separate social media presence at all (ESPN2 doesn't), but sees it as simply an extention of FS1; someone just got overzealous about replacing all the Fuel references they could find, when Fox only keeps it around at all as a retired account and repository of old Fuel tweets.

Overall point taken, though. It's been 375 days and counting and my Comcast system in the Seattle area still doesn't carry FS2. I'm going to be leaving here soon without ever seeing it.

1 month, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://awfulannouncing.com/2014/fox-sports-2-is-a-barren-wasteland.html

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@mdtp33 ...that's the only reason they would charge the fifth-most of any RSN for a network showing only one team in a market that's extremely fair-weather and lackadaisical about sports in general after overbidding by a couple million for the rights.

1 month, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://awfulannouncing.com/2014/sportsnet-la-may-help-kill-a-potential-comcast-time-warner-merger.html

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Correction: According to the article you linked, SportsNet LA is the fifth-most expensive RSN. It is not beaten by five RSNs. The SportsNet on Forbes' chart is SportsNet LA itself. Also, if the Forbes article was your source for SportsNet LA's price, note that it dates to May so I don't know why you only found out about it now.

Still, if the problem is that SportsNet LA only contains one team's games, it would seem that TWC had a perfectly good RSN waiting for more content...

1 month, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://awfulannouncing.com/2014/sportsnet-la-may-help-kill-a-potential-comcast-time-warner-merger.html

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@mdtp33 I'm pretty sure TWC owns at least a piece of SportsNet LA, especially considering the stories I remember reading that a) TWC had to lower the stake of the network they gave the Dodgers because MLB had fixed the value of the Dodgers' TV contract and b) part of the money that changed hands was just to put the "LA" at the end of the name.

Which begs the question... WHY THE HELL DIDN'T TWC JUST GIVE THE DODGERS A STAKE OF TWC SPORTSNET AND MAKE THAT THEIR NETWORK?!? So they could stick the little "LA" at the end? So they could have a 24/7 Dodgers propaganda channel the rest of the time? I think what this comes down to is that TWC is completely new to the RSN market and has no idea how it works...

1 month, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://awfulannouncing.com/2014/sportsnet-la-may-help-kill-a-potential-comcast-time-warner-merger.html

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@DanielOrmsby RSNs would never stand for that as it would rob them of their leverage with cable operators. Cable operators might not stand for it either, depending on how it's carried out; if it doesn't matter whether you actually get an RSN, why are you authenticating?

In the short term, the best thing to do is fix the ridiculous blackout areas, which might be easier than the article implies; just say that teams must make a good faith effort to get an RSN on cable in areas beyond a certain radius of the home stadium, and that MLB can rule that getting an RSN on cable in a certain area just isn't going to happen even with a good faith effort and strip that area from a team's blackout area. The owners might not stand for it, but hopefully Rob Manfred is a stronger commissioner than Selig was or at least can tell them they need to fix the blackout issue to please the fans and connect with a new generation and this is the best way to do it.

Long term? Just wait for the cable bubble to pop and maybe then things will work out on their own...

1 month, 4 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://awfulannouncing.com/2014/mlb-tv-is-reviewing-blackouts-for-the-2015-season.html

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Pre-roll video ads on videos may be here to stay, and that's okay. Video ads that (occasionally) play automatically when you load a non-video page, and pages with so many ads or ads that are so heavy-duty (like the aforementioned video ads, autoplaying or not) they can slow the browser to a crawl and possibly eventually crash (especially on lower-end machines that are becoming increasingly popular for Internet browsing)... not so much. Looking at you, Awful Announcing.

2 months ago on Conversation @ http://awfulannouncing.com/2014/sports-illustrated-is-laying-off-writers-based-on-advertising-impact.html

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"Which program or broadcast could do so much to improve the way college football is discussed on a national level, yet falls short on a regular basis?"

This question seems awfully specific. It's almost as if you phrased it the way you did to tee up the panelists to bash College Football Final... hmm...

2 months ago on Conversation @ http://awfulannouncing.com/2014/the-2014-college-football-media-roundtable.html

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@tonyc "I don't think it is unreasonable that a west coast RSN may pass on a weekday morning game." Why? What could possibly attract a larger audience or even make more money, even considering production expenses and potential infomercial revenue? I say this time and again: if it's not live, it's filler. That should be posted up in gigantic letters in the offices of every linear television channel.

2 months, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://awfulannouncing.com/2014/wednesdays-athletics-astros-game-may-have-been-the-least-viewed-ever-in-local-markets.html

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@dan_nguyen11 FS1 can't control when rights come up for bid. The only college rights worth anything that are coming up in the foreseeable future are the Big Ten, and the only other rights worth anything coming up in the foreseeable future are the NBA, which it looks like they'll be boxed out on since they're not buying Time Warner. And beIN Sport has shown no signs of wanting to share with anybody. They're concerned about growing their own network at the moment.

2 months, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://awfulannouncing.com/2014/fox-sports-1-needs-to-pass-the-dvr-test-in-year-2.html

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While FSL's ratings problems are impossible to separate from FS1's more general ratings problems, they may also be exascerbating it. FSL is people's gateway to the rest of FS1's studio programming. If they're not impressed by it, they're less likely to come back on their own and stay for other studio programming.

FS1's other problem is that Keith Olbermann is putting Jay and Dan to shame. They seem overly scripted and amateur compared to how Olbermann does highlights.

2 months, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://awfulannouncing.com/2014/why-fox-sports-live-has-been-a-failure-and-how-fs1-can-still-save-it.html

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The following should be posted in 100-point font in the offices of every television network, sports or not:

If it doesn't have to be live, it's filler.

If that were posted in the Pac-12 Network and BTN offices this would not have happened. The simple truth is that linear television channels are nothing but a bunch of filler surrounding live events and will only become more so as the Internet becomes a more popular platform for watching video. If I want to watch a media day press conference at a time other than as it's being delivered, I can get it online. If I want to watch a bunch of talking heads talking about media day press conferences, I can get it online. It's that simple.

2 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://bloguin.com/thestudentsection/

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I wonder if the Angels are benefitting from the SportsnetLA dispute as people who would have otherwise watched Dodgers games watch Angels games instead.

3 months ago on Conversation @ http://awfulannouncing.com/2014/midwest-markets-are-dominating-mlbs-local-ratings.html

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How about don't schedule it in the Fox window to begin with unless you have an absolute lock-down commitment that Fox will pick up the game no matter what (and considering they didn't pick it up even when it pitted the top two teams against the division, that'd be a no)?

3 months, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://awfulannouncing.com/2014/saturdays-tigers-royals-game-will-be-aired-on-tape-delay.html

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@MUPfeif @morganwick @Pat_Pending http://sports.morganwick.com/2014/05/the-nexus-of-television-and-sports-in-transition-part-iv-pricking-the-bubble/

Tl;dr: The Internet is rendering the linear television channel as we know it itself obsolete, and if it survives at all it will be as a conduit for live events (say, baseball) and other things that a lot of people want to watch at the same time. The hundreds of cable channels out there now are a relic of an age when linear TV channels were the only way to get video. If linear TV is worth having as a separate distribution mechanism from the Internet, it makes sense to deliver it over the airwaves so people not tied down to a wired connection can watch it without going through the Internet, which would defeat the point.

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://awfulannouncing.com/2014/rethinking-baseball-on-national-television.html

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Part of the problem Fox has had has to do with regionalism. If Fox Saturday Baseball were structured like Sunday Night Baseball, where Fox has a single game that's the only game being played at the time, it would help, although SNB is often the only sporting event of any significance happening on Sunday night until NFL season starts, which is less and less the case on Saturday nights.

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://awfulannouncing.com/2014/rethinking-baseball-on-national-television.html

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@eslrush "I heard that MLB did not want to go to NBC because NBC did not want to give up Sunday Night Football for the World Series. The Sunday game would have been played in the afternoon (no later than 3pm) against a full slate of NFL action. MLB should have taken that."

That would have been monumentally stupid for all parties. Go back to the days when SNF skipped a week so the World Series had the night to itself, or get absolutely murdered by the NFL, which already beats the World Series fairly regularly when the SNF game isn't an absolute snoozer? I get that NBC, unlike Fox, can't use NFL games as a lead-in to the World Series, but still.

A regular weeknight regular season game from a league that's not the NFL on broadcast television? Even if restricted to summer? Are you high? And why do I suspect adding 30,000 seat stands to the Field of Dreams park to support MLB games would make it lose a lot of its charm?

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://awfulannouncing.com/2014/rethinking-baseball-on-national-television.html

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@jbrillha2 "ESPN's exclusive Monday night window is interesting in that it's sustaining itself somewhat. Given the fact Dancing with the Stars is flailing around on its last legs I'd be curious to see what kind of audience football can garner by putting those games back on a ABC."

"ESPN's exclusive BCS windows are interesting in that they're sustaining themselves somewhat. Given the sorrowful daytime lineup on TV, especially on holidays like New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, I'd be curious to see what kind of audience the new CFP games can garner by putting those games on a ABC."

"ESPN's exclusive World Cup windows are interesting in that they're sustaining themselves somewhat. Given ABC's sorrowful daytime lineup since they cancelled the soaps I'd be curious to see what kind of audience the World Cup can garner by putting those games on a ABC."

"ESPN's exclusive Wimbledon window is interesting in that it's sustaining itself somewhat. Given ABC's sorrowful weekend morning lineup (especially on Sunday, where This Week is a distant third in the Sunday morning pundit race) I'd be curious to see what kind of audience tennis can garner by putting those matches on a ABC."

"ESPN's exclusive British Open window is interesting in that it's sustaining itself somewhat. Given ABC's sorrowful weekend morning lineup (especially on Sunday, where This Week is a distant third in the Sunday morning pundit race) I'd be curious to see what kind of audience tennis can garner by putting those matches on a ABC."

Need I go on? ESPN doesn't WANT to put anything on ABC unless it absolutely has to (i.e., scheduling considerations force them to and/or leagues pressure them to). No one cares that broadcast network audiences are "larger and more diverse" anymore, because they can't make as much money off it (and they aren't always the specific audiences advertisers want). Some of your other points are interesting though.

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://awfulannouncing.com/2014/rethinking-baseball-on-national-television.html

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@MUPfeif @Pat_Pending What if I told you broadcast television is more future-proof than cable networks, at least if they don't screw it up?

3 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://awfulannouncing.com/2014/rethinking-baseball-on-national-television.html

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First Take hurts ESPN's brand among people who whine online about how much they hate First Take and no one else.

3 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://awfulannouncing.com/2014/22415.html

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"the growing sports television rights surge (hard to call it a bubble when it doesn’t seem likely to pop)."

Absolutely disagree. No one in the midst of a bubble thinks it'll pop until it does. Forget about the prospect of cord-cutting (which WILL have a real impact by the end of the decade, possibly the next 18 months); the current linear television infrastructure is surprisingly 90s, with only an expansion of channels being the only change since then, and no real adjustment for the advent of the Internet (this also helps explain why we overstate the importance of the broadcast/cable dichotomy). Live events are the only purpose linear television has in the post-Internet era, so sports rights are being inflated because we have WAY too many channels for the demand (the vast majority of which aren't even trying to compete for live and most of which are pretty pointless even when people are nominally watching them) and sports are the only thing keeping people tethered to their traditional cable TV subscription. We are in for a long and hard market correction as linear television adjusts to this new reality or dies. Given the pace of change, I wouldn't be surprised if the Olympics' recent extension with NBC becomes the equivalent of this Sharks deal by the time it ends, leaving the Olympics stuck on tape delay, on an inefficient distribution mechanism, and with too little control over the distribution of their own product.

4 months ago on Conversation @ http://awfulannouncing.com/2014/can-leagues-step-in-and-save-teams-with-bad-local-television-contracts.html

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I think you may have had a better explanation of this last year (or at some prior SCF), when I think you ran a post saying that despite the SCF getting big enough in the ratings to theoretically justify airing all the games on broadcast, in the time it took to get there the TV industry had changed such that it was now a bigger priority to grow NBCSN and take advantage of its subscriber fees.

I think there's a general tendency in the amateur sports media sphere today to overemphasize the distinction between broadcast and cable. A lot of sports fans today grew up in a time where when an event was big enough it was on broadcast and that's just the way it was, dammit, and it's been replaced by a system they don't understand even if they understand it. I'll include myself in that: I'm still boycotting the BCS for moving to cable and I'll boycott the college football playoff and Final Four for doing the same. Broadcast does attract substantially more viewers than cable, but sports leagues have shown time and again that those extra viewers aren't nearly valuable enough to outweigh the extra money cable provides them from their subscriber fees. Someone said below that the amount of money changing hands is what ensures that most major sports keep their championship events on broadcast and that cable is "catching up" in that regard; at this point, I think the only reason other entities don't move their events to cable is to avoid a PR disaster (especially if they fear they have to avoid Congressional repercussions) and to hold the moral high ground, possibly with a little bit of the same attitude that "presence on broadcast makes you a big boy". That college sports have ignored these factors may say something about just how depraved college sports has gotten (it's supposed to be LESS about the money!) but you know ESPN would pull every last ounce of sports off of ABC if it could, and if NBCSN, CBSSN, and FS1 were bigger they'd do the same thing.

There's also the fact that a lot of sports fans are genuinely chafing at how these subscriber fees get passed down to them; I've remarked in the past that it's a supreme irony that a lot of the loudest voices over how much people pay for sports regardless of whether they watch them are sports fans themselves who are actually watching them. I wonder if there are a lot of semi-casual sports fans who would like to cut the cord but have found themselves in a place where they absolutely have to have ESPN for their sports experience to be remotely complete. The march of sports events to cable may also be a symbol for the more general soaking of poorer sports fans in recent years, with their fandom turning into almost a drug addiction with teams and leagues as their dealers.

Another part of the problem is that the cable network market is probably severely oversaturated, so an event on cable genuinely feels less special and the specific channel it ends up on seems random. Before the 80s, most big sports events were fairly neatly divided between the three major networks; now once you get past the four major networks most sports events are on one of the ESPNs, except for some bigger events that find their way onto the Turner networks, and some random other events on NBCSN, CBSSN, FS1, and the numerous sport-specific networks. The fact that two random SCF games jump from broadcast to cable, some years Games 1 and 2, some years Games 2 and 3, some years Games 3 and 4, with no rhyme or reason to when it happens except for contractural niceties and maxing out ratings, exemplifies the problem.

What's more, this system isn't going to last; the Internet is already upending the existing television paradigm on every level, and there are some who think it's going to destroy traditional linear television entirely. I'm not sure I would go that far, but I do think the only purpose of linear television at this point is to show live events, and that this is why sports rights have gone through the roof even if none of the parties involved have really realized it yet. Given that, I'm not sure the number of channels we'll need in the future, total, would break into the double digits, certainly once you factor Spanish channels out of the equation. I've taken a stand that what we call a "cable network" today will almost disappear entirely, certainly without adopting the HBO model, and we'll return to an age where broadcast dominates the distribution of sports events, but I don't know if that's just wishful thinking on my part.

4 months, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://awfulannouncing.com/2014/part-of-the-stanley-cup-final-is-going-to-stay-on-cable-and-thats-fine.html

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Now being in Seattle, I was actually watching how CBC signed off and I didn't notice the second glitch, at least on Vancouver's CBC station on Comcast. That might have been fairly regional and localized.

4 months, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://awfulannouncing.com/

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Linear television network executives need it drilled in their heads (and NBC execs in particular need to be waterboarded until they're screaming it at the top of their lungs): in the age of the Internet, the purpose of linear television is to show live events. All else is filler. Yes, even things like the Today show and the soccer pregame that are technically live (newsflash: no one cares if the Today show is tape-delayed, everyone cares that the French Open is tape-delayed). NBC's Olympic strategy is exactly backwards.

4 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://awfulannouncing.com/

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Apparently ITV never heard of the Heidi Game.

But hey, everyone knows that in England, grand slam tennis is to charity soccer what the Stanley Cup Playoffs are to a Triple Crown race. Oh wait...

4 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://awfulannouncing.com/

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@BeBreezyMan @morganwick @JoeLucia Depends on what UFC's plans are; there should be no shortage of other outlets in this day and age. I guarantee there will be at least one or two #3-or-below promotions on CBS Sports Network within a few years.

4 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://awfulannouncing.com/2014/ufc-fight-pass-takes-a-step-forward-with-invicta-deal.html

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Yeah, no. This isn't a step towards the UFC becoming a content provider as well as creator, it's a step towards acquiring Invicta outright so they can have a women's division that's not dependent on one or two names. They did the same thing with WEC and basically imported their way to lighter-weight divisions.

4 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://awfulannouncing.com/2014/ufc-fight-pass-takes-a-step-forward-with-invicta-deal.html

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None other than Keith Olbermann raised the same possibility and compared it to the Celtics in the 80s, so...

4 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://awfulannouncing.com/2014/at-least-one-reporter-asked-about-the-air-conditioner-conspiracy-theory.html

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The ESPN/Dish deal had a bit that seemed to imply that Classic might transition to being an on-demand service. The real reason live sports rights are so valuable - and few in or out of the industry have realized this yet - is that live events of all kinds are the only reason for linear television to exist anymore. If it's not airing live stuff, it has no reason to exist.

4 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://awfulannouncing.com/2014/espns-next-logical-move-is-to-repurpose-espn-classic-to-a-storytelling-channel.html

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"Just because you slap a sports subplot onto a love story or a journey to find one’s self, that doesn’t make it a sports movie. If you can swap out another industry in place of sports in your movie, it’s not a sports movie, and the sooner that Hollywood realizes that, the sooner we can go about fawning over actual sports movies instead of the junk we’ve been seeing lately."

Two words: Jerry Maguire.

Two more words: Bull Durham.

4 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://awfulannouncing.com/2014/million-dollar-arm-tanked-at-the-box-office.html

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MLS should have split the English-language packages between two different nights so each network could claim them as their own without this weird split-network doubleheader thing. One network could claim Saturday as a flex-schedule night. But FS1 is really the only network that can schedule for primetime consistently outside Fridays, and both networks would run into huge problems late in the season when college football butts in.

5 months, 1 week ago on Conversation @ http://awfulannouncing.com/

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Put it another way: Olympics primetime is not a sporting event because it's oriented to non-sports fans. The NFL Draft, "made-for-TV event" or no, is oriented towards NFL fans.

5 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://awfulannouncing.com/2014/dont-be-angry-at-people-tweeting-draft-spoilers-tonight.html

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"Would the people complaining on Twitter be happier if the Olympics went back to solely a tape delayed primetime format as well?"

The Olympics are actually upfront about being delayed. The draft is SUPPOSED to be live. If the NFL didn't take its time tipping the pick to the production trucks AND waiting for the hot press to finish AND getting all their other ducks in a row and taking MULTIPLE MINUTES to announce a pick and getting other picks backed up behind it, this wouldn't be as much of a problem. The NFL shouldn't be trying to manufacture drama.

5 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://awfulannouncing.com/2014/dont-be-angry-at-people-tweeting-draft-spoilers-tonight.html

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The funny thing is, if it were just the comment I wouldn't be able to figure out why people would be showing this much outrage instead of dismissing Sterling as what the PTI guys would call a dope.

5 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://awfulannouncing.com/

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@tonyc And then there was the time during the Kings' Stanley Cup run when NBCSN picked up the CBC feed of a VAN/LA game... and there wasn't a local LA telecast.

5 months, 3 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://awfulannouncing.com/

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ATH is taped hours in advance, but the impression I've had with PTI is that it has a much shorter turnaround, possibly even being taped while ATH is airing, allowing it to potentially have the first reaction to breaking news.

6 months ago on Conversation @ http://awfulannouncing.com/2014/pti-april-fools-with-indiana-pacers-scoop.html

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1. Again, handling the "real" call =/= handling an international call. At the very least, if he can't handle more than one out of four games in the second round, it's almost not even worth it even for him.

2. They would have retained Doug Gottlieb instead of ever losing him to begin with. Remember, a big reason he left for CBS was to work the tournament.

3. Pasch and Walton are their #1 Pac-12 team... which mostly means a bunch of late nights on ESPN2. ESPN doesn't show very many Pac-12 games and don't treat them very well when they do, which is why Pasch and Walton come off as more of a gimmick known for Walton's... experiences than anything else. (I suspect if the Pac-12 were higher in ESPN's pecking order, they would probably tell him to knock it off at least a little.) You named six conferences and I made them my #6 team, #5 among non-speculative teams, so I'm not even sure what the problem is (though I'm not sure the American is strong enough to be on that list).

6 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://awfulannouncing.com/2014/what-if-espn-aired-the-mens-ncaa-tournament.html

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When has Mike Tirico done studio work? I would expect John Saunders to be the other studio guy. Despite what you say about Bill's past, putting Pasch and Walton on a Sweet 16/Elite 8 team feels like wishful thinking; that feels like a rather gimmicky team that has back-of-the-pack written all over it. I think ESPN has made clear in recent years that, if Nessler and Dykes isn't necessarily their #2 team, they're certainly their top "respectable" team.

One thing to keep in mind about what ESPN would have done with the tournament is that it would have very much shaken up the personnel moves of the last few years. In particular, there would have been rioting in the streets if they hadn't picked up Gus Johnson when his contract expired. That this seems hard to believe now and one needs to be reminded of this is a testament to how much Fox has screwed up Gus's career, but this is something that would have been hard to avoid without the tournament. I think Gus would have had more room to rise at ESPN than anywhere else, in part because they don't really have one #1 guy; Mike Tirico, Dan Shulman, and until recently Brent Musberger all have claims to the spot. It would be logical for him to call college football, but I wouldn't put it past ESPN to install him on Monday Night Football, in a more positive version of Dennis Miller/Tony Kornheiser syndrome. (Does that mean Tirico ends up replacing Musberger on Saturday Night Football? Maybe, maybe not.) I also think Doug Gottlieb doesn't leave ESPN for CBS if it's ESPN that has the tournament, and I'm not entirely sure Bill Raftery leaves ESPN either, but I'm not convinced he doesn't because even without Gus FS1 would still exist and would still need winter programming. (Not having Gus might in fact make them want to pursue Raft even more.)

Studio teams:

Main: John Saunders, Jay Williams, Whoever Replaces Digger Phelps (Jalen Rose on Selection Sunday and the second weekend; possibly Bill Simmons for Elite 8 Sunday only)

Secondary, first weekend: Rece Davis, Seth Greenberg, Jalen Rose (or Joe Lunardi if Rose wants to do his own thing with his buddy Simmons)

Secondary, second weekend: Rece Davis, Len Elmore, Fran Fraschilla

Why Bill Simmons on the Sunday of the second weekend? Because I'm a little surprised to see you say ESPN would leave ABC behind entirely after the first weekend in favor of ESPN2 - I think so long as ESPN has to put some games on ABC, they continue to do so at least through the second weekend (especially with the need to make room for the Women's Sweet 16 and other events over the weekend) - and as such (and without 60 Minutes limiting their options) I have them going with the following schedule for the second Sunday:

1 PM ET: NBA game

4 PM ET: Elite 8 game 3

6:30 PM ET: Elite 8 game 4

9 PM ET: Shortened ABC primetime

Sweet 16/Elite 8 teams:

Dan Shulman, Dick Vitale, Shannon Spake

Brad Nessler, Dan Dakich, Allison Williams

Sean McDonough, Jay Bilas, Jeannine Edwards

Gus Johnson, Doug Gottlieb, Andy Katz (first weekend), Holly Rowe (second weekend)

You make a good point about Dick Vitale only calling one game at a time during the ACC Tournament, but that's nothing compared to March Madness, and I prefer to keep regular season teams together whenever possible. I think Shulman, Vitale, and Bilas would call the Final Four (ESPN would be more willing to put in a three-man booth when they have the "real" broadcast), if the NCAA lets ESPN put it on the cable network (because I think ESPN might shy away from putting Vitale on ABC). Even if they do, I think ESPN would want to put Brent Musberger back on the event with which he was synonymous in the 80s at least to start. Back then, his partner was Bob Knight, who I think ESPN might have seen as a natural successor to Billy Packer; they would have worked a three-man booth for the Final Four with Bilas.

First Weekend Only teams:

Brent Musberger, Fran Fraschilla, Holly Rowe

Dave Pasch, Bill Walton, Doris Burke

Mike Tirico, Len Elmore, Heather Cox

Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, Lisa Salters

Another thing to keep in mind if ESPN had the tournament: they would have had to air the tournament, the NIT, AND the Women's Tournament the first weekend. I wouldn't be surprised if ESPN was behind the push to dump the NIT and expand the NCAAs to 96 teams to clear up space on the schedule as well as free up announcing teams. (Just the Women's Tournament is enough to make ESPN want to schedule the first weekend's Nationwide Series race at the relatively ungodly time of 11 AM ET and either move the Wrestling Championships away from that weekend or relegate it to ESPNU at the expense of Women's Tournament bonus coverage and NIT action.) As is I think they dip into the NBA well to find broadcast teams for all of them, hence Breen and Van Gundy. I'm not worried about Burke being needed to work the Women's Tournament (doesn't she usually skip the first weekend?), but while I don't like relegating her to sideline duty, ESPN has only four sideline reporters working college hoops all season (or at least that's all I found in their press releases), and Katz and the NBA people only bring that number up to seven. I kind of need her working the sidelines.

Without needing to get out of the way of 60 Minutes, I think the selection show moves to 7 ET, giving the committee more time to react to the late championship games, though I don't know whether it'd be on ABC (where America's Funniest Home Videos seems pretty fungible) or ESPN (which I don't know what they'd be doing in the time slot if it were on ABC). For the "second" round, I think ESPN might have settled on a schedule similar to what CBS and Turner did, with ESPN having TruTV's schedule (with SportsCenter in-between sessions and College GameDay before each session), ESPN2 having TNT's schedule, and ESPNU having TBS's schedule - though that was when the First Take re-air started at noon, before they moved Numbers Never Lie there. I'd probably keep the schedule that way and move SportsNation to 1. The "third" round would go something like this:

11:30 AM ET, ESPN2: Women's Game 1

Noon ET, ABC: Men's Site 1 Game 1

2 PM ET, ESPN: Men's Site 3 Game 1

2 PM ET, ESPN2: Women's Game 2

2:30 PM ET, ABC: Men's Site 1 Game 2

4:30 PM ET, ESPN: Men's Site 3 Game 2

4:30 PM ET, ESPN2: Men's Site 4 Game 1

5 PM ET, ABC: Men's Site 2 Game 1

6:30 PM ET, ESPN: Men's Site 4 Game 2

7 PM ET, ESPN2: Women's Game 3

7:30 PM ET, ABC: Men's Site 2 Game 2

9:30 PM ET, ESPN: Women's Game 4

10 PM ET, ABC: Miscellaneous programming

6 months, 2 weeks ago on Conversation @ http://awfulannouncing.com/2014/what-if-espn-aired-the-mens-ncaa-tournament.html

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The part ESPN should most take note of: even the South, the heart of NASCAR country and the place where NHL teams move from a top-ten market to a place that makes Green Bay look big but happens to be Canadian, thinks the NHL should be the fourth major sport.

7 months, 1 week ago on ESPN asks fans if the NHL is still one of the four major pro sports

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Ah cricket, the sport absolutely no one cares about outside the Commonwealth nations. There is a world outside the English-speaking world, you know. I'd have some combination of soccer, basketball, rugby, tennis, golf, and baseball or even lump baseball and cricket into a single sport.

7 months, 1 week ago on ESPN asks fans if the NHL is still one of the four major pro sports

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Right, because NBA ratings are so horrible. Oh wait...

7 months, 1 week ago on ESPN asks fans if the NHL is still one of the four major pro sports

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Also, Comcast isn't exactly known for playing nice with its own regional sports networks...

7 months, 2 weeks ago on Columbus Crew fans revolt against team's terrible new television deal

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In terms of Nielsen media market, which is the closest thing to what's most relevant for sports purposes, it's somewhere in the 20s, right next to more sports-saturated Cincinnati, and certainly a remarkably small market for a league as small as MLS.

7 months, 2 weeks ago on Columbus Crew fans revolt against team's terrible new television deal

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