With all of the talk about Sarah Phillips lately, ESPN snuck something past the goalie that would have generated a lot more rage if people actually knew about it. Stephen A Smith will be joining First Take full-time as Skip Bayless' debate partner.
While Bayless and Smith are both extremely irritating, maybe having them on-air five days a week will cut down the insane points that the two seem to make in most of their debates. Or maybe, they'll just get so comfortable with each other that they'll continue to push the agenda of silliness to the point they're just screaming childish insults at each other and not even discussing sports. Yea, the latter is much more likely.
Furthermore, adding Smith to the fold full-time will also likely cut down the appearances from other ESPN analysts (and pro athletes) to debate Bayless and bring a somewhat rational point of view to the table. Remember when Jalen Rose came on and made a litany of great points when talking about Bayless' high school career? Don't expect to see that happen frequently from now on.
I think it's pretty sad that a once watchable morning show has devolved into TWO MEN SHOUTING AT EACH OTHER. At least on a show like PTI, Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser make good points (most of the time) and usually don't harbor silly grudges against teams and athletes and obsessions over certain other ones.
What's going to set the latest Smith-Bayless screaming match apart from one that happened last week, or one that will happen next week? It's becoming such an unbearable schtick, and I'm not sure if this is even a good move for the show from a pure business standpoint to feature Skip & SAS every day. At some point, after driving something into the ground for so long, the effectiveness is lost. Imagine if the Dan Patrick Show had a supermodel in studio every day. Sooner rather than later, the novelty of having one around (like Kate Upton on Tuesday's show) would be completely lost, and it would be just another segment with no meaning. That's what I liken this First Take decision to.
And yes, First Take has made a living on driving topics into the ground (see: Tebow, Tim), but now with Smith and Bayless having a screaming contest every day, the grating aspects of the show should increase exponentially over time. Having Smith around to debate Bayless once a week would probably work out a lot better than having him around every day and completely losing the perceived importance of the segment. Eventually, these two will be shouting "FIRE!" and nobody will be there to listen.
(via USA Today)
I don't like NBC is doing with Basketball i like to see the USA team on channel that everyone have. Not only selected people who get NBC Sport Network. The only game i will be able to watch on tv is the final. My Cable Company(Wide Open west) doesn't have NBC Sport Network on it Basic Digital Cable. So I won't get to see it. It doesn't help that Canada changes Network form CBC.
I think Comcast's thinking is that putting enough compelling programming for the Olympics on NBCSN would drive intense demand in order to force the channel into the basic packages of DISH or DIRECTV. USA Network doesn't really need sports to be popular (although I just can't fathom any rasslin' being aired on USA or SyFy). If they succeed in pushing NBCSN into the basic packages of DISH and DIRECTV, only then would they be in a better position to snatch some of the other major properties like MLB or NBA, perhaps finally getting a piece of live NFL action.
That's basically the plan, in a nutshell. Whether that's going to work out remains to be seen.
@touchpass While I agree with what you're saying, it won't work. Honestly if MSNBC isn't on the basic package of Dish when it carries the Olympics, then what makes them think NBC Sports Network carrying the Olympics will do any better? The same can be asked about their failed attempts with the games on Oxygen and Bravo.I know of only one cable group that moved Bravo to their basic package during the games- Cable One.
Look at NBC Sports Network. What is their bread and butter? Most people would say the NHL, but the NHL ratings aren't up this year because it hasn't gone into anymore homes. Then there's the idiocy of NBC Sports to make Universal Sports Network, a channel available in fewer homes than even NBC Sports Network is, the home of the CONCACAF soccer qualifier and the US Olympic qualifier. So what does NBC try to do to increase their packages? Let's see what they've done.
1) While as Versus they signed a deal with FSN to move Big XII and Pac-12 games from FSN to Versus. It lasted a whole two years before the Big XII voted on having those games on FCS over Versus. The Pac-12 is losing those games this year by moving them to Pac-12 Networks. So they lose their two biggest college properties. How do they replace them? By signing the CAA from ESPN? Sorry, but that doesn't strike fear into the hearts of anyone.
2) Next up is signing MLS from Fox Soccer. Okay, I'll say this is actually an improvement for MLS because NBC Sports Network is in more homes than FSC. However this is the same MLS group that signed a contract that puts games exclusively on Galavision to where English carriers can't carry it. That's pure lunacy. Sure, there are more Spanish soccer fans than there are English soccer fans, but you cut off your audience by not providing any sort of English broadcast. Here with MLS they do provide an English broadcast, but who is the Spanish carrier? Can anyone say Telemundo. Can anyone say GGGGOOOOOOAAAAALLLLLLLL! That's right- the Spanish numbers for Telemundo do better because of the announcer and because people don't really care for soccer.
3) This occurred before they signed MLS up, but honestly who watches soccer and hockey? There's a reason some sports fans say it's the big 3 now instead of the big 4. The NHL is being downgraded to the same sports tier that soccer is a part of. It doesn't catch a lot of people's attention.
4) Okay, so NBC Sports Network is going to air more live sports coverage, but it takes away coverage from USA, MSNBC, and CNBC. Now I've been saying for years they need to get rid of the coverage on MSNBC, CNBC, and Oxygen. I don't mind that being moved to NBC Sports Network, but they are also hurting their NBC Sports Coverage here. where does NBC get most of its weekend programming from? Team USA basketball games and soccer games would come to mind the most. Now they're moving those to NBC Sports Network, so what is NBC going to air in the afternoon? Possibly track and field qualifiers, swimming qualifiers, or other events similar. Whoo hoo. that's not quite the ratings getter that Team USA basketball is.
In the long run NBC Sports Network doesn't have any programming real sports fans want. They can't get into baseball or basketball at the moment because of the long term contracts MLB and NBA have with Fox/ TBS and ESPN/ ABC/ TNT. How was it that ESPN grew? It was from college events, and while they have college events, the CAA and Ivy League aren't going to capture much national attention. It's not much different than signing up the lone D1 conference that doesn't have a TV contract- the Great West. Costas has failed to attract attention, and yet Costas show essentially replaced a Dan Patrick show which got better numbers, at least until football season starts again. Did the college hockey bring in any additional viewers? Did the Notre Dame Spring Game bring in any additional viewers? It's not NBC's fault that NBC Sports Net has seen ratings fall since they transitioned from Versus to NBC Sports Net. Nope, the blame is solely on Comcast for providing content no one cares for, and the Olympics won't change a thing there, especially since most of their live coverage will be when people are at work.
@DanielOrmsby Well, ESPN isn't going to make it easy for the competition, now would they? So of course they're going to try to monopolize sports coverage if they can. If not, then they're going to pretend such a sport doesn't exist/doesn't matter. Just like they did with the NHL.
And herein lies my problem with ESPN: who gave them the power to deem what sports matter and what don't? Is there some sort of law that says that the only sports that matter are baseball, basketball and football? Because I fail to find it!
I have no idea how Comcast is going to make money off of their decision but, despite my general mistrust of corporations, I want them to succeed. Why? Because I am sick and tired of being treated like a b**** because I want to see big sporting events other than the usual "Big 3"(plus men's CBB and CFB). I've had to search for illegal streams to get my fix because even Spanish-language stations won't provide most of what I want. It's nice for fans of the EPL that they have Fox Soccer, Fox Soccer Plus and, occasionally, ESPN2 for their fix. But MLS watchers have had to take it on both ends (soccer haters on one side and bandwagon foreign club fans on the other).
CBS Sports represents the "old America" of sports. The type of America that harkens back to Jim Crow and pre-free agency. That's why they love college basketball because those players have to play without any salaries. NBC Sports was the same way but that was before they started changing after Dick Ebersol resigned. I want to see how that goes before rendering my opinion.
@skaus @touchpass I'm not disagreeing with you. However NBC programs the Olympics as their nationwide prime time programming. That's why the Mountain and Pacific Time Zones usually get tape delayed coverage, and if it makes you feel better, we actually have had tape delayed coverage with the afternoon weekday coverage on NBC here in the Central Time Zone as well. I suppose NBC thinks people would prefer watching the games from 7 or 8 PM until 10 or 11 PM over watching the games at 2 or 3 PM when they are at work.
Also, I live in California and we are entitled to live sports also. No other sports are tape delayed. These are sports, not Survivor. If they want to do it taped on NBC for poufs, they should show it live on one of their many other channels for sports fans.
@skaus @touchpass Ok, I'm know I'm replying to what I just wrote, but here is where it is announced that every event will be shown liveeither on TV or by streaming means starting in 2014. However that does specifically say 2014. It doesn't give any reference to this years Olympics.
@skaus @touchpass I know what I have read, but let me point out one clause. It depends on the timezone you are in as to whether or not it will be shown live. The Mountain and Pacific Time Zones will get NBC's coverage taped no matter what. They are supposed to make all events available online as part of their renewed contract, but it doesn't say whether that's live coverage or taped coverage.
Now, for the 2008 Olympics, every basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, and tennis match was shown live online except for Team USA matches, which were shown on USA Network. The only events shown tape delayed were the gymnastics and track and field events. In fact NBC got the games to move the swimming finals to the mornings in China so that the NBC coverage of the swimming championships would be live. Events like Weight lifting, badmittion, Wrestling, Taekwondo, Tennis, etc were shown live on MSNBC's late night coverage. MSNBC was live coverage for every one of their broadcasts. The only coverage that was taped was on NBC with gymnastics and track and field.
2010 was in Vancouver. The Eastern and Central Time Zones got all the events live when it was in Vancouver. In fact every network showed all the events they broadcast live. The only highlights were done on Universal Sports Network.
@DanielOrmsby @touchpass I hope that you are right, but I am skeptical. I don't see the word "live" in any of the stories. NBC has a long history of "plausibly live" coverage, even from U.S. venues. My memory is that NBC did not allow the key events to be posted on the web until their evening soap opera like offering, often almost 24 hours after the event. They had plenty of cable networks. They could have broadcast the events live on Bravo and still the non-sports fans could have their survivor-like recreation in the evening. thisd is the network that for years broadcast Wimbledon on tape delay. Not caring about live sports is in their DNA.
You seem to know more than I do, so maybe you can point to some reassuring statement from NBC that they will give live events to actual sports fans. Maybe Comcast will change the policy.
@skaus @touchpass First off you can't be more wrong considering that I was able to watch every event online live except for the USA events during the 2010 Olympics, and I was also able to watch the Gold and Bronze medal games of the 2008 Olympics live at NBCOlympics.com. You just had to have a carrier that was willing to pay extra, much like the case is with ESPN3. ESPN also streams everything live with ESPN3, so you are ,making a terrible analogy from start to finish. Second, 99% of NBC Sports Networks coverage is supposed to be live. Third, you have to take into consideration the venue. NBC was unable to show a lot of the Olympics live because of where they were being done in 2008 and 2010 if they wanted to show anything in Primetime. Here in 2012, London is doing most of the events in the afternoon and evening, so NBC can do quite literally everything live.
Actually, NBC Sports made a deal with YouTube that would allow NBC to use the YT platform for streaming purposes. I understand you're very skeptical. So am I. But I'm willing to see how it works out.
Then again, NBC never really had a sports cable channel until this year, because Ebersol always thought that the best events should only be saved for broadcast, hence the tape delays. Mark Lazarus now runs the show in the sports division. He has a background in cable, having worked in Turner previously. DE is now in a consulting role with them.
I can assure you that the Tour de France, the Stanley Cup playoffs and the MLS games will be live or mostly live because of NBCSN. There will continue to be that practice of saving events for broadcast in the Olympics but NBCSN gives them new incentives to do more live coverage.
But you are missing the point. None of this is going to be live. we will know the results well before it airs. we will not be able to see a live stream. ESPN never does this.
This coverage is not for sports fans. it is for reality show fans.
This is a bad move by Comcast. NBC has spent the last 4 Olympics making USA Network the home of USA Sports during the Olympics. Now Comcast is moving it all to NBC Sports Network, which is available in fewer homes than USA and isn't on the basic packages of Dish Network or DirecTV, unlike USA. It doesn't matter how many hours you devote. When people don't have access to the network, the viewership will decline, and not even the Olympics can save it when it's declining like so.