The last week or so much of the sports media world has been focused on the incendiary comments of KNBR sports talk host Damon Bruce, whose awful rant about women not being welcome in sports went viral. The controversy has now died down and most people have already moved on in this 24/7 news cycle. Bruce was suspended for two days but he has his normal timeslot back and is talking about sports again.
There was plenty of serious soul searching done by a number of people in sports about the barriers that exist for women and the male-dominated sports culture. Bruce's comments hit a nerve that touched off a firestorm across the sports media.
Examining Bruce's comments in detail also opens up the wider backdrop of sports talk radio. I was shocked yesterday to see this quote from ESPN Radio SVP Traug Keller transcribed by ESPN's Kristi Dosh at a conference presented by SBJ.
"If you're not getting in trouble once in awhile you're not pushing things enough." - Traug Keller, ESPN SVP on sports radio #SBJSMT— Kristi Dosh (@SportsBizMiss) November 13, 2013
If you're not getting in trouble, you're not doing your job. No wonder Colin Cowherd sees so much support about ESPN in spite of his many controversial statements over the years. This is a man who has received promotion after promotion in spite of saying people in Ohio and Indiana were bringing unemployment on themselves, said that Mark Mangino had "low self worth" because of his weight, shut down a website, and also said some pretty awful things about the death of Sean Taylor.
There's something inherent in sports talk radio that leads to more unfolding controversies and subversive commentary than other forms of sports media and it's a disturbing trend throughout the entire medium. In sports talk radio, a definite culture emerges where controversies, offensive rants, mindless tweets, scandal, and suspensions rules the day.
There are many great sports talk radio hosts throughout the country that don't need to rely on shock jock antics to draw an audience. They should be applauded for not taking the easy way out and diving into the gutter. Nevertheless, there is a pervasive attitude that exists in the industry that produces the likes of Damon Bruce. He is far from alone. Here is a list of the notable controversies, suspensions, and firings to emerge from sports talk radio in the last 13 months...no comments
Like most Americans, I'm simply amazed that all of Canada isn't up in flames thanks to the antics of Toronto mayor Rob Ford. The infamous "Crack Smoking Mayor" could never be envisioned by the world's greatest fiction writers. How he hasn't been kicked out of office or locked himself in a broom closet yet is beyond me.
Today at a press conference, while wearing a personalized Toronto Argonauts jersey, Ford responded to an allegation against him in graphic detail. In spite of everything that's happened, this still shocked several reporters in the room including CP24's Katie Simpson. Watch her reaction to it all unfold in real time and remember there are real live human beings who are governed by Rob Ford and his vintage NFL ties.
The NBA is negotiating with Ozzie and Daniel Silna, attempting to end their contract that gives them a piece of the NBA's television rights in perpetuity.
If you're unfamiliar with the story of the Silna brothers, they were formerly the owners of the Spirits of St Louis of the ABA. When the ABA dissolved and the teams were folded into the NBA, the Silnas received a 1/7 share of the NBA's TV revenue from the four ABA teams that were absorbed - the Spurs, Nets, Nuggets, and Pacers. So essentially, these two men that have nothing to do with the league have been raking in free money since 1976 - over $300 million to date.
Last year, the brothers reportedly received $19 million from their share. With the NBA's TV contracts going up for bids in the next year or so, the Silnas can once again cash in - and the NBA obviously doesn't want that. The roughly $930 million made each year by the NBA will increase in their next TV deal, and the Silnas are poised to keep cashing in. If the NBA doubles their take like MLB did last fall, the Silnas are in line to make nearly $40 million per season.
The WNBA's national schedule on ESPN2 drew an average of 231,000 viewers this year, an increase of 28% from the 2012 season. It should be noted though, that 2012 saw the WNBA average just 180,000 viewers per game - its worst mark ever on ESPN2. Minnesota's three game sweep over Atlanta in the WNBA Finals last month averaged 344,000 viewers on ESPN2.
Sports Business Journal put those numbers in perspective and they're good news for the league. The NCAA Frozen Four on ESPN and ESPN2 averaged 301,000 viewers. NCAA Women's Basketball (including the NCAA Tournament) averaged 289,000 viewers on ESPN2. The IndyCar season on NBCSN averaged 282,000 viewers.The MLS regular season averaged 220,000 viewers on ESPN and ESPN2, and a pathetic 112,000 viewers on NBCSN.
If the WNBA didn't see a substantial increase in their viewership this season after star rookies Brittney Griner, Elena Delle Donne, and Skylar Diggins entered the league, there would be a real problem going forward. The most-viewed WNBA game of the year was a matchup of Griner's Phoenix Mercury and Delle Donne's Chicago Sky on Memorial Day, which drew 455,000 viewers - 45% higher than the second most-viewed game, a matchup between the Washington Mystics and Diggins' Tulsa Shock, which was that game's lead-in on Memorial Day.
The WNBA is a niche sport - but that's not necessarily a bad thing. And with many sports that aren't named football, ratings are largely dependent on big markets and starpower. With the likes of Griner, Diggins, and Delle Donne, the WNBA is in great shape. It'll be interesting to see if the rise in viewership from 2012 to 2013 leads to another jump for the 2014 season. So much for all of sports being set to men.no comments
In today's podcast we welcome one of the brightest minds covering sports and a lead college basketball analyst for ESPN, Jay Bilas. The former Duke player not only works in the College GameDay studio and calls games for ESPN, but also serves as an NBA Draft analyst. And he has one of the must-follow Twitter accounts in sports featuring his calls for NCAA reforms and Young Jeezy tweets. In this in-depth podcast, we chat with Jay about...
-The Bill Raftery-sized hole in his life and his best Raft story.
-Balancing his work in the booth, studio, and the draft.
-Whether or not he's working on new vocabulary for the Jay Bilas drinking game.
-Which issue is most affecting the institutional structure of the NCAA.
-How the free market might be the best solution for fixing what's wrong with amateurism.
-Whether he's ever been told by the NCAA or ESPN to tone down his criticism.
-Comparing the sensational freshman trio - Julius Randle (UK), Jabari Parker (Duke), and Andrew Wiggins (Kansas)
-The value of a strong early season schedule and how the college basketball regular season compares to college football.
-Rules changes in college basketball to make it a more appealing product. We discuss a 24 second shot clock in the men's game that could greatly improve the pace of play.
-A bit on Ohio State, VCU and mid-majors. Also, whic coach is the next Brad Stevens. Is there one?
-Under what scenario would he finally follow someone on Twitter.
For more from Jay, follow him on Twitter @JayBilas.
WDIV's Lauren Podell must have been having a rough day at the office earlier this week. Who can blame her? I'd be in a foul mood too if I had to be working at 6:30 AM in the morning. Good grief, it's not even daylight yet! When the studio cuts to Podell out in the field, she doesn't appear on camera but you can hear her frustratedly say "I can't get this f*%&ing in there!"
At least whatever she was doing still had to beat covering those silly 9:10 11/12/13 weddings.no comments
There's absolutely no way this story could possibly be true.
I see it in words and tweets, all the evidence is there that it is true, but I'm still not sure something like this could actually happen in this day and age. And, it's a story so weird and yet so captivating that it would make a great piece of fiction or some legendary, mythical tale you would hear at a bar.
The tittle of this epic yarn goes something like this... "Don't call Al Trautwig a moron on Twitter or he will hunt down your phone number and accidentally call your parents."
MSG Network host and NBC play by play man Al Trautwig is a television veteran. He's been on national TV for the better part of 4 decades. In that time, surely he's encountered his fair share of criticism. It's part of the business. Surely one person sending him one trolling tweet wouldn't set him off to the point where he began an active manhunt to track that person down in real life. Surely he would be able to shrug it off and move on because he's a media professional.
Surely... not.no comments
At some point in the near future, sideline reporters are going to become an endangered species. Fox Sports Ohio's Allie Clifton joined the long list of sideline reporters to get nailed in the head by a wayward ball during warmups. Thankfully, this looked more like a glancing blow to the top of the coconut and not something more serious. She's obviously got a bright future in the business because she barely blinked and kept going with her report. And she didn't even need Rick Jeanneret's fancy helmet! Hockey players got nothing on sideline reporters.
Here it is in GIF form.
[GIF via SBNationGIF]no comments
Thursday, November 14
Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans [NFLN 8:25PM] Brad Nessler, Mike Mayock & Alex Flanagan
Sunday, November 17
New York Jets at Buffalo Bills [CBS 1PM] Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts
Baltimore Ravens at Chicago Bears [CBS 1PM] Jim Nantz, Phil Simms
Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals [CBS 1PM] Marv Albert, Rich Gannon
Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans [CBS 1PM] Kevin Harlan, Solomon Wilcots
Arizona Cardinals at Jacksonville Jaguars [FOX 1PM] Dick Stockton, Ronde Barber & Kris Budden
Detroit Lions at Pittsburgh Steelers [FOX 1PM] Thom Brennaman, Brian Billick & Laura Okmin
Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles [FOX 1PM] Kevin Burkhardt, John Lynch & Erin Andrews
Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers [FOX 1PM] Sam Rosen, Heath Evans & Peter Schrager
San Diego Chargers at Miami Dolphins [CBS 4:05PM] Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf
San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints [FOX 4:25PM] Joe Buck, Troy Aikman & Pam Oliver
Green Bay Packers at New York Giants [FOX 4:25PM] Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Tony Siragusa
Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks [FOX 4:25PM] Chris Myers, Tim Ryan & Jennifer Hale
Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos [NBC 8:30PM] Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth & Michele Tafoya
Monday, November 18
New England Patriots at Carolina Panthers [ESPN 8:40PM] Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden & Lisa Salters
H/T Sammy!no comments