Masters Sunday is always one of the highlights of the sporting year. Traditionally, the back nine on Sunday has been revered as one of the most dramatic theatres in sport. This year in 2012, the drama started early. 2010 British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen made the first double eagle ever scored on the second hole to take the lead by two at 10 under par. It's one of the more incredible golf shots you will ever see. In the words of David Feherty, come to papa!
Perhaps Tim McCarver has Twitter searched his name on a Saturday afternoon one too many times. Maybe he was defriended on Facebook by one too many people. Perhaps his Google+ circles are feeling a little empty or he's seen himself autotuned on Youtube. Or, he could be confused and just really hate the movie The Social Network. For whatever reason, Tim McCarver opened the 2012 MLB season on Saturday by stating his belief that social networking is the worst thing ever...
"There is nothing in my view that is more disturbing than social networking. Nothing!" - Tim McCarver
There may be just a few things on my list more disturbing than social networking. War, AIDS, world hunger, Two And A Half Men, the fake-to-third-fake-to-first pickoff attempt that never works, never being able to get the last icecube stuck at the bottom of the glass, and announcers saying six letter words have only five letters just to name a few.
Nevertheless, now that we have our first McCarverism of the new year, we can officially welcome the 2012 MLB season.
*This video was found via social networking. Thanks to Whitney Snider for recording this quote for posterity.
Ratings for the MLB Opening Night game on ESPN were up 4% from last year, as the Cardinals beat the Marlins in the opening of Marlins Park. Last year's game also featured the defending World Champions, as the Giants lost 2-1 to the Dodgers. This year's game drew 2.4 million viewers, and drew a 1.56 rating in men 18-49, which was up slightly (5%) from last season.
However, just like last year, MLB wasn't the sports king of the evening. The NBA once again trumped them.
Last year, ESPN ran a tripleheader of games that culminated with the Giants-Dodgers matchup in primetime. That game was the highest rated of the three games that aired that day for ESPN, yet it fell short of the ratings posted by the NBA on TNT doubleheader that night. The Celtics and Spurs drew a 1.70 in men 18-49 and 2.8 millon viewers, and the late game of the Mavericks and Lakers drew a 2.11 rating among males 18-49 and 3 million viewers. Both of those numbers slaughtered the baseball game.
This year, it was more of the same. Despite being up from last year in both demographics, MLB fell short once again. An NBA game on ESPN3 between the Thunder and Heat drew a 2.42 among males 18-49 and 3 million viewers, while following the Marlins-Cardinals game, a game between the Lakers and Clippers on ESPN had a 2.43 rating among males 18-49 and 2.4 million viewers.
The MLB wild card games are a hot commodity this offseason, with as many as four networks vying for the rights to air the two quasi play-in games that take place on Friday, October 5th according to Sports Business Daily. Initially, Turner thought it possessed the rights to air the games since it had aired game 163 playoff games in prior years, but the MLB decided that these games were different, and required a new contract. MLB and Turner had an exclusive negotiating window that closed last week, and there was nary a mention of a deal between the two outlets, which makes me think that the two games are still up for grabs among the networks.
Your four contenders for the games are....
ESPN. Currently airs games nationally on both Wednesday and Sunday nights, with the Sunday game holding an exclusive national blackout window.
FOX. Currently airs games nationally on Saturdays, with an exclusive blackout window. FOX also airs playoff games, possessing half of the LCS games, as well as the entire World Series.
Turner. Currenly airs games nationally on Sunday afternoons, with no national blackout window. Turner also airs the LDS and the other half of LCS games not aired on FOX.
MLB Network. Currently airs games simulcast from other stations on various days, with no blackout window. Also airs a Thursday game of the week with its own broadcast crew.
Looking at each network, there are benefits and flaws to each one. Here are the outlines for each network's pros and cons for airing the games.
Check out a preview for Blake Griffin on Sesame Street, clucking and acting like a chicken:
Might be the only time he's ever a champion, but at least he doesn't take things too seriously and is able to have some fun. Blake has previously starred with Funny or Die and done comedy segments with Norm Macdonald, so it's good to see him continue to stretch his entertainment capabilities, even if it is cluckling like a chicken. It's hard to give someone grief for something so silly. And can you really hate on anyone that then goes out and DOES THIS?!?
Sunday August 5
Hall of Fame Game: Arizona Cardinals vs. New Orleans Saints (NFLN 8PM)
Thursday August 9
Green Bay Packers @ San Diego Chargers (ESPN 8PM)
Monday, August 13
Dallas Cowboys @ Oakland Raiders (ESPN 8PM)
Thursday August 16
Cincinnati Bengals @ Atlanta Falcons (FOX 8PM)
Friday August 17
Detroit Lions @ Baltimore Ravens (FOX 8PM)
Sunday August 19
Indianapolis Colts @ Pittsburgh Steelers (NBC 8PM)
Monday August 20
Philadelphia Eagles @ New England Patriots (ESPN 8PM)
Thursday August 23
Arizona Cardinals @ Tennessee Titans (ESPN 8PM)
Friday August 24
Chicago Bears @ New York Giants (CBS 8PM)
Saturday August 25
Houston Texans @ New Orleans Saints (CBS 8PM)
Sunday August 26
San Francisco 49ers @ Denver Broncos (FOX 4PM)
Carolina Panthers @ New York Jets (NBC 8PM)
H/T Sammy!no comments
For the first time ever in America, all of the NHL Stanley Cup Final games will be aired live nationally.
NBC, NBC Sports Network, CNBC, and NHL Network will be airing games in the Conference Quarterfinals, with NBC Sports Network being the prime home of the games. Primetime coverage will be available on CNBC and NHL Network, while there will be coverage on NBC in the afternoon during the weekends of April 14th and 21st. The same channel alignment is true for the Conference Semifinals, while NBC provides afternoon coverage during the weekends of April 29th and May 5th. There will be less primetime coverage on CNBC and NHL Network during this round, likely due to there being half as many games.
The Conference Finals will air mainly on the NBC Sports Network, but NBC will air one game on both May 19th and May 20th. As for the Stanley Cup Finals, Games 3 and 4 will air on NBC Sports Network (as they did last year, when the network was still known as Versus), and the other five possible games will air on NBC.
Since we're in the spring...why not talk about BLACKOUTS!! Mainly coming into play during national baseball broadcasts, blackouts will be an issue in the first round of the playoffs. The major isssues will come for Sharks, Flyers, Blackhawks, and (possibly) Capitals fans, whose Comcast affiliates will be providing extensive coverage of games, including pre and post game shows. In Boston, CSN New England will air pre and post game shows for ALL Bruins games, as opposed to just the first round.
This is something that the NHL absolutely, positively needed to get done in order to provide fans the most comprehensive coverage of the playoffs. In fact, it's amazing to think this will be the first year that all Stanley Cup games will be televised nationally. It will be a slight inconvenience for fans to hunt around a variety of channels to find the game they want to see, but at least we'll find it eventually. Having NHL Playoff games on CNBC is a bit like NCAA Tournament games airing on truTV, so at least searching for games on non-traditional channels isn't a completely foreign experience.
I remember a couple of years ago when I wanted to watch some Coyotes playoff games... and only one of them was aired nationally on Versus. It drove me nuts. Knowing that I, along with all of the other NHL fans out there, can see every playoff game without having to pay for an extensive streaming package is a huge benefit. I'd be much more willing to follow along with the Stanley Cup Finals if I didn't have to throw down some extra money for something that could be useless to me after four games. Given the solid ratings throughout the season and NBC's push for more live sports, making every Stanley Cup game available on national television promises to be a successful move for everyone involved.
It's often said around this time of year. It's been written about time and again. April is the best month on the calendar for sports fans. But how can that be? There's no NFL or college football, the two most popular sports in the country at the moment. Still, for sheer volume of choice and prestige, nothing beats April. Don't believe me? Let's go through a comprehensive list of all of the sports options available during the month of April. But before that, what are some other contenders? And why don't they stack up...
-Well, there is that little game called the Super Bowl. There's also the NBA All-Star Game, regular season NHL action, and plenty of college basketball. The most important NASCAR race of the season, the Daytona 500, also kicks off the stock car season. But, college football has just ended and baseball is still on the horizon. Add in to that the monotony of the long NBA and NHL season settling in, Feburary isn't a well-stocked sports month.
-Well, there's March Madness... duh doy! Championship Week is also an amazing time of year for college basketball. But even though March Madness might be the single best event on the sports calendar, there's not a lot of depth to March. Football is well and truly in the middle of their offseason and the NBA and NHL are winding down to the playoffs. And God have mercy on your soul if you actually sit down and watch 9 innings of Spring Training baseball.
A man of many interests, our own Matt Clapp's twitter account, SharapovasThigh, is an entertaining account to follow. We're not alone in that assessment as Matt's tweet mocking the rather loud color scheme of the TNT's NBA studio show was deemed by the fine folks at Turner to be "Sprint Unlimited Highlight" worthy. Check out the video below as Ernie Johnson's typically smooth delivery runs into the awkward moment of reading off a Sprint promo referencing of all things "Sharapova's Thigh."
It's great to see the comedic stylings of the revered "Thigh" embraced by the mainstream media. Well done sir!
The mtn, which is the Mountain West Conference's channel for all things relating to the conference, will be shutting down on May 31, reports John Ourand of Sports Business Daily.
The network, founded in 2006 as the first singular conference network, seemed to be in a state of flux with the questionable future of the Mountain West Conference, which has SOMETHING going on with Conference USA, be it a merger or some other business relationship. The MWC has also been destroyed over the past year, with dominant football programs BYU, Utah, TCU, and Boise State leaving (or signing agreements to leave) the conference.
During its lifespan, the mtn had a decent reach to viewers, being in 13 million homes. As a comparison, Big Ten Network is in 40 million households with a total reach of 73 million. The MWC's conference rights for football and basketball games are expected to be picked up by the CBS Sports Network, which dwarfs the mtn's reach by being in 45 million homes.
With mtn shuttering its doors, you have to wonder what the future holds for another network caught in the crossfire of conference realignment - Longhorn Network. LHN has a much smaller viewer base than the mtn, and is only available on one major provider in Texas (Verizon FIOS). Longhorn Network has failed to get off the ground and secure a major agreement for carriage. However, with the Big XII on the verge of a deal with ESPN and Fox, it may secure the conference for the foreseeable future and give LHN the needed programming to expand its viewership. With continuing conference realignment and formation of conference and team-specific networks, one has to wonder when the game of musical chairs will ever end. The mtn stands as one of the casualties of that game.