If you're anything like me, you reacted to yesterday's uproar over the NHL's decision to levy no penalty on Zdeno Chara by asking, "What's a hawk-key?" Then you punched your screen in a couple times because some asshat decided to flood YouTube with a bunch of non-videos of that hit everyone was talking about. Well fear not, we're here to bring video justice to the masses. And I'll even do my part to spare you the inane fanboyism that makes up Boston's sports commentating industry and go with the Montreal's Martin McGuire et Dany Dubé. Unfortunately, I have no idea what they're saying but I assume it has something to do with poutine and universal healthcare. The hit happens right away, with a slow motion replay around :40.
For those who don't know, Pacioretty was hospitalized with a factured vertebrae, and the NHL decided against suspending Chara from play, despite the cries of many a Canadiens fan that a top offensive prospect may have lost his entire career at Chara's hands. Controversy, I smells it. Now, the hit itself may seem relatively mundane and not overly aggressive. In fact, infinitely more damage is clearly delivered by the glass than by Chara hismelf. So the real question becomes, "to what degree was Chara actually trying to use the turnbuckle?" Nobody's saying he wanted to break the guy's freaking neck, but a player at the highest level has to know where he is on the ice. Doesn't he?
One man who certainly thinks so is Max Pacioretty.
“I believe he was trying to guide my head into the turnbuckle. We all know where the turnbuckle is. It wasn’t a head shot like a lot of head shots we see but I do feel he targeted my head into the turnbuckle.”
If you haven't noticed the migration of marquess sporting events moving over to cable, let me help you out. Over the past couple of years we've seen the Stanley Cup, Monday Night Football, BCS bowls, and now the NCAA Tournament all move over to cable television. The Final Four and Championship game will also make the move in 2016.
"But those deals come at a cost. Network and league executives say that cable channels still have to pay a healthy premium if they want to pick up the rights to bigger sports events. Leagues have not yet placed as much value on the broadband services and added shoulder programming that come with cable networks, as they do on the broadcast universe of 114 million homes. ...
For the BCS, an expected 10 percent viewership decrease was worth about $25 million per year.....
ESPN makes more than $4 a subscriber a month. With 100 million pay-TV homes, that equals $4.8 billion a year, even before ad sales are factored in. Thanks largely to the NBA and MLB playoffs, TNT pulls in around $1 a subscriber a month. With the NCAA tournament spread across three Turner channels, Levy expects to get healthy increases from distributors that can't afford to lose NCAA tournament games in March"
The summary is this. Premium events increase ratings. Those ratings allow the cable channels to renegotiate their carriage contracts with your cable or satellite provider as well as boost their ad sales. Network television primarily monetizes via advertising.
Every month you're paying somewhere near $10 bucks if you have TBS, TNT, Versus, ESPN, ESPN 2, Big Ten Network, and a local sports regional network. As more events move over to those channels OR if more sports channels emerge, you're goign to see that amount go substantially up. Suddenly we may be at $15 a month for all the good sports channels which would be $180 a year and for 100 million households, you'd be looking at a total of $18 billion a year. Again that number doesn't even take into consideration advertising revenue.
A lot of that growth potential is up for grabs and we're seeing the networks go to war to procure sports programming rights so their respective cable channel can grab a larger share of that money.
Here is where it gets ugly though. If you watch Storage Wars, you've seen how the bidders on auctioned off storage lockers often jack up the price on each other regardless if they have interest in the storage locker in question. The rationale is simple and is that of a cold blooded capitalist.
This is something new I'd like to try here at AA - a roundup of some of the sports media stories that fill up the AA inbox that may not necessitate a full post, but stories that deserve a quick take. Basically, I'll give a headline linking to an article that addresses the story a little more in-depth with some thoughts on the headlines. Try it out and see if you think this should become more of a regular AA feature. Here's what we missed this week...
-While the headlines about ESPN launching a new sports media blog might have raised more than eyebrows in the blogosphere, this appears to be nothing more than a semi-crafty, semi-lame move by ESPN to produce what amounts to be a centralized PR website. ESPNFrontRow will be a place where ESPN can directly answer to controversies surrounding ESPN talent (Erin Andrews/Reebok, etc.) or give special footage/access to ESPN personalities. This new blog will be nowhere near as powerful or independent as the ombudsman in the eyes of fans, but is rather a place for ESPN to better assert ESPN's point of view. To me, there's little to no impact here on blogs, sports media, or how fans view ESPN in the future, but a way for ESPN to better be able to communicate its perspective. Only 13 ESPN references, I was hoping to get 15, darn.
-Some good and bad news here. I'm sure most of the MLB fans out there won't like to see Tim McCarver getting any air time this year, let alone for the next three, but this move to extend him to 2013 syncs up his contract with the end of Fox's MLB contract. So, maybe there is at least now an end in sight for baseball fans to the Buck/McCarver duo. FYI, please someone rescue us from MLB on Fox. As far as DW is concerned, he's always been one of my personal favorites as an announcer and the Fox NASCAR team is one of the network's best. He may be too hokey for some, but Darrell Waltrip has become a NASCAR institution over the last decade.
-Former ESPN lead soccer announcer JP Dellacamera has left the leader after many years as its #1 soccer voice for the much less greener pastures of Fox Soccer Channel. Sadly for JP, he was left out in the cold when ESPN went with an all-Brit lineup for the World Cup and installed Ian Darke as its top soccer voice. I like Dellacamera, but I can't blame ESPN for going in that direction because it was a great success for the World Cup. Naturally, one of those Brits, Adrian Healey, moves up to JP's spot as lead MLS announcer for ESPN. Dellacamera instantly gives FSC a credible play by play man (something they've been desperately lacking), but there are other problems with the network. The embarrassing audio lags and delays have made Champions League games, including yesterday's Arsenal-Barcelona tilt, almost unwatchable. How can a network that attracts hundreds of thousands of viewers have such an elemental flaw?
-The case surrounding the stolen Oregon Ducks mascot head of Lee Corso has been closed. The nation can go back to living our normal lives with this long national nightmare finally over with. No word on whether or not the Duck head was involved in any improper recruiting services while away from ESPN.
-... DUI. How appropriate. I've heard ESPN 1000's Harry Teinowitz before on the radio and been entertained at his peculiarity, perhaps now I know the reason behind it. The radio host has been suspended for three days and apologized for his DUI arrest. What is it about Chicago media figures and embarrassing arrests? (What was that one guy's name anyways...) A three day suspension from a radio show seems like a serious punishment... at least if you're Miguel Cabrera.
*Finally, a must see video of a ponytailed Tom Brady dancing awkwardly (Hot Clicks)
-I'll let this speak for itself...
Hope you enjoyed our look at some of the stories we may have missed this week. Let us know if you'd like this to become a semi-regular AA feature. Enjoy your Championship Week Thursday, and stay clear of those Big East officials.
I can't stress enough how painfully funny this video is that Deadspin alluded to today. Part of me feels guilty for posting this because these kids are probably doing the best job they can, but this clip immediately goes into the Pantheon of sports telecasts gone horribly, horribly, horribly wrong. This video is an America East wrap up show through University of Hartford student television on STN Channel 2. If you want the highlights, check out the Deadspin piece, but we've posted the entire show below. If you do anything, just watch the first three minutes and you won't be disappointed. The entire show is a roller coaster ride of awkwardness filled with more of the same, but the opening segment is rocky to say the least. On the bright side, if Brian Collins could get a legitimate job in television, then hopefully these guys can come back from this...
***Update - As you can probably see, the Youtube video is down (big surprise there). That's not cool. So, I feel obliged to share with you Deadspin's update featuring a less than happy response from Brendan Marshall, one of the "stars" of the clip. I have to say, I've never seen someone tell Deadspin and Stony Brook to F*#k off in the same Tweet, so congrats Brendan! (H/T @KevinTConnor)
The end of the Big East quarterfinal was a disaster. Multiple missed calls (all going against Rutgers), errant horns going off at crucial free throws, and referees who couldn't look more inept. Dave Pasch once again does an admirable job at the end of the game highlighted by him immediately calling out the referees for missing calls and ruining what was a good close game. Doris Burke and Fran Fraschilla also repeatedly called out the refs before and after this play for losing control of the game. Doug Gottlieb even said these officials (highlighted by the always awful Jim Burr) should not be allowed to work again this tournament. Just an UGLY ending here especially with the refs refusing to review the play and walking off the court.
I gotta say, I was pretty impressed by Pasch's call here. It can't be easy getting pumped up for the 12 vs. 13 matchup on the Tuesday of Conference Tournament week. Although, this was two rivals battling for New Jersey supremacy so that added some slight intrigue to this Tuesday afternoon game. For those who filled out Big East Tournament brackets, the Scarlett Knights held off the Pirates to advance to the next round.
While Pasch's call was well done, easily the highlight of this clip has to be the ecstatic Seton Hall player repeatedly doing the title belt celebration at the end of the bench. Just hilarious.
So, we finally made it. Conference Tournament and next week the big one. Word to the wise, stack your fridge with as much Surge as possible and sit back and enjoy because it's only going to get better.
Evidently, this was the weekend for crazy college basketball calls. Yesterday we shared KU basketball announcer Bob Davis going nuts over a foul called against the Jayhawks. Today, we see former Chicago Bulls player and current analyst Dickey Simpkins losing his mind in the exuberant way after a CJ Fair dunk for the Syracuse Orange. Simpkins has developed a little bit of a cult following for his unique and excitable outbursts as an analyst for ESPNU and Big East games. His latest effort includes an OMG, and something called a Dunk Nasty Face.
Good for Dickey for being creative. He's actually probably gaining more notoriety as an analyst than he ever did as a towel waver for Jordan's Bulls. Although he does have three championship rings for his career 4.3 PPG, so who am I to judge? The one thing that I'd like to know is what a Dunk Nasty Face is exactly. I have no idea. :%? :$? Any thoughts on what a dunk nasty face looks like? Whatever it is, I'm definitely using it in my next IM conversation... if people still do that anymore.
Let me start by being honest - I'm a Mizzou basketball fan and despise everything about Kansas basketball. So, I was not a happy camper when the Jayhawks won in Columbia on Saturday. As some measure of revenge, I came across this funny video of legendary Kansas radio announcer Bob Davis going crazy over an intentional foul call against one of the Morris twins late in Saturday's game. Kansas would go on to win the game, although for some reason most of the nation, including Kansas City and Columbia, didn't get to see the last few minutes. CBS says it was because of the evil schemes of sunspots, bizarre I know. Oh well, enjoy your Monday bit of announcing insanity!
Here is your NBA announcing sked for the week. The Heat will have to dry their tears after Sunday's loss to Joakim Noah and the Bulls quickly as they welcome the Blazers and Lakers to Miami in another important week for the Superfriends. Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Dallas also make multiple appearances on the national slate. There's only one game on ABC Sunday afternoon and no ESPN night games due to Selection Sunday for the college game. Also, we may have an AA surprise related to a well-known NBA announcer this week so stay tuned!
Tuesday March 9
Portland Trailblazers @ Miami Heat (NBA TV 7:30PM) Rick Kamla, Kevin McHale, Chris Webber - American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL Wednesday March 9
New York Knicks @ Memphis Grizzlies (NBA TV 8PM) Local Broadcast - FedExForum, Memphis, TN
Thursday March 10
Los Angeles Lakers @ Miami Heat (TNT 7PM) Marv Albert, Steve Kerr, Reggie Miller - American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL New York Knicks @ Dallas Mavericks (TNT 9:30PM) Kevin Harlan, Mike Fratello - American Airlines Center Dallas, TX
Friday March 11
Atlanta Hawks @ Chicago Bulls (NBA TV 8PM) Local Broadcast - United Center, Chicago, IL
Saturday March 12
Utah Jazz @ Chicago Bulls (WGN 8PM) Neil Funk, Stacey King - United Center, Chicago, IL Los Angeles Lakers @ Dallas Mavericks (NBA TV 9PM) Local Broadcast – American Airlines Center Dallas, TX
Sunday March 13
Orlando Magic @ Phoenix Suns (ABC 3:30) Mike Breen, Mark Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy - U.S. Airway Center, Phoenix, AZ Milwaukee Bucks @ Boston Celtics (NBA TV 6PM) Local Broadcast - TD Garden, Boston, MA
Over the past couple months, there has been a lot of chatter about ESPN talent and their side incomes from endorsement deals. Something about journalistic integrity or double standards. As if you really needed Dicky V or Lee Corso to motivate you to go to Hooters for the third time this month. "They really DO have good wings" is now officially the third most used excuse of all time behind "I was drunk" and "the dog ate my homework".
Just in time to give the impression that this commercial and product is somehow associated with March Madness, Mountain Dew has rolled out a new ad featuring Erin Andrews and Kenny Mayne.
IMO the commercial is half funny as Mayne's dry wit is entertaining but ultimately muted when intermixed with a pretty vanilla and somewhat out of place Andrews. While she is certainly soft on the eyes, playing opposite the notoriously goofy and aloof Mayne was just an odd combination. Dropping twitter bombs, wearing a purple sweater with a tie underneath reminiscent of myself at an 8th grade dance, and accompanied by the Mountain Dew Voltage entourage, Mayne would ultimately be better served by someone a bit more well versed in the art of sarcastic schilling.
In the end though it is a memorable spot and one that does make me want to try these products. Any soda (they call it "pop" in the Midwest) that taste like its inundated with sugar and caffiene but ultimately isn't, is always a nice change of pace when you're craving some carbonation.