First for NFL in postseason: Significance of ESPN landing a wildcard game

The NFL had been the last major pro sports league to resist placing part of its postseason on cable. Until today.

It was announced this morning that ESPN will air one of the wildcard games during the opening weekend of the playoffs this year. NBC, which had aired both wildcard games, now will get a divisional playoff game.

The ESPN release included this passage:

“The NFL and ESPN reached a new eight-year extension in 2011 for Monday Night Football and broad studio, multimedia and international rights. The agreement – which began this spring and extends through the 2021 NFL season – provides the NFL with an option to air a postseason Wild Card playoff game on ESPN, which the NFL has opted to exercise this season.”

According to John Ourand and Austin Karp of Sports Business Daily, ESPN will … Continue Reading

NBC rooting for Blackhawks: Would hate to lose strong following in huge Chicago market

Not to wave the hometown flag too much, but Chicago Blackhawks fans aren’t the only people upset that they trail 2-0 in their playoff series with St. Louis. NBC also is a bit anxious.

In all sports, the networks always root for the team that delivers the most viewers. That’s the Blackhawks in the NHL.

Not only do the Blackhawks have a big national following as an Original 6 team, their local numbers in the nation’s third largest market usually make up a significant portion of NBC’s overall rating.

Saturday’s game 2 did a 1.6 rating on NBC, up 33 percent from the game that aired in that window in 2013. The game did a 9.5 rating in Chicago, which means it was seen in an estimated 332,500 households.

St. Louis actually had a higher local rating at 11.2. However, … Continue Reading


What will ESPN do with Keyshawn Johnson? NFL analyst arrested in domestic violence incident

ESPN has another situation on its hands.

Yesterday, it was disclosed that Keyshawn Johnson was arrested for misdemeanor spousal battery. Here’s the report.

Obviously, this is a major problem for the analyst on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown. ESPN has strict “zero tolerance” policies in place. In 2010, the network first suspended and then severed ties with Around The Horn panelist Jay Mariotti when he was arrested on domestic violence charges.

It should be stressed that no two situations are the same. That also goes for the people involved.

First things first, the network has to sort out the details of exactly what happened and let the legal process play out. At some point, though, ESPN will have to make a decision on Johnson’s fate with the network.

Obviously, more to come.


 … Continue Reading

Chicago Tribune: Profile of White Sox marketing chief Brooks Boyer; Challenging environment coming off rough ’13

This isn’t exactly sports media, but I wanted to share my Chicago Tribune profile of Brooks Boyer, the head of marketing for the White Sox.

You also can access the story via my Twitter feed at Sherman_Report.

Actually, Boyer is heavily involved with sports media with the White Sox TV and radio deals. With the Sox coming off their worst season in 43, the environment is challenging.

From the story:


Brooks Boyer’s business is baseball, but he goes back to his basketball days to describe his approach to the job.

The Chicago White Sox vice president and chief marketing officer preaches “wanting the ball in the fourth quarter.” It stems from the way he played the game as an all-state high school shooting guard from Concord, Mich., and as a two-year captain at Notre Dame.

Boyer reflects on … Continue Reading

Frank Shorter: Last year’s Boston Marathon felt like Munich in ’72

The Boston Marathon is today, and hopefully as it has been every year but one, it will be a wonderful day for all who participate, from runners to spectators to volunteers.

Frank Shorter will be on hand to be an analyst for the race with the Universal Sports Network. In a Q/A with Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News, he describes his feeling about what happened last year.

Q: You’ve compared the experience of last year’s Boston Marathon bombings to what you heard and saw during the terrorist attacks at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, days before you were to go out and win your gold. How do you make that connection?

 A: When the second bomb went off across the street behind me in Boston, I was trying to get to the TV truck for our

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Good retort: Yes ESPN, there is a kid named Fox Sports 1

Fortunately, the trash talking between ESPN and Fox Sports 1 continues. Earlier this week during a Disney investors meeting, Artie Bulgrin, a Senior VP of Analytics for ESPN noted there have been parents who have named their kids ESPN. Beyond weird, but….

“Let’s face it, nobody’s naming their kid ‘Fox Sports One.’” Bulgrin said.

Give credit to Fox Sports 1 for a pretty good comeback. Jay Onrait does the honors.

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Wrigley Field at 100: Documentary chronicles good times (OK, and some bad) at old ballpark

If you look at this preview for Wrigley 100: A Century Celebration, you might think the Cubs celebrated many World Series titles at the old ballpark.

OK, you’re not going to pump up a film about Wrigley by highlighting Willie Stargell’s homer off Phil Regan that broke the backs of the Cubs in ’69. Even though the Cubs never experienced a World Series victory in the old ballpark, there were plenty of memorable moments provided by Ernie, Ronnie, Billy, and Ryno and more. Sammy Sosa had a few too, but given what we now know, don’t expect an extensive review of his feats at Wrigley.

Actually, there were championships won at Wrigley–by the Bears. Their history in the park is featured in the film.

The two-hour documentary airs Sunday at 7 p.m. (Central) on WGN-Ch. 9 in Chicago and … Continue Reading

Jeff Van Gundy on Howard Stern slam: ‘I didn’t even know he was still on’

A few weeks ago, Jeff Van Gundy remarked during a telecast that Howard Stern was leaving early during a Knicks game. He jokingly said Stern shouldn’t be given tickets if he isn’t going to stay for the entire game.

Stern, who doesn’t like criticism, used the opportunity to go off on Van Gundy during his show. He went off on a 10-minute rant, calling him every name in the book from “douche bag” to “midget” and even “schlub.”

During a teleconference yesterday, Van Gundy had an amusing response when asked about Stern’s comment.


Yeah, you know what’s funny is I was sitting in a movie theater watching this movie, it was an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, “Sabotage” or something like that. I don’t know.  It’s a new action film.  And a friend of mine texted me and said, can you … Continue Reading

Scary: Glazer had near-death experience during ‘routine’ procedure

Dan Patrick on why you haven’t heard much from Jay Glazer lately. He nearly died during a routine procedure.

Mike Florio also had a write-up on Pro Football Talk:

He appeared earlier today on The Dan Patrick Show to discuss the serious health scare that resulted from outpatient surgery.  Glazer separately explained the situation by phone to PFT.

“I went in for a routine back deal,” Glazer said.  “Nothing big.  Dissolving a piece of a disc that broke.  Something that was real easy took a turn.”

After being given anesthesia, Glazer vomited into the face cradle.  The stomach contents ended up in his lungs, and the acid burned the tissue.

Glazer started convulsing, and the doctors revived him.  He was rushed to a local hospital, where he spent four days recovering from aspiration double pneumonia.

He didn’t realize the gravity

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