Network trashtalking: ESPN does post to remind Fox Sports, everyone else who is No. 1

Fox Sports is set to announce the launch of its new sports network, Fox Sports 1, today in New York.

So what does ESPN put up on its PR-driven Front Row site late Monday afternoon? A post titled: “ESPN By The Numbers: March, 2013.”

Written by ESPN’s David Scott, the post contains this opening paragraph: “When you’ve been delivering sports fans their news, entertainment and game coverage for 33 years, you tend to accumulate a lot of impressive statistics and factoids.”

The post then basically documents the awesomeness of ESPN.

Wow, talk about timing. I mean, did ESPN know Fox Sports was making its big announcement today?

“Yes, quite a coincidence,” said an ESPN staffer, with tongue firmly in cheek even in an email.

This post was as subtle as Chris Berman narrating football highlights. It is network trashtalking at … Continue Reading

Q/A with Dana Jacobson: On leaving ESPN; joining CBS Sports Radio; and being one of few women in sports talk radio

First of two parts on new CBS Sports Radio network.

Sometimes, you have to go with your heart more than common sense.

At least that’s the way Dana Jacobson (@danajacobson) felt when she decided to walk away from a new contract proposal from ESPN last spring with no other job offers on the table. She said while she loved her 10-plus years at ESPN, the passion for the job wasn’t there anymore.

Also inspired by the desire to live where she actually wanted to live for once (no offense, Bristol), Jacobson, 41, sold her house and car and moved to New York. Opportunity then knocked when the new CBS Sports Radio network offered her a spot on the morning show.

On Jan. 2, she joined Tiki Barber and Brandon Tierney to kick off CBS’ big sports talk radio … Continue Reading

Q/A with Kirk Herbstreit: On whether Notre Dame can sustain success; title teams people love to hate

Perhaps tonight’s title game should be renamed the Polar Bowl, because it features two of the most polarizing teams in the country.

If you live outside of SEC country, you’re tired of that conference winning the BCS title every year. And even if you live within its boundaries, you’re probably thinking, anybody but Alabama and Nick Saban.

Meanwhile, rooting for Notre Dame hardly is an appealing option for the legion of Irish haters throughout the country.

All in all, the dynamic should deliver a huge rating for ESPN, assuming the game is close.

During a teleconference, Kirk Herbstreit, working his sixth straight BCS game, addressed the love-hate aspect and talked about whether Notre Dame’s success in 2012 will be more than a one-year fling.

As you travel around the country, what is your sense of how much of the interest a Continue Reading

Which 8-8 team delivered highest NFL rating for CBS, NBC, Fox, ESPN?

I overdosed on the Dallas Cowboys this year. It seemed like Jerry Jones’ mediocre bunch were featured more in Chicago than the Bears.

Yet there is no denying Cowboys can generate the ratings. Even after all these years, they still are America’s Team.

Barry Horn of the Dallas Morning News reports a game involving the Cowboys pulled the highest rating of the year for CBS, NBC, ESPN and Fox Sports.

Last Sunday’s Cowboys-Washington game on NBC had 30.3 million viewers, the most for a prime-time game since 1996.

Here’s the rundown of the top-ranked games for the network:

CBS -Steelers-Cowboys (Dec. 16): 26.9 million

Fox – Redskins-Cowboys (Nov. 22): 28.7 million

ESPN – Bears-Cowboys (Oct. 1): 16.6 million

NBC – Cowboys-Redskins (Dec. 30): 30.3 million

The Cowboys did not appear on NFL Network this year. Surely if they did, they would have had the top … Continue Reading

What they said in 2012: Quotes tell tale of year in sports media

Part 1:

I’m a big quote guy, as evidenced by the quote I run at the top of this site.

While going through my review of sports media in 2012, I came across so many relevant quotes from my reporting and elsewhere, I decided to share them. Some are insightful; some are funny; some are just plain stupid. Yet they all tell a tale of what occurred on this beat.

I had so many, I decided to split them into two posts. Part 1 covers the beginning of the site in April through early August.

Frank Deford on current state of sportswriting: “Unfortunately, we’ve gotten swamped by the numbers. People have gotten buried under the numbers. Statistics. That has become everything. Pitch count is more interesting than what the guy is made of. I think that’s a shame because so much of sports is drama.”

Keith Continue Reading

Top sports media stories in 2012: Spiraling rights fees, ratings; ESPN cleans up; Mixed opening for NBC Sports Net

From my perspective, the biggest sports media story in 2012 occurred on April 16. That’s when ShermanReport.com went live. Then again, I’m biased.

There has been plenty of other sports media news in 2012. Here’s a look:

Infinity: While talking about the outrageous rights fees for sports the other day, Ed Goren, the former top production man at Fox Sports, noted that Fox paid $400 million for its first four-year deal with the NFL in 1994.

“Remember when everyone thought that was out of sight?” Goren said. “Now it’s nothing.”

Indeed, $400 million barely would get you the NFL preseason in today’s market.

The lavish spending continued in 2012. Baseball was the biggest winner, with ESPN, Turner, Fox all re-upping with a new megadeal. As a result, Bud Selig and friends will more than double their annual haul from $750 million to $1.55 billion … Continue Reading

Top newsmakers for 2012: No denying that everyone talked about Skip Bayless

When I launched ShermanReport on April 16, I had some initial concerns that there might not be enough fresh content to do a daily site.

Couldn’t have been more wrong.

There’s so much territory to cover, it can be overwhelming at times. For a solo performer, it is a challenge to keep up. It’s never dull, that’s for sure.

As 2012 nears a close, I’m going to reflect on the year in sports media this week. Today, I begin with newsmakers. My criteria is people who were interesting, intriguing, controversial, and generally seemed to be in the news cycle, for better or worse.

Here we go:

Skip Bayless: Yes, Skip Bayless. I can see your eyes rolling, but name me someone who has generated more sports media talk?

I know he is extremely polarizing, and he routinely gets obliterated from the critics. Twitter … Continue Reading

Update: Rob Parker suspended: His stupid statement sign of larger problem at ESPN and elsewhere

Update: ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz just posted this tweet: “Following yesterday’s comments, Rob Parker has been suspended until further notice.  We are conducting a full review.”

*******

These kinds of stories make me sad. I’d rather be writing about something else than somebody making stupid statements on television. I call it chasing fires. Some people love it. I don’t.

Yet you can’t ignore what Rob Parker said yesterday on First Take. And it appears as if he is about to incur ESPN’s wrath.

In case you missed it, Parker went off about Robert Griffin III.  ”Is he a brother, or is he a cornball brother?” Parker said.

Parker went on: “I’ve talked to some people in Washington, D.C. Some people in [Griffin's] press conferences. Some people I’ve known for a long time. My question, which is just a straight, honest … Continue Reading

Skipper defends ESPN: Standards of journalism are at highest order

It’s been open season on ESPN of late. John Skipper has decided to fight back.

In an interview with John Ourand of Street and Smith’s Sports Business Daily, the ESPN president reacted to mounting criticism from various outlets (Deadspin, Awful Announcing in particular) that the network’s journalistic standards have been reduced, and that its brand has been diminished by an endless array of debate shows, headed by First Take.

The always candid Skipper clearly thinks enough is enough. “The brand’s never been stronger,” he said.

Regarding standards:

We have standards of journalism that are at the highest order. There’s a separate question, which is, ‘Are we adhering to them?’ But at least our intention and what we publish is that we are going to adhere to high standards. We don’t discourage the scrutiny, we welcome it. Generally, we react to it….

Continue Reading

Sorry Northern Illinois: ESPN gets stuck with lemons with Orange, Sugar and Rose Bowls

If I’m ESPN and I just paid billions of dollars to secure the rights to the Rose, Sugar, Orange and Fiesta Bowls, I can’t be pleased with what I got this year.

With the exception of the title game, the biggies lineup has to be the worst in recent memory. And I’m not just talking about Northern Illinois here:

Orange Bowl: NIU vs. Florida State.

Sugar Bowl: Florida vs. Louisville.

Rose Bowl: Wisconsin vs. Stanford.

Fiesta Bowl: Kansas State vs. Oregon.

It’s almost as if the Notre Dame-Alabama title game is so good, the BCS said we have to balance things off with some uninspiring games. Only K-State-Oregon rates as a truly marquee match up. The others? Forget about it.

Wisconsin has five losses, and just saw its coach bolt. But the Badgers are playing in Pasadena thanks to Ohio State being ineligible for a bowl. Louisville? Somebody … Continue Reading