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National Sports Journalism Center

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Sports Media News

Awful Announcing determines the actual No. 2 sports cable network


For much of the past year the talk of the sports media world has been around the inaugural year of Fox Sport 1 and its determination to rival ESPN.

FS1 has had a few wins, including having Fox Sports Live beat ESPN’s “Sports Center” one night thanks to its NASCAR coverage. However, Awful Announcing  has a report on who FS1′s real competition is and who is really in second place to ESPN.

Based off prime time and total day viewership going back to January, Awful Announcing says ESPN2 is actually the runner up to ESPN. And thanks to its bump from Olympic coverage, the  NBC Sports Network is doing better in the total day viewership area.

Writes AA:

“Fox Sports 1 may have more long-term potential and may be more willing to get big live event packages, but they’re not seeing those fruits right now.  Futhermore, FS1′s biggest ratings winner at the moment, NASCAR, will soon join NBCSN as well.  And the reality for both these networks is that no package will be as big as the Olympics in the near future.”

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MMQB: NFL player suffered career-ending stroke

Robert Klemko of the MMQB produced a devastating and shocking story on Tuesday, chronicling the sudden end to Russell Allen’s football career.

The Jacksonville Jaguar and undrafted free agent success-story suffered an on-field stroke last December, never sidelining himself despite warning signs.

“He went back in and finished the game,” writes Klemko.

“Afterward, he showered with a headache, got dressed with the same headache, drove home with his wife, struggled to watch Sunday Night Football because of light sensitivity, and went to bed with the same headache…

“The Jaguars’ medical staff ordered an MRI and sent Allen home after it was done. On Tuesday morning the trainer called Allen and told him to meet the team physician at the emergency room. Allen thought going to the hospital was only a matter of convenience, because the doctor might be doing rounds there. To his surprise he was told that he’d suffered a stroke during the 27-20 loss to Buffalo.”

This offseason, Allen was officially cut from the Jaguars roster and at the behest of doctors, has retired from the National Football League.


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AP Bureau Chief live-tweets while running Boston Marathon

associated press

Bill Kole was more than an embedded reporter at the 2014 Boston Marathon on Monday. He was a participant.

The New England Bureau Chief for the Associated Press provided unique insight into the 26.2 mile experience, tweeting as he reached each milestone and encountered inspiring images on the one-year anniversary of the Marathon bombings.

“Journalists like to think of themselves as cynics, Kole said. But really, we’re optimists, coming back to stories, people, events and places again and again, hoping for some changes,” writes Poynter’s Kristen Hare.

“Runners, too, get up every day and face the road. On Monday, Kole made the two work together.

‘People had stories to tell even as they were putting one foot in front of the other,’ Kole said. “And it was neat to help tell them.’”


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ESPN earns first NFL Playoff Game


January, 2015 will mark a milestone for the Worldwide Leader in Sports.

According to a release from ESPN Media Zone, the network will air its first NFL Playoff game during Wild Card Playoff Weekend on January 15. This comes as a result of an agreement between ESPN and the NFL extended in 2011.

From the release:

“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…

ESPN’s MNF team of Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and sideline reporter Lisa Salters will call the Wild Card game, as well as the 2015 NFL Pro Bowl (Jan. 25, 2015) at University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona, which returns to ESPN this season as part of the company’s new rights agreement.”

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MLB games that take hours could have long-term effects

The late comedian George Carlin used to do a hilarious bit of stand-up that contrasted the language used to describe the proceedings in football and baseball games. Football games were technological struggles played on gridirons in places like Soldier Field or War Memorial Stadium, while baseball was a pastoral pursuit, played in the park, in which the object was to be safe at home.

In other words, baseball is not so rigid, and its rules are less constrictive than those of football. It is played in the spring, the time when new life burgeons, rather than in the fall, when everything begins to die.

With that comes a certain commitment to a languid pace. Baseball games don’t have clocks. Instead of the two-minute warning, there is the seventh-inning stretch. It’s a timeless game for a time of year when people are supposed to relax.

That’s the way it has been for more than 150 years. This season, however, things are getting out of control. The average time of a game has swelled beyond three hours, ahead of last year’s record pace of 2:58, which tied the mark set in 2000. Those who happen to watch games involving the Red Sox would be advised to bring a change of clothes, since no team spends more time scratching, spitting, adjusting and stepping out of the batter’s box than does Boston.

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Pearlman’s ‘Showtime’ shows access isn’t essential to telling complete story

Today’s journalism lesson comes from Jeff Pearlman.

Subject: How to write a 482-page book without ever getting access to the three main characters in the story.

Pearlman’s latest, “Showtime,” is a detailed and entertaining account of the great Lakers teams during the ‘80s. He chronicles the wild ride as Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and the crew piled up victories on the court and in the bedroom. The Lakers were at the center of ‘80s flash and excess.

Pearlman conducted nearly 300 interviews for the book, but he never was able to land a one-on-one with Johnson and coach Pat Riley. He also didn’t have a sit-down with Jabbar, although he was able to ask some questions of him through a third party.

Writing a book without gaining access to the main sources happens all the time. However, Pearlman’s process in getting around that obstacle is illuminating. If anything, he says, it almost played to his advantage that the stars and coach didn’t talk.

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Alabama lands large media rights deal

The Crimson Tide of Alabama consistently ranks as one of the top college football teams in the country, inking many of the nation’s top recruits in the process. Monday, the team signed a different bottom line and now will rank near the top in another category: media profitability.

According to a report in the Sports Business Journal from Michael Smith, Alabama signed a multimedia rights deal with Learfield Sports, totaling between $150 million and $160 million over the next decade.

“The extension of a long-term relationship between the Crimson Tide and Learfield will now run through June 30, 2024,” writes Smith. “Alabama, which has been with Learfield since 1998, took advantage of an opt-out in its previous deal to renegotiate. The school, which did not talk to other companies, could make even more money through a revenue-share — on top of the guarantee — if Learfield’s sales top certain thresholds.

“The new financial terms of $15 million to $16 million a year double Alabama’s guarantee previously and put the Tide among the top three schools in multimedia rights revenue behind Texas and Notre Dame, both of which have unique TV arrangements that boost their overall figure.”

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