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Game 7 saves a dismal World Series for Fox

Game 7 of the World Series between the Giants-Royals drew a 15.2 overnight rating, a huge surge from the 8.2 rating Game 6 posted, per Deadline. Fox breathed a sigh of relief as the Royals forced a Game 7, as the extra advertising revenue — $520,000 per 30-second spot — and anticipation of a winner-take-all game was sure to boost what had been a dismal Fall Classic broadcast for Fox.

After the lowest rated World Series on record so far, Fox really needed last night’s unexpected Game 7 to turn things around and have America’s pastime grab America’s eyeballs. With smaller market and wild card teams making up the match-up and most of the games’ blowouts, the series and Fox distinctly suffered. Not only was it down from the sturdy numbers of 2013 but this year’s World Series also dipped from the 4-game series of 2012, which had been a record low.

Despite the surge in viewership for Game 7, Fox still has to be worried about the consistently low ratings the World Series has garnered each of the past several seasons.

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Miller calls ESPN’s Kobe Bryant story ‘cowards approach to journalism’

Henry Abbott’s recent ESPN The Magazine piece on Kobe Bryant has received a lot of press, though not exactly the kind Abbot may have been expecting. Abbott’s story tore apart Bryant with anonymous quotes from general managers, scouts and players from around the league.

TNT’s Reggie Miller took to air to voice his opinion on Abbott’s journalistic style, which he referred to as a”coward’s approach to journalism,” according to SportsGrid.

And I’m not saying everything in Henry Abbott’s ESPN article is wrong. It could very well be all right. But if there’s general managers and there’s players and you put your name to it, don’t be anonymous. Put your name to it so that we can put a microphone in front of you. Why should Kobe Bryant have to answer all the questions later when every one else is hiding behind the shield.

Anonymous sources are always a point of contention in pieces like this, especially when the article is a take down on a prominent personality, though Abbott is well-respected in journalistic circles. Still, many have come to Bryant’s defense, including Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea and former Lakers coach Phil Jackson.

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Forde: SEC bias is justified

For Yahoo! Sports’ Pat Forde, there is no bias towards the SEC in college football. It’s simply the best league with the best teams, the best players and the weekly college football rankings, as well as the attention it gets from media giants like ESPN, is all completely justified.

The key word, however, is “at present.”

It will change, as the SEC West cannibalism accelerates in the coming weeks and other plot twists occur around the rest of the nation. But for now, a single division of a single conference owns three-fourths of the playoff bracket … For folks suffering SEC fatigue, this is nauseating news. But it’s the reality at the moment.

Forde also says that the SEC’s dominance is simply “the lay of the land at the moment,” an illustration of the massive success that SEC commissioner Mike Silve has been able to achieve. While the rest of the college football landscape suffers, eventually the power will be balanced. As long as that happens, Forde says, all is well in college football.

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MLB, NFL, boost candidates with campaign contributions

Ahead of the the 2014 midterm elections rapidly approaching, two major sports leagues have been busy making dozens of campaign contributions. Both Major League Baseball and the National Football League have political action committees (PACs). These PACs pool campaign contributions from members and donates those funds to a campaign for or against candidates, ballot initiatives, or specific legislation.

According to Fusion‘s Jordan Fabian, the MLB and NFL PACs have donated a combined $1.1 million during the 2014 election cycle.

Like other big businesses, pro sports leagues work to protect their interests before Congress. Controversial issues like steroids in baseball and concussions in football have been the subject of congressional hearings in recent years that have tarnished the image of the leagues.

In addition, MLB is exempt from antitrust laws and the NFL is classified as a non-profit. These statuses endow the leagues with major economic advantages and they’ve lobbied to preserve those benefits.

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) received $17,000 from the MLB this cycle. Markey was a long-serving member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which regulates broadcast, cable, and satellite television.

Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.), the chairman of a House commerce subcommittee, received $7,500 from the NFL. Terry held a hearing on concussions in sports in March. Aas opposed to many of his colleagues, Terry refrained from directly criticizing the league’s handling of the issue.

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Silver: Shorter NBA games unlikely

Speaking with Mike & Mike on ESPN Radio Wednesday morning, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the 44-minute preseason game that featured the Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets was just a concept, saying the idea “came directly out of a coaches meeting that I attended in mid-September.”

Silver acknowledged that “your bosses at ESPN won’t like this,” saying it was an idea the coaches were interested in, cutting the amount of playing time as well as the number of commercial breaks. He said the league was “experimenting with the flow of the game and the format, and we were also curious to see how it would affect the minutes for starters.” He also said it is unlikely to be a permanent change in regular season games anytime soon.

Silver also talked about the upcoming CBA with the player’s union, noting that the two parties can opt out of the current CBA in after the 2016-2017 season. He said it “would be a failure on both of our parts [the owners and the union] ultimately resulted in a work stoppage.”

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Rare White Sox film unearthed from 1917

In a story in the New York Times, filmmaker Bill Morrison has reportedly unearthed rare footage from the 1917 World Series between the New York Giants and the Chicago White Sox, just two months after he discovered newsreels from the 1919 World Series famous for the Black Sox Scandal that saw the banishment of eight White Sox players for gambling on baseball.

Morrison made the discovery in Dawson City in Canada’s Yukon Territory, where bits of newsreel made their way through the ice after being “buried in a local pool in 1929 as part of the landfill for a hockey rink.” Permafrost preserved the films and it was only after they were moved to Gatineau to be archived that Morrison discovered the World Series footage.

Morrison is working on a documentary about the Yukon film story, which is expected to be released in 2015.

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One-sided World Series games a disaster for Fox

The 2014 edition of the Fall Classic has been a ratings disaster for Fox. The World Series was averaging just 12.1 million viewers heading into Game 6, which garnered an 8.9 overnight rating.

These bleak ratings numbers continued a troubling trend for “America’s Pastime,” which has been hurt by head-to-head matchups with the NFL, NBA and college football, writes the Chicago Tribune‘s Paul Sullivan.

Baseball’s gross revenues reached a record $8 billion last year, according to Forbes, so the sport isn’t exactly dying.

But if the millennials are tuning the game out, why would the following generation suddenly start tuning in?

MLB already is experimenting with new rules in the Arizona Fall League to increase the pace of games. Whether they will enact them at the major league level remains to be seen.

Game 7 between the Royals and Orioles will compete against the return of Derrick Rose on ESPN. Knicks-Bulls or World Series Game 7? What the viewers decide tonight could go a long way in determining how the MLB presents games in the future.

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