In a story Friday morning by intrepid New York Post hockey reporters Larry Brooks and Josh Kosman, billionaire William Foley, who made his fortune creating Fidelity National Financial, is in advanced talks with the National Hockey League to bring a team to Las Vegas by the 2017-2018 season.
The team would be the first major league professional sports franchise for the city. MGM Resorts and AEG, an arena operator, recently broke ground on a 20,000 seat hockey-ready arena in downtown Vegas, which is set to open in 2016.
However, despite speculation that the struggling Phoenix Coyotes will be bought and relocated, Phoenix officials are adamant that their team will remain in the desert, meaning Foley will likely only acquire a team through expansion. The NHL already hosts 30 franchises, and suggestions have been made earlier this month that the league would be open to expansion in markets such as Seattle, Quebec City, Vegas, and Toronto, which already supports the Maple Leafs franchise.
Steve McPherson of Rolling Stone caught up with Ernie Johnson Friday, just in time for Johnson’s 25th season as host of TNT’s Inside the NBA studio show with Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith, and Charles Barkley. For McPherson, the show has become one of the biggest staples of TNT’s extensive coverage of the NBA. TNT signed a joint deal with ESPN for exclusive broadcasting rights for league two weeks ago.
McPherson described Johnson’s roll on the show as a “rogue traffic cop” among bigger-than-life personalities like Barkley and O’Neal. But Johnson sees his role differently, acting almost as an interpreter for the show’s opinionated analysts.
I don’t want to get in the way. I want to put our guests or Chuck, Kenny, and Shaq in the best places, get them in their comfort zones. I’ve been called a point guard, I’ve been called a traffic cop, I’ve been called a ringmaster, a lion tamer, whatever … I’m kind of the rogue traffic cop who says “Yeah, come on, Charles, the coast is clear.” And then I wave Shaq in and T-bone him.
Though retired from the NBA since 2007, Jalen Rose has never been far from the game he loves. The 41-year-old former member of Michigan’s infamous “Fab Five” has become a running-mate to Bill Simmons on Grantland in addition to his duties on NBA Countdown, ESPN and ABC’s basketball pregame studio show.
Sports Illustrated‘s Richard Deitsch recently sat down with Rose to discuss ESPN’s new show, “The Grantland Basketball Hour,” his future in broadcasting and life as the longest-tenured member of NBA Countdown.
I want to be with ESPN heading forward 110 percent. I have found a multimedia home here. It sounds cliché to say you love the people you work for and the people you work with, but I am fortunate enough where I found that situation. I don’t see any reason where I would not be part of the ESPN/ABC family. The thing I would want to do next is what we talked about earlier but it doesn’t fit under the sports realm and that is a Bill Maher-type of show.
Rose is under contract with ESPN through the next two NBA seasons, though his future with the network could hinge on how the Simmons storyline plays out, as the two have become close friends and business partners in recent years.
ESPN’s College Gameday began it’s 28th season this August in Arlington, Texas, on-site for a game between No. 1 Florida State and Oklahoma State. Lee Corso, sitting beside former WWE superstar “Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, donned a Seminoles football helmet and some pistols to make his selection. It was nothing out of the ordinary for Corso, who, for the past 28 seasons, has been the strange, entertaining, endearing heart of ESPN’s long-running show.
The Times-Picayune‘s Ron Higgins looks at the 79-year-olds crazy history on the show, from giant mascot heads to his signature one-liners.
Fifteen years ago, Corso decided to wear Ohio State’s Brutus the Buckeye mascot head when making an on-air game prediction.
“The fans went crazy and the guys in our production stuff went crazy, so I knew I had something,” said Corso, who ends every GameDay show making a prediction on the game to be played at the GameDay site, and wearing the mascot head of the team he’s picked to win.
ESPN has cut back on Corso’s airtime a bit after he suffered a stroke in May 2009. Even so, the former college football coach remains front and center every Saturday morning.
NBC Sports has signed golf analyst Johnny Miller to an extension through 2017, reports Golf Week‘s Andy Zunz. Miller, who won the 1973 U.S. Open and 1976 British Open, began as a broadcaster with NBC in 1990 after a successful career on the PGA Tour.
”I was thinking, ‘I’m 67. I’m getting up there,”’ Miller told the AP at the Frys.com Open. ”I didn’t know how my marbles were going to be at that time. So far, I haven’t lost too many. I’ll be the first guy to quit this if I start losing it.”
Miller has been a part of 20 U.S. Open telecasts, however with Fox’s new $1 billion-plus broadcast rights agreement with the U.S. Golf Association, the 2014 Open may have been his last.
Now 74, Verne Lundquist has spent over two-thirds of his life as a sports broadcaster. This year marked his 50th in the industry, and though he shows signs of physical decline, his mental preparation and awareness of the moment remain as sharp as ever, writes Jonathan Biles of Awful Announcing.
Now, his life in the booth will be celebrated in an upcoming hour-long documentary on CBS.
It’s impossible to capture a life in broadcasting in an hour-long documentary, but “In Your Life,” which airs Nov. 29 on CBS at 1:30 ET, will do its best. It focuses on Lundquist’s most famous calls: Tiger Woods at the Masters, Jack Nicklaus and the 1986 Masters, Christian Laettner’s shot against Kentucky, and the 2013 “Kick-Six” Iron Bowl. The amount of high quality Verne on YouTube could take days to comb through. That portfolio of famous calls might be one of the best and most richest of any broadcaster on national television.
Lundquist continues to call most of CBS’ major broadcasts — SEC football games, The Masters and March Madness.
ESPN announced Monday that it will release a series of films called “Signals” for FiveThirtyEight.com beginning Oct. 22, starting with a feature on Gary Kasparov and his historic matches against IBM’s computer entitled “The Man Vs. The Machine.”
FiveThirtyEight launched as an ESPN digital entity in 2014, focusing on in depth statistical analysis “across the verticals of politics, economy, science, life, and sports.” The site is run by Nate Silver and will host five separate films created by ESPN Films starting this week and running through April.
Dan Silver, ESPN Films’ director of development, says the films will be “similar in structure to our 30 for 30 Shorts” and will premier every six weeks, according to the release.
CBS’s Boomer Esiason, who played for the NFL’s Bengals, Cardinals and Jets, has been named commissioner of the Kitty Football League [The Big Lead]
Sports Illustrated MMQB writer Robert Klemko has been suspended four weeks after alleged incident with cab driver in Chicago. [Deadspin]
CNN’s first sports show in over a decade, “Unguarded” with Rachel Nichols, has been canceled as part of plans to cut approximately 300 positions. (TVNewser)