Thursday morning brought a shock to the sports media community as NBC Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol suddenly resigned, unable to agree to terms on a new contract.
To many, Dick Ebersol was NBC sports. Probably best-known for making NBC the home of the Olympics, Ebersol had a hand in many other sports and non-sports programming. For instance, he along with Lorne Michaels, conceived and created Saturday Night Live. He brought the NFL back to NBC with Sunday Night Football. He also served as a time as senior vice president of NBC News.
His departure comes at a particularly bad time for Comcast/NBC. Negotiations for the broadcast rights of the 2014 Winter Olympics and 2016 Summer Olympics take place in Switzerland next month. In many ways, Ebersol was the ace in the hole for the NBC group, having successfully negotiated rights for the network so many times previous. ESPN and FOX are said to be preparing aggressive bids, with rumors abounding that ESPN is promising to broadcast all events live -- rather than on tape delay as NBC has done for many events -- as part of their proposal.
There was no bigger topic among the sports media nationwide this week than the upcoming release of the tell-all book, These Guys Have All The Fun: Inside The World of ESPN, written by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales.
The publisher of the book originally had placed an "embargo" on it, in an effort to control content leaks prior to the actual release date. But that didn't last long.
The week started with an excerpt printed in GQ, which dealt with Keith Olbermann and his tumultuous time at the network. More and more excerpts have come out during the week -- Deadspin already has an entire category devoted to the book -- including Bill Simmons talking about his two-week suspension from Tweeting back in 2009.
My copy is said to be on its way to me now, and I look forward to browsing the contents of the book in the coming days and weeks.
- The Bruins continue to set ratings records during their postseason run. Tuesday night's epic Game 2 victory pulled in a 14.59 household rating in Boston on Versus. During the game, Versus was actually the top-rated network in the Boston area, which is pretty remarkable when you consider that networks like CBS were airing season finales for top-rated programs like NCIS at the same time, and many people likely had to look fairly hard to even find Versus. (If you have DISH Network, you need to have purchased their highest price package in order to get the channel.) The rating was the highest the Versus has ever received in the Boston market.
- NESN announced this week the addition of four Pawtucket Red Sox road games to their broadcast schedule. The games are May 22 and 24 at Toledo, June 5 at Durham and July 4 at Rochester. NESN had already scheduled three home Pawtucket games - June 13 vs Charlotte, July 14 vs Durham and July 21 vs Lehigh Valley, as well as a June 27 game between Portland and New Britain. The road games will be produced by television stations in the home markets of the PawSox opponent.
- It seemed odd to me that the Boston Globe relegated the story of Drew Bledsoe's election to the Patriots Hall of Fame to a mention in the "Sports Log" category of the page. While just about every other outlet in town made a dedicated story on the topic, the Globe deemed it unworthy of such. Given the type of attention that the Globe would give to a similar story about say, Nomar Garciaparra, it is dd that they would ignore Bledsoe in the newspaper.
- Red Sox GM Theo Epstein has a great organization in his Foundation To Be Named Later. They are looking to ramp up followers to their charity which helps Boston area kids and their families and are going to be giving away some Red Sox related items over the next few weeks as an incentive to get people to follow the Foundation on Twitter and Facebook.
- On Wednesday, May 25, The Boston Globe is hosting its annual Business Breakfast. This year’s topic is “Playing for Profit: The Business of Boston Sports.”
- The breakfast will feature a panel discussion with Larry Lucchino, president & CEO of the Boston Red Sox, Stephen Pagliuca, co-owner of the Boston Celtics and Charlie Jacobs, principal and co-owner of the Boston Bruins. They will be joined by Patrick Moscaritolo of the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau and Jonathan Paris of the Massachusetts Sports Partnership in a l discussion about sports as an economic driver for Greater Boston. Boston Globe Business Editor Shirley Leung will lead the discussion and opening remarks will be offered by Mayor Thomas M. Menino.
- Tickets for the breakfast are $30.00 and are available online at http://www.eventmanagement.