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Vin Scully to Return For 63rd Season of Broadcasting PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Saturday, 27 August 2011 00:14

Vin Scully

And baseball fans sang….

Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully will return to the broadcast booth for an unprecedented 63nd season in 2012, he announced during this evening’s Dodger telecast. Scully will again call all Dodger home games and select road games.

“I don’t want to make a big deal out of it, you and I have been friends for a long time,” Scully told the audience on PRIME TICKET. “But after a lot of soul searching and a few prayers, we’ve decided that we will come back with the Dodgers for next year. God’s been awfully good to me, allowing me to do the things I love to do. I asked him one more year at least and he said okay.”

Scully’s 62 years of service constitute the longest tenure of any broadcaster in sports history. While he handles all nine innings of the team's television broadcasts on PRIME TICKET and KCAL 9, the first three innings of each of his games are also simulcast on KABC 790 AM.

He began his professional baseball broadcasting career in 1950 with the Brooklyn Dodgers and was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. During his unequaled career, he has gone on to call three perfect games, 19 no-hitters, 25 World Series and 12 All-Star Games.  He was also at the microphone for Kirk Gibson’s miraculous Game 1 homer in the 1988 World Series, Hank Aaron’s record-setting 715th home run, Barry Bonds’ record-breaking 71st, 72nd and 73rd home runs and the scoreless-inning streaks’ of Dodger greats Don Drysdale and Orel Hershiser.

When Scully first began broadcasting, the Dodgers had yet to win a single World Series. Three years later, at the age of 25, he became the youngest person to ever broadcast a World Series game and in 1955, he had his most memorable moment behind the microphone, as he called the Dodgers' first and only championship in Brooklyn.

The following season, Scully once again found himself in the enviable position of calling what he would later say was the greatest individual performance he had seen -- Don Larsen's perfect game in the World Series.

Source: Los Angeles Dodgers


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, and is a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog.. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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Hurricane Irene Causes "Sunday MLB on TBS" To Change Programming PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 24 August 2011 15:55

Turner Sports isn’t taking any chances with its programming as Hurricane Irene prepares to bear down on the East Coast.

"Sunday MLB on TBS" has announced that instead of the Yankees @ Orioles at 1:30pm ET, they have changed their schedule and will head to Milwaukee on August 26 with a National League Central showdown between Prince Fielder and the division-leading Brewers hosting Aramis Ramirez and the Chicago Cubs at 2 p.m. (ET).  Play-by-play announcer Ernie Johnson will call the game alongside analyst John Smoltz in the broadcast booth.

Hurricane Irene is currently a Category 3 and could reach an intense Category 4 by Thursday when it is tracking to hit the Carolinas. Current models have it hitting the New York area on Sunday, but is being projected to be a Category 2 by then. The game seems certain to be rained out.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, and is a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog.. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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Former Longtime Braves, TBS Broadcaster Ernie Johnson Sr. passes away at 87 PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Saturday, 13 August 2011 12:01

Ernie Johnson, SrErnie Johnson Sr., 87, long-time voice of TBS' Atlanta Braves coverage and a member of the Atlanta Braves Hall of Fame, passed away last night following a lengthy illness. He is the father of Turner Sports Emmy Award-winning announcer Ernie Johnson Jr. Verne Lundquist will replace Johnson Jr. on TNT’s coverage for the remainder of the 2011 PGA Championship.

"The Braves family has suffered a great loss today," Braves president John Schuerholz said in a statement. "Ernie was the heart and soul of the Braves for so long, first as a player and then as the voice of the team in the broadcast booth. Our hearts are heavy today and we will miss him dearly. We send our deepest condolences to his wife of 63 years, Lois, his children, Dawn, Chris and Ernie Jr., and to his grandchildren."

Johnson's passing came near the end of a day that began with Bobby Cox being inducted into the Braves Hall of Fame. The celebration extended to the evening hours as Cox's No. 6 jersey was retired before the Braves beat the Cubs, 10-4 -- a game in which Dan Uggla set an Atlanta record by extending his hitting streak to 32 games.

"It's a sad day, and it was probably one of the most celebrated days," Braves third baseman Chipper Jones said. "When you think about listening to the Braves on radio and TV, E.J. was the guy. He always had a kind word to say and always had a smile on his face. He was always a very uplifting kind of personality."

Johnson ended his days as a full-time Braves broadcaster in 1999 and entered the organization's Hall of Fame in 2001.

Johnson began his Major League career as a pitcher for the Boston Braves in 1950 and moved with the club to Milwaukee, where he continued to be used primarily as a reliever until the end of the '58 season. He returned to the organization to serve as the public-relations director in 1960 and then assumed play-by-play duties when the franchise moved to Atlanta in 1966.

While serving as a Braves broadcaster, Johnson followed his former teammate, Hank Aaron, as he made his march toward Babe Ruth's all-time home run record. In 1976, he began mentoring a pair of young broadcasters, Skip Caray and Pete Van Wieren.

Caray and Van Wieren developed a strong bond and friendship with Johnson, who served as more than just a mentor.

During one of their earliest games together, Caray said, "We now turn it over to the voice of the Atlanta Braves, Ernie Johnson."

This prompted Johnson to look at his young broadcast partners and say, "If you don't mind, I'd appreciate it if we are all called the voice of the Atlanta Braves."

Johnson, Caray and Van Wieren were the broadcasters whom fans across the country heard after TBS began airing Braves games to a national audience on a daily basis in the late 1970s

"The Turner Sports family is saddened by the loss of Ernie Johnson Sr.  He was an iconic voice who helped create a national fan base for TBS' baseball coverage of the Atlanta Braves. Our deepest sympathies to his wife Lois, his children Ernie Jr, Chris and Dawn, and his grandchildren," said David Levy, president of sales, distribution and sports for Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.

Source: Atlanta Braves, Turner Sports


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, and is a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog.. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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Red Sox-Yankees Games Draw Big Viewership Numbers for ESPN, FOX, and MLB Network PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 09 August 2011 14:34
Red Sox
Yankees

There is an ongoing debate – daily it seems – as to whether MLB’s national broadcast partners are doing fans a disservice by showing a constant stream of Yankee-Red Sox games each season. The conversation goes that it’s the league that is driving this narrow scope across the league. But, the reasoning is simple: fans continue to watch in large numbers when those games are aired.

Case in point, the games this past week between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox for first place in the American League East generated strong viewership numbers for FOX, ESPN and MLB Network.

Saturday’s FOX broadcast was the most watched non-prime regular season MLB telecast on the Network in more than three years with 4.10 million average viewers. Most of the country saw Yankees vs. Red Sox while parts of the country watched last year’s NLCS participants, Philadelphia Phillies and San Francisco Giants, square off. The last FOX non-prime regular season telecast to record higher numbers featured Boston and New York and the Cubs vs. St. Louis on July 5, 2008. For the season to date, FOX Saturday Baseball is averaging 2.97 million viewers, which is +5% versus last year’s 2.83 million viewers after 19 weeks.

ESPN’s Sunday night telecast of the Red Sox vs. Yankees was the most watched ESPN baseball game in more than four years with 4.72 million average viewers. The last time ESPN attracted a larger audience for baseball was for the Yankees vs. Red Sox on June 3, 2007 with 5.30 million average viewers. For the season, ESPN’s nationally exclusive telecasts are averaging 2.53 million viewers, which is +9% versus last year’s 2.32 million viewers after 19 weeks.

MLB Network’s Friday night telecast of the first game of the Yankees at Red Sox series was the network’s highest-rated game of 2011, averaging 563,000 viewers, second only to MLB Network’s telecast of Stephen Strasburg’s MLB debut in 2010 as its most-watched game ever. The telecast helped deliver MLB Network’s highest primetime audience ever and a 25th consecutive week of viewership growth since pitchers and catchers reported. The Yankees at Red Sox telecast on MLB Network was blacked out in the Boston and New York home television territories.

How will the networks change their ways? Simple. When ratings and viewership for NYY-BOS games declines and some other match-up somehow supplants them. That may still be a ways off, given the numbers released.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, and is a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog.. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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CNN Graphic Erroneously Shows Jeter with 3000 Home Runs, Not Hits PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Saturday, 09 July 2011 18:48

Jeter

You get the strange feeling that someone doing the banner graphics at CNN today isn’t exactly a baseball fan.

Case in point, the image above. It’s certainly newsworthy that Derek Jeter became just the 28th player in MLB history to reach 3,000 hits. It’s also newsworthy that Jeter did so with a home run, something not done since Wade Boggs hit his 3,000 with a dinger on August 7, 1999 (for those that don’t remember, Boggs, upon reaching home plate, kissed it). But, for CNN to put the two together by saying Jeter had hit his 3,000 home run? Well, that’s one way to make Barry Bonds’ 762 look small.

Big hat tip to "Bexy" on Twitter


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, and is a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog.. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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FOX, ESPN Blackout Rules Impact Phillies-Mets, Red Sox-Tigers PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Sunday, 29 May 2011 16:37

Each weekend, fans are left scratching their head when it comes to how games are blacked out. Due to MLB’s national exclusivity agreements with FOX (Saturday) and ESPN (Sunday), those that watch games on MLB Extra Innings or MLB.TV are forced to watch the national game of the week.

Yesterday, the FOX Game of the Week was shown in primetime (7pm ET start), and broken down by regional games. Here’s what FOX had on the slate:

  • Philadelphia Phillies at New York Mets
  • Boston Red Sox at Detroit Tigers
  • Cincinnati Reds at Atlanta Braves
  • Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Minnesota Twins
  • Kansas City Royals at Texas Rangers
  • St. Louis Cardinals at Colorado Rockies

What sent more than a few fans into a tailspin was that the Phillies-Mets game wasn’t shown in upstate New York in the Buffalo and Rochester markets in favor of the Angels-Twins game. If you were to look at MLB’s TV territory/blackout map, you would have thought that the Phillies-Mets game would be outside of blackout for those market. The problem is, the national exclusivity deal doesn’t always adhere to the territories that are used at the local and regional level on weekdays.

Back to those affected in upper New York, according to Major League Baseball, the Red Sox v. Tigers game was originally slotted for Rochester, not the Mets and Phillies, likely due to affiliate request. With that game postponed, the league was unsure why the Angels-Twins game was selected, and suggested contacting FOX (we will update when/if we hear from them).

But, on a rare occasion, the networks can bend the rules that almost always hurt rather than help.

Case in point, ESPN, who has the night game on Sunday, is dropping the exclusivity arrangement for the to allow second game of the Red Sox-Tigers doubleheader – the make-up for yesterday’s rainout – to be televised by NESN in the New England and FSN Detroit. Bravo to ESPN for that.

For those wondering whether the national exclusivity agreements may go to the wayside when they expire in 2013, think again. According to sources, FOX may consider more games in primetime than they currently have, meaning this particular problem fans bumped into on Saturday in primetime is most assuredly going to happen more often in the future.


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Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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MLB's National Broadcast Partners Upbeat About 2011 Season PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 19 April 2011 07:41

The 2011 Major League Baseball season is not even 3 weeks old, but the league’s broadcast partners are already upbeat about what the season has to offer.

In interviews I conducted for an article for Variety Weekly (see MLB on precipice of renewed success), execs from ESPN, FOX, and MLB Network (Turner Sports was not interviewed) said ad inventory was being sold at a brisk pace ahead of last year. As reported:

The sport got off to a good start on the ratings front this month, with ESPN showing gains, led by its Sunday night telecast of the Boston Red Sox against the New York Yankees on April 10, which drew 4.7 million viewers -- the cabler's largest aud for the sport since August 2009

Some questions remain as to whether MLB Network’s increased live game coverage could interfere with being able to gain increased rights fees with the league’s national broadcast partners. The league-owned network is increasing its live regular-season broadcasts to more than 100 this year, including a frequent Tuesday doubleheader to provide more exposure for West Coast teams and to inject more game coverage into its mix of pre-recorded features and highlights shows. To prime the pump, it's airing a run of 30 games featuring all 30 MLB teams Tuesdays through Saturdays in April. Not so says John Ourand of the SportsBusiness Journal.

"Rights fees are increasing across the board for every sport," he says. "Because of the amount of programming baseball produces (all summer against little competition) and the presence of new potential bidders (such as FX, Versus and TruTV), the market for rights holders has never been bigger -- regardless of what the league decides to put on its network."

Read the entire article MLB on precipice of renewed success on Variety.com


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Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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MLB International Renews 12 Broadcast Agreements PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 04 April 2011 13:50

Major League Baseball International today announced it has renewed broadcast agreements with 12 rightsholders from around the world including ESPN, Fox Sports, and DIRECTV. MLBI has also reached new deals with VTC3 in Vietnam and Tianjin TV and Xiamen Satellite TV in China to carry MLB programming and games. MLB has also extended agreements with rightsholders, including OBS and OBS W (Korea); ONE HD (Australia); Mejia Group and IASN (Colombia); and TV Marti (Cuba).

MLB International has agreements with 102 television and radio partners to broadcast Championship Season games, the 2011 MLB All-Star Game and the 2011 postseason in 20 languages to fans in 220 countries and territories around the world.

“We are pleased to renew these agreements with our current broadcast partners as well as extend our coverage across China with new partners Tianjin TV and Xiamen Satellite TV,” said Paul Archey, Senior Vice President, International Business, Major League Baseball. “There is a great passion for Major League Baseball internationally and our broadcast partners provide us with the opportunity to enhance the availability of live Major League Baseball games and content around the world.”

The renewals with ESPN International and ESPN America will run through the 2013 season and will bring MLB games across Latin America, the Caribbean, the Pacific Rim, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. These renewals complement MLB’s existing coverage across Asia on ESPN Star Sports. The deals will bring fans more than 300 regular season games, the MLB All-Star Game, the entire MLB postseason, including the World Series. ESPN will continue to televise “Baseball Tonight” and “This Week In Baseball” as well as archived game footage.

As part of three agreements with Fox Sports, MLB fans throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and parts of Africa, and in Australia will be able to see multiple live MLB games per week, “This Week In Baseball” as well as extensive coverage of the MLB All-Star Game, Division Series, League Championship Series and World Series.

Deals with Tianjin TV and Xiamen Satellite TV will bring MLB games and special programming to an additional 30 million people across China, complementing coverage on MLB’s seven existing broadcast partners. MLB’s new partnership with VTC3 marks the first time that “This Week in Baseball” will be aired in Vietnam.

DIRECTV will extend their broadcast rights into Colombia for the first time, providing fans with six regular season games per week for the next three years. The deal also includes rights in Venezuela, where up to 22 games will be televised every week of the regular season. In addition, DIRECTV in Puerto Rico will offer MLB fans two regular season games each week.

In addition, extensions were reached for the MLB Extra Innings package with Rogers Cable and Bell TV (Canada), DIRECTV (South America and Caribbean), iN Demand (select Caribbean countries) and Sky (Mexico, Central America and the Dominican Republic).

Source: Major League Baseball International


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Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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SHOWTIME to air 30 Min. Preview of Documentary Series on San Francisco Giants in April PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 24 March 2011 14:40
Freak at the Wheel
Freak at the wheel. SHOWTIME will air a 30-min preview of The Franchise: A Season with the San Francisco Giants on Weds. April 13th

For whatever the reason – be it the game, how MLB has approached this aspect, whatever – it’s been how the players at baseball’s highest level have been marketed. A game that has leveraged it’s personality in fiction through books and certainly movies (Hey, Charlie Sheen, you still wear Cleveland Indians caps after playing the Wild Thing in “Major League”), the real-life personalities that comprise baseball’s story in the now, hasn’t fully been told.

At least, till now.

To coincide with the start of the 2011 Major League Baseball season, SHOWTIME will air a 30-minute sneak preview of THE FRANCHISE: A SEASON WITH THE SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS, its new documentary series featuring the World Series Champion San Francisco Giants, on Wednesday, April 13th at 9:30 PM ET/PT.  The new one-hour series, set to premiere Wednesday, July 13th (Showtime informs the time is still a TBD), will give viewers a front row seat into the lives of the players, coaches and team personnel as they begin the task of defending their World Series title through the 2011 MLB season.

THE FRANCHISE: A SEASON WITH THE SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS is a collaboration between SHOWTIME and MLB Productions, and is currently in production in Scottsdale, Arizona, home of the San Francisco Giants Spring Training, as well as various locations around the country.  The series will be shot over the course of eight months and will have cameras embedded with the team during the first half of the regular season.

While it’s a trailer, the clips shown may be just what the league and players need to give the league a much needed lift in personality.

CLICK THIS LINK, OR IMAGE ABOVE TO SEE THE TRAILER ON MLB.COM.

Oh, and in terms of rides? This author gives Brian Wilson a big thumbs up. Check the link to see.


SPECIAL BUSINESS OF SPORTS NETWORK REPORTS:
The Labor Battle in the NFL. See BizOfFootball.com for details


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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Troy Aikman Was Nearly a New York Met PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Sunday, 23 January 2011 16:33

Troy AikmanIn the "what might have been" files, Troy Aikman, the Hall of Fame quaterback and current FOX NFL analyst, might have had a far different career. Aikman, over a 12-year career, led the Dallas Cowboys to three Super Bowl titles. Tuesday night on HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel (Jan. 25), the Hall of Fame QB reveals that a baseball career with the New York Mets almost pre-empted his decision to enroll in 1984 at Oklahoma University and later at UCLA and embark on his football odyssey.

TROY AIKMAN: “I got a call from the New York Mets and they said, ‘We need to know what it’s gonna take to get you to forgo college.’”

GUMBEL: “Did you pitch?”

AIKMAN: “I was a pitcher and a shortstop. And so when they said what’s it gonna take.’ I said, ‘I don’t know, $200,000.’ They said, ‘$200,000? Darryl Strawberry is not even making that much money.’

And I said, ‘Well if you want me, that’s what it’s gonna take.’ And they said, ‘You have a nice football career at Oklahoma.’ ”


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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