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College football

LeBron James apologizes for 'The Decision'

No doubt feeling magnanimous following his team’s victory over the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals, LeBron James of the Heat last night offered an apology of sorts to the city of Cleveland, its fans and his ex-teammates for “The Decision” to take his talents to South Beach in that self-aggrandizing spectacle on ESPN last July.

“I knew I had to go through Boston at some point. I went through a lot signing to be here and the way it panned out. I apologize for the way it happened, but I knew that this opportunity was once in a lifetime.”

I, I, I, I…

LeBron also commented to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, “As much as I loved my teammates back in Cleveland, as much as I loved home, I knew I couldn’t do it by myself against (the Celtics).”

Well, at least he admits he needs help.

(H/T to Waiting for Next Year)

 

Mushnick: ESPN’s K-zone is ‘insulting’

Phil Mushnick of the New York Post really pulls no punches when it comes to ESPN, of whom he says, “(T)here is no bad-to-awful idea that is so bad or so awful that the Worldwide Leader In Sports won’t embrace it — then hammer it to death. ”

His latest source of vitriol is the K-Zone feature, which ESPN uses during baseball telecasts to show whether or not a pitch was in the strike zone. This apparently is going too far.

“The K box serves the dual purpose of being annoying and misleading. It asks us to consider balls and strikes as seen in one, faulty dimension. This isn’t stickball, you geniuses! Yet, ESPN’s has painted a strike box to a virtual handball wall to help us grasp big league baseball!

Stop wrecking these telecasts! Please! If fans wanted to watch pitches thrown toward a box in front of the catcher, teams would dangle one from a hook behind home plate. Let us watch the games. That’s all we’ve ever asked.”

I don’t know, count me among the viewers who actually likes to know if an umpire is making the right calls. Oftentimes my initial impression of a pitch is incorrect. I haven’t watched every ESPN baseball telecast this season, but I don’t remember them using the K-zone on every pitch – only the borderline pitches. This bears further study.

ESPN, Big East Discussing Media Rights Extension

ESPN and the Big East Conference are in talks to extend their media deal, according to John Ourand and Michael Smith of Sports Business Journal.

The current deal ends after the 2013 college football season and the extension that’s being discussed would more than triple the conference’s current media rights fee.

On average, ESPN currently pays the Big East $36 million annually for all of its sports. The early numbers for a new deal are in the $110 million to $130 million range annually according to sources. Last July, ESPN and the ACC agreed on a 12-year broadcast rights agreement deal worth $155 million annually.

ESPN is clearly trying to act fast before they face competition from the likes of Fox, Turner and Comcast/NBC. The Big East and ESPN have been partners since 1979 and I expect the two to continue their relationship … for the right price.

ESPN Lands Exclusive With Bryan Stow's Family

The family of Bryan Stow, the Giants who was attacked on Opening Day at Dodger Stadium, spoke to Shelley Smith on SportsCenter Sunday.

Stow was placed back into a medically induced coma over the weekend after suffering seizures.

Video: Jim Rome On Lopez Tonight

In case you missed it last night, Jim Rome appeared on Lopez Tonight with George Lopez.

What’s up with the cheap shot at The Dan Patrick Show from Lopez though?

Zinedine Zidane Loves Soccer More Than Qatar's Money

Zinedine Zidane helped Qatar win the right to host the 2022 World Cup. But he didn’t do it for the money!

“After studying Qatar’s project, I wanted to do it and I will tell you why. But first off all I want to touch upon something: money,” the former French star told the Associated Press. “Ten, 11, 12, 13 million euros was mentioned. I will say it clearly: that’s a load of rubbish. It wasn’t even a third of these sums.”

The money he received – and he admits it was “a lot” – went to his charitable foundation.

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson, former Netherlands defender Ronald de Boer and Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola also took cash in exchange for backing the bid.

But it wasn’t for the money!

Mike Vick Inks Endorsement Deal With Unequal Technologies

Two months ago, Michael Vick was featured in a local car commercial for Woodbury Nissan in Woodbury, N.J. It was the first step in Vick’s comeback as a marketable athlete.

The Philadelphia Eagles quarterback is taking another step in the right direction after signing a two-year contract with Unequal Technologies, the provider of football pads that Vick wore most of last season. Following his rib injury, Vick wore a special vest along with shoulder and thigh pads.

Terms weren’t disclosed but it’s a “sizable” contract according to chief executive officer Rob Vito. The deal will be announced on Thursday according to USA Today. Read more

The Rebranding of French Football

The French national team had a disastrous World Cup, one marred by in-fighting, poor coaching, and a general malaise. The squad was in desperate need of a reboot. You know what that means: New uniforms!

Nike went all out, producing a lovely 10-minute video that’s a promotion for the jersey and the new-look team. It features interviews with coach Laurent Blanc and star Florent Malouda, as well as a very detailed discussion of the new Nike kidt.

We can’t see the video making much of an impact State-side, but it could be huge in Europe. Quality advertising, if you ask us.

WWE Extends Relationship With Sky Deutschland

World Wrestling Entertainment extended its relationship with Sky Deutschland in Germany, Austria and Switzerland for another three years, taking their partnership until the end of 2013.

As part of their new distribution agreement, Sky Deutschland will broadcast the full length versions of Monday Night Raw, NXT, highlight shows WWE Experience and AfterBurn along with the WWE’s 13 annual pay-per-view events in high definition. Read more

Tom Caron Signs Contract Extension With NESN

Veteran NESN anchor Tom Caron signed a multi-year contract extension with the New England sports network.

Caron is the host of NESN’s Red Sox pre and post-game programming and many of the network’s Red Sox off-season studio shows, including Red Sox Hot Stove LIVE. Along with his baseball coverage, Caron is NESN’s college hockey play-by-play announcer and a contributor at NESN.com.

“This is the most exciting Red Sox off-season since Theo Epstein had Thanksgiving dinner with the Schillings,” Caron said. “I can’t wait to get the season started. It has been an honor to work alongside some of the best talent and producers in the industry for the past 15 years, at a network that continues to grow and serve the fans of New England. New England is home for me, so I’m thrilled to be staying home and part of the NESN team in the greatest era in New England sports history.”

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