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Posts Tagged ‘NBA’

Detroit Lions Reporter Tom Kowalski Dies At 51

Detroit Lions reporter Tom Kowalski died suddenly Monday morning, according to his fiancee, Diane Wolan.

The 51-year-old Kowalski covered the Lions for Booth Newspapers and MLive.com. He was found unresponsive at his home and was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Kowalski started for Booth Newspapers in 1997 after covering the Lions for the Oakland Press. His last story for MLive.com was posted online Monday morning.

“My heart broke this morning when I heard the news. I love Tom Kowalski,” said Bill Emkow, executive editor at MLive.com. “He was my friend. I trusted him, and I know he trusted me. He is the first reporter that bought into what we were doing with MLive.com. I needed someone to buy into what we were doing online, and he was the huge star for Booth. I don’t know why he listened to me, but he helped make MLive what you know it as today.”

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UFC, FOX Sports Formally Announce Agreement

LOS ANGELES – The cat was let out of the bag earlier this week, but FOX is officially the new home of the UFC, thanks to a seven-year, multi-media rights agreement with Zuffa, LLC.

The first UFC event on FOX will happen on Nov. 12 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif – the same night as the Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez pay-per-view from Las Vegas. The remaining UFC content across the FOX networks begins in January 2012.

Fans of The Ultimate Fighter will be happy to know that the reality MMA show will be live for the first time ever. All 12 TUF fights will air live on FX instead of prerecorded.

The final season of TUF on Spike will start in September.

FX will also televise six live UFC cards per year.

“Mixed martial arts is not only the fastest-growing sport in the world but also the world’s most exciting form of man-to-man competition, and the UFC is the world’s premier MMA organization,” said Eric Shanks, president and co-COO of FOX Sports Media Group. “Since FOX Sports is America’s No. 1 sports network and FOX is America’s No. 1 network for young adults, the UFC on FOX is a perfect match.”

Indianapolis 500 Remaining On ABC Through 2018

The Indianapolis 500 will remain on ABC through 2018 as part of a new, six-year rights agreement that was announced Wednesday.

As part of the agreement, ESPN on ABC will continue to televise four additional races in addition to the Indianapolis 500. Starting next year, ESPN3.com will live stream ABC’s onboard cameras during the Indianapolis 500 and the IndyCar Series.

“The Indianapolis 500 and ABC have been together since 1965 and we are very proud to extend the relationship with this new agreement,” said George Bodenheimer, president of ESPN and ABC Sports. “The 500 is a uniquely American event and a Memorial Day tradition, and we especially look forward to televising the 100th edition of the race in 2016.” Read more

Lesley Visser to Wed International Businessman Introduced to Her by Rick Pitino

CBS sportscaster Lesley Visser, whose 28-year marriage to fellow announcer Dick Stockton ended in divorce in 2010, is getting married Saturday on the campus of Harvard University to international businessman Bob Kanuth. The couple were introduced by none other than Louisville coach Rick Pitino, whom Vesser has known since covering Pitino’s first NCAA tournament appearance at Boston University in 1978.

Visser began her sports journalism career in 1974 at the Boston Globe, and became the first female to cover an NFL beat. Her long and distinguished career reached its apex in 2006, when she became the first female inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Many notable names from the world of sports are expected to attend Visser’s wedding on Saturday, including Pitino, CBS sportscaster Bill Raftery, former Yankee Tino Martinez, Olympic skater Nancy Kerrigan, and golfer Nick Faldo.

Celtics Deal with CSNNE Includes Equity Stake

The Boston Celtics are reportedly on the verge of becoming the latest team to acquire an equity stake in the television station that broadcasts their games, as Sports Business Journal is reporting the team is preparing to extend the current broadcasting rights with Comcast SportsNet New England through the 2038 season while acquiring equity that could amount to a 20 percent share of the company.

The Celtics currently earn between $15 million and $20 million per year in rights fees from CSNNE, an average that is expected to rise significantly in a new deal.

The two sides first started talking about a long-term deal a year ago. Sources said that talks heated up just before the Los Angeles Lakers blockbuster 25-year RSN deal with Time Warner Cable was announced in February. That deal averages $200 million per year. Serious negotiations between the Celtics and Comcast then ensued this spring under the shadow of the league’s labor uncertainty.

The lockout has not cooled negotiations, but a formal agreement would probably not be announced until the labor unrest has ended.

The Houston Astros and Rockets own a combined 80 percent of CSN Houston, while the San Francisco Giants hold a 30 percent stake in CSN Bay Area. In Chicago, the White Sox, Cubs, Bulls and Blackhawks hold a combined 70 percent stake of CSN Chicago.

Results of Awful Announcing's First-Round Matchups

Awful Announcing is holding a tournament to determine who should replace Joe Morgan on its Mt. Rushmore of awful announcers. Morgan is being removed from the marquee because ESPN removed him from Sunday Night Baseball before this season. Here are the results of AA’s first-round pairings, which were assigned at random, followed by the second-round match-ups, which were settled on by taking the eight highest vote-getters in the first round and matching them up against the eight lowest vote-getters.

1) Skip Bayless d. Woody Paige 77.91% – 22.09%
2) Rick Reilly d. Hawk Harrelson 58.7% – 41.3%
3) Tony Siragusa d. Jack Edwards 71.55% – 28.45%
4) Thom Brennaman d. Jon Gruden 58.32% – 41.68%
5) Deion Sanders d. Mike Tirico 69.59% – 30.41%
6) Michael Irvin d. Dick Stockton 71.61% – 28.39%
7) Chris Berman d. Erik Kuselias 76.83% – 23.17%
8) Pierre McGuire d. Reggie Miller 57.62% – 42.38%
9) Craig James d. Mike Patrick 75.17% – 24.83%
10) Joe Theismann d. Mike & Mike 65.70% – 34.30%
11) Mark May d. Dave Lapham 65.07% – 34.93%
12) Jim Gray d. Jim Nantz 78.15% – 21.85%
13) Stephen A. Smith d. Stuart Scott 51.45% – 48.55%
14) John Sterling d. Matt Millen 58.69% – 41.31%
15) Joe Buck d. Chris Rose 72.53% – 27.47%
16) Colin Cowherd d. Bobby Valentine 88.47% – 11.53%

Seems like Stephen A. Smith and Stuart Scott are almost equally awful. It’s a shame that John Sterling drew Matt Millen in the first round, because Millen deserved to hang around for a while. Against a titan like Sterling, however, Millen’s awfulness pales in comparison. And really, is Tony Siragusa that much worse than Jack Edwards? We beg to differ.

Thursday – John Sterling v Skip Bayless
Thursday – Joe Buck v Deion Sanders
Friday – Chris Berman vs Mark May
Friday – Colin Cowherd v Joe Theismann
Saturday – Jim Gray vs Thom Brennaman
Saturday – Craig James vs Rick Reilly
Sunday – Michael Irvin vs Pierre McGuire
Sunday – Tony Siragusa v Stephen A Smith

We have a hunch that Joe Buck is going to be the last one standing, and will join Pam Ward, Dick Vitale and his broadcast partner Tim McCarver on the Awful Announcing logo.

Michael Irvin Appears On Cover Of Gay Men's Magazine

Former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin appears on the August cover of Out magazine – a gay men’s publication.

Irvin’s brother, Vaughn, was gay and it was one of the reasons why he was a womanizer.

“And through it all we realized maybe some of the issues I’ve had with so many women, just bringing women around so everybody can see, maybe that’s the residual of the fear I had that if my brother is wearing ladies’ clothes, am I going to be doing that? Is it genetic?” Irvin said in Out. “I’m certainly not making excuses for my bad decisions. But I had to dive inside of me to find out why am I making these decisions, and that came up.”

Irvin not only supports gay marriage, but any athlete that wants to come out.

“If anyone comes out in those top four major sports, I will absolutely support him. … When a guy steps up and says, ‘This is who I am,’ I guarantee you I’ll give him 100 percent support.”

 

 

 

 

Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest Breaks Viewership Record

The 2011 Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest on ESPN was the most-viewed competition ever, averaging 1,949,000 viewers.

Viewership was up 16 percent compared to last year’s 1,677,000 viewers and the 1.3 rating is tied with 2006 and 2007 as the highest rating for the contest.

Uniques on ESPN3.com were up 189 percent and total minutes consumed were up 321 percent over last year.

Just imagine what the ratings will be if Kobayashi takes on Joey Chestnut next year.

 

McEnroe: Tennis Should Get Rid of Warm-Ups

Tennis great John McEnroe, NBC’s lead analyst at Wimbledon, thinks the sport would benefit from eliminating pre-match warm-ups and letting the first ball hit be the first serve. Speaking to Michael Hiestand of USA Today, McEnroe said, “Some people might knock it having no warm-ups. But there’s more at stake in boxing – people’s lives are on the line – and you don’t see them jabbing each other a little bit before the fight.”

Maybe because punching people causes damage to both parties, whereas hitting a tennis ball back and forth tends to be less bloody. Really, it’s hard to see how eliminating warm-ups would benefit tennis at all. Would the tension be higher? I guess. But the first time a player pulls a hamstring, commentators would be bemoaning the absence of suitable warm-ups. It’s commendable that McEnroe wants to find ways to increase the popularity of his sport, but looking to boxing for inspiration seems like a non-starter.

IOC Will Let Athletes Use Twitter With Certain Restrictions

If you were hoping to see a naked Michael Phelps express his admiration for the The Communist Manifesto on Twitter during the 2012 Summer Olympics, the International Olympic Committee is here to burst your bubble: The IOC says athletes will not be allowed to use the social medium to post anything political, use it for commercial purposes, or to publish X-rated photos.They’re also forbidden from acting like journalists, i.e., no going on Twitter to report you just saw Michael Phelps taking bong hits.

“First-person, diary-type” entries are all that’s allowed, the IOC said.

Athletes can post photos from Olympic venues, but no audio or video. Rules also prohibit comments about opponents, using “vulgar or obscene words or images,” and any manipulation of the five-ring Olympic symbol.

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