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End Of An Era As Michael Wilbon Leaving WaPo

In the latest sign that newspapers are a dying breed, Washington Post columnist Michael Wilbon is leaving the paper to pursue a larger role with ESPN/ABC.

The former Post intern turned into one of the greatest sports columnists in the business, covering everything from the Summer and Winter Olympics to the NBA Finals.

While I appreciate Wilbon on Pardon the Interruption and eager on his increased role with ESPN/ABC, a part of me is sad to see another newspaper person get swallowed up by the bigger payday television giants are able to provide.

The announcement from Washington Post management is below: Read more

Three Networks to Carry MLS Playoffs

You probably don’t know that the battle for MLS Cup begins on Thursday when the Colorado Rapids host the Columbus Crew. But it does! And ESPN2 will televise the first playoff match of the 2010 Major League Soccer season.

After that, four channel on three networks will split the televising duties.

ESPN (one), the Dos (three), Fox Soccer Channel (two), and Telefutura (two) will each broadcast at least one of the eight first-round matches.

ESPN will show the MLS Cup final – featuring the winner of the Eastern conference against the Western conference champion – on November 21.(If you’re seeking a betting favorite, take Real Salt Lake.)

MLS, which was briefly bolstered by the World Cup but then topped by the WNBA in ratings, has an expiring television deal. A good showing in the playoffs could help executives to a better negotiating position.

Another Solid Night For MLB Postseason Ratings

Game 5 of the American League Champion Series drew a 4.1 U.S. household rating and 6.1 million viewers as postseason coverage on TBS continues to shows solid growth.

TBS is averaging a 4.8 US household rating and more than 7.6 million viewers, the best LCS viewership ever on the network through five games.

Rangers-Yankees delivered a 12.9 rating in the New York market and a 18.4 rating in the Dallas-Fort Worth market.

In the nightcap, Game 4 of the National League Champion Series between San Francisco and Philadelphia recorded a 6.6 overnight rating on Fox. Read more

What does the Rick Sanchez Joke Twitter @dicksanchezCNN think of his departure?

Since the news of Rick Sanchez getting fired hit the blogosphere, what has funny twitter @dicksanchezCNN been saying about all this?

Here are some recent tweets:

“I really appreciate you ladies who keep sending me the topless photos but quite frankly, nothing can cheer me up today.”

“@MSNBC @ABC @CBSNEWS @NBCNEWS @BBCNEWS @FOXNEWS Um… sorry to bother you guys on a Saturday but…”

“Generally speaking, how long can I play the ‘bigot card’ in all this?”

Joe Namath Joins Sirius XM Radio

In what can only be one of the most exciting moments for the guys at Kissing Suzy Kolber, Joe Namath will join Sirius XM, where he’ll host a weekly show called The Broadway Blitz with Joe Namath. It will debut Friday, September 17 at 2 p.m.

Namath is excited.

“It’s a real thrill for me to be joining SIRIUS NFL Radio and talking about the game I love with fans all over this country. I’ve been involved with football a long time and I still get excited about every season like I did when I was lacing up my cleats as a kid in Pennsylvania. I’ve got a lot of wisdom from my time in the NFL and a lot of thoughts about today’s players and teams. It’ll be fun to share them with our listeners and I look forward to hearing what they think as well.”

“Broadway Joe” does possess a wealth of football knowledge and co-host Adam Schein (Fox Sports, SNY) boasts broadcast experience. The show should be informative and entertaining. And there’s always the possibility Namath will go off the reservation. Read more

So the US Open Online Is Wonderful

So, because I’m a blogger, I’m in a coffeeshop. An hour ago, a friend emailed me: “The Bagh-man is about to try to break Clement’s serve. Tune in!” Translation: Marcos Baghdatis – the most exciting, charismatic tennis player no one has ever heard of – is in a battle. And there’s nothing better than a Baghdatis dogfight. Appointment viewing. But where? I have a prime seat by the window. I’m not giving that up.

Enter USOpen.org. Read more

'And Now, Let's get Awkward.' ESPN's 'Around the Horn' Addresses Jay Mariotti Arrest

Sports columnist Jay Mariotti was a regular on ESPN’s “Around the Horn,” then last week he was arrested for suspicion of “felony domestic assault.”

This afternoon, “Around the Horn” tackled his arrest and the subsequent media coverage in a segment. Host Tony Reali opened the segment by saying “and now let’s get awkward,” before explaining the details of his arrest. Next he threw to the Mariotti-free panel to get their take on the media’s coverage of his arrest.

What did they have to say?

Kevin Blackistone:

I’m not really surprised, Tony. Jay has always been a polarizing figure. There is a lot of ego and envy in this business of sports commentating. I think a lot of people are very uncomfortable with the fact that he’s risen as he has by being such a provocateur, and always telling other people what to do and how to run their lives and how they should be treated thereafter. So I really wasn’t surprised by the avalanche of criticism that came particularly from the media or even from athletes and people that read and watch his work.

Woody Paige:

Read more

What Lies In Store for Soccer on Television?

This summer’s World Cup smashed all previous records for television (and Internet) viewership. Ratings for English-language telecasts in the United States jumped 41 percent from four years ago. The results, predictably, spawned a whole slew of “soccer made it” stories, filled with breathless reports from the front lines (read: bars across the country). So now what?

Well… there’s good news and bad. First, the good. ESPN and Fox Soccer Channel both report that ratings for their English Premier League telecasts are increasing. The Manchester United-Newcastle United match drew 412,000 viewers, the highest number ever for a Monday fixture. FSC saw numbers for the EPL’s opening weekend jump 46 percent and figures from October 2009 through May 2010 are up 68 percent from the same time period the previous year.

The problem? Read more

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