The Media Learning Curve: Dec. 24-31


Following up from today’s year-end media column (linked here):

== Orange County Register writer Kevin Ding wrote on his Lakers blog the other day (linked here):


“Hey, Will Selva of ESPNEWS. Glad you liked my last column so much. Try not to plagiarize it next time.”

Ding explained that when he got to his hotel room late Tuesday night after the Lakers-Spurs game, he flipped on ESPNEWS’ “Highlight Express” show and “imagine my shock” when Selva used the first several paragraphs of a story he did a couple days earlier.

We’re pleased that ESPN has since suspended Selva, an anchor whose name we’d have otherwise never known if not for Ding’s discovery (he’s been there three years?) Others have been fired for such offenses. At least Selva owned up to it.

And Ding brought attention to something that is far too prevalent in the sports media rush to repurpose paragraphs in the rush to get an assignment done. You can’t take that thing as a “compliment,” as some suggest, and just ignore it.

== Check out the year-end sports media best and worst from’s Richard Deitsch (linked here)

== As ratings will predictably drop during this year’s college bowl season — some, because almost all the games, including the BCS championship, has moved to ESPN, and others, because they’re just poor matchups — the Wall Street Journal (linked here) researched which teams over the last 10-plus years have lived up to their drawing power, and which haven’t.

The winner: USC, on probation this season. The worst: Virginia.


== Universal Sports recognizes the recent passing of Olympic documentarian Bud Greenspan by airing nine of his works, starting Saturday (6 p.m.) with his piece on the 1984 L.A. Summer Olympics — the original “Sixteen Days of Glory,” that focuses on Carl Lewis (above), Edwin Moses, Rowdy Gaines, Mary Lou Retton, Zola Budd and Joan Benoit. It follows in subsequent days airing Greenspan’s documentaries on the ’88 Calgary Winter Games, the ’94 Lillehammer Winter Games, the ’96 Atlanta Summer Games, the ’98 Nagano Winter Games, the 2000 Sydney Summer Games (includes a piece on Tommy Lasorda), the ’02 Salt Lake City Winter Games, the ’04 Athens Summer Games (with UCLA’s Lisa Fernandez), and the ’06 Torino Winter Games.

FYI: The U.S. Olympic Committee established a scholarship in 2007 at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts to honor Greenspan, and his family asks that any donations be made to that fund. For more information:


== Former Olympic Greco-Roman wrestler Rulon Gardner appears on NBC’s “Biggest Loser,” (linked here) as the 11th season of the weight-loss reality show starts Tuesday.


The 39-year-old Gardner, who won gold in 2000 and the bronze in 2004, weighs in at 474 pounds and has developed high blood pressure and sleep apnea, could win $250,000 with his business partner joining him on the show if they out-lose 20 other contestants.

“The day that I won the bronze medal in the Olympics, I thought, ‘You’ll never step on a scale again, live life and enjoy, take a year or two years off,'” Rulon said in a promotional video, explaining his appearance on the show. “I allowed myself to really lose track of what I was doing and finally got to a point where I couldn’t look in the mirror.”

He now works as a motivational speaker and runs a training center and fitness gym in Logan, Utah.

Gardner and partner Justin Pope have been taping the show in L.A. since September but managed to keep it all a secret.

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In the grand scheme of things, does it matter that L.A. gets the Chargers’ final game of the year? Yes.


Half-truths, false advertising and more lip service about why living in an NFL-free Los Angeles environment doesn’t provide all the Utopian benefits you’d come to rely on after all these years:

On the final day of the NFL’s regular season, some of you will warm up the tubes in your TV set, wait for the picture to finally flicker on and, after fiddling with the needle-nose pliers to make the broken dial line up with the No. 2, have every reason in the modern world to go absolutely bonkers.

The San Diego Chargers-Denver Broncos game is on, and the Tennessee Titans-Indianapolis Colts game isn’t.

Continue reading

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Play it forward: Dec. 27-Jan. 2 on your sports calendar


Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:


NFL: New Orleans at Atlanta, 5:30 p.m., ESPN:


The 12-2 Falcons hold a two-game lead over the 10-4 Saints in the AFC South but a New Orleans victory. Falcons QB Matt Ryan also has a 19-1 record at home — he was injured the last time the Saints came to town and left with a 26-23 victory on their way to the Super Bowl.

NHL: Kings at San Jose, 7:30 p.m., FSW:

The first of two games in one week against the surging Sharks, but each of them are in different calendar years. Weird.

NBA: Clippers at Sacramento, 7 p.m., Prime:

The Clippers’ two-game road winning streak could be the longest since Bob McAdoo was brave enough to be a Buffalo Brave.

College football: Independence Bowl, Shreveport, La.: Air Force vs. Georgia Tech, 2 p.m., ESPN:

Independent thinkers will find something else to do today.



NBA: Lakers at San Antonio, 5:30 p.m., Channel 9:

Obviously, scheduling the Heat on Christmas Day was set up as a trap game for the Lakers, who were looking ahead to their first meeting of the year with the Spurs. Tim Duncan’s guys have put together the best record in the league thus far by . . . we’d tell you, but it’d be boring. Even more strange, the Clippers actually handed them one of their three losses this year.

NHL: Ducks at Phoenix, 6 p.m., Prime:

In their last meeting, Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov made 39 saves and handed his former team a 3-0 shutout.

College football: Champs Sports Bowl, Orlando: West Virginia vs. North Carolina State, 3:30 p.m., ESPN; Insight Bowl, Tempe, Ariz.: Missouri vs. Iowa, 7 p.m., ESPN:

The Hawkeyes geared up for their trip to Tempe by suspending receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos when police found out he had unlawful possession of perscription drugs and was “keeping a drug house.” He’s Iowa’s career leader in receptions and receiving yards, an All-Big Ten first-team pick with 10 TDs this year.

NFL: Minnesota at Philadelphia, 5 p.m., Channel 4:

Are you wusses ready to play yet?



College basketball: UCLA vs. Washington State, Pauley Pavilion, 8 p.m., FSW; USC vs. Washington, Galen Center, 7:30 p.m.,

So this time next year, the Bruins and Trojans could be opening the Pac-12 regular season against Utah and Colorado?

NBA: Lakers at New Orleans, 5 p.m., Channel 9:

The Hornets have enough problems just looking for an owner. The league runs the show now, with Jerry Buss technically funding a 1 / 31 share of it. But don’t beat yourself up over that.

NBA: Clippers vs. Utah, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., Prime:

Nope, not interested.

NHL: Kings at Phoenix, 6 p.m., Channel 13:

When they last met at the Coyotes place in late October, there was an announced crowd of only 6,706.


College football: Military Bowl, Washington, DC: Maryland vs. East Carolina, 11:30 a.m., ESPN; Texas Bowl, Houston: Baylor vs. Illinois, 3 p.m., ESPN; Alamo Bowl, San Antonio: Oklahoma State vs. Arizona, 6:15 p.m., ESPN:

That game in San Antonio . . . shouldn’t USC be there? Illinois is back in the postseason action for the first time since the 2008 Rose Bowl against the Trojans.


NHL: Kings vs. Philadelphia, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW:

FIrst of eight in a row at home through Jan. 15.

College football: Armed Forces Bowl, Fort Worth, Tex.: Army vs. SMU, 9 a.m., ESPN; Pinstripe Bowl, New York: Syracuse vs. Kansas State, 12:20 p.m., ESPN: Music City Bowl, Nashville: North Carolina vs. Tennessee, 3:40 p.m., ESPN; Holiday Bowl, San Diego: Washington vs. Nebraska, 7 p.m., ESPN:

Not enough bowl games here played in baseball stadiums. Try harder.



NBA: Lakers vs. Philadelphia, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW:

If this one goes into a couple of overtimes, it could spill into 2011, and Larry Brown will be waiting to replace Doug Collins.

College basketball: UCLA vs. Washington, Pauley Pavilion, 1 p.m., Prime; USC vs. Washington State, Galen Center, 3 p.m., FSW:

These four will meet again at the end of the regular season, with it matters for Pac-10 tournament seedings.

College football: Meineke Bowl, Charlotte, N.C.: Clemson vs. South Florida, 9 a.m., ESPN; Sun Bowl, El Paso, Tex.: Notre Dame vs. Miami, 11 a.m., Channel 2; Liberty Bowl, Memphis, Tenn.: Georgia vs. Central Florida, 12:30 p.m., ESPN; Chick-Fil-A Bowl, Atlanta: South Carolina vs. Florida State, 4:30 p.m., ESPN:

See, USC did make it to a bowl game.



NHL: Washington at Pittsburgh, 10 a.m., Channel 4:

The fourth year of a televised outdoor hockey game, this one inside the Steelers’ NFL home of Heinz Field, shows that things have snowballed. Even up against the day of college football. “New Year’s will never be what it once was when all the consequential bowls had greater cache,” said Bob Costas, the host for this event. “Each of them now is reduced somewhat by the presence of the BCS championship game. They all kind of fade a little. This might not have been possible 10 years ago to put anything against the lineup. Now the landscape has changed. Because the Winter Classic has worked out so well the first three years, it can more than hold its own.” So can the HBO “24/7” series leading into this. All three previous episodes are played on the network from 7-to-10 a.m. Check ’em out.

NHL: Kings vs. San Jose, Staples Center, 6 p.m., FSW:

There’s an outdoor sheet of ice at LA Live just waiting for a game to break out. Meanwhile, Jim Fox must break out his lucky loud New Year’s Day jacket.


College football: TicketCity Bowl, Dallas: Texas Tech vs. Northwestern, 9 a.m., ESPNU; Capital One Bowl, Orlando: Florida vs. Penn State, 10 a.m., ESPN; Outback Bowl, Tampa, Fla.: Alabama vs. Michigan State, 10 a.m., Channel 7; Gator Bowl, Jacksonville, Fla.: Michigan vs. Mississippi State, 10:30 a.m., ESPN:

See what Costas was talking about?

College football: Rose Bowl: Wisconsin vs. Texas Christian, 2 p.m., ESPN:

Refrain from being badgered into watching this affair between the Big Ten tri-champ (it lost to Michigan State) and the highest-ranked, non BCS-title team that the Rose Bowl had to take. Talk about ruining a tradition beyond repair.

College football: Fiesta Bowl, Glendale, Ariz.: Connecticut vs. Oklahoma, 5:30 p.m., ESPN:

How much Bailey’s Irish Cream does it take for a viewers to get through a UConn football game? That Outback Bowl out back in Tampa could have swapped out the participants and perhaps saved itself for some better prime-time-ish viewership.

Mixed martial arts: UFC 125 in Las Vegas:

Frankie “The Answer” Edgar, coming off back-to-back wins over BJ Penn, defends his title in a rematch against undefeated No. 1 contender Gray “The Bully” Maynard in the main event. They’re also throwing in a featherweight co-main between title holder Jose Aldo and Josh “The Fluke” Grispi. The local Appleby’s may be holding a UFC viewing party, so check it out.


NFL: Tampa Bay at New Orleans, Channel 11, 10 a.m.; Miami at New England, Pittsburgh at Cleveland, Channel 2, 10 a.m.; Chicago at Green Bay, Channel 11, 1 p.m.; San Diego at Denver, Channel 2, 1 p.m.:

Really, after all that, we have to see the Chargers end the season? The NFL schedule (linked here) says that on the day both Fox and CBS get a doubleheader, the later could also have Indianapolis-Tennesse in the late window.

NFL: St. Louis at Seattle, Channel 4, 5:15 p.m.:

The game NBC picked this one off Fox’s schedule to see if it’s true that a sub-.500 team can actually qualify for the playoffs. Pete Carroll hasn’t ruled out Matt Hasselbeck, but Charlie Whitehurst may be the QB for his 6-9 team against the 7-8 Rams.

NBA: Clippers vs. Atlanta, Staples Center, 12:30 p.m., Prime: Lakers vs. Memphis, Staples Center, 6:30 p.m., FSW:

At least have the Jumbotron show NFL games to the fans in the stands that mean something.

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The Media Learning Curve: Dec. 17-24


John Ourand at the Sports Business Journal offers a list of sports media predictions for 2011.

If we didn’t agree with most of them, we’d have avoided repeating them here (and wishing we only thought of them first):


== The NFL will decide to expand to an 18-game season, selling a new package to a cable network. And once the league’s current TV deals end in 2013, NFL Network will wind up with a full season’s worth of games. The NFL will carve out another 18-game schedule that it will shop to Comcast (who’ll put it on Versus), Turner and Fox (for FX).

== The NHL will split its media rights package between ESPN and Comcast (on behalf of Versus and NBC).

== Comcast will pay less but still pick up the Olympic rights for the 2014 and 2016 Games (for NBC)..

== ESPN gives up on plans for a 24/7 3-D channel.

== Versus will change its name to something that incorporates the NBC Sports brand. Something like “The NBC Sports Network” or “SNBC.” With a couple of Notre Dame football games farmed out to it.

== CBS College Sports will expand its programming lineup beyond just college sports.

== Fox will roll out more regular-season prime-time baseball games. And possibly signed Jon Miller to call games.

== Small sports channels will lose subscribers. Distributors ill drop channels that don’t attract viewers.

== NASCAR TV ratings have hit bottom.

Jim Gray, you take it from there.


Following up on today’s column on how ABC and ESPN eats up Christmas Day NBA games (linked here), there’s more to fill in:

== The graphic included in today’s print edition that goes with the lead media story reads like this:

How the Lakers have done from a viewership standpoint by appearing on every ABC Christmas Day games since 2002:

Year and Opponent: Game rating (Homes) vs. Final ABC NBA season rating

2002 vs. Sacramento: 4.5 (7.4 million) vs. 2.7
2003 vs. Houston: 4.1 (7.1 million) vs. 2.4
2004 vs. Miami: 7.3 (13.1 million) vs. 2.3
2005 vs. Miami: 4.8 (8.1 million) vs. 2.2
2006 vs. Miami: 3.5 (5.4 million) vs. 2.0
2007 vs. Phoenix: 3.5 (5.9 million) vs. 2.2
2008 vs. Boston: 5.3 (9.9 million) vs. 2.4
2009 vs. Cleveland: 4.4 (8.3 million) vs. 2.3
Note: All eight games were the highest-rated of that NBA regular season on ABC.

== ESPN Radio sends Kevin Calabro and analyst Dr. Jack Ramsay to call Saturday’s Lakers-Heat game.

The rest of the day’s ABC/ESPN NBA lineup:
Stuart Scott, Magic Johnson, Jon Barry and Mike Wilbon do the ABC pregame show.
Mike Tirico and Hubie Brown do Boston-Orlando for ABC (11:30 a.m.)
Dan Shulman and Doris Burke call the Chicago-New York game for ESPN (9 a.m., a noon tipoff at Madison Square Garden), which will also be on ESPN 3D.
Mark Jones and Tim Legler do the Denver-Oklahoma City game for ESPN (5 p.m.), while Terry Gannon and Fran Fraschilla are at the Golden State-Portland game for ESPN (7:30 p.m.)

== ESPN Classic offers a 12-Hour NBA Christmas Marathon that starts today at 9 a.m. with the Denver-Oklahoma City game from 2009 and includes the ’04 Lakers-Heat overtime game (5 p.m. Saturday) and the ’09 Lakers-Heat game where Kobe Bryant’s last-second shot wins it (8 p.m.).

== The NFL TV schedule the rest of the way this weekend for L.A.:

= 4 p.m., NFL Network: Dallas at Arizona (with Bob Papa, Joe Theisman and Matt Millen).

= 10 a.m., Channel 11: San Francisco at St. Louis (with Kenny Albert, Darryl Johnston and Tony Siragusa) instead of Detroit-Miami or Washington-Jacksonville. CBS also has N.Y. Jets-Chicago (with Jim Nantz and Phil Simms), Tennessee-Kansas City, Baltimore-Cleveland and New England-Buffalo in this window.
= 1 p.m., Channel 11: N.Y. Giants at Green Bay (with Joe Buck and Troy Aikman) instead of Seattle-Tampa Bay.


= 1 p.m., Channel 2: San Diego at Cincinnati (with Gus Johnson and Steve Tasker) instead of Indianapolis-Oakland (with Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf) or Houston-Denver.
= 5:15 p.m., Channel 4: Minnesota at Philadelphia (with Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Andrea Kremer)

= 5:30 p.m., ESPN: New Orleans at Atlanta (with Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski).

== Remember the 2010 NAPT Bounty Shootout poker tournament that took place at the Crystal Casino in mid November? Neither do we, but ESPN2 will televise it Sunday at 6 p.m.

== HBO replays seven of the year’s best fights (that it covered) starting Monday at midnight and playing out over four nights. It begins with Floyd Mayweather-Shane Mosley and concludes with Manny Pacquiao vs. Antonio Margarito (Thursday, 10 p.m.)

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Your eBay holiday bargain of the week: 33 Dodger bobbleheads for $1,250

i-ac92d1ecf8b3ed34546b564b44bf3e41-you are the bobble.jpg

Or best offer?

It’s a posting by someone named supermexxicn13, a top-rated seller with hundreds of previous sales. And he’s got every Dodger bobblehead given away at Dodger Stadium over the last 10 years.

By it now for $1,250 (an average of $37.87 a statue). Or make a more normal bid (linked here).

Shipping is free.

If you need a checklist, here it is:

Tommy Lasorda 4/4/2001
Kirk Gibson 6/9/2001
Fernando Valenzuela 7/29/2001

Paul Lo Duca 5/31/2002
Shawn Green 7/18/2002
Hideo Nomo 8/24/2002

Eric Gagne 5/2/2003
Brian Jordan 7/1/2003
Fred McGriff 9/12/2003

Eric Gagne 4/30/2004
Don Newcombe 7/23/04
Don Drysdale 8/20/2004

Cesar Izturiz 6/1/2005
Jeff Kent 9/29/2005

Ron Cey 6/2/2006
Fernando Valenzuela 6/23/2006
Steve Garvey 7/28/2006

Nomar Garciaparra 4/26/2007
Rafael Furcal 7/6/2007
Russell Martin 8/2/2007
Tommy Lasorda 9/14/2007

Joe Torre 4/25/2008
Takashi Saito 6/5/2008
Brad Penny 7/25/2008
Joe Beimel 8/21/2008

Casey Blake 5/20/2009
Manny Ramirez 7/22/2009
Matt Kemp 8/19/2009
Manny Ramirez 9/16/2009

Andre Ethier 5/18/2010
Jonathan Broxton 6/8/2010
James Loney 7/20/2010
Matt Kemp 8/17/2010

Not included: The Dodger Dog Bobblehead, which goes for $30 in this eBay auction (linked here)

The dates for the 2011 bobblehead giveaways:
May 17
June 1
June 14
July 7
July 26
August 9

Keep up with all that is Dodger bobblehead at this site (linked here)

And where to find that Dodger bobblehead T-shirt above (linked here)

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