The Media Learning Curve: Dec. 17-24

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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):

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== 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.

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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.:

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

=Sunday:
= 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.

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= 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)

=Monday:
= 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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