Weekly media column version 05.18.12

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What’s included in this week’s media column (linked here):

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How Staples Center accomodates not just NBC, ESPN/ABC and TNT for its six NBA and NHL playoff games this weekend, but how the Canadian production trucks are also mashed in there, and how the pieces all come together …. plus more on the MLB Network’s power play to secure some post-season live telecasts, and the pros and cons from the network “up front” presentations in New York this week.

What’s not included:

== The 18th annual “Smack-Off” commences today (linked here) on Jim Rome’s syndicated radio show (9 a.m. to noon, KLAC-AM 570). Brad in Corona is back to defend his title, having also won it in a rookie effort in 2009 that became what we determined to be a gamechanger in the event’s history. Someday, Jay Mohr may just pull it off. A history of the event has its own Wikipedia page (linked here, apparently in dire need of additional citations for verification by reliable sources). Keep it clean, boys and girls.

== The Sparks launch their 16th WNBA season with Larry Burnett and Tracy Warren calling their games on the Time Warner Cable-produced telecasts that’ll be seen, outside the TWC subscriber base, on KDOC-Channel 56 starting Friday night when the team opens in Seattle. Burnett is in his 15th season calling Sparks games. Warren did games for ESPN, the Big Ten Network and Fox Sports Net. TWC does 13 Sparks this season, with 11 appearing on KDOC. Tuesday’s rescheduled home opener for the Sparks will be on the NBA Network.

== The New York Times has declared the Kings as champions of NHL Twitter feeds (linked here) based on snarkiness that, by sheer coincidence, drives up their numbers. Deadspin.com seconds that (linked here).

== “You probably don’t know Bob Miller, but I do,” writes an Edmonton Journal columist (linked here)

== A quote to remember when you’re in search of a Kings’ playoff game:
ESPN president John Skipper said during the upfront presentations in New York that he doesn’t see the NBC Sports Network as much of a threat. “We’ve been doing this for 32 years, and there is a little too much respect paid to their brand name. They don’t look like we look. We have more viewers in an average minute on ESPN mobile then they have on all of NBC Sports Network.”
An ESPN spokesman confirmed: During the average minute in the TV daytime, there’s 93,999 people using ESPN Mobile and apps compared to 82,421 watching NBC Sports Network.
NBC Sports Network, which is in about 20 million fewer homes than ESPN, responded (linked here): “The NBC Sports Group brands are among the most powerful brands in sports. We don’t look like anyone else and we’re very proud of that fact. They’ve been at this a long time and at a significantly higher cost to consumers. Our audience and market share are increasing as evidenced by the NHL playoffs and at great value to our viewers.”

== Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch interviews Skipper about this, that and other things (linked here), including this Magic Johnson-related question, in light of him recently saying on an ESPN NBA show that Lakers coach Mike Brown would surely be fired if the team lost its Game 7 first-round match up against Denver:

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Q: Magic Johnson is now a part owner of the Dodgers. He has long been a vice president with the Lakers. How should viewers view an analyst who has business ties with sports that you cover?

Skipper: It’s an interesting question, and I think the main thing we have to be is transparent. I am not sure what we have done relative to making sure what we have disclosed with Magic. He is not likely to be doing anything on our air relative to the Dodgers, and we would be pretty careful around what exposure we provide there.

In basketball, he has been a vice president a long time and that has been transparent. If you have seen Magic this year, he has been terrific in terms of being willing to have critical opinions and take on people. We are cognizant of it. We just have to be transparent. We can’t be hiding anything. We can’t be doing anything that feels like it’s a conflict. But it is a reasonable thing for us to be concerned about.

Q: Your NBA pregame show has had a new direction this year without a traditional host, and a location move to Los Angeles. How would you evaluate that change and has it worked?

Skipper: I think it has worked great. It has been fun. We are trying to do things different. TNT, of course, has a fabulous show. They have been tough to compete with. It’s a great show and Charles Barkley is a unique personality. We decided not to be a second version of what they do. We try to do something different and that’s what you do. When you have a tough, pre-eminent competitor, you have to do something different.

== Max Bretos and Taylor Twellman call the Galaxy-Chivas SuperClasico match on Saturday (7:30 p.m., ESPN2) from Home Depot Center. Studio analyst Alexi Lalas will be on site for studio segments as well.

== Then there’s this phantom tweeter that has since disappeared has been making network suits a little uneasy about how much information he knows, and knows how the networks can manipulate the numbers (linked here).

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== And finally: From Deadspin.com (linked here), a screen grab of a graphic during an Angels’ recent broadcast against Oakland in the seventh inning that pretty much sums up the team’s performance lately. What is there left to say? Something else… This was actually done intentionally. We heard analyst Mark Gubicza keep referring to the George Harrison song, “Something,” as the night went on…

== CBS Sports Network has “Dangerous Game: Inside PBR,” where pro bull riders Ty Murray, Luke Snyder, Shorty Gorham and Jeff Robinson sit around discussing why the heck they do this thing. It debuts Sunday at noon.

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