Weekly media column version 03.14.15 — A Pac-12 Network standoff with DirecTV does no one good this time of the year

Updated notes 10:15 a.m. Friday:

What made it into this week’s media column:

222176The Pac-12 Network has held onto  eight of the dozen games from its men’s basketball tournament in Las Vegas — with Fox Sports 1 taking one quarterfinal, one semifinal and the title game. Is that any way to expose the conference to the rest of the country, especially since DirecTV isn’t on board with carrying the channel?
We’ve also got notes on how TNT’s Reggie Miller views UCLA’s post-season journey, Chris Fowler talking about his new ESPN contract that will put him on the ABC Saturday night prime-time college football game of the week, and more backlash to the Dodgers-SportsNet L.A. launch.

What didn’t but maybe should have:

Updated notes:

== While NBCSN has the closing ceremonies for the Paralympics from Sochi, Russia at 12:30 p.m. Sunday, the U.S.-Russia gold-medal sled hockey game is the most anticipated event. NBC announced today that KNBC-Channel 4 will air the contest live at 9 a.m. Saturday (not 3 p.m. delayed as originally scheduled). Also look for a story about the L.A. Kings Sled Hockey team coming in Saturday’s editions.

== In addition to our conversation with Chris Fowler on Thursday about ESPN’s decision to extend his contract and allow him to do both the “College GameDay” Saturday morning show in addition to play-by-play on the Saturday ABC prime-time package, Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch is quoting ESPN VP of programming and production John Wildhack as saying he became convinced having Fowler double on Saturdays could work after multiple conversations with Fowler and the game broadcast producer Bill Bonnell.
A reminder: Fowler, Darren Cahill, Mary Joe Fernandez and Pam Shriver are at Indian Wells for the BNP Paribas Open final weekend, concluding with the women’s and men’s final Sunday at noon on ESPN2. A men’s quarterfinal (1:30 p.m.) and women’s semifinal match (8:30 p.m.) are covered Friday on ESPN2, with a men’s semifinal (noon) covered Saturday on ESPNEWS.

== SportsOnEarth.com has Leigh Montville on the move to move Brent Musburger off the prime-time package and Will Leitch on the Fox “safe move” decision to add Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci to the MLB A-team in place of Tim McCarver.

== The New York Times’ Richard Sandomir focuses on ESPN’s Stuart Scott and his battle with cancer.

More notes:

== Yup, we did a podcast for FangsBites.com. Listen at your own risk. I do not call out former workmates who were broken down football players, degenerate gamblers or Edward R. Murrow wannabes.

== The L.A. Weekly advice on how to “work around” the Dodgers-SportsNet L.A. situation. No. 4: Do whatever illegal means necessary — like faking your location to MLBTV.com.

== Why the president of the MLS’ Columbus Crew decided to issue a public statement after the backlash that resulted in the team leaving Fox Sports Ohio and signing a deal with Time Warner Cable Sports Channel that only TWC subscribers can watch. Hmmmm. And this is a money losing deal for the Crew? Then why do it?

== Be thankful you live in Salt Lake City? Because then you don’t have to suffer the mess that L.A. is in with its regional cable channels.

== How do the networks justify putting the Lakers on a nationally-televised game these days?

== The rise of TV “bracketology,” or why Steve Lavin would even give Joe Lunardi the time of day (oh, right, they used to work together at ESPN). After the NCAA Tournament pairings are announced Sunday (Channel 2, 3 p.m.), ESPN has its “Bracketology” two-hour special with Rece Davis, Jay Bilas, Digger Phelps, Dick Vitale and anyone else the can cram into the studio. It continues for two more hours on ESPN2 starting at 6 p.m.

== The top 64 college basketball broadcasters of all time, in bracket form? A clever idea. That puts Dick Vitale, Jim Valvano, Bill Raftery and Al McGuire in a unique final four. (Dick Enberg, only a five seed? And Sean McDonough a two seed? C’mon)

== ESPN sent out a release this week warning everyone that Rick Reilly will a) let his weekly column go and focus on TV for ESPN’s “Monday Night Countdown,” b) do more human interest TV features for “Sports Center,” c) will be inducted into the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame on June 9, and d) come out with his 11th book, a collection of his best work at ESPN, on May 13.
“I’ve been writing sports for a living, non-stop, since I was 20,” said the 56-year-old Reilly, the former Los Angeles Times staff writer who left Sports Illustrated after 23 years and joined ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine in 2008. “I figured out recently that I’ve published over two million words, all on sports. I’m ready to try something new.”


== Among the sports-related references Zach Galifianakis snuck in there on President Obama, other than questioning ambassador roles for Dennis Rodman, Tonya Harding or Hulk Hogan, or asking why he wouldn’t let his son play football (“what if he’s a nerd like you?”), the best had to be: “Is it going to be hard in two years when you’re no longer president and people will stop letting you win at basketball?” To which Obama replied …. just watch the video

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