You plan to turn in early tonight for the Sunday Yahoo NFL kickoff at 6:30 a.m. … for real?

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Seventy six years ago this week, the first NFL game was televised – Brooklyn Dodgers’ 23-14 win over the Philadelphia Eagles before about 13,000 at Ebbets Field.
Two cameras. Eight people on the crew, including broadcasters. It was a test on NBC’s experimental W2XBS station, mostly to show those at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York what the next greatest thing could be if they just dreamed big.

150603105836-yahoo-nfl-bills-jaguars-540x304Sunday brings comes another NFL media milestone of sorts – an exclusive Internet streaming of a game between two of the league’s lowest-rung teams, playing in London, airing at 6:30 a.m. on the West Coast. Just click here — — to watch.

Estimates are that Santa Monica-based Yahoo Sports paid somewhere between $10 million and $20 million for the rights to the Buffalo Bills-Jacksonville Jaguars contest from Wembley Stadium. And Ken Fuchs, the Yahoo Sports vice president of finance and publisher products, has this kind of scenario for game consumption already mapped out:
“The fact that this is the first NFL game you can watch across any device – free, without authentication (of a TV cable or satellite subscription service) – you wake up and maybe you’re still in bed when you set your fantasy lineups on your phone after hopping onto an app that checks injury updates,” said Fuchs.

London-Yahoo-CP“You move into the living room and the game is on your TV screen from either X-Box or Chrome Cast or a variety of options. You leave the house to run an errand or go to the gym, and you follow the game back on your phone or a tablet.
“It’s one seamless media movement and you’re not missing a play.”

Seems almost too good to be true.
Those who’ve cynically labeled this the “Millennial Bowl” or the “Cord-Cutting Bowl” overlook the NFL’s long-term goal to be a global entity, seizing the current technology is almost an Austin Powers-kind of power play strategy.

More at this link ….

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It’s Out of the Question: Who’s the Donny Baseball Manager we’ll remember?

Illustration by Jim Thompson/

Illustration by Jim Thompson/

If we could all mutually agree upon a lasting impression of Donnie Baseball Manager, all wrapped up in a Dodgers’ straitjacket, what would it be?

How about that awkwardly defiant moment when he defended his honor sitting next a horribly uncomfortable then-GM Ned Colletti after the 2013 season blew up? That tenacity was worth a three-year contract extension.

Then there was the awkward but loyal instance that really no one was to blame – not even himself – for the fact third base was left uncovered during a defensive shift that punctuated the decisive 2015 Game 5 of the NLDS against the Mets. The obfuscation likely didn’t sit well within the current front office boys, who wanted no part of awkwardness when they muttered something Thursday about Mattingly mutually agreeing to leave.

stop_dont_come_back_willy_wonka(Cue Willie Wonka non-emphatically telling the kid not to run into the TV set)

Remember Mattingly’s post-game press conferences, for those who could see them on SportsNet L.A.? They were often a series of shrugs, hand-wringing, hemming and hawing. There was some concern he was going to strangle himself as he rubbed his neck, searching for a simple answer to a question, without a lot of conviction.

Remember some of Mattingly’s in-game confrontations – not just the ones that were on national TV? He tried to appear far more stoic, if not emasculated, as players like Clayton Kershaw or Andre Ethier appeared as if they wanted to wrap their hands around his neck.

That feeling, apparently, was mutual, too.

The Don Mattingly who came to L.A. as a package deal with Joe Torre in 2008 is sent packing after posting one the most impressive regular-season winning percentages (.551) in franchise history, albeit in just a five-year sample.

It’s that nagging 8-11 post-season W-L mark (.421 percent) that did him in. Although, by comparison, Dusty Baker had similar numbers in his 20 years as a manager (.526 regular season, .422 in the playoffs at 19-26), and it’s not far behind Mike Scioscia’s current 16-year-run (.546 regular season, .438 in the playoffs at 21-27).

And those are two guys who fans have mentioned they’d like to see next?

Check the flux capacitor again. You know it’s not 2002, right?

Continue reading “It’s Out of the Question: Who’s the Donny Baseball Manager we’ll remember?” »

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Weekly media notes version 10.22.15 — The NFL on Yahoo … and nothing a lot to cheer about with MLB postseason

What we expect to have done for Sunday:

Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy speaks to a member of the media as he walks off the field at the end of an NFL training session at the Grove Hotel in Chandler's Cross, England today. The Buffalo Bills play the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium in London on Sunday. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy speaks to a member of the media as he walks off the field at the end of an NFL training session at the Grove Hotel in Chandler’s Cross, England today. The Buffalo Bills play the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium in London on Sunday carried on (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

A story on’s sports page this week had this headline: “Sleep specialist forecasts Bills victory after looking at Jags’ London travel plans”
We already could sense that the NFL’s Jacksonville franchise is still sleepwalking through this season.
But as the Jags plan to face Buffalo at Wembley Stadium in London on Sunday, they’ll have arrived in the UK on Friday morning. Just two days before kickoff.
The Bills flew in Monday and have had a full week to get acclimated to the five-hour time change.
London-Yahoo-CP“Jacksonville is going to lose this game,” says W. Christopher Winter, who works with the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder. “My guess is: pretty badly. … Bet the farm on Buffalo. That’s absurd. Why did (the Jaguars) do that?”
Yahoo’s NFL odds page has the Bills as just a consensus four-point favorite. But it’s that kind of expert sleep knowledge for those who play fantasy sports on Yahoo’s site that needs to be known so real money can be made here.
And how does that bode for the quality of the game that Yahoo reportedly paid seven figures in rights fees so it could have exclusive media rights?
The NFL is experimenting with this to see what kind of audience it can draw — in the U.S. and worldwide — for a “free” game on the Internet. The only place it will be on TV is in the Buffalo and Jacksonville home CBS-affiliate audiences, at 9:30 a.m.
That means a 6:30 a.m. start on the West Coast.
You ready to flip open a laptop in bed and see how your Wifi streaming works just after the sun comes up? There are already one Bills fan out this way who isn’t real happy about it.
“We need to prepare for the future,” NFL executive vice president of media Brian Rolapp recently told Peter King’s TheMMQB last June, when the deal was announced.Have we entered into a new era? Maybe. Maybe not. Obviously TV is still the dominant platform to distribute our games, as it has been for years. But TV is not the only platform any more, and this is the first time in history we have done this with one of our games.”
We’ll dig more into the pros and cons of this in a column that may end up reading after the game is completed.
You’re welcome.

What we’d figure we better put out there now:

== The unfortunate closure of Universal Sports is set for Nov. 16, the network said today.

== How seriously do betters get upset with Al Michaels messing up their exotic wagers? Michaels, and, got a laugh out of it.

== The ESPN company layoffs have already claimed the program director at KSPN-AM (710). Here is more background on the layoffs. We also learned KSPN has lost executive  assistant Heather Thau, who has been with the company for 22 years.
Continue reading “Weekly media notes version 10.22.15 — The NFL on Yahoo … and nothing a lot to cheer about with MLB postseason” »

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Universal Sports cable channel will shut down Nov. 16; former exec producer Michaels calls it ‘sad’

70e5b07a-bf2f-4c14-95f8-a98955f4d1bf-largeAfter nearly a decade of operation, the ambitious Universal Sports cable channel will shut down on Nov. 16, according to NBC executives who broke the news to some 75 employees during an early morning meeting in Woodland Hills, where the company’s finance and marketing offices are located.
Most of the company’s production is done in Denver after moving there from a facility in Westlake Village.
According to the Sports Business Daily, NBCUniversal, a minority partner in the channel, will transfer the Olympic-related content to its over-the-air NBC channel as well as NBCSN.
InterMedia, a private equity investment firm, has been the 80 percent majority owner of the channel, which has had continual distribution issues.
It was launched as the World Championship Sports Network (WCSN) in 2006 before it was rebranded Universal Sports in 2008.
The focus was on sports that were often highlighted every four years during the Olympics  — track and field, gymnastics, marathons, equestrian, speed skating, wrestling, cycling, skiing, beach volleyball and curling.
Rugby was another popular sport on the channel. The Rugby World Cup semifinals will be shown Saturday on NBC as well as Sunday on Universal Sports. The live final on Oct. 31 will go to NBC, with the third-place game on Oct. 30 set for Universal Sports.
The network’s marquee event this weekend is the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup season opener in Soelden, Austria with live coverage Saturday (3:30 a.m.) and Sunday (4:30 a.m.) on the channel as well as live streaming on the website. Continue reading “Universal Sports cable channel will shut down Nov. 16; former exec producer Michaels calls it ‘sad’” »

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ESPN layoffs include program director at KSPN-AM (710)

MTHEADSHOTMike Thompson, the program director at ESPN Radio’s L.A. affiliate KSPN-AM (710) based in LA Live, said today that he has been told his position has been eliminated as ESPN is rumored to be laying off as many as 300 employees in its latest reorganization.
“It’s been a wonderful 12 years with the Walt Disney Company,” said Thompson in an email. “I am honored to have worked alongside talented broadcasters to build a record ratings winner among contemporary males never seen before in the format and AM Radio in the No. 2 market.”
According to today’s Hartford Courtant, ESPN isn’t giving a breakdown of layoffs by job title or function, but on-air personalities are not expected to be affected.
Most of the network’s 1,000-plus so-called “public-facing” employees, which includes game broadcasters, reporters and “SportsCenter” anchors, are under individual contracts and not subject to corporate layoffs.
ESPN president John Skipper issued a memo to employees this morning to lay out the guidelines of why the job cuts are taking place, which included: Continue reading “ESPN layoffs include program director at KSPN-AM (710)” »

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