Weekly media notes version 12.31.15: And on the last day, ESPN tries to embrace the synergy of The Seacrest Effect

good timespictureWhat’s worth posting today:

== ESPN executive vice president of programming and scheduling Burke Magnus is somewhat polite in assessing how putting two College Football Playoff games on New Year’s Eve will attract viewers.
“It definitely presents a unique challenge,” he is quoted in Adweek.com. “We’re curious to see how it plays out.”
In the New York Times, ESPN’s Ilan Ben-Hanan, vice president for college sports programming, frames it this way: “We realize that New Year’s Eve is not New Year’s Day. We know it’ll be different. But we think the notion of sports and a holiday can exist peacefully.”
vintage-new-years-10As noted, Oregon’s 59-20 win over Florida State in the Rose Bowl followed by Ohio State’s 42-35 win over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl drew more than 28 million viewers each with a New Year’s Day airing last season.
This is the first of two consecutive seasons where New Year’s Eve will host the semifinal doubleheader. It’s a system that kind of paints itself into a corner based on when it wants to stage the national championship game, and how the Rose Bowl and its 2 p.m. Jan. 1 kickoff gets in everyone’s way.
On the West Coast, all of this should not be much of an issue — except, as USA Today’s Nancy Armour points out, some of us working today may miss some of it.
“The semifinals are two of the biggest games of the entire college football season, topped only by the title game,” she writes. “They should command attention, not be forced to compete for it.”
In the East, the competition seems more fierce. There will also be a clear message that ESPN’s games are feeding into ABC’s regular New Year’s Eve programming hosted by Ryan Seacrest, which has been promoted heavily during ESPN programming during the bowl season. Sage Steele, the ESPN/ABC NBA studio host, will join Seacrest to try to make it seem more of a group effort.
That’s Disney synergy at work. Again. Trying to sell us on this with a Jimmy Kimmel promo that seems rather awkward just from the concept.

Is this a promo for New Year's Eve college football games, or a funeral reception?

Is this a promo for New Year’s Eve college football games, or a funeral reception?

So here’s how ESPN’s coverage of the College Football Playoff semifinal games tonight lays out:
RetroNewYearsGraphicsFairy= Brad Nessler, Todd Blackledge and Holly Rowe are on the Oklahoma-Clemson Orange Bowl at 1 p.m. (Bill Rosinski, David Norrie and Joe Schad have the game on ESPN Radio/710-AM KSPN). The ESPN studio show includes Rece Davis, Lee Corso, Desmond Howard, David Pollack, Joey Galloway, Butch Davis, George Whitfield, Gene Wojciechowski, Samantha Ponder and Marty Smith.
= Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit and Heather Cox are on the Michigan State-Alabama Cotton Bowl at 5 p.m. (Brad Sham, Danny Kanell and Ian Fitzsimmons have the game on ESPN Radio/710-AM KSPN). The ESPN studio show has Adnan Virk, Joe Tessitore, Herbstreit, Mack Brown, Mark May, Danny Kanell. Tim Tebo, Kaylee Hartung and Tom Rinaldi.
= Also today: Dave Pasch, Brian Griese and Tom Luginbill on the Houston-Florida State Peach Bowl (9 a.m., ESPN)

== The ESPN broadcasting crews for the five New Year’s Day games on Friday:
Brundage-New-Year-Vintage-Postcard= Brent Musburger, Jesse Palmer and Maria Taylor are on the Stanford-Iowa Rose Bowl (2 p.m., ESPN)
= Mark Jones, Rod Gilmore and Quint Kessenich have the Northwestern-Tennessee Outback Bowl (9 a.m., ESPN2)
= Sean McDonough, Chris Spielman and Todd McShay are on the Notre Dame-Ohio State Fiesta Bowl (10 a.m., ESPN)
= Bob Wischusen, Brock Huard and Shannon Spake call the Ole Miss-Oklahoma State Sugar Bowl (5:30 p.m., ESPN)
= Mike Patrick, Ed Cunningham and Jerry Punch are on the Michigan-Florida Citrus Bowl (10 a.m., Channel 7) Continue reading

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L.A. News Group 2015 Sports Person of the Year: The Rousey Revolution came though

Ronda Rousey and her Dogo Argentino Mochi have some fun at Leo Carrillo State Beach in Malibu. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff Photographer)

Ronda Rousey and her Dogo Argentino Mochi have some fun at Leo Carrillo State Beach in Malibu. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff Photographer)

On Barbara Walters’ hour-and-a-half long ABC special “10 Most Fascinating People of 2015,” the segment highlighting Ronda Rousey’s year lasted just five minutes.
In proportion to a typical Rousey victory in the UFC Octagon, it was kind of symbolic. Pay attention, or you’ll miss it.
It wasn’t as if Rousey needed to make a case for why she belonged in the same TV conversation with two presidential candidates (Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders), a ballerina (Misty Copeland), an entrepreneur (Jeff Bezos), a fashion designer (Donna Karan) and a celebrated transgender figure (Caitlyn Jenner).
“Just because my body was developed for a purpose doesn’t mean it’s masculine,” Rousey said on the show. “I think it’s femininely badass as (bleep) because there’s not a single muscle in my body that isn’t for a purpose.”
The fascination with the Riverside-born, Venice-based and L.A.-trained Rousey hasn’t stopped. Not even after her first career UFC defeat in November — a hitch in her 2015 that probably knocked out her shot of her being named the Sports Illustrated Sports Person of the Year.
If it’s any consolation, naming Rousey as the 11th recipient of the Los Angeles News Group Sports Person of the Year comes without any arm twisting on our part.
Here’s the story.

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Play It Forward Dec. 28-Jan. 3: A New Year’s Rockin’ Eve presented by college football’s fab four

THIS WEEK’S BEST BETS:

Clemson's Germone Hopper attempts a reception against Oklahoma's Jordan Thomas during the 2014 Russell Athletic Bowl at Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida. Clemson won the game. (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images North America)

Clemson’s Germone Hopper attempts a reception against Oklahoma’s Jordan Thomas during the 2014 Russell Athletic Bowl at Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida. Clemson won the game. (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images North America)

COLLEGE FOOTBALL NATIONAL SEMIFINALS
ORANGE BOWL: No. 1 CLEMSON (13-0) vs. No. 4 OKLAHOMA (11-1)
Details/TV: At Miami Gardens, Fla., Thursday at 1 p.m. ESPN
COTTON BOWL: No. 3 MICHIGAN STATE (12-1) vs. No. 2 ALABAMA (12-1)
Details/TV: At Arlington, Tex., Thursday at 5 p.m.; ESPN
Given that the Rose Bowl gets top New Year’s Day priority in the 2 p.m. TV kickoff window, those operating the College Football Playoff system were somewhat painted into a corner when it came to staging this season’s two national semifinal games. A logical choice seemed to be on Saturday, Jan. 2. But, no, they picked New Year’s Eve. The reason: Those running the NCAA don’t really care, writes Yahoo!Sports columnist Dan Wetzel.
“We’re establishing a new tradition,” playoff executive director Bill Hancock says. “We’re going to change the paradigm of New Year’s Eve.”
Replies Wetzel: “Except, no one is trying to establish a new tradition here. They are honoring two of the oldest traditions in America … self-indulgence and cronyism.”
Those of us coasting along in the West have fewer reason to get our diapers in a bunch. A double-header that will end at about 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 31 won’t put much of a crimp in our festive plans. Those in the East, however, might do well to embrace this idea. What else would you be watching, Bruno Mars on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” hosted by Ryan Seacrest?
We’re far more in the Norman Chad camp as far as this has played out. The Washington Post longtime columnist writes:”The apocalyptically consequential Oklahoma-Clemson and Michigan State-Alabama games on the last day of December is accidental genius … Shifting the college football semifinals to New Year’s Eve kills two birds with one stone: It allows Buffalo Wild Wings to charge triple for a dozen wings, to service those individuals who still insist on braving the streets. It gives the rest of us staying at home something to do.”
Now that we’ve got all those illogical logistics straighten out.
The SEC, Big Ten, Big 12 and ACC champions are represented in this foursome, and all but Oklahoma had to win an extra conference championship game to prove their worth. Which is why some are keeping their eye on the Sooners’ chances of advancing past this round. (After all, didn’t Ohio State win it all last year from that No. 4 hole?)
bakerFourth is also where Sooners sophomore quarterback Baker Mayfield finished in the Heisman voting, after throwing for 3,389 yards (68.6 completions) and 35 touchdowns versus just five interceptions. His 9.6 yards per pass attempt was third in the nation, as was his 178.9 QB rating. Clemson QB Deshaun Watson, also a sophomore, was third in the Heisman voting. He logged 3,512 yards passing, 30 touchdowns to 11 interceptions, and 887 rushing yards for 11 TDs.
Does it factor in anywhere that Clemson pinned a 40-6 loss on Oklahoma in last year’s Russell Athletic Bowl (which neither Watson nor Mayfield played in)? Maybe so.
In the other semifinal, Heisman winner Derrick Henry and his SEC record of 1,986 rushing yards are what Alabama figures will set the tone against a Michigan State team coached by Mark Dantonio, a former Nick Saban assistant. The defense of both teams will be put to the test, right up until last hours of 2015 tick off before the New Year’s celebration.

ALSO THIS WEEK:
2__05981.1450536310.1280.1280The college football New Year’s Day game slate is highlighted by Stanford-Iowa in the Rose Bowl (Friday, 2 p.m., ESPN) and Notre Dame-Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl (Friday, 10 a.m., ESPN) … USC’s college football season ends against Wisconsin in the Holiday Bowl (Wednesday, 7:30 p.m., ESPN) … UCLA and USC start the Pac-12 college basketball season in Washington (Friday/Sunday) while Long Beach State takes a trip to Duke (Wednesday) … More at this link …

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Sunday media column: A top five of So Cal sports media for 2015

Illustration by Jim Thompson/www.sportsbronze.com

Illustration by Jim Thompson/www.sportsbronze.com

Jessica Mendoza wasn’t just enjoying the view from Vin Scully’s Dodger Stadium broadcast booth on a warm Sunday night in late August.
She was working. For ESPN.
Breaking down a live no-hitter. While breaking down a gender barrier as a bona fide game analyst.
While the Olympic gold-medal softball star out Camarillo and living in Moorpark from would make history in 2015 as the first woman to do an MLB national TV playoff game broadcast, it wasn’t lost on her all the history already made in that particular space by Scully. Just a couple days earlier, the 88-year-old living in Hidden Hills announced that, while he planned to come back for the 2016 season, that would likely be his 67th and final one for the Dodgers.
The curb for arrivals and departures was clearly marked in the Southern California-based sports media this year.
Maybe ask your Uber driver to pull off to the side for just one more moment while take one last look in in the rearview mirror at our Top Five moments before heading out on the open road to next year.
For more go to this link.

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Shrine of the Eternals’ 2016 ballot includes Newcombe, minor-league HR champ and a crusty crab

1105565_1280x720imagesFormer Dodgers Cy Young winner Don Newcombe, slugger Ted Kluszewski, new minor-league career home run champ Mike Hessman, journalist Arnold Hano, sports writer Steve Willstein and San Francisco Giants “Crazy Crab” mascot Wayne Doba are among the 12 new names on the ballot of 50 eligible to be voted into the Baseball Reliquary Shrine of the Eternals, curator Terry Cannon announced today.
the-baseball-reliquary-291x250The Pasadena-based Reliquary honors those whose statistics accomplishements in baseball are not necessarily the sole criteria for induction. It is comprised of individuals, both well known and somewhat obscure, who have “altered the baseball world in ways that supersede statistics,” according to Cannon’s creed.
Hold overs from previous ballots eligible for induction in 2016 include former Dodgers Cy Young winner Mike Marshall, Dodgers pitcher Hideo Nomo, softball star Lisa Fernandez, Oakland A’s owner Charles O. Finley, two-sport star Bo Jackson, broadcasters Ernie Harwell and Bob Costas and photographer Charles M. Conlon. The one who has been on the ballot the most years without election: Pitchers Rube Foster and Rube Waddell (18 years), pitchers Chet Brewer and J.R. Richard (17 years), Fernandez (16 years), Conlon (15 years) and scout Phil Pote (14 years).
The 12 new candidates, with comments from Cannon, are alphabetically: Continue reading

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