In addition to the expanded and updated post on dailynews.com/sports about Bill Raftery’s new line of T-shirts on top of his prep for Friday’s UCLA-Kentucky NCAA men’s basketball tournament game in Memphis, Tenn., that CBS will air, we have these news of note:
== Raftery talks earlier this month with the New York Post on his 50 years of NCAA Tournament memories.
== How CBS/Turner coverage has seen increases in ratings and video streaming across all channels to date.
== Upcoming layoffs have some ESPN employees in a “panic of biblical proportions?” Let’s not oversell this. It’s the reality of business and the media. Those who think they are immune are living in a parallel universe.
In fact, ESPN continues to appear to be expanding beyond its means. The net announced Thursday that it has gone ahead and named Suzy Kolber, Samatha Ponder and Trey Wingo as a three-way compromise to host its NFL studio shows after the reassignment of Chris Berman, a personnel change that has been rumored for some time.
“They each have a unique style and approach, yet they all share a passion for the game of football that is evident to viewers,” said Stephanie Druley, ESPN Senior Vice President, Studio and Event Production, in Thursday’s announcement release. “We look forward to this group being the face of our NFL studio coverage for many years ahead on ESPN.”
Ponder, more associated lately with ESPN’s college football coverage, has the most visible role, taking over “Sunday NFL Countdown.” Bob Ley was the original host in 1985, Berman took it over a year later and has done it the last 32 seasons.
Ponder posted a message on the ESPN media site this morning.
Kolber, a co-host with Berman on “Monday Night Countdown,” has the entire show to herself now at the site of each week’s contest.
Wingo will wing it at the NFL Draft, starting with the April 27 event in Philadelphia.
HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
== Barry Tompkins, Casey Jacobson and Kelli Tennant have the call for Spectrum SportsNet on the CIF state basketball championship Open Division boys final between Bishop Montgomery and Woodcreek on Saturday at 8 p.m.
That will be the last of six games that Tompkins-Jacobson-Tennant have, three on Friday as well as three on Saturday. The team of Steve Quis, Mary Murphy and Drew Shiller have the three early games on Friday and Saturday, six in total as well.
Spectrum SportsNet has all of Saturday’s coverage starting at 10 a.m. and some of Friday’s coverage. Because of a Lakers telecast, some games will be moved to the Dodgers’ SportsNet LA.
As the rest of it plays out for the finals:
= Division V Girls: Rolling Hills Prep vs. Eastside College Prep, 10 a.m., Spectrum SportsNet (Quis, Murphy, Shiller)
= Division V Boys: Rolling Hills Prep vs. St. Francis, noon, Spectrum SportsNet (Quis, Murphy, Shiller)
= Division III GIrls: Rosary Academy (Fullerton) vs. Campolindo, 2 p.m. Spectrum SportsNet (Quis, Murphy, Shiller)
= Division III Boys: VIlla Park vs. Mission, 4 p.m., SportsNet LA (Tompkins, Jacobsen, Tennant)
= Division I Girls: Windward (L.A.) vs. McClatchy, 6 p.m., SportsNet LA (Tompkins, Jacobsen, Tennant)
= Division I Boys: Roosevelt (Eastvale, near Norco) vs. James Logan, 8 p.m., SportsNet LA (Tompkins, Jacobsen, Tennant)
= Division IV Girls: Los Osos (Rancho Cucamonga) vs. West Campus (Sacramento), 10 a.m., Spectrum SportsNet (Quis, Murphy, Shiller)
= Division IV Boys: Helix (San Diego) vs. St. Patrick-St. Vincent, noon, Spectrum SportsNet (Quis, Murphy, Shiller)
= Division II Girls: Mater Dei (Santa Ana) vs. Vanden, 2 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet (Quis, Murphy, Shiller)
= Division II Boys: Esperanza vs. Moreau Catholic, 4 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet (Tompkins, Jacobsen, Tennant)
= Open Division Girls: Clovis West vs. Archbishop Mitty, 6 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet (Tompkins, Jacobsen, Tennant)
== Pac-12 Network live broadcasts of note:
= USC women’s water polo vs. Princeton, Thursday at 5 p.m., with Greg Mescall and Adam Kirkorian
= UCLA baseball vs. Cal, Friday at 6 p.m., Saturday at 4 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., with J.B. Long and Eric Byrnes (Pac-12 LA)
= USC baseball vs. Arizona State, Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., with Jim Watson and Andy Lopez (Pac-12 LA)
== The Kings will move Daryl Evans from radio analyst to TV play-by-play as the latest fill-in for the retiring Bob Miller when the team faces Winnipeg on Thursday at Staples Center. Jim Fox will remain the analyst for the Fox Sports West telecast. As Nick Nickson stays on radio-by-play for KABC-AM (790), former King Jarret Stoll gets a tryout as the radio analyst.
== Santa Monica-based Tennis Channel, which recently announced the addition of 7.8 million Nielsen homes to expand its distribution to 52 million homes as it headed into the Indian Wells event (with deals in place to get it to 60 million by the end of this year), has also added former CBS and Fox executive Ed Goren as an ongoing production consultant, working with network president Ken Solomon and executive producer Bob Whyley.
“Who better than Ed to take us to the next level?” said Solomon who, as head of distribution at Fox, helped launch the network’s sports division with Goren in the 1990s. “He redefined how sports television is done while inventing a fourth broadcaster in Fox, and is genius in presenting sports stories across all platforms in ways that haven’t been considered before, We’re entering the greatest period of media change in history, a transition Tennis Channel has been running directly toward for more than a decade. And we’ve deliberately prepared for this moment and developed ourselves into an omniplatform brand that engages users at every possible touch point. We’re excited to have Ed’s expertise and vision on our side as we go forward – he revolutionized coverage of the NFL, and now he’s helping us do that with tennis.”
== Why Randy Cross, the 62-year-old former center from Crespi High, UCLA and the San Francisco 49ers who has been in the sports broadcasting business since 1989 with CBS, NBC and lately with CBS Sports Net, has decided to donate his brain to CTE research, via the Players Tribune:
“By all accounts, I think I live a pretty active lifestyle. And that’s why I strongly believe it’s important for my brain to be studied alongside those of other players. If we’re going to truly come to an understanding of what playing football does to a brain, we must study a full range of individuals. Of course, saying, ‘I’m donating my brain,’ sounds dramatic, but I think this issue should be understood in more pragmatic terms. That means studying the brains of players like Junior Seau, who had very well-documented struggles, and myself, someone who has been fortunate to continue to function at a pretty high level nearly 30 years after retiring from the game.”
== Colin Cowherd, anchored in Manhattan Beach and working for Fox, has his theories for why ESPN loses employees based on its rural Bristol, Conn., location. And he decided to say so, which is apparently his job on his FS1 TV and radio show. It was enough for the Sports Business Daily to ask if ESPN wanted to respond to that contention.
Vice president of communications Mike Soltys replied: “Our location remains a strength. Bristol is home to our 123-acre, one million+ square-foot headquarters and thousands of tremendously talented people that have built an unparalleled global sports media leader.”
== How Brent Musburger has been spending his March Madness in Las Vegas.
== ESPN has the Dodgers-Rangers exhibition game from Surprise, Ariz., at 4 p.m. Thursday with Dan Shulman, Jessica Mendoza, Aaron Boone and Buster Olney.
== Doug Gottlieb, who wasn’t included in any of CBS/Turner network studio or game coverage during this NCAA men’s basketball tournament, has officially left CBS Sports Radio and will start a new Fox Sports Radio show starting April 24 in the noon-to-3 p.m. window. It’ll be on 150 stations as well as the Fox Sports Radio’s iHeartRadio channel. KLAC-AM (570) will likely stay with local programming in that window, currently held down by Fred Roggin and Rodney Peete.
Gottlieb will also work for FS1 on its college basketball coverage, according to a Fox release.
== In a presentation by something called ESPN’s Fan and Media Intelligence group at the Advertising Research Foundation annual conference in New York this week focused on what it has determined to be key elements of the under reported data from Nielsen TV research numbers — specifically, out of home viewers that don’t get counted in those daily ratings that get tossed around and dissected as if they really account for everyone watching.
From December 2015-’16, the ESPN number crunchers have determined it’s not just bars and restaurants may be unaccounted, but 75 percent of out-of-home viewers are found more at health clubs, college dorms, airports, hotels and waiting rooms.
And they’re millennials.
When out-of-homes are included, those in the 18-24 range and 18-34 range really push the ratings numbers significantly.
This, of course, is important for advertisers to know in a time when most data shows that there is enough cord cutting going on that ESPN/ESPN2 are losing subscribers on a steady basis.
== NFL TV commercial breaks will come less frequently from now on, says commissioner Roger Goodell. But they’ll be longer.
== The two Comcast regional sports channels in Northern California will be renamed NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California starting early next month, the Sports Business Daily reports.
Comcast SportsNet Bay Area is the current cable home to the San Francisco Giants and Golden State Warriors and Comcast SportsNet California has the Oakland A’s, Sacramento Kings and San Jose Sharks. Both have been Comcast-branded channels since 2008.
TWEETS OF THE WEEK
== As to where Vin Scully spent some of his St. Patrick’s Day:
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) March 17, 2017
Guess who stopped by Dodger Stadium today… pic.twitter.com/BiGcyLzJ9V
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) March 17, 2017