Before the top of the fifth inning in Wednesday’s Angels-Yankees telecast on FSW, Alex Curry showed up in the right-field seats to promote the fact that Fox’s parent network would be carrying Sunday’s FIFA Women’s World Cup final on Sunday from Vancouver (Channel 11, 4 p.m.)
The fans chanting “U-S-A” didn’t even know who the opponent was going to be at the time. Why would that matter? Seems everyone has soccer fever.
Or is just proud to have something to root for on this July Fourth weekend?
We intend to dive more into how Fox has planned for this event, and how their execs and analysts view the entire tournament to date.
What’s worth getting out there now before the holiday weekend:
Bob Ley went to Vietnam for an “Outside The Lines” show “Made in Vietnam: The American Sneaker Controversy” in March, 1998. (Photo: ESPN)
== Save the date: ESPN plans a one-hour special to mark the 25th anniversary of “Outside The Lines” on Tuesday at 4 p.m., putting Bob Ley in the host chair to look back at the body of work they have put together as the most thoughtful news-generated shows that the network has stuck with over all this time.
“I would like congratulate Bob Ley — and the whole team — on 25 spectacular years of OTL,” said ESPN President John Skipper in a statement. “He has established himself as nothing less than the Walter Cronkite of sports journalism, clearly the leading sports news host of the past quarter century. The range and quickness of his intellect, his ever-present curiosity and his persistent search for truth distinguish his work for ESPN and makes OTL a must watch.”
No matter what time they try to bury it on the weekend. At least, the Sunday-Friday show has become a sustainable must-watch half hour that extends important conversations about the day’s breaking news and creating investigative piece as well (i.e.: The latest in the Pete Rose betting scandal that showed he placed wagers while as an active player, despite his denials).
We intend to do more with this and interview Ley prior to the launch of this show.
Rose, meanwhile, is scheduled to reappear from vacation at 4 p.m. today on FS1’s “MLB Whiparound” (4-to-5 p.m.) to address his latest re-entry point in the news. We don’t expect much. Continue reading →
Carli Lloyd looks toward fans after the United States defeated China 1-0 in a quarterfinal match in the FIFA Women’s World Cup soccer tournament last Friday. (Adrian WyldThe Canadian Press via AP)
THIS WEEK’S BEST BET: FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP SEMIFINALS: UNITED STATES vs. GERMANY Details/TV: At Olympic Stadium in Montreal, Tuesday at 4 p.m., Channel 11 JAPAN vs. ENGLAND Details/TV: At Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Wednesday at 4 p.m., Fox Sports 1
CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: Details/TV: At BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, Sunday at 4 p.m., Channel 11:
A United States fan watches during the first half pf the team’s quarterfinal match against China in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Adrian WyldThe Canadian Press via AP)
We circle back and see how some tried to get their heads around this global event, predicting its outcome before artificial turf burns or burning-hot red cards came into play. For instance, there’s Julie Foudy, the Stanford-educated, two-time World Cup winner who captained the American squad for 13 years before retiring in 2004. She wrote in a piece for ESPNW.com that “the U.S. women will overcome finishing second in Group D to hoist the Cup in Vancouver on July 5.” Even if the U.S. really wound up winning that first-round foursome, Foudy tabbed Team American’s opponent in the grand finale as France. That won’t happen.
In Grant Wahl’s Sports Illustrated preview back in early June, France also went down to the U.S., but it was in the semifinals. He had the Americans triumphing over Brazil. A country, like France, didn’t actually make it that far.
Then there’s the predictability of thoughtful slicing and dicing from the website fivethirtyeight.com, which uses its Women’s Soccer Power Index (WSPI) to combine game-based offensive and defensive ratings to estimate a team’s overall skill level. Going in, Germany (95.6) and the U.S. (95.4) went in as almost equal favorites. But as time went on, the site predicted: “The U.S.’s slight advantage over Germany — despite Germany’s stronger power rating in our model — is because Germany is more likely to face a very strong French side in the quarterfinals.” As Die Nationalelf did in a 1-1 tie determined by penalty kicks before a pro-French crowd in Montreal. At last glance, the site gives Germany, led by Celia Sasic’s six goals, a 43 percent chance of winning the whole tournament, with U.S. second with a 30 percent chance, perhaps weighted down based on its meager 1-0 win over China in the semis where it didn’t have Lauren Holiday or Megan Rapinoe available. Neither Japan (18 percent) nor England (9 percent) stand much of a chance against the U.S.-Germany winner to claim the overall title.
Whatever happens, the Americans have at least one more game after Tuesday’s semifinal. It could be the third-place game Saturday in Edmonton (1 p.m., FS1). Or, it’s the bigger deal on Sunday, perhaps a rematch against Japan to possible avenge their penalty kick loss in the 2011 tournament final played in Germany.
ALSO THIS WEEK:
The Dodgers hit the halfway part of the season — Game No. 81 — with Friday’s first game of a homestand against the New York Mets … More New York invasion into Southern California with the Yankees’ visit to Angel Stadium on Monday-Wednesday … Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams go into the first week of Wimbledon as the men’s and women’s favorite … The 102nd Tour de France starts Saturday in, where else, but the Netherlands … More to see at this link.
Yeah, you’d think so.
ESPN’s numbers that came out this morning showed that the L.A. and New York markets, which had a vested interest in the future of the slumbering Lakers’ and Knicks’ franchise for the first time in a long while during this televised draft era, barely did better than the national average.
The telecast between 4 p.m., and 8:30 p.m. on Thursday night PDT had 3.1 overnight rating from the metered markets that Nielsen monitors.
The L.A. market, second in the nation (5.6 million homes, or 4.9 percent of the population), did a 3.6 rating, which was 14th best; New York, the largest TV market in the country (7.4 million homes, or 6.5 percent of the population), came in at 3.2, ranking 22nd.
Magic Johnson’s prediction that Celtics fans would also come through didn’t come through — Boston was 20th in the rankings with a 3.4 rating.
Louisville, apparently enthralled by where all the University of Kentucky players would scatter, had the best market rating of 8.0. Louisville is the 48th largest TV market.
ESPN said that 3.1 mark matched last year’s draft as the network’s highest-rated of all time. It also said the telecast of the draft peaked between 5 and 5:15 p.m., with a 4.2 rating. At that point, the Lakers had already made D’Angelo Russell the No. 2 overall choice, with New York salivating that Jahlil Okafor could be falling to the No. 4 spot.
Philadelphia, whose 76ers had the third overall pick, was tied for second in the market ratings with a 5.0 mark (same as Greensboro, N.C.), the highest of any market with an NBA team. Philadelphia is the fourth-largest TV market in the country (2.9 million homes), behind Chicago (3.4 million).
Because a ratings point today equals more than it did, say, yesterday, the Thursday show will go down for now as the “most-watched” draft in history with an average of 3.7 million viewers, or eight percent more than 2014.
UPDATE: ESPN reported later Thursday that the draft had an average 2.4 household rating across the country (metered markets, plus all others), up four percent from last year.
ESPN has carried the NBA Draft since 2003, and it has been on TV going back to 1994.
Without anything definitive for a Sunday media subject (so there’s nothing to promote yet), we’ll launch notes that pertain to things taking place in the immediate future:
The post-wrap interview with Jordan Spieth was a given. Where was Dustin Johnson? (Michael Madrid / USA Today)
== What’s you call on Fox’s U.S. Open golf coverage last weekend? On a scale of 1-to-10, we’d give it a solid …. FORE!
The pictures should have conveyed most of what was going on, with the conversation to a minimum — unless it was explaining what the pictures couldn’t.
There was no Dustin Johnson post-round interview (found it only on ESPN “SportsCenter,” perhaps Fox has to work on its relationships with player’s reps who do most of that kind of arrangements) and no post-game Jordan Spieth press conference on any of the Fox channels (had to go to ESPN or Golf Channel for that).
And where was Greg Norman to put Johnson’s collapse into context? We’ve seen the immediate discontent, the well-thought criticism, the fixable critiques. SI’s Richard Deitsch even had a media panel give an assessment the next day to see how things shook out.
We’d concur with most of that, except we found ourselves higher up on Brad Faxon and Corey Pavin commentary than most.
Norman … he’s got some coaching to listen to.
Viewership was a combined 3.5 million average for the four days of the event, up from 2.5 million on NBC last year, but the fourth-smallest audience since 1995 figures, even though it had four nights of prime-time viewing in the East — and ended past 10:30 p.m. there with the final group, which had 11.2 million viewers.
They’ll have a major chance to do some more work on it when they get back into the cart for the Senior U.S. Open in Sacramento starting today with 23 more live hours. Coverage today and Friday starts at noon on FS1, with Channel 11 taking Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m. Joe Buck and Norman are back in the tower with Faxon, Steve Flesch, Juli Inkster and Scott McCarron on the course — Pavin is playing in the event. Even more unfortunate, Charles Davis (today-Friday) and Holly Sonders (Saturday-Sunday) are asked to continue doing post-round interviews.
== For anyone still watching women’s sports — you know who you aren’t — JP Dellacamera, Tony DiCicco and Cat Whitehill, who have done the previous four U.S. games in the FIFA Women’s World Cup, will have Friday’s contest against China in Ottawa at 4:30 p.m. on Channel 11. Dellacamera also called the U.S.-China match from the 1999 World Cup final at the Rose Bowl as some 18 million watched it. Justin Kutcher and Aly Wagner call the Germany-France game from Montreal on Friday at 1 p.m. on Channel 11, with the winner facing the U.S.-China winner in the semifinals next week.
For the FS1 games on Saturday, Jenn Hildreth and Kyndra de St. Aubin do Australia-Japan at 1 p.m., and John Strong and Danielle Slaton have the England-Canada game at 4:30 p.m.
== He’s done both radio and TV for the Clippers going into his 37th season with the franchise, but for those wondering what category Ralph Lawler will be placed in once he gets his Hollywood Walk of Fame star planted — it’ll be as a radio personality.
The Clippers’ nomination (and agreement to pay a fee) for the 77-year-old Lawler to receive the honor matches up with what the Dodgers once did for Vin Scully (in 1982) and Jaime Jarrin (in 1998, both of them with a bronze radio logo), as the Lakers did for Chick Hearn (in 1986, with the radio logo) and as the Kings did for Bob Miller (in 2006 with a TV logo).
Note: The late Kings radio and TV game analyst Dan Avey also had a star planted in 2006 based his radio work, most as a newscaster at KFWB-AM and KABC-AM.
Turns out, Lawler will be the only one of this new wave of electees to go in the radio category. Ten are honored for their 10 work, seven for motion pictures, eight in recording, and three in live theater.
“This is one of the great thrills of a very long and rewarding career,” Lawler said in a press release. “I think it is also a further indication of the Clippers ascending position in the community. It’s a great day for my family and me.” Ana Martinez, the VP of media relations and the producer for the Walk of Fame, said no date has been set for Lawler’s induction but it would be in 2016 and announced 10 days prior to the ceremony. The honorees do not have a choice in where the star will be placed.
Nor, unfortunately, does the public have a vote in who gets a star.
Right, Jim Gray? Boy, it was only 10 years ago when …
== For today’s NBA Draft on ESPN (4 p.m.), the network decided to add Moziah Bridges, a 12-year-old whose Memphis-based Mo’s Bows bowtie company gained some traction after he did an appearance on ABC’s “Shark Tank,” so he can comment on the fashion worn by those draftees in attendance.
Why not some network synergy here. It’s not the first or last time.
Just another voice to add to the chorus of who the Lakers should nab with their No. 2 overall pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft (ESPN, 4 p.m.).
ESPN’s Jay Bilas — we’ll still gleefully refer to him as the former Rolling Hills High standout who happened to take a chance in life and go to Duke — has this answer when asked earlier this week who Minnesota should take with the No. 1 overall draft pick — Karl-Anthony Towns or Jahili Okafor:
“I’m actually kind of torn on who the best player overall in this draft is. I think Karl‑Anthony Towns is the most versatile player. He’s good at everything. There is nothing that we can tick off as far as attributes that he’s not good at. Nothing. Okafor has question marks on his defense, his ability to defend the pick‑and‑roll. He’s not a big‑time shot blocker, rim protector, but he’s not a zero in that regard.
“But I tend to lean toward Okafor because he’s a dominant low‑post scorer. Towns is not dominant in any one area. Maybe he’ll become that. But Okafor is the superior, low‑post scorer. I think he was hurt during the year and it affected him. I think he would have been much better had he not played against North Carolina and having played the rest of the year without getting healthy.
“I would not argue with anyone that likes Towns better, not one person. And I am sweating ‑‑ like, if it were my decision to make, I would have a really tough time with it. And I would probably defer to all of our people to say where we are on this because I’m kind of torn. I’m leaning one way, but I wouldn’t argue with anybody who has a differing view with me.”
Yes, both Bilas and Okafor are Duke alums. And Okafor can be an alum even if he only went one year, and Bilas made the required four-year commitment.
And apparently, this isn’t some draft-week revelation, but a new way of phrasing something he’s believed in for awhile.
So now the Lakers should be cool with Okafor, right? Unless they decided that it’s worth trading down to get Emmanuel Mudiay? Continue reading →