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YES Network Sale? Not Anytime Soon PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 12 May 2008 09:33

The YES NetworkIn August of last year, FORTUNE ran an article saying that the YES Network was up for sale. As we detailed in A Deeper Look at the Possible YES Network Sale, the YES Network is not owned entirely by the Yankees. It is owned collectively by the Yankees, the investment bank Goldman Sachs, Providence Equity and the former owner of the New Jersey Nets, Ray Chambers.

At the time, Goldman Sachs tested the waters to see if there might be interest in selling their share of the mega-RSN. Rather than looking to sell, it seems that it was testing the market to define value. As reported in today's Sports Business Journal (subscription required), the sale of YES isn't in the offing, or at least anytime soon:

The New York-area regional sports network is preparing a $1.05 billion debt sale that will fund the buyout of the channel’s first chairman, Leo Hindery, and his management team. The deal also will pay dividends to remaining investors, sources said, with the bulk of the proceeds, $800 million, refinancing existing debt.

The move suggests that Goldman Sachs and Providence Equity are not planning to exit YES or force a sale of the channel — at least, not yet. The two equity investors own 40 percent of the channel and have been rumored to be looking to cash out for the past several years. The New York Yankees control most of the remainder of the channel, while a group headed by former New Jersey Nets owner Ray Chambers holds a small stake.

“The business isn’t for sale,” said an industry executive with knowledge of the deal. “The Yankees and the private equity guys are in this business for the long term.”

It has been reported that YES is worth approximatly $3 billion.

 
Caray & Darling Comments (Yankees/Tigers Rainout) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Sunday, 11 May 2008 13:54

TBSThis afternoon’s “Sunday MLB on TBS” was postponed due to rain. During the delay, Chip Caray and Ron Darling discussed some developing storylines in MLB.

*****   *****   *****   *****   *****

New York Yankees @ Detroit Tigers (Postponed due to rain)

Game announcers: Chip Caray and Ron Darling

Darling on the Yankees attempt at a youth movement: “The Yankees are the type of team that always seem to get what they want in the off-season. They decided to evaluate their talent differently this (past) year, decided not to go after (starting pitcher Johan) Santana and instead (they) went with two young pitchers. Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy have really been a flop.”

Darling on the AL West division race: “Seattle has had pretty good pitching but they haven’t had any kind of hitting. Oakland has been a surprise team and the Angels are a juggernaut in that AL West (division).”

Darling on the Oakland A’s: “(The Oakland A’s) have been unbelievable. When you think about it, they made the trade (involving starting pitcher) Danny Haren (to the Diamondbacks), just another trade where (the A’s) have gotten rid of one of their great pitchers. (Oakland GM Billy Beane) got Greg Smith and Dana Eveland back (in exchange for Haren), they are both in the rotation. (The A’s) are so good that when Rich Harden comes back (from injury), Chad Gaudin will go back to the bullpen. Billy Beane has done an amazing job.”

Darling on the surprising Florida Marlins: “When you think of Florida, they’ve made the most errors in the league and that’s after having the most errors last season. (Manager) Fredi Gonzalez wants them to play a little better (defensively). I think the key for Florida is they just hit, Dan Uggla is unbelievable, (Hanley) Ramirez and (Mike) Jacobs. They lost (Miguel) Cabrera (traded to Detroit) and Mike Jacobs said it nicely, ‘It takes more than one person to make a team.’ Florida is proving that.”

Darling on the St. Louis Cardinals leading the NL Central: “(The St. Louis Cardinals) are getting great pitching, not only from their starters but from their relievers. They are getting just enough hitting. They are one of those teams, like the Minnesota Twins, that play really good baseball. They catch the ball and they play really fundamental baseball. I think that is why they are on top (of the NL Central).”

Darling on the Houston Astros: “(The Houston Astros) have arguably one of the best middle of the lineups, lead by Carlos Lee. It’s going to be interesting as the season goes along, if (Astros ace pitcher Roy) Oswalt gets hot, he’s one of those starting pitchers that can really carry a team.”

Darling on how importance of how teams utilize their bullpens: “In baseball, the recipe for success seems to be that baseball has decided to use the ninth, tenth, eleventh and twelfth pitcher (on the staff) in the sixth and seventh inning. It’s tough to get those outs when you are only leading by one or two runs. Those pitchers who can go two innings (in relief) have become so valuable.”

Darling on how young starting pitchers are “under-trained”: “A starting pitcher in baseball is the only (position) that you under-train for. You go to the minor leagues and you can’t throw more than 85 pitches and you can’t throw more than 35 (pitches) in an inning. Games now, you need to be able to throw 120-130 pitches, (starting pitchers) aren’t allowed to do that. Right now, that’s not going to change. Until you get an organization that says, ‘We can’t treat all pitchers the same’ (it’s not going to change). Sometimes you have a Clydesdale and sometimes you have a sprinter. I think (teams) are going to have to treat their pitchers accordingly.”

 Source: TBS 

 
TBS Broadcasting Comments (Mets v D-Backs) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 05 May 2008 04:14

MLB on TBSThe following are quotes from the Sunday New York Mets (5) @ Arizona Diamondbacks (2) game commentary on TBS Sunday Major League Baseball

Game announcers: Chip Caray and Jim Kaat

Kaat on Mets shortstop Jose Reyes: “(Jose Reyes is) kind of like how (former MLB outfielder and all-time stolen base leader) Rickey Henderson was in his prime.  Not the power of Rickey, but when he gets on (first base) it’s like a double, he’s going to steal.  He creates (scoring chances), he distracts the pitcher and he makes this team go.”

Kaat on how Diamondbacks shortstop Augie Ojeda’s hustle turned a routine single into a double in the first inning: “(Augie Ojeda) ran hard from step one and the reason he runs hard and all these Diamondbacks (run hard) is because they know they’ve got a guy (bench coach Kirk Gibson) in the dugout watching them.  And if they don’t (run hard) he’ll call them on it.”

Mets third baseman David Wright on the Mets’ collapse down the stretch in 2007 that led to the team missing the playoffs: “You would think that a seven game lead with 17 (games) to play, that we could coast into the playoffs.  But that was a hard lesson to learn.  I don’t think we coasted, but as easy as some of these guys make it seem, it’s not that easy.  It seemed like what could go wrong, went wrong.  Last September, when we pitched well, we couldn’t hit.  When we hit well, we couldn’t pitch.  It’s just one of the ins-and-outs of baseball and what makes this game so special.”

Kaat on the importance of the Mets acquiring pitcher Johan Santana: “It’s the (Johan) Santana acquisition that seemed to erase that bitter taste that (the Mets) had.  They were so positive and I think the one thing they are hanging their hat on is, and it’s a lot of pressure for one guy, but they are thinking Santana could do what (Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy) Koufax used to do for the Dodgers.  And (Santana is) capable of doing that.”

Kaat on how little things early in the game add up to big things on the scoreboard: “Don’t think that both starting pitchers don’t know (how important the early innings are).  You don’t pitch against the other pitcher; you pitch against the other lineup.  But you are very aware that early in the game, the second inning can be like the ninth inning.  You don’t want the other team to get that (early) advantage.”

Caray and Kaat talked with New York Mets manager Willie Randolph during the game.

Randolph on the Mets getting some injured players back: “It’s been very important to get our troops back.  We’ve been beat up all year, it’ll be nice to get some of our pitchers back, too.  We’re starting to get a little bit of rhythm going and once we get everyone back going back to full circle, we’ll be ok.”

Randolph on if he is able to relax when his ace Johan Santana is on the mound: “I can’t really relax but it is comforting to have Johan (Santana) out there.  He’s an outstanding athlete and throwing the ball well for us so far this year.  We feel very confident giving him the ball.”\

Kaat on Diamondbacks outfielder Eric Byrnes: “(Eric Byrnes) fits into that Kirk Gibson mold, without the power or talent of ‘Gibby’ but (Byrnes is) an all-out player.  He’s not going to put up MVP numbers but he’s going to be very productive in the middle of the lineup.”

Caray and Kaat talked with Arizona Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin during the game.
 
Melvin on how their solid offensive start will benefit the young Diamondbacks hitters as the season goes on: “We’ve got to keep progressing.  Offensively, we got off to a great start.  Some of the doubts (going into the season) were whether or not we were going to score some runs.  I think confidence-wise for such a young group to get off to a good start offensively should pay dividends later in the season.”

Kaat on the American League Central race: “I think the Tigers feel very, very fortunate that Cleveland has not played the (high) caliber of baseball that everyone expected them to.  ( Cleveland ) could have the type of record that the Diamondbacks have and that would really put the Tigers in a bit of a hole early in the year.”

Kaat on the injuries to the Detroit Tigers pitching staff: “If you look at the Tigers, the expectations are high because of their (starting) pitching but what I think the casual fan, who were ready to send them to the World Series immediately, might overlook is no (injured relief pitcher) Fernando Rodney and no (injured relief pitcher) Joel Zumaya.  Those two guys (pitched) at the end of the game and set up (closer) Todd Jones.  (Rodney and Zumaya) were a big part of why (the Tigers) got to the World Series (in 2006).  If you look at any team, if you don’t have those quality pitchers in the seventh and eighth (inning) to set up your closer, you’re just going to be an average ballclub.”
 
Kaat on the importance of pitchers getting ahead in the count: “There are very few days when you go out there with your top stuff.  The key is winning on days when you’re not quite as sharp.  For most pitchers, you have to pitch ahead in the count.  If you’re a Randy Johnson in his prime or a Nolan Ryan or a Kerry Wood, then (the count) can be 3-1, 3-2 and you can still get them out.  Most pitchers can’t pitch that way and they have to be ahead in the count, expand the strike zone and get hitters to chase those borderline pitches.”

Mets starting pitcher Johan Santana on his pitching coach Rick Peterson: “He wanted me to be myself and do the things I was doing in Minnesota , so I feel comfortable with him.  When something is wrong and he wants to talk about something, we sit down and try to figure things out.  He’s very smart…he knows what every player is doing in this league.  He has a lot of knowledge of the game.”

Kaat on Mets shortstop Jose Reyes’ lead-off style compared to a pair of Hall of Famers: “(Jose Reyes) can get such a huge lead (off of first base) and still get back (to first base) with very little effort.  A lot of your cagey baserunners like (Hall of Famers) Lou Brock or Joe Morgan, they’d sneak off and not take a big lead but then they’d have that explosive first step and steal (the base) anyway.”

Kaat on the challenges the Diamondbacks and Mets face the rest of the season: “As it gets deeper into the pennant race, how will these young players (on the Diamondbacks) handle it?  The one advantage they have is they have such an energetic, helpful coaching staff, guys that have been through it.  On the other hand, the Mets are a veteran team and you expect better things from them than what their record has shown so far.  When their pitchers get healthier, they should get better.”

Source: TBS

 

 
Turner Creating Applebee's Ads w/ Carey, Mitch Williams PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 02 May 2008 10:02

Applebee'sIs it a “Wild Thing” or “Eatin’ Good in the Neighborhood?”

Turner Sports’ creative team  is working with Applebee’s to create television spots that will air during TBS’ Sunday Major League Baseball, beginning later this month.

As Kurt Hunzeker noted in his recent article here on The Biz of Baseball (read The New Mandatory: Integrating Sponsors Into the Game), these types of ads are yet another sign of sponsorship activation directly as part of the broadcast, thus blurring the line between games you watch, and the ads you see. As reported by Mediaweek:

The spots, devised by the Turner Sports creative team, will be shot at an Applebee’s location in Suwanee, Ga., just outside Atlanta. Unlike regular 30-second commercials, these units will contain specially themed content, featuring TBS MLB play-by-play announcer Chip Carey, former Major Leaguer Mitch Williams and a fan discussing and debating assorted baseball topics like who the best all-time MLB home run hitter is. The spots will make no mention of Applebee’s food but capture the interior décor of the location as the conversations are taking place.

Craig Barry, Turner Sports vp and creative director of the unit, said, “Applebee’s was looking for a way to integrate into our baseball coverage,” Barry said. “They wanted to make sure the integration was relevant to baseball but did not focus on their food. So we devised these spots where baseball personalities and fans go to Applebee’s to talk baseball. ”

Barry goes on to add that there will be 15 different spots that will be shot, and that each of them will run at the beginning of each TBS’ Sunday Major League Baseball for approx. 10 weeks.

The creative wing at Turner Sports isn’t new to this creative ad placement. As further reported, they worked last year with “TNT’s introduction of its Wide Open Coverage concept during the telecast of Nascar’s Pepsi 400.” In those instances, the ads were run on a portion of the screen while the race was still being aired, as opposed to going to a standard commercial break.

 
Sports Leagues Fight PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 02 May 2008 04:29
Device BlurIn a joint statement to the FCC, MLB, the NFL, NBA, the Professional Golfers Association of America, the NHL, the NCAA and ESPN took issue with tech-industry companies, including Google, which look to leverage unlicensed digital-TV spectrum not used by broadcasters, for the use of mobile devices. The leagues claim that the proposed technology can impact wireless microphones used by the leagues and by broadcasters. As reported by Broadcasting & Cable:

The leagues took issue with a recent proposal, introduced by Motorola and backed by Google, that they said would protect from interference.

"Now is not the time for the commission to be distracted by proposals that rely on unproven, yet-to-be-developed technical fixes," the leagues said in response to that proposal. "Google suggests that wireless-microphone users purchase and install 'beacons' in order to jam white-space-device transmissions, rely on channels 36-38 for microphone transmissions and, as a last resort, should count on spectrum sensing for interference protection.”

They continued, "Each of these elements is flawed. Strapping together several deficient proposals under a new name simply does not add up to a solution to this difficult problem."

Companies, such as Google, have said they can address any possible interference issues. The skeptical sports leagues are pressing the FCC to not allow the companies proposing to use the unused “white spaces” not be allowed to do so unless they can prove that the technology does not interfere with DTV.

The FCC is still testing to see how the proposed technologies possibly interfere with wireless devices, such as wireless microphones.

 
Comments from MLB of TBS (Yankees v Indians) PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Sunday, 27 April 2008 14:25

TBSThe following are comments from today's MLB on TBS Sunday Game of the Week between the Yankees and Indians

Announcers: Chip Caray (play-by-play), Buck Martinez (analyst) and Marc Fein (studio highlights)

Martinez on the importance of Cleveland Indians pitcher CC Sabathia to his team: "I think there are only about 10 aces in all of baseball and CC Sabathia his last time out pitched like an ace, and because of that this Indians team is playing with a lot of confidence, the bats have come around and they have put together a nice win streak simply because CC Sabathia is an ace again."

Martinez on NY Yankees starting pitcher Chien-Ming Wang: "If the Yankees are going to get back to the postseason for the fourteenth straight time it is going to be because of their starting pitching, and it's not Ian Kennedy and it's not Phil Hughes, it's Chien-Ming Wang who is going to have to lead the way."

Martinez on NY Yankees first baseman Shelley Duncan: "He really gave them a shot of enthusiasm last year when he came up and hit seven home runs in a very limited amount of playing time. They kind of call him their Kirk Gibson, he means that kind of energy to this ballclub."

Martinez on NY Yankees catcher Jose Molina: "He is one of the premiere backup catchers in all of baseball."

Martinez on the offensive struggles of the NY Mets: "The Mets have some concerns. Carlos Delgado is hitting under .200 and certainly not providing the power they need from their big first baseman, and the majority of that offense is placed squarely on the shoulders of David Wright and Jose Reyes."

Caray and Martinez spoke with NY Yankees manager Joe Girardi in-between innings.

Girardi on the state of his ballclub during their extended road trip: "We've played pretty well. We've struggled at times a little bit offensively and with our starting pitching, but we've had a long stretch here...We've hung in there and played a lot of good games."

Martinez on the NY Yankees: "It's the Yankees, and it wouldn't be normal if there wasn't a lot of turmoil surrounding this club. Lots of controversy about (Ian) Kennedy and (Phil) Hughes and whether Joba Chamberlain should be starting or relieving, and I don't think its that serious a problem."

Martinez on the Chicago White Sox: "I think they are (for real), they've got the pitching strength. It appears Gavin Floyd has finally discovered the potential that the Phillies saw in him when they made him a number one pick...another thing they've done is they've build up the bullpen ahead of Bobby Jenks, bringing in (Octavio) Dotel was a good move, bringing in Scott Linebrink was another good move and they've really shortened up their games effectively."

Martinez on whether the Detroit Tigers can make the postseason: "I don't know, I have questions about their starting pitching and whether or not they can be consistent enough."

Caray on the pitching woes of the Texas Rangers: "They might need Nolan Ryan to come out of the front office and pitch in the pen."

Martinez on the Arizona Diamondbacks: "Unbelievable turnaround for the Diamondbacks. They lead the National League in runs scored, doubles (and) triples, they're third in home runs and they were last a year ago. Marvelous turnaround by a group of young hitters that have matured very quickly."

Caray on the terrific pitching and hitting of Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Micah Owings: "Since last August he is 19 for his last 39; so he can pitch you a shutout and maybe hit fourth, not bad."

CC Sabathia on his impending free agency: "This is home, I mean I've been here since I was 17 years old, eleven years now. This is the only place I know and I feel comfortable here, coming in from the parking attendants to the General Manager I feel comfortable, so that's been the biggest difference."

Martinez on the CC Sabathia's needs versus those of the MLB Players Association: "He is very genuine and sincere about his desire to stay here (in Cleveland). Get the deal done and don't let the outside influences cloud your judgment. The Players Association want him to set the standard for free agent contracts in this off-season and at his age, 27, he'll turn 28 in July, he is the premiere free agent pitcher on the market. (Johan) Santana's contract of 137 million with the Mets, they want him to out do that contract, and I don't know if that is going to make him happy."

Martinez on the Yankees homegrown talent: "When the Yankees were in the midst of those four World Series Championships it was the homegrown talent; Andy Pettitte, Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera (that led them), and I think that they potentially have the same foundation now with the three pitchers; (Ian) Kennedy, (Phil) Hughes, (Joba) Chamberlain and the two position players; Melky Cabrera and Robinson Cano...and when you look at the past World Champions most of them have a lot of homegrown talent."

Martinez on whether he thinks Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain should be a starter or a reliever: "I know there has been a lot of controversy surrounding Joba Chamberlain about whether he should start or be used as an eighth inning set-up guy and as a former manager this is where he was meant to be in my mind...I believe he can turn into Mariano Rivera in a couple of years when Rivera steps aside."

Source: TBS


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SNY Hires Harold Reynolds as TV Analyst for Mets Games PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 24 April 2008 04:35

Harold ReynoldsFresh off his settlement with ESPN, Harold Reynolds has been hired by SNY as a studio analyst for Mets games, according to John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal/Sports Business Daily.

According to the report, "starting tomorrow, Reynolds will appear on the RSN's Mets pre- and postgame shows with Lee Mazzilli and Matt Yallof. Reynolds will continue as an analyst on MLB.com, a job he has held since June. "

The job at SNY will mark the first television job for Reynolds since his firing at ESPN in July of 2006.


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Harold Reynolds Settles Suit With ESPN PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 15 April 2008 18:57

Harold ReynoldsIn July of 2006, former MLB player and television analyst Harold Reynolds was fired from ESPN after he was accused of sexual harassment for a hug that Reynolds claims was “a total misunderstanding.” In the first interview after being fired (read the interview with Charley Steiner here on Maury Brown’s Biz of Sports) Reynolds said, “What I can tell you is number one that my conscious is clear on this whole issue. I feel like I was wrongfully terminated.”

He filed a wrongful termination suit against ESPN in October of ’06 (see Harold Reynolds v ESPN), and was seeking up to $15 million for breach of contract. A February 2009 court date had been set in the case.

Today it was announced that Reynolds, now with MLB.com, settled his suit with ESPN. As reported by USA Today:

"My family and I are ecstatic," said Reynolds, the former All-Star second baseman. "This is a matter of principal. And I stood on principal and never wavered. "All of my goals were met, and now I look forward to concentrating on the game I love."

[…]

"The settlement was a fraction of his demands and the fraction of what it would have cost to litigate the case," ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys said. "Our confidence in both the appropriateness of our action and our legal position never wavered. The resolution allows us to spare the people involved further difficult disruptions to their lives and is economically compelling to ESPN." 


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Maury Brown

Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer.

Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

 
DirecTV Offering All Mariners Games on FSNW PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 15 April 2008 03:58

MarinersThose wishing to watch the Mariners on DirecTV, Liberty Media’s buyout of News Corp’s 41 percent stake in DirecTV means they now own FSN Northwest.

According to Multichannel News, In announcing the additional games package, DirecTV said it now has a leg up on cable operator GCI, which has not yet struck a new deal, in bringing all of the Mariners actions to baseball fans in Alaska.

The deal means an extra 45 games will be shown on the satcaster.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

What do you think? Don't forget to leave your comments


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Maury Brown

Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer.

Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

 
FOX Cuts Off Yanks/Sox Game and Switch to NASCAR PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Sunday, 13 April 2008 14:57

FoxAs Yogi Berra (and Lenny Kravitz) said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”

With a rain delay for Saturday’s Yankees v. Red Sox game on FOX, the network tried to squeeze in all of the game, plus keep their contractual obligation with NASCAR to show all of the race in Phoenix. They nearly pulled it off. As reported by The AP:

A long rain delay during Saturday's Yankees-Red Sox matchup on Fox created the possibility that the game would overlap with the NASCAR race from Phoenix. Fox gambled that it could squeeze in both events -- and came up two pitches short.

The final out was televised on another channel, but not all fans realized that.

"For any frustration on fans' behalf, we apologize," Fox spokesman Dan Bell said Sunday.

As mentioned, FOX almost got all the game in, until Robinson Cano fouled off several pitches with 2 outs and 2 strikes in the in the top of the ninth. FOX switched to the race at 8:53. The final two pitches were shown on FX.

"It wasn't the smoothest transition, but our intentions were to try to finish on the network," Bell said.

Don't forget to leave your comments 


OTHER NEWS ACROSS THE BUSINESS OF SPORTS NETWORK


Maury Brown

Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer.

Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

 
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