Archive for the ‘FOX’ Category

pmjaydanAccording to a press release from TSN, SportsCentre anchors Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole will be leaving Canada’s largest sports network in June to pursue opportunities in the United States. The news release doesn’t mention FOX Sports specifically, but does cite Los Angeles as the pair’s destination, which also happens to be the location for FOX’s new national sports network’s base.

The move elicited a sorrowful response from Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Twitter, simultaneously confirming the duo’s verging on iconic popularity in their home country and that Canada is very much the New Zealand of the Western Hemisphere. Even to the most critical, the light-hearted approach to sports highlights from Onrait and O’Toole was a breath of fresh air in a typically stodgy environment.

FOX Sports 1 is expected to become one of the largest channel launches in television history when it begins broadcasting in August. This is thanks to the network replacing the already established SPEED network, which means it will immediately supplant NBC Sports Network as America’s second largest national sports network with estimated availability in 90 million homes. 

But just in case there’s any worry of the two sportscasters becoming too big for their britches, Onrait promises that although “we may be heading south, we remain forever CANADIAN!”

buckmccarver-2Tim McCarver announced on Wednesday via conference call that this will be his last season as a baseball analyst for FOX Sports, vowing to not seek an extension on his contract which concludes at the end of 2013. The 71-year-old McCarver has worked 28 consecutive Major League Baseball postseasons on network television dating back to 1984, providing color commentary and analysis for a record 23 World Series.

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USA v Canada - World Baseball Classic - First Round Group DCuriosity in humans is a funny thing. Without it, we’d have never evolved into what we are, but with it, we’ve created strange beliefs that have held our collective progress back. It seems that as a whole we’re curious enough to ask the right questions, but not curious enough to seek out answers beyond the most readily available. In general, we’re surface scratchers and not excavators.

Part of this trait is our insistence on attaching a narrative to events that don’t require such shaping. We see this a lot in sports writing, and while the motivation to “connect the dots” as Richard Whittall put it on this very blog, is understandable for sports writers serving an audience that is best described as casual, and not really caring – after all, it is sports that we’re talking about – it doesn’t make things any less frustrating for critical thinking sports fans being spoon fed constant bowls of foul tasting and malnourishing pablum.

We’ve seen egregious displays of this phenomenon before, most notably with the Manti T’eo reporting debacle, in which reporters shaped a narrative that an athlete was far too willing to participate in, creating and contributing to large scale deception. While the trickery of this story took place on multiple levels, a more recent example of enhanced narration at the cost of realistic perception has occurred in a more straight forward manner with coverage of the World Baseball Classic, an international baseball tournament that occurs every four years.

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2013 Fox Sports Media Group Upfront After PartyOn Tuesday afternoon, it was announced to the surprise of no one that FOX Sports Media Group will launch a new national sports network in the United States called Fox Sports 1. As the embedded quote in the news release from FSMG Co-President Eric Shanks indicates, the network has been introduced with the purpose of eventually competing with ESPN.

Fans are ready for an alternative to the establishment, and our goal for FS1 is to provide the best in-game  experience possible, complemented by informative news, entertaining studio shows and provocative original programming.

The order in which Shanks lists the network’s content is not an accident. Live sports has increasingly become the only reliable source of appointment viewing for television networks scrambling to compete in a shifting environment where technology, seen most notably through online and DVR viewing, has left executives to scrap their tired business models from the past.

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Darren Rovell At The NBA Store

The flock gets sight of a spot of blood on some chicken and they all go to peckin’ at it, see, till they rip the chicken to shreds, blood and bones and feathers. But usually a couple of the flock gets spotted in the fracas, then it’s their turn. And a few more gets spots and gets pecked to death, and more and more. Oh, a peckin’ party can wipe out the whole flock in a matter of a few hours, buddy, I seen it. A mighty awesome sight.

- One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

An increased hostility toward ESPN sports business reporter Darren Rovell has erupted during the fortnight following Will Leitch’s column for Sports On Earth, in which the former Deadspin editor likened the self-branded social media expert to sleet, a foul smell on the subway and pop-up spam (and that’s just the first paragraph). Its begun the human equivalent to a modern day hen pecking.

Leitch pointed out something that several among us felt to be true – Rovell’s commodification of the human experience in sports through corporate shilling – but perhaps couldn’t quite express in the same terms as the writer’s recent piece. This spotting of blood produced a reaction with more pecking from the public.

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If we are to be judged, it’s likely best that we’re judged by the decisions that we make. However, some people’s decisions, and the process by which they make them, are a little more accessible than others. So, it makes sense that the decisions that these unfortunate people make receive a greater amount of scrutiny than what is typical.

The Toronto Maple Leafs fired General Manager Brian Burke this past week, and while the termination likely has to do with factors beyond the decisions that the head of the team made during his tenure in charge, such matters were only hinted at during a press conference on Saturday afternoon at the Air Canada Centre. There was a moment during the question and answer period though where it appeared as though Burke’s manicured and restrained response to his dismissal might break down. It came on a question from Paul Hendrick of Leafs TV. He asked, “How disappointing is it that you’re not going to be able to stay here and finish the job.”

Burke started with a stock answer, “Well, I think. I think you can make the case …” He paused. Looked away. Looked back at the reporter. “I think I can make the case that ….” Pause. He looked down. Silence. It promised to be a President Bartlett moment, but then, gathered and collected, he resumed, “I think that’s a case that I’ll let the media make.”

There was little doubt that in this moment, Burke’s honesty was being kept in check by either a sense of honor or desire to find another job. Both motivators would play a role in causing one to carefully consider one’s actions. He decided on the restrained approach. Moments later, Burke’s path along the high road took a slight detour.

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