Congratulations to the Milwaukee Bucks as the NBA Champions. I must say that after the first two games in this playoff series, I thought the Bucks were going to be swept; I did not think they would win a game let alone win 4 in a row. Giannis Antetokounmpo was deservedly the MVP of the series but take your hat off the Jrue Holiday too; he stepped up his defensive game significantly as the series wore on.
Next … Maria Taylor presumably ended the feud with Rachel Nichols when Taylor jumped ship at ESPN to sign on with NBC.I wonder just how many viewers EPSN will lose because of that contractual signing and how many of those “lost viewers” will show up in front of TVs to watch NBC Sports? My guess is a trivially small number. Let me say this again about this tempest in a teapot:
- Neither Nichols nor Taylor is good enough as a studio host to get me to circle either of their shows on my calendar so I can be sure to tune in.
- As sideline reporters, they are equally good or bad depending on your preferences, but do you EVER make a sports viewing decision based on who the sideline reporter is going to be?
- The time has come to move on and let this feud recede into dim memory.
Speaking of NBC Sports – sort of – I read a report that said NBC has already sold out 85% of the advertising slot inventory for the Super Bowl next February. NBC has already collected a float in excess of $1.5B from these advance sales. According to Adweek this is the largest advance inventory sale of its kind.
According to Adweek, NBC asked and got $6M for a 30-second slot during the game. That represents a 9% increase over the cost of an ad sort in last year’s game. I think it is important to take note of these record sales considering data that indicates NFL viewership was down last year.
- Regular-season viewership dropped 7% to 15.4 million fans for live or same-day viewers. That is the lowest average audience since 2017, according to Nielsen.
- Last year’s Super Bowl between the Bucs and the Chiefs only attracted 96.4 million viewers — the lowest since 2007.
- Notwithstanding that “bad news”, NFL games are the highest rated show on all 5 of the networks that carry those games in the US – – CBS, ESPN, FOX. NBC and the NFL Network
According to reports, a baseball team in the Appalachian League has disbanded after one of the players made terroristic threats on social media against his teammates. Let me just say that camaraderie was not in great abundance here. After the player made some threats, he was banned from the premises by management and that they had local police on the scene “just in case”. That is when the player took to making his threats on social media saying things like”
- “Columbine 2.0” – – and
- “They took my life, I’ll take theirs.”
The team that has disbanded is the Kingsport Axmen. The Appalachian League is a summer league for players not affiliated with MLB or MiLB teams. Management for the Axmen are in the process of signing a new team – they will be called the Road Warriors – because they will fulfill the away games left on the Axmen’s schedule.
According to the report, the player who made these threats is “now under the care of medical professionals”. I should hope so…
Here are two comments from Bob Molinaro in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot:
“Over it: In a roundabout way, baseball’s mid-summer showcase reminded me that the novelty of MLB’s daily interleague play has worn very thin.
“Gotta man up: For this season, unlike last, if a college football team can’t post for a game because of a COVID outbreak in its locker room, it should lose by forfeit. There are no excuses anymore.”
With regard to the first observation, I agree that the proliferation of interleague games from April to October has taken a lot away from the “specialness” of the All-Star Game. My problem here is that the cure might be worse than the disease. To return to the limited interleague windows, MLB would need an even number of teams in both leagues. That leads to two possible situations:
- Sixteen teams in one league and fourteen teams in the other. I think this is the better alternative.
- MLB expands by 2 teams so that there would be sixteen teams in each league. Here is my problem with that. A team’s pitching staff usually has 12 pitchers; if MLB expands, that will open roster slots for 24 minor league pitchers. I think that is a bad idea.
About the second observation, I could not agree more. And I do not care if one of the elite teams has to be the one to forfeit a game and ruins its chances for the CFP.
Finally, apropos of nothing, let me close with this observation from English playwright, Noel Coward:
“People are wrong when they say that the opera isn’t what it used to be. It is what it used to be. That’s what’s wrong with it.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports……..