Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Under Further Review: Sports Media Carousel Keeps Turning

Your brain may be on summer vacation (don't tell your boss), but the sports world never sleeps.  Ever.  That's one of its greatest attributes, actually.  Sports media certainly does not sleep either, and in just two short weeks, there has been enough news to keep us all busy for a week.  Here are some major stories that you may have missed:

Peter King and The MMQB
Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback column on has been an internet stop for the football masses to begin the week for some time now.  In fact, King's column has become so big that SI saw it fit to move the MMQB to its own website,

The launch has been long-awaited and has not disappointed.  The launch date aligned with the start of NFL training camps so there was certainly no lack of content.  With a writing staff of four and contributions from various SI writers including Richard Deitsch and Andrew Brandt, The MMQB offers NFL insight online that is unmatched.

Judy Battista Moves to NFL Network/
Long-time New York Times sportswriter, Judy Battista, is leaving the paper to join NFL Media.  Her duties will include writing for and television work on NFL Network.  She covered the NFL for the NY Times.

The jump from a newspaper (or news outlet) to a league controlled media platform is always an interesting jump for a journalist.  Going to the NFL will offer Battista more exposure with the added television piece, but working as a league columnist is more like public relations in disguise than the truest form of journalism.  Battista is one of the best so hopefully she keeps the journalistic edge.

Nate Silver to ESPN
Some may know Nate Silver from his time at Baseball Prospectus years ago when he was at the forefront of the sabermetrics push in the MLB.  If not, you definitely know him from the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections when he used his statistical models to correctly predict the winner down to the number of votes.

Now his FiveThirtyEight website is moving from the New York Times to ESPN and ABC.  The site will be reworked and Silver will be in control, similar to Bill Simmons' work with Grantland.  Reports say that the site will feature a little bit of everything with a dose of sports and, during election season, politics.  The 35-year-old is doing big things in the media world.  It's time to take notice.

Keith Olbermann to Host ESPN2 Show
He's backkkkkkkk! Keith Olbermann is going back to the evil empire, errr, the World Wide Leader to host a late night show aptly named "Olbermann" on ESPN2.  The show will be broadcast from New York, so Olbermann is not really making a return to Bristol, per se.

Reports have said that the show will steer clear of politics, remaining focused on sports and likely venturing into pop culture.  Seth Meyers, former Saturday Night Live writer who is taking over for Jimmy Fallon on Late Night, was rumored to have been contacted about the spot but ultimately stayed with NBC.  Olbermann's controversial return could very well be an ESPN ploy to limit the attention to Fox Sports 1's August 17th launch with Olbermann debuting a week later.

Peter Gammons to Launch
Not to be outdone by King and Silver, Peter Gammons will be launching his own website, Gammons Daily. And soon.  According to reports, will launch today with financial backing from TruMedia.  TruMedia is a sports analytics heavy company.

(Related: Rossi guest post on Sports Analytics Blog outlines analytics in new writer-based sites)

This is a surprising move from the 68-year-old Gammons, who left ESPN for MLB Network in 2009 partially to reduce his travel burden. Gammons has also had his share of health issues in the past.  Regardless of what you may think of his Boston bias, Gammons is one of the best that baseball has ever had to offer, so the launch of his site should be exciting.

NASCAR to NBC Sports
In the northern part of the U.S., people like to the pretend that NASCAR is just some southern sport that sees some form of stereotypical southerner sit around a dirt race track with a six pack of Budweiser at their side.  It reality, NASCAR is major business that goes beyond just mentioning in class that there are a lot of ads on the cars and drivers.

NBS Sports has gained the rights to the second half of the NASCAR Spring Cup and Nationwide Series raises for 10 years beginning in 2015.  The price tag? $4.4 BILLION, according to Sports Business Journal.  Yes, billion.  Gaining live rights for a major sports property is huge for NBC Sports, a network that is still looking for its identity.  Given NBC Sports' poor ratings to this point and ESPN's tendency to favor the properties that they own with their shows, this move could come back to bite NASCAR down the line.

Brian Urlacher to Fox Sports 1
As Fox Sports 1's August 17th launch date quickly approaches, the network continues to add talent.  Recent retired Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher will be joining the network as an NFL analyst.  Rumor had it that NFL Network was also vying for the 35-year-old's services.

There has also been chatter that Urlacher's name may come up in talks with a contender in the case of a major injury on defense.  The move looks like Urlacher will remain retired and stay busy on Sundays.  Fox Sports 1's signing of Urlacher mirror's ESPN's signing of Ray Lewis, although Lewis is more highly regarded in media circles.


Kevin Rossi is a pre-junior Drexel Sport Management major with a minor in Communications. Kevin has worked at Double Eagle Golf where he is now Social Media Coordinator and Comcast-Spectacor as their market research intern. Since joining the SMTSU, Kevin has worked his way up the ladder to Vice President. Currently, Kevin is a staff writer for, and he has joined Temple University Athletics Communications for co-op this spring/summer.  Follow Kevin on Twitter @kevin_rossi.

Connect with Kevin Rossi on LinkedIn.

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