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ESPN re-ups with Kornheiser and Wilbon for PTI

in Sports Media/Sports TV by

In a world of rapid talent movement at the mothership, there are few constants, one is the shining light that is PTI, one of the first, and pioneers of the TV sports debate genres.

Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon both celebrated sportswriters in previous’ lives, host the half-hour program daily at 5:30 on ESPN. The show has been a respite for the American sports fan for the last 15 years.

There have been small murmurs on social media about the demise of PTI as ratings have dropped an alleged 30% recently, but it’s all amongst those who follow that sort of thing. PTI remains a jewel for ESPN daily.

This week ESPN announced it has signed both Kornheiser and Wilbon to multi-year extensions and that the pair will “continue to work together” and contribute to other ESPN platforms.

According to ESPN, PTI is the most viewed ESPN studio product with about 1 million viewers daily if you count the re-air on ESPN2 at 6:30 as well. PTI is also ESPN’s most DVR’d studio show as well .

Hottest Ticket in Sports: NLCS Cubs Tickets at Wrigley

in Sports Business/Yardwork by

—For a potential Game 6 or 7 at Wrigley Field this Saturday or Sunday in Chicago, it will cost between $300-$400 just to get in the door, and that’s without a seat.
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The lowest priced ticket for Saturday’s potential Game 6 (Los Angeles leads 2-1 at the time of this article was published) is $315 for a standing room only ticket according to StubHub. The lowest priced seat for Saturday’s potential Wrigley field matchup is $400.

For a potential winner-take-all Game 7 at Wrigley this Sunday, the lowest priced ticket on StubHub comes in at $394. The lowest price seating for the game comes in at $425.

By comparison, in Los Angeles at Dodger the lowest priced ticket on StubHub for Wednesday’s Game 3 comes in at $103 for standing room only and $105 for a seat.


The NLCS has been good for FS1 and Fox Sports

in Sports Media/Sports TV by

The ratings for the first two broadcasts of the National League Championship Series between the Dodgers-Cubs on FoxSports1 have shown good signs. The numbers are good, not mind-blowing but very good.

What’s more,  America seems to like the John Smoltz Joe Buck pairing. Perhaps Smoltz wasn’t brought to life the way he ought to be with his temporary partner Matt Vasgersian or perhaps it’s just a bigger stage and more people are criticizing and yes watching and paying attention.

For Saturday’s Game 1, Fox drew a 3.9 overnight rating with 5.9 total viewers. Game 2 numbers really spiked with 7.2 million viewers and a 5.0 rating according to Fox Sports PR. Likely its the highest viewed event in FS1’s very brief history.

The numbers are good, not off the charts in comparison to what TBS drew a year ago when it had the NLCS. Also Chicago and L.A. as top markets boost the overall number. But it serves a bigger purpose in the FOX Sports stratosphere.

For FOX it serves as a vehicle into non-stop, and rightful, promotion of its new ESPN competitor FS1. Fox’s talent grab from ESPN includes Skip Bayless, Colin Cowherd, NBA reporter Chris Broussard, studio host Mike Hill among others.

Game 3 of the NLCS airs tonight on FS1.

The most profitable school in sports? Texas A&M

in Pigskin/Sports Business by

Texas A&M’s athletic department brought in more money than any other school in the NCAA for the year 2015, due in large part to big Texas cash in the form of donations.

According to data compiled by USA TODAY http://sports.usatoday.com/ncaa/finances/and published by Business Insider, Texas A&M raked in $192.6 million for its athletics program in 2015. The Aggies received $92 million in donations. The Aggie football program brought in $57 million and licensing rights brought in $47 million.  Ticket sales brought in $45 million for all sports.


$192 is a big number but that’s tempered against expenses of $109 million, with a net profit of $83 million, a number which many companies would love to rival.

Rounding out the Top 10 most revenue-rich athletic programs in the United Sates are Texas at No. 2 bringing in $183 million, No. 3 Ohio State at $167 million. No. 4 Michigan at $152 million No. 5 Alabama at $148 million No. 6 Florida at $147 million No. 7 LSU at $138 million No. 8 Oklahoma at $134 No. 9 Tennessee at $126 million No. 10 Penn State at $125 million.




Tiger Woods made the right decision, for Tiger Woods

in Golf by


—Anyone who has played golf knows how important the back is, and how easily the muscles that are a part of that area of the body are for the game of golf.

So when Tiger Woods said that his game is not where it is supposed to be, or where he needs it to be, and announced at the last minute he would not be returning to pro golf this week at the Safeway Open, we wonder if his back will truly ever be the same. Health is a relative term.

Someone once commented, a professor of kinesiology or the like, that we, the common person, could never play golf like Tiger Woods because he’s been developing the muscles in his back particularly for the game of golf since he was a kid. Now it appears those back muscles have betrayed him.  While his surgery is behind him, you have to wonder if his back will ever be powerful and robust enough to play the game the way he played it for the first 35 years of his life. Tiger’s game was never purely finesse, a lot of times it was pure power and tenacity.

But there’s a deeper psychological issue indicated by Tiger’s reluctance to play unless he feels he can be a top-tier player. One, he’s a perfectionist. Two, he’s uncomfortable in the spotlight unless he’s being praised. Third, he doesn’t love the game of golf in the same sense as your weekend player. For Tiger this has been a business, this has been life, this has been so much more that just going out and playing.

When he was “coaching” the Ryder Cap a week ago it appears that’s the happiest Tiger has been. He declined to hit balls at the range at the Ryder Cup, he was just there having fun. He won’t play at this week’s Safeway Open but he will be participating in his charity golf clinics and the like. through his foundation He really enjoys his work with his foundation, and all the other parts of golf.

The tenacious, unstoppable Tiger Woods we wanted and craved and enjoyed, made Tiger Woods miserable. Tiger Woods the golf ambassador is who Tiger is at this point in his career.  And that’s just fine.

The Giants have some sorta Magic

in MLB/Trending/Yardwork by

—It’s easy to like the Giants.

The two biggest stars on the team, Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner, are stalwarts at their positions. And both humble in their respectable ways. Hyper-competitive, but humble.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy is likely one of the greatest managers to manage a ball club. And no it does not take big names to buy in and make it happen with Bochy’s Giants.

Take for example Connor Gillaspie. Once a Giants prospect, found himself designated for assignment, not once but twice, the last by the Los Angeles Angels last summer. The Giants who originally drafted Gillaspie pretty high in the 2008 draft, 37th overall, signed him to a minor league deal last winter and he’s saved the day this postseason.

The Giants under Bochy do well under pressure when it’s when or your season is over. Under Bochy, the Giants are perfect-as in have never lost a postseason elimination game. Somehow someway they find a way.

Last night in San Francisco it took 13 innings but the Giants found a way to keep it going and will play tonight under the lights in Game 4 of the NLDS against the Cubs, once again with their back to the wall.

Somehow, someway, regardless of the roster the Giants are going to be in the thick of things. Making it happen on a hope and a prayer.


Tiger Woods may surprise us this week at the Safeway Open

in Golf/Trending by

Update: Tiger Woods has announced he will not play in this week’s Safeway Open or next Month in Turkey. Woods states his game is not where it needs to be to compete with the best players in the world.  Woods’ likely return will be at The Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas in December. 

Tiger Woods has endured personal problems and horrendous back problems, are they behind him finally?

At first thought, one might wonder, ‘Why in the world would Tiger Woods choose the “Safeway Open” as his comeback tournament?’

One might picture a tiny tournament that just made its way onto the PGA Tour or in some sense regulated to a grocery store sponsorship. And perhaps played on a course behind the grocery store.

That’s not the case. For one, it’s the first stop on the 2016-17 PGA Tour season. A chance for Tiger to start at the beginning and keep momentum going once fully healthy. For another, it’s in Napa Valley California one of Tiger’s favorite places, where he also hosts the Tiger Woods Invitational.

This week’s tournament is at a place called the Silverado Resort and Spa in Napa, California.

Tiger is already in town. Saturday night he was at the Standford football game on the sidelines about a two-hour drive from this week’s tournament. Sunday he was at the Standford golf course playing a round.

The biggest mystery surrounding Tiger’s game is how much is mental, how much is diminishing skills due to age, and how much or if all of it is due to a very bad back.

Golf is impossible to play with a bad back. When his back was bad, it showed. Just 5 months ago he dropped three in the water on a 100-yard par 3. It wasn’t that the best golfer in the planet, at one time, couldn’t hit a ball 100 yards, his back wouldn’t let him.

But word on the street is that Tiger is playing well. Although some are doubtful how much work he has been able to put in on the golf course in his time back from Surgery in October 2015, the growing majority are beginning to trend towards the idea that Tiger will be able to play decent this week in Napa Valley. Of course, that doesn’t mean he will score low. There’ a difference in hitting the ball well, even playing well and the ability to score low in the course of a four round tournament.

One thing Tiger has done well is to avoid answering too many questions about his golf game.

According to Golf Digest, Jesper Parvevick says Tiger is hitting it well at the Medalist, Tiger’s home course in Florida where many Tour players play.

“I see Tiger at the Medalist. We talk and have played nine holes together,” Parnevik tells Golf Digest senior writer Guy Yocom. “By the way, he’s been hitting a lot of balls, and he’s hitting it great. He’s pounding it a mile and flushing everything. On the range, at least, his trajectory and ball flight are like the Tiger we knew 15 years ago. Comebacks are never a sure thing, but something tells me his might be spectacular.”

Brian Wacker of Golf Digest has a different story.

Woods, by many accounts, seems to have become as private as ever. In the 20-mile strip of the Sunshine State between Jupiter and West Palm Beach to the south, where you can’t go to the local Chipotle without bumping into a tour player, Big Cat sightings have become increasingly scarce since he has been on the shelf. These days, he leads an existence closer to Bruce Wayne than Batman.

A former Wall Streeter who played college golf and still carries a low-single-digit handicap says he saw Woods earlier this summer and adds, “It was so bad it almost looked like he can’t play golf anymore.”

All subject to opinion. That’s why many will tune into the opening round Thursday on the Golf Channel. Word on the street is that Phil Mickelson asked to be paired with Tiger for the opening two rounds and that is what will happen.

Woods has played the Safeway Open one time prior, in 2011, when he finished 30th at 7-under for the tournament.

In a statement released last month on his website, Woods also states he plans to play the Turkish Airlines Open in November and the Hero World Challenge in December in the Bahamas.

Blue Jay Mania: Toronto advances to ALCS on walk-off error

in MLB/Yardwork by

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—There’s Matt Bush, a 30-year old rookie, who’s come from the darkest spots in his life to pitch in relief on the biggest stage.

It’s the 10th inning. He’s throwing straight gas, but he lets a breaking ball slide and 2015 AL MVP Josh Donaldson is on it and puts a double out to right center. Then things get interesting.

Edwin Encarnacion is intentionally walked for Jose Bautista, who Bush strikes out with pure gas. Up comes Russell Martin before 49,000 plus screaming Canadians. Russell grounds out to short, the throw to second out, the throw to first, and then the throw home. Donaldson scores and everyone goes crazy. The Blue Jays advance to the American League Championship series to face the winner of the Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians.

It’s the first walk-off error in MLB postseason history.

It’s the first time in franchise history the Blue Jays have swept a playoff series.

Blue Jays faithful can give thanks to a rock solid starting lineup of veteran but skilled bats and a bullpen that has been lights out. The Blue Jays pen gave 4.1 innings of shutout work en route to the 7-6 victory.

As Richard Justice of MLB.com points out, the Blue Jays have won six straight games with a 2.53 ERA, 33 runs, with 11 home runs.

The Blue Jays gave up some runs to the Rangers, but certainly look like a team with enough momentum to get the Jays back to the World Series for the first time in the post-strike era.

Photo Credit: Embed Getty Images

Brian Kelly will keep his job, this is a throw away season for Notre Dame

in College Football/Pigskin by

—Brian Kelly will keep his job, despite the fact that the Notre Dame Fighting Irish dropped to an overall record of 2-4 after losing to North Carolina State in Raleigh 10-3 in a rain storm.

Greater coaches have been fired for less. Not for the weather, but for the abysmal failure. An abysmal failure offensively. A three-point output in the rain and the mud.

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 Lately, the big complaint many people have is that Brian Kelly does not, and will not stop yelling at his players.

After embarrassing losses earlier this season, he blamed the players, then he blamed his assistant coaches. He fired his defensive coordinator. The media postgame Saturday tried to get Brian Kelly to blame Brian Kelly.

It kind of happened, but not really.
Via ESPN.com’s Matt Fortuna:

Asked what he meant when he said he let his team down, Kelly alluded to a punt that NC State blocked and returned for a 10-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter — the game’s only touchdown.

“When your team is flat and not playing with that energy, you kind of sense it,” Kelly said. “They were excited to play today and you want to be there for them. You want to make the right call, you want to put them in the right position. You had two guys back there [on the punt], maybe you second-guess yourself. Maybe we should’ve been in a three-man wall there instead of rugby. You second-guess yourself in games like this where your team is ready to play and excited to play. That’s what I was meaning by that.”

And the Journal Courrier’s Jeff Washburn:

No doubt Brian Kelly will not be fired even if Notre Dame loses the remainder of their schedule. Even if the Irish don’t make a bowl game, which is very possible. He gets a throwaway season. He’s earned that. He took Notre Dame to the Championship game in 2012 and that earns him a throwaway season. Simple as that.

He’s watched his predecessors take all the blame and get controlled by the media and also forced out of town. He’s done everything in his power to work the alumni and the media, but at some point, even Brian Kelly has to answer for Brian Kelly.

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