Behind the Broadcast: Soccer can’t even beat Little League game on ESPN’s priority list

On a day when Major League Soccer announced a new three-year deal with the NBC Sports Group to telev

Some random thoughts and notes as I can’t wait for postseason baseball to begin, thanks to my Philadelphia Phillies.

u On a day when Major League Soccer announced a new three-year deal with the NBC Sports Group to televise the league starting next year, ESPN should have been given a red card for fouling up the start of its broadcast of the international friendly between the United States and Mexico.

The broadcast was scheduled to start at 9 p.m. on ESPN2. The game marked the debut of new U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann. There was much anticipation for this match.

But there was a very big problem. A Little League World Series Southeast Region semifinal game was being televised by ESPN2. That game started at 7 p.m. By 9, the game was in the fifth inning.

The head honchos at ESPN had a decision to make. Do they move the baseball game to another channel and start the soccer game on time on ESPN2, or do they stay with the baseball game and bump the soccer to another channel?

They chose the latter. The game started on ESPNEWS, while the baseball game played out to conclusion.

To me, that was the wrong

decision to make. With the recent coaching change made by U.S. Soccer, millions of viewers wanted to see how the team would fare under Klinsmann. Plus, there was the sting of the U.S. losing to Mexico in the Gold Cup final last month.

Instead, it chose to stay with a Little League contest that wasn’t even a championship game. It was a regional semifinal. Are you going to tell me there were more people interested in that instead of an international soccer match? I’ll be interested when the Little League games begin next week in Williamsport, Pa.

This is going to hurt ESPN down the road with the MLS.

Earlier Wednesday, the league celebrated a three-year deal with the NBC Sports Group. The deal calls for NBC Sports Channel (currently known as Versus) to air 38 regular-season games, three playoff games and two U.S. men’s national team matches each year.

NBC will broadcast two reg­ular-season MLS games, two playoff games and two national team appearances.

“It shows our sport is ready for prime time,” MLS commissioner Don Garber told The Associated Press.

ESPN’s deal expires in two years. After botching Wednesday’s U.S.-Mexico broadcast, ESPN may have given MLS a reason to make the NBC Sports Group the exclusive home of its games.

u NBC13 weekend sports anchor Andrew Catalon will be calling the play-by-play of Cleveland Browns preseason games for WKYC-TV.

Catalon, who has previously called New York Giants preseason games, is taking over for WKYC sports anchor Jim Donovan. Don­ovan recently had a bone marrow transplant as he battles leukemia.

The Browns host the Super Bowl-champion Green Bay Packers tonight at 7:30. The game will be carried by NFL Network. However, the Green Bay broadcast will be used.

u Speaking of NBC13, it will have the New York Giants-Carolina Panthers game tonight at 8. It will also be on WPYX-FM (106.5).

u The New York Jets are moving to Los Angeles!

Well, their broadcasts are.

ESPN LA announced Thursday that it reached an agreement with the Jets to broadcast all 16 of the team’s regular-season games on 710 ESPN Radio. A lot of that has to do with Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, who played at Southern California.

Los Angeles has been without an NFL team since the Raiders and Rams left.

u ESPN must have cash to burn. It continues to hire NFL analysts for all of its football platforms.

The latest hires this week are former coach Bill Parcells and Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice. Parcells is returning to ESPN for his third stint, working their previously in 2002 and 2007.

Rice will make his debut on “Audibles,” the pro football-themed discussion show driven by fan-generated questions, on Sept. 15. The show will be part of ESPN’s Thursday night lineup.

Recent ESPN hires for its NFL programs include Hugh Douglas, Eric Mangini and Damien Woody.

Does ESPN have enough room at the anchor desk for all of these analysts?

u The high school football season is just around the corner, and Gloversville radio station WENT-AM (1340) is ready.

WENT will broadcast 12 reg­ular-season games this year, starting Sept. 2 when Hudson visits Johnstown.

Tom Roehl and Alex Isabel return for their 27th season to call the games.

Here is WENT’s schedule:

Sept. 2 — Hudson at Johnstown, 6:50 p.m.

Sept. 3 — Watervliet at Fonda-Fultonville, 12:50 p.m.

Sept. 9 — Glens Falls at Gloversville, 6:50 p.m.

Sept. 16 — Hudson Falls at Johnstown, 6:50 p.m.

Sept. 23 — Queensbury at Gloversville, 6:50 p.m.

Sept. 24 — Chatham at Fonda-Fultonville, 12:50 p.m.

Sept. 30 — Amsterdam at Gloversville, 6:50 p.m.; Broadalbin-Perth at Johnstown, 10 p.m. (same-day tape)

Oct. 7 — Mohonasen at Gloversville, 6:50 p.m.

Oct. 8 — Voorheesville at Fonda-Fultonville, 12:50 p.m.

Oct. 14 — Cobleskill-Richmondville at Johnstown, 6:50 p.m.

Oct. 15 — Coxsackie-Athens at Fonda-Fultonville, 12:50 p.m.

u The Indianapolis 500 will remain on ABC through 2018, it was announced Wednesday. The race has been on ABC since 1965.

ABC will televise four additional IndyCar races each year.

u MY4 TV will have a busy sports schedule starting in September.

The Capital Region station will televise the final round of the Price Chopper Futures Tour championship live at 3 p.m. Sept. 11 from Capital Hills.

ACC football makes its debut on MY4 Sept. 3, when Virginia Tech host Appalachian State. Other games scheduled are Rutgers at North Carolina Sept. 10, and Duke at Boston College Sept. 17.

MY4 will also televise ACC basketball, starting in January.

u Finally, the “Summer at Sar­atoga” series continues on Versus and Versus HD today at 5 p.m. with the Sword Dancer Invitational Handicap.

Categories: -Sports-

Leave a Reply