The last day of 2012 brought some good news to fans of ECAC Hockey.
On Monday, the league announced that it reached a deal with FOX College Sports to televise the league’s championship round from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J. FCS Atlantic will carry the semifinals March 22 at 4 and 7:30 p.m., and the championship game at 7 p.m. March 23.
“We’re very happy,” ECACH commissioner Steve Hagwell said. “The fact that we did get three games [live] instead of a situation having semifinal games that would be [tape] delayed is a huge plus.”
Last year championships weren’t on national or regional TV. If you didn’t go to Atlantic City to watch the games, the only way you could see them was on the Internet. RPI TV produced the games, and did a fine job.
But the league was ridiculed for not having a TV outlet. In 2011, CBS College Sports (now CBS Sports Network) televised the games, but CBSSN chose not to do it last season.
“I’m fully aware of that,” Hagwell said. “It wasn’t a situation where I was happy that we couldn’t be on. The fact that we were able to negotiate this deal with FOX is a plus for us.”
The deal is for this year, and no arrangements have been made yet for the next three years, when the championships move to Lake Placid, starting in 2014.
“That remains to be seen,” Hagwell said. “I won’t speak for FOX, but my experience with them is that they want to do more games. We certainly have had some preliminary discussions, but there’s a long way to go for that.”
Astros on ESPN
Despite posting a Major League Baseball-worst 55-107 record last year, the Houston Astros will be in the spotlight on the opening night of this season.
And that’s only because they are changing leagues.
After 51 years in the National League, the Astros will make their American League debut March 31 when they host the Texas Rangers at 8 p.m. on ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball.”
Usually, the defending World Series champion is featured on opening night. But with the Astros switching leagues, ESPN must believe it’s a better storyline.
ESPN will televise two games on opening day April 1, but one will be blacked out. The Boston Red Sox-New York Yankees contest at 1 p.m. will be televised in the Capital Region by YES, so ESPN will provide alternate programming. At 4 p.m., we will see the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants visit the Los Angeles Dodgers.
ESPN2 will also have two games April 1. At 7 p.m., the Atlanta Braves host the Philadelphia Phillies. That will be followed by the St. Louis Cardinals at Arizona Diamondbacks at 10 p.m.
Lewis to ESPN?
On Wednesday, Baltimore Ravens lineback Ray Lewis announced that he will end his 17-year NFL career after the playoffs. Apparently, he has his next job lined up.
SI.com reported Thursday that Lewis has agreed to a deal with ESPN to serve as an analyst on “Monday Night Countdown.”
While neither Lewis nor ESPN would confirm the story, Lewis would be a welcome addition to any network. If you have ever watched him being interviewed, he gives thoughful answers and and is very analytical.
“Ray Lewis has an intensity about him and a way of communicating that is very infectious,” CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus told SI.com. “He is a bigger-than-life personality, very articulate and [has] an incredible passion for the game. If Ray Lewis decided to take that same passion and put it into a broadcasting career, I think he would be a terrific studio analyst or, I imagine, game analyst, too.”
One thing is for sure, Lewis will put people in their places.
It’s NFL wild-card weekend, and the college football season comes to a close. Here are the upcoming games in the NFL and college bowl games that will be on TV over the next few days. Announcers, in order of play-by-play announcer, analyst and sideline reporter, are in parentheses:
NBC13 (WNYT) and NBC13 HD — AFC wild card: Cincinnati at Houston, 4:30 p.m. (Dan Hicks/Mike Mayock/Alex Flanagan); NFC wild card: Minnesota at Green Bay, 8 p.m. (Al Michaels/Cris Collinsworth/Michele Tafoya).
CBS6 (WRGB) and CBS6 HD — AFC Wild Card: Indianapolis at Baltimore, 1 p.m. (Jim Nantz/Phil Simms).
FOX23 (WXXA) and FOX23 HD — NFC Wild Card: Seattle at Washington, 4:30 p.m. (Joe Buck/Troy Aikman/Pam Oliver and Erin Andrews).
ESPN and ESPN HD — Compass Bowl: Pittsburgh vs. Mississippi, 1 p.m. (Eamon McAnaney/David Diaz-Infante/Paul Carcaterra).
ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD — NCAA FCS playoffs championship game: North Dakota State vs. Sam Houston State, 1 p.m. (Dave Neal/Jay Walker/Cara Capuano).
ESPN and ESPN HD — GoDaddy.com Bowl: Kent State vs. Arkansas State, 9 p.m. (Mark Jones/Brock Huard/Jessica Mendoza).
ESPN and ESPN HD — BCS national championship game: Alabama vs. Notre Dane, 8:30 p.m. (Brent Musburger/Kirk Herbstreit/Heather Cox and Tom Rinaldi).
NHL Network and NHL Network HD has the championship game of the World Junior Hockey Championships between the United States and Sweden at 8 this morning. Union sophomore defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere is on Team USA. . . .
FOX23 and FOX23 HD will have the third-round FA Cup soccer match between West Ham and Manchester United at noon today. . . .
Mike Emrick and Pierre McGuire will be the announcers for NBC Sports Network’s coverage of the Union-Princeton ECAC Hockey game at 7:30 p.m. Friday.