Behind the Broadcast: Television ban might be suitable punishment for Penn State football
Being a Pennsylvania native, I could have been a big Penn State football fan.
But college football was never high on my list. Maybe it’s because of growing up in Philadelphia, a pro sports town. My football team was (and still is) the Eagles.
I can tell you, though, that Penn State football is ingrained in most of the citizens of the Commonwealth. They worshipped at Beaver Stadium, and loved their leader, coach Joe Paterno.
But what has transpired over the last few months with the child abuse scandal against former Paterno assistant Jerry Sandusky has tainted the late head coach’s legacy.
The scathing report on how Penn State alledgedly tried to cover up the scandal was released Thursday by former FBI director Louis Freeh, who conducted the investigation. One of Penn State’s concerns on trying to keep the Sandusky scandal quiet was that it feared bad publicity.
Well, the bad publicity is going to be with the university for a long, long time. I’ve seen many blogs and tweets calling for the NCAA to shut down the football program for a while. I’m not sure that will happen.
But I have an interesting solution. Keep Penn State football games off television for several years. No national coverage. No local coverage. Nothing at all.
The NCAA should strongly twist the arms of the networks that carry Penn State football, mainly ESPN/ABC and the Big Ten Network, to keep the Nittany Lions off the air. The program needs to be punished, and this would be almost like a death penalty.
But would those networks be willing to keep Penn State off the air? I highly doubt that. Penn State football is too attractive to the networks. And, unfortunately, the Sandusky storyline will always come up.
The Big Ten Network, in particular, would never keep a member school off the air. It didn’t air Freeh’s press conference. After
being heavily criticized for not airing it, the Big Ten Network issued a statement, claiming it’s not a news organization. Yep, don’t report bad news.
If the networks won’t keep Penn State football off TV, the public can do the next-best thing — boycott watching the Nittany Lions. That way, you can honor Sandusky’s victims.
Low All-Star game rating
Early Wednesday, it was announced that FOX Sports’ coverage of the Major League Baseball All-Star game received an 8.1 overnight rating.
Considering that the game was a blowout — the National League rolled to an 8-0 win — the rating seemed a bit high.
That was, indeed, the case.
The final rating for the game, announced late Wednesday afternoon by FOX Sports, turned out to be a record-low 6.8 with a 12 share. The rating four hundredths of a point below last year’s figure (6.9/12). The viewership for last year’s game was 11 million.
This year, the NL scored five runs in the first inning and added three more in the fourth.
There was some good news for FOX Sports. The total audience that watched any portion of the game was 27.7 million, up 7 percent from last year, and the initial rating at the start of the game was 6.5/12, up 7 percent from last season and the best for the All-Star game since 2009.
Meanwhile, MLB announced that it saw a 257 percent increase in
total public Twitter/Facebook comments (807,603) versus last year. Twenty-seven All-Star game topics trended worldwide Tuesday night, and #ASG was in 245,362 social media comments.
ESPN was busy this week re-signing several of its staff.
On Tuesday, Stuart Scott agreed to a multiyear contract extension with ESPN. Scott joined the cable sports network in 1993 to help start ESPN2. Since then, he’s been a mainstay on “SportsCenter” as well as various studio shows for the network’s NFL and NBA coverage.
Then on Wednesday, ESPN re-upped with four of its NFL reporters — insider Adam Schefter, senior writer John Clayton, NFL Draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. and reporter Ed Werder.
NBC, Facebook collaborating
NBC Sports and Facebook are teaming up to help promote the Summer Olympics in London, which start July 27.
The NBC Olympics page on Facebook will feature the most up-to-date news and information, and will engage fans of the Olympic Games with featured polls, photo galleries, trivia and shareable images. Fans that “LIKE” NBC Olympics on Facebook will have the opportunity to unlock exclusive content made available to NBC Olympics fans. NBC Olympics has also launched a Facebook timeline app on NBCOlympics.com, so users can share the London 2012 Olympic Games content they are consuming with their friends.
NBC’s Olympics coverage will include the launch of Talk Meter, a new Facebook data tool. It will inform viewers about stories, results, athletes and events that other fans of the Olympic Games are talking about on Facebook.
NBC Olympics launched two apps Thursday.
NBC Olympics Live Extra will allow cable, satellite and telco customers to live stream more than 3,500 hours of content, including all 32 sports, every athletic competition and all 302 medal events.
The second app, titled NBC Olympics, will provide short-form highlights, TV and online schedules, live results, columns and the new Primetime Companion feature — a complementary, second-screen experience for NBC’s nightly prime-time Olympic broadcasts.
The apps are available for free from the App Store on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, or at www.itunes.-com/appstore. It is also available for free from Google Play on select Android devices, or at www.play.-google.com.
FOX Sports’ MLB game of the week returns to the late afternoons today. Capital Region viewers will see the New York Mets take on the Atlanta Braves at 4 p.m. on FOX23 (WXXA) and FOX23 HD. . . .
MLB Network and MLB HD have the Boston Red Sox-Tampa Bay Rays game tonight at 7. . . .
NBC Sports has the final two rounds of the U.S. Senior Open today and Sunday at 3 p.m. It will be on NBC13 (WNYT) and NBC13 HD. . . .
TNT and TNT HD wrap up their NASCAR Sprint Cup coverage at 1 p.m. Sunday with the Lenox Industrial Tools 301. . . .
ESPN and ESPN HD start their British Open golf coverage at 5 a.m. Thursday.