Monday Links

Asides from the NCAA Tournament, the sports viewing weekend consisted of PGA Tour golf at Bayhill where Tiger Woods fell to a tie for 23rd with Ernie Els, and NASCAR. ESPN also started its coverage of the NCAA Women’s Tournament.

Here are a few links as the media columns around the country are a bit sparse.

From USA Today, Jarrett Bell has a story on the NFL Meetings in Maui (nice location for those of us who have been stuck in the Winter from Hell in the Northeast). It appears the league is no closer to a primetime contract with ABC/ESPN than before. And it appears the contract talks have stalled. ABC has mounted heavy losses from the Monday Night Football package while ESPN has made a nice profit considering it can charge cable companies to carry its product and that is the major difference between the over-the-air networks and cable. Fox has lost money on its NFC package while CBS said it might a slight profit for the AFC package. Both ABC and ESPN are in the midst of exclusive negotiating periods with the NFL, but the league would like to wrap up the negotiations with Disney soon. However, ABC wants to renew, but at a lower cost. The NFL is looking at a $900 million/year pricetage for Monday Night Fooball, up from the current $550 million.

Also from USA Today, Rudy Martzke says it was a winning weekend for CBS Sports with the NCAA Tournament. He gives his thumbs up for the scrapping of sideline reporters for the first and second rounds.

David Barron of the Houston Chronicle writes about Mark Vandermeer, the voice of the Houston Texans, calling first and second round games during the Tournament for Westwood One. He did a solid job as you can read from my blog below.

From the viewpoint of Jerry Lindquist of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the absence of sideline reporters during the NCAA Tournament was a welcome sight. However, I don’t agree with his opinion about CBS switching from games too much. That is the appeal of the tournament, being able to see the key moments as they happen.

That’s it for today. Tomorrow, more media columns will be available as Tuesday is the traditional day for columns in the Boston Globe, New York Times and other papers.

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