No news is good news , unless it is happening in the world of sports …..

No news, is good news , unless it is happening in the world of sports ….

With the recent firing of Philadelphia Phillies’ manager Charlie Manuel by the front office of that organization , led by GM Reuben Amaro . It should now come as no surprise that the team is likely to be in a rebuilding mode . Lackluster performances throughout much of the season and a number of injuries did not quite render this year as meaningless . Yet the question has to be asked , how damn naïve was Amaro to begin with , in thinking that he could enter the season with a roster of overpaid stars and barely anyone performing at their best ? A team payroll exceeding $165 million and projected payroll for 2014 in the region of $114 million , the ball-club will have a little more wiggle room than anticipated .


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One of the more asinine assumptions I have read concerning the franchise , has been the fact that with their television contract due to expire in 2015 , with Comcast , the ball-club is likely to seek a more valuable deal , accordingly, something similar to the two-decade almost $8 billion deal that the Los Angeles Dodgers now has with Time Warner Cable Inc . Now the last time I looked, the city of Philadelphia may well have been in one of the nation’s largest ad-markets, but there is no way in hell that the franchise will be able to negotiate a deal with Comcast that is likely to net the Phillies remotely anywhere the financial reward they hope to gain .

The person offering his opinion on this all, has no idea as to the integral business template of a concern such as Comcast, who are still having to deal with the difficulties of their loss-making concerning NBC-Universal , the broadcast and film studios outlet bought from industrial giant GE . Consider the fact, that NBC is hemorrhaging red ink by the thankful, in terms of its bottom line . Only an idiot, would now believe that Comcast would be willing to shell out as much as $400 million annually over the next two decades to a ball-club, who this season has shown the competitive zeal of a baby seal , on the cusp of being clubbed to death .

With Ryne Sandberg’s installation as the interim-manager until the end of the season , it remains to be seen whether or not his audition will prove to be successful enough whereby he is offered the position on a full-time basis, and that of multi-year contract. From my own perspective , I do believe that team owner David Montgomery should have also sought the termination of Reuben Amaro’s contract as the team’s general manager . Those who witnessed the press conference announcing Charlie Manuel’s firing , while the former manager was seated alongside the general manager , obviously were able to see the dis-ingenuity of the executive, as he in part blamed the manager also on several issues , none of which , had to do with the fact that the team’s record of 64-77 , that had them languishing third , in the NL East and barely baseball that would prove to be entertaining enough for their fans to eagerly enjoy .

With two weeks to go before the regular season reaches its culmination, the Philadelphia Phillies still lie third within the division and their being of late some resilience being shown , having gone 6-4 in their last ten games. It would be safe to say that this off-season is likely to be a tumultuous one for the organization . The biggest off-season decision, possibly for the Phillies, is whether or to bring back to being back starting pitcher Roy Halladay and of closer Jonathan Papelbon . Both have said successful careers in their chosen roles, but if the truth be known, 2013 has provided us all with an insight into what can indeed go wrong when you have an overpaid star underachieve. While not the most expensive stars on the roster , they are the ones deemed superfluous to the team’s needs.

The Phillies’ issues beyond injuries and the inconsistent play, has been the fact, that there is said to be no vocal leader, with the likes seasoned veterans Jimmy Rollins , Cliff Lee and Chase Utley and Michael Young simply going about , business as usual . Whatever sense of urgency there was said to be, certainly wasn’t being shown under Charlie Manuel and in reality , although this recent ten-game stretch has shown that when this team is ready to play, they can do so. I do believe that it is all too little and far too late . The Philadelphia Phillies are now playing for their self-respect and pride , if nothing else . Sunday afternoon, will see the team face the Washington Nationals at Nationals Ballpark , in the nation’s capital of Washington, DC . Monday, the Phillies will then host their fellow divisional rivals the Miami Marlins in a three-game series , of teams said to be heading in the wrong direction .

For the Philadelphia Phillies and the likelihood of their cash windfall in 2015 , let us get one thing clear , fans are not likely to tune in to see a ball club whose product in 2013 was horrendous , and in 2014 , there is no likelihood or guarantee that Reuben Amaro is likely to show the insight needed to get have the best possible product on the field of play . Amaro has gambled, failed miserably in 2012 and 2013, so should the fans actually expect any different in 2014 , even with stars such as Ryan Howard , Cole Hamels , Cliff Lee and perhaps a number of prospects from the team’s farm system on board ? The Nationals and Atlanta Braves are likely to get considerably better and so too might the New York Mets , if their front office can actually find a way of not aiming the gun at their own damn feet and aiming it instead at their chosen target

The hype certainly was not worth it, , as once again the sport of boxing perpetrated another massive fraud on the public . On Saturday night, pound-for-pound king , welterweight champion Floyd ‘Money ‘ Weather ‘ defended his titles against Mexican fighter Saul ‘Canilo’ Alvarez . The unbeaten challenger, it was said, would give the champion the toughest test, he was yet to have faced in his unbeaten career . Pardon me for saying this, , but since when was it feasible to produce this hyperbole over a challenger whose record is as soft as a newborn baby’s ass ? Much of the blame for this charade, lays with Alvarez’s promoters, Golden Boy Promotions and its proprietor Oscar de La Hoya . The fight’s main card and under-cards were jointly promoted by Golden Boy Promotion and Mayweather Promotions and Entertainment Inc , a company wholly owned by the fighter , that oversees his professional and business interests. Mayweather’s business partner and legal counsel Leonard Ellerbee runs the business side, with the fighter simply making sure that the revenues are simply deposited into his now sizable and growing bank account. This title fight was the second of a six-fight deal with cable outlet provider Showtime Inc (parent company Viacom) , that will net Floyd Mayweather in excess of $200 million over the next eighteen months .

The only fireworks produced in this bout was the explosiveness and rapid succession in which Mayweather was allowed to land his blows, with his challenger simply being able to land a punch of any consequence . If Saul Canilo Alvarez is said to represent what was said to be a new breed and wave of tough up and coming Mexican boxers , then I am sorry, but Alvarez should now be hanging his head in shame, because the tradition of the great Mexican fighters of years past of which this young man wishes to join , will not be happening anytime soon. For twelve rounds the challenger offered nothing of substance, as the champion came away with a majority verdict , something of a farce given the lopsidedness of the victory , that now pushes his record to 45-0 (26 KO’s) . In suffering his first loss , Alvarez will have to revisit the drawing board and assess where he went wrong in this bout. From my own perspective , he simply was not ready for a fight of this magnitude in spite of record which to my mind is nothing more than a damn paperweight ! There are octogenarians and double amputees, who have shown more life than Saul Alvarez was able to exhibit on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Casino Arena & Resort Complex in Las Vegas , Nevada. Sooner or later the Nevada State Athletic Commission will have to start vetting a great many more of these title fights, taking place within the state’s line , particular those involving Floyd Mayweather . They either need to make sure that the title holder is not fighting a cadaver and that the opponent is in fact licensed to fight not only within the state, but nationwide .

As to who Mayweather’s next big money opponent might be , after his clinical and surgical dismantling of his challenger on Saturday night . Well, let us just say, that for twelve rounds of work, the champion will take a home $41 million guaranteed before the anticipated ancillary figures are known , which could very well add a further $45 million to $55 million to his take home pay for this one bout . Premium ringside seats went for high as $25,000 , but that included one’s accommodation and a limousine for the duration of the attendee’s stay in Las Vegas . The PPV (pay per view) figures are expected to top 2.4 million buys, making it the largest in the sport’s history and then weigh in the fact, that to subscribe for the event itself, the consumer was being asked to fork over $59-95 , an extortionate fee . One can now understand why this sport is now not signaling its own death knell, but the very fact that Mayweather’s only regard beyond what he alleges will be his legacy , is simply to ” break the bank ” with each purse he now earns in terms of his fights . He has already surpassed the lifetime earnings of both Mike Tyson and Oscar de La Hoya , two of the biggest names in the sport of boxing over the last two decades and he could be well on the way to becoming the first boxer to earn in excess of half-a-billion dollars ($500,000,000) solely from ring earnings ( estimated career earnings $392 million ) .

Well so much for that high-powered offense exhibited last week by the Philadelphia Eagles in their victory over the Washington Redskins . The team’s week two schedule , a game against the Mike McCoy coached San Diego Chargers has quickly brought Chip Kelly and his players back to earth with a crashing thud . Fans and analysts alike seemed to be overly excited with what many inane idiots were trying to suggest , that this was a new era in the NFL . How quickly they seem to forget and perhaps never seem to learn . For that type of efficiency and consistency , you have a team that is said to be on the same page as the coaching staff . Sunday afternoon and the Philadelphia Eagles may well have proved to us all that reading is fundamental , because everything about Philadelphia in this game suggested that not many of the team learned the playbook . Playing against a Chargers’ team led by quarterback Philip Rivers , the Eagles were made to pay for their errors as they were upstaged at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania .

And as exciting as Chip Kelly’s play-calling may well be, someone should remind the former Oregon coach, that this is not the Pac-12 , where just about no one plays any defense . He is now playing in amongst the big boys of the NFL , where a game strategy is made up offense as well as defense . The Eagles’ veteran quarterback , Michael Vick had a career high day in his team’s defeat, but the Eagles’ defense , it appears may well remained in the locker room , because for a large part of this game they were simply nowhere to be seen .

For the moment the Philadelphia Eagles remain tied atop of the NFC East at 1-1 , but that is likely to end after week two’s results are indeed a matter of record .

For those, who might still have doubts as to how good Aaron Rodgers might just be . Consider the following, the Green Bay Packers’ quarterback through three-quarters of work in Sunday’s game threw for an astonishing 374 yards , but fell a mere twenty yards of having a 500 yards’ career passing day . The opposition in this case just happened to be the hapless Washington Redskins , who have now fallen to 0-2 , albeit that Robert Griffin III , their sophomore quarterback continues to show growth as a player and as a quarterback in the NFL . Unfortunately, for Mike Shanahan , it has been the defense that has let this team down. And the likelihood is , this continues to be the norm , then defensive coordinator Jim Haslett and defensive lines’ coach Jacob Burney , will be abruptly shown the door.

This game may well have cemented the Packers as one of the teams to indeed watch within the NFC alongside both the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks . I am sorry folks , but it is still far too early to be talking about the Dallas Cowboys as a viable contender in spite of the force-fed diatribe of Skip Bayless , Merril Hoge , Ron Jaworski and the team’s owner Jerry Jones .

Speaking of the Seahawks and 49ers , well those two teams put on a stellar display in an NFC match-up that could prove to be a precursor and dress rehearsal for the NFC championship game . If ever there was a time for San Francisco’s quarterback Colin Kaepernick to prove that last season was no fluke , then Sunday’s display by the quarterback may well have a been a real cause for concern for the player’s fans and an even greater argument for his detractors . Pete Carroll’s …. defense simply harried the Kaepernick into making errant plays , while their offense led by opposing quarterback Russell Wilson , simply shredded and picked apart the Niners’ much vaunted defense , in coming away with a clinical and lopsided 29-3 victory . Can the Seahawks now be considered the most balanced and perhaps the best team in the NFL at present ? I will let you be the judge of that , but most certainly, do offer up your own thoughts on that .

The “Manning Bowl “ this past Sunday , provided us with a chance to see a sibling rivalry, in which the elder of the two siblings , Peyton Manning has the upper hand over his younger brother Eli Manning . In Sunday’s third meeting between these two seasoned and celebrated quarterbacks to display their skills before a national audience of millions besides the over 63,000 in attendance at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Aerial display and a rushing offense, provided the fans with over 780 all-purpose offensive yards . Defense seemed to be at a minimum as the Broncos came away with their second victory of the season with a 41-23 victory to put the Broncos atop of the AFC West and Peyton Manning with a 3-0 lead in regular season games over his younger brother . As to Archie and Olivia Manning , they must have been pleased with the performances of their two sons. Whether or not, there was said to be any favoritism being shown by the parents to one son over the other, that is a question, that can be asked of the individuals themselves .



Picture gallery .

As exciting as this sport’s weekend was said to be , there were still a great many stories that I could have touched on, but with a limited amount of time and a patronage that quite possibly would not be interested in things such as NASCAR and EPL (English Premiership) soccer , I will simply leave it to the topics covered . So by all means, do leave a comment as you see fit and thanks as always for the continued support of this site as it has always been greatly appreciated!


Picture and slideshow gallery details below .


(1) Phillies’ starting pitcher Tyler Cloyd seen here delivering a pitch during the first inning of a game played against the Washington Nationals on Sunday afternoon at Nationals Ballpark in Washington , DC . The Nationals would go on to defeat the Phillies in a lopsided game 11-2 , with pitcher Jordan Zimmerman of the Nationals 1 gaining his eighteenth victory of the season . AP Photo / Susan Walsh …..

(2) The Nationals’ Bryce Harper steals second, as he makes his way to third base during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday afternoon at Nationals Ballpark in Washington , DC. Washington would go on to win the game 11-2 . AP Photo / Susan Walsh …

(3) Deposed manager Charlie Manuel, right, is seen here alongside GM Reuben Amaro Jr . Manuel the Philadelphia Phillies’ most successful manager, was fired earlier this month and replaced by Ryne Sandberg as the ball-club’s interim manager until the end of the season . Since his installment, Sandberg has not really fared that much better than his predecessor, having post a 16-13 record . Getty Images / Nick Walters ….

(4) Saul Alvarez, right , of Mexico is here in his WBC welterweight title fight against title holder Floyd Mayweather . The champion would win in dominating fashion with a unanimous verdict and pushing his unbeaten record to 45-0 . A forty-one million dollar payday was the reward for the champion, with the likelihood that his purse could be as high as $ 80 million after budgetary costs are taken into account for the staging of the title bout at the MGM Grand Casino Resort Hotel & Casino Complex in Las Vegas , Nevada . Getty Images North America / Rick Parsons ….

(5) (L-R) Floyd Mayweather Jr. throws a right at Canelo Alvarez during their WBC / WBA 154-pound title fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on September 14, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mayweather successfully defended his WBA, WBC and Ring Magazine titles with a unanimous verdict over his challenger . Getty Images / Ethan Miller ……

(6) Floyd Mayweather Jr. (R) hits Canelo Alvarez in the seventh round of their WBC/WBA 154-pound title fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on September 14, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mayweather won by a majority decision. Getty Images / Ethan Miller …..

(7) Michael Vick of the Philadelphia Eagles attempts a pass to James Casey during the game against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania . The Eagles’ defense were woefully inept as they allowed Philip Rivers and the Chargers back into this contest , as the home team dropped to their first defeat of the season . AP Photo / Matt Rourke …..

(8) Eddie Royal of the Chargers makes it into the end-zone as he evades Nate Allen of the Eagles . AP Photo Matt Rourke ….

(9) Quarterback Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers attempts a pass during the game against the Washington Redskins played at Lambeau Field in Green Bay Wisconsin . Green Bay would defeat their NFC rivals 38-20 to improve their record 1-1 within the NFC North and dropping the win-less Redskins to 0-2 within the NFC East and at the bottom of the division. AP Photo Mike Roemer ….

(10) Peyton Manning (18) congratulates his younger brother Eli Manning after the game between their two the teams met in a scheduled regular season game ____ the Denver Broncos and the New York Giants , on Sunday afternoon . This was the third regular season meeting between the pair of siblings , with the elder Manning having won all three contests . The Broncos defeated the Giants 41-23 to improve their record to 2-0 in the AFC West , while the Giants sit at 0-2 within the NFC East . AP Photo / Frank Franklin II …




tophatal …… 09/15/2013


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How High Is Too High And Where Should One Set The Bar or Draw The Line ?

How High Is Too High And Where Should One Set The Bar or Draw The Line ?

Well the short lived Labor Day weekend came and went in the blink of an eye . Not much to be had by way of the sporting festivities unless you were completely enthralled by the first week of the college football schedule ? For myself I simply am not overcome by the events to be had until the third or fourth week of the actual schedule and by then no doubt many of prognosticators out there are already telling us who will be on the bubble and who may well be simply be playing for their reputation. No doubt a case can be already made for Notre Dame and the fact that they suffered a rather embarrassing loss (23-20) in their home opener to USF of the Big East . Far be it for me to suggest that “The Fightin’ Irish’s program is no longer relevant but I simply refuse to see how NBC Sports can continue to gain any traction from televising any game of Notre Dame ! I understand that the school is still beloved by its alumni across the country but let’s get real here , with the coaches that have recently held tenure of the post as head coach of the football team , theirs is in essence, a really pitiful story and list of accomplishments .


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Slide show for your perusal .

Brian Kelly as the present incumbent as coach of Notre Dame succeeded Charlie Weis whose accomplishments with the school was simply to drag it down to such depths of mediocrity , that it is hard to explain how was as such , he was successful as as an assistant with Bill Belichick . But I guess when you’re simply being rewarded for riding on someone else’s coat-tails that basically assures of a well paid position at your next vocational stop off point ! Now with that being said I do believe that Kelly can turn things around for the program but herein lies the caveat for the school , in particular for Kelly , his coaching assistants and AD Jack Swarbrick . One understands that the criteria set for entrance into one of the nation’s most respected parochial establishments of higher learning is exceptionally high and those student athletes granted entrance are gifted . But I do feel that the school is now fighting a losing battle in terms of recruitment when adjudged against such powerhouse programs such as USC , Florida , Alabama , Penn State , Auburn and a slew of other programs across the country. Granted , tradition has its place within every sport and Notre Dame carries a proud tradition of success and scholastic achievement but that no longer seems to matter for the vast majority of the players who seek to use the school as a stepping stone for their upward progress to the NFL . And it certainly isn’t the case where two of the school’s most recent athletes to have made the jump to the professional ranks have been a resounding success with their respective teams.


In this photo taken Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly calls a play against South Florida during the first half of an NCAA college football game in South Bend, Ind. Notre Dame fell out of The Associated Press Top 25 poll after losing to South Florida. AP Photo/Michael Conroy ……

For Jimmy Clausen and Golden Tate ——- the duo have yet to catch on with the Carolina Panthers and Seattle Seahawks . But it is still early days yet in both of their professional careers and it would appear that Claussen for his part may well be the one who has more to lose at this juncture . The young quarterback is second on the team’s depth chart in terms of the quarterback position with the Panthers having selected Cam Newton the number one overall in the past NFL Draft . For Tate he may well be able to provide the spark that the Seattle Seahawks need in order to make their offense much more potent . But I hardly think that either Tarvaris Jackson or Charlie Whitehurst will be the cure for Pete Carroll’s need in a signal caller for the team .

As an Independent within the College Football Subdivision (D1 level) Notre Dame is afforded way too much prestige merely because of its name and the mere fact that as a school it’s literally bankrolled by NBC . One should not be at all utterly surprised by this when you consider that one the broadcast outlets most powerful executives is none other than Dick Ebersole the former head of NBC Sports and the creator of the network’s Olympic broadcast coverage . Ebersole has since been succeeded by Mark Lazarus and the Notre Dame television contract still remains in tact . Should the fact that Ebersole’s close affinity and ties with Notre Dame be misconstrued for sheer solicited bias and be seen as the primary reason why the school is s such a benefactor of the station’s largesse by way of its yearly multi million dollar television contract ? At some point NBC’s parent company Comcast may well want to review this matter and decide upon whether or not they are still in fact getting value for money in terms of their continued coverage of the school's football program. It's one thing when you're getting 5.5-6.5% ( Neilsens’ Ratings) point share but when it now borders on a mere measly 3.5% some questions will indeed have to be asked . As of yet nothing has been forthcoming by way of a formal statement from the broadcaster but one can surmise that nothing will be left off the table as they assess the strengths and weaknesses within all of NBC as a whole.

When tradition simply becomes long in the tooth insofar as Notre Dame is concerned should the public at large be asked to endure each season the football program be given unadulterated coverage in the way it has been by NBC ? Granted , the school still has its loyal legions of fans and alumni across the nation but in reality that simply counts for nothing when the school itself simply hasn’t been a part of the the college postseason fare in terms of a major BCS Bowl appearance in over a decade .

This season Notre Dame’s schedule isn’t one that can be looked upon with sheer gratification and the thought should they meet the bare requirement of having a 6 win season as part of that calendar they are automatically guaranteed a Bowl appearance . A 10 win season might just guarantee a BCS Bowl appearance but let’s not get ahead of ourselves at this juncture in terms of that premise ! The loss to USF shouldn’t come as much of a surprise albeit that Vegas had the USF Bulls as a 10 point underdog but then again Vegas is in the business of making money and not much else beyond that !

Brian Kelly and his coaching staff has a roster of players that will be looking to prove themselves . Certainly perhaps none more so than Dayne Crist , their senior quarterback on the team. Alongside Crist , also there are also fellow seniors , Matthew Mulvey , Andrew Plaska , David Pozluszny , Trevor Robinson , Chris Salvey , Ryan Sharpley and John Goodman . But this season simply won’t be about these seniors leading this team , it will however be about a collective effort in terms of the contributions all-round . If anything anything last season was proof of that for the team and the statistics posted over the course their schedule .

Having finished with an 8-5 record overall with an appearance in the Sun Bowl against the Miami Hurricanes which resulted in a 33-17 victory for Notre Dame . This season however , you can be sure that Brian Kelly will be hoping for a far more productive and successful season than last year. Anything less than a major BCS Bowl appearance has to be viewed as a major disappointment for a program that allegedly prides themselves on being amongst the elite within college football. But as I have alluded to earlier within this piece that simply is no longer the case ! The coach may well feel that the players (freshmen) recruited to complement his existing roster will be enough to make a full on run at the national championship or one of the major bowls but they will have raise the level of their play beyond what was exhibited against the USF Bulls .

The next scheduled game for The Irish will be against one of their most heated and some might say hated rivals __ Michigan (Wolverines) in Ann Abor , Michigan. With a national television audience and what is sure to be a stadium filled with rabid Wolverines’ fans , I am more than certain that Brady Hoke with have his team more than ready to acquit themselves against Notre Dame .

Amongst the players that Brian Kelly will be looking to also to provide some potency to the offense will be Michael Floyd whose own off the field issues have been well chronicled this season . But there can be no denying what the wide receiver brings to the game . He might just be one of the most prodigious talents within the collegiate football and his athleticism especially in the yards after the catch category makes him a desirable future NFL Draft prospect for a team in search of a wide receiver. My own feeling is that as good as this team may well appear to be on paper it can only go as far as Dayne Crist can lead take them ! He appears to be a player a player who is willing to learn and who applies himself to his craft but that in ofitself alone is all that is needed . It will be encumbent upon Brian Kelly , offensive coordintor and quarterbacks’ coach Charlie Molnar to have Crist and the other quarterbacks on the roster , as well as the offense well prepared. From a defensive standpoint also this team needs to be far more aggressive in its play if it is to have any chance being successful over the course of the season. I certainly don’t believe that the opponents that they will be facing will give any ground to Notre Dame . Most certainly not the likes of Michigan , Michigan State , Boston College , USC (Trojans) , Stanford or Wake Forest for that matter . It will be interesting to see how the team fares against these teams on their 2011 schedule and whether or not they are indeed good enough to mount a serious enough challenge for a BCS Bowl appearance , much less an actual championship run.



Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the points raised within this article and what if anything do you hope to see from the College Football season ? By all means do leave a comment as to your thoughts on this and anything else you feel pertinent with regard to the subject matter . Thanks as always for the continued support as it greatly appreciated !

Alan aka tophatal ……..

Picture and slide show details below .


(1) In this photo taken Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly calls a play against South Florida during the first half of an NCAA college football game in South Bend, Ind. Notre Dame fell out of The Associated Press Top 25 poll after losing to South Florida. AP Photo/Michael Conroy ……

(2) SOUTH BEND, IN – SEPTEMBER 03: of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish of the University of South Florida Bulls at Notre Dame Stadium on September 3, 2011 in South Bend , Indiana. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images …..

(3) Evan Landi (9) of the University of South Florida Bulls catches a touchdown pass under pressure from Carlo Calabrese (44) of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium on September 3, 2011 in South Bend, Indiana. USF would go on to defeat Notre Dame 23-20 . Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images …….

(4) Tommy Rees (11) of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish looks for a receiver as Trevor Robinson (78) and Braxston Cave (52) move to block against the University of South Florida Bulls at Notre Dame Stadium on September 3, 2011 in South Bend, Indiana. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images …….

(5) Theo Riddick (6) of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish leaps to catch a pass in front of Michael Lanaris (55) of the University of South Florida Bulls at Notre Dame Stadium on September 3, 2011 in South Bend, Indiana. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images …….

(6) Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick (R) greets Brian Kelly as he is introduced as the new football head coach at Notre Dame University on December 11, 2009 in South Bend, Indiana. Kelly most recently led the University of Cincinnati to two consecutive Bowl Championship Series appearances including a perfect 12-0 record this past season. Getty Images North America / Frank Polich …….

(7) Dick Ebersol former Head of NBC Sports and under whose direction the television contract for Notre Dame was negotiated to cover the team’s football schedule . Ebersol’s successor Mark Lazarus was named by NBC Sports Group Chief Executive Steve Burke . The <a href=" deal itself is set to expire in 2015 but there has been no indication that NBC’s parent company Comcast is willing to further tie itself to a long term commitment with the football program . USA Today / Mark Pitt ……

(8) Mark Lazarus successor to Dick Ebersol as Head of NBC Sports is seen here in London at a meeting of IOC Executives to discuss the 2012 Summer Games for which the broadcast outlet has the sole proprietary North American rights. AFP/Reuters/ David Morris …….

(9) Head coach Brian Kelly of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish talks with Dayne Crist (10) during a game against the University of South Florida Bulls at Notre Dame Stadium on September 3, 2011 in South Bend, Indiana. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images ……..


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Not Wanting To Kick Someone While They’re Still Down But How Much Worse Can It Now Get For NBC …. ?

Not Wanting To Kick Someone While They’re Still Down But How Much Worse Can It Now Get For NBC …. ?

From the sublime to the ridiculous but it would appear that things are beginning to get markedly worse for the ‘peacock network’, NBC. What with the failed experiment of ‘The Jay Leno Show’ in an earlier primetime slot of 10.00pm(EST) . Now we’ve found out that in order to appease Jay Leno and the make haste the abrupt departure of Conan O’Brien . We now know that O’Brien will be paid $45 million (of which $12 million will go to his production staff of writers and ancillary workers as severance pay). Nice work if you can get it don’t you think ?

And after the hosting of the Vancouver Olympics, of NBC which is the sole distributor for its content here in the country and will serve as a feeder for nations across the globe. The month of February could become an elephant’s graveyard for the network entirely. NBC Sports President Dick Ebersole , who has overseen the division for close to two decades and has grown accustomed to seeing the vast expansiveness of the task that has to be undertaken to make sure that the coverage is the best possible that it can be. One now has to wonder though whether or not this is still a worthwhile endeavor on the part of the network to begin with ?

Brian Roberts (left) <strong>  Chairman & CEO of  Comcast Inc </strong> seen  here   with  his   father  , Ralph  Roberts  <strong>  President  and founder  of  the  company </strong>   that  has  become  the  nation's  largest  cable  provider  and   company.    Comcast  recently  bought  <strong> NBC Universal   from  GE (General  Electric )  for  $30 billion  </strong > of  which  the  deal  will be   finalized  later  on this   year.  The elder  Roberts  built the  company  up  from  a  small cable   provider  into a  <strong> multi-billion  dollar  company  whose projected   earnings are expected  top  <strong> $2.55 billion </strong> for  2009.  photo  appears  courtesy  of  <strong> Getty  Images/ Paul  Fowler  .........</strong>
Brian Roberts (left) Chairman & CEO of Comcast Inc seen here with his father , Ralph Roberts President and founder of the company that has become the nation's largest cable provider and company. Comcast recently bought NBC Universal from GE (General Electric ) for $30 billion of which the deal will be finalized later on this year. The elder Roberts built the company up from a small cable provider into a multi-billion dollar company whose projected earnings are expected top $2.55 billion for 2009. photo appears courtesy of Getty Images/ Paul Fowler .........

Courtesy of The Los Angeles Times

Comcast to buy control of NBC Universal in $30-billion transaction

The deal underscores how the high profit-margin business of cable TV has become the financial backbone of media conglomerates.

By Meg James

In a momentous shift in the balance of power of the entertainment industry, cable television giant Comcast Corp. on Thursday made it official by announcing that it was buying control of NBC Universal from General Electric Co.

The proposed $30-billion transaction is the culmination of the longtime ambition by Comcast’s chief executive, Brian Roberts, to transform his family-controlled Philadelphia company from a passel of distribution pipes into a leading producer of movies and TV shows and owner of prominent cable channels.

The deal underscores how the high profit-margin business of cable TV — not a broadcast network or a Hollywood movie studio — has become the financial backbone of media conglomerates.

“Cable channels are the best part of the media business today; they are really the crown jewels of any entertainment company,” Comcast Chief Operating Officer Steve Burke told analysts in a conference call.

Unlike over-the-air broadcast networks, cable channels have two streams of revenue: subscriber fees and advertising. Roberts said that 82% of the operating income of the new entity would come from cable channels. Five of NBC Universal’s cable networks — USA, Syfy, Bravo, CNBC and MSNBC — generate $200 million a year or more each in operating income.

“We are creating a new company with an absolutely first-class set of cable channels,” Roberts said. “This is the logical evolution of our programming strategy.”

If federal regulators approve, a new joint venture would be created by pooling businesses from both companies. Comcast would provide nearly $14 billion in assets, including $6.5 billion in cash, for 51% ownership of the new entity. Comcast said its cable channels — including E, Versus, the Golf Channel and nine regional sports networks — were worth $7.25 billion. Comcast’s subscription cable TV systems would not be part of the new entity.

As part of the deal, GE would reduce its ownership in NBC Universal to 49% in exchange for $9.1 billion, which the new entity would assume as debt.

The Comcast deal marks the end of an era for NBC, which has been one of the brightest bulbs within GE for nearly a quarter-century. Under GE, NBC became a profit- and hit-making machine, inventing the slogan “must-see TV” and fielding such memorable programs as “Cheers,” “Seinfeld,” “Friends,” “Frasier” and “Law & Order.”

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Dick Ebersol ,  <strong>  Chairman of  NBC Sports </strong> and whose  task it   will  be  to  oversee  the  network's   coverage  of  the  upcoming   Winter Olympics  taking place in  Vancouver, BC .   Ebersol   has been described  as  one of  the  100  Most  Influential   People  in  Sports.   photo  appears  courtesy  of  Asoociated Press/  Michael  Wright .............
Dick Ebersol , Chairman of NBC Sports and whose task it will be to oversee the network's coverage of the upcoming Winter Olympics taking place in Vancouver, BC . Ebersol has been described as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Sports. photo appears courtesy of Asoociated Press/ Michael Wright .............

NBC Universal’s parent company , the vast conglomerate, GE has seen fit to divest itself of the network , its film making division, Universal Studios and its similarly named theme parks’ division, Universal Theme Parks. As to what this suggests as to the network and its now moribund state. Well , it’s clear for those who aren’t as such acutely aware business people , the fact of the matter was that GE could no longer to afford to sink large amounts of money into a seemingly bottomless pit and not see anything tangible in return. The buyer of these assets is none other than cable company, Comcast,the nation’s largest cable provider. And the price tag is believe to be $30 billion for the purchase of the media conglomerate.

For its part , Comcast sees the synergy that the purchase gives the company and that the same time not only does it provide the company with another revenue stream but also it can cross market its own content with that of NBC’s network programming but also the network’s own cable outlets such as the USA Network , Oxygen Channel, Syfy , CNBC , Bravo , MSNBC and Spanish language channel Telemundo. Comcast for its part has The Golf Channel, Tru Tv and E Entertainment ! (E Networks) , Style Network , Versus, as well its cable operations and a sports programming cable network that covers the greater Philadelphia area.

Courtesy of The Brownsville Herald Tribune and The Associated Press

International Capsules: Ebersol: NBC expects to lose money on Olympics

By David Bauder , The Associated Press

PASADENA, Calif. — NBC Universal says it expects to lose money televising the Winter Olympics from Vancouver next month.

NBC Sports chief Dick Ebersol said that while advertising sales were soft for much of last year, they have picked up as the Olympics drew near. The loss comes primarily due to the stiff rights fee NBC paid to broadcast the games, he said.

NBC paid $820 million for the rights to televise the Winter Games. That compares to the $613 million paid for the rights to televise the Olympics in Turin, Italy, in 2006.

Ebersol said it will be the first time NBC has lost money on the games since he began producing the telecasts from Barcelona in 1992.

The head of NBC’s parent company, General Electric’s Jeffrey Immelt, told investors recently that he expected NBC would lose “a couple hundred million bucks” on the games.

NBC won’t cut back on its coverage plans due to the financial problems, the network said.

It remains unclear whether this financial reality will affect negotiations for the U.S. rights to televise the Olympics in 2014 and 2016. The International Olympics Committee is expected to award coverage rights sometime this year.

The bidding for those games has the potential to be a battle of media titans, including Fox’s News Corp. and Disney. Ebersol said he expected the games to be awarded before any federal regulatory approval of Comcast’s agreement to take over NBC Universal.

NBC Universal will televise some 835 hours of Olympics programming next month, starting Feb. 12, on the broadcast network and cable affiliates like CNBC, MSNBC and USA. Because the games are not overseas, NBC will have the advantage of many more prime-time events taking place live.

These Olympics also mark the return of Al Michaels to Olympics coverage. The veteran broadcaster, who called the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” game between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, joined NBC from ABC in 2006. Michaels will be a studio host.

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Comcast’s Chairman & CEO Brian L. Roberts may well make the decision to divest himself as what he sees as none core assets. So it may well be that he could well see fit to sell the theme parks’ division as a way of recouping part of his original investment. But for the moment will assay the situation and sees what best fits his company’s needs. However, Roberts as the owner in waiting , he can’t be entirely happy with what he has seen going on within the corporate headquarters of NBC and the fallout from this disaster concerning Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien. This isn’t certainly the reason he saw fit to purchase this once venerable network. Over the past decade however it has to be said that NBC has its way, footing , hold and once maniacal grip on the network ratings. It is now longer the term they once used so successfully ‘ ………. the station for must see tv’ . If anything that statement is now mute and no longer merited. The network’s programming has become stale and completely devoid of creativity. But it still it harbors itself under the impression that it is still an important part of the television landscape. About the only place where it can perhaps make such a valid statement or claim is when it comes to the coverage of the evening news. There it remains the number one broadcast network for its coverage of the primetime evening news. And for that it should be thankful to its news’ division and the professionalism shown by news’ anchorman, Brian Williams and his presentation of NBC’s Nightly News.

As I alluded to earlier NBC as the sole provider and the very fact that it also holds the North American rights to the broadcasting not only the Summer Olympics but also the Winter Olympics. Its upcoming coverage of the Vancouver Games will be of a great deal of responsibility to the sports’ division of the network and to Dick Ebersole in particular. The network has a great deal riding on its success and also financially. But if the rumors now circulating are to believed then it has to be said that NBC has to rethink its whole focus and thought process as to whether or not such a large investment in manpower and financial resources is still worth it, if there are to be projected losses in the coverage of the games. It has been widely speculated that the network stands to lose in excess of $300 million in the coverage of the Vancouver Winter Olympics. Hardly what one would believe to be a sound investment. But this nonetheless has been the sort of complacency and lack of foresight shown that has led the network to its present predicament and where its said to be hemorrhaging money that is in many respects why GE felt it was no longer a safe bet as ‘a sure fire producer of profits’ that it could rely on ‘to bump up its bottom line’.

Now not only will NBC Universal have to prove that it’s a viable brand to have within Comcast’s umbrella but also that it’s a soundly managed well organized unit. Certainly when a company of this size and nature can afford to lose $200-$250 million almost at the drop off a hat and then try ‘to chalk it up’ it as just being part of ‘the nature of just doing business’ . Then there has to be something wrong with te mindset and the thinking within the boardroom and the management style of that company altogether. And that has nothing to do with the mere fact that this just happens to be company whose parent happens to laden with a multi billion dollar ‘cash war chest’. Seemingly they’re forgetting that they’re just a small unit of the vast conglomerate that makes GE (‘General Electric’).

Gretchen  Blieler   US  snowboarder and  an  Olympic medalist.  <strong> Will  you be  watching   if she's  dressed  likes  this  on  the slopes  ?  </strong>   photo  appears  courtesy of   FHM
Gretchen Blieler US snowboarder and an Olympic medalist. Will you be watching if she's dressed likes this on the slopes ? photo appears courtesy of FHM

The struggles of the company notwithstanding, another problem ahead for NBC appears to be with the downturn ‘ad dollars’, in terms of on air advertising and with an even acuter falloff in the network’s viewership. A question that has to be asked is “……..will anyone afford the time to actually take an interest in watching the ‘Winter Olympics’ ? . The network will be devoting almost 835 hours of coverage over a sixteen day period starting on the 12th February with the culmination of the closing ceremony on 28th February 2010. We know that events such figure skating, snowboarding ,alpine skiing , and hockey will no doubt garner a great deal of attention. But it appears that the network is pinning its hopes and its vast resources in the fact the nation will be taking an interest in the event itself. What little advertising that it has done to promote the event has been around such established stars as Apolo Anton Ohno, Lindsey Vonn, Ted Ligety and whatever ice skating stars who happen to be most noted of the moment. Such is the dilemma of the station that it is hard to see how they can cultivate the excitement need to draw enough of an appeal in terms of a viewership response. Outside of the event itself the names of the individuals mentioned here aren’t that well known to the public on a national basis. And whatever hopes that they might have pinned on the homegrown talent of NHL professionals representing Team USA, might as well be pinned on the tail of a pinata and then struck countless times for all of the good that it might do ! Does anyone actually watch live NHL hockey on television anymore ?

As popular as the Olympics and its ideals appear to be . The Winter Olympics are often seen as mundane and uninteresting to begin with. They at times stir up about as much interest as a political debate between two mono-toned personality challenged candidates. So at this juncture all I have to is ‘………. will you be watching NBC’s coverage of the events and how much time if any will you devote watching an event’ ? With things being what they are now at NBC , you might as well be watching paint dry on a wall for all the interest that it would create !

Click here to see the list of US Winter Olympic team members.

Comcast Inc apart from being a cable provider in conjunction with Comcast/Spectacor they are also the co-owners or owners in full of the following professional sports franchises ….the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and the NHL’s Philadephia Flyers.


NBC Universal’s problems are synonymous with this now famous O’Jays’ hit from the early seventies ‘For The Love of Money’. There’s nothing wrong in making it but it’s how you go about it and what the end results are, as to how you’ve derived of it that ought to count. Clearly, at NBC that hasn’t been their biggest concern as of late , as they were under the impression that ‘the tap’ wasn’t about to be turned off by GE .