Marv Albert, Bob Costas and Al Michaels have combined to work 25 Super Bowls, 25 NBA Finals, 23 Olympics and 19 World Series. But they have never appeared on the same sports broadcast together.
Albert, Costas and Michaels will join forces for the PBC on NBC show on April 11 (8:30 p.m. ET) for a pair of boxing matches from Barclays Center in Brooklyn. With Albert (blow-by-blow announcer) and Michaels (host) having regular roles for the boxing series, Costas has been added to as a special contributor for the event. He will narrate and write a feature on the storied history of boxing in New York City.
The idea for the trio to work on the same broadcast came from NBC Sports executive producer Sam Flood who called Costas and pitched him on it. Albert and Costas are based in New York (Costas is calling Yankees-Red Sox the night before for the MLB Network) and with Michaels flying in from Los Angeles, the scheduling worked.
“I think the light bulb popped off in Sam’s head that this would be a chance to get these guys on the same broadcast,” Costas said on Monday afternoon. “We are all very good friends and we are more than familiar with each other’s work. I think it will just be a cool thing. Obviously there is mutual admiration and respect.”
The primetime show features Danny Garcia (29-0, 17 KOs) vs. Lamont Peterson (33-2-1, 17 KOs), and middleweight champion Andy Lee (34-2, 24 KOs) vs. Peter Quillin (31-0, 22 KOs). The debut PBC on NBC telecast on March 7 averaged 3.4 million viewers, ranking as the most-watched professional boxing broadcast in 17 years.
Costas hosted some boxing events for HBO in the early 2000s and has interviewed boxers on various shows including Oscar De La Hoya, EvanderHolyfield, Roy Jones, Lennox Lewis, and WladimirKlitschko. Albert and Michaels have many years experience as fight callers.
There are no plans yet to have a group outing after the event but Costas hopes it will happen. Who would pay the check among the three well-paid broadcasters?
“We would sign Sam Flood’s name and put it on the NBC Sports account,” Costas said. “I would also make sure Sam tipped extravagantly.”
Via NBC, here’s the breakdown of events worked:
11 Olympics, 11 NBA Finals, 7 Super Bowls, 7 World Series
10 Super Bowls, 8 Olympics, 8 World Series, 2 NBA Finals
12 NBA Finals, 8 Super Bowls, 4 Olympics, 4 World Series
THE NOISE REPORT
1. Pedro Martinez, who has been enjoyable to watch as part of Turner Sports’ postseason coverage, has been hired by MLB Network as a studio analyst. He’ll make his debut on MLB Tonight during Opening Week and appear across MLB Network’s studio programming. Martinez will also continue to work with Turner Sports during the postseason.
“I’m feeling more comfortable as I get closer to TV and see how things work,” Martinez said. “I’ve also had a lot of help from the people I work with. They have been really patient, really generous as far as being with me and teaching me the right things to do—and also very efficient as far as making it easy for me to get all the data and all the information that I need. I feel a little bit more comfortable every time I go out.”
1a. Martinez said he believes Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame. “With all due respect to everybody and to the Hall of Fame, the new commissioner, the former commissioner, I believe he should be in there,” Martinez said. “I’ve always been very vocal about Pete because I remember coming up in the 80’s and watching Pete Rose, 'Charlie Hustle,' like they called him, and his performance in the field to me was outstanding … I think he paid his dues already, I think he’s been out and suffering for not being in long enough. I believe he should be in.”
2. I’ve long admired Fox Sports PR department for its creative and aggressive ratings releases. The department is very good at selling the best story for Fox. But never forget that ratings are used for advertisers, and the key is to convince spenders that the numbers and demos will work best for them.
Obviously, Fox Sports 1 would like to see Katie Nolan’s new vehicle Garbage Time do well because it’s a good story to tell for advertisers. Nolan is unique in that there is no other woman under 30 on sports television solo hosting a show that features opinion-making. While I think the show’s content has been mixed, I hope it finds an audience because it would likely lead to other women getting vehicles in multiple mediums where they can opine rather than merely set up men as panelists.
Regarding the second episode of Garbage Time, Fox Sports recently passed along viewership numbers using—and this is key—total viewership rather than average viewership.
The raw data from Fox:
FS1 Sunday Premiere
FS1 Monday Overnight Repeat
FS1 Tuesday 12:30p re-air
FS2 Monday re-air
Digital Full Episode Starts
Most entities that write about ratings, sites such as Sports Business Daily, Sports TV Ratings.com, Sports Media Watch and Douglas Pucci at Awful Announcing, use average viewership when it comes to viewership stats. SBD, for instance, uses live first viewing via linear TV. If you asked independent sources why a channel would use total viewership over average viewership, they’d likely tell you total viewership is used to mask lower numbers or a decline year-over-year. That’s obviously not the case with Garbage Time given the show is so new. On this end, a source passed along the Garbage Time viewership averages (TV only) for the same episode.
The raw data:
FS1 Sunday Premiere: 99,000 average viewers
FS1 Monday Overnight Repeat 6,000
FS1 Tuesday afternoon reair: 20,000
F2 Monday Re-Air 0 viewers (this re-air would register as zero viewers using averages)
The digital numbers Fox Sports supplied are proprietary and I’ll take them at their word that they are accurate.
On the TV side, it’s a bold move for FS1 to use total viewership on one of its shows because the rest of the industry could counter in other time slots and push their advantages over FS1. Then it would be up to a third party (publications and elsewhere) to decide what metric to use. In short, it’s interesting times in the numbers business.
3. ESPN producer Erik Rydholm, profiled in Sunday’s column, is close pals with Bill Simmons, and Simmons has told me many times how much he admires Rydholm as a creative force. I asked Rydholm if Simmons seeks him out for career advice, how would he advise Simmons on the decision to stay at ESPN versus moving to another entity? He went, predictably, BoutrosBoutros-Ghali with his answer.
Said Rydholm: “WHOA! Bill's contract is coming up? I had no idea! You should cover that! But seriously, Bill hasn't asked for and doesn't need my advice. He knows so much more about his options and aspirations than I do. I love working with him, too: he thinks big, works his ass off, and shares the ball.”
4.Sports Business Journal media reporter John Ourand reported that Fox Sports has made a formal offer to Jamie Horowitz, the former ESPN and NBC executive, to oversee all of its studio programming. Ourand writes that 38-year-old Horowitz, who created SportsNation and First Take, is mulling the offer from the network that would see him relocate from the New York area to Los Angeles and report to Fox Sports president Eric Shanks. Fox Sports declined to comment on the offer. The Big Lead Jason’s McIntyre wrote about Fox’s courting of Horowitz in January.
4a. Via Robert Littal of Black Sports Online comes this question: Why Do You Care If Someone Watches Wrestling?
4b. NBC’s Inside-the-Glass NHL analyst Brian Engblom took a puck to the forehead on Sunday during the game and needed stitches. The puck deflected off Sidney Crosby’s stick and in the postgame interview, Crosby gave the former NHL defenseman credit for returning quickly to his post.
4c. The News and Observer caught up with former CBS college basketball analyst Billy Packer.
5. If you are a parent, or plan to be one in the future, I really recommend reading this eulogy from Ivan Maisel, an ESPN college football writer and former SI staffer, for his son.