Weekend Watch – Daytona 500 Weekend 2007

This weekend features the scandal-tainted Daytona 500 and the NBA All Star game from Sin City, Las Vegas. Good times.

FOX is going all-out in their coverage of the Daytona 500, which has been rocked this week with suspensions for cheating among some of the top teams in the circuit. This is the first major event of 2007 for NASCAR, which will see some unprecedented media coverage this season, as ESPN has picked up some of the races, and is already hyping their coverage.

Here’s a small section of FOX’s 20 page Daytona 500 Press Kit outlining some of the productions facts for Sunday’s broadcast:

EQUIPMENT
For its coverage of the 49th Daytona 500, FOX Sports is employing seven mobile production units, one graphics truck, one uplink transmission unit, two edit suites, one audio submix truck, and a quad generator capable of outputting nearly a megawatt of power. In addition, the FOX Sports production compound at Daytona International Speedway features six office trailers and support vehicles. This command center directs the following arsenal of production equipment: Daytona_500.jpg

  • 20 Manned cameras
  • 2 Super slow motion cameras, capturing 180 frames per second
  • Cablecam
  • 10 Robotic cameras
  • 16 In-car camera packages, each featuring three cameras
  • 6 Stationary POV cameras, including “Grass Cam” and “Wall Cam”
  • 3 Prerace cameras
  • 25 Video replay devices with over 72 channels of recording/playout
  • 43 Race team communication radios, one for each car on the track
  • Over 150 microphones placed along the track and throughout Daytona International Speedway

CREW
A staff of approximately 300 production, technical and support personnel are expected to consume approximately 13,000 bottles of water, 125 gallons of coffee, 5,000 bottles/cans of soft drinks and over 5,000 meals during Daytona SpeedWeeks.

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NBA All Star Weekendas2007_logo_ea.jpg
Gerald Green is the Celtics lone player representative at All Star Weekend, (Courtney of the Celtics Dance Team is there as part of the NBA All-Star Dance Team.) as he hopes to become the first Celtic since Dee Brown in 1991 to win the slam dunk contest. TNT has the contest as part of All Star Saturday night at 8:30pm. (Click here for a podcast with Dee Brown)

The festivities actually begin tonight at 9:00 when TNT will show the Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam. The game itself is on Sunday night at 8:30.

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Is anyone else already sick of the media complaining about being sick of the media coverage of Daisuke Matsuzaka? It cracks me up to see someone like Greg Dickerson (sorry Greg, but you made the mistake of putting yours in print.) complain about the Matsuzaka coverage. Dickerson is heading down to spring training next week for the FSN New England coverage, and you can be sure his station is going to have as much Daisuke coverage as anyone else.

In the Red Sox coverage this week, Amalie Benjamin brought something different to the Extra Bases blog on Boston.com. While she kept up with the news items going on, she also mixed in reports on Manny Delcarmen’s orange highlights and her morning jogs. It’s not for everyone, but from this view she’s been a refreshing change from reading Nick Cafardo write about his bunions. (OK, to my knowledge Nick never actually blogged about his bunions, but he may as well have been given the level of enthusiasm in some of his blog posts.)

Glenn Ordway today said that the local media is being too quick to build up Matsuzaka as being a captivating personality. Ordway said that Matsuzaka took too long (4 or 5 seconds!) to answer questions presented to him in Japanese at the press conferences, and that the local media is jumping the gun by presenting him as this dynamic/bold/affable personality. Apparently to Glenn anyone who takes 5 seconds to compose their thoughts and present them is just plain boring.

I’m thinking Glenn might need to take a moment and think himself before making a statement of this nature. According to the book Managing Cultural Differences: Leadership Strategies for a New World of Business it is part of the Japanese culture to think before giving a response.

To Americans, people who pause before replying to a question are probably dissembling. They expect a trustworthy person to respond directly. The Japanese distrust such fluency. They are impressed by somebody who gives careful thought to a question before making a reply. Most Japanese are comfortable with periods of silence. Americans find silence awkward and like to plug any conversational gaps.

You just KNOW that there is going to be a big cultural blow-up at some point this season as some Boston media member makes a comment that is offensive to the Japanese.

Mark February 16, 2007 as the first day that Steve Buckley wanted to talk about the potential playoff rotation for the Red Sox…

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Gary Tanguay hasn’t always been a favorite of this space, with his penchant for trying to create sensationalism with worst-case scenarios and Devil’s Advocate positions with whatever other topic he might be discussing, but I have to give him credit to stepping in for Mike Gorman on the FSN Celtics broadcast on Wednesday.

Gorman was stranded because of the storm and unable to make it to the Garden for the Celtics/Bucks game. Tanguay took Gorman’s place alongside Tommy Heinsohn and did a decent job considering he probably had a matter of hours at most to prepare for doing play-by-play of an NBA game. It may have been a one-game stint, but he showed he already had his own trademark phrase, as he said “Why not?” at a number of points during the game.

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Weekend Highlights

Friday
7:00pm, CN8 – College Hockey: Harvard @ Yale
7:00pm, ESPN2 – College Hoops: Winthrop @ Missouri St.
7:30pm, NESN – College Hockey: BU @ UNH
9:00pm, TNT – NBA Rookie Challenge

Saturday
Noon, ESPN – Georgetown @ Villanova
Noon, WCVB – St. John’s @ Providence
1:00pm, CBS- Florida @ Vanderbilt (HD)
1:00pm, TV38 – Florida St. @ Virginia
1:15pm, ESPN2 – NASCAR Busch Series: Orbitz 300 (HD)
3:00pm – CBS – Nissan Open (HD)
3:30pm, WCVB – UConn @ Syracuse
4:00pm, NBC – Champions: Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am (HD)
4:00pm, ESPN – Indiana @ Michigan
7:00pm, NESN – Bruins @ Sabres (HD)
8:30pm, TNT – NBA All Star Saturday night
9:00pm, ESPN – North Carolina @ Boston College (HD)

Sunday
1:00pm – CBS – Georgia Tech @ Duke (HD)
1:30pm, NBC – Champions: Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am (HD)
2:00pm – FOX – Daytona 500 (HD)
3:00pm – CBS – Nissan Open (HD)
3:30pm – NBC – Capitals @ Penguins (HD)
8:30pm – TNT – NBA All Star Game

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Rob Bradford and the Laurence Eagle-Tribune launched their new Red Sox blog this week, Bradford on Baseball.

Globe Celtics beat writer Shira Springer had a chat on Boston.com Friday.

Andy Gray of SI.com has a Slam Dunk contest preview.

Bill Simmons looks back at the most memorable All Star game ever, the 1987 game in Seattle.

The Media Circus is back this week with a look at ESPN’s cleverly named college basketball nights, DR Z’s broadcasting picks and quite possibly the dumbest thing ever said on the air.

Tim Hardaway apparently forced Mary Buckheit of ESPN Page2 out of the closet.

Michael McCann on Sports Law Blog has a look at the Peculiarities of Beer Advertising and Major League Baseball. This is a result of the Daisuke Matsuzaka beer ad that surfaced on YouTube recently. McCann makes a number of interesting points about MLB and Beer, and asks a succinct question at the end about smokeless tobacco.

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Sports Media Columns

New England

Susan Bickelhaupt as more on NASCAR coverage shifting into a new gear. Bill Doyle looked at Red Sox owner John Henry’s investment into Roush Racing, forming the new Roush Fenway Racing. David Scott has more on the partnership with NASCAR, as well as thoughts on Spring Training and college hoops.

New York

Pat Reichart has John Davidson figuring to get a little emotional in his first trip back to Madison Square Garden after so many years analyzing Rangers games. Phil Mushnick says that the NYRA treats horses and fans better than MLB treats fans. Richard Sandomir says a long friendship with the president and chief executive of NBC Universal is big reason why Tiki Barber chose that network over FOX and ESPN. Bob Raissman notes that Barber’s new career began by ripping his old coach, Tom Coughlin. Reichart also sits down for five questions with NBC new hire Barber. Neil Best looks at how ESPN is going into overdrive in their NASCAR coverage this season.

More East Coast

Michael Hiestand says that NASCAR viewers have more options than ever in the network telecasts of their sport. Jim Williams says that the coverage of NASCAR from all outlets – TV, radio and Internet, is the best of any sport. Williams has a second column on the Daytona 500 and the NBA All Star game on his blog. Hiestand also has a look at Bill Cowher joining the CBS NFL team. Laura Nachman has Phillies director of media and public affairs Scott Palmer learning from the mistakes he made in handling the Brett Myers situation last summer. Aaron Bracy has Cowher expressing sympathy for the situation that Andy Reid finds himself in at the moment.

South

Dave Darling notes that NASCAR, even though it is the second-most-popular television sport in America, is still coming back from an off year, with attendance and ratings down for many races. Barry Jackson has WQAM and 790 the Ticket sparring over Dolphins radio rights. He also touches on a number of other topics.

Midwest

Teddy Greenstein has a look at Chicago radio personality Dan Jiggetts, who is coming off a pretty rough year personally. Jeffrey Flanagan observes that the media tour conducted by Royals prospect Billy Butler was perhaps a bit premature. Bob Wolfley reports that Brewers fans will get to see 15 games over the air this season, a change from the last two seasons where all games were carried on cable. Judd Zulgad notes that the Twins opener has been picked up by ESPN.

West Coast

Larry Stewart looks at a busy weekend ahead for Charles Barkley during All Star weekend in Las Vegas. Stewart’s notebook has Fox’s BDSSP getting into boxing with a two-hour fight show from the Playboy Mansion. Jay Posner has channel 4 beefing up their Padres coverage with an expanded post game show. Joe Davidson reports on Sacramento getting a second all-sports radio station. John Mafferi has new CBS analyst Bill Cowher talking about the firing of his friend Marty Schottenheimer. Tom Hoffarth has Lakers broadcaster Stu Lantz still missing partner Chick Hearn, five years after the death of the legendary announcer. He also lists his top 10 and bottom 5 TV analysts in the Los Angeles area. Old friend Steve Lyons heads the bottom 5 list.