Ken from Fang’s Bites with your megalinks.
As usual, we begin with the Weekend Viewing Picks. This is a busy viewing weekend for sports.
The NFL Draft takes precedence this weekend complete with a later starting time, 4 p.m. ESPN and NFL Network will have gavel-to-gavel coverage. ESPN actually begins its coverage of the Draft at 11 a.m. Saturday with a 5 hour pre-Draft SportsCenter On The Clock special. It switches to ESPN2 at 1 p.m. while ESPN has an NBA Playoff game. Then barring any trade, the Detroit Lions will be on the clock at 4 p.m.
Chris Berman and a cast of millions including Erin Andrews will on ESPN. Rich Eisen anchors the coverage for NFL Network. The first day will run until 11 p.m. and then Day 2 begins on ESPN and NFL Network at 10 a.m. Sunday.
The NHL Playoffs are in full swing and NBC has coverage of at least one game this weekend, Game 6 of the Flyers-Penguins series on Saturday at 3 p.m. If necessary, NBC will have Game 6 of Washington-New York Rangers on Sunday at 2 p.m.
The NBA Playoffs continue this weekend and the game we care about, Game 4 of the Celtics-Bulls will be aired on WCVB and ABC6, Sunday afternoon at 1.
The Yankees-Red Sox begin the 2009 version of the rivalry this weekend. NESN has tonight’s game at 7. Then Fox 25 and Fox 64 will have Saturday’s game at 4 then on ESPN Sunday night at 8. The Fox announcing assignments can be seen here.
MLB Network has Phillies-Marlins Saturday night at 7, while TBS has the Sunday game at noon. WGN has the White Sox hosting Toronto at 7 p.m. Saturday and Cubs-Cards Sunday at 2 p.m.
NASCAR is at Talladega for the Aaron’s 499 on Fox, Sunday at 1 p.m.
Formula 1 heads to Bahrain Sunday on Speed at 7:30 a.m.
Indy Car is at the Kansas Speedway Sunday on Versus at 4 p.m.
The PGA Tour is in the Big Easy for the Zurich Classic, CBS has third and final round coverage at 3 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday.
The full Weekend Viewing Picks has all this and more along with primetime programming.
Now to your links.
In the Sporting News, Dan Shanoff tells us why we love Erin Andrews.
CNBC’s Darren Rovell says the fact that there’s no shoe endorsements coming into this year’s NFL Draft shows that companies are getting smarter in this sluggish economy. Darren looks at one prospect who could be one of the more amazing stories of year’s Draft.
Ryan Saghir of the Orbitcast satellite radio blog says Sirius XM will be all over the NFL Draft.
Maury Brown of the Biz of Baseball writes that MLB Extra Innings customer service is referring calls about silly blackout rules to him.
John Eggerton of Multichannel News reports that there will be not be a decision by an FCC judge in the Comcast-NFL Network dispute until June 11.
Mike Reynolds of Multichannel writes that the New York Jets and SNY have extended a programming agreement that gives the regional sports network greater access to the team.
John Daly of the Daly Planet NASCAR blog wonders what happened to a NASCAR-centric reality TV series.
Christopher Byrne of the Eye on Sports Media blog looks into a rumor that Fox may shake up its NFL announcing and production teams. Chris writes that ESPN’s attempt to challenge Wikipedia has gone live.
East and Mid-Atlantic
The Boston Globe’s Nancy Marrapese-Burrell looks at Mchael Felger’s expanding media presence.
Richard Sandomir of the New York Times says the Yankees need seat fillers. Richard says the battle is just beginning for athletes and collectors who donated items to the now-bankrupt Sports Museum of America.
Judy Battista of the Times looks at the mom-and-pop NFL Draft business run by Mel Kiper, Jr. and his wife, Kim.
Also from the Times, Jeff Z. Klein says ratings for the NHL Playoffs in the U.S. are way up from last season.
Neil Best of Newsday has an extensive review of the MLB Network. Neil adds that MLB Network serves diehard fans while ESPN is good for the general fan. Neil asks ESPN to stop harping on the West Coast references during the L.A.-based late night SportsCenter. Neil talks with CBS’ Dick Enberg who will be honored with the Vin Scully Award at Fordham University next month.
The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick wishes SNY wouldn’t beat around the bush when it comes to the Mets’ less than stellar play.
Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union writes about ESPN’s five hour warmup for the NFL Draft.
Laura Nachman writes that Philadelphia viewers preferred seeing the Harry Kalas memorial on Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia.
John Gonzalez of the Philadelphia Inquirer advises Eagles president Joe Banner to stop going on the radio.
Don McKee of the Inquirer says Mel Kiper, Jr. is so identified with one event.
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review says NBC is once again putting the kybosh on outdoor viewing of Saturday’s Flyers-Penguins game.
Tricia Lafferty from the Trib-Review writes that part of last night’s Pens-Flyers game was blacked out due to a lightning strike at FSN’s technical operations facility in Atlanta.
Ray Frager from the Baltimore Sun says pre-NFL Draft programming is almost equal to the Super Bowl pregame show.
Jim Williams of the Washington Examiner says a DC sports radio station has its own pre-draft special today.
Michael Zuidema of the Grand Rapids Press writes that a local TV news reporter returns to the sports desk.
Bob Wolfley from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel says only ABC saw a ratings bump for NBA regular season games.
Ed Sherman of Crain’s Chicago Business wonders if the Draft will be anti-climatic for Bears fans.
In the Chicago Sun-Times, Dan McNeil says as the Bulls go further into the NBA Playoffs, he truly misses analyst Norm Van Lier.
Paul Christian of the Rochester Post-Bulletin says ESPN will be all over the NFL Draft.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution publishes dueling op-ed pieces by Comcast and the NFL Network on their dispute.
From the Miami Herald, Barry Jackson says in its 30th year of covering the Draft, ESPN is always looking to improve.
Ray Buck of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes that Texas Rangers TV voice Josh Lewin tries to cram in as much trivia as much as he can.
Barry Horn of the Dallas Morning News says the Cowboys finally have a deal in place with a new flagship radio station. Barry looks at the hour-by-hour breakdown of the local sports radio ratings. And Barry says the ratings for the Mavs-Spurs series have been good in Big D, but even better in the Alamo City.
Mel Bracht from the Daily Oklahoman talks about ESPN going deep into the NFL Draft. Mel wonders why Fox stuck with last week’s Indians 22-4 blowout of the Yankees and would not switch to Cards-Cubs. Mel bids farewell to ESPN’s Steven A. Smith.
Scott D. Pierce of the Deseret (UT) News says the national NBA analysts are being fair when it comes to the Jazz.
Jay Posner of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes there’s been little to no feedback on new Padres announcer Mark Neely.
John Maffei from the North County Times feels Herm Edwards will be a good addition to ESPN’s NFL Draft coverage.
Jim Carlisle of the Ventura County Star writes that new Dodgers TV announcer Eric Collins had a short, but sweet start to his gig this week.
Diane Pucin from the Los Angeles Times wonders how anyone can keep up with all of the NFL Draft talk.
From the Los Angeles Daily News, Tom Hoffarth says the real drama at the NFL Draft is where USC QB Mark Sanchez will land. Tom says an ESPN.com story on Lenny Dykstra is a must read. Tom has his usual extensive media notes which include a review of new Dodger announcer Eric Collins.
Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star says a deal between Rogers Cable and TSN 2 might be near.
And that will do it for the megalinks.