Sam Rosen Returns to Versus… For Boxing

Rangers voice Sam Rosen was a play-by-play man for OLN during the 2005-06 season, in fact called the 1st game in OLN NHL history (NYR vs. PHI, 10/5/05).  He was dropped by the network after that season.

But last night, he made a return to VERSUS, calling the Bernard Hopkins fight on the network’s “Fight Night” series.  Did a solid job.  I enjoy him calling boxing.  I hope this leads to him returning to the VERSUS NHL booth at some point this year, maybe the playoffs, since the Rangers may be conspicuously absent.

By the way, is there any sport Sam Rosen doesn’t call?


6 Sports/Hockey Related Predictions For the Unholy Matrimony of NBC Sports & VERSUS

I’ve thought a little bit about these, so here goes:

1. NBC Sports/VERSUS Will Bid on Every Major League’s Broadcast/Cable Rights Between Now and 2014

Between 2011 and 2014, every major rights agreement in Sports TV, aside from the NBA (2016) and SEC (Forever from now) will be up for grabs.  That means the NFL, MLB, and most importantly to our readers, the NHL.  NBC Sports having VERSUS as it’s cable arm gives it a power they did not have until now.  Not only does plunking down hundreds of millions of dollars down on a sports league make sense, but it’s something NBC/Comcast now must do to make the investment worthwhile.

NBC is a sinking ship.  Right now, with the network in 4th place, I have a feeling they’ll take as much guaranteed ratings-grabbing programming as they can.  Watch them restart their proud tradition of baseball broadcasting, with a Saturday game of the week supplemented by a Sunday or Wednesday night game on VERSUS.  Potentially an LCS on both NBC & VERSUS?  I’m sure the NHL would be happy with that promotional vehicle.

2.  NBC will go back to broadcasting regional NHL games instead of a Game of the Week.

Now that NBC has the entire VERSUS NHL production team at it’s disposal, they’ll have a ton of hockey people to pay anyway, so chances are we’ll see the three-game national split again in coming years, except for the occasional Ovechkin-Crosby or Red Wings-Pens game.

3. The NHL Network will open up a New York studio at 30 Rock.

Comcast owns a share of the NHL Network, and will probably want to open up it’s own American studio for the U.S. version of the channel at some point.  With one of the most historic television buildings of the world at your disposal, there’s no reason not to have NHL: On the Fly with your host Al Roker.

4.  VERSUS Will Be the New Home of Sunday Night Football

This is going out on a serious limb.  NBC will re-bid for the NFL when the rights discussions come up, but instead of just going after one package, they will look to purchase two.  They’ll try to wrestle away the AFC from CBS, and attempt to buy back the Sunday Night package, and place it on VERSUS.

5.  No Brainer – Nightly Sports Highlight Shows

You think Dick Ebersol won’t give us a SportsCenter clone and an NHL2Night revival with him running the show?  Then you don’t know Dick.  Farewell, Fanarchy.

6. The NHL and VERSUS/NBC Will Sign a 6-year, Multimedia Rights Extension worth About $500 Million total.

If I had to venture a guess, based on the previous rounds of negotiating (Which ended in VERSUS having a 6-year, about $400 million total if I’ve done the math correctly, and rectify it if I’m wrong) that ESPN will come close to this, but not likely do more.  Yes, it’s an over-bid.  But it’s a bargain considering the NHL’s growth potential, and how much they’ll have to pay for everything else.

Something Every Human Being Should Do Once in Their Lives

If you ever get the chance to watch an uncut hockey broadcast, please do so.  By uncut, we mean no commercials, with the announcers all leaving their mics on.

Some samples from TSN’s Vancouver-New Jersey broadcast:

  • Ray Ferraro calls Chris Cuthbert “CC”.  Showbiz!
  • Chris Cuthbert whistles during breaks occasionally.
  • Cuthbert: “I have all day and nowhere to go.  I’d like a mini-buffet here.”
  • Also, more interesting: Ferraro getting a message stating that Cuthbert was incorrect on Devil d-man Bryce Salvador’s junior team, which Cuthbert corrected on-air.

Anyway, it was really cool to see, except you don’t get too much from the intermissions, so check it out if you happen to see that feed sometime.