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McKenzie Playing a Key Role in TSN’s Success

Jason Barrett

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When the country’s two sports television networks tear into each other on Monday in the ultimate bit of Canadiana – all-day live coverage of deadline day in the NHL for making trades – the goal of each of them, aside from ratings, is beating the other guy by a few seconds to announce a trade first.

But no matter who wins the intense battle for scoops between TSN and Sportsnet, there is one fact neither network can argue: TSN’s Bob McKenzie is the most trusted source of hockey information on any media platform. He may not always be first with the trade announcements or other news, although he is not often beaten, but he is always right.

There is nothing stylish about McKenzie, 59, who was part of the great migration of print reporters to broadcast outlets that began in earnest in the 1990s. But unlike many of his colleagues, particularly in the United States where current and former print types make up the casts of dozens of sports-talk screamfests, McKenzie stuck with what worked for him from the start, a solid work ethic that developed the widest variety of sources in the sport, from junior scouts to NHL owners.

That means any information he provides, whether to his 1.22 million Twitter followers, on a TSN television panel, a radio appearance or in a written report on TSN.ca, is solid.

The 2015 trade deadline was the first year TSN did not have any national NHL broadcast rights, having lost the package to Rogers Media, which agreed in 2014 to pay $5.2-billion over 12 years for the NHL’s Canadian national broadcast rights. But TSN trounced Rogers’s Sportsnet network on deadline day, drawing an average of 206,000 viewers to its 10 hours of coverage compared with 76,000 for Sportsnet. TSN drew more than double the total viewers to its show, 2.3 million, than Sportsnet (1.1 million).

While this cannot all be attributed to McKenzie, a major share of it can, given that he dominates the hockey discussion on Twitter, where viewership starts. And he is the one looked to by most for confirmation of a trade.

McKenzie, though, will not tell you he is driving the ratings.

“I just get up and do my job every day and make sure I don’t feel like I have to back up to the pay window at the end of the week,” McKenzie said.

To continue reading the full article visit the Toronto Globe and Mail where it was originally published

Sports TV News

Fox Officially Unveils NFL Broadcast Teams

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In what has been considered a formality for some time, Fox today officially unveiled Kevin Burkhardt, Greg Olsen, Erin Andrews, and Tom Rinaldi as their number one NFL broadcast team Monday. Burkhardt and Olsen were elevated to Fox’s top booth after the departure of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman to ESPN’s Monday Night Football earlier this year.

There were some reports that Drew Brees could have been a possibility to join the network, but those discussions fell apart.

The network’s other teams include several familiar faces to football fans:

#2 team: Joe Davis, Daryl “Moose” Johnston, Pam Oliver
#3 team: Adam Amin, Mark Schlereth, Kristina Pink
#4 team: Kenny Albert, Jonathan Vilma, Shannon Spake
#5 team: Kevin Kugler, Mark Sanchez, Laura Okmin
#6 team: Chris Myers, Robert Smith, Jen Hale

Olsen’s jump to the number one team with Burkhardt is a formality until the retirement of Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady. The seven-time Super Bowl winner will ascend to Fox’s number one booth upon his retirement, whenever that may be.

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Ryan Clark, Mad Dog Get Into Heated Argument on ‘First Take’

“Mad Dog, stop screaming at me now, bro. For the last time, you’re gonna stop screaming at me,” Clark interrupted.

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Former Pittsburgh Steeler, and current ESPN NFL analyst Ryan Clark and recent Radio Hall of Fame inductee Chris “Mad Dog” Russo squared off on Monday’s edition of First Take, with a heated exchange taking place between the two.

After a discussion about Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas meandered into a discussion about whether Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp would be voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame if he never played another game, Clark said about Hall of Fame voters “they must be voting like you (Russo) vote for the Heisman, where you just vote on whoever the hell you want based off the fact that they play quarterback”.

Russo quickly took exception to the perceived slight.

“Ryan, hold on now,” Russo said, in a louder manner than normal. “You said something, now I’m going to comment. I’ve been voting for the Heisman since before you were born.”

“Mad Dog, stop screaming at me now, bro. For the last time, you’re gonna stop screaming at me,” Clark interrupted.

“You said something that wasn’t right,” Russo said.

“Lower your voice,” the former Steeler interrupted again.

“I’ve been voting for the Heisman since before you were born,” Mad Dog reiterated, with a lower volume. “30 years.”

“I don’t care about that,” Clark rebutted.

“You’re saying I’m voting for the Heisman and saying I don’t deserve a vote. I’ve been voting for 30 years!”, Russo began to raise his voice again.

“I never said you don’t deserve a vote,” Clark replied before clarifying he disagrees with Russo’s sentiment about the college football award being only awarded to quarterbacks.

It’s not the first time Russo has clashed with First Take contributors. A discussion with J.J. Reddick went viral earlier this year after Reddick told Russo previous NBA players played with “plumbers and firefighters”.

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Todd Frazier Joining ESPN Little League World Series Booth

It will be a memorable summer for Fraizer at the LLWS because he will be inducted into the Little League Hall of Excellence. 

Ricky Keeler

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When people talk about 11-year MLB veteran Todd Frazier, some of the things that are usually mentioned on broadcasts usually is that he is from Toms River, New Jersey and that he played in the Little League World Series in 1998 (won the championship). Now, Frazier will have a bigger connection to the annual event in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

As first reported by Bobby Nightengale of The Cincinnati EnquirerFrazier will be in the TV booth (remotely) for ESPN for this year’s Little League World Series. He made his broadcast debut on Monday morning during one of the New England region semifinals between Maine and Massachusetts. 

Frazier told Nightengale that he wants to use this event to begin his second career in the broadcasting industry.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, especially for the Little League World Series since I’ve been a part of it. I know it and understand it really well. Kind of kickstart my second career here.” 

It will be a memorable summer for Fraizer at the LLWS because he will be inducted into the Little League Hall of Excellence. 

The Little League World Series begins on Wednesday, August 17 and ends on Sunday, August 28. It will be broadcasted on ESPN and ABC.  

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