Nov 08, 2012 (Ventura County Star - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
It's difficult to let a week go by without another examination of Time Warner Cable SportsNet and its impact on Los Angeles Lakers fans.
The last major cable TV piece of SportsNet's coverage puzzle fell into place this week as Cox Communications signed on to add the channel and its Spanish-language counterpart, Time Warner Cable Deportes. Cox serves big chunks of Orange County, the Inland Empire and San Diego County, totaling about 1.2 million subscribers.
In the Ventura County area, the cable and telco ducks were already all in a row, with Charter the first to sign up, followed by Verizon FiOS and AT&T U-Verse.
The big problem for Time Warner -- and for Lakers fans -- remains that neither satellite TV company has joined the bandwagon. DirecTV has traded news release barbs with TWC and, while Dish Network was eager to add the Pac-12 Networks, it hasn't said much at all about SportsNet.
The exclusion of satellite subscribers leaves TWC SportsNet and Deportes unavailable in more than one-third of the market.
Meanwhile, an interesting convergence took place last Friday, when the Lakers hosted the Clippers. The game was televised by not fewer than six networks, three in English, three in Spanish. TWC SportsNet and Prime Ticket carried it locally in English and Spanish, and ESPN and ESPN Deportes showed it nationally with no blackout in the L.A. market.
On ESPN, the rating for the game in L.A. was 5.9, the largest ever for a regular-season NBA game in the market. Nationally, the game had a 2.4 rating with more than 3 million viewers (these numbers do not include the New York market because of the hurricane aftermath).
ESPN better than doubled the two regional networks, which both had ratings in the 2s.
On Wednesday night, TWC SportsNet -- with Cox now in the fold -- had a 2.5 rating and 141,000 households for the Lakers-Jazz game, while the Clippers-Spurs game on Prime Ticket had a 1.2 rating with 67,000 households.
Maybe our goal next week can be to do a TV-Radio Notebook with no mention of Time Warner. Wishful thinking maybe, but worth giving a try.
For the fifth straight year, ESPN launches the college basketball season with its "Tip-Off Marathon," part of 54 games it will televise in six days. The marathon, which starts at 9 p.m. Monday with West Virginia at Gonzaga, features 11 men's games in 24 consecutive hours.
ESPN's first game is Friday night from Ramstein Air Base in Kaiserslautern, Germany, with Michigan State playing Connecticut. That's one of several games TV networks plan this Veterans Day weekend.
One of them has already been postponed. The Syracuse-San Diego State game, scheduled for tonight aboard the USS Midway Museum in San Diego Harbor, has been moved to 1 p.m. Sunday because of weather concerns. Locally, the telecast switches from Prime Ticket to Fox Sports West.
Meanwhile, UCLA's season debut -- and the first game for the renovated Pauley Pavilion -- is against Indiana State at 8 on Fox Sports West, while USC's opener against Coppin State is at 8 on Pac-12 Los Angeles.
Jim Durham, voice of the NBA on ESPN Radio since 1992, died over the weekend at his home in Tomball, Texas, near Houston. He had just started the new season with partner Jack Ramsay, calling the Boston-Miami opener. Prior to ESPN, Durham had announced Chicago Bulls and Dallas Mavericks basketball as well as Chicago White Sox and Houston Astros baseball. Durham, 65, had received the Basketball Hall of Fame's Curt Gowdy Award last year. ...
NBC's "Sunday Night Football" should get big ratings from a lot of eyeballs this week when the Chicago Bears visit the Houston Texans. Both teams are 7-1. The Bears lead the NFC North and the Texans lead the AFC South. The term "Super Bowl preview" is not beyond the realm. ... Jim Rome's first show on Showtime, cleverly titled "Jim Rome on Showtime," will be 10 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 21. The weekly show will include monologues, interviews and in-depth features on both sports and entertainment. ... CBS has given the coveted post-Super Bowl program position to its first-year Sherlock Holmes drama, "Elementary."
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