Friday Grab Bag: Everest site of new wing suit record attempt

If imitation is the highest form of flattery then Felix Baumgartner, the man who jumped from space, must be very flattered that his action is being imitated by climber Joby Ogwyn who will do a similar stunt, this time from the top of the world’s highest peak.

If all goes as planned the Discovery Channel will be broadcasting the feat on live TV this May as it covers the last stage of Ogwyn’s climb and subsequent jump. It is expected to cover five miles and feature three stages. It will be covered by 15 cameras including some that are mounted in the wing suit.

Tim Tebow to be face of A-11 League?
There is a new spring pro football league forming called the A-11 FL that is planning on starting to play this year with first games slated for May. Initially the league will have eight teams at its formation that will span cities across the United

Now there are reports that one of the teams, not surprisingly based in Tampa, is looking to give Tim Tebow a shot at redemption by selecting him as its quarterback. A league official said that Tebow would become the face of the league.

New Thursday & Saturday NFL games this year
If you had CBS as the station that would win the bidding war for new Thursday Night Football games step up and accept your prize! The channel will be airing eight games this upcoming season, which will be simulcast with the NFL Network broadcast. The NFL Network will also exclusively show eight late season games.

Then there is the expansion to Saturday, where the league will show two games on Dec. 20, Week 16 of the season and after all of the bye weeks have passed for the teams. The kickoff times and teams are still being determined.

1904 Olympics must have been something
While the current Olympics in Sochi are getting a good deal of grief prior to the opening ceremony you have to wonder what people would be saying if the games imitated on that took place over 100 years ago?

The Smithsonian has an interesting piece on the games that took place in 1904 in St Louis, Mo. and specifically on the top event, the Marathon. One feature was that they intentionally allowed the athletes to become dehydrated during the run to see what effect that would have.

Baseball Corporate Sponsors: A History
It appears that all but eight stadiums in MLB have a corporate sponsor, and with the Texas Rangers selling the naming rights to Globe Life and Accident Insurance Co. there are now only nine without an extended title that just rolls off of your tongue.

Yet just 20 years ago, according to the Consumerist, there was only one that had a sponsor name while most were simply named for their location and one, San Diego’s Jack Murphy Stadium, was even named after a sports writer of all things. Take a look at how some of the names have undergone change in the last two decades.

ESPN’s NFL32 Turns to Social Media for Topics With ‘Facebook Faceoff’

ESPN will enable Fans to determine some discussion topics

ESPN, Looking to increase the level of interactivity with its and the NFL’s fans, has developed a segment in one of its new NFL programs, NFL32, that will allow fans to submit questions via Facebook — questions that will hopefully help the ESPN show create feisty debate in a segment called Facebook Faceoff.

NFL32 is designed to be a yearlong one-hour show that features ESPN’s Suzy Kolber and Chris Mortenson as hosts and includes a variety of the network’s other NFL analysts. It uses a free-flowing format that the company touts as being highly interactive.

Now the show is taking interactivity to a new level by soliciting input from members of its Facebook friends. On its Facebook page NFL32 has posted the following:

Want to help stir things up on our NFL32 panel? Thursday we debut a new segment called “Facebook Faceoff”. Submit topics you want to see us debate on TV, and we’ll see which ones cause the biggest differences of opinion.

I have to say I like this plan on many levels. It helps bring broadcasting out of its shell and enable it to more directly interact with fans. I often turn on a sports program and find that it just seems to be a regurgitation of what I have heard on every other sports program. While there is always the danger that ESPN will select issues that cater to this mindset, at least there is a chance that it will open new avenues of conversation.

Broadcast sports programming often seems to talk down to sports fans. On the other hand I find on a variety of sites around the Internet where fans who can intelligently talk about issues that go much deeper than Brady vs. Tebow but about the impact of losing an offensive line coach or the lack of blocking issues from a tight end.

I doubt that the new show will dig down to this level of detail since those topics are not controversial, but it does open the door to more fan interactivity on sports shows. In the past it seemed that the only interaction that ESPN and others had was the annoying Twitter feed at the bottom of the page. If I want to read a Twitter feed my TV is not the place I want to do so.

A quick look at some of the first topics offered for “Facebook Faceoff” include Tebow, Raiders and Tebow, coaching changes in Chicago (Paul did you submit that?) and should the Lions draft another cornerback or a left tackle. Not earth shattering but it is a start.

Just the start for social media
It seems that networks and even news sites are starting to embrace social media and the ability to interact instantaneously with fans. The growth and popularity of Twitter, especially among athletes is just one example.

ESPN struck Twitter gold earlier this week with its hour mostly devoted to Tim Tebow. The show was the most popular on Twitter during its broadcast and was picked up and rerun on several sites. We expect that ESPN will use that program as a template in the future to boost ratings during off-peak viewing times.

Another use of social; media is CBS Sports live “5th Quarter with Gary Danielson” chat which has been running after SEC football games. You do hear regional baseball broadcasts that also will answer select Twitter questions but it always seems canned. Maybe we will start seeing a segment in pregame and postgame shows that enables fans to directly interact with either athletes or the broadcasters as they talk with the athletes.

ESPN SportsCenter’s TebowTime programming goes No. 1 on Twitter

ESPN on Wednesday dedicated a full hour of SportsCenter to talk about Denver Broncos Quarterback Tim Tebow, and the programming caused #SCTebow to achieve the No. 1 trend ranking on Twitter.

TebowTime was the most successful effort to date by SportsCenter to tailor content to sports social media interaction, and could prove a template ESPN uses in the future to boost ratings during off-peak viewing times.

Here’s how ESPN promoted #SCTebow:

News + Highlights + Tebow RT @ Set your clocks: It’s #TebowTime at 2 p.m. ET on @ #ESPNFR



Billed as TebowTime, the SportsCenter programming aired between 2 pm and 3 pm EST.

TebowTime marked one of the first times SportsCenter dedicated the majority of its hour-long news format to a subject that wasn’t breaking news. On July 13, SportsCenter dedicated a large block of its format to the impact of Twitter on sports.

ESPN SportCenter enjoyed cross promotion for its TebowTime sports social media blitz, including this report

TebowTime included highlights of Tebow’s Denver Bronco and Florida Gators comebacks, live reports from the Broncos facility, Skip Bayless debating about Tebow’s merits and reports on Tebow’s impact on Fantasy Football. played SportsCenter’s Tebow Time on its home page, and ESPN’s Front Row blog included extensive coverage of ESPN’s decision.

TebowTime was the brainchild of SportsCenter segment producer Etan Harmelech and championed by coordinating producer Gus Ramsey, producer Tom DeCorte and senior coordinating producer Michael Shiffman.




Greater than Tebow Commentary Emerges as Sports Social Media Phenomenon, Rocks ESPN Website

Denver Broncos QB Tim Tebow, sparks sports social media "Greater than Tebow" firestorm











Denver Broncos Quarterback Tim Tebow is the subject of a massive ESPN social media onslaught, as fans pound the comment string of an obscure blog post with “greater than Tebow” commentary about the quarterback.

Also known as  > Tebow, here is exactly what is going on:

Lefthanded, slow in his release, terrible in his footwork and sporting a 46.1 completion percentage as a starter, Tebow is also a devout man of God who says and does all the right things in the locker room and the community. Based on the ESPN blog post, he also polarizes sports fans like no one else. On October 31, ESPN member QuanB8 posted a greater than sign comment on an ESPN blog post by Bill Williamson titled “Time for Elway to think post-Tebow.”

QuanB8’s comment said:

My dead grandmothers > Tebow

Quan8’s comment ignited> Tebow with sports fans commenting at a rate of at least five per minute at 9 am EST on Nov. 4. ESPN stopped counting at 5000.

Recent Greater than Tebow comments on ESPN

Here are eight > Tebow that appeared within a two-minute time span on ESPN:

  1. Bruce Jenner’s masculinity > Tebow
  2. drug abuse > Tebow
  3. Having bieber fever > Tebow
  4. webinars > Tebow
  5. Godfather 3 > Tebow
  6. Chaz Bono’s beard > Tebow
  7. Reenacting “Weekend at Bernie’s” with Al Davis > Tebow
  8. Realizing I am not going to get any work done because of > Tebow > Tebow

Five Most Popular Greater than Tebow comments on ESPN

As of Nov.  4, here are the five most popular greater than Tebow comments:

  1. Knock knock?…. Who’s there?…… Doesn’t matter, it’s > Tebow (86 likes)
  2. making eye contact with a 40 year old man while he’s eating a banana > tebow (50 likes)
  3. Deadspin linking here > Tebow (43 likes)
  4. Getting Scurvy on Oregon trail > Tebow (41 likes)
  5. filming notre dame football practice from a hydraulic scissor lift > tebow (40 likes)

Sports Grid breaks news

On SportsGrid, sportswriter Dan Fogarty was one of the first sportswriters to identify the Greater than Tebow phenomenon.

Here are six of Fogarty’s favorite Greater than Tebow comments:

  1. Eating your kids > Tebow
  2. “Murder she wrote” > Tebow
  3. Legally marrying a McRib sandwich > Tebow
  4. what what in the butt > tebow
  5. Leonard Nimoy’s scrotum > Tebow
  6. Aging as quickly as Greg Oden > Tebow

The ESPN Tebow comment string underscores that sports fans are rabid about the controversial issues of sport, and when you strike a chord, they show up with a passion unrivaled in most other vertical markets. “Greater than Tebow” also illustrates that sports fans will stay captured within the domain of a website that generates the “triggering” sports content. After all, in its first four days, sports fans did not migrate to Twitter with their disparaging “greater than Tebow” comments about the QB. “Time for Elway to think post-Tebow.” takes you to the article and the most-up-to-date comments.

The commentary about the quarterback is expected to continue through the weekend, when the Broncos face their Oakland Raiders division rivals at Oakland on Nov. 6. Based in the Bay Area, blue-collar Raiders fans are as wired as any and caustic. Whether CBS Sports‘ Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf, who will be covering the game, choose to bring up the  > Tebow phenomenon or bowdlerize it from broadcast remains to be seen.


The Greater than Tebow phenomenon on ESPN is the second major sports social media groundswell to occur around the controversial Broncos QB. There’s also a practice called “Tebowing,” where fans strike a famous pose of the quarterback in various locations. According to AMOG, a website designed by Denver native Jared Kleinstein that allows people to upload their “Tebowing” pictures gets about 400,000 hits daily. Kleinstein is monetizing the website by selling T-shirts. Courtesy of Jared Kleinstein’s website, here are examples of Tebowing:

The Tebowing Master Shot
















Tebowing at a wedding










Dog Tebowing: No. 1 Tebowing shot on

Five Most Popular Greater Than Tebow Comments on ESPN

Five Most Popular Greater than Tebow comments on ESPN

As of Nov.  4, here are the five most popular greater than Tebow comments:

  1. Knock knock?…. Who’s there?…… Doesn’t matter, it’s > Tebow (86 likes)
  2. making eye contact with a 40 year old man while he’s eating a banana > tebow (50 likes)
  3. Deadspin linking here > Tebow (43 likes)
  4. Getting Scurvy on Oregon trail > Tebow (41 likes)
  5. filming notre dame football practice from a hydraulic scissor lift > tebow (40 likes)