Which TV channel just inked 7-year deal with UFC?

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Which TV channel just inked 7-year deal with UFC?

From Comcast SportsNet Thursday, August 18, 2011
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The UFC has made it to network prime-time programming. Mixed martial arts' dominant promotional company announced a landmark seven-year deal with Fox on Thursday, putting four UFC shows on the main network each year and an extensive array of programming on its cable networks. The UFC will become a prominent feature on FX, with live fights on most Friday nights and a revamped version of "The Ultimate Fighter," the UFC's popular reality show. UFC president Dana White says the deal is the biggest step yet in MMA's transformation from a banned fringe sport into a mainstream entertainment property. The UFC already is wildly popular among young men, but Fox will put the sport in front of an enormous new audience. "This is what I always wanted, what I always thought was the pinnacle for us," White said. "This partnership is going to take this sport to the next level. Those people that thought I was a lunatic, saying this was going to be the biggest sport in the world, this is the next step." Fox will allow the UFC to control its own production, a longtime stumbling block in White's negotiations with network TV over the past several years. Although the UFC is still in control, White says he wants "to make a fresh start" in every aspect of UFC's programming, working with Fox to improve even its pay-per-view broadcasts. Fox Sports Chairman David Hill said the network won't have trouble selling network advertising for a violent, high-testosterone sport that's still viewed with an arched eyebrow by much of the public and media. "TV is all about the next big thing, and that's what we're here for," Hill said. "We would not have gone into this deal if we had not canvassed a large pool of advertisers ... and found they were behind it." Hill also had no problem leaving the UFC in charge of its own broadcasts. "I think their production is first-class, and I doubt there's anything we could bring," he said. The UFC's first prime-time fights on Fox will air Nov. 12. White is still working out details of the show, which likely will be held at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. "The Ultimate Fighter" will move from Spike to FX next spring for its 15th edition. The show's competitive fights will air live on Friday nights, and its episodes will be filmed and released much faster than in its previous incarnation, which starts its 14th cycle on Spike this fall. Most of the UFC programming currently airing on Versus also will move to FX, as will the behind-the-scenes reality shows leading up to major fights. Fuel, a lower-profile Fox cable channel, also will broadcast UFC programming. Although the four Fox shows are the UFC's first regular spot on a broadcast network, the bulk of the UFC's programming will be on FX in its nearly 100 million homes. FX president John Landgraf has built a powerful lineup of critically acclaimed and highly-rated dramas and comedies over the past decade, but the network has spent years looking for sports programming to complement its scripted lineup, dabbling with NASCAR and college football in recent years. "Weekends are so hard to program right now, but sports are one thing that always seems to work," said Chuck Saftler, FX's executive vice president. "I think it fits FX very well. There's an intelligence to the fighters. This isn't just dumbed-down punching. We're also able to keep our programming message simple now: You can see UFC fighting live on FX almost every Friday night."

Cody Ross joins NBC Sports Bay Area's Giants TV coverage

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AP

Cody Ross joins NBC Sports Bay Area's Giants TV coverage

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — While rehabbing an injury in 2014, Cody Ross played for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. When he walked to the plate, Ross got a standing ovation. 

“I absolutely didn’t expect that,” Ross said. “I really didn’t know that there was such a big Giants following there. It was pretty neat. I got teary-eyed. It was incredible.”

That experience, along with recent trips to Napa and Pebble Beach, showed Ross that his contributions to the 2010 title run will never be forgotten in Northern California, Nevada, or anywhere else you’ll find Giants fans. This season, Ross will once again be in front of an adoring fan base. The longtime Major League outfielder will work with NBC Sports Bay Area as an analyst on Giants pre- and post-game shows.

“I’ve always had some interest in doing that,” Ross said. “I can’t say that was the first thing that came to mind when I was a player, but now that I’m out of the game and looking for different avenues to stay in the game, TV is probably the next best thing besides being on the field.”

Ross, 36, actually has been on the field this spring. He has worked with the Giants as a camp instructor, paying particular attention to the outfielders, naturally. The Giants are hopeful that Ross can help a promising group of minor league outfielders, and he has spent much of his time this spring working with infielders — Aaron Hill, Jae-Gyun Hwang and others — who are trying to add left field to the resume.  

Getting back on the field was something Ross was eager to do, and the Giants were the perfect fit since they train near his home north of Scottsdale. Ross still is inundated with autograph seekers at Scottsdale Stadium, despite the fact that it’s been six years since he wore orange and black. When he visits San Francisco, the greetings tend to be the same. Fans constantly approach Ross to shake hands and simply say “thank you for what you did in 2010.”

“That means a lot,” Ross said. “They don’t have to do that. It just kind of goes to show how amazing the fan base is and how passionate they are. They don’t forget.”

It would be hard to. Ross joined the Giants on a waiver claim in August of 2010 and ended up as a key bat during the title run, hitting .294 in the playoffs with five homers and 10 RBI. He was the MVP of the NLCS. 

Ross played one more season with the Giants before stints with the Red Sox, Diamondbacks and A’s. Throughout his career, he said, he would watch pregame shows to try and get updates on opposing teams. He'll get on the other side of the camera for the first time in late April. 

"I’m excited," Ross said. "It should be a fun experience, and it's going to be nice to be back in the Bay Area."

York, Shanahan and the question of whether to 'bro hug'

York, Shanahan and the question of whether to 'bro hug'

PHOENIX – Without officially offering Kyle Shanahan the job at the conclusion of the 49ers’ second meeting with the then-Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator, CEO Jed York said he made it clear what he was thinking.

And that led to an awkward moment late on the evening of Jan. 27 after 49ers executives Paraag Marathe and Brian Hampton, who were present during the interview, left York alone with the man who would become head coach.

“I let him know, very, very clearly that he was at the very top end of our list,” York said on the 49ers Insider Podcast from the NFL owners meetings.

"And it was one of those situations where we kind of shook hands and it was one of those things . . . Do you bro hug here? Do you not bro hug? What do you do? And I wanted to kind of play it cool so (we) didn't do the bro hug right then.

“But it was clear that we had a chemistry and a connection and that the 49ers mean something to Kyle. I mean, some of his formative years, being with his dad when we won our last Super Bowl -- it means something to him.”

Mike Shanahan, Kyle’s father, served as George Seifert’s offensive coordinator during the 49ers’ championship season of 1994. Shanahan became the head coach of the Denver Broncos shortly after the 49ers’ victory over the San Diego Chargers in the Super Bowl.

Mike Shanahan was a finalist for the 49ers’ head-coaching openings when Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly were hired, York said. Kyle Shanahan could have re-joined his dad as offensive coordinator with a succession plan to eventually take over as head coach. The 49ers were also interested in hiring Kyle Shanahan to Tomsula’s staff in 2015. Instead, Shanahan decided to become offensive coordinator on Dan Quinn’s staff with the Atlanta Falcons.

Although the 49ers officially hired general manager John Lynch before finalizing the deal with Shanahan after the Super Bowl, the decision was made to hire Shanahan before Lynch became a candidate for the position to replace Trent Baalke.

The 49ers have not invested in big-money free agents, but the club has been considerably more active in free agency this offseason with the signings of such players as quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley, fullback Kyle Juszczyk, receivers Pierre Garçon, Marquise Goodwin and Aldrick Robinson, defensive lineman Earl Mitchell and linebacker Malcolm Smith. The 49ers also acquired Pro Bowl center Jeremy Zuttah in a trade with the Baltimore Ravens.

“Obviously, with a 2-14 team, you need to turn some things over and start building the identity that your coach and general manager really want,” York said. “I think that’s what this free agency was all about.”

The immediate aftermath of the season was also about York admitting mistakes and making the moves he believes can turn around the franchise. After the 49ers parted ways with Jim Harbaugh following an 8-8 season in 2014, the club lost many of its veteran leaders and plummeted to the depths of the NFL with records of 5-11 and 2-14 under Tomsula and Kelly.

“My approach is always, be aggressive,” York said. “Try to shoot for the stars. I don’t want to be a 9-7 team. That’s just not what I’m aiming to do. And if you make mistakes, make them quickly, learn from them and move on. And I think we certainly made mistakes with our last two hires.

“I think Kyle is going to be a great addition to this team and to this franchise and somebody we can build around for the next, you know, 10, 20, 30 years. And that’s what I really want to do. The more you can stay stable and the more you can have the same people running your organization, the better chance you can have for long-term sustained success. . . . And I think we have the right people to build this franchise from the football perspective.”