Four years ago, the WWE wrestling league launched a curious new product: WWE Network. The network was streamed over-the-top to consumers, featuring all the company’s pay-per-view events live. It was a bold move, and a disruptive one. Cable operators would charge $50 or more for a single event, sharing revenue with the WWE. The WWE Network cut out the middleman, but at great risk. Would the company’s fans embrace a subscription streaming product so niche?
The 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang forged ahead Monday night, featuring women’s freestyle skiing and a lot of ice dancing. NBC and NBC Sports Network's combined coverage ticked up for the second night in a row, netting an average 12.6 overnight rating among households. It was the best showing since the three-night string of Wednesday, Thursday and Friday — each of which averaged roughly a 13.0 rating.
NBC had planned for us to care about Shaun White. The snowboarder — widely considered to be one of the best in the world — didn’t medal at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, so in preparation for 2018, he was semiotically outfitted with a tried-and-true sports story: the redemption narrative. White is a telegenic guy; he’s been a corporate-sponsored snowboarder since the tender age of 7, and won gold medals in both 2006 and 2010. And yet White doesn’t have remotely the Olympic buzz of out figure skater Adam Rippon, whose charismatic skating, glittery costumes, and genial, hilarious post-skate interviews have made him into an undeniable sensation. Rippon, just a few years younger than White, almost didn’t make it to the Olympics; he finished fourth at nationals and made it on the Olympic team by the virtue of his past performances.
Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras isn't exactly on board with Major League Baseball's new pace-of-play rules, which include a limit on mound visits per game. Contreras is claiming he'll defy the rule that limits teams to six visits for the first nine innings of a game, minus a few exceptions.
The Louisville men's basketball program will have to vacate its 2013 national championship and 2012 Final Four appearance after the NCAA denied its appeal of what the school described as "Draconian penalties" levied against the team last year. The NCAA announced its ruling Tuesday. Louisville interim president Greg Postel said in a statement Tuesday that the school still disagrees with the NCAA's ruling. The Cardinals will become the first NCAA Division I men's basketball program to vacate a national title during the Final Four era, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Rick Pitino was not on the Louisville campus Tuesday to denounce the 2013 NCAA championship banner coming down, or the vacated wins, or the hundreds of thousands of dollars the school must pay for a sex scandal that involved prostitutes, strippers, recruits and players. Though he has been gone for months, the NCAA's decision to uphold the penalties handed down by the committee on infractions comes one step closer to closing the sordid, scandalous chapter that Pitino authored as Louisville basketball coach. There can be no other way to view his 16 years with the Cardinals, no matter how vehemently both he and his defenders scream that he has been vilified and misjudged. Pitino harmed Louisville in many ways, staining its reputation, triggering multiple investigations and now this: a national title and 2012 Final Four appearance stricken from the record books.