Athens, GA (Jan 4, 2008) - NBC Sports as been awarded the 2007 Media Eclipse Award for their coverage of the 2007 Kentucky Derby. This is the 7th consecutive year they have won the award. This is the headline you may be reading in the newspapers yesterday and today. But if you look behind the headlines and the lead-in, you may want to pause and think. Is the process used to determine the winner truly an objective process, or is it as flawed as the Emmys (tm) and the Oscars (tm) in that it is an "insider's award"? Does the award really mean anything at all?
There were three judges for the award: Bob Fishman, director, CBS Sports; Pete Macheska, director, Fox Sports and Bud Lamoreaux, former CBS Sports producer. All three come from CBS Sports. David Michaels, brother of NBC Sunday Night Football Play-By-Play announcer Al Michaels, also came from CBS Sports. On its face, you might want to ask is this fair? This is not asked as a slap to these three professionals. I have known Pete and Fish for years and know them as upstanding professionals.
The real question is if the award for "Media Eclipse Award for National Television – Live Racing" has any meaning at all, when the only meaningful national broadcasts of racing are carried by NBC, with the exception of the Belmont Stakes. In fact, NBC Sports has had the rights to the Kentucky Derby and Preakness since 2001, making 2007 the 7th year they have covered the events. In reality, who else could have won the award?
Like many people find thoroughbred racing irrelevant to many except for the owners of the horses, does NBC Sports' hype of their 7th consecutive Eclipse award have any meaning at all?
This was originally published on "Eye on Sports Media"