Tackle football’s newest professional league includes some surprising differences from the NFL, including the players themselves.

“I always wanted to play throughout high school,” said Denver Bandits defensive tackle and offensive lineman April Regas. “And it just really was never an option.”

The Denver Bandits is a professional football team in a brand new league called the Women’s National Football Conference.

“My players are ferocious,” said Denver Bandits Head Coach Marcell Simpson. “They’re tenacious. They’re dedicated.”

Read more via Denver7

Shooting The 3 is an exclusive SportsbyBrooks.com feature in which a sports media figure fields three questions posed by SbB.

Today’s sports media figure is SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL reporter John Ourand.

John Ourand of SportsBusiness Journal

John Ourand of SportsBusiness Journal

Ourand is the gold standard of sports business reporters and is one of the most-read and influential journalists in the sports media industry.

His daily and weekly reporting – which emanates from a variety of platforms and includes a newly-launched newsletter – is consumed by virtually every top sports media executive connected to the business of commercial spectator sports.

Ourand, who has been pushing out relevant, oft-breaking sports media and business news with maddening consistency since he joined SportsBusiness Journal in 2006, focuses much of his current reporting on the most important sector in the sports business industry: live sports broadcast rights.

SbB Question #1:

Cash-rich Apple is launching a new streaming service that includes original programming. What is the chance that Apple will bolster that service by acquiring the broadcast rights to high-profile sporting events? To this point, what has prevented Apple and other tech goliaths like Amazon, Google and Facebook from aggressively pursuing such rights?

John Ourand:

I am skeptical that these digital companies will bid serious money during the next period of sports media negotiations. They may wind up with a small package here or there. But it seems unlikely that something like “Monday Night Football” or NHL playoff games will move exclusively to a digital company.

Apple and Netflix executives have been open about their lack of desire to bid on sports rights. Facebook pared back its MLB deal this year. Google has not been particularly active so far.

The wild card is Amazon, which already has an NFL deal, some interesting international deals and deep pockets. 

My guess is that any digital company that really wants to be involved with sports will partner with a network to get it done.

Or, because these companies are big enough, they could simply buy an existing network.

Word is that Apple executives had talked internally about buying Disney a few years ago — talks that went nowhere. But such a deal would have given Apple ownership of ESPN and instantly made them a serious player in sports media.

SbB Question #2:

Considering the rise of legalized sports gambling and the fact that a sports media outlet has never made such reporting a point of emphasis, do you think there is a market for a sports media outlet that relies mostly on reporting breaking sports news?

John Ourand:

Sports TV stations have moved away from breaking sports news because there is too much competition from iPhones, etc. Nobody waits for the highlight or sports news on TV anymore when they can call them up almost instantly.

I view gambling programming the same way. I find it difficult to believe that hardcore gamblers will watch a gambling show on ESPN or Fox. That’s how networks are treating gambling-related shows today.

For the most part, they are producing studio shows with big personalities geared toward the casual or non-bettors. Gambling programming will evolve. But I don’t expect TV networks to start producing gambling shows that attracts a hard-core betting audience.

SbB Question #3:

What impact does an announcing team have when it comes to the actual ratings and bottom line revenue of a live sports broadcast?

John Ourand:

Game announcers have zero impact on ratings.

That’s not just my opinion. It’s the opinion of virtually every sports media executive I’ve contacted.

There is a small list of announcers — John Madden and Tony Romo are two — who will keep viewers tuned into games longer. But I’ve never seen any evidence that people pick games to watch based on the announcer.

On the other hand, people are more apt to turn off the TV if they are not invested in the teams and the announcers are not so good, which means that networks can’t go cheap when hiring for the booth.

SbB BONUS Question:

What is DAZN’s long-term content strategy in the United States – and who is the individual(s) behind it?

John Ourand:

DAZN’s long-term strategy is to expand global markets — it already has a healthy business in Germany, Italy, Japan. In the United States, DAZN is content to wait until it can bid on big-time sports rights, then they will be aggressively try to convince leagues to sell streaming rights to the pay service.

John Skipper, who is running DAZN signed a 3 year/$300 million deal for an MLB whiparound show.

At an SBJ conference earlier this month, he said that deal was “pretty clearly intended to send a signal that we’re interested in the major sports in this country. They don’t happen to have their live events available, but we basically hung up a sign for that show.”

The post SHOOTING THE 3: JOHN OURAND OF SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL appeared first on Sports by Brooks.

SAN FRANCISCO — Strike three, by swinging or by looking, has been an all-too-common occurrence for the Rockies early this season.

They entered Thursday night’s game against the Giants at Oracle Park with 109 strikeouts in 12 games, an average of 9.1 whiffs per game. That ranked as fourth-most in the National League, with the Mets (10.6) leading the way.

Pair the strikeouts with Colorado’s lack of power — just eight home runs — and it’s easy to see why the offense (.216 average) has stalled during the club’s 3-9 start.

There are plenty of reasons for all of the Ks:

— The Rockies have faced some tough pitchers, including Tampa Bay’s Blake Snell and the Dodgers’ Walker Buehler.

— Young players, pressed into duty because of injuries, are fanning at a high rate. Raimel Tapia had nine strikeouts in 24 at-bats entering Thursday, and Garrett Hampson had nine in 30 at-bats.

— Veterans, in particular, center fielder Ian Desmond, appear to be pressing. Desmond, batting just .150, had 15 strikeouts in 40 at-bats (37.5 percent).

Manager Bud Black, however, provided another reason for all of those Ks in the scorebook.

“We’re expanding too much on the breaking pitch,” he said.

A look inside the numbers confirms that. According to Baseball Savant, the Rockies are striking out on breaking balls more than any other team in the National League. Plus, the Rockies have been chasing bad pitches. The Rockies’ swing rate at pitches outside the strike zone is 32.8 percent, according to Fangraphs. That ranks as fourth-worst in the NL.

Last season, when Colorado hit a franchise low .256, they struck out 1,397 times, an average of 8.6 times per game, eighth most in the NL.

Injury updates. Three players — outfielder David Dahl (left-side core injury), first baseman Daniel Murphy (broken left index finger) and left-hander starter Tyler Anderson (left knee sprain) — are receiving treatment and working out at the Rockies’ facility in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Murphy, out since March 30, was scheduled to visit a hand specialist Thursday. Dahl ran and played long toss, and according to Black, “felt great.”

But Black did caution that a core injury like Dahl’s has to be monitored carefully.

“We are going to make sure he’s healed and he goes through practice at a high-effort level before we activate him,” Black said. “He’s got to prove himself through running and throwing. Full-intensity swings are important before he plays.

“This is not one of those injuries where you can sort of nurse it through. When you swing the bat, you have to make sure you can turn it loose.”

Infielder Ryan McMahon, who is with the team in San Francisco, said his sprained left elbow has improved significantly. He was able to play catch Thursday.

Bochy tribute. Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who has announced that this is his final season, received a nice tribute from Black.

“Competing against him in the division, I’ve come to realize what a great manager he is,” Black said. “There is no better in-game strategist than Bruce. And getting to know him more personally over the last number of years, I’ve found he’s a really good guy.

“I don’t want to (admit he’s retiring) because I think he’s good for the game. He’s a throwback. He’s good with people, he’s great with players and he’s got a great baseball mind.”

University of Colorado Boulder students are already organizing demonstrations against the selection of Mark Kennedy as the sole finalist in the search for a new president of the University of Colorado system.

Shawna Noel Schill / University of North Dakota

Mark Kennedy

The CU system Board of Regents unanimously selected Kennedy, the president of the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, as the finalist at a special board meeting Wednesday morning.

One day later, student organizations are circulating a graphic highlighting Kennedy’s voting record while serving as a Minnesota congressman in the 2000s. UMAS y MEXA, a CU Boulder group for latinx students, wrote in a graphic that they demand transparency for the presidential search.

This is the fourth time regents have presented a single finalist in a presidential search. By Colorado Open Records law, the position’s finalists must be made public for 14 business days before the regents can elect a president, but the board is not required to have more than one finalist. The search committee had narrowed its recommendations to regents down to six candidates, and the five besides Kennedy will not be named.

“This unilateral move reflects of the university, namely that of valuing business over the voice of the students. We demand TRANSPARENCY!,” the students’ post states.

Read more at dailycamera.com.

“It made me think about the people around me.”

“I did some investigating and found in the ‘Unclaimed funds’ office in New York State he had 11 outstanding accounts.”

“Did you know he used to drive, and I think he had a Mercedes.”

I have been doing blog posts big and small, trivial and somewhat informative, since my Fordham classmate and author Carlo DeVito told me that the blog would serve as a good companion to our book “Sports Publicity,” which was published in 2007, updated in 2012 and is being updated again for next January.

Never, ever did I expect the response for a post that went up last Friday night on the late Robert Elkin.

At last look close to 60,000 views, scores of comments and emails from friends and colleagues from years ago, who I don’t know even how they saw it. It spurred a nice mention by Mike Vaccaro in Sunday’s New York Post and a very nice tribute by the Knicks at their second to last home game.

There were also a few mentions about the strange side Robert had, which frankly didn’t surprise anyone, but for the most part there were notes of gratitude and acknowledgement that the life of one of New York’s unique character was noticed. I realized today the column may have gotten more views than all of the clips Robert mailed or handed to people in yellow envelopes throughout his star crossed career.

That’s OK, I think even as a person who really existed in the shadows of the media room, he would have appreciated the light being shone down. The sad thing was no one seemed to be able to locate the date or time of his funeral, or even his next of kin. Regardless, it was a worthwhile effort with some unforeseen and mutually appreciated responses.

Sometimes you strike the match and it lights, sometimes it goes out. This one shone bright. A Mitzvah to Mr. Elkin of Long Beach, you were noticed, and yes, you probably will be missed!

LONGMONT — Harmful nitrogen pollution is still drifting onto fragile, high-elevation ecosystems in Rocky Mountain National Park from Colorado highways, power plants and livestock operations, state and federal agencies said.

Nitrogen pollution was 38% higher than the 2017 target level, according to a draft report released Wednesday by the Colorado health department, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Park Service.

But the report recommended against activating a contingency plan to reduce pollution, saying nitrogen levels did not increase much in the previous decade.

The report also said pollution will probably begin to decline because of tougher state and federal rules for vehicle emissions, planned retirements of coal-fired power plants and other steps.

RELATED: Crisis in our national parks: How tourists are loving nature to death

Increased nitrogen reduces biodiversity, worsens the risk of insect and disease outbreaks and makes it harder for ecosystems to respond to climate change, scientists say. The effects are magnified at high elevations because of shallow soil and harsh conditions.

Rocky Mountain National Park, about 60 miles (95 kilometers) northwest of downtown Denver, is renowned for its high-elevation alpine tundra, a land of cold temperatures, high winds and a short growing season. The park has 60 peaks at least 12,000 feet (3,658 meters) above sea level.

Researchers say wind, rain and snow carry nitrogen into the park, primarily from sources inside Colorado including vehicles, power plants, livestock, agricultural fertilizers and oil and gas operations. Changes in the park were first detected in the early 1980s.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the two federal agencies began monitoring nitrogen in the park in 2005 under pressure from the Environmental Defense Fund and Colorado Trout Unlimited. Neither group had any immediate comment on the new report.

The agencies set a goal of limiting yearly nitrogen pollution to 1.5 kilograms per hectare, or 3.3 pounds per 2.5 acres, by 2032. They also set a series of interim goals, including 2.4 kilograms per hectare (5.3 pounds per 2.5 acres) in 2017.

The 2017 level was 3.3 kilograms (7.3 pounds).

“Trends indicate that nitrogen deposition has not been reversed but remains stable, and has not increased or decreased in recent years,” the report said.

The agencies developed a contingency plan in 2010 that could be activated if the goals were not met. The plan does not call for specific steps, saying only that “an ‘adaptive management’ approach will be used to adjust strategies.”

But the new report advises against that, citing the fact that nitrogen pollution is not getting worse and is expected to improve.

Neither the state health department nor national park officials immediately responded to questions about the decision.

Some nitrogen-reduction practices are already in place, the report said. Colorado State University developed a system to warn farmers, ranchers, wastewater treatment plants and others to avoid large releases on days when weather conditions would carry pollution to the park.

The agencies are taking public comment on the report until May 10, and the final version is expected in May or June.


Follow Dan Elliott at http://twitter.com/DanElliottAP.