ESPN TV deal


Over the summer, I talked with Southeastern Conference associate commissioner Charles Bloom about the league’s new TV deal.
At the time, the SEC was still mulling launching its own network, but Bloom foreshadowed one of its priorities for television exposure.
“Expect it to be heavy on basketball,” Bloom said. “That’s what the coaches, the administrators, are looking for.”
The new deal with ESPN and ABC will play immediate dividends when it comes to men’s basketball exposure. ESPN will air triple the amount of basketball games that it showed previously.
This season, Florida will appear on national television 11 times. The Jan. 31 game at Tennessee has been selected as an ESPN GameDay game, marking UF’s fourth appearance on GameDay in four seasons.
NO LOVE FOR BILLY: It’s been reported that New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin has talked to various coaches about repeating, such as current Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre and UCLA coach John Wooden.
Both are respectable resources and coaching icons, but what about Billy Donovan? In leading the Gators to back-to-back titles, he had to first convince a team that no one believed would win they were that good in 2006, then had to deal with all of the distractions with a team everyone expected would win in 2007.
A possible explanation? Donovan’s close ties to New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick. Donovan actually was on the sidelines at the Patriots game this season and invited Belichick to speak to his team during Florida’s two-year title run.
Or maybe Donovan did talk with Coughlin and just didn’t want it out there.
PROUD PAPA: Just wanted to pass along congratulations to Florida assistant athletic director Fred Demarest, who became a new dad this week.
Sienna Elyse Demarest was born 7 pounds, 11 ounces Tuesday. Mother and daughter are resting comfortably.
Demarest is one of the most professional and good guys in the sports information business. He also can carry a pretty good tune, as I can attest when we shared a karaoke stage in New Orleans during Florida’s 2007 national title run.