Sooner Sports TV has reached an agreement with Fox College Sports to distribute its content nationally, the OU athletic department announced Thursday. In addition to coverage on Fox Sports Southwest and Fox Sports Oklahoma, Fox College Sports (FCS) will broadcast nearly 400 hours of Sooner Sports TV-produced programming across its three digital cable networks — FCS Atlantic, FCS Central and FCS Pacific — available to more than 80 million homes.
The arrangement adds live events and replays, as well as feature programming and weekly shows such as “Sooner Sports Talk” and the Lon Kruger and Sherri Coale coaches shows.
The Vanderbilt at OU women's basketball's game at 2 p.m. Sunday will be OU's first live game coverage, airing on FCS Central with same-day replays on FCS Atlantic at 4 p.m. and FCS Pacific at 6 p.m.
FCS is available on Cox (271, 272 and 273), DirecTV (608, 623 and 626), AT&T U-verse (647, 648 and 649) and Verizon Fios (300, 301 and 302).
OKC falls to seventh in ESPN ratings
Oklahoma City and Tulsa finished in the top 12 for ESPN markets for its college football telecasts, but both were down from last year. Oklahoma City, with a 3.4 rating, slipped from a tie for second in 2011 with a 4.3 rating to seventh at 3.4. Ratings for ESPN's two OU broadcasts — vs. OSU, 30.4, and at TCU, 18.5 — were below par for the Sooners. Tulsa fell from a tie for seventh at 3.3 into a tie for 12th at 2.5.
Birmingham, Ala., led the way for the 12th season in a row with an 8.9 average. The rest of ESPN's top five markets: Greenville, S.C., 4.7; Knoxville, Tenn., 4.6; New Orleans, 3.7; Jacksonville, Fla., 3.6; Columbus, Ohio, 3.6.
Merchant to retire as boxing announcer
Larry Merchant, a 1951 OU graduate and former Sooner football player, will end his 35-year run as a ringside boxing commentator for HBO Sports with the season finale of “World Championship Boxing” at 8:30 p.m. Saturday from Houston. Following the telecast, Merchant will be moving into another phase of his wide-ranging career.
“Starting in January, I will become a Tom Brokaw-like senior kibitzer on major news and events in boxing,” said Merchant, 81. “I was extraordinarily lucky to land with HBO when it was just a startup. I'm proud to be associated with so many talented people who made us into a groundbreaking network.”
Merchant worked with Jim Lampley since 1988. The doubleheader Saturday will be preceded by a replay of Juan Manuel Marquez's sixth-round knock out of Manny Pacquiao.
*KOKH-25 will air a battle of former OU stars when the Minnesota Vikings (Adrian Peterson) play at St. Louis (Sam Bradford) at noon Sunday. Gus Johnson, Charles Davis and Kristina Pink will call the game.
*James Harden makes a national TV appearance at 7 p.m. Friday when the Houston Rockets host the Boston Celtics (Mike Tirico and Jon Barry) on ESPN. Denver hosts Memphis in the second game of the doubleheader at 9:30 p.m. (Terry Gannon and Chris Mullin).
*The NBA YouTube Channel (www.youtube.com/nba) has eclipsed 1 billion all-time videos viewed by fans, making it the first professional sports channel on YouTube to surpass the mark. The channel's most-viewed video of all-time is the LeBron James, Dwight Howard, and Shaquille O'Neal impromptu dance contest at a practice for the 2007 NBA All-Star Game, which has been viewed nearly 18.9 million times. Additional top videos viewed include Kobe Bryant's Top 10 Plays of 2007 (7.9 million views) and Blake Griffin's dunk over Kendrick Perkins in 2012 (5.9 million views).
*Michigan's 2013 matchup against Notre Dame at Michigan Stadium on Sept. 7, 2013, will be televised in prime time on ESPN or ABC. It will be only the second night game at the Big House since its opening in 1927.