ESPN will be in the Tampa Bay area this weekend to begin Little League World Series coverage with the Southeast Regional final Saturday at 7 p.m. from Gulfport. The game will be the first of 35 Little League telecasts among ABC, ESPN and ESPN2.
Post-Guerrero era starts
ABC will kick off its 35th season of Monday Night Football with coverage of the 42nd annual Hall of Fame game Monday from Canton, Ohio. The game pits Washington (and new/old coach Joe Gibbs) against Denver, starting at 8 p.m. On Sunday, John Elway, Barry Sanders, Carl Eller and Bob Brown will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, with coverage beginning at 1 p.m. on ESPN.
The United States' potential turkey of a basketball team will take on Turkey at 2 p.m. Sunday on Ch. 28. Hear the footsteps? That's the rest of the world. Looks like the U.S. National Team's sixth-place finish at the 2002 World Championships wasn't as much a fluke as originally thought (hoped?).
The heat is on . . . a lot
The NBA released its 2004-05 schedule, and the television coverage tips off on Election night, Nov. 2 on TNT. Shaq-less Los Angeles, Shaq-full Miami and Houston will make the most appearances.
Fans of Atlanta, Toronto and Washington need not bother with the remote. Those teams are not scheduled to appear on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 or TNT.
The NBA also will have a rivalry week (Feb. 22-March 2) for the first time, featuring a weeklong series of games that will highlight regional contests, divisional games and historic playoff matchups.
Two players too many?
ABC earned a 4.2 overnight Nielsen rating (2.9 locally) for Monday's Battle at the Bridges ( Tiger Woods and Hank Kuehne vs. Phil Mickelson and John Daly), down 12.5 percent from last year.
ABC might want to kill the team format, because it doesn't seem to be interesting viewers. The event debuted in 1999 with Woods taking on David Duval, posting a 7.4, and in 2000 Woods vs. Sergio Garcia garnered an 8.6 rating. But since going to the teams format in 2001, ratings have significantly fallen every year.
Around the dial
Six races to go until the top 10 drivers begin racing for the title. This week it's the Brickyard 400 from Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with NBC's coverage beginning Sunday at 2 p.m. TNT will do the Busch Series Kroger 200 at 8 p.m. Saturday. ... Fox NFL Sunday will hit the road this fall, visiting as many as six NFC game sites. The first stop is Lambeau Field on Oct. 24 for Packers-Cowboys, with further dates to be announced.