|02-09-2006, 09:54 PM||#1|
Never say Always
Join Date: Jan 2003
Al Michaels traded for bunny (true story)
Disney trades Al Michaels for cartoon rabbit
Thu Feb 9, 2006 8:11 PM ET
By Gina Keating
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - In the rich tradition of goofy sports trades, eminent sportscaster Al Michaels has been traded for a rabbit. Not even a real rabbit, a cartoon rabbit.
The Walt Disney Co., owner of ESPN and ABC, said on Thursday it dealt the veteran ABC broadcaster to NBC Universal for rights to highlights from a broad range of NBC Sports coverage, promotions for ESPN's "Monday Night Football" -- and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.
Michaels, an announcer for ABC's "Monday Night Football" for 20 years, had asked to be released from his Disney contract after disagreeing with network producers about the direction the broadcast would take when it moves to ESPN in September, ESPN officials said in a conference call on Wednesday.
"Oswald" is a 1927 cartoon series of 26 episodes created by Walt Disney and distributed by Universal, which owned all rights to the character, Disney said in a statement. The loss of Oswald prompted the Disney empire founder to create Mickey Mouse, the company said.
NBC said in a statement that Michaels will join his former ABC co-host John Madden, who chose last year to become a game analyst for NBC's Sunday night "Football Night in America" rather than follow "Monday Night Football" to ESPN.
Michaels is not the first broadcaster to be traded. Long-time former Detroit Tigers baseball announcer Ernie Harwell enjoyed bragging he was the first sportscaster to be traded for a player, a minor league catcher, but claimed to have heard of more bizarre deals -- a player exchanged for a Thanksgiving turkey, for example.
Other unusual trades in sports lore have included a player dealt for twelve dozen baseballs and $2,500 -- Tim Fortugno -- and one who was traded for himself -- Harry Chiti.
ESPN announced on Wednesday that Michaels had been released from his contract, but did not specify terms of his departure at that time.
The sports cable network said on Thursday it acquired rights to rebroadcast NBC's Friday coverage of Ryder Cup international golf championships in 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014 and to air video highlights from the Olympics, starting with the upcoming Winter Olympics through the 2012 Summer Olympics.
NBC also agreed to air a video promotion for ESPN's Monday Night Football game each week during its Sunday night football telecasts through 2011.
As part of a "broad highlights exchange," NBC will allow ESPN to air highlights for NBC Sports properties, including Notre Dame football, the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness horse races over the same period.
NBC Universal on Thursday confirmed the terms of the deal.
NBC teamed Michaels and Madden with Bob Costas and Cris Collinsworth for the Sunday night broadcast. The two will make their NBC debut on August 6. The network did not release any information about the length of Michaels' contract.
NBC Universal is controlled by General Electric Co.
Last edited by Needa Pass Rush; 02-09-2006 at 10:11 PM..