From Bizjournals.com by Erik Spanberg.
On Saturday, another college football game of the century arrives. This time, it’s Alabama versus Texas A&M.
You will recall that Alabama has won three of the past four national championships, while A&M is a threatening Johnny (Manziel)-come-lately to the Southeastern Conference thanks to its Heisman-winning quarteback. Manziel, the cover boy on last week’s issue of Time, makes the match-up all the more intriguing since what he does off the field is almost as exciting as what he does on it. Since the Aggies beat Bama in Tuscaloosa last season, a side dish of revenge can also be enjoyed in the run-up to kick-off (CBS, 3:30 p.m., in case you forgot).
That the game involves two SEC schools makes it all the better (apologies, ACC fans). A&M’s Kyle Field is the site of the game and, as with almost any SEC match-up, you can expect a roaring full house. Alabama, A&M and the other 12 schools in the conference routinely lead the nation in attendance at college games.
Which explains, in part, why a mild-mannered man in late-middle-age named Paul Finebaum has managed to convert a Birmingham sports-talk show into a national role at ESPN. Last month, Finebaum took up residence in Charlotte, working out of ESPN’s Ballantyne studios on his relaunched radio show and planning for a daily national simulcast on the new SEC cable network in August 2014.
In tomorrow’s print edition of the Charlotte Business Journal, you can read the business story behind Finebaum and ESPN’s SEC Network.
Until then, here are a few thoughts on the Finebaum phenomenon and his move to Charlotte.
For now, Finebaum can be heard online, on select radio stations in the Southeast (his show isn’t carried in Charlotte) and on ESPN podcasts. Already, the ESPN alliance has raised his profile, earning him guest appearances on ESPN’s College GameDay and College Football Live in recent weeks.
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