LOCAL TV HOST ROCK Riley OUT AT SPECTRUM
Rock Riley, the longtime face and voice of Bright House Sports, was let go late Wednesday after 18 years with the company.
Bright House recently became Spectrum Sports and decided to part ways with Riley.
"It was an incredible 18 years, and I wish everyone there nothing but the best,'' Riley said. "I'm energized for a new challenge.''
Riley did not say what he might do next, but besides local television, he also has been a radio host on various Tampa Bay-based sports stations.
Riley replaced the late Dave Logan as host of the Toyota Sports Connection in 1999. That show aired nightly on Bay News 9 before Bright House started its own sports network, focusing on local pro, college and high school teams. Riley served as that network's main anchor, while continuing to do updates on Bay News 9.
Spectrum Sports had no comment on Riley's departure and if he would be replaced.
Sprint Cup now Monster Energy
NASCAR announced an agreement with Monster Energy that makes the energy drink maker the title sponsor of its top series in 2017, ending a lengthy process of finding a replacement for Sprint. NASCAR chairman Brian France declined to provide financial details or the length of the deal, saying it was a "complicated agreement" that includes option years. It was believed to be for less money than Sprint's multimillion-dollar sponsorship. France indicated they're still in discussions with Monster on the exact name of the 2017 Cup series. Cellular company Sprint's 13-year run as title sponsor ended last month in the season finale at Homestead. … Four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon, 45, who retired after the 2015 season, will drive in the Rolex 24 endurance race at Daytona on Jan. 28-29.
'SI' names LeBron its person of year
Cavaliers All-Star LeBron James was chosen Sports Illustrated's Sportsperson of the Year on Thursday, joining Tiger Woods as the award's only two-time winner since its inception in 1954. James also received the honor in 2012. James, 31, rallied the Cavaliers from a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Warriors in last season's NBA Finals, making them the first major sports franchise in Cleveland to win a championship since the Browns in 1964. … Marc Gasol scored 25, including two free throws with 12.2 seconds remaining, to give the host Grizzlies a 95-94 victory over the Magic. Gasol's free throws completed a 14-point comeback in the fourth quarter. … Guard J.J. Redick scored 23, forward Blake Griffin matched a career high with 11 assists and the Clippers defeated the host Cavaliers 113-94.
BASEBALL: Right-hander Edinson Volquez, 33, signed a $22 million, two-year contract with the Marlins. Volquez is 89-79 in 12 seasons.
SOCCER: Tottenham striker Harry Kane, 23, signed a two-year extension, tying him to the English Premier League club until 2022.
Tom Jones, Times sports columnist; Times wires