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Wingo Signs New Deal At ESPN

Jason Barrett

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Fox isn’t the only network tinkering with its NFL Sunday pre-game coverage recipe. Awful Announcing has learned that ESPN will be debuting a new Sunday edition of NFL Insiders which will replace the first hour of Sunday NFL Countdown. The move is part of a soon-to-be announced multi-year extension for Trey Wingo, whose role with the network will expand.

Wingo’s new deal guarantees the longterm Bristol veteran will enter a third decade of employment at ESPN having joined ESPN in 1997.

The new Sunday Morning NFL Insiders show will partner the popular host with Adam Schefter, Chris Mortensen and Louis Riddick for one hour leading into a shortened Sunday NFL Countdown.

The new Sunday edition of NFL Insiders will debut on September 13th and will air regularly at 10am ET. ESPN’s pre-game coverage will also see some additional retooling too as the now two hour Sunday NFL Countdown will be moving to a more fluid “whip-around” type format. Schefter and Mortensen will continue to be involved in Countdown in addition to their new roles on Insiders. It’s believed that Matthew Berry will get a much more prominent role on Countdown as ESPN’s fantasy expert as well.

ESPN’s retention of Wingo is significant as the network has had many high profile talent departures over the past few months.  Wingo hosts a lot of the network’s core NFL programming in NFL Live and NFL Primetime as well as serving as a host for the NFL Draft in later rounds. Many including myself prefer Wingo as a host for NFL studio shows and the draft to Chris Berman, who can be polarizing with his unique bombastic on air presence. Berman is believed to be one of ESPN’s highest paid employees and as ESPN becomes more focused on tightening their talent budgets, the securing of Wingo could potentially give the network added flexibility as needed in future discussions with Berman and other NFL studio talent.

This is also a significant bump in visibility for Schefter, Mortensen, and Riddick and provides a very strong frontline of talent focused more on delivery of news and information opposed to the more analysis focused talent of Countdown. Berry’s increased role on Countdown also makes a lot of sense given fantasy football is getting the added boost of the growing daily fantasy market. With DraftKings’ partnership with ESPN, I imagine a good amount of Berry’s added visibility may begin to focus on daily fantasy football opposed to traditional fantasy football.

ESPN’s retention of Wingo was very much needed (I also like Riddick’s elevation as he was a star during the NFL Draft this year) and some of these adjustments are in line with changing viewer habits. Hardcore NFL fans will now have more exposure to familiar personalities and differing content formats before Sunday’s games, which is a good thing.

Credit to the Awful Announcing who originally published this article

Sports TV News

3.72 Million Tune In To See LeBron James Break Scoring Record

Jordan Bondurant

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Lakers star LeBron James surpassed the NBA’s all-time scoring record on Tuesday night, and TNT benefitted from the milestone ratings wise.

According to Sports Media Watch, Tuesday night’s game averaged 2.98 million viewers. That figure made it TNT’s biggest regular season audience in over two years.

The broadcast peaked at 3.72 million around 11:45 p.m. when James passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the record.

Reporting also indicated that the game was the number one single-network program on TV in key demographics.

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Sports TV News

Disney Makes ESPN Independent Division In Corporate Restructuring

Jordan Bondurant

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ESPN

Disney is in the process of reorganizing and restructuring the company, and details have emerged about the company’s plans for ESPN.

Deadline reported on Wednesday that ESPN will be one of three standalone segments comprising Disney. Entertainment and Parks, Experiences & Products are the other two segments.

The reorganization comes amid the exit of former CEO Bob Chapek and the re-entry of CEO Bob Iger. As one of Iger’s first moves back running Disney, he announced a restructuring of Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution.

It was also reported that Jimmy Pitaro will continue as the president of ESPN.

In total, more than 7,000 jobs will be eliminated after the restructuring.

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Sports TV News

Roger Goodell: ‘Wouldn’t Surprise Me’ To See Thursday Night Football Move to Flex Scheduling

“Not today, but it’ll certainly be something that’s on our horizon.”

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Thursday Night Football

In 2023, Monday Night Football will join Sunday Night Football in having the ability to flex NFL games into its window. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday Night Football could someday join that elite club.

During his “State of the League” speech Wednesday, Goodell said Thursday Night Football having the ability to flex matchups “wouldn’t at all surprise me”.

“Not today, but it’ll certainly be something that’s on our horizon,” the NFL Commissioner said.

ESPN bargained for the ability to move higher profile games into Monday Night Football during its negotiations with the league for the next television contract that begins this upcoming season.

NBC has long held the ability to shift a select number of games from earlier windows into the Sunday Night Football primetime slot.

Amazon Prime Video just completed the first of an 11-year contract that sees the streaming platform spend nearly $1 billion per year on the Thursday Night Football package.

One of the largest storylines of Amazon’s debut season with the NFL was the near-constant ridicule from play-by-play announcer Al Michaels over the lackluster TNF schedule. Michaels made headlines over several weeks for his candor on the lack of interesting matchups, going as far as to joke that if the schedule didn’t improve he would retire.

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