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Rece Davis Ready For GameDay

Jason Barrett

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A decade before Rece Davis began breaking down late-night highlights on ESPN’s SportsCenter in the mid-1990s, he was energizing the Muscle Shoals boys’ basketball team.

Davis wasn’t the fastest guard or tallest player, but those who knew him say few gave more effort. And of course, no one could quite recap a game like the aspiring broadcaster.

After a big road win, Davis would emulate the style of legendary SEC hoops analyst Joe Dean as he highlighted some of the Trojans’ top moments from their most recent victory.

“Coming back from away games some teams like to sing after a victory, some teams just sit back there and talk,” said Davis’ former high school teammate Anthony Reid. “But Rece kind of did a play-by-play of that night’s game.

“Or on the way to the game he might give us a play-by-play of how it was going to come down to a last-second shot.'”

Those days of entertaining teammates on lengthy bus rides helped pay off for Davis, now a 21-year ESPN veteran embarking on his latest challenge as the new host of ESPN’s College GameDay, which airs Saturdays at 8 a.m. CT. His first broadcast will be live from Sundance Square in Fort Worth, Texas, alongside analysts Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso, Desmond Howard and David Pollack.

“The show and the people on the show have established so much credibility that what their opinions are about the issues of the day matter,” Davis recently told AL.com. “Chris [Fowler] did such an extraordinary job hosting the show for 25 years and overseeing it’s growth, that it is gratifying to take over for him and you’re pleased and proud to be a part of it.”

With Davis’ new role, ESPN basketball analyst Jay Bilas, who has spent the last decade working with him on the basketball edition of College GameDay, says the longtime host is finally getting “the notoriety and the acclaim that he should have been getting all along.”

Comparing Davis to a great point guard, Bilas says Davis is “selfless on air” and his ability to keep a show moving, while bringing out the best in the analysts he works with makes him unique.

 

Eleven hours before his alma mater kicks off its 2015 season at the AT&T Stadium on Saturday, Rece Davis will make his College GameDay debut in front of a live audience at Fort Worth’s Sundance Square and with college football fans from all over the country watching from home.

“I’m as interested as everybody else is to kind of see his signature on the show,” said Kirk Herbstreit, who is entering his 20th season as an analyst for the popular pregame show.

GameDay analyst Lee Corso, 80, who is the only remaining ESPN personality who has been on the show since it first aired in 1987, is also looking forward to working with Davis.

“He’s perfect,” Corso said.

To read the full story visit AL.com where it was originally published

Sports TV News

Al Michaels: Condensed Prep Time For Thursday Night Football ‘A Downside’

“It’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us.”

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There were bound to be unexpected hiccups and unintended consequences as Al Michaels moved to Thursday Night Football with Amazon Prime Video.

He told The Boston Globe Thursday that one of the downsides of the week’s schedule is less prep time with the teams playing in the game.

“When we go to see the teams, it’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us,” Michaels said. “And all the time I’ve been doing this, I’ve built some great relationships with coaches and players and GMs and owners and you name it, and I don’t get that much time to spend with them anymore. That’s a downside part of it for me. Some of the best stories you get come from those relationships.”

Michaels has raised eyebrows this season while not being shy about his disdain for some poor matchups early in the schedule. However, he now understands that there are quality games as the season approaches its close.

“The schedule was a little leaky with the Carolina-Atlanta game and a couple of other games that we’ve had, but now we’re positioned for a nice run down the stretch,” said Michaels.

The 78-year-old was also asked how he remains energetic and passionate for the job he’s held for so long.

The games are exciting. I love sports. You don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s no script. And unscripted television is the greatest.”

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Sports TV News

Jimmy Pitaro: Reaching Younger Audience A Priority for ESPN

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience. As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

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Many in the media industry have voice concern that millennials and Gen Z aren’t consuming traditional media outlets like previous generations. ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said it’s a priority for the network.

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience,” Pitaro said, quoted by Morning Consult sports business reporter Mark J. Burns. “As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

Pitaro made the comments at Sports Business Journal’s Media Innovators conference Wednesday. It is a continuation of comments he has made in recent years.

In 2018, Pitaro said at ESPN’s upfront “I think we are doing a fantastic job serving the sports fanatic,” said Pitaro. “What about the casual sports customer? Are we doing all we can to serve him or her?”.

In 2019, Pitaro said it was “all hands on deck” to reach a younger audience and women. “We have to be open and go to where our customers are,” he said in regards to reaching younger viewers on social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

Earlier this year, Pitaro added that ESPN won’t be leaving linear television anytime soon.

“What I will tell you is that as I sit here right now, that business is still incredible,” Pitaro said. “We serve the sports fan anyway and at any time. I know there are a lot of people that still want ESPN in that traditional ecosystem.”

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Sports TV News

Don Mattingly Joining Blue Jays Staff After YES Network Courtship

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

Jordan Bondurant

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YES Network

The New York Yankees regional sports network can take Don Mattingly off its talent wish list. Mattingly was announced Wednesday as a bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays starting in 2023.

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

But Mattingly told Andrew Marchand of The New York Post this week that he had another opportunity in the works but wouldn’t elaborate.

YES also has been considering luring Yankees legend and Hall of Famer Derek Jeter into broadcasting. But no formal talks have taken place.

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