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Dan Patrick Appears On ESPN

Jason Barrett

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Even though it had nothing to do with what happened on the field, it’s not an exaggeration to say that one of the biggest sports moments over Labor Day weekend was Dan Patrick’s return to SportsCenter and ESPN.  It had been eight long years since Patrick last appeared on ESPN airwaves.  And after an acrimonious exit and many years in feisty competition with Bristol, seeing DP on the network that made him a nationwide star was as much of a long shot as Kansas and Washington State playing in this year’s National Championship Game.

And yet, on the debut of Scott Van Pelt’s midnight edition, there was Dan Patrick back in the SportsCenter studio.  With tongue firmly planted in cheek, Patrick even wore his ESPN visitor badge over his suit to make it clear that he was just stopping by for a moment to say hello.

Here’s the full interview between Van Pelt and Patrick.  I’ve heard some say it was great television, I’ve heard others say it was a tad bit awkward.  I think the best word to describe the interview is “surreal.”  Dan Patrick back on ESPN?!?  This is something we never thought we would see again!

https://youtu.be/O5QusovsHCE

Eight years doesn’t seem like it’s a long time, but so much has changed in that time – and I think that’s the major takeaway from this discussion.  Patrick’s radio show is simulcast on NBCSN and he hosts Football Night in America and the Olympics on NBC.  Van Pelt has his own edition of SportsCenter that eminates from ESPN’s trillion dollar futuristic studio and he’s now the face of the network.  This wasn’t a traditional walk down memory lane filled with nostalgia.  This wasn’t Patrick walking into the highlight desk, calling a Nats-Mets highlight package, getting in his signature lines, and then hitting the road.

This was something different.  Something honest.  Something perhaps unexpected, with several quotes that would probably make ESPN’s executives nervous.  (Especially the impromptu discussion about SVP’s latest decision to re-sign with ESPN instead of going to NBC with Patrick.)

Given everything that’s transpired in the past eight years, maybe that’s just fine.  Maybe we’re not supposed to go back and relive “The Big Show” and pretend that it’s 1997 again.  Given Patrick’s post-ESPN success and how it’s SVP’s stage now, maybe this organic “passing of the visitor badge” was just right to mark Dan Patrick’s return to ESPN.

Credit to Awful Announcing who originally published this article

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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