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Dan Patrick Appears On ESPN

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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

NFL Considers Ending Pro Bowl Amidst Low Ratings

“Mark Maske of The Washington Post reports the future of the Pro Bowl was discussed on Tuesday during the owners’ meetings in Atlanta.”

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The NFL is obsessed with TV ratings. It isn’t a surprise that the league may not be willing to tolerate the Pro Bowl underperforming for much longer. 

In 2022, the NFL’s all-star game produced it’s lowest ratings in 16 years. Fewer that 7 million people tuned in to watch the game across ABC, ESPN and DisneyXD. 

“The (Pro Bowl) game doesn’t work,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday after the owners’ meeting in Atlanta. “We need to find another way to celebrate the players.”

There are two proposed alternatives that have been reported. The Washington Post says the league is considering launching a seven-on-seven competition. It would not include tackling or full clocks. The other report comes from Ian Rapport of the NFL Network. He says the league is considering hosting a series of skills competitions over the course of what would be branded an all-star week. The NFL has partnered with DirecTV in the past to present similar events during Super Bowl Week. 

No details have emerged or final decisions made. Mark Maske of The Washington Post reports the future of the Pro Bowl was discussed on Tuesday during the owners’ meetings in Atlanta.

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Former Hulu Exec Michael Schneider Hired To Run Bally Sports+

“Schneider previously was VP of brand and content marketing at Hulu, where he had involvement in various marketing efforts for Hulu + Live TV.”

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Sinclair Broadcast Group and Diamond Sports Group have tapped Michael Schneider as the chief operating officer and general manager of Bally Sports+ when it launches this year.

Schneider will oversee the direct-to-consumer platform that will also be the hub for Bally Sports live programming.

Schneider previously was VP of brand and content marketing at Hulu, where he had involvement in various marketing efforts for Hulu + Live TV.

“Throughout his career, Michael has successfully launched and developed DTC streaming and service platforms and created immersive engagement experiences,” said Sinclair COO and president of broadcast Rob Weisbord. “He is a terrific addition to the team as we build out the Bally Sports+ offering, its exclusive content and passionate fan community.”

Even before Hulu, Schneider had a hand in streaming. He was a founding member of the PlayStation Vue launch team.

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Sports TV News

Marquee Sports Network Weighs Streaming Options Outside of Bally Sports+

“Marquee GM Mike McCarthy said to Sports Business Journal there’s no rush, but the network is hopeful they can have something in time for the 2023 season.”

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As Sinclair Broadcast Group prepares to launch Bally Sports+, its direct-to-consumer platform that will be home to Bally Sports live events, the Chicago Cubs are weighing their options for Marquee Sports Network, which the team co-owns with Sinclair.

Despite being under the Sinclair umbrella, Marquee is its own free-standing RSN from the rest of the Bally Sports networks across the country.

Marquee is readily available on a number of cable providers, but the only thing that’s really missing is its own standalone streaming platform for games. Marquee GM Mike McCarthy said to Sports Business Journal there’s no rush, but the network is hopeful they can have something in time for the 2023 season.

“We’re always interested in being on the cutting edge with the ultimate deliverable to our consumer,” McCarthy said. “But there isn’t any contractual clock ticking to make us feel that way. It’s how we’ve approached things from the beginning. Between our two ownership groups, there’s a lot of aggression to get it right. And I think you’ll see something along those lines shortly.”

The TV ratings will always be of top interest for MLB, especially regional ratings. But as the league has worked to embrace more streaming options for games, striking deals with Apple and Peacock for rights this season, it’s all about providing what the fans and viewers want.

“We now have the ability to do so much more, to properly tell the story of a 162-game season,” said Crane Kenney, Chicago Cubs president of business operations. Kenney was instrumental in the launch of Marquee. “We love baseball, we love the game, and we love the opportunity we have to share it with our fans in really deep ways.”

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