This continues to be a difficult time for NESN play-by-play broadcaster Don Orsillo, who has told friends that his lame-duck status in the booth makes showing up at the ballpark feel “like I’m going to my own funeral.”
But Orsillo has not let his feelings interfere with his work since NESN announced he would not be returning for a 16th season — note his enthusiastic call of David Ortiz’s 500th home run Saturday night. And while the outpouring of support from his fans — more than 60,000 signatures have been collected on an on-line petition — will not alter NESN’s plans, multiple sources say that Orsillo’s prospects of landing another broadcasting job look very promising.
One source in charge of broadcasting with another major-league club pointed to San Diego, where Hall of Fame broadcaster Dick Enberg will be entering the last year of his deal next season, as a strong contender for Orsillo’s services. Orsillo’s agent, Brad Blank, said Monday night that he would not identify the teams and networks that have shown interest in Orsillo, but confirmed there are a number of potential landing spots.
Blank said he also has no issue with the Red Sox electing to hire Dave O’Brien, who is regarded as one of the top broadcasters in the business, working for ESPN in addition to his work on radio for the Red Sox the last nine years.
“At the end of a contract, if the terms have been satisfied and they’ve paid what they said they would pay, NESN doesn’t owe anything,’’ Blank said. “That’s how it works.
“If I thought something bad might happen to Don, I might feel differently, but I know he’s going to be fine.’’
O’Brien, like Orsillo a New England native, has been in an awkward position since NESN’s announcement that he would be succeeding Orsillo, the news leaking last month. O’Brien had spoken last summer with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but according to a broadcasting source, no offer was made. Another industry source said that the parameters of a deal were discussed, but there was no written offer.
Regardless of whether O’Brien broached an opportunity with the Dodgers in his talks with the Red Sox, NESN and team sources indicated that they already had decided they wanted to take their broadcasts in a different direction, and viewed O’Brien as an elite talent with the kind of resume that would appeal to advertisers and sponsors.
NESN’s handling of the change, however, has been widely condemned for what has been perceived as insensitivity to Orsillo and an indifference to his popularity with the team’s fan base. The Sox have encountered similar blowback in the past with Sean McDonough, whose dismissal provoked outrage. McDonough’s replacement as the Sox primary TV voice? Orsillo.
While sensitive to how personally disappointed his client is, Blank insists he bears no ill will toward NESN or the Red Sox. “I give NESN and the Red Sox credit for being helpful’’ he said.
Credit to ESPN who originally published this article.
Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX
“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”
FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.
A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.
The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.
Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.
That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.
Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.
FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars
“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”
The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.
Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.
Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.
“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”
Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.
“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.
FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.
NBA Draft To Get Simulcast From ESPN & ABC
“This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.”
ESPN is set for the 2022 NBA Draft coming up on June 23 at 8 p.m. from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The network announced Wednesday the crews that will handle coverage on both ESPN and ABC.
ABC will broadcast the first round in primetime. Kevin Negandhi will host and will be joined by Stephen A. Smith, Chiney Ogwumike and Jalen Rose. Monica McNutt will be reporting and interviewing draftees.
This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.
Malika Andrews will host both rounds for ESPN. Jay Bilas, Kendrick Perkins and Adrian Wojnarowski will share the set. Analysts Bobby Marks and Mike Schmitz will contribute.
“We’re thrilled that Malika Andrews will host this year’s ESPN presentation as she brings her well-documented, widespread skillset to our main set,” said David Roberts, head of NBA and Studio Production for ESPN. “The event will showcase the scope and depth of our NBA and college basketball talent roster with accomplished journalists and high-profile personalities across ESPN, ABC and ESPN Radio.”
ESPN will air a pre-draft red carpet show hosted by Cassidy Hubbarth from 5-6 p.m. Perkins and Richard Jefferson will also make appearances.