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MSG Not Bringing Back Cervasio As Knicks Reporter

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When the Knicks open the regular season Wednesday, they will do so without a familiar face courtside — reporter Tina Cervasio.

Cervasio, who had been at MSG since 2008, learned in late June her contract would not be renewed. MSG later hired Rebecca Haarlow for the role. Cervasio’s final assignment for MSG will be Sunday’s Red Bulls game against the Fire.

“I was very upset initially,” she said during the Mets’ off-day World Series workout at Citi Field Friday. “I was shocked. I did not see it coming. My contract was only up in a couple of days when I got the call. So it was very shocking and I was really disappointed.

“I loved my job covering the Knicks and Red Bulls. I was there a long time. Especially with the new staff, I just felt like it was a rough year covering 17 wins, or you could say 65 losses (last season). I felt like I laid really nice groundwork, and I was at the draft. I lost a job that I loved, so I was upset.”

Cervasio would not say who delivered the news, but she said she was told “they were looking to reach a new audience or a different audience, I don’t know. They were looking for a new chemistry.”

MSG issued a statement that said, “MSG would like to thank Tina for her work on Knicks and Red Bulls telecasts and we wish her all the best.”

“I wasn’t told I made a mistake,” she said. “I wasn’t told about an attitude or my work ethic. I’ve always changed the way they wanted me to change. If they wanted me to do something different I always did that … I didn’t expect anything was awry.”

Cervasio said hearing from a variety of people around the NBA made it easier to move on.

“I got an email from a current Knicks player on behalf of the guys that I covered that they were bummed to hear I wouldn’t be there and wishing me the best and praying for me,” she said. “So that really touched me.”

To read the rest of this article visit Newsday where it was originally published

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Adam Lefkoe: ‘It’s My Job To Start Arguments On TNT’

“As long as the talent that I’m with is enjoying the experience, that’s what I think a host role is.”

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In 2019, Adam Lefkoe became the host of TNT’s Tuesday night NBA studio show with Dwyane Wade, Candace Parker, and Shaquille O’Neal. While Lefkoe is still with Bleacher Report, a place he was at since 2013, he has cut down on the amount of shows he does for B/R to put a lot of focus into hosting the Tuesday show. 

Lefkoe was a guest on The Press Box podcast with Bryan Curtis and David Shoemaker and he said that he always thought Inside The NBA was the “pinnacle of sports television,” but he thought his first true moment with Turner Sports was when he hosted the pregame show for The Match: Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson in 2018.

Before he started hosting the Tuesday night show, Lefkoe told Curtis and Shoemaker that he heard from Dan Patrick, who gave him some advice that has stuck with him.

“He said ‘Lefkoe, be John Stockton. We don’t need 20 out of you, but if you can get us 15 assists, that’s really what it is all about.’ There’s nothing sweeter than throwing an alley-oop when you are hosting a show like that.

“I know Ernie Johnson has told me that he is, on purpose, the worst traffic controller. He is trying to create accidents. I think that is something that I learned from him. When I am in the back, in the green room, which I think is the greatest place to watch basketball in the world, when I hear an argument, it is my duty to start that argument again when I get on set and to not let them know I’m doing it.”  

When he hosts the show, Lefkoe knows the crew he works with and knows when to go to them for specific reasons throughout the broadcast and how to make them succeed: 

“I think Wade tells great stories. I might be texting with him and hanging out with him that week and go over for dinner and I know he’s got a really great personal story about Russell Westbrook or Donovan Mitchell, I’m getting him to that story eventually.”

“With Candace, if I see her in the back and she kind of puts her hands up or sighs, I note what it is. I’m not going to tell her, but I’m getting her there when the show starts. With Shaq, it’s ‘Shaq wants to go viral’. How can I get Shaq to go viral this week because that’s what he needs.” 

Lefkoe knows the importance of being a good researcher in addition to hosting. He told Curtis and Shoemaker that when he talked with Jayson Stark (who is a family friend) years ago, he remembered Stark had a journal for every MLB team that when he heard a stat about that team that was interesting, he put in that journal. That’s when Lefkoe knew what he needed to do to succeed in this business.

“When I made the transition from a lot of NFL to mainly all-NBA, I read an article and a column from every team every day over a four-month period. The stuff I knew about the Portland Trail Blazers’ salary cap constrictions in that one year was nuts…If you don’t enjoy studying and reading and you think you can just go on TV and go ‘Pistons…remember Grant Hill’. If you think you are going to pull that off, you are going to get eviscerated.” 

So, when you watch Lefkoe host NBA coverage on TNT, he knows how to make his team succeed and he is going to put in the work to make sure your team is well-represented. However, he cares more about the feedback from the talent he works with than anything else.

 “As long as the talent that I’m with is enjoying the experience, that’s what I think a host role is. You can’t control the answers and stories, but did it feel different than all the other interviewers that they had. I would find my feedback in the talent that I work with.” 

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John Ourand Expects Apple To ‘Run The Table’ On Upcoming TV Rights Deals

“He said Apple’s willingness to experiment and the availability of properties like MLS and Major League Baseball line up perfectly.”

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On the most recent episode of the Marchand and Ourand podcast, Andrew Marchand of The New York Post said he would be shocked if Apple TV+ did not have some portion of Major League Soccer’s next media rights deal. It may not be an exclusive deal. He suggested it was possible Apple could win the streaming rights while broadcast rights stayed with ESPN and ABC.

His podcast partner, Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand took it a step further. He said he doesn’t see Apple being excluded from much of anything that hits the market in the coming years.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple sort of runs the table on the next couple of rights that come up including the NFL. We’ve talked about this before, the Sunday Ticket rights,” Ourand said. 

Apple recently got into the sports business, adding an exclusive package of Major League Baseball games on Friday nights. Ourand is confident that deal is less about Major League Baseball and more about the company finding out what it can offer leagues across all sports. The MLS could fit the same description.

“It’s kind of a test. They want to see if this works, and MLS? It’s not the NBA. It’s a relatively low-cost test to see if they can do live video, if they can do things differently, and if they can have a sort of ‘Apple way’ of doing things.”

He cited a new book about the Apple company in the modern age. Tripp Mickle’s After Steve looks at how Apple became a trillion-dollar company.

Ourand, who is friends with the author and has read the book, says that it gives great insight into CEO Tim Cook’s philosophy of releasing products. He said Apple’s willingness to experiment and the availability of properties like MLS and Major League Baseball line up perfectly.

“Early Apple would only release an iPhone or an iPod when it was fully formed and ready to go and there were no problems with it. Apple under Tim Cook? They’re happy to release different things that have bugs or don’t work very well, because they’re gonna improve on it, so if you look at where baseball is right now, it’s not gonna be where baseball is in three years.”

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ESPN, Omaha Productions Expands Places Franchise into Hockey, College Basketball, Tennis

“PK Subban will host PK’s Places focused on hockey, Sue Bird will host Sue’s Places focused on college basketball, and John McEnroe will host McEnroe’s Places focused on tennis.”

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Peyton’s Places has been one of the great successes in terms of original series on ESPN+. The franchise, which began with Peyton Manning visiting places and people integral to the history of the NFL, has expanded into new sports in recent years. Now, there are spinoffs starring Eli Manning, Abby Wombach, Ronda Rousey, Davíd Ortiz, and Vince Carter.

At Tuesday’s Disney Upfront presentation, the Manning Brothers announced three new additions to the Places family.

PK Subban will host PK’s Places focused on hockey, Sue Bird will host Sue’s Places focused on college basketball, and John McEnroe will host McEnroe’s Places focused on tennis.

“The Places franchise is all about giving fans an inside look at their favorite sport so we are excited to be adding such incredible teammates as the Places Universe continues to expand,” said Peyton. “Sue, P.K. and John will all bring a unique and colorful perspective to their sport’s history as they give viewers a look at some of their favorite places.”

In addition to the new shows, Peyton and Eli are coming back. Peyton’s Places will get a third season. Eli’s Places will get a second season.

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