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Lundquist & Danielson Discuss Their Partnership

Jason Barrett

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Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson have spent the past decade as broadcast partners at CBS – as the cornerstone of the network’s college football coverage – and as part of the SEC on CBS, the duo has seen some of the biggest games in the conference’s history.

The Sentinel caught up with both as they get set to broadcast this week’s Florida-Georgia game Saturday at 3:30 ET on CBS.

Q: How would you describe the past 10 years in broadcasting together?

Lundquist: “Since I’ve started network television in 1974 – I haven’t kept a list, but I have a pretty good idea that – I’ve had more than 40 partners. I’m his longest running partner and he’s mine. It’s been 10 years and we’ve established a friendship and an understanding of each other.  I don’t want to irritate any of my previous partners, but I think Gary is the best that I’ve ever worked with.”

Q: What makes your partnership work?

Lundquist: “It wasn’t easy the first year. It never is for anybody. There is a feeling out process. I had worked with Todd Blackledge for the previous six. We had a sudden opening and Gary was available. … I was thrilled because I always respected his degree of preparation, the insight that he brought to a telecast – I’ve learned in the subsequent decade that he never ever makes a comment that is flippant. If he takes a stance, you can rest assured that he has thought about it, he’s researched it, and he believes it. He’s a very principled broadcaster. … It’s that kind of thing that he brings to the broadcast that I really admire.”

“On a personal level, we’ve adjusted every year. I think we’ve grown closer as the years have gone by. I think that has to do with respect. I trust Gary implicitly. I know when we show up in Jacksonville, he will be as well-prepared as he can be. He goes about it completely different than I do because he’s got a responsibility. I’m more the nuts-and-bolts guy – the storyteller – so I’m looking for anecdotes and human interest things and Gary is studying tape and trying to break down who can bring what to the encounter. So we have different roles.”

“I think over the years we’ve learned to A) trust each other – he trusts me to get my side of it done so I come in there prepared and then I think the personalities are so completely different. But that’s turned into strength. That was not true in 2006. We had our moments where we talked over each other and we had our moments where he would look at me and raise his eyes and think ‘Where are you going with this?’ And I would have my moments where I would look at him – it was never expressed – but I would think ‘Why did you just say that.’ But over time – and it began to happen in the second year. He’s so well-prepared and he such concrete opinions. He’s uncanny at his ability to anticipate. I think that’s one of his greatest strengths.”

“We’re not chit-chatting all the time and we don’t normally talk during the week. We go about it completely separately and completely differently. I’ve learned to know when he’s got something on his mind and that he wants to express it. And so I give him the space and I hope he feels that way. And he knows if it’s an anecdote about something, I’ll raise my finger in the air to let him know I have something that I think can add value. … We try to make it as much of a conversation as we can.”

Danielson: “I think first of all what made it work was that we weren’t young newlyweds. We had both gone through a few marriages and we both respected each other’s work when we came to this marriage. We knew that really there is no such thing as a utopia as a partner – everybody has their flaws. Everybody needs their space. … I think we both know that there is time to get away from each other. There is time to give each other space, but we both know that we’re better together than we are separate.

“I marvel at the way that Verne can get along with everybody from the university prior to the game. He takes a deep interest in the smallest things of people. I might not do that outwardly as much as him, but I appreciate it. I think he takes a look at me and has respect for the fact that I can shut out the outside world – almost like a player – and get down to the basics. I think we both respect that about each other.”

“It’s better for us to bring a different perspective each week and if we work too closely together we sort of get the same perspective. … I think the biggest part is that we both understand that we don’t have to be the same to like each other and we don’t have to exactly the same perspective to do a good job for the game. We can come at it from different ends and blend in the middle.”

To read the rest of the article visit the Orlando Sentinel where it was originally published

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‘NHL DataCast’ Alternate Broadcast to be Featured During Oilers-Stars Series on truTV, Max

The broadcast will use cutting edge data and real-time in-depth insights from NHL EDGE positional data.

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Graphic for the NHL Western Conference Finals coverage on truTV, TNT and Max
Courtesy: NHL

TNT Sports’ 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs coverage will continue with the Western Conference Finals starting this Thursday.  2023 Hart Trophy winner Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers will be taking on Jason Robertson and the Dallas Stars. This series also marks the debut of the ‘NHL DataCast’ powered by AWS alternate broadcast which will air on truTV and Max.

On the call for the series on TNT will be Kenny Albert, along with commentary from Eddie Olczyk and Brian Boucher, and reporting from Jackie Redmond. 

Steve Mears will provide play-by-play for ‘NHL DataCast’ along with commentary from World Championship gold medalist Colby Armstrong and Mike Kelly, NHL Network analyst and Director of Analytics and Insights for Sports Logiq.

In a release the league describes ‘NHL DataCast’ as “a new analytics-driven alternative viewing experience on truTV and MaxThe broadcast will use cutting edge data and real-time in-depth insights from NHL EDGE positional data (NHL Puck and Player Tracking) to provide deeper context and understanding of how statistics are utilized by players, coaches and front offices across the National Hockey League. NHL EDGE IQ powered by AWS advanced analytics, including Face-Off Probability, Opportunity Analysis and Ice Tilt, will also be featured. “

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Aaron Taylor Joining ‘College Football Today’ on CBS

“BJ, Rick, Adam and I have so much respect for the sport and for the platform we’re given to break down all the exciting twists and turns that college football offers.”

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Aaron Taylor
Courtesy: Mary Kouw, CBS Sports

As CBS Sports continues its media rights deal with the Big Ten Conference and airs college football games throughout the 2024 season, it is making an addition to its signature studio program. Aaron Taylor, former NFL offensive lineman and two-time All-American at the University of Notre Dame, is joining College Football Today for pregame, halftime and postgame coverage on CBS and streaming on Paramount+. Taylor, who has been a member of CBS Sports’ college football coverage since 2008 as the lead analyst on CBS Sports Network and broadcasting select games on CBS, will join host Adam Zucker and analysts Brian Jones and Rick Neuheisel in the fall. The network will also expand its postgame studio show this fall and remain on the air until 7:30 p.m. EST.

“BJ, Rick, Adam and I have so much respect for the sport and for the platform we’re given to break down all the exciting twists and turns that college football offers,” Taylor said in a statement. “It gives us the freedom to not take ourselves too seriously and have some fun at each other’s expense. I can’t wait to sit with those guys on Saturdays and be the one person at the desk who isn’t battling a receding hairline.”

CBS Sports will broadcast a marquee Big Ten Conference matchup every Saturday at 3:30 p.m. EST, ending the season with coverage of the 2024 Big Ten Championship Game from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. on Saturday, Dec. 7. The company will air the matchup between Notre Dame and Purdue on Saturday, Sept. 14 followed by USC at Michigan on Saturday, Sept. 21. Taylor will join the coverage on College Football Today as a studio analyst to provide his insights and expertise regarding the action.

“Aaron’s extensive football IQ has been integral to our coverage for many years, and we look forward to him joining Adam, BJ and Rick on Saturdays given their deep chemistry cemented over the years on Inside College Football,” Harold Bryant, executive producer and executive vice president, production, at CBS Sports, said in a statement. “And as we extend our post-game coverage, Aaron’s personality and analysis will be a welcome addition with more runway to recap the most pivotal games and moments from earlier in the day.”

As Jones joins College Football Today, it will mark the 10th consecutive season working in studio together for Zucker, Jones and Neuheisel. CBS will broadcast college football on Saturdays and its slate of NFL on CBS matchups in the fall, which also includes the addition of Matt Ryan on The NFL Today. Ryan will be joined by host James Brown, who was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences on Tuesday night at the 45th Annual Sports Emmy Awards, along with analysts J.J. Watt, Nate Burleson and Bill Cowher.

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Report: NBA Formalizing Deals with The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal, Amazon

Final changes are believed to be taking place in the coming days or the week with deals then having to be ratified by respective boards.

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NBA Logo
Courtesy: Nic Antaya, Getty Images

The National Basketball Association (NBA) has been involved in media rights negotiations for national television broadcasts for the 2025-26 season and beyond with a resolution reportedly on the precipice. The league is reportedly finalizing contracts with The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal and Amazon that would approximately triple its existing rights fee, along with terminating the partnership with Warner Bros. Discovery. This could reportedly result in legal action from Warner Bros. Discovery about the breadth of its matching rights clause, which the league will reportedly take to the company to see if it can match NBCUniversal’s deal in “total value.” Tom Friend of Sports Business Journal was first to report the news of these contracts being finalized.

Within the report, sources indicated that The Walt Disney Company (ESPN/ABC) would end up paying $2.8 billion per year for the “A” package of games, up by $200 million from previous reports. This package would reportedly include the NBA Finals, a conference final and weekly primetime games, along with rights to the WNBA and international rights likely to be shared. Disney has been a broadcast home for the NBA since the 2002-03 season after the network briefly televised games from 1982 to 1984.

The network has a new lead broadcast booth this season consisting of play-by-play announcer Mike Breen, analysts Doris Burke and JJ Redick, and sideline reporter Lisa Salters. The company averaged 1.7 million viewers throughout the 2023-24 regular season, which also included simulcasts and alternate broadcasts.

Comcast’s NBCUniversal was first reported to be bidding $2.5 billion to attain rights for the league for the first time since the 2001-02 season. The “B” package is now believed to be worth $2.6 billion per year and would reportedly include a conference final, conference semifinals and two prime time windows per week. Moreover, there would reportedly likely be a Basketball Night in America on Sunday nights after the conclusion of the NFL season.

Amazon will reportedly pay between $1.8 billion and $2 billion for rights to the NBA, marking the first time the league is inking a partnership with a streaming platform. The package would reportedly include the Emirates In-Season Tournament and the So-Fi Play-In Tournament, along with first-round playoff games, the WNBA and international rights.

Final changes are believed to be taking place in the coming days or the week with deals then having to be ratified by respective boards. Sources believe that Warner Bros. Discovery would need to pay more than $2.6 billion to match NBCUniversal’s bid; however, the specifics of the package are structured in a way that would make it “virtually impossible” to match.

The league is reportedly preparing its lawyers in the event of an inquisition or lawsuit, believing that a match does not come in monetary value, but rather with advertising revenue and broadcast windows among other things. Warner Bros. Discovery reportedly did not reach a framework for a deal during the 90-day exclusive negotiating window, whereas The Walt Disney Company reportedly did, although nothing was said to be finalized during that time.

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