Sports TV News
FOX Unveils Strong College Hoops Lineup
With the college basketball season set to tip off this week, FOX Sports announces its impressive roster of game and studio broadcasters for the 2015-16 season, featuring some of the most recognizable names and voices in the sport. The announcement was made today by FOX Sports President, Production, John Entz.
The inimitable duo of Gus Johnson and Bill Raftery return for their third season as FOX Sports’ lead game announcers, while former UCLA and St. John’s head coach Steve Lavin is a new addition to the network’s college basketball coverage, leading studio analysis and calling select games. Lavin makes his FOX Sports debut Friday, Nov. 13, during studio coverage of college basketball’s opening night on FS1, FS2 and FOX Sports Regional Networks, including halftime of Wagner at St. John’s (6:00 PM ET, FS1) as Chris Mullin coaches his first regular-season game with the Red Storm – the same program Lavin led a season ago.
“We are once again thrilled to have several of the nation’s top broadcasters calling college basketball for FOX Sports this season,” Entz said. “This loaded lineup of game and studio broadcasters brings a wealth of energy and knowledge to our coverage, and we’re looking forward to another season of great games featuring some of the nation’s best coaches and players. We can’t wait to get the season started, and we look forward to seeing who’s going to cut down the nets in March.”
Rob Stone returns as FOX Sports’ lead college basketball studio host and is joined by analysts Lavin, Jim Jackson and Donny Marshall at the desk.
Jackson, a two-time All-American at Ohio State and 14-year NBA veteran, also calls select games and contributes to NBA coverage in what is now a full-time role with FOX Sports after serving the network in similar roles each of the last two seasons. Now based in Los Angeles, Jackson also appears regularly on FS1 signature studio programs THE HERD WITH COLIN COWHERD and FOX SPORTS LIVE.
Kevin Burkhardt, Mike Hill, Ryan Field and Greg Wolf also serve as hosts for select college basketball studio programming throughout the season.
In addition to pregame, halftime and postgame coverage, FOX Sports’ college basketball studio programming is enhanced with INSIDE THE BIG EAST, FS1’s weekly show dedicated to the latest news and stories in the conference, which returns with the start of league play in January. FOX Sports takes its college basketball studio on the road multiple times this season, beginning with the Gavitt Tipoff Games Nov. 17-19. FOX Sports also has a live studio presence at New York’s Madison Square Garden for the entire BIG EAST Tournament, March 9-12, and in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Arena for FS1’s coverage of the Pac-12 Tournament March 10-12.
In addition to its robust studio lineup, FOX Sports welcomes back several familiar and iconic voices to call game action. Led by the Johnson and Raftery, game broadcasters Joe Davis, Tim Brando, Justin Kutcher, Brian Anderson and Kevin Kugler return to FOX Sports this season, while veteran play-by-play announcer Don Orsillo is new to the network’s hoops coverage. Lavin, Jackson and Marshall serve as game and studio analysts and are joined by a host of other top voices including Stephen Bardo, Nick Bahe, Jim Spanarkel, Tarik Turner, Ron Thompson and Dickey Simpkins. In addition to Lavin, play-by-play announcer Aaron Goldsmith and analysts Sean Elliott and Casey Jacobsen return to lead FS1’s Pac-12 coverage.
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
Sports TV News
Eli Manning: ‘People Enjoy’ When ManningCast Has to Apologize for Language
“We get a lot of curse words, some from Peyton, some from guests.”
The ManningCast on ESPN has become appointment viewing for select Monday Night Football games. Eli Manning loves the fun, laid-back nature of the show he and brother Peyton put on for fans.
But with live TV, sometimes unpredictable things happen, and sometimes people use profanity. Eli, speaking on Tuesday at the 4se sports and entertainment event in New York City, said viewers get a kick out of when the two let occasional profanities slip and have to scramble to say sorry.
“We get a lot of curse words, some from Peyton, some from guests,” he said. “I feel like we’re apologizing for a lot of things on the show, but I guess people enjoy that part.”
Manning has said previously that the goal is for viewers to get the sense that Peyton and Eli are right there with them on their couch watching the game. Eli said it’s been fun getting to show some authenticity now that he’s retired.
“When I was playing, there was a conscious effort; I didn’t want either my fans or coaches to think I had a life outside of football,” he said. “Once I retired, I realized I didn’t have to hold back.”
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He’s a multimedia journalist and communicator who works at the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond. Jordan also contributes occasional coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, WRIC-TV 8News and Audacy Richmond. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.
Sports TV News
JJ Redick: ESPN Sells The NBA As ‘Only 5 or 6 Teams Matter’
“To me, this could be the best thing possible for the NBA and its fans because we have not done a good job of selling the rest of the NBA.”
Following the Los Angeles Lakers’ elimination from the NBA Playoffs, the matchup between the Association’s two most accomplished clubs – the Lakers and Boston Celtics – is no longer a possibility. On Tuesday morning’s edition of First Take on ESPN, JJ Redick suggested how it would be a seminal occurrence for the NBA to have teams from smaller media markets square off for the championship, familiarizing basketball and sports fans at large with new teams and players.
“We somehow have sold the NBA as a league where only five or six teams matter and a league where only five or six players matter,” Redick said on the program. “To me, this could be a watershed moment for the NBA. To me, this could be the best thing possible for the NBA and its fans because we have not done a good job of selling the rest of the NBA.”
Redick pointed out how after Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, the talking points were focused on the Lakers and what the team needed to do to have a legitimate chance to win the series. He reminded people that Nuggets center and two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokić had his third consecutive triple-double, posting an unparalleled statline of 34 points, 21 rebounds and 14 assists.
“We don’t do a good job of selling what the NBA is, which is 30 teams, 450 players [and] multiple superstars,” Redick said. “The fact that people are now being like, ‘Oh, I didn’t realize Nikola Jokić was good’…. Well, let’s put him on TV more!”
Stephen A. Smith told Redick that the NBA has not established its games akin to “events” as much as the National Football League. Smith expressed how he has seen pastors change the time of their Sunday sermons in order to ensure they were home to watch professional football games. While football is very much a team sport, Smith offered Redick his perspective that basketball is “built on superstars.”
“The NBA became what it is because it gravitated to individuality,” Smith said. “Even though the Boston Celtics were a great team and the Lakers ultimately were a great team, they sold Magic and Bird. Michael Jordan comes along – they sold Michael Jordan, and obviously, all the names that we don’t need to get into followed. They sold the individual.”
Smith addressed Redick and accentuated the incredible feats of Jokić, but part of what has made him one of sports media’s most prominent personalities is by having a shrewd perception of his audience. ESPN and other major sports networks are fully aware that Los Angeles supersedes Denver in terms of media consumers, and that the Lakers are recognized as an international brand.
“I’m not where I am today if it were not for the NBA,” Smith said. “Basketball has done wonders for my life, and I’m incredibly grateful and thankful, and the NBA will always be promoted on this show. Please understand in the same breath, we also have to pay attention to what the audience wants to hear too.”
Sports TV News
Diamond Sports Group In Danger of Losing Padres TV Rights
“The company has a grace period to deliver the payment that runs through May 30.”
Diamond Sports Group filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March after failing to make a scheduled debt payment to its creditors. At the time, the company had more than $8 billion in debt and was commencing a process of restructuring. Yet the company stated its Ballys-branded regional sports networks would continue to operate as usual. Major League Baseball decided to take action though and establish a plan to broadcast games locally if the company missed a rights payment.
Now, it is looking that is exactly what will happen. Diamond missed a payment to the San Diego Padres last week, meaning the team’s media rights could soon be the property of Major League Baseball. The company has a grace period to deliver the payment that runs through May 30. If it were to miss the payment, it would mark the first time it will relinquish a contract in this way.
“Despite Diamond’s economic situation, there is every expectation that they will continue televising all games they are committed to during the bankruptcy process,” Major League Baseball said in a statement. “Major League Baseball is ready to produce and distribute games to fans in their local markets in the event that Diamond or any other regional sports network is unable to do so as required by their agreement with our club.”
The company’s current contract with the San Diego Padres has nine years and approximately $540 million remaining with an escalator clause built into the deal. This means that the final year of the deal would cost Diamond Sports Group more than $70 million in rights fees, and while the team is in the top five for television deliveries, the entity perhaps may not view it as sustainable. The momentum headed in this direction was first reported by John Ourand of Sports Business Journal.
The company has also pushed Major League Baseball teams to agree to deals to stream the games in order to recoup lost cable revenue. By being granted the rights to stream games directly to consumers, Diamond Sports Group has vowed to pay the rights fees it owes to nine MLB teams. The company currently has the streaming rights for just five of the 14 major league clubs on its regional sports networks.
Some industry experts believe Diamond Sports Group is utilizing this stalemate to be able to exit media rights deals that are losing the company money. For example, the Diamondbacks’ media rights contract garners an annual payment of about $68 million while amassing the second-lowest local television ratings of any Major League Baseball team.
On May 31, a bankruptcy judge will establish how much money Diamond Sports Group owes its clubs for media rights fees while in Chapter 11 bankruptcy and whether it can continue broadcasting games at this time. The Arizona Diamondbacks, Cleveland Guardians and Minnesota Twins filed emergency motions urging the judge to coerce Diamond Sports Group to make their payments. If the company is unable to distribute payments, the emergency motion calls for teams to issue default notices to the regional sports networks, which could permit the termination of media rights contracts.