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Rachel Nichols Talks About Returning To ESPN

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Rachel Nichols has returned to ESPN after a three-year stint with CNN/Turner Sports. The Northwestern alum is preparing for the Feb. 18 launch of a 30-minute show called “The Jump.” The 2:30 p.m. Monday-through-Friday offering will feature NBA players and analysts and originate from Los Angeles.

She also will contribute to “SportsCenter,” “Outside the Lines” and “E:60.” The Chicago Tribune spoke to her last Thursday.

You are back with ESPN. Why the move?

It was just an amazing opportunity. I get to be on television every day talking about a sport I genuinely love — the fun stuff that makes the NBA such a cool ride and the big-picture issues. In addition I get to cross into other (shows) to do some commentary and interviews. It’s a win, win, win, win, win, which is fantastic.

What is it about the NBA that compels you so?

The NBA has that up-close feeling. There’s a reason why the stars are so marketable; you feel like you know them. We call a lot of them by their first name. The fans can be two feet from them. Sometimes they fall into the stands and the fans are two inches from them.

Do you sense any concern from ESPN about declining ratings and the so-called cord-cutters, the people who no longer are willing to pay for cable?

It is definitely above my pay grade to solve or manage the cord-cutting issue. I can only say this: I worked at newspapers for a long time. And I understand what it is like to work for and be in the middle of a changing industry. And I think there is a difference between, ‘Hey, the model is changing.’ And, ‘Hey, the house is on fire.’ ESPN is still the number one cable network in terms of viewers. It’s hard to look at that and say, ‘Oh, wow, they’re in real trouble.’

What you say is, ‘Oh, wow, they have a changing model.’ And if those cord-cutters are cutting the cord because they are on their phones more, then how is ESPN doing in mobile? How is that business developing? I have no idea what the numbers are, but I do know that being scared of a changing model is not a very forward way of thinking and that it’s exciting when things change. Then there are new opportunities.

To read the full interview visit the Chicago Tribune where this article was originally published

Sports TV News

Joe Buck: ESPN Is Letting Us Set Tone For Monday Night Football

“It wasn’t well, you are at ESPN, you have to figure out how we do it.”

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While Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will be calling football games on Monday nights for ESPN instead of Sunday afternoons for FOX this year, fans shouldn’t expect the broadcasts to be that much different, if at all, than what they’ve been used to over the last 20 years. 

Buck was recently a guest on the Green Light with Chris Long podcast and said that ESPN knows that he and Aikman have to be comfortable in order for Monday Night Football to be a success.

“I know we are in the honeymoon phase. I’m not dumb. That stuff wears off after a while. They are like ‘however you guys have always done a game, that’s the way we want you to do a game whether it’s with regard to meetings vs. conference calls or when you guys show up, how you like the booth set up. However you want it, we are going to do it your way’ and that’s to their credit. It wasn’t well, you are at ESPN, you have to figure out how we do it.”

Buck and Aikman are obviously already very familiar with each other. Buck said that it will be important not to take that for granted or second guess what they already know.

“I think the one thing Troy and I have to avoid is trying to be different than we’ve been. They hired us based on what we’ve done and who we are and how we relate to each other and the way we see a game,” said Buck. 

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Mike Tirico, Tom Brady, Manningcast Win Sports Emmys

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The annual Sports Emmys were handed out on Tuesday night, and some usual names and new names ended up taking home hardware.

Among the usual names were NBC’s Mike Tirico, who won for Outstanding Personality/Studio Host, and soon-to-be Sunday Night Football broadcast colleague Cris Collinsworth, who was named Outstanding Personality/Sports Event Analyst.

But among the new names as Sports Emmy winners include Tom Brady and both Eli and Peyton Manning.

Brady’s Man in the Arena saga won Outstanding Documentary Series, while the Mannings were rewarded for their work on the Monday Night Football Manningcast, which won Outstanding Live Series.

Here’s a rundown of some of the key Sports Emmy winners:

Here is a full list of winners and nominees for the 2022 ceremony.

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Joe Buck Says He Won’t Miss World Series

“This is the first time since I was 18-years-old, and I’m 53, that I’m not doing a baseball game.”

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USA Today

Among the bigger chain reactions set off by Joe Buck leaving FOX for ESPN was the sudden vacancy in FOX’s main MLB broadcast booth.

The 2022 World Series will mark the first time since 1995 that Buck will not be on the microphone.

Speaking to Chris Long on his podcast Green Light, Buck hopes to be in a more exotic location watching World Series games this fall.

“I would like to be in Cabo San Lucas with a margarita in my hand and a half-smoked cigar watching Game 7 of the World Series,” Buck said. “Cheering on Joe Davis and John Smoltz, and Ken Rosenthal, and Tom Verducci, and Pete Macheska and Matt Gangl and right on down the line.”

Buck added he’ll take pleasure in turning the broadcast off if it’s Game 7 and there’s an insurmountable lead. But the broadcasting legend said even on a bigger scale, not calling any baseball games at all this season, let alone the World Series, is a bit surreal after covering the sport for so long.

“This is the first time since I was 18-years-old, and I’m 53, that I’m not doing a baseball game,” he said. “And that’s really weird to me, but I walk away really proud of what I and we did.”

He added that he will not miss the opportunity, because he does not feel like he will “leave any unfinished business” in FOX’s MLB booth.

Buck further praised his FOX colleagues and said it was time for a change. He knows Joe Davis will thrive in the opportunity.

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