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FS1 Determined To Land Skip Bayless

Jason Barrett



Jamie Horowitz wants to jumpstart Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2, and isn’t afraid to shake things up to do so. The president of Fox Sports National Networks told Sporting News he’s looking to make a stronger push towards opinion and personalities on the network’s programs — and move further away from news and highlights.

His top target – the most polarizing sports personality on television, ESPN’s Skip Bayless.

Shows like ESPN’s “SportsCenter” are dinosaurs, Horowitz said. Instead he sees the future of sports programming being built around what he calls “opinionists” – personalities such as Bayless, Stephen A. Smith, Colin Cowherd, Bill Simmons, Jason Whitlock and Katie Nolan.

Top free agents don’t become available often in the sports media world, but when they do, Horowitz wants them to know he’s open for business, and ready to be bullish to make things happen. Stephen A. isn’t a consideration because he recently signed a long-term agreement with ESPN, but with Bayless’ deal set to expire this year, Horowitz is leaving no stone unturned to lure the controversial on-air talent over to his network.

“I look at these ‘opinionists’ like superstars in the NBA. You can probably name the dozen superstars who are out there. It’s like asking the (Boston) Celtics, ‘Are you interested in Kevin Durant?’ Yes, we’re interested in all the superstars. Of course, I’m interested in Skip,” said Horowitz. “I’m interested in Stephen A. and Michael (Smith) and Jemele and (Tony) Kornheiser and (Michael) Wilbon. Just like ESPN and Fox were both interested in Colin.”

Despite criticism from TV types and media critics, “First Take” is the top rated studio show on ESPN2. The program averaged a record 413,000 viewers in February, up 18 percent from the same period last year. FS1 meanwhile is being doubled by ESPN for viewership between 6a-6p, making it imperative that Horowitz take some risks to bring in high profile personalities like Bayless.

Although ESPN sits atop the mountain, Horowitz believes FS1 can overtake ESPN in the same way that Fox News trampled CNN – by being edgier and providing high profile talent who craft their content around stronger opinion and entertainment rather than scores, highlights, and feature stories.

“You can be unafraid and unfiltered — and be a blowhard. But you’re not actually home until you’re incisive,” he said. “That’s what I think the Colin’s, Katie’s and the Whitlock’s all bring. They’re thought-provoking and insightful. That really is the bullseye. They’re not going to hit it every day, with every comment, with every show. But that’s where you’re aiming. That’s where you want to be.”

Credit to Sporting News who originally reported this information

Sports TV News

Notre Dame Expects Next Media Rights Deal to be Worth $60 Million Annually

Notre Dame is reportedly seeking $75 million per year, while Sports Business Journal figures the school would get closer to $60 million.

Jordan Bondurant



Chris Coduto

There are still a few more seasons until Notre Dame starts the process of hammering out a new media rights deal, but it’s believed the FBS independent could have its next partner shelling out more than double what NBC is currently paying.

NBC, which appears to be a front-runner alongside CBS to be one of the key rights partners in the Big Ten’s new contract, currently pays $25 million each year for rights to Fighting Irish football according to Front Office Sports.

Notre Dame is reportedly seeking $75 million per year, while Sports Business Journal figures the school would get closer to $60 million.

Viewership for Fighting Irish games was reportedly down 48% year-over-year for the 2021 season, averaging 2.5 million viewers. The year before that, the pandemic season in 2020, viewership for Notre Dame was its best since 2005.

Notre Dame remains an independent in football, but is in the ACC for its other programs. The Fighting Irish do play some ACC schools in football. With NBC and the Big Ten apparently becoming new partners, it’s believed that Notre Dame would then have more Big Ten opponents in football.

The current contract between the school and NBC ends in 2025.

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Sports TV News

Robert Griffin III Replaces Randy Moss on Monday Night Countdown

The network announced the addition of Robert Griffin III to the pre-game program.



Robert Griffin III
David Becker, Getty Images

With Monday Night Countdown set to lead into Thursday’s preseason matchup with the Chicago Bears and Seattle Seahawks, ESPN announced their lineup for the show.

The network announced the addition of Robert Griffin III to the pre-game program. Robert Griffin III will join Booger McFarland and Steve Young as the show’s main analysts.

They will be partnered with Suzy Kolber who returns for her sixth year as the show’s host and news breaker Adam Schefter.

It was reported in July that analyst Randy Moss would not be returning to the show, opting instead to focus solely on Sunday Night Countdown.

The first regular season action featuring Monday Night Countdown will be on Monday, September 12 when the Seahawks play the Denver Broncos.

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Sports TV News

Leafs Nation Network, the Toronto Maple Leafs Channel, Is Going Off the Air

“Thank you for your viewership. As of Sept. 1, Leafs Nation Network TV services will no longer be on air.”



The Toronto Maple Leafs launched Leafs TV, a team-specific specialty channel in 2001 and rebranded it as Leafs Nation Network in 2017. However, after nearly twenty-one years on the air, it will fade to black at the end of August.

“Thank you for your viewership,” the channel told viewers who have tuned in recently. “As of Sept. 1, Leafs Nation Network TV services will no longer be on air.”

The news was confirmed to the Sun. Staff said they had been informed of the news a few weeks ago however few jobs are expected to be lost, of any, as many of the LNN duties will be moved to the digital format.

Leafs TV was part of the sale of the Toronto Maple Leafs franchise sale in 2011 to Bell-Rogers communications (worth $1.32 billion). With that sale, Leafs TV began to become a “redundant” channel focusing mainly on classic games and interviews once Rogers made a 2014 deal to become the dominant NHL network, grabbing the majority of live programming.

“Leafs TV was a big bargaining chip at the time of the (Rogers-Bell sale), but they’ve come to see that (lack of game broadcast presence) doesn’t work,” a source told the Sun.

A statement from MLSE on Tuesday read in part: “With new and increasing opportunities to share content on its digital platforms, subscribers to the Leafs Nation Network were informed earlier this month that the channel would cease being broadcast on Sept. 1. Maple Leafs game day and practice coverage will continue to be shared across the team’s digital platforms, combined with exciting new content on the team’s social and digital channels. The team will continue to produce live Marlies home games with details being shared in the weeks ahead about where those broadcasts will be made available.”

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