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Should Jon Gruden Be Able to Call The Titans-Chiefs Game?

Jason Barrett

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Nearly 20 years after being named head coach of the Oakland Raiders, it appears Jon Gruden will join the franchise for a second stint. Gruden hasn’t coached since being fired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2008, after which he joined ESPN as an analyst on Monday Night Football.

“My understanding is they’re interviewing candidates this week and they’re going to let everybody know sometime early next week or whenever they make their decision,” Gruden said in an interview with Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group.

Asked specifically if he was a candidate, Gruden said, “Well, I think I am being considered, yes. I hope I’m a candidate.”

Much like we saw Scott Frost unprecedentedly coach UCF in a bowl game after taking a new coaching job with Nebraska, Gruden also has previous engagements he’d like to fulfill. ESPN has Saturday’s Wild Card Game between the Titans and Chiefs, which will be called by Sean McDonough and Jon Gruden. Should Gruden be able to remain in the booth for the game? Will the soon to be rival Chiefs and their head coach want to discuss their gameplan during the week with Gruden?

In response to whether or not calling the Chiefs Titans game could be an issue, “They played my brother (Jay) on Monday Night Football once too, so there will be some awkward moments and we’re probably going to laugh a little bit about it, but that’ll be cool,” Gruden told McDonald. “If I have to sit in the truck with my eyes closed, so be it.”

Earlier this season Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen joined Fox during the Panthers bye week while Olsen was still on IR. He was added to the team of Kevin Burkhardt and Charles Davis for the Rams Vikings broadcast. Much to Olsen’s surprise, his presence on the telecast upset the Vikings and their GM, so much so that they tried to get him moved to a different game.

“For anyone who has ever been in those broadcast production meetings, if you’re spilling your deepest, darkest game-plan secrets to the broadcast crew, that’s kind of on you,” said Olsen, who has been in production meetings before. “We’re not getting anything that’s really going to give you much insight on how to beat them.”

Fox limited the amount of pre-game access Olsen had and he did not attend a practice, walkthrough or production meeting.

“The notion that I’m going to gain an unfair advantage is crazy. We have scouts at every game across the league. I’m going to have enough trouble on my hands broadcasting a game, let alone looking for little nuances on the sideline,” said Olsen

Gruden hasn’t yet been named the next head coach of the Raiders, but all signs point to it happening very soon. The Chiefs being aware that Gruden will soon be their division rival might look to limit the information they give the ESPN broadcast team. If the Vikings didn’t want Olsen to be in on their meetings, odds are some of the Chief’s front office would prefer if Gruden kept his distance.

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.

Sports TV News

The NFL Still Considering Multiple Offers For Sunday Ticket

The NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has not bid for the package but has stated it is willing to partner with the new rightsholder for a potential deal.

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Sunday Ticket Negotiations

DirecTV currently has the rights to Sunday Ticket. That deal expires at the end of this upcoming football season. The NFL is expected to make a boatload of cash when they decide which media organization gets the next rights to the package. The only question is… who will that be?

Alex Sherman of CNBC reports that the NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has decided not bid for the package. However, they are interested in partnering with the new rightsholder for a potential deal. DirecTV knows that Sunday Ticket is a staple in bars and restaurants and is interested in maintaining those relationships.

Outside of the bar/restaurant industry, success has been limited for the satellite provider with the football package. Fewer than two million subscribers signed up for Sunday Ticket each year which made the package a money-loser for the satellite TV provider.

According to the report, the NFL wants more than $2 billion for the rights and a stake in NFL Media, which is being packaged with Sunday Ticket. Also on the table is the NFL’s mobile rights. The league’s previous mobile agreement with Verizon has ended.

An interesting piece of the negotiations is Sunday Ticket price. According to the report, a buyer would have limited flexibility on pricing. The NFL signed contracts with CBS and Fox and within the framework of those deals, language mandates Sunday Ticket have a premium price. That’s to prevent loss of viewers from the networks that feature local market Sunday afternoon games. So essentially, the price is the price for the consumer.

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F1 Renews With ESPN For U.S. Media Rights

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

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F1 ESPN

The racing series F1 has decided to stick with ESPN through 2025.

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

The reported value of the three-year contract is set to pay F1 $75-90M per year for the U.S. media rights. Amazon had offered to pay roughly $100M per year, with the right to sublicense to a linear broadcast network. Comcast’s offer was similar to ESPN’s in terms of value and the structure. They also wanted to put select races on it’s streaming service, Peacock.

Netflix was in on the negotiations, as well. The makers of Drive to Survive, the streaming series that many credit with the sport’s explosion in popularity in recent years, wasn’t close on on their financial offer. Also, it seems F1 executives were not ready to put all of its races on a streaming service just yet.

Currently, F1 receives $5M per year for ESPN to broadcast it’s races. ESPN has grabbed about 1.0 million viewers per race. That makes F1 a more than viable option for the network to invest into again. ESPN will be able to put a small number of races on its ESPN+ streaming service exclusively. The vast majority being on ABC or ESPN.

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Skip Bayless Says He And Stephen A. Smith ‘Sorted Out’ Their Disagreement

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

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Skip Bayless

Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless were locked in a war of words last week following the First Take host’s appearance on JJ Redick’s Old Man and the Three podcast.

The origins of their partnership were discussed and Bayless admitted he did not like the way Smith characterized the state of First Take before he arrived on set. Smith insisted that Bayless simply misunderstood what he meant by saying that he was told the show needed him.

Over the weekend, Skip Bayless says he and Stephen A. Smith got together at the Bayless home in California to talk things out in private.

“He was in LA, he came over, we sat by the pool,” he said on the latest episode of The Skip Bayless Show. “It wasn’t the easiest conversation for a while, but we slowly but surely sorted it out. We got through it, and we have been through so much together.”

Bayless reiterated that he considers Smith a brother. They love each other. That doesn’t mean they are always going to remember events the same way or see eye-to-eye all the time.

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

Fighting doesn’t mean the relationship is fractured. In fact, Skip Bayless was adamant that he remains closer to Smith than he is to most people in his life.

“I don’t trust easily because of the way I was raised, but I do trust Stephen Anthony Smith. Trust him with my life. Always have and always will. I trust he will always be there for me, and you better believe I will always be there for him.”

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