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ESPN Announces a Few Programming Changes

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In November, it was reported ESPN’s Cari Champion could replace Michelle Beadle on SportsNation once Beadle joins Jalen Rose and Mike Greenberg as co-host of the network’s new morning show Get Up. This week, ESPN confirmed Champion’s new role will be on SportsNation.

Champion will debut on SportsNation beginning March 12th, with her co-hosts Marcellus Wiley and LZ Granderson. Labeled as a fun, energetic show discussing unique sports topics, the program will continue to broadcast 30 minute episodes, weekdays at 4pm ET from the Los Angeles Production Center.

Champion originally joined ESPN in 2012 as host of First Take with Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith. In July 2015, Champion became a SportsCenter anchor and began on SportsCenter Coast-to-Coast in February 2016. After shuffling their weekday television lineup at the start of 2018, ESPN decided not to retain SportsCenter Coast-to-Coast.

SportsNation is a brand the company cares for deeply, and I’m excited to join a well-regarded show and also show another side of me,” said Champion. “As the only woman on the show, I’ve already let the guys know I’m going to bring the heat. This is an exciting time and I’m looking forward to the support from all involved! Teamwork makes the…you get the point.  Cheers!”

The former SportsNation host, Michelle Beadle, will debut with co-hosts Jalen Rose and Mike Greenberg on their ESPN morning show, Get Up, from the network’s new studio in New York on April 2nd. Beadle and Rose will remain on NBA Countdown, which The Big Lead reports will move from Los Angeles to Bristol immediately.

With Rose and Beadle needing to be in New York for Get UpCountdown naturally could not remain in Los Angeles. Countdown will broadcast from Bristol and be moved to New York as soon as the new studio is ready within the next few weeks.

The Big Lead reported further changes for ESPN, with The Jump expanding to a one hour show weekdays at 3pm ET. Hosted by Rachel Nichols, The Jump follows the NBA with a rotating cast of analysts and insiders.

According to the Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand and John Lombardo, the NBA is experiencing large rating’s increases locally and nationally. That information, paired with The Jump drawing 603,000 viewers during its three-hour trade deadline special, up 31% from last year’s show, makes it a wise decision to expand the program to a full hour.

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

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Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX

“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”

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FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.

A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.

The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.

Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.

That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.

Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.

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FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”

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The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.

Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.

Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”

Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.

“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.

FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.

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NBA Draft To Get Simulcast From ESPN & ABC

“This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.”

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ESPN is set for the 2022 NBA Draft coming up on June 23 at 8 p.m. from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The network announced Wednesday the crews that will handle coverage on both ESPN and ABC.

ABC will broadcast the first round in primetime. Kevin Negandhi will host and will be joined by Stephen A. Smith, Chiney Ogwumike and Jalen Rose. Monica McNutt will be reporting and interviewing draftees.

This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.

Malika Andrews will host both rounds for ESPN. Jay Bilas, Kendrick Perkins and Adrian Wojnarowski will share the set. Analysts Bobby Marks and Mike Schmitz will contribute.

“We’re thrilled that Malika Andrews will host this year’s ESPN presentation as she brings her well-documented, widespread skillset to our main set,” said David Roberts, head of NBA and Studio Production for ESPN. “The event will showcase the scope and depth of our NBA and college basketball talent roster with accomplished journalists and high-profile personalities across ESPN, ABC and ESPN Radio.”

ESPN will air a pre-draft red carpet show hosted by Cassidy Hubbarth from 5-6 p.m. Perkins and Richard Jefferson will also make appearances.

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