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‘Fans Only’ Broadcast Set for Friday on NBA TV

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With endless forms of entertainment, networks have been innovative in competing for viewers’ attention. Following the success of Turner’s Players Only broadcast, NBA TV is taking it one step further with a Fans Only telecast Friday night for their coverage of Lakers vs. Timberwolves.

NBA TV will offer more than just the game on the screen, viewers will see instant polls, social conversation, statistics and graphics to assist with describing the action. There will be no constant play-by-play announcer or analyst to narrate.

Casey Stern will host the broadcast along with analysts Grant Hill and Brendan Haywood, but NBA TV will not have traditional announcers. Dennis Scott and Nate Robinson will also join the broadcast, engaging with fans in the arena.

“Everyone knows that it’s a challenge right now for TV networks to engage with the fans and find ways to keep their attention throughout these games,” said NBA TV Executive Producer John O’Connor.

The game is not enough to keep the modern fan’s attention for four quarters, so the NBA will test more graphics and ask fans to be on their phones communicating with the broadcast. The goal is to keep the fan from searching for other forms of entertainment by making the telecast busier and more interactive.

“I equate it to how fans are engaged on their phones during games; we are trying to bring that type of engagement to the TV screen,” said O’Connor.

The concept is similar to Facebook’s exclusive broadcast of Mets vs Phillies on Wednesday. In addition to the game, there were graphics and a constant scroll of fan interaction in an attempt to keep viewers engaged.  Facebook’s broadcast was, however, met with plenty of criticism. Many fans watching were unaware the social interaction feed could be muted, if they wanted to watch the game as a normal broadcast. A graphic explaining how to hide the fan comments was added and the announcers mentioned it during the broadcast.

The way fans watch a game is constantly modernizing, from the first down line in football, to the pitch count in baseball, more information is being added to the telecast. The Fans Only broadcast allows the NBA to hear how much is too much directly from its consumers as the game unfolds.

“To be perfectly honest, we’ve never done this, so we’re going to find out how well it works,” says O’Connor. “But one thing that is key is that we’re going to be transparent with what’s working and what’s not working. We are going to ask the fans that night, is it too many graphics or not enough? We want direct one-on-one communication with the fans, so they feel like they are engaged in the broadcast and know that we are listening to their feedback. We will absolutely talk about that on the air during the broadcast.”

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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Greg Olsen To Partner With Kevin Burkhardt For Super Bowl LVII

“Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.”

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The deal isn’t done yet, but Andrew Marchand of The New York Post reports that Greg Olsen is on his way to joining Kevin Burkhardt in the top NFL booth at FOX. Although Tom Brady will take over that role after he retires and leaves the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Olsen will spend at least this season on FOX’s A-Team.

Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.

Earlier this year, the former Panther told The Mac Attack on WFNZ in Charlotte that he was disappointed he didn’t get to call a postseason game. He will more than make up for that in 2023. As Burkhardt’s partner, Olsen is in line to be the analyst for Super Bowl LVII.

Marchand writes that we could get a taste of what is to come in February. He speculates that if the Buccaneers are not in the Super Bowl, it is possible Tom Brady could make his FOX debut, either in the booth alongside Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen or as part of the network’s studio show.

Now, FOX has to make a decision about it’s number 2 NFL booth. According to Marchand, Drew Brees is a candidate to be the analyst. Adam Amin and Joe Davis have emerged as candidates for the play-by-play role.

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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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