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Chiney Ogwumike Joins ESPN on a Full Time Basis

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WNBA star forward, Chiney Ogwumike signed a multi-year contract with ESPN as a full-time basketball analyst and will continue her career playing for the Connecticut Sun.

The 26 year old has been with the network part-time for the past three years, getting her first opportunity after suffering a knee injury, forcing her to miss the entire 2015 WNBA season.

While rehabbing her injury, Ogwumike filled in on ESPN’s His and Hers as well as First Take. The former WNBA Rookie of the Year award winner was again sidelined for the 2017 season due to injury and helped ESPN launch SportsCenter Africa.

Now, healthy for the 2018 WNBA season, Ogwumike will continue her basketball and broadcasting career in a full-time role, contributing to multiple ESPN platforms including regular appearances on SportsCenter and The Jump.

Working for ESPN full-time while playing a professional sport will certainly be difficult, but Ogwumike will mostly cover the NBA which plays the majority of its season during her off-season. People ask, “How are you going to be a full time WNBA player and a full time NBA analyst?’ Well, technically those things only overlap for one month,” Ogwumike told Essence.com.

For some professional female basketball players, a second job is necessary. WNBA players are not highly compensated, forcing many of the league’s athletes to find jobs during the off-season, or play in another country where the pay is generally more than it is in the United States.

“Everyone knows we don’t get paid as much as the men, granted we only play one-third of the NBA season. But the reality is, WNBA players are underpaid, which means your number one option as a player is to go and play overseas where they pay two to three times more than what we make in the WNBA,” Ogwumike said.

From the ESPN release , Ogwumike expressed her excitement in joining the network full-time. “I am beyond thrilled to continue to grow with ESPN in this expanded role. I am extremely fortunate to be able to play at the highest level of women’s professional basketball while also contributing as a diverse voice to the worldwide leader in sports. It is truly the best of both worlds, being able to pursue my passions both on and off the court.”

Ogwumike also understands there is a need for younger females to see people they can relate to when watching sports, “My hope is to inspire the rising generation, especially young girls, to continue to defy expectations and create their own path,” she said

In an industry largely dominated by white males, men and women from all backgrounds should be featured in sports coverage to reach a broader audience. Being a minority on television doesn’t worry her, Ogwumike told Essence “I don’t feel any pressure because being young, female, African, and being there is already a win.” She continued, “People may be quicker to judge when you’re not what they expect, but I’m really excited to prove people wrong.”

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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