After rotating through a group of anchors for the 6 p.m. edition of SportsCenter, following the removal of SC6, ESPN will name Sage Steele and Kevin Negandhi as permanent hosts of the show, according to Richard Deitsch of The Athletic.
A report from Andrew Marchand of The New York Post states the show will not return to being called SC6 and will instead remain as SportsCenter. Steele and Negandhi are expected to begin hosting the 6 p.m. SportsCenter beginning Monday, May 14.
The move means the SC6 era, which debuted February of 2017, officially comes to an end on ESPN. Fair or unfair, the show hosted by Jemele Hill and Michael Smith, spent a lot of time under fire due to opinions that entered topics beyond sports. Hill left the program in January of 2018, with Smith departing in March after anchoring the show solo for a little over one month.
Steele and Negandhi are stepping in at a time where the 6 p.m. SportsCenter has enjoyed a recent ratings increase, according to ESPN. During a press release regarding Stephen A Smith’s increased role with SportsCenter during the NBA Finals, the network also mentioned the 6 p.m. edition’s ratings increased by four percent in March and nine percent in April when compared to the corresponding months from one year ago. The ratings increase, promoted by ESPN, directly followed the departure of Jemele Hill and Michael Smith from the program.
The recent ratings success could put additional pressure on Steele and Negandhi to continue the trend as they step in as permanent co-anchors. It remains to be seen whether or not the new 6 p.m. edition of SportsCenter will be pressed to “stick to sports,” but in a differing of opinion from SC6, Steele has shared conservative viewpoints including her disagreement with NFL players kneeling during the anthem.
Steele was also one of the few colleagues that did not support Jemele Hill during her criticisms of President Trump. “I think Jemele is a completely different story in that she put that onto herself of her own volition. Sam had been attacked,” Steele said regarding ESPN personalities being attacked for their opinions during a January interview with Refinery29. “I think that’s an important distinction.”
Steele who joined ESPN in 2007, and Negandhi who was hired in 2006 , have both worked together on SportsCenter:AM since Steele joined the program in August 2017.
Brandon Contes is a former reporter for BSM, now working for Awful Announcing. You can find him on Twitter @BrandonContes or reach him by email at Brandon.Contes@gmail.com.
FanDuel TV Strikes Deal With ONE Championship Martial Arts
“We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”
FanDuel TV and ONE Championship Martial Arts have struck a deal that will see the MMA, Muay Thai, kickboxing, and submission grappling series air weekly events on the newly launched channel.
“We’re eager to continue expanding the variety of content we’re offering at FanDuel TV to introduce our audience to emerging sports,” said FanDuel Chief Commercial Officer Mike Raffensperger. “We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”
ONE Championship is a top-five global sports property for digital viewership and engagement according to Nielsen measurements.
“We are thrilled to join the FanDuel TV lineup and give our passionate U.S. audience yet another way to engage with ONE Championship,” said ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong. “Having a quality partner in FanDuel will help raise the profile of our company in the region and provide their viewers with action-packed martial arts events like they have never seen before.”
Bob Costas Re-Lives First Announcing Assignment For NBC
“My biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979.”
Legendary sports broadcaster Bob Costas appeared on KNBR’s Tolbert & Copes Thursday to discuss the death of Baseball Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry. But before the conversation turned to the recently departed pitcher, the show asked Costas about what he has announced that would surprise someone. He reminisced about his first time on the air for NBC.
“My very first assignment for NBC, my biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979,” Costas recounted. “There was a program on NBC then called Sports World. It was an anthology series that was their answer to the gold standard, ABC’s Wide World of Sports.
“So they traveled the globe, like Wide World of Sports did. So they sent me, wearing a red NBC jacket, to Tokyo to cover a sumo wrestling tournament with seven-time world power-lifting champion Larry Pacifico as my color man. Now, this is all the Japanese I learned as we came on the air: ‘Minasan kon’nichwa watashinoamaeha Bob Costas’, which means ‘Hello everyone, my name is Bob Costas’. If ever there was typecasting, when they sat and looked at their roster of announcers and went ‘Who should we send to the sumo wrestling? It’s gotta be Costas, who’s entire body weight would constitute one meal for the sumo wrestling champion.”
Costas departed NBC Sports in 2019 after 40 years with the network, announcing MLB, NBA, and the Olympics, in addition to his work with the network’s sumo wrestling coverage.
Matt Leinart, Alex Smith Make Wager Over Pac-12 Championship Game
“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous. I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.”
FOX Sports analyst Matt Leinart and ESPN analyst Alex Smith have made a friendly wager over the upcoming Pac-12 Championship Game.
USC, Leinart’s alma mater, is slated to play Utah, where Smith attended, in the game Friday evening on FOX from Las Vegas.
The two agreed to don the other player’s jersey. “At least it will be 11,” Smith said, noting he and Leinart both wore the number during their playing days.
“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous,” Leinart said when presented with the offer. “I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.” Smith jokingly responded by calling USC “Free Agent University”. He added he would overnight Leinart a jersey to ensure he had one if the Utes were victorious.
Garrett Searight is the Editor of Barrett Sports Media and Barrett News Media. He previously was the Program Director and Afternoon Co-Host on 93.1 The Fan in Lima, OH. He is also a play-by-play announcer for TV and Radio broadcasts in Western Ohio.