Dick Vitale signed an extension to remain with ESPN through the 2020-21 season. The new contract ensures that Vitale will be with the network at least into his 42nd season.
In the press release, ESPN notes Vitale signed an extension last May, keeping him at the network through the 2019-20 season. With two full college basketball seasons still remaining on his current deal, it’s interesting that the two sides chose to tack on one more year.
After looking back even further, I found that this is a trend with ESPN and Vitale. This will be the fourth consecutive spring that ESPN announced a one year contract extension with Vitale, even though his current deal was not set to expire for two more seasons. Maybe Vitale negotiates his broadcasting contracts similarly to his coaching deals, but it’s interesting that in recent years the two sides have never let Dickie V come within two seasons of being a free-agent.
“ESPN has been family to me and I am honored that they want me to continue being a contributor on our college basketball team,” Vitale said via the press release. “ESPN has provided me a forum that has turned my dreams to reality. I feel young at heart. I said once, and I will say it again – my goal is to be the first in broadcasting to open a hoops game at 100 years old saying “This is Awesome, Baby!’ with a capital A.”
During a time where ESPN has been going through a lot of changes, both financially and from a programming standpoint, it at least appears both the network and Vitale have a good working relationship that they’re able to negotiate so often and smoothly. You would think a contract extension taking Vitale until he’s 82 years old and his 42nd season with ESPN would be his last, but based on the trend, don’t be surprised if you’re reading this same article next year.
JJ Redick Suggests He & Draymond Green Host NBA Manningcast
“I would be honored to sit in a room with a GOAT like yourself and talk basketball.”
With the overwhelming success that the Manningcast has been for Monday Night Football, other leagues and networks are looking to replicate ESPN’s and the Manning Brothers’ formula.
There may be some willing hosts for an NBA version of the show in JJ Redick and Draymond Green. Redick joined Green’s new podcast The Draymond Green Show on The Volume to talk about a potential partnership between the two in the future.
“I know you got a lot of basketball left in you, but a lot of people have said to me you and Draymond need to do a version of the Manning brothers Monday Night Football when Draymond is retired. Just keep that in mind when you retire in 5 or 6 years,” said Redick to Green.
Before answering, Draymond Green noted that he had recently been a guest on the Manningcast. Not only did he like the experience, he said it is now his favorite way to watch Monday Night Football.
Green liked the idea of teaming with Redick. He said that the duo play very different styles of basketball. That would give the listeners two very different perspectives on the game.
“I would be honored to sit in a room with a GOAT like yourself and talk basketball,” Green added. Redick ended the conversation about a potential alternate NBA feed by saying “We’ll make it happen.”
This would not be something new for the NBA to do. They are already trying out the idea of an alternate cast of NBA broadcasts with Jamal Crawford and Quentin Richardson on NBA League Pass.
As Redick stated, it may be a while until we see Draymond Green retire from his playing career in the NBA, but when he does I am sure that he will be a hot commodity in the sports media world.
All 3 Thanksgiving Games Pull Big Audiences For NFL
CBS’s production of the overtime thriller between the Dallas Cowboys and the Las Vegas Raiders brought in a whopping 38.5 million average viewers.
The numbers are in for the NFL Thanksgiving day games, and the results are overall a positive for the league. CBS received the highest viewership of all the networks this Thanksgiving, and put up some record numbers in the process.
CBS’s production of the overtime thriller between the Dallas Cowboys and the Las Vegas Raiders brought in a whopping 38.5 million average viewers. This is a 26% increase from last year’s comparable window and the highest viewership for a regular-season game on any network since 1990.
The game is also the most-watched television program on any network since last year’s Super Bowl on CBS.
Paramount+, featuring live NFL ON CBS local market games, scored an NFL regular-season viewership record for total streams, streaming minutes and unique viewers while registering triple-digit year-over-year growth in streaming minutes and unique viewers from Thanksgiving Day 2020 in a huge success for CBS on the day.
FOX also faired well, as their viewership for the first game of the day between the Detroit Lions and the Chicago Bears was up 14% over last years window, sitting at 26.7 million average viewers.
Despite the game itself not being super exciting, the game set a record for the most-streamed Thanksgiving day game across FOX Sports properties in their history.
The primetime game on NBC did not fair as well, as they came in at an average of 19.3 million viewers, a 7% decrease from 2019, as 2020’s game was postponed due to COVID protocols. NBC was not aided by what was mostly a one-sided game most of the night.
Disney Investing In Content To Combat ESPN Subscriber Decline
Disney revealed that they have seen a 10% drop in pay-TV subscribers with access to ESPN.
Disney has decided to ramp up spending while ESPN faces a tricky situation of losing subscribers for their traditional audience of cable subscribers, but an increase in streaming numbers.
Disney has said that it would spend $33 billion on content in fiscal 2022, which began on October 1st. The company’s annual reports shows that this number is up 32% from last fiscal year, where the company spent $25 billion.
Of the $33 billion, which spans all Disney networks and studios, with a target of 140 scripted and unscripted series, $10.3 billion is earmarked for sports programming, per the filing.
Disney revealed that they have seen a 10% drop in pay-TV subscribers with access to ESPN. This number fell to 76 million, from 84 million at the end of fiscal 2020.
These numbers show the steady decline coming from not only traditional TV but ESPN in particular. The tally is well below ESPN’s peak of just north of 100 million homes nearly a decade ago.
ESPN News and ESPNU, which each had 62 million pay-TV subscribers a year ago, dropped to a respective 59 million and 51 million in fiscal 2021.
All is not gloom for ESPN however, as they have been putting up impressive numbers for their streaming service ESPN+. ESPN+, which costs $6.99 per month, ended the fiscal year with 17 million subscribers, up 66% year-over-year.
Disney has denied that they would spin off ESPN but indicated that it may consider bundling ESPN+, Disney+, and Hulu into a single service at a later date.
For the time being, they have added ESPN+ and Disney + to their Hulu Live TV package, a move set to affect Hulu customers in December with a $5 increase to $64.99 per month.
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