Sports TV News
Mike Tirico to Host NBC Indianapolis 500 Coverage
What sports can’t Mike Tirico speak on intelligently? That doesn’t seem like a long list. That list may not even exist. That’s probably why his bosses at NBC are trusting him to anchor coverage of the Indianapolis 500 in 2019, which will be the race’s first year on the peacock network.
The news comes from a report by Jim Ayello in the Indianapolis Star.
According to a source, IndyCar learned Tirico would serve as host during the series’ annual partner summit a few days before this May’s Indianapolis 500. Tirico was in attendance with Jon Miller, president of programming for NBC Sports & NBCSN, as well as other NBC executives.
An NBC spokesperson declined to confirm Tirico’s appointment as 500 host, only saying, “We will be announcing our commentators for the 2019 Indianapolis 500 much closer to the start of the event.”
NBC acquired the rights to the entire IndyCar series beginning in 2019. It ends a 54 year run of the Indianapolis 500 being broadcast on ABC.
Ratings for open-wheel racing have been on the decline in the United States, so it was widely assumed that NBC would pull out all the stops to make the Indianapolis 500 broadcast feel special again. Tirico certainly is a good piece of that puzzle. NBC viewers have become accustomed to his presence on the biggest stages for the network, including the Olympics, the Masters, and a limited number of NFL games.
Sports TV News
Pete Bevacqua Leaving NBC Sports
“I didn’t have a burning desire, necessarily, to be an athletic director. I had a burning desire to be the athletic director at Notre Dame.”
NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacqua will be departing the company at the end of June to join the University of Notre Dame as its director of athletics. NBCUniversal Television and Streaming Chairman Mark Lazarus sent an internal memo to staff members Thursday morning announcing the move, and stated that Bevacqua’s direct reports will answer to him for the time being.
“We want to thank Pete for his many contributions to NBC Sports and NBCUniversal since he joined us in 2018,” Lazarus said in the memo. “….Please join me in congratulating Pete and wishing him great success.”
Bevacqua is a University of Notre Dame alumnus and receiving his dream job in being named the successor to Jack Swarbrick. He joined NBCUniversal in 2018 as the president of the NBC Sports Group, and was subsequently elevated to chairman in 2020. As the third person to hold the chairman position, he has overseen the network’s presentation of the Olympics, Sunday Night Football and the Golf Channel, along with additional assets. He and his team completed a new media rights agreement with the National Football League to ensure NBC would remain the home of Sunday Night Football – and helped usher in the new television broadcast booth of Mike Tirico and Cris Collinsworth.
Bevacqua also assisted in reacquiring media rights for the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open golf championships, along with Premier League soccer. Furthermore, the company completed a seven-year media rights agreement with the Big Ten Conference, enhancing its college sports portfolio. Bevacqua also helped secure a partnership with PointsBet, making it the official sports betting partner of the company’s sports division.
“This is a dream come true,” Bevacqua said to Sports Illustrated. “With the exception of my family, nothing means more to me than Notre Dame. I don’t have a memory in my lifetime, quite literally, where Notre Dame wasn’t a part of it. At this stage of my life, I feel like everything I’ve done has prepared me for this.”
Bevacqua will begin working on the university’s campus on July 1 as a special assistant for athletics under Notre Dame president Rev. John Jenkins. Swarbick’s final day on the job has not yet been determined, but he and Bevacqua will work in tandem to ensure a smooth transition. Some media pundits may question Bevacqua’s decision, and he realizes the irregularity of the move; however, it represents the realization of a lifelong dream.
“I didn’t have a burning desire, necessarily, to be an athletic director,” Bevacqua stated. “I had a burning desire to be the athletic director at Notre Dame.”
Notre Dame Fighting Irish football games are exclusively broadcast on NBC, and could perhaps improve the school’s relationship with the entity. Its independent media rights deal with NBC concludes in 2025, and a previous report by Sports Business Journal suggested it could receive $60 million annually in its next deal, although the negotiating landscape has presumably changed since then. Bevacqua played for the school football team as a walk-on punter, and previously served as the CEO of the PGA of America. While in that role, he negotiated a 15-year media rights extension with NBC for various landmark events, including the PGA Professional Championship, Ryder Cup and Senior PGA Championship. He believes having firsthand knowledge about the dynamic state of the media industry could be advantageous to him as he positions the school for the future.
“Such a large part of college athletics now, and the success of any athletic program, is baked into the media landscape,” Bevacqua said. “Obviously, having a very direct knowledge of where the media landscape is in the U.S., the power of linear television and where that’s heading, the paradigm shift of the direct-to-consumer streaming environment—you kind of add up those elements and I feel like I have the background and the professional experiences to come into this at a good pace.”
Sports TV News
Seahawks Add Kate Scott, KJ Wright to Preseason TV Crew
“Steve Raible and Dave Wyman will return for another season calling Seahawks games on the radio.”
As hard as it is to believe, we’re a little over two months away from the start of the NFL preseason. As kickoff gets closer and closer, teams like the Seattle Seahawks are finalizing their preseason broadcast crews now.
The team announced on Wednesday that Kate Scott and K.J. Wright will join Michael Robinson in the booth for preseason coverage on KING 5.
Scott will handle play-by-play duties on the broadcasts. It’s her first season calling Seahawks games. She has plenty of prior play-by-play experience including doing 49ers preseason games on the radio in 2016. Additionally, Scott has previously called NBA, NHL and NWSL games, as well as broadcasting Olympic events. She currently serves as the television voice of the Philadelphia 76ers.
Wright is a Seahawks legend much like Robinson. The two were members of the team that won Super Bowl XLVIII. They both worked in the booth in Seattle for preseason games last year.
Steve Raible and Dave Wyman will return for another season calling Seahawks games on the radio. Jen Mueller will be reporting from the sidelines. Seahawks games are broadcasted locally on Seattle Sports 710 AM and KIRO Newsradio 97.3.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He’s a multimedia journalist and communicator who works at the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond. Jordan also contributes occasional coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, WRIC-TV 8News and Audacy Richmond. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.
Sports TV News
Inside the NFL Headed To The CW For 2023
“We are excited to partner with NFL Films and welcome “Inside the NFL” to The CW Sports family.
After being cut loose by Paramount+ earlier in the year, Inside the NFL has found a new home on The CW, premiering on September 5 at 8 p.m. EST/5 p.m. PST. The transition will mean the show is set to air on a broadcast network for the first time. It previously was carried by HBO and then Showtime. It will also be available to stream on The CW app and on cwtv.com.
The Emmy Award-winning series, which has been on the air since 1977, is centered around highlights and interviews from the previous week, with distinctive footage and audio supplied by NFL Films. It gives football fans an outlet to catch up on the action they might have missed, even though the scope of highlight shows is diminishing because of the advent of social media in an immersive content landscape.
“We are excited to partner with NFL Films and welcome Inside the NFL to The CW Sports family,” Dennis Miller, president of The CW, said in a statement. “For almost five decades, Inside the NFL has been an industry leader in showcasing can’t-miss weekly highlights, unprecedented behind-the-scenes content, exclusive access to players and lively discussion. By combining this premiere NFL content with our robust broadcast audience, we look forward to bringing this legendary sports series to more fans than ever before and to advertisers for the first time.”
Producers and hosts for the latest iteration of the show will be announced at a later date, and it will also have an impact on the fall programming schedule for the network itself. Recent editions of the show were hosted by James Brown and featured various former players, such as Brandon Marshall, Phil Simms and Julian Edelman.
“Generations of football fans have grown up watching Inside the NFL,” Ross Ketover, senior executive of NFL Films, added in a statement. “It is a show we cherish at NFL Films and we are thrilled to bring it to a great new partner in The CW. This is a special opportunity to reimagine and reboot Inside the NFL for a wider audience and a new generation of fans. We can’t wait to get started.”