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Two More NFL Refs Retire For Broadcasting Jobs

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The folks over at Football Zebras have been busy breaking news about referees heading into the broadcasting business. First, Cameron Felipe broke the story of Jeff Triplette’s path to ESPN. Now his colleague Mark Schultz is reporting that Terry McAulay is retiring as well to join NBC in the same capacity.

McAulay’s retirement comes after 20 years as an NFL referee. It also is a bit of a surprise for the league, seeing that it happened so long after the May 15th, which is the date officials use as the start of a new season.

According to Schultz, McAulay will be NBC’s first on air rules expert.

McAulay would be the first in-game NFL rules analyst for the network, although SNF director Fred Gaudelli has said that they maintained a live phone connection to the head of the officiating department. Senior vice president of officiating Al Riveron and predecessor Dean Blandino were never live on the broadcast, but probably relayed information to the crew.

But wait folks! That’s not all!

Cameron Felipe reports that Gene Steratore, who has spent the last 15 years as an NFL referee and was the crew chief for this year’s Super Bowl, is also leaving the field and headed for a broadcasting booth.

Steratore will join CBS as that network’s rules analyst. It will be the first time the network has had someone in that role since 2015, when Mike Carey took a lot of heat.

This means three of the four networks with NFL TV contracts will have new rules analysts in place this season. Fox, the only network not making a new hire, already has both Dean Blandino and Mike Pereira in that role.

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Amazon Was Willing to Pay More Than CBS and NBC for Big Ten Rights

CBS and NBC will both pay $350 million per year to the Big Ten as part of the deal.

Jordan Bondurant

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Amazon, Big Ten

The Big Ten officially announced its long-anticipated new media rights deal on Thursday. As previously reported, FOX, CBS and NBC will be the conference’s partners in the billion-dollar deal.

But tech giants Amazon and Apple were left out of the final agreement. For games that air on CBS, coverage will also be carried on Paramount+, while Peacock will stream games that air on NBC.

So the need for an exclusive streaming partner in this deal seemed to be a direction the Big Ten didn’t want to go in, despite reports that Amazon was prepared to shell out way more than what NBC and CBS will be paying.

That’s according to Richard Deitsch of The Athletic, who reported the tech giant had its sights set on the 3:30 p.m. broadcast window, which ultimately went to CBS.

CBS and NBC will both pay $350 million per year to the Big Ten as part of the deal.

With the Big Ten deal done and nothing to show for it, Amazon could potentially look at acquiring rights to the Pac-12 if it wants to add college sports to its Prime Video offerings.

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ESPN Could Still Land Some Big Ten Media Rights

“We’ll continue to be good partners with them in a slightly different way than we have.”

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ESPN, BIG TEN

The Big Ten announced the conference’s newest slate of media rights deals on Thursday. The conference confirmed it has partnered with NBC, CBS and FOX for the next seven years. The one glaring outsider is ESPN. However, even though the two may have parted ways after this current media rights deal has expired, there may still be a way to see Big Ten products on ESPN.

In an article from Pat Forde from Sports Illustrated, sources indicate to him the network may still be able to ink an agreement to carry Big Ten contests as a sublicensee. He notes the most likely sport that would happen in is men’s basketball.

“We have one more year with them,” Warren said of ESPN and the 2022–23 season. “They’re professionals, we’re professionals, and we’ve had a close relationship with them for a long time.”

“I don’t think we expect this will be the end of the relationship. We’ll continue to be good partners with them in a slightly different way than we have.”

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Roxy Bernstein: ‘Bill Walton’s Persona Is An Entertaining Act’

“But Bill, I think this is good simulation for him.”

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One of the enduring broadcast themes of college basketball season is Bill Walton’s calling Pac-12 games and doing so with a but of an untethered flare. Roxy Bernstein, one of Walton’s broadcast partners, says it’s a deliberate attempt to be interesting.

“I think people see this caricature on television,” Bernstein said. “Let me clue you in on a secret and pull back the curtain here: it’s an act.”

Bernstein made these comments as a guest on Announcer Schedules the Podcast. He talked about Walton’s style being one that suits him to satisfy his own happiness.

“If he wanted to be a cookie-cutter analyst, he’s done that. He could do it,” commented Bernstein. “But Bill, I think this is good simulation for him. His ability to inform the audience and make it a well-rounded broadcast, to culture the audience so there’s just laser-focused in on this game.”

Bernstein also noted that when you see Walton and his play-by-play partner for the first time on television, it’s often the first time they are speaking to each other.

“He never opens the door to what is going to happen that night,” said Bernstein. “Essentially the first conversation of that day that we are having is, ‘Hi, welcome to Pauley Pavilion. Along with the Hall of Famer Bill Walton, I’m Roxy Bernstein’. That’s the first time we are really talking all day.”

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