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ESPN Rolls Out Future 30 for 30 Films and Podcasts

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It appears that ESPN+ is going to play a large role in the future of 30 for 30. ESPN announced that its next 30 for 30 film will debut on ESPN+ before debuting on the traditional television network.

Seau, a biographical documentary about All-Pro linebacker Junior Sean, will premier on ESPN+ on September 20. The movie will premier on ESPN at a later date, which has not yet been announced. The Last Days of Knight, an inside look at the CNN investigation that eventually led the University of Indiana to fire basketball coach Bobby Knight, debuted on ESPN+ back in April. It will make its television debut on Thursday, November 29.

ESPN appears to be using the debuts of event 30 for 30 films to push subscriptions and/or free trials of ESPN+. The OTT streaming service also debuted a six-part 30 for 30 miniseries earlier this year called Enhanced. Sean Keeley of Awful Announcing called it a smart strategy for the OTT service.

There’s only so much live content that they’re able to push to the subscription service without damaging their cable networks and online platforms, but scripted and documentary films like these are a perfect way to add value (and perhaps new subscribers) to their offering. And some of these may eventually make their way to TV as well, as we’ve now seen with “The Last Days of Knight.”

ESPN did announce one new 30 for 30 doc that won’t go through the streaming service first. It doesn’t have a name yet, but it will focus on a day in October of 1992 when Deion Sanders played an NFL game in Miami and two MLB playoff games in Pittsburgh, all within a span of 24 hours. That film will debut on ESPN in January.

The network also announced a new 30 for 30 Short about Australian daredevil Felix Baumgartner’s free fall from outer space. It will debut on ESPN on September 23. There is also a new season of 30 for 30 Podcasts on the way. The upcoming season will return to series of single documentaries after last season featured five episodes focusing on one story. New podcasts begin in October.

Sports TV News

Kirk Herbstreit Energized, Not Worn Down By College GameDay

“I’ve been invigorated with this energy of the show and some of the different locations we’ve been to with the show.”

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Few in broadcasting have as busy of a schedule as Kirk Herbstreit. From announcing Thursday Night Football for Amazon Prime Video, to working as an analyst for ESPN’s College GameDay and Saturday night football schedule, the man stays busy. It would be easy to be worn down, but Herbstreit says he’s been energized by GameDay this year, rather than worn down, and pointed to new addition Pat McAfee as a a reason why.

“Pat has been huge for the show but for me personally, I can’t even describe what he means to me,” Herbstreit said. “For the travel and the fatigue. We’re in an era where I have four sons and their in their apartments in college and I don’t know if they have a TV. We’re in an era where nobody watches TV. It’s the damndest thing. They look at TV like I used to look at my parents and their radio.

“You look at everyone’s ratings and they’re going down, and you look at College GameDay and it’s the best 11 or 12 week start for the show. I’ve been invigorated with this energy of the show and some of the different locations we’ve been to with the show. It’s been a blast and it’s a year I’ll never forget.”

When asked whether Herbstreit was committed to his current schedule, he affirmed he’s locked in for the remainder of his contract.

“I’m completely committed. I think the part where people are like ‘Geez, you call a game on Thursday and a game on Saturday?’, then you throw in a three-hour show every week. I would never even let my mind think of that. I’m already think about what I wanna do after my five-years. Do I wanna stop working? Do I wanna just enjoy my family? Just do GameDay? Just do the Saturday night thing? I don’t know. I’m already think about ‘I’m on the treadmill for four more years’ and then see where I’m at at that stage of life. But it hasn’t crossed my mind to take something off my plate.”

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Sports TV News

World Cup Opener Delivers Big Ratings For FOX Sports

FS1 and FOX Sports streams accounted for 3.23 million viewers for the English-language broadcast of the opener. That number was 1.72 million in Russia four years ago.

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Many questions circled around the unusually timed 2022 World Cup and what it would mean for television ratings. FOX Sports saw a gigantic increase in ratings for this tournament’s opener compared to 2018.

FS1 and Telemundo combined for an audience of 7.23 million viewers for the Ecuador-Qatar opening match. That is a 128% increase from the Russia-Saudi Arabia match that opened the 2018 event.

FS1 and FOX Sports streams accounted for 3.23 million viewers for the English-language broadcast of the opener. That number was 1.72 million in Russia four years ago.

The broadcast on FS1 topped 43 of the 48 games from the group stage of the 2018 tournament.

In 2018, the event began in June with a 10:30 ET start. This year, the tournament got underway on a Saturday at 1:00 PM ET.

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Sports TV News

Charles Barkley Laments Loss of Michael Jordan Friendship As Biggest Media Career Fallout

“Michael got offended about something I said about him. And we haven’t spoken in probably almost 10 years. And he was my best friend at the time.”

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Charles Barkley

During an appearance on the Let’s Go! podcast with Tom Brady, Larry Fitzgerald, and Jim Gray, Inside The NBA’s Charles Barkley said the loss of his friendship with Michael Jordan has been the biggest downside of his media career.

Brady asked what the biggest issue has been with Barkley’s unlimited candor has been during his media career, and Barkley immediately turned to his relationship with Jordan.

“Michael Jordan, losing his friendship was probably the most prominent thing that’s happened to me,” Barkley admitted. “But I was being honest about what I thought. I said, ‘Listen, the toughest thing about Michael, he’s got to put better people around him.’ Because the toughest thing, when you’re famous, they’re on your private jet, you’re buying all the drinks, you’re buying all the dinners. Very few people are gonna be honest with you.”

Barkley was alluding to his comments made on ESPN 1000 in 2012 where he said Jordan had “not done a good job” in owning the Charlotte Hornets.

“I try to surround myself with people like, hey, if I’m screwing up, please tell me,” Barkley explained. “And Michael got offended about something I said about him. And we haven’t spoken in probably almost 10 years. And he was my best friend at the time. And I love the dude like a brother and we’re both stubborn and we haven’t talked.”

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