Andrew Marchand reports in The New York Post that ESPN is planning to hold steady with its Sunday Night Baseball crew for next season. Matt Vasgersian and Alex Rodriguez were never going anywhere, as they are both still under contract.
The real question, according to Marchand was would Jessica Mendoza return? Marchand writes “Her contract is up at the end of the calendar year, fueling industry speculation that she could be pushed off the SNB gig to make it even more the A-Rod show.”
It appears that will not be the case. Both Mendoza and reporter Buster Olney are expected to return to Sunday Night Baseball in 2019. An ESPN spokesman told Marchand “We’re planning for Matt, Jessica, Alex and Buster to return for a second season together.”
Another issue at hand was the dip in viewership for Sunday Night Baseball during the broadcast team’s first season together. Ratings fell by 3%. It lead to some speculation in the media that Rodriguez may use the opportunity to try and convince his ESPN bosses to move on from Mendoza. Whether or not it is true, Marchand did note that ARod has not always been happy with the Walt Disney Company’s relationship with Mendoza.
Though there was no firm proof that Rodriguez was attempting a coup to rid the booth of Mendoza, it seemed less than coincidental that on Tuesday, A-Rod put a picture on Instagram of him and Mendoza, saying she has been his “anchor” all season.
Perhaps that is true, but Rodriguez, as his nature, has displayed a bit of jealousy of Mendoza. While “Good Morning America” seldom used him and he is no longer with the program, Mendoza has hosted GMA on the weekends, which did not go unnoticed by A-Rod, according to sources.
The terms of a new contract with Jessica Mendoza still need to be finalized, but ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro has given the full Sunday Night Baseball crew his seal of approval.
Greg Olsen To Partner With Kevin Burkhardt For Super Bowl LVII
“Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.”
The deal isn’t done yet, but Andrew Marchand of The New York Post reports that Greg Olsen is on his way to joining Kevin Burkhardt in the top NFL booth at FOX. Although Tom Brady will take over that role after he retires and leaves the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Olsen will spend at least this season on FOX’s A-Team.
Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.
Earlier this year, the former Panther told The Mac Attack on WFNZ in Charlotte that he was disappointed he didn’t get to call a postseason game. He will more than make up for that in 2023. As Burkhardt’s partner, Olsen is in line to be the analyst for Super Bowl LVII.
Marchand writes that we could get a taste of what is to come in February. He speculates that if the Buccaneers are not in the Super Bowl, it is possible Tom Brady could make his FOX debut, either in the booth alongside Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen or as part of the network’s studio show.
Now, FOX has to make a decision about it’s number 2 NFL booth. According to Marchand, Drew Brees is a candidate to be the analyst. Adam Amin and Joe Davis have emerged as candidates for the play-by-play role.
Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX
“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”
FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.
A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.
The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.
Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.
That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.
Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.
FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars
“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”
The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.
Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.
Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.
“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”
Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.
“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.
FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.