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Sabathia Joins ESPN Before Playing Days Are Even Over

“One interesting thing about the deal is that Sabathia will spend most of his air time talking about sports other than baseball.”

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CC Sabathia has signed a deal to join ESPN in 2019 even though he will still be on an active Major League Baseball roster. The New York Yankees pitcher told reporters at Spring Training that he will make 15 appearances across a variety of programs on The Mothership during the season on days he isn’t scheduled to pitch.

A press release from ESPN offered some more details from the deal.

Sabathia will contribute analysis to various high-profile ESPN platforms this season, including on SportsCenter, Get Up!, First Take, Golic & Wingo and occasionally Baseball Tonight. He’ll appear in-studio for several of the appearances. In addition, he will periodically join ESPN Radio New York as a guest host on the Humpty & Canty show, which airs from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. ET. Sabathia will debut during ESPN’s spring training coverage in late March.

ESPN press release

One interesting thing about the deal is that Sabathia will spend most of his air time talking about sports other than baseball.


Joe Lucia of Awful Announcing says that the deal may have a financial payoff for Sabathia, but it is a PR risk. There may even be some logistical problems that neither side has foreseen.

I can’t imagine Yankees fans would be too thrilled if he gets shelled in an April start, and two days later, he’s on Get Up talking about the NFL Draft, or if he’s on the disab….er, injured list, and is in studio on First Take debating about the NBA Playoffs. What happens if Sabathia is struggling and is moved to the bullpen? Will he still show up in the studio, even though he has no idea when he’ll pitch next?

Joe Lucia, Awful Announcing

ESPN clearly sees Sabathia as a valuable broadcasting asset and signing him to a deal that allows him to work a limited schedule during his final season gives the network the jump on potential competition for his services. It remains to be seen what ESPN’s longterm plans for Sabathia are, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the pitcher slide into a more dedicated MLB analyst role after his official retirement.

Sports TV News

LIV Golf Nearing TV Deal With The CW Network

“LIV Golf television analyst David Feherty had hinted that the upstart league could potentially have a deal in place with The CW Network for American television rights.”

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LIV Golf

According to a report from Front Office Sports, LIV Golf has laid out a deal with The CW Network for television carriage in the United States.

The deal is a multi-year agreement that will see the tour own real estate in lesser-viewed time slots on the network. A revenue-sharing relationship between the tour and the television network is expected to be struck.

LIV Golf television analyst David Feherty had hinted that the upstart league could potentially have a deal in place with The CW Network for American television rights.

After a standup comedy show in West Palm Beach last week, Feherty reportedly told the crowd “Have you heard of CW? I might get fired for this, but…,” according to report from Tom D’Angelo of The Palm Beach Post.

Sports Business Journal reporter John Ourand had previously reported a deal between the Saudi-backed breakaway golf tour and the network was likely.

Nexstar Media Group — the nation’s largest television owner — is the majority owner of The CW Network. There are around 220 affiliates of the network on over-the-air television stations. Rumors of an acquisition of LIV Golf’s rights come on the heels of The CW Network being linked to the potential launch of a college football bowl game that would air exclusively on the network.

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Sports TV News

Stephen A. Smith: ‘I Don’t Feel Obligated To Agree With Black Community’

“I want the Black community to always know that they have somebody in me that’s going to at least tell the world what we’re feeling and why, whether I agree with it or not.”

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Stephen A. Smith is out promoting his new memoir Straight Shooter. He recently sat down for a conversation with Men’s Health magazine.

Interviewer Rachel Epstein covers a wide variety of topics with Smith. Some are about what can be found in the book. Some are about the First Take star’s public perception.

She asked how Smith balances the responsibility of representing the Black community with his brand. On ESPN, Smith is known for being unique and unapologetic for his sometimes over-the-top persona.

“Number one by being fair,” he said. “By trying to gather as much information and educate myself on issues as much as I possibly can.”

He added that he has never felt pressure to think a certain way or say a certain thing. Even if pressure existed, he prides himself on not giving in to it.

“I never feel an obligation to agree with my community. I believe we all have a right to think the way we want to think. But I do feel a responsibility to make sure that the perspective emanating from my community is heard, even if I disagree.”

Stephen A. Smith is one of the highest-paid and most visible employees at ESPN. He said that a certain responsibility comes along with that status. He wants the Black community to know that even if he doesn’t agree, he will make sure people know what he is hearing when he is on TV talking about an important subject.

“I want the Black community to always know that they have somebody in me that’s going to at least tell the world what we’re feeling and why, whether I agree with it or not.”

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Sports TV News

Kathryn Tappen Joining NBC’s Big Ten Coverage

“Tappen was in line to replace Michele Tafoya as the sideline reporter for Sunday Night Football but was passed over by the network in favor of Melissa Stark.”

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NBC has tabbed Kathryn Tappen as its sideline reporter for the network’s upcoming coverage of Big Ten football, according to a report from Andrew Marchand of The New York Post.

According to Marchand, Tappen was in line to replace Michele Tafoya as the sideline reporter for Sunday Night Football but was passed over by the network in favor of Melissa Stark.

Tappen has hosted Notre Dame football’s studio coverage and Peacock Sunday Night Football Final. She also worked as NBC’s lead interviewer for its coverage of the PGA Tour, but left that broadcast team at the end of 2022 as part of the network’s larger shakeup of its golf coverage.

The appointment of Kathryn Tappen conceivably concludes the Big Ten on NBC broadcast crew. Noah Eagle and Todd Blackledge are expected to pair as the network’s play-by-play announcer and color analyst, respectively. NBC has yet to officially unveil its coverage plans for the 2023 college football season.

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