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Dale Earnhardt Jr Joins NBC’s Indy 500 Coverage

“Next month will mark the first time he will be assigned to work a motorsports event outside of NASCAR.”

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NBC hasn’t been shy about letting Dale Earnhardt Jr. spread his wings in the sports broadcasting world. The NASCAR legend and NBC race analyst has already been a part of the network’s presentations of the Super Bowl, Winter Olympics, Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the Kentucky Derby.

Next month will mark the first time he will be assigned to work a motorsports event outside of NASCAR. Earnhardt will serve as a roving reporter at the Indianapolis 500.

An NBC press release describes Earnhardt’s duties as “exploring the expansive scene that includes hundreds of thousands of spectators at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and contributing to NBC Sports’ pre-race, in-race, and post-race coverage”.

While Earnhardt has never attended the Indianapolis 500, he is no stranger to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He raced in the Brickyard 400 at the same track 17 times in his NASCAR career.

Earnhardt joins a previously announced crew that includes Mike Tirico and Danica Patrick handling studio coverage. Rutledge Wood and Dillon Welch will join Earnhardt as roving reporters.

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ESPN, PFL Agree to New Multi-Year Rights Deal

“We’ve had five successful seasons on ESPN and we’re excited for the next phase of growth for MMA and the Professional Fighters League with this agreement.”

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The new-look Professional Fighters League (PFL) won’t have to worry about its broadcast home. The combat sports league and ESPN recently agreed to a multi-year, multi-platform rights extension.

PFL’s new deal with ESPN includes live event distribution of the PFL regular season, playoffs, and world championships. ESPN+ PPV will also be home to PFL’s “Super Fight Division,” a new cross-discipline division that includes Francis Ngannou, Amanda Serrano, Clarissa Shields, Savannah Marshall, and Jake Paul, which was launched to “forge true economic partnerships with MMA’s top superstars to compete in global mega-events” according to PFL. The first PFL Super Fight PPV will take place sometime in early 2024.

“We’ve had five successful seasons on ESPN and we’re excited for the next phase of growth for MMA and the Professional Fighters League with this agreement,” said PFL CEO Peter Murray. “Our innovative sport-season format, elite roster of athletes, and the launch of the PFL PPV Super Fight Division, which will feature some of the world’s greatest combat sports stars such as Francis Ngannou and Jake Paul, are ushering in the new era of MMA as a mainstream global sports entertainment platform.”

This news comes hot off the heels of another PFL announcement — that the league acquired competitor Bellator from Paramount Global. The PFL roster now not only boasts top stars like Ngannou, Ante Delija, and Denis Goltsov, but also Bellator’s top stars like Ryan Bader, Cris Cyborg, Patricio Pitbull, and more.

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Scripps Sports Exec: Teams Are Making Contingency Deals For After Bally Sports Bankruptcy

Lawlor said that Scripps Sports “already has deals in place with at least a couple of teams as a contingency in case Bally halts broadcasts before the end of the 2024 season.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Scripps Sports

With the writing on the wall that Diamond Sports Group will drop its regional sports contracts after next year, entities like Scripps Sports are bracing for additional opportunities to work with various teams.

Scripps Sports president Brian Lawlor recently said teams and leagues are already thinking ahead.

“There’s a lot of contingency planning by teams and leagues to have distribution options if the creditors pull the rug out early,” Lawlor told Cincinnati Business Courier. “It’s really messy right now.”

Lawlor added that Scripps has already been involved in contingency planning with those leagues and teams, with talks having gone on for months in some instances.

“(Scripps) already has deals in place with at least a couple of teams as a contingency in case Bally halts broadcasts before the end of the 2024 season.

Scripps Sports already stepped in to help provide a new TV home for both the Vegas Golden Knights and the Arizona Coyotes. Lawlor said returns with those teams, particularly in Vegas, have been great.

“We’ve been blown away by the Golden Knights over-the-air ratings and the number of people who have subscribed to direct-to-consumer,” he said.

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Bob Iger: ESPN Could ‘Go It Alone’ and Not Take Financial Partners

“We are fully prepared to do that. It would be a little more challenging if we did.”

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Bob Iger
Courtesy: CNBC

As Disney continues to consider selling an ownership stake in ESPN, Disney CEO Bob Iger told employees he’s not ruling out the possibility of not bringing in new financial partners.

Front Office Sports reported Wednesday that Iger spoke at a Disney town hall on Tuesday and there’s no requirement in place that says Disney must seek out new investors to maintain ESPN’s financial future.

“We could go it alone,” he said. “We are fully prepared to do that. It would be a little more challenging if we did.”

Disney has already had some level of conversations with potential partners including pro sports leagues and big tech companies.

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