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SportsCenter With Stephen A. Smith Debuts Wednesday

“ESPN also announced Rachel Nichols will host their NBA Wednesday halftime coverage on October 23rd, with Scott Van Pelt taking over the role each week for the rest of the season.”

Brandon Contes

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ESPN announced Stephen A. Smith will host a new weekly version of SportsCenter which will serve as a pregame show to their schedule of Wednesday NBA games. SportsCenter with Stephen A. Smith will debut October 23rd from 7 – 7:30pm ET and continue to broadcast every Wednesday. 

“This is what it’s all about. This is what I have been waiting for. Stephen A. hosting in prime time, serving NBA fans with the information and passion that you’ve come to know from me,” Smith said in the press release. 

In recent years, Smith anchored ESPN’s illustrious 6pm SportsCenter as a special during the NBA Finals. His new 7pm version of the show will air throughout the entire regular and postseason. Smith will move into prime-time during the NBA season, but he previously shared aspirations of hosting a late night show, calling that “the ultimate fantasy.” The popular sportscaster attempted a late night show on ESPN 2 in 2005, but it was cancelled after less than two years. 

ESPN also announced Rachel Nichols will host their NBA Wednesday halftime coverage on October 23rd, with Scott Van Pelt taking over the role each week for the rest of the season. In addition to his new weekly 7pm SportsCenter, Smith will continue his daily shows, First Take on ESPN and The Stephen A. Smith Show on ESPN Radio. 

“Stephen A. Smith’s connection with all aspects of the NBA is a huge competitive advantage that truly differentiates our network,” said Dave Roberts, ESPN VP of production. “His tireless and exemplary work ethic will serve sports fans extremely well when they tune in before marquee games on Wednesday nights throughout this highly anticipated season.”

The news of the 7pm Wednesday SportsCenter comes amid a report by The Big Lead’s Ryan Glasspiegel that Smith and ESPN are nearing a contract extension. According to Glasspiegel, the blockbuster deal could be worth tens of millions of dollars and keep Smith with ESPN through 2025.

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.

Sports TV News

Curt Menefee to Call Two Seahawks Preseason Games

FOX NFL studio host Curt Menefee will be on the TV play-by-play for the preseason opener on August 13 and the finale on August 26.

Jordan Bondurant

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Curt Menefee

The 2022 NFL preseason is going to kick off in earnest later this week, and the Seattle Seahawks have revealed their broadcast crews for two of the team’s three preseason contests.

FOX NFL studio host Curt Menefee will be on the TV play-by-play for the preseason opener on August 13 and the finale on August 26. He’ll be joined in the booth by former Seahawk Michael Robinson. The games will air locally on KING 5, the city’s NBC affiliate.

Additionally for the TV broadcasts, Paul Silvi and Ray Roberts will host the pre and postgame shows, with former Seahawk Michael Bennett working as an analyst.

On the radio, Steve Raible and Dave Wyman will call all three games. Jen Mueller will be the sideline reporter. Michael Bumpus will be the studio host and will be joined by former players Jordan Babineaux, Paul Moyer, Roberts, Marcus Trufant and Robert Turbin.

Radio broadcasts air on Seattle Sports 710 AM and KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM and are distributed across Washington on the Seahawks Radio Network.

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Sports TV News

After Losing Out On Big Ten Rights, ESPN Turns Focus to NCAA Championships

According to Front Office Sports, ESPN’s contract for 29 NCAA Championships ends in 2024.

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After reportedly losing out on the Big Ten’s television rights, ESPN is reportedly turning to securing the NCAA Championship rights from hitting the open market.

According to Front Office Sports, ESPN’s contract for 29 NCAA Championships ends in 2024. Those 29 championships include everything from Women’s basketball to ice hockey, wrestling, softball, and baseball. The network pays a reported $34 million for the rights to broadcast those championship events.

However, according to a study commissioned by the NCAA reveals that the women’s basketball tournament could be worth anywhere from $81 million to $112 million per year by its lonesome. The NCAA is reportedly considering selling the women’s basketball tournament rights as a standalone product in the next negotiation.

Sources told Front Office Sports ESPN remains interested in striking deals with the Pac-12 and Big 12 media rights, as well as renewing a deal for the College Football Playoff.

The news comes after Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand reported ESPN declined a final offer from the Big Ten for a portion of the conference’s media rights. The reported deal was seven years and $380 million per year.

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Sports TV News

ESPN Announces The Return of Stephen A. Smith to First Take

ESPN announced Smith will be returning to First Take on Monday, August 15th.

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Stephen A. Smith

First Take has been without it’s anchor since the day after the NBA Draft in June. That’s when the ESPN personality took some time off to undergo shoulder surgery and to rehabilitate. However, it appears the wait for his return is almost over.

ESPN announced with a tweet that Smith will be returning to First Take on Monday, August 15th. They also teased a guest appearance from Michael Irvin.

This comes a day after Smith tweeted that the countdown was on for his return and we are one week away from the event.

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