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Mark Grace Added To Marquee Sports Network

“During the last 15 years, Grace has contributed as an analyst to FOX Sports, FOX Saturday Baseball and FOX Sports Arizona working as a game broadcaster for the Diamondbacks.”

Brandon Contes

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As their launch date quickly approaches the Marquee Sports Network announced two more additions, headlined by longtime Chicago Cubs first baseman and fan favorite Mark Grace. Grace joins the Cubs new network as a pre and postgame analyst.

“My years as a Cub were very special, and to return to Wrigley, the Cubs and the best fans in sports as part of Marquee Sports Network is something that means a lot to me,” Grace said in the announcement. “I’m thrilled to be back!”

Grace spent 13 of his 16-year MLB career playing for the Cubs. The first baseman retired in 2003 and almost immediately began working as a broadcaster. During the last 15 years, Grace has contributed as an analyst to FOX Sports, FOX Saturday Baseball and FOX Sports Arizona working as a game broadcaster for the Diamondbacks. 

In addition to Grace, Marquee also announced Elise Menaker has joined the new network as a reporter, host and content creator. Menaker has been with the Big Ten Network since 2017 and will continue her role there covering football, basketball and softball as a studio analyst and sideline reporter. 

“With Mark and Elise joining our already stellar lineup of on-air talent, Marquee Sports Network’s roster will be unmatched by any other regional sports network anywhere,” said Mike McCarthy, general manager, Marquee Sports Network. “Mark is one of the most revered players in Cubs history and a polished baseball broadcaster, and Elise brings versatility, energy, an array of TV experience and a familiarity with Chicago, all of which will make her a tremendous asset.”

Grace and Menaker join the already well staffed Marquee which previously announced several former Cubs as network analysts including Ryan Dempster, Mark DeRosa, Lou Piniella, Dan Plesac, Doug Glanville, Jason Hammel, Carlos Peña, and Rick Sutcliffe. Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies will be in the broadcast booth for the Cubs, with Cole Wright previously announced as the network’s studio host. 

“We are excited to bring Mark back home to Wrigley Field to share his knowledge and passion for baseball and the Cubs, and in Elise, we have someone who will instantly bring a fresh and unique sports perspective to the broadcasts,” added Mike Santini, Marquee Sports Network’s SVP of Programming and Production. “We are very fortunate to add them both.”

The Marquee Sports Network is set to debut Feb. 22, but still does not have a carriage deal with Chicago’s largest cable provider Comcast Xfinity.

Sports TV News

Pat McAfee Feels Good About His College Football MegaCast Debut

“I feel good going into the next one. I feel like we’ve learned from this first one,” he said.

Jordan Bondurant

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The College Football MegaCast featuring Pat McAfee and his daily YouTube show’s cast debuted on ESPN2 over the weekend, and McAfee is looking forward to the next edition.

On his show Monday, McAfee told co-host A.J. Hawk that he felt good about how the show went considering it was uncharted territory to be in.

“We had no idea how successful it would be,” McAfee said. “Like this is the first time we’re being judged in a different fashion. I don’t think we marketed it much, you know, because I don’t think we knew how it was gonna go.”

The alternate feed is being produced for ESPN by Omaha Productions, which is also responsible for the ManningCast which runs alongside the traditional Monday Night Football broadcast.

McAfee said this first show turned out to be a learning experience and that they started off on the right foot.

“I feel good going into the next one. I feel like we’ve learned from this first one,” he said. “We had no idea, it was very much of a roll of the dice. Going into the next one I think we’re gonna try and make it even grander and bigger, and I’m very excited for it.”

As for the style in which they covered the Clemson/N.C. State game, McAfee added that the giveaways and guest interactions added a lot of value.

“I think it’s the right way to watch a game, and to be honest I think it’s keeping us all invested as much and even more,” he said.

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Sports TV News

LA Clippers Sign New Contract with Bally Sports

The multi-year agreement will go into effect this season. Bally will carry 63 of the team’s 2022-23 regular season games.

Jordan Bondurant

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The Los Angeles Clippers will continue its relationship with Bally Sports, completing a new deal over the weekend to keep Bally as the team’s regional sports network.

The multi-year agreement will go into effect this season. Bally will carry 63 of the team’s 2022-23 regular season games. Additionally, 11 games will be carried by KTLA, giving the team some additional viewership reach. The remaining eight games will be broadcast on national television.

Brian Sieman will continue on as the play-by-play broadcaster for games, with Jim Jackson and Mike Fratello swapping the analyst chair. Jamie Maggio and Kristina Pink will be reporting.

According to the Los Angeles Times, all signs pointed to the team and the network hashing out a new contract.

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Sports TV News

ESPN’s NFL Programming Sees Big September Growth

For ESPN, September has been a really strong month with their NFL programming.

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For ESPN, September has been a really strong month with their NFL programming.

Sunday NFL Countdown is averaging 1.4 million viewers per show thus far in 2022. That up 15% from 2021’s first three shows of the NFL season. The season premiere – Sunday, Sept. 11 – averaged 1.6 million viewers, tying the network’s best Week 1 audience for the show since 2016 and is up 35% year-over-year.

NFL Live experienced large growth too. The episode airing after the first NFL Sunday, on Monday September 12, averaged 664,000 viewers which beat every NFL Live episode last season, including the most-watched episode on 2021 (December 17) which grabbed 635,000 viewers.

Monday Night Countdown is averaging 1.3 million viewers for its two, non-staggered September episodes, which aired in its traditional timeslot (6-8 pm).

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