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Broadcasters Express Reservations About Travel

“Joining 105.7 The Fan in Baltimore on Wednesday, NFL Network host Rich Eisen expressed concerns over attending the NFL Draft next month, saying he would prefer to work the event from a TV studio.”

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Coronavirus concerns are causing games to be canceled or played in front of empty arenas, but what about the ability of broadcasters to continue attending events?

Joining 105.7 The Fan in Baltimore on Wednesday, NFL Network host Rich Eisen expressed concerns over attending the NFL Draft next month, saying he would prefer to work the event from a TV studio. Last year’s three-day NFL Draft event drew 600,000 people, with Las Vegas expecting to welcome even more fans. Many cities have already banned gatherings of move than 1,000 people. 

Even being more than a month away, it’s hard to imagine the NFL Draft taking place surrounded by hundreds of thousands of fans as league’s attempt to limit the coronavirus from spreading. The NBA, MLB, MLS and NHL began the week by banning reporters from locker rooms and those cautionary steps progressed to the NBA suspending its league for the foreseeable future Wednesday night.

Prior to the NBA’s decision, longtime Celtics play-by-play announcer Mike Gorman told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher and Rich he preferred the idea of broadcasting games from a remote location, rather than travel to populated arenas amid the coronavirus epidemic. 

Remote broadcasting is an idea that is not without precedence. Last month, NBC Sports Bay Area announced a “SplitKast” for the San Francisco Giants, which will allow color analyst Mike Krukow to call a select schedule of road games from a remote studio for reasons unrelated to coronavirus. 

If the Major League Baseball season starts on time, Red Sox TV play-by-play voice Jerry Remy told The Boston Globe he’ll miss his first scheduled road trip of the season, although he won’t work the games remotely. Remy has beaten six cancer relapses since 2008 and doctors don’t want to risk him contracting coronavirus and being quarantined somewhere other than Mass General. 

Keeping people safe needs to be prioritized, which means if games are not safe for fans, then they shouldn’t be deemed safe for broadcasters of players. But if some sports do decide to play in front of empty arenas, what happens if announcers call the games remotely and those broadcasts are considered a success? 

There are likely baseball announcers who wouldn’t mind skipping a cross-country road trip in the middle of July or an NBA broadcaster that prefers not to travel for a meaningless game in February. Could it pave the way for more remote broadcasts even when the coronavirus is no longer a concern? 

Sports TV News

Joe Buck: ESPN Is Letting Us Set Tone For Monday Night Football

“It wasn’t well, you are at ESPN, you have to figure out how we do it.”

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While Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will be calling football games on Monday nights for ESPN instead of Sunday afternoons for FOX this year, fans shouldn’t expect the broadcasts to be that much different, if at all, than what they’ve been used to over the last 20 years. 

Buck was recently a guest on the Green Light with Chris Long podcast and said that ESPN knows that he and Aikman have to be comfortable in order for Monday Night Football to be a success.

“I know we are in the honeymoon phase. I’m not dumb. That stuff wears off after a while. They are like ‘however you guys have always done a game, that’s the way we want you to do a game whether it’s with regard to meetings vs. conference calls or when you guys show up, how you like the booth set up. However you want it, we are going to do it your way’ and that’s to their credit. It wasn’t well, you are at ESPN, you have to figure out how we do it.”

Buck and Aikman are obviously already very familiar with each other. Buck said that it will be important not to take that for granted or second guess what they already know.

“I think the one thing Troy and I have to avoid is trying to be different than we’ve been. They hired us based on what we’ve done and who we are and how we relate to each other and the way we see a game,” said Buck. 

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Mike Tirico, Tom Brady, Manningcast Win Sports Emmys

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The annual Sports Emmys were handed out on Tuesday night, and some usual names and new names ended up taking home hardware.

Among the usual names were NBC’s Mike Tirico, who won for Outstanding Personality/Studio Host, and soon-to-be Sunday Night Football broadcast colleague Cris Collinsworth, who was named Outstanding Personality/Sports Event Analyst.

But among the new names as Sports Emmy winners include Tom Brady and both Eli and Peyton Manning.

Brady’s Man in the Arena saga won Outstanding Documentary Series, while the Mannings were rewarded for their work on the Monday Night Football Manningcast, which won Outstanding Live Series.

Here’s a rundown of some of the key Sports Emmy winners:

Here is a full list of winners and nominees for the 2022 ceremony.

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Joe Buck Says He Won’t Miss World Series

“This is the first time since I was 18-years-old, and I’m 53, that I’m not doing a baseball game.”

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USA Today

Among the bigger chain reactions set off by Joe Buck leaving FOX for ESPN was the sudden vacancy in FOX’s main MLB broadcast booth.

The 2022 World Series will mark the first time since 1995 that Buck will not be on the microphone.

Speaking to Chris Long on his podcast Green Light, Buck hopes to be in a more exotic location watching World Series games this fall.

“I would like to be in Cabo San Lucas with a margarita in my hand and a half-smoked cigar watching Game 7 of the World Series,” Buck said. “Cheering on Joe Davis and John Smoltz, and Ken Rosenthal, and Tom Verducci, and Pete Macheska and Matt Gangl and right on down the line.”

Buck added he’ll take pleasure in turning the broadcast off if it’s Game 7 and there’s an insurmountable lead. But the broadcasting legend said even on a bigger scale, not calling any baseball games at all this season, let alone the World Series, is a bit surreal after covering the sport for so long.

“This is the first time since I was 18-years-old, and I’m 53, that I’m not doing a baseball game,” he said. “And that’s really weird to me, but I walk away really proud of what I and we did.”

He added that he will not miss the opportunity, because he does not feel like he will “leave any unfinished business” in FOX’s MLB booth.

Buck further praised his FOX colleagues and said it was time for a change. He knows Joe Davis will thrive in the opportunity.

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