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ESPN Says Jordan Doc Isn’t Ready Yet

“Scheduled to premiere in June around the NBA Finals, sports fans are hoping ESPN will debut it sooner, but network EVP Burke Magnus explained there are challenges to making that happen.”

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With most live sports suspended indefinitely due to Covid-19, fans are clamoring for ESPN to release their 10-episode documentary featuring Michael Jordan and the 1998 Chicago Bulls, titled The Last Dance

Scheduled to premiere in June around the NBA Finals, sports fans are hoping ESPN will debut it sooner, but network EVP Burke Magnus explained there are challenges to making that happen. The first being, the documentary hasn’t been completed yet.

“I know some have asked about ‘The Last Dance,’ and the reality is that the production of that film has not yet been completed, so we are limited there at the moment,” Magnus told Brian Steinberg of Variety. “Obviously, you can’t air it until it’s done.” Still, Magnus said they will consider moving up the premiere of any completed project.

Another way to fill their lineup without live sports and without many studio shows because of the spreading coronavirus pandemic, is replaying old games. But even with ESPN’s vault of classic contests to choose from, it’s still not as easy as selecting a game and hitting play the way consumers do with at-home on-demand content.

“Re-airing full-game presentations is not a right that we or other media companies typically have at our disposal at all times,” Magnus said in his interview with Variety. “Each one of these circumstances requires individual conversations with the specific league or property to determine what’s possible.” ESPN is “working with the leagues themselves to free up the possibility to show encore presentations and discussing how we can present them.”

All networks are working on ways to create content, prioritizing the health and safety of their employees, while not having live sports to rely on. The unknown of when sports will return presents an issue. League’s could have a return date set in one month, but it could very possibly be three, six or more. Networks have to prepare to create content for all of it.

“There are so many creative things we can do, similar to some of the initiatives we’ve done in the past for special event anniversaries, ‘The Ocho’ day and more,” said Magnus. “The challenge is that now we need to replicate that dynamic 24 hours a day, seven days a week across multiple networks. That’s what is in front of us in terms of long-range planning.”

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Greg Olsen To Partner With Kevin Burkhardt For Super Bowl LVII

“Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.”

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The deal isn’t done yet, but Andrew Marchand of The New York Post reports that Greg Olsen is on his way to joining Kevin Burkhardt in the top NFL booth at FOX. Although Tom Brady will take over that role after he retires and leaves the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Olsen will spend at least this season on FOX’s A-Team.

Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.

Earlier this year, the former Panther told The Mac Attack on WFNZ in Charlotte that he was disappointed he didn’t get to call a postseason game. He will more than make up for that in 2023. As Burkhardt’s partner, Olsen is in line to be the analyst for Super Bowl LVII.

Marchand writes that we could get a taste of what is to come in February. He speculates that if the Buccaneers are not in the Super Bowl, it is possible Tom Brady could make his FOX debut, either in the booth alongside Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen or as part of the network’s studio show.

Now, FOX has to make a decision about it’s number 2 NFL booth. According to Marchand, Drew Brees is a candidate to be the analyst. Adam Amin and Joe Davis have emerged as candidates for the play-by-play role.

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Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX

“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”

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FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.

A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.

The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.

Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.

That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.

Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.

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FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”

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The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.

Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.

Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”

Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.

“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.

FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.

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