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Disney Set To Begin Furloughs On April 19

“Details of who will be furloughed, were not announced, but all divisions of Disney are expected to be impacted, which would include ESPN.”

Brandon Contes

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Very few industries are thriving right now during this global COVID-19 pandemic as countless jobs continue to be in danger of negative impacts, especially in sports media. 

It’s becoming a common occurrence for media companies to announce furloughs, layoffs and cutbacks, and Disney could unfortunately be next. Earlier in the week, Disney reduced salaries for their executives, now it appears more budget cuts are on the horizon with company-wide furloughs of non-essential employees. How that impacts ESPN remains to be seen. Disney employed 223,000 people when their last fiscal year came to an end. 

“With no clear indication of when we can restart our businesses, we’re forced to make the difficult decision to take the next step and furlough employees whose jobs aren’t necessary at this time,” Disney said according to John Ourand of The Sports Business Journal.

Those furloughs will reportedly begin April 19. Details of who will be furloughed, were not announced, but all divisions of Disney are expected to be impacted, which would include ESPN. Without live sporting events, ESPN has taken an obvious hit as Disney (DIS) stock prices have dropped 30% this year.

In 2015 and 2017, ESPN cut more than 500 employees amid a series of layoffs.

Sports TV News

Matt Ryan Joining CBS Sports As Guest Analyst This Weekend

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Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Ryan is joining CBS Sports this weekend as a guest analyst.

Ryan will appear on That Other Pregame Show on CBS Sports Network at its regularly scheduled time of 9:00 AM ET before joining The NFL Today at 2:00 PM ET on CBS. The NFL Today — which usually airs from 11:00 AM-1:00 PM ET — begins at 2:00 PM ET before the network’s coverage of the Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills at 3:00.

He will bring a fresh perspective to the CBS shows, after defeating two of the four remaining teams in the AFC.

The on-air opportunity could be viewed as a tryout of sorts for the 37-year-old quarterback. Ryan struggled in his first season with Indianapolis, playing in 12 of the team’s 17 games after being benched at the behest of owner Jim Irsay. Ryan was later reinserted to the starting lineup after the franchise fired head coach Frank Reich and replaced him with ESPN NFL analyst Jeff Saturday, before he was ultimately removed once more.

It is not the first broadcasting role Ryan has held. In 2020 — while still a member of the Atlanta Falcons — he hosted a 12-hour radiothon on 680 The Fan for Advance The Lives, a charity focused on combatting systemic barriers Black youth face in the greater Atlanta area.

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Sports TV News

Mike Tirico: I Sound Like I Want to Be At The Game Because I Do

“People have said ‘When we watch the game, we feel like you want to be there,’ and I do.”

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Mike Tirico has received high marks from critics for his work over the closing weeks of the NFL season, as well as his initial playoff game that saw the Bengals defeat the Baltimore Ravens in thrilling fashion. He told ESPN 1000’s Waddle & Silvy he has been blessed with nice compliments.

“They’re fun. They’re why you do this. It’s why you’re sitting there on a Tuesday night at 10 o’clock asking ‘Do I have to watch another game of Jacksonville’s?’ It pays off. People have been very kind. The nicest thing that I’ve received from people that has made me– to be brutally honest with you — feel good is that people have said ‘When we watch the game, we feel like you want to be there,’ and I do.

“Other than being at home with my family, there’s no place I’d rather be. And every week, before I do the game, I take a little picture on my phone during the national anthem from our spot. It’s just great to look back. You’re sitting in the best spot, with all these cameras and all these TVs and all these stats. A 17-time Emmy Award winner in Cris Collinsworth right next to you. You are so lucky to do this, and I enjoy every second of it.”

Tirico’s excitement and enthusiasm were compared to his NBC cohort Al Michaels, who received heavy criticism for a perceived lack of enthusiasm as the Jacksonville Jaguars completed one of the largest comebacks in NFL history to defeat the Los Angeles Chargers in the Super Wild Card Round. Michaels dismissed the criticism as “internet compost“.

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Sports TV News

Tom Brady To Take a Month Before Deciding To Return to NFL or Go to FOX

“Maybe he doesn’t want to broadcast, and that’s a standing offer. It’s not like he has to take it right now.”

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Tom Brady is 45 years old. His future will be a source of speculation every year at the end of the NFL season. The end of the current season is no different, but a 10-year, $375 million deal with FOX is an element that has not been in the mix before. Jordan Schultz says that could stretch out the timeline before we get any certainty from the GOAT.

“He wants to take a month or two to really evaluate everything he has,” The Score’s NFL insider told Pat McAfee on Friday. “That means on the field, off the field, I think there are a couple of really important things to consider.”

Those things for Tom Brady are his family and his goals. Schultz pointed out that Brady has two kids living in Miami, which makes the Dolphins a realistic option for next season. He also has a son living in New York, so the Jets cannot be ruled out. The Las Vegas Raiders were also mentioned as a potential landing spot.

Schultz described Brady’s deal with FOX as “the elephant in the room” right now. The dollar figure is making the decision hard, but it likely will not be the determining factor.

“The thing you miss the most is the guys and the camaraderie, maybe not the grind of football, but those guys and those experiences,” Schultz said. “You don’t get that in the booth, but you do get the money and the lack of stress.”

Complicating the decision is the fact that Brady is not under a time crunch with FOX. The network doesn’t appear to be taking the offer off the table if he is not in the booth alongside Kevin Burkhardt by a pre-determined date.

“Maybe he doesn’t want to broadcast, and that’s a standing offer. It’s not like he has to take it right now.”

Jordan Schultz says that based on what he has heard, it is more likely that FOX will have to keep waiting. While it isn’t clear exactly what Brady’s goal for 2023 is, Schultz said he would be surprised to see Brady retire now.

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