During an offseason of courting high-profile personalities to join their Monday Night Football broadcast, ESPN finally named an addition to the booth. Wednesday afternoon, the network announced Phil Dean as its new producer for Monday Night Football.
Dean joined ESPN in 1992, having worked as a college football producer for the past 15 years. Since the start of the College Football Playoff in 2014, Dean worked a national semifinal game each season as well as producing ESPN Saturday Primetime telecasts. His credentials also include producing NBA games and serving as ESPN’s lead college basketball producer for 12 years.
“It is truly an honor and a blessing to be named the new producer on Monday Night Football,” Dean said in the press release. “A huge thank you to Jimmy Pitaro, Connor Schell, Stephanie Druley and Lee Fitting for trusting me and my abilities with this amazing franchise. Six great producers came before me and I look forward to continuing their level of excellence.”
Dean will work alongside Jimmy Platt, who took over as Monday Night Football’s director last year.
“Phil is as innovative and creative an event producer as we have at ESPN, and we are thrilled to make him the next producer of Monday Night Football,” said Connor Schell, ESPN EVP of Content. “Over the course of his impressive career, Phil has demonstrated his ability to lead with great vision, and has left his mark on every sport category that he has worked on. Together, he and director Jimmy Platt will do a wonderful job leading the MNF team moving forward.”
Dean takes over the producer role for Jay Rothman, who worked on MNF since the telecast moved to ESPN in 2006. Prior to MNF, Rothman produced Sunday Night Football on ESPN from 2001-05. Rothman’s departure from MNF was reported earlier this year, but the longtime ESPN producer will continue in a new role with the network.
While high-profile names such as Tony Romo, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Al Michaels were reported as candidates for ESPN’s MNF booth at various points during the offseason, the telecast, as of now still consists of play-by-play voice Joe Tessitore and analyst Booger McFarland.
Former Hulu Exec Michael Schneider Hired To Run Bally Sports+
“Schneider previously was VP of brand and content marketing at Hulu, where he had involvement in various marketing efforts for Hulu + Live TV.”
Schneider will oversee the direct-to-consumer platform that will also be the hub for Bally Sports live programming.
Schneider previously was VP of brand and content marketing at Hulu, where he had involvement in various marketing efforts for Hulu + Live TV.
“Throughout his career, Michael has successfully launched and developed DTC streaming and service platforms and created immersive engagement experiences,” said Sinclair COO and president of broadcast Rob Weisbord. “He is a terrific addition to the team as we build out the Bally Sports+ offering, its exclusive content and passionate fan community.”
Even before Hulu, Schneider had a hand in streaming. He was a founding member of the PlayStation Vue launch team.
Marquee Sports Network Weighs Streaming Options Outside of Bally Sports+
“Marquee GM Mike McCarthy said to Sports Business Journal there’s no rush, but the network is hopeful they can have something in time for the 2023 season.”
As Sinclair Broadcast Group prepares to launch Bally Sports+, its direct-to-consumer platform that will be home to Bally Sports live events, the Chicago Cubs are weighing their options for Marquee Sports Network, which the team co-owns with Sinclair.
Despite being under the Sinclair umbrella, Marquee is its own free-standing RSN from the rest of the Bally Sports networks across the country.
Marquee is readily available on a number of cable providers, but the only thing that’s really missing is its own standalone streaming platform for games. Marquee GM Mike McCarthy said to Sports Business Journal there’s no rush, but the network is hopeful they can have something in time for the 2023 season.
“We’re always interested in being on the cutting edge with the ultimate deliverable to our consumer,” McCarthy said. “But there isn’t any contractual clock ticking to make us feel that way. It’s how we’ve approached things from the beginning. Between our two ownership groups, there’s a lot of aggression to get it right. And I think you’ll see something along those lines shortly.”
The TV ratings will always be of top interest for MLB, especially regional ratings. But as the league has worked to embrace more streaming options for games, striking deals with Apple and Peacock for rights this season, it’s all about providing what the fans and viewers want.
“We now have the ability to do so much more, to properly tell the story of a 162-game season,” said Crane Kenney, Chicago Cubs president of business operations. Kenney was instrumental in the launch of Marquee. “We love baseball, we love the game, and we love the opportunity we have to share it with our fans in really deep ways.”
Laura Rutledge Celebrates Chemistry Of NFL Live
“It is truly the absolute joy of my life to get their opinions and to sit with them every single day and hear what they have to say.”
Laura Rutledge is very happy with where NFL Live is as the current lineup gets set to enter its third season together. She told The Big Lead that there is genuine chemistry between herself, Marcus Spears, Mina Kimes, and Dan Orlovsky and that is why she doesn’t feel the need to emulate any of sports television’s many debate shows.
“You don’t want to see people yelling at each other all the time and I’m really proud of the chemistry that we have struck and just letting that breathe on air and having so much fun. It is truly the absolute joy of my life to get their opinions and to sit with them every single day and hear what they have to say.”
The 2022 NFL season will have a very different feel for ESPN. The addition of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman for Monday Night Football adds new expectations to the network.
Rutledge said that the attention on the network means that she and her colleagues have to raise their respective games, but that shouldn’t be hard. There is always material to work with in this league.
“We’ve seen this offseason, we saw the previous offseason, how the NFL news cycle never stops. It’s funny because the news cycle becomes such a big piece of the story, but we’re like, we can’t wait for the games,” she said.