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ESPN2 To Carry 6 Korean Baseball Games Per Week

“Many KBO games will air live, which means American audiences will have to be awake in the wee morning hours to see them.”

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ESPN2 and the KBO have reached a deal that will see a lot of Korean baseball airing on The Deuce. The games will air on ESPN every Tuesday through Sunday.

The deal fills some holes in the ESPN schedule. Unfortunately, they aren’t the holes ESPN is most concerned about. Many KBO games will air live, which means American audiences will have to be awake in the wee morning hours to see them.

According to Brian Steinberg of Variety, the decision to broadcast the games in the overnight hours is part of ESPN’s commitment to cable and satellite providers. Those companies pay ESPN and other networks large fees for live sports. Making sure that the games are not seen on tape delay fulfills ESPN’s part of those deals.

“During this unprecedented and difficult time, I hope the KBO League can bring consolation to the communities and provide guidelines to the world of sports,” Korea Baseball Organization Commissioner Un-Chan Chung said in a prepared statement. “I am pleased that the KBO League can be introduced globally and hope this can be an opportunity for the development of our league and the sport.”

Josh Lindblom of the Milwaukee Brewers told Yahoo Sports that some American baseball fans will have to adjust their expectations of the game. KBO players tend to celebrate more and show more personality than Major League players typically do.

“You know what, don’t judge it. Just enjoy it,” the pitcher who spent four years pitching in Korea before returning to the Major Leagues said. “That’s exactly how I had to satisfy my mind.”

ESPN2 will use some of its biggest names to cover the games. Opening Day specials on May 6 and & 7 will see Karl Ravech and Eduardo Perez calling the action.  Jon Sciambi, Jessica Mendoza, and Kyle Peterson will all be featured on future broadcasts. All of the talents will be commenting from their home studios.

Sports TV News

Al Michaels: Condensed Prep Time For Thursday Night Football ‘A Downside’

“It’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us.”

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There were bound to be unexpected hiccups and unintended consequences as Al Michaels moved to Thursday Night Football with Amazon Prime Video.

He told The Boston Globe Thursday that one of the downsides of the week’s schedule is less prep time with the teams playing in the game.

“When we go to see the teams, it’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us,” Michaels said. “And all the time I’ve been doing this, I’ve built some great relationships with coaches and players and GMs and owners and you name it, and I don’t get that much time to spend with them anymore. That’s a downside part of it for me. Some of the best stories you get come from those relationships.”

Michaels has raised eyebrows this season while not being shy about his disdain for some poor matchups early in the schedule. However, he now understands that there are quality games as the season approaches its close.

“The schedule was a little leaky with the Carolina-Atlanta game and a couple of other games that we’ve had, but now we’re positioned for a nice run down the stretch,” said Michaels.

The 78-year-old was also asked how he remains energetic and passionate for the job he’s held for so long.

The games are exciting. I love sports. You don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s no script. And unscripted television is the greatest.”

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Sports TV News

Jimmy Pitaro: Reaching Younger Audience A Priority for ESPN

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience. As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

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Many in the media industry have voice concern that millennials and Gen Z aren’t consuming traditional media outlets like previous generations. ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said it’s a priority for the network.

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience,” Pitaro said, quoted by Morning Consult sports business reporter Mark J. Burns. “As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

Pitaro made the comments at Sports Business Journal’s Media Innovators conference Wednesday. It is a continuation of comments he has made in recent years.

In 2018, Pitaro said at ESPN’s upfront “I think we are doing a fantastic job serving the sports fanatic,” said Pitaro. “What about the casual sports customer? Are we doing all we can to serve him or her?”.

In 2019, Pitaro said it was “all hands on deck” to reach a younger audience and women. “We have to be open and go to where our customers are,” he said in regards to reaching younger viewers on social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

Earlier this year, Pitaro added that ESPN won’t be leaving linear television anytime soon.

“What I will tell you is that as I sit here right now, that business is still incredible,” Pitaro said. “We serve the sports fan anyway and at any time. I know there are a lot of people that still want ESPN in that traditional ecosystem.”

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Sports TV News

Don Mattingly Joining Blue Jays Staff After YES Network Courtship

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

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The New York Yankees regional sports network can take Don Mattingly off its talent wish list. Mattingly was announced Wednesday as a bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays starting in 2023.

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

But Mattingly told Andrew Marchand of The New York Post this week that he had another opportunity in the works but wouldn’t elaborate.

YES also has been considering luring Yankees legend and Hall of Famer Derek Jeter into broadcasting. But no formal talks have taken place.

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