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Skip Bayless’ Next Contract Could Be Affected by the Covid-19 Pandemic

“In recent months, ESPN and DAZN were both labeled as suitors for Bayless, but like most sports media companies, they too have felt the negative impacts of COVID-19.”

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Just a few months ago, it appeared FOX was set to have serious competition for Skip Bayless, who will soon be looking for a new contract. But with sports media companies ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, it doesn’t bode well for Bayless’ ability to land a lucrative deal. 

“This is the worst timing ever for Skip,” an unnamed media executive told Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports

Bayless is set to see his 4-year $25million deal with FOX expire in September and he was hoping for a pay increase, but now he might struggle to maintain his annual salary of nearly $6 million. In recent months, ESPN and DAZN were both labeled as suitors for Bayless, but like most sports media companies, they too have felt the negative impacts of COVID-19. 

DAZN, led by Bayless’ former FS1 and ESPN boss Jamie Horowitz, furloughed its entire live event staff in April, while ESPN personnel agreed to pay cuts between 15-30%. Similarly, most FOX Sports on-air talent took a temporary 15% pay reduction. 

In November, ESPN was reported to be interested in reuniting Stephen A. Smith and his ex-First Take partner, Skip Bayless. Smith and Bayless worked together on First Take from 2012 – 2016, before Skip made the move to FOX. Last year, ESPN made Smith their highest paid employee with an annual salary of nearly $8 million, which is likely similar to the contract Bayless expected to seek. 

Although FS1’s Undisputed is significantly out-rated by ESPN’s First Take, approximately 150,000 viewers to 414,000, FOX still sees value in debate shows, even with live sports on hold. Without ESPN and DAZN able to bid, Bayless loses two of his strongest bargaining chips. Still, it would seem unlikely for FOX to expect Skip to take a pay cut in his next contract.

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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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Sports TV News

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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NFL Likely To Launch NFL+ Streaming Service This Summer

“A source tells Fischer that a $5 per month price has been discussed for NFL+.”

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According to the Sports Business Journal, consumers could be downloading NFL+ by July. Now, just what NFL+ will be is still yet to be finalized.

Ben Fischer of Sports Business Journal reported in the site’s newsletter that live games will certainly be at the center of the league-owned streaming service. It is likely to only be available on phones and tablets with no option to stream to a larger monitor.

The viewing options would be limited. No out of market games would be available on the app. It is meant to replace the deals that recently expired with Yahoo and mobile phone carriers that recently expired.

The app could also include other content. Radio calls, team-created digital content, and league-owned podcasts are all options. 

NFL+ would make NFL Media more valuable. The league is trying to sell an equity stake in its linear TV and digital media properties. Amazon and Apple are considered the most likely to make a deal. 

A source tells Fischer that a $5 per month price has been discussed for NFL+. The pricing structure can and likely will change before the app hits the market.

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