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ESPN To Keep Joe Tessitore ‘Extremely Busy’ Without MNF

“He said that right now, his focus is on a second season of Holey Moley.”

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Joe Tessitore is on the press circuit promoting a new season of ABC’s Holey Moley. Tessitore and comedian Rob Riggle call the action on the Steph Curry-produced mini golf competition. While his goal is to bring more eyeballs to the project, Tessitore knows his recent dismissal from ESPN’s Monday Night Football is bound to come up.

“I will miss the crew greatly; they were incredible personal relationships that were developed,” he said in a recent interview with Awful Announcing. “I will no longer be on Monday Night Football, but I will be extremely busy at the network in the coming months and years to come.”

Disney and ESPN do have a lot of work for Tessitore even if his time calling NFL games for the network is over. In addition to Holey Moley, Tessitore is also calling Top Rank Championship Boxing on ESPN.

The boxing promotion has announced intentions to return on June 9. Tessitore says he expects to “be doing play-by-play and hosting on ESPN two to three times a week” when that happens.

Speculation that Tessitore might move back to ESPN’s college football broadcasts has swirled as well. He did not address that in his interview with Awful Announcing. He said that right now, his focus is on a second season of Holey Moley.

“The show is better this year. And we had a good show last year. What I like about the show this year is we have a playoff system that proceeds to a championship round. So each week, you’re trying to win the Holey Moley championship. You take those winners and you end up with a single putt for a quarter of a million dollars. It sounds so crazy for a guy who just broadcast a NFL playoff game, who just broadcast Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder, and I’m not sure what it is, but I like when something’s on the line. You take all these mini golfers, you whittle them down, you go through all those crazy holes, and you get down to one putt for a quarter of a million dollars, and it’s great.”

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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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Stephen A. Smith To Charles Barkley: ‘I Worry Because You’re Big’

“You’ve always been big. But now you’re bigger.”

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ESPN host Stephen A. Smith is concerned about his friend Charles Barkley.

Barkley, while in Dallas with TNT for Games 3 and 4 of the Western Conference Finals between the Mavericks and Golden State Warriors, Barkley hopped on a horse. The clip Stephen A. used in his ESPN+ show Stephen A’s World showed Barkley needing assistance by handlers to get off the horse.

Stephen A. was astounded.

“Ain’t no way Charles Barkley needs that much help getting off the horse,” Smith said. “But he did – he did!”

Smith then used the closing seconds to express his concern about Barkley’s size.

“I worry about you cause you’re a big boy,” he said. “You’ve always been big. But now you’re bigger.”

Barkley hasn’t had any publicized major health incidents stemming from his weight, but still Stephen A. was hopeful his friend might take some time and initiative to work on cutting a few pounds.

“Let’s address that, because I need you around,” Smith said. “I love you bro.”

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NFL Considers Ending Pro Bowl Amidst Low Ratings

“Mark Maske of The Washington Post reports the future of the Pro Bowl was discussed on Tuesday during the owners’ meetings in Atlanta.”

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The NFL is obsessed with TV ratings. It isn’t a surprise that the league may not be willing to tolerate the Pro Bowl underperforming for much longer. 

In 2022, the NFL’s all-star game produced it’s lowest ratings in 16 years. Fewer that 7 million people tuned in to watch the game across ABC, ESPN and DisneyXD. 

“The (Pro Bowl) game doesn’t work,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday after the owners’ meeting in Atlanta. “We need to find another way to celebrate the players.”

There are two proposed alternatives that have been reported. The Washington Post says the league is considering launching a seven-on-seven competition. It would not include tackling or full clocks. The other report comes from Ian Rapport of the NFL Network. He says the league is considering hosting a series of skills competitions over the course of what would be branded an all-star week. The NFL has partnered with DirecTV in the past to present similar events during Super Bowl Week. 

No details have emerged or final decisions made. Mark Maske of The Washington Post reports the future of the Pro Bowl was discussed on Tuesday during the owners’ meetings in Atlanta.

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