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ESPN Personalities Comment On Protests, Death of George Floyd

“Kudos to ESPN for recognizing that this is an issue that should speak to all of us. And kudos to the talent that listened, and asked questions and especially to those that opened up and spoke so emotionally about the issue and the moment.”

Ricky Keeler

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The death of George Floyd at the hands of ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chavin last Monday and the many protests that have happened across the United States over the weekend had many athletes and ESPN personalities voicing their opinion on the tragic event and what needs to change in this country. 

As I was watching SportsCenter on Saturday night, I came across anchor Michael Eaves talking about the impact this situation had on him. It was leading into a piece done by Jeremy Schaap about the impact athletes are having during these tough times.

Eaves has not been the only personality who has spoken out over the weekend. On Friday’s Get Up, Jalen Rose talked about how we as a society need to come together, not just when it is convenient.

https://twitter.com/JalenRose/status/1266381588994146312

Marcus Spears, who contributes to Get Up and College Football Live among other shows on ESPN and the SEC Network, tweeted on Sunday a statement saying this is the best he could explain the situation and then spoke on Monday’s Get Up about the impact it had on his 11-year-old son: 

https://twitter.com/GetUpESPN/status/1267456484306309121

On ESPN Radio’s Sunday Morning show hosted by Matt Schick and Myron Medcalf, Schick mentioned how he had a discussion with his kids about everything going on in the world and he told them about what happened to Emmett Till. I will leave that clip here along with the interview Schick and Medcalf did with North Carolina Central men’s basketball coach, LeVelle Moton: 

https://twitter.com/ESPNRadio/status/1267170778547716097

Another segment I was able to catch Sunday was when Chris Carlin and Alyssa Lang had Bart Scott, the former Jets linebacker and co-host of Bart and Hahn on ESPN Radio New York, on their show and Lang asked what white people can do to help the situation.

“Just make abundantly clear that silence is compliance,” Scott answered. “If you fail to say nothing, you are saying it is ok and injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Eventually, if you don’t attack injustice, eventually it is going to be on your doorsteps.” 

On Monday’s The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz, Le Batard spoke on the subject and you can hear the emotion he was using (credit to @gifdsports for the audio).

“It’s heartbreaking. I’m just an observer. Latin or not, minority or not, I come from privilege. I hope we can just laugh today that there can be some medicine somewhere in this,” Le Batard said. “I’ve been alive for 51 years. I have not had as heartbreaking a weekend for something that didn’t really directly impact me as I did this weekend where my fear kept me in a place. This bone-weariness, this feeling that you have in your heart, in your stomach, it feels like a disease.”

Kudos to ESPN for recognizing that this is an issue that should speak to all of us. And kudos to the talent that listened, and asked questions and especially to those that opened up and spoke so emotionally about the issue and the moment. We as a country need to do better. So, the one thing I would want everyone to take from this article and these people is please, take a minute, and listen. 

Sports TV News

FOX Doubles Ad Price For Premiere US World Cup Matches

FOX has capitalized by charging $600,000 per 30-second commercial during its coverage of USA/England.

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The 2022 World Cup is underway and the opener received a gigantic ratings increase for FOX Sports. Now, according to a report from Front Office Sports, the network has doubled its ad price for the USA match versus England.

USA/England will air in a lucrative window, at 2:00 PM ET on Black Friday, and FOX has capitalized by charging $600,000 per 30-second commercial during its coverage of the match. That price, according to Front Office Sports reporters Michael McCarthy and Doug Greenberg, is double what the network had asked for from advertisers for other matches.

While the event opener saw a sharp increase, the first match featuring the United States saw a decline from previous World Cup openers for the country. 11.71 million watched the match in the US between FOX Sports and Telemundo. In 2014, 11.1 million watched on ESPN and in 2010 13 million watched the first US match on ABC.

Analysists have predicted FOX Sports could garner nearly $125 million in ad revenue for the duration of the tournament.

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Sports TV News

Telemundo’s Miguel Gurwitz Announcing World Cup, NFL Thanksgiving Games For 18 Straight Hours Thursday

With the game expected to end at 2:00 AM local time, that means Gurwitz will be announcing games for over 18 hours on Thursday.

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With the World Cup happening at an unprecedented time, there were bound to be scheduling conflicts. The conflicts for Telemundo’s Miguel Gurwitz, however, might be the real unprecedented nature of the event being played in November.

Gurwitz works on Telemundo’s coverage of the World Cup while calling matches as the secondary play-by-play announcer. Beginning at 11:00 AM in Doha, Gurwitz will work the network’s coverage of the event.

But as the soccer day turns to tonight, Gurwitz will call Telemundo’s broadcast of the New England Patriots and Minnesota Vikings game from Qatar. With the game expected to end at 2:00 AM local time, that means Gurwitz will be announcing games for over 18 hours on Thursday.

He will also do the feat again on Sunday, as he’ll broadcast World Cup matches for the network during the day and then announce the Packers and Eagles game for Sunday Night Football.

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Sports TV News

Kevin Burkhardt: ‘Honor To Be In People’s Homes’ During Thanksgiving Broadcast

“There were a couple on the calendar that I thought that it might hit me and be very, very cool.”

Ricky Keeler

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On Thanksgiving, Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen will call their first Thanksgiving Day game for FOX when the New York Giants take on the Dallas Cowboys (4:30 PM ET). It’s been a memorable year for Burkhardt and Olsen in their first year as the A broadcast team for FOX that will end in the duo calling the Super Bowl in February.

Burkhardt was a guest on The Season with Peter Schrager podcast this week and talked about the honor of getting the chance to be on the call for a Thanksgiving Day game.

“The whole job is big and we are doing big games every week. There were a couple on the calendar that I thought that it might hit me and be very, very cool. One of them was Dallas-Green Bay, which turned out to be epic a couple of weeks ago.

“The playoffs and the Super Bowl will be great, but Thanksgiving Day. Growing up in a football family, it was kind of eating around both games. Catch the early game, halftime, go throw the football in the street, eat the meal between games, then the Cowboys game comes on, you watch that. Maybe halftime you watch or maybe you throw the football again. Watch the rest of the game, you have dessert after the game. That was the day.

“It is an honor because you are in a lot of people’s homes every week. I feel like you really are in people’s homes…. You are kind of like hugging everybody. I think it’s beyond awesome, I really do.”

Burkhardt mentioned to Schrager that he and Olsen knew they had big shoes to fill after taking over for Joe Buck and Troy Aikman (both now at ESPN) and it felt like walking in to a new job, but the A crew at FOX helped them and he liked that he and Olsen got to do it together.

“It’s been awesome. It really has. When you go into a situation like this, Joe and Troy were there for 2 decades, that’s a long time. People have long-standing relationships. Even though I’ve been at FOX for 9 years and Greg was there last year, we are the new guys essentially.

“You walk in, you don’t know how they are going to react to you, what they are going to think of you, if they think you are any good and all that stuff. From Day 1, it was like welcome to the family, we love you. I know that sounds kind of cheesy, but it’s been awesome. It felt like we’ve just fit right in. I think there’s been some cool symmetry, the fact that Greg and I got to do it together because we have such a bond.

“The fact that we got to jump in together I think has kind of been fun and helped us both because he knows me really well and I know him really well. Then, it was just getting everyone else to know us and vice versa.”

The one thing that Burkhardt did have to adjust to was a different style of show and that each production team has different viewpoint and creativity.

“The crew I’ve been on my whole life with Pete Macheska and Artie Kempner, they do a different show than Z (Richie Zyontz) and Russo (Rich Russo) do it. It’s not good, bad, or indifferent. Everyone has different viewpoints and creativity. I think it was just getting used to each other in terms of that, but it’s felt like I’ve worked with them for 25 years. It’s felt seamless. It’s felt fun.”

Even though Burkhardt is now the lead NFL play-by-play voice for FOX, that doesn’t mean he is going to change how he does a game.

“I’m not going to change my style or who I am. I’m not saying I’m not open to critiques and wanting to get better and to get coached. The basis of what I do and how I do it, I’m not going to change that now because I’m on the A crew. They liked me enough to put me here, so I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing. Maybe tweaks here and there, but if I radically changed now, I’d be a moron.” 

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