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ESPN’s Malika Andrews Details Life Inside NBA Bubble

“Malika Andrews will be used across Disney platforms as the NBA works its way towards a restart. She will provide reports from inside the bubble for SportsCenter, Get Up!, and ABC’s Good Morning America.”

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Malika Andrews is one of ten people deemed “Group 1 Reporters” by the NBA. The ESPN reporter is already quarantined at her hotel at Walt Disney World. She spoke to Front Office Sports’s Michael McCarthy about the experience.

“I’m not going to lie. I was nervous. I’m a bit of a hypochondriac. I have bouts with anxiety,” Andrews told McCarthy about first being presented the opportunity to cover the restart of the NBA season. “But first and foremost, I cover sports. I love journalism first. And sports journalism is what I do. This is an incredible journalistic opportunity. There are only 10 reporters and a handful of other folks who are going to be able to experience this and document it first-hand. It’s documenting history.”

She says that upon arrival at her hotel, she was greeted by the eerie sight of rides inside Disney World’s Magic Kingdom running with no one on them.

Malika Andrews will be used across Disney platforms as the NBA works its way towards a restart. She will provide reports from inside the bubble for SportsCenter, Get Up!, and ABC’s Good Morning America.

“I keep getting asked if I’m bored? The answer is absolutely not. There’s so much reporting to be done; my days are just packed,” Andrews said.

She is only allowed to travel between practice sites and her hotel. She must wear a mask and gloves outside of her room, and Andrews gets tested for Covid-19 daily. The league is also having her wear “a social distance monitor/buzzer that reminds wearers to stay socially distanced six feet apart. She also inputs her body temperature and pulse rates every day into an NBA medical app.”

Comparisons between the NBA bubble and prison make Andrews bristle. She admits that being cutoff from your social circle for three months is not ideal, but the bubble has very little in common with being locked in a prison cell.

“The food is pretty delicious. The league has been accommodating about getting gym equipment to my room. I don’t know what prison comes even close to having that sort of accommodations. Not just for players, but for the staff and media as well. So it’s a silly comparison to call it a prison.”

Andrews also doesn’t seem to be too worried about burning out on her surroundings. She told McCarthy that when the pandemic is over, she has made plans with her mother and sister to visit Disneyland in Anaheim, CA.

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Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX

“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”

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FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.

A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.

The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.

Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.

That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.

Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.

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FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”

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The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.

Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.

Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”

Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.

“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.

FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.

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NBA Draft To Get Simulcast From ESPN & ABC

“This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.”

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ESPN is set for the 2022 NBA Draft coming up on June 23 at 8 p.m. from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The network announced Wednesday the crews that will handle coverage on both ESPN and ABC.

ABC will broadcast the first round in primetime. Kevin Negandhi will host and will be joined by Stephen A. Smith, Chiney Ogwumike and Jalen Rose. Monica McNutt will be reporting and interviewing draftees.

This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.

Malika Andrews will host both rounds for ESPN. Jay Bilas, Kendrick Perkins and Adrian Wojnarowski will share the set. Analysts Bobby Marks and Mike Schmitz will contribute.

“We’re thrilled that Malika Andrews will host this year’s ESPN presentation as she brings her well-documented, widespread skillset to our main set,” said David Roberts, head of NBA and Studio Production for ESPN. “The event will showcase the scope and depth of our NBA and college basketball talent roster with accomplished journalists and high-profile personalities across ESPN, ABC and ESPN Radio.”

ESPN will air a pre-draft red carpet show hosted by Cassidy Hubbarth from 5-6 p.m. Perkins and Richard Jefferson will also make appearances.

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