FOX will air a triple header of Major League Baseball action on Saturday. The nightcap will feature the Yankees and Nationals. It was reported earlier that the network will utilize virtual fans for the game. Joe Buck said on the SI Media Podcast that the broadcast will have a virtual booth of sorts too.
“We’re not only not in the stadium or in separate booths, we are not in the same city,” Buck told host Jimmy Traina. “I will be in Denver. John [Smoltz] will be in Jersey at the MLB headquarters. Our producer, Pete Macheska, who is phenomenal at what he does, will be in L.A and we will make it come together.”
Traina asked Buck how the decision was made to have he and Smoltz call the game remotely.
“It’s a Fox decision at this point with regard to broadcasters being in the stadium,” Buck answered. “I don’t know what MLB’s policy would be, but certainly the home announcers are allowed to be there, so I don’t think that would be an issue. So that’s a Fox issue.”
Buck will be in Denver because he is visiting his mother-in-law, who just moved into an assisted living facility in the area. He told Traina that he will go to a television studio to call the game so that he has the clearest connection possible.
He told Traina that when FOX is ready to let broadcasters travel, he will not hesitate to do so. In fact, he would travel this week if he could.
“Would I be worried about going to D.C. to do the game? Absolutely not. I feel like with the number of hotel rooms and plane flights and dirty ballparks that I’ve been in since I was about 2, I feel like, and I’ll say this and I’ll probably regret saying it, but I feel like I’m doing everything I can, with every guideline that’s been put out there from masks to washing my hands to social distancing and all that, at some point you have to go on with your life and be smart about it, so no, I would have absolutely no issue going to D.C. to do the game.”
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.”
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.
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?”
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.
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.”
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.