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McDonough, Steele Sign New Deals With ESPN

“McDonough and Steele have each agreed to new multi-year deals.”

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ESPN has come to terms on contracts for two members of its roster. The first order of business involves award-winning play-by-play voice Sean McDonough, who has agreed to a new multi-year deal, extending the relationship between both parties for well beyond three decades.

McDonough is expected to continue calling a College Football Playoff Semifinal on ESPN and the CFP National Championship on ESPN Radio, as well as a weekly marquee regular season game on ESPN or ABC. He’ll be paired once again with analyst Todd Blackledge, and field analyst Todd McShay.

“For many viewers, Sean has been a signature voice for their entire fandom, shaping memories of historic sports moments,” said ESPN senior vice president of production, Lee Fitting. “His innate ability to rise to the occasion has been proven time and time again which, along with his broadcasting versatility across a multitude of sports, has defined his career. Having Sean continue to be a mainstay on our signature games enhances our entire production. We’re looking forward to the next chapter of an already remarkable career.”

“While I appreciate the opportunities I’ve had to call many exciting games across a wide array of sports,” said McDonough, “It’s the lifelong friendships with my talented colleagues that mean the most. I’m fortunate to have a dream job that enables me to work with people who have become like family to me.”

The second member to be retained by the network is Chicago-based general assignment reporter, Michele Steele. Steele, who has been with ESPN since 2011, has inked a new multiyear contract to continue in her current role.

During her time with ESPN, Steele has been a versatile on-air contributor. She’s reported on stories and appeared on SportsCenterNFL LiveOutside the Lines and ESPN’s digital platforms. She’s also been a studio host on SportsCenter and OTL, and delivered features for those shows, as well as SC FeaturedE60 and NFL Countdown. The past year saw her add video and written projects too for ESPN’s ‘The Undefeated’.

“The core of what I do is original reporting, adding texture and depth to the games that we all love,” said Steele. “I pride myself in my ability to find and tell original stories that not only challenge us to think – but ask us to feel.

“In a time where we are physically apart from each other, sharing stories that speak to our connections as fans takes on an even greater role,” she said. “While we may live our lives very differently in 2020, the things that bind us never went away.”

Sports TV News

FanDuel TV Strikes Deal With ONE Championship Martial Arts

“We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”

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FanDuel TV and ONE Championship Martial Arts have struck a deal that will see the MMA, Muay Thai, kickboxing, and submission grappling series air weekly events on the newly launched channel.

“We’re eager to continue expanding the variety of content we’re offering at FanDuel TV to introduce our audience to emerging sports,” said FanDuel Chief Commercial Officer Mike Raffensperger. “We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”

ONE Championship is a top-five global sports property for digital viewership and engagement according to Nielsen measurements.

“We are thrilled to join the FanDuel TV lineup and give our passionate U.S. audience yet another way to engage with ONE Championship,” said ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong. “Having a quality partner in FanDuel will help raise the profile of our company in the region and provide their viewers with action-packed martial arts events like they have never seen before.”

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Sports TV News

Bob Costas Re-Lives First Announcing Assignment For NBC

“My biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979.”

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Legendary sports broadcaster Bob Costas appeared on KNBR’s Tolbert & Copes Thursday to discuss the death of Baseball Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry. But before the conversation turned to the recently departed pitcher, the show asked Costas about what he has announced that would surprise someone. He reminisced about his first time on the air for NBC.

“My very first assignment for NBC, my biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979,” Costas recounted. “There was a program on NBC then called Sports World. It was an anthology series that was their answer to the gold standard, ABC’s Wide World of Sports.

“So they traveled the globe, like Wide World of Sports did. So they sent me, wearing a red NBC jacket, to Tokyo to cover a sumo wrestling tournament with seven-time world power-lifting champion Larry Pacifico as my color man. Now, this is all the Japanese I learned as we came on the air: ‘Minasan kon’nichwa watashinoamaeha Bob Costas’, which means ‘Hello everyone, my name is Bob Costas’. If ever there was typecasting, when they sat and looked at their roster of announcers and went ‘Who should we send to the sumo wrestling? It’s gotta be Costas, who’s entire body weight would constitute one meal for the sumo wrestling champion.”

Costas departed NBC Sports in 2019 after 40 years with the network, announcing MLB, NBA, and the Olympics, in addition to his work with the network’s sumo wrestling coverage.

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Sports TV News

Matt Leinart, Alex Smith Make Wager Over Pac-12 Championship Game

“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous. I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.”

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FOX Sports analyst Matt Leinart and ESPN analyst Alex Smith have made a friendly wager over the upcoming Pac-12 Championship Game.

USC, Leinart’s alma mater, is slated to play Utah, where Smith attended, in the game Friday evening on FOX from Las Vegas.

The two agreed to don the other player’s jersey. “At least it will be 11,” Smith said, noting he and Leinart both wore the number during their playing days.

“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous,” Leinart said when presented with the offer. “I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.” Smith jokingly responded by calling USC “Free Agent University”. He added he would overnight Leinart a jersey to ensure he had one if the Utes were victorious.

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