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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.”

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Report: AEW CEO Tony Khan Disappointed with Current Renewal Offer from Warner Bros. Discovery

“We’re having great talks, and people should feel very confident about what that means for the wrestlers, the staff, and the fans.”

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logo for All Elite Wrestling

With all of the focus on the NBA media rights coming up and what, if any, role Warner Bros. Discovery will have moving forward, there is another sports media deal expiring soon that WBD has been working on. Tony Khan and All Elite Wrestling, which is now in its fifth year of existence trying to compete with the WWE, are currently in an exclusive window to negotiate with the TNT and TBS parent company, and that window closes in July.

Puck’s Matthew Belloni reports Khan is underwhelmed by the offer currently on the table from WBD. After AEW’s ‘Double or Nothing’ pay-per-view this weekend, Khan was quoted as saying, “I’m happy working for Mr. David Zaslav and I’m hoping we can do it for a long time.”

AEW currently airs five hours of television each week between three shows on TNT and TBS. The Wrestling Observer reports AEW signed a four-year, $175 million contract with WBD in 2020, prior to adding a two-hour Saturday night show.

“It’s a really exciting time for AEW,” Khan told Sports Illustrated earlier this year. “We’re in active negotiations for the AEW media rights. Warner Bros. Discovery continues to be the best possible partner, and they’ve helped us grow this brand. It’s going to be a very exciting remainder to this year, and we’ll find out where AEW is going to live.

“For everyone who cares about AEW all over the world, we’re in a great position. This is going to work out really well for AEW. We’re having great talks, and people should feel very confident about what that means for the wrestlers, the staff, and the fans. As a result of everyone’s hard work and endless support from the fans, there will be a tremendous deal for AEW. The outlook for the company is so bright moving forward.”

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Indy 500 Averages 5.34 Million Viewers on NBC and Peacock

The Indianapolis 500 broadcast performance occurs as INDYCAR’s three-year media rights deal with NBC is set to expire at the end of the season.

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Indianapolis 500; NBC Sports
(Illustration) | Indianapolis 500 Logo – Courtesy: Penske Corporation | NBC Sports Logo – Courtesy: NBC Sports | Indianapolis Motor Speedway – Courtesy: Chris Graythen, Getty Images

Despite enduring a four-hour weather delay, the 108th Indianapolis 500 accumulated a total audience delivery of 5.34 million viewers on NBC, Peacock and NBC Sports digital platforms on Sunday, along with a 2.6 rating, according to data from Nielsen Media Research and Adobe Analytics. The performance marks the largest audience for the Indy 500 in the last three years and is up 8% year-over-year from the 4.93 million the race averaged in 2023.

Josef Newgarden of Team Penske won the Indianapolis 500 for a second consecutive year and became the first driver to win consecutive iterations of the event since Helio Castroneves attained the feat in 2002. The event also set a record with 18 drivers leading at least one lap, and the outcome was ultimately decided in the final lap of the 200-lap, 500-mile race.

NBC Sports’ lead INDYCAR broadcast team of Leigh Diffey, Townsend Bell and James Hinchcliffe called the action, with reporters Marty Snider, Kevin Lee, Dave Burns, Dillon Welch, Jeff Burton and Kim Coon. Mike Tirico and Danica Patrick broadcast studio coverage for the sixth consecutive year and were joined by Jimmie Johnson for pre-race and race coverage from the Peacock Pit Box on Pit Lane.

The Indianapolis 500 on NBC peaked at 6.46 million viewers in the 15-minute broadcast window from 7:30 to 7:45 p.m. EST. Additionally, the competition is the most-streamed INDYCAR race ever, garnering an average minute audience of 286,000 viewers on Peacock and NBC Sports digital platforms. This is the most-watched Sunday sporting event for NBC Sports since the NFL playoffs in January when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ matchup against the Detroit Lions amassed a total audience delivery of 40.4 million viewers.

NBCUniversal also secured the most-streamed event in U.S. history in January with an average of 23 million viewers tuning in for the exclusive broadcast of the NFL Wild Card matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins on Peacock.

Six races have taken place within the 2024 NTT INDYCAR series and are collectively averaging a total audience delivery of 1.95 million viewers. Five of these broadcasts have been on NBC while one was on USA Network. Viewers can watch NBC Sports’ coverage of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix on USA Network and Peacock on Sunday at 12 p.m. EST.

Throughout the weather delay, NBC Sports provided viewers with live updates and an encore presentation of the 2023 race. These programming adjustments ultimately resulted in more than nine hours of broadcast network coverage taking place throughout the day. INDYCAR removed the local blackout of the race in Indianapolis, Ind., which ended up securing an 18.15 household rating and 54 share. The race also coincided with the broadcast of the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 on FOX, which will move to Amazon’s Prime Video following the season.

The Indianapolis 500 broadcast performance occurs as INDYCAR’s three-year media rights deal with NBC is set to expire at the end of the season. NBC is reportedly interested in renewing the media rights deal; however, the network could face competition from other broadcast conglomerates. The company has had exclusive rights to INDYCAR since 2019 for a reported $20 million per year after it had previously split those rights with The Walt Disney Company (ESPN/ABC).

NASCAR agreed to seven-year media rights deals for the NASCAR Cup Series beginning in 2025 that includes NBC Sports, FOX Sports, Amazon’s Prime Video and TNT Sports. The Walt Disney Company currently broadcasts Liberty Media-owned Formula 1 as part of a three-year deal with the property that continues through 2025.

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Tom Brady: Broadcasting is Not About Competition For Me

“I think if I want to put effort into something, then naturally I’ll be more competitive at it because I’ll have invested a little bit of my time, a little bit of my energy into it.”

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Tom Brady
Courtesy: Ethan Miller, Getty Images

Tom Brady, the seven-time Super Bowl champion quarterback formerly of the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, will be making his NFL on FOX broadcasting debut as the lead color commentator for the property this upcoming season. Brady is slated to join play-by-play announcer Kevin Burkhardt and sideline reporters Erin Andrews and Tom Rinaldi as part of the lead broadcasting booth, which will call Super Bowl LIX from the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, La. at the conclusion of the season. The new member of the FOX Sports team was introduced in person at the FOX Upfront earlier in the month in New York City, during which he articulated his excitement about becoming a game analyst.

Over Memorial Day Weekend, Brady posted a video of himself jet skiing and participating in a variety of water sports. During an appearance on The Herd with Colin Cowherd on FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports Radio Monday afternoon, host Colin Cowherd divulged that Brady was granted with many gifts, including work ethic, sagaciousness and a competitive spirit. Cowherd then thought to himself that Brayd could not possibly be competitive jet skiing, leading him to ponder if broadcasting would satiate that trait. This led him to ask Brady if he is already watching tapes and leaning into a competitive attitude in preparing for this new endeavor surrounding the game of football.

“There are definitely parts of me that are hypercompetitive, and certainly they were as a player and as an athlete,” Brady said. “I love that competition; I relished that competition daily.”

Brady recollected that he was competitive in several activities during his football career outside of the actual game itself, including practice, ping pong or trashketball in the locker room. Yet over the years, he feels that he has matured and is able to exercise restraint by being selective in what ventures in which he competes.

“I think if I want to put effort into something, then naturally I’ll be more competitive at it because I’ll have invested a little bit of my time, a little bit of my energy into it,” Brady said. “Certainly, with the [broadcasting], I don’t think for me it’s about competition. I think for me it’s about, ‘Did I put everything I could into it?’ in that, ‘Did I give the fans everything that they tuned in for?,’ and that’s really how I’ll end up gauging myself.”

After Sunday games, Brady prognosticates that he will end up evaluating himself to see if he did well in the booth and actualized the belief instilled in him by FOX. Moreover, he wants to ensure that he is meeting the expectations of his colleagues as he aims to acclimatize himself into working in sports media and becoming a familiar voice to inform and entertain the viewing audience.

Brady is beginning the first season in a reported 10-year, $375 million contract to serve in the lead analyst role for FOX Sports, which will coincide with the expiration of the network’s media rights deal with the National Football League. If the current conditions are sustained, Brady will be on the call for three of the next 10 Super Bowl broadcasts.

“‘Did I live up to the expectations of my teammates – Kevin Burkhardt and Erin [Andrews] and Tom [Rinaldi] and Richie Zyontz and Rich Russo and our entire truck and entire team?,’” Brady hypothesized thinking after games. “That’s ultimately how I’ll judge myself in that new role.”

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