The entire NHL on NBC crew was on a conference call on Friday morning to talk about the upcoming Stanley Cup Finals matchup between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Dallas Stars. Like the rest of the playoffs, the games will be played inside of the NHL bubble, with all action shifting to Edmonton for the Finals.
Play-by-play man Doc Emrick and analyst Eddie Olczyk were asked how long distance was effecting their usual chemistry. Olczyk is in Canada, while Emrick is calling games from his home in Michigan.
“We enjoy one another’s company so much, whether it winds up being a couple thousand miles apart or whether it’s on the air and in two separate boxes at the start of a show, it makes it just a part of a good life for me; I will tell you that,” Emrick answered.
He noted that there are times that the two will end up talking over each other, but each does his best to give the other enough space to avoid those hiccups.
Emrick was asked on the call about technical improvements that were made to limit the delay between the live action and what he sees on his screen at home. He said that he was never aware of a delay and deferred to producer Sam Flood.
“It was two tin cans, we stretched the string between it, and that sped up the process,” Flood joked. “Alexander Graham Bell was an analyst for us and helped us through, and Mr. Bell said if you go a shorter distance, which is from where you are outside Detroit to Edmonton, the sound and pictures will travel quicker, and that’s what we did and miraculously it worked. So the shorter distance sped us up.”
In reality, originally, what Emrick saw at home was being sent to him from the control room in Stamford, Connecticut after NBC received the video from its truck in either Toronto or Edmonton. In later rounds, Emrick’s feed came directly from the truck on location.
Olczyk cited the duo’s fourteen year history together. He said that no matter what, he trusts Emrick’s call just as he has in the past.
“I think it is obviously a unique dynamic, but when you’re working with the best, you follow Doc’s lead as Pierre and Bouch and I have done and will continue to do. There is a cadence that we understand, and I remember for the first time when I sat in that chair after the great John Davidson left for St. Louis to become team president of the St. Louis Blues some 14 plus years ago, and our leader Sam Flood, I remember him vividly saying, you know, late in a game, ‘Okay, guys, this is Doc time, and that’s when you pick your spots and you get in and you get out and you give Doc an opportunity to take a breath and we’d go from there.’”
He added that any praise that he and Emrick have received for covering games in the bubble is really praise for the entire NBC team.
“The team and the teamwork is second to none, and those are things that are going on behind the scenes that people don’t know about compared to a normal situation. But as we’ve all said, what the hell is normal in 2020, and we will figure it out because we’re working for and with the best, and we’re looking forward to tomorrow night.”
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.