In the end, Thom Brennaman did not get fired for his use of a homophobic slur on air. The outcome is still the expected one though. The Cincinnati Reds will be searching for a new play-by-play man for the 2021 season.
The broadcaster officially resigned his role with the Reds on Friday according to Evan Milward of Cincinnati’s ABC affiliate, WPCO-TV. He had been suspended from the broadcast team since August.
“My family and I have decided that I am going to step away from my role as the television voice of the Cincinnati Reds,” Brennaman’s statement to Milward reads. “I would like to thank the Reds, Reds fans and the LGBTQ Community for the incredible support and grace they have shown my family and me.”
How much the LGBTQ community in Cincinnati embraces Brennaman’s efforts to reconcile remains to be seen. Last month, Brennaman reached out to Milward, who is openly gay, to help him better understand the hurt using the slur caused.
Milward and Ryan Messer, one of the co-founders of Cincinnati’s Human Relations Commission have been meeting with Brennaman, and while both say he seems sincere in his desire to understand and make amends with the LGBTQ community, Messer has been clear that he doesn’t believe Brennaman’s claim that a television microphone just happened to catch him using the homophobic slur for the first time.
Since being suspended by the Reds and their television partner Fox Sports Ohio, Brennaman has also lost his role calling NFL games for FOX. He says that he hopes this is not the end of his broadcasting career.
“I have been in this profession that I love for 33 years. It is my hope and intention to return. And if I’m given that opportunity, I will be a better broadcaster and a much better person.”
The Reds issued a statement of their own. The team says Brennaman has its support and applauds his efforts to make amends with Cincinnati’s LGBTQ fans.
ESPN Releases Details For Joe Buck’s PGA Championship Broadcast
“Michael Collins will serve as Buck’s co-host.”
Omaha Productions and ESPN are getting ready for the PGA Championship. News broke last week that Joe Buck would make his ESPN debut at the center of alternative coverage of the event. Now the network is sharing a few details of the broadcast.
Michael Collins will serve as Buck’s co-host. ESPN’s senior golf analyst will bring the perspective of a former caddie to the broadcast as well as the humor of a former comedian.
The duo will welcome plenty of guests too. The lineup suggests that while the broadcast will be built around golf, the conversations could go anywhere. Troy Aikman, Josh Allen, Charles Barkley, Doris Burke, Fred Couples, Jon Hamm, and Peyton & Eli Manning are all scheduled to make appearances.
“We loved doing Monday Night Football with ESPN and the entire Omaha team has been looking forward to producing alternate telecasts that celebrate other sports,” Peyton Manning said in a press release. “As one of golf’s majors, the PGA Championship is a perfect place to do our first one for golf and we look forward to working with Joe, Michael and everyone in ESPN’s golf team.”
Joe Buck and Michael Collins will be on TV for all four days of the PGA Championship. They will be on for four hours each day. The broadcast will alternate between ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN+ depending on where the traditional coverage of the event is airing.
The PGA Championship with Joe Buck & Michael Collins is the latest offering from ESPN’s deal with Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions. The company has also committed to produce alternate coverage of MMA and college football broadcasts in the future.
Tom Brady To Join FOX At End Of Career
“Whether or not Tom Brady is great on TV remains to be seen. What is certain is that the network just added star power that is unmatched amongst other networks that carry NFL games.”
Tom Brady won’t be in the booth this season for FOX, but he will be there eventually. The network’s PR account tweeted that as soon as Brady is ready to call it a career, he will join Kevin Burkhardt to call the biggest game on the network’s slate each week.
“We are delighted that Tom has committed to joining the Fox team and wish him all the best during this upcoming season,” FOX CEO Lachlan Murdoch said in a statement.
FOX has made no secret of its desire to bring Brady aboard. The network has been courting him ever since he announced his retirement in February. The desire to pair him with Burkhardt was first reported in March by Andrew Marchand of The New York Post.
This news raises questions about the future for a lot of the parties involved. First, who will be Burkhardt’s partner this season? Tom Brady has committed to play for the Buccaneers. Next, what does this mean for the quarterback’s future? Does this guarantee that 2022 will be his final season in the NFL? Finally, what now for Greg Olsen? He had been Burkhardt’s partner last season and has expressed interest in continuing to work together.
All of those answers will be addressed in time. Right now, FOX is busy celebrating.
Whether or not Tom Brady is great on TV remains to be seen. What is certain is that the network just added star power that is unmatched amongst other networks that carry NFL games.
That is going to cost them too. Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports reports that Brady’s FOX paycheck will eclipse $20 million annually.
FOX’s deal with Tom Brady is similar to the one NBC made with Drew Brees before his final season in New Orleans. It allowed the quarterback one more season and promised him a nice landing spot in the media when his playing days are done. We will have to wait and see whether or not FOX will end up waiting longer than the one season NBC did.
Ratings for NHL Regional Coverage Down Across Most Of The League
“Only four teams with available data (the Kings, Wild, Panthers, and Red Wings) saw ratings growth in 2021-22.”
While national TV ratings for the NHL season can and should be celebrated, ratings for regional sports networks appear to be a cause for concern. John Ourand of Sports Business Journal reported Monday that RSNs across the league were down 23% compared to last year.
The 2020-21 season was shortened to 56 games because of the COVID pandemic.
Only four teams with available data (the Kings, Wild, Panthers, and Red Wings) saw ratings growth in 2021-22. Numbers for Carolina, Nashville and the Canadian teams were unavailable.
Arizona saw the biggest dip year over year. Bally Sports Arizona was down 58% compared to last year. Part of it is understandable. The Coyotes were one of the worst teams in the league.
Viewership for the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning was down 20%. The average rating for games on Bally Sports Sun was 1.49, good enough for 10th of the teams on the list.
The Pittsburgh Penguins had an average rating of 5.43 on AT&T Sportsnet Pittsburgh this season, which topped the league, but viewership was still down 30% versus last season.
The Seattle Kraken had an average rating of 0.96 for their inaugural season on Root Sports.