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Kirk Herbstreit Open To Giving Up College Football For NFL

“College football remains Herbstreit’s first love. He made that very clear.”

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When the subject of Kirk Herbstreit and Chris Fowler becoming the new voices of Monday Night Football on ESPN was first raised, the College GameDay star made it clear that he was not interested in giving up his role as ESPN’s lead college football analyst. Now his tune has changed a bit.

Herbstreit spoke with The Big Lead this week and said that his early season experiences with Monday Night Football left him open to leaving the college game behind to cover the NFL should the opportunity ever present itself again.

“I had an absolute ball calling that game [Steelers-Giants] and it made me reflect a little bit differently toward my future and what I might want to do down the road,” Herbstreit told Brian Giuffra. “Like I said, I hope to always do college football. But if NFL would be in my future, I’m a lot more open to that thought than I was maybe prior to that experience.”

College football remains Herbstreit’s first love. He made that very clear. His family has deep ties to the sport. In addition to being a starting quarterback at Ohio State himself, his father played football there as well and was a team captain, and Herbstreit’s sons play for Dabo Swinney at Clemson.

He also said that he knows his name has become so synonymous with ESPN’s coverage of the sport, that he wondered how he might be received on an NFL broadcast.

“I have to be honest, I was just a little bit, not intimidated, I was just a little bit curious as to how they would handle Chris and Kirk coming in from college to do a Monday night game and they could not have been any more gracious,” He said of the NFL players and coaches. “That part kind of excited me, that they were pumped that we were there to do their game.”

ESPN certainly does not seem to have the future for Monday Night Football set in stone. Steve Levy is calling games this season alongside analysts Brian Griese and Louis Riddick, but ending up with that team after striking out with multiple major names, feels like a band-aid.

It’s not impossible to think Herbstreit could be in ESPN’s future plans for Monday Night Football. It may not be in the company’s best interest though.

Between ABC and the ESPN networks, the company already carries more college football than anyone else. Plus, it just paid $2 billion to take over the primary broadcast rights for the SEC in 2023. Add to that the fact that College GameDay is firmly entrenched as the sport’s go-to pregame show for most fans, and becomes very hard to see the network being willing to give up the credibility and caché Herbstreit brings to its coverage of college football.

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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.”

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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.

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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?”

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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