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NBA Returns To Chinese Television

“It has been estimated that prior to Morey’s tweet, China was the source of 10% of all NBA revenues.”

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The NBA has been off television screens in China since October 4, 2019, but that changes very soon. The state-owned Chinese Central Television (CCTV) will air Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Friday night according to Front Office Sports.

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey set off something of an international’s incident last year when he tweeted support for protestors in Hong Kong. The move angered the Chinese government and led to eleven China-based companies cutting ties with the NBA.

In February, before the realities of the Covid-19 Pandemic were clear, Adam Silver said that the league was set to lose $300 million this season. It has been estimated that prior to Morey’s tweet, China was the source of 10% of all NBA revenues.

“During the recent Chinese National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations, the NBA sent their well wishes to fans in China,” a statement issued to ESPN on behalf of CCTV reads. “We also took note of the league has been continuously delivering goodwill (to China), particularly making positive contributions to Chinese people’s fight against COVID-19 pandemic.”

Chinese fans have not been totally denied NBA content during the last 12 months. Tencent, the tech company behind TikTok and WeChat, has been streaming NBA games.

The NBA had good timing in signing a five-year deal worth $1.5 billion with Tencent. The two sides’ relationship dates back to July 2019, well before Morey’s tweet took the league off of linear TV in China.

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Meadowlark Media Partnering With Skydance Sports On Documentaries

Up first will be a documentary series titled Good Neighbors, which chronicles the soccer rivalry between the United States and Mexican men’s national teams.

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Since launching Meadowlark Media with Dan Le Batard, former ESPN president John Skipper has said that he wants the start-up sports media company to make a big push with video content, citing an opportunity in the sports documentary space.

On Thursday, Meadowlark announced a new partnership with Skydance Sports, a division of Skydance Media, to produce unscripted sports content. The production companies will collaborate on two upcoming projects.

Up first will be a documentary series titled Good Neighbors, which chronicles the soccer rivalry between the United States and Mexican men’s national teams. The series is currently in production and plans to debut before the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The second project from Meadowlark and Skydance will be a documentary on women’s basketball star Diana Taurisi, billed as “the definitive and authorized chronicle of [her] remarkable life and career.”

Last November, Meadowlark hired Deirdre Fenton as the company’s executive director of unscripted content. Fenton previously produced documentaries at ESPN and DAZN, with O.J.: Made in America and The Last Dance among her credits.

Skipper and Fenton will work alongside Skydance Sports executives Jon Weinbach and Jesse Sisgold in producing the upcoming documentary projects.

“Deirdre and I are excited for the tremendous opportunity to work with Jesse and Jon, who share our vision of using sports storytelling to explore and explicate larger cultural and societal issues,” Skipper said in the official announcement. “Our two first documentaries are a wonderful way to launch this partnership.”

It isn’t yet known with which streaming outlets or networks these projects will land. Meadowlark has a first-look deal with Apple TV+, but that is likely an exclusive agreement unrelated to the new partnership with Skydance Sports.

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HBO Releases ‘Terry Bradshaw: Going Deep’ Trailer: “It’s Been An Amazing Life”

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HBO has released a trailer and poster image for its Terry Bradshaw: Going Deep documentary, just over one week after the project was announced.

In collaboration with NFL Films, Going Deep is a combination of footage from a stage show that Bradshaw performed in Branson, Missouri (with singing, music, stories, and monologues), archival clips from the quarterback’s football career, and a new interview with the Fox NFL studio analyst.

Check out the trailer below:

Bradshaw taking the stage to tell personal stories and singing country-style music, with a band playing behind him, should help this HBO Sports special stand apart from a more conventional documentary with football-related interviews and clips. For example, Bradshaw’s A Football Life episode for NFL Network in 2019 or the 2003 installment of ESPN’s SportsCentury series.

Directed by longtime NFL Films documentarian Keith Cossrow, Going Deep appears to be Bradshaw telling his own life story and sharing personal anecedotes, rather than a filmmaker cutting together footage to tell his or her own version of the story. Though longtime NFL Films documentarian Keith Cossrow directed this film, not Bradshaw himself.

“As you can imagine, God knows I’ve had a lot of therapy,” Bradshaw jokes with the Branson audience, as shown in the trailer.

Terry Bradshaw: Going Deep premieres Tuesday, Feb. 1 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and will be available for streaming on HBO Max.

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Lindsey Vonn To Be NBC Primetime Correspondent For Winter Olympics

“My first memories of Olympics were from NBC broadcasts, so I am very excited to be working with a team that has been there for so many amazing Olympic moments.”

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Lindsey Vonn will be the newest former Olympian to join NBC to cover the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics.

Vonn is one of the most well-known names in winter sports and one of the most accomplished. She has won 82 World Cup races, four overall World Cup championships, is one of six women to have won World Cup races in all five disciplines, and she took part in four Olympics, winning three medals. 

Vonn has worked for NBC before, once during the 2014 Sochi Olympics as a correspondent while she recovered from injury. This role, however, provides Vonn the opportunity as a “primetime correspondent” in Beijing. It seems that by title alone, this position carries a little more weight.

Executive Producer and President, Molly Solomon, had this to say about the addition of Vonn:

“As one of the greatest Olympic skiers of all time and a superstar who has transcended her sport, we’re thrilled to have Lindsey join our team,” said Molly Solomon, Executive Producer & President, NBC Olympics Production. “Lindsey will provide a perspective unique to an athlete known for excellence, intensity and determination on the world’s biggest and most competitive stage.”

Vonn seems grateful and enthusiastic about the opportunity.

“I am excited to share my perspective along with my insight on what athletes might be feeling during high pressure moments,” Vonn said. “My first memories of Olympics were from NBC broadcasts, so I am very excited to be working with a team that has been there for so many amazing Olympic moments.”

Since she retired, Vonn has made the move into sports media a priority. Other than her correspondent work, she is also a co-director and executive producer of the upcoming Peacock documentary Picabo, on revolutionary American downhill racer Picabo Street which will premiere Friday.

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