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Hall of Famer Joe Morgan Dies At 77

“Morgan’s on-field career saw him play with five different teams. He most notably was a member of the Big Red Machine teams of the 1970s in Cincinnati.”

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Joe Morgan has died according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. The two-time NL MVP not only spent 22 seasons in Major League Baseball, he also spent 25 years in broadcast booths. Morgan was 77 years old.

Morgan’s on-field career saw him play with five different teams. He most notably was a member of the Big Red Machine teams of the 1970s in Cincinnati. That is where he experienced the bulk of his success, being voted an All-Star every year he was with the Reds and winning his only two World Series and MVP awards.

He also played for the Houston Colt .45s-turned-Astros, San Francisco Giants, Philadelphia Phillies, and Oakland A’s. Morgan is a member of the team Halls of Fame for both the Reds and Astros.

When he baseball career ended in 1984, Morgan made his way upstairs. He served as an analyst on both Major League and college baseball broadcasts. As a broadcaster, he moved to a national stage for the Majors in 1988, teaming with Al Michaels on ABC. He would go on to work for NBC in 1994, and most famously, joined ESPN in 1999. Morgan also called local broadcasts for the Reds, Giants, and A’s.

For baseball fans, Morgan was something of a divisive figure in the broadcast booth. Many that grew up with Morgan calling Sunday Night Baseball alongside John Miller consider him one of the premier voices of the game from their youth. Others criticized his many references to the Reds teams of the 70s and being over-critical of the modern game.

Constant criticism of Morgan even inspired the creation of one of the first popular sports blogs on the Internet. Fire Joe Morgan was started by Michael Schur, who would go on to create shows like Parks & Rec and The Good Place for NBC. The blog received recognition from the likes of ESPN and Sports Illustrated.

After leaving game analysis behind in 2010, Morgan returned to the Reds organization, but did not give up broadcasting entirely. He had a hour-long show syndicated by Sports USA while serving as a special advisor to the organization.

Morgan’s death is just the latest in what has been a brutal stretch for baseball fans. Since the end of August, he is the fifth Hall of Famer to die. The others include Tom Seaver (August 31), Lou Brock (September 2), Bob Gibson (October 2), and Whitey Ford on Friday.

Sports TV News

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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