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Sports TV News

Woody Paige Says He Stole Mike Wilbon’s Car

“Now, Wilbon has not commented on social media or on Pardon The Interruption about what happened.”

Ricky Keeler

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When you watch Around The Horn on ESPN, you will find a debate show where the points matter and there is always competitive banter. However, sometimes, what you will find before the show starts are some interesting stories told by the people on the panel. 

Before Thursday’s show, Woody Paige mentioned before one of the Super Bowl that took place in Arizona (2008 or 2014) that he once took a fellow colleague’s car during the week of the big game off the ESPN compound in Scottsdale.

“When the Super Bowl was here and ESPN had a compound in Scottsdale, we did all of our shows there. I got through with my show. I’m out in the parking lot, trying to figure out where I parked my rental car. Wilbon comes into the compound area, pulls up there. He rolls down the window and says you got my car? I got the car, drove it down the compound down the street. When I came back, he was talking to the security guard about how someone came and took his car. I pulled up and said, you want to park my car, Michael?”

Now, Wilbon has not commented on social media or on Pardon The Interruption about what happened. However, if this is a true story, Paige’s prank does show some of the hijinks that can go on behind-the-scenes at ESPN. Plus, you never know what you are going to get during these segments that get posted on social media from the panelists. 

For example, before Tuesday’s show, Atlanta native Elle Duncan went on a rant about people that think Atlanta Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan has a case to get into the Hall of Fame.

“I knew everything I needed to know about Matt Ryan when he didn’t look on that damn sideline during that Super Bowl debacle and go we’re going to f*** run the ball. I don’t care what you are calling Kyle Shanahan, I’m the league MVP, we are running the ball.” 

As far as Paige and Wilbon are concerned, we await to see if Wilbon comments on Paige’s story. Nevertheless, the viewer did get an inside look as to what potentially happens on the ESPN set during Super Bowl week.

The story also serves as proof that watching Before The Horn is just as important as the television show that comes after it. You never know what kind of story or rant or entertainment you are going to get. 

Sports TV News

Al Michaels: Condensed Prep Time For Thursday Night Football ‘A Downside’

“It’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us.”

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There were bound to be unexpected hiccups and unintended consequences as Al Michaels moved to Thursday Night Football with Amazon Prime Video.

He told The Boston Globe Thursday that one of the downsides of the week’s schedule is less prep time with the teams playing in the game.

“When we go to see the teams, it’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us,” Michaels said. “And all the time I’ve been doing this, I’ve built some great relationships with coaches and players and GMs and owners and you name it, and I don’t get that much time to spend with them anymore. That’s a downside part of it for me. Some of the best stories you get come from those relationships.”

Michaels has raised eyebrows this season while not being shy about his disdain for some poor matchups early in the schedule. However, he now understands that there are quality games as the season approaches its close.

“The schedule was a little leaky with the Carolina-Atlanta game and a couple of other games that we’ve had, but now we’re positioned for a nice run down the stretch,” said Michaels.

The 78-year-old was also asked how he remains energetic and passionate for the job he’s held for so long.

The games are exciting. I love sports. You don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s no script. And unscripted television is the greatest.”

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Sports TV News

Jimmy Pitaro: Reaching Younger Audience A Priority for ESPN

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience. As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

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Many in the media industry have voice concern that millennials and Gen Z aren’t consuming traditional media outlets like previous generations. ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said it’s a priority for the network.

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience,” Pitaro said, quoted by Morning Consult sports business reporter Mark J. Burns. “As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

Pitaro made the comments at Sports Business Journal’s Media Innovators conference Wednesday. It is a continuation of comments he has made in recent years.

In 2018, Pitaro said at ESPN’s upfront “I think we are doing a fantastic job serving the sports fanatic,” said Pitaro. “What about the casual sports customer? Are we doing all we can to serve him or her?”.

In 2019, Pitaro said it was “all hands on deck” to reach a younger audience and women. “We have to be open and go to where our customers are,” he said in regards to reaching younger viewers on social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

Earlier this year, Pitaro added that ESPN won’t be leaving linear television anytime soon.

“What I will tell you is that as I sit here right now, that business is still incredible,” Pitaro said. “We serve the sports fan anyway and at any time. I know there are a lot of people that still want ESPN in that traditional ecosystem.”

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Sports TV News

Don Mattingly Joining Blue Jays Staff After YES Network Courtship

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

Jordan Bondurant

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The New York Yankees regional sports network can take Don Mattingly off its talent wish list. Mattingly was announced Wednesday as a bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays starting in 2023.

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

But Mattingly told Andrew Marchand of The New York Post this week that he had another opportunity in the works but wouldn’t elaborate.

YES also has been considering luring Yankees legend and Hall of Famer Derek Jeter into broadcasting. But no formal talks have taken place.

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