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Could Mike Tirico Replace Doc Emrick On NHL Games?

“It is also possible that no permanent replacement is named right away.”

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Mike Tirico

Andrew Marchand has wasted no time trying to figure out what the next move is for The NHL on NBC. The New York Post columnist published a piece on Monday after his colleague Phil Mushnick broke the news of Emrick’s retirement outlining what NBC’s plan could be for replacing the NHL’s iconic voice.

Marchand says not to rule out Mike Tirico as the one tapped to take over. He is the face of the NBC Sports brand and outside of Sunday Night Football, the NHL on NBC is the network’s only relationship with any of America’s four major professional sports leagues.

Tirico certainly has a full plate at NBC. He is a studio host for Sunday Night Football and is expected to take over the play-by-play role after Al Michaels retires. He also handles studio coverage of horse racing’s triple crown, the Olympics, and major golf events. Tirico is also the play-by-play voice of NBC’s coverage of Notre Dame football. Still, this could give NBC the opportunity to paint Tirico the way FOX does Joe Buck – the voice of the network’s most important sports moments.

Marchand mentions that Kenny Albert, the more obvious candidate, is still a strong possibility. He has been on the call of NBC’s #2 NHL game each week. The network also uses him to call the conference finals each year and Olympic hockey every four years.

It is also possible that no permanent replacement is named right away. The Covid-19 pandemic has pushed back the start of the next NHL season. It has also delayed the 2020 Summer Olympics to July of 2021. It would make it virtually impossible for Tirico’s schedule to not overlap.

On top of that, the NHL is set to negotiate a new media rights deal soon. NBC only has rights to the league’s national broadcasts, including the Stanley Cup Finals, for one more year. The league is reportedly interested in splitting its national TV rights with ESPN and FOX said to be interested. What effect that might have on NBC’s hockey schedule remains to be seen.

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3.72 Million Tune In To See LeBron James Break Scoring Record

Jordan Bondurant

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Lakers star LeBron James surpassed the NBA’s all-time scoring record on Tuesday night, and TNT benefitted from the milestone ratings wise.

According to Sports Media Watch, Tuesday night’s game averaged 2.98 million viewers. That figure made it TNT’s biggest regular season audience in over two years.

The broadcast peaked at 3.72 million around 11:45 p.m. when James passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the record.

Reporting also indicated that the game was the number one single-network program on TV in key demographics.

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Sports TV News

Disney Makes ESPN Independent Division In Corporate Restructuring

Jordan Bondurant

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ESPN

Disney is in the process of reorganizing and restructuring the company, and details have emerged about the company’s plans for ESPN.

Deadline reported on Wednesday that ESPN will be one of three standalone segments comprising Disney. Entertainment and Parks, Experiences & Products are the other two segments.

The reorganization comes amid the exit of former CEO Bob Chapek and the re-entry of CEO Bob Iger. As one of Iger’s first moves back running Disney, he announced a restructuring of Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution.

It was also reported that Jimmy Pitaro will continue as the president of ESPN.

In total, more than 7,000 jobs will be eliminated after the restructuring.

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Sports TV News

Roger Goodell: ‘Wouldn’t Surprise Me’ To See Thursday Night Football Move to Flex Scheduling

“Not today, but it’ll certainly be something that’s on our horizon.”

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Thursday Night Football

In 2023, Monday Night Football will join Sunday Night Football in having the ability to flex NFL games into its window. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday Night Football could someday join that elite club.

During his “State of the League” speech Wednesday, Goodell said Thursday Night Football having the ability to flex matchups “wouldn’t at all surprise me”.

“Not today, but it’ll certainly be something that’s on our horizon,” the NFL Commissioner said.

ESPN bargained for the ability to move higher profile games into Monday Night Football during its negotiations with the league for the next television contract that begins this upcoming season.

NBC has long held the ability to shift a select number of games from earlier windows into the Sunday Night Football primetime slot.

Amazon Prime Video just completed the first of an 11-year contract that sees the streaming platform spend nearly $1 billion per year on the Thursday Night Football package.

One of the largest storylines of Amazon’s debut season with the NFL was the near-constant ridicule from play-by-play announcer Al Michaels over the lackluster TNF schedule. Michaels made headlines over several weeks for his candor on the lack of interesting matchups, going as far as to joke that if the schedule didn’t improve he would retire.

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