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Doris Burke: Nothing Means More Than Inspiring Other Women

“I know there are women who preceded me who carved a more difficult path than I did. It was their professionalism and their competence that allowed me the opportunities I had.”

Ricky Keeler

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When you think about who the most notable women in the sports media industry are, it does not take long for someone to mention NBA analyst Doris Burke. Burke has had an impact on so many women in the industry and she was the latest guest on the latest episode of Mike Greenberg’s podcast, I’m Interested

Towards the end of the interview, Greenberg asked Burke about the impact she has had on other women in the industry and how others look up to her. She gave some powerful words and talked about how she is excited for what women are currently doing in the industry: 

“I am so excited by the women I see because I know they are just going to go to higher and higher ground. I will tell you the truth. I did not enter this business. It was sort of a happy accident for me. I love the game of basketball. It has shaped my life since I was 7 years old…So much of my self-worth was wrapped up in could I be an All-Big East player. I have been fortunate in terms of timing. I am operating at a point in history where coverage of women’s sports was growing exponentially. If it’s not for the WNBA, I don’t get in front of those executives at MSG. I am the beneficiary of incredible divine providence and unbelievable timing.

“If somehow I have made the path easier for the women who come behind me, nothing I professionally have done would mean more to me. I know there are women who preceded me who carved a more difficult path than I did. It was their professionalism and their competence that allowed me the opportunities I had.”

During the interview, Burke mentioned how one of her favorite memories in her broadcasting career was being on the broadcast for the UCONN women’s 66-64 loss to Mississippi State in the 2017 Women’s Final Four that ended the Huskies’ 111-game win streak. While describing that moment, she takes the listener inside what she was feeling at the time as well as her notable reaction to the moment: 

“We were in Dallas, Texas. The building was packed. It’s funny because they put a spy camera towards the announce team. Pat Lowry was the coordinating producer. She called me the next morning and asked if I mind if they release the tape? I said hell no. That’s incredible footage of a very real raw reaction and I said please send it out because you are giving the viewer a glimpse into our world.

“That is the play-by-play’s moment. We were working as a threesome for the first time. Kara Lawson just joined our telecast. I wanted to make sure Dave O’Brien called it and to put some context on it.”

For every broadcaster or media member, it takes that big break for them to get on the national stage. For Burke, that also applies as she was able to work her first playoff game and got an email from a basketball Hall-Of Famer and current ESPN analyst: 

“My first playoff game only happens because they had been telling Tom Tolbert to get a password and he could never logistically work it out. ESPN’s first game was on a Saturday at noon in Toronto and Tom could not go. That was my first playoff game. I remember this distinctly. After that, I got an email from Bill Walton. It was substantial, but it said congratulations, it was absolutely fantastic, and I hope you get to work more games as an analyst. That was a big break for me.” 

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Pac-12 Networks Content Could Be Headed To ACC Network

“Dellenger and Forde report that talks to make the deal a reality are in the very early stages.”

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ESPN has been at the center of a lot of conversations about the future of college sports following the Big Ten plucking UCLA and USC out of the Pac-12. The network could be part of a broadcasting partnership that is meant to secure the futures of the Pac-12 and the ACC.

In a joint report for Sports Illustrated, Ross Dellenger and Pat Forde write that the two conferences would not merge, but that the ACC Network could get renamed and include content centered on both conferences.

A deal like this would pay dividends for all involved. The ACC would get more TV revenue and the Pac-12 would get broader distribution that it had with its proprietary Pac-12 Networks, which was reportedly struggling to even stay afloat. It could also secure the conference’s future as some members consider leaving for the Big 12. As for ESPN, this deal would put them back in business with the Pac-12.

A programming alliance between the two conferences could create some marquee non-conference matchups for football and basketball. That would give ESPN event programming to promote and sell.

Dellenger and Forde report that talks to make the deal a reality are in the very early stages. They write that “those briefed on the ACC–Pac-12 proposal believe it has plenty of hurdles to clear and details to be ironed out before becoming a reality.”

The obvious question all parties involved will want to be answered is would merging ACC Network and Pac-12 Networks content generate enough new revenue to make the move viable. Sources told Sports Illustrated that it is what they will be focused on if talks progress.

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UFC Draws Record Ratings for UFC 276 Prelims on ESPN and ABC

The ratings make it the second-most watched UFC telecast since the promotion began airing on ESPN in 2019. It was also the top telecast ever for a preliminary card.

Jordan Bondurant

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UFC, ESPN and ABC have plenty to celebrate following this weekend’s UFC 276 pay-per-view.

Ratings for the preliminary card show a combined audience of 1.8 million tuned in across ABC and ESPN. ABC drew 929,000 viewers for their portion of the card, which marked the first time UFC aired in primetime on the network.

ESPN drew 871,000 in the lead-up to the main card from Las Vegas.

The ratings make it the second-most watched UFC telecast since the promotion began airing on ESPN in 2019. It was also the top telecast ever for a preliminary card.

UFC will return to ABC on July 16 but won’t air in primetime. Coverage of UFC Fight Night from UBS Arena on Long Island will air in the afternoon.

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Brian Windhorst Explains What Was Behind His Viral Rant

“To be honest with you, part of what I was doing was trying to do was avoid aggregation,” he said. “Because if I come out and go I think the Jazz are going to trade Rudy Gobert today, then everything on the internet is ‘Windhorst Report: Jazz trade Gobert.’ And then maybe they don’t trade him.”

Jordan Bondurant

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There wasn’t a ton of NBA free agency news leading into the long holiday weekend last week, but what news there was became wildly more interesting thanks to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.

Windhorst, appearing on First Take on Friday, went on an entertaining rant about the Utah Jazz trading Royce O’Neale to Brooklyn, throwing tidbits out there that insinuated more was to come.

The monologue went viral and became the subject of plenty of memes.

Talking on his podcast Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective, Windhorst explained that the ‘A’ block of First Take is 30 minutes long, much different than the other ESPN shows he appears on. He said he approached it from a podcasting perspective and added that First Take was really the only place he could’ve pulled something like that off given a multitude of factors.

“It had to have occurred on a show like that,” Windhorst said. “So I was able to kind of draw out and kind of have a conversation about the Utah Jazz.”

Windhorst said he knew the Jazz were going to trade Rudy Gobert, which happened not long after his rant started circulating the internet. But he said he needed to avoid tipping others in the media off or potentially even wrecking the trade before it became official.

“To be honest with you, part of what I was doing was trying to do was avoid aggregation,” he said. “Because if I come out and go I think the Jazz are going to trade Rudy Gobert today, then everything on the internet is ‘Windhorst Report: Jazz trade Gobert.’ And then maybe they don’t trade him.”

Windhorst said he knew he was becoming the subject of many a meme, but after being on the road so long and away from home covering the NBA playoffs, he didn’t really have a chance to relish in the moment.

“I came back home and had nonstop family stuff to do, and they didn’t care about any of that,” he said. “I was getting like 250 text messages and seeing all these memes, but I had to prepare for the people we had coming over for the 4th of July. I couldn’t really focus on it.”

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