SC6 remains one of the most divisive experiments in ESPN history. Viewers had strong opinions on both sides of Michael Smith and Jemele Hill’s take on the iconic SportsCenter brand, with most detractors saying that discussions of race and culture made the show too political.
Smith will be a guest on fubo Sports Network’s Drinks With Binks on this week. Host Julie Stewart-Binks said that she never saw SC6’s conversations as political. “It was morals and how you treat people,” she said and asked Smith how he felt watching ESPN personalities have the same conversations that the network pointed to as a major problem for his show.
“At first, it was a lot of anger about that, because it was like ‘Wait a second. I’m old enough to remember 2018. If Black Lives Matter now, they didn’t matter then?’” Smith said. “I’m watching, and it’s nothing against the people doing it now, they’re friends of mine. I’m watching people I respect, I’m watching them have unfiltered, unlimited, unedited conversations on the same platforms, whether it’s you know SportsCenter or The Jump or NFL Live, like everybody’s having that conversation. I’m like ‘Oh, word? Wow! Having those conversations literally compromised my career, but it’s cool now?’”.
Many of the Black Lives Matter conversations we have heard in pop culture in 2020 began after the killing of George Floyd by four Minneapolis police officers. Smith says that the conversation is no different from the ones he and Hill had. That was disappointing for him.
“Unarmed black people have been getting killed on camera. That’s what we were talking about. We were talking about police brutality. It’s not like anything is different now. It’s not like it’s a different subject matter. It’s not like there is a different take on the matter. There’s been no discovery that makes us feel like ‘Well, now this is different.’ This is literally the same subject. He was just killed in a different manner. I was like ‘So now it’s cool? Less than 2 years ago it wasn’t and I’m a living example of that?’”
Smith says he has since made peace with how SC6 ended and has accepted that the rules are just different now. It took time, but he says he is at a place now where he sees that as a good thing.
“There was a lot of resentment at first just given what I’ve been through,” he told Stewart-Binks. “But over time I realized yeah, I’m entitled to my feelings and I’m trying not to make it about me. And the most important thing is look, better late than never. And here we are having these conversations. More important, others who came behind me are getting a chance to speak their truth and speak that truth to power. So be it.”
The interview was pre-recorded. It will air in full on Friday night at 8 pm on fubo Sports Network’s Drinks with Binks.
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.”
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.
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?”
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.
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.”
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.