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ESPN Extends Deal With Southern Conference

“Most of what makes its way to traditional, linear television will be men’s basketball. Both regular season games and the conference tournament are slated to appear on the ESPN networks.”

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ESPN is bringing more Southern Conference content to its airwaves and digital platforms. The network announced a six year extension to its deal with the SoCon on Tuesday. It includes 4200 events from the conference heading to ESPN’s digital platforms.

“We are excited to continue our long-standing relationship with ESPN,” SoCon Commissioner Jim Schaus said in a press release. “This agreement represents the most national television exposure with ESPN in conference history, which is critical as we continue to grow our successful brand into our second century of excellence. The Southern Conference is truly on the rise and this new agreement will further propel the league to even greater heights in the future. Special thanks goes to ESPN’s Dan Margulis and our media consultant CSMG in artfully guiding this process.”

Most of what makes its way to traditional, linear television will be men’s basketball. Both regular season games and the conference tournament are slated to appear on the ESPN networks. Football and other sports will be seen on ESPN+ and ESPN 3.

ESPN and the SoCon have been in business together for 20 years. The latest extension will extend their relationship into the 2025-26 school year.

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ESPN Releases Details For Joe Buck’s PGA Championship Broadcast

“Michael Collins will serve as Buck’s co-host.”

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Omaha Productions and ESPN are getting ready for the PGA Championship. News broke last week that Joe Buck would make his ESPN debut at the center of alternative coverage of the event. Now the network is sharing a few details of the broadcast.

Michael Collins will serve as Buck’s co-host. ESPN’s senior golf analyst will bring the perspective of a former caddie to the broadcast as well as the humor of a former comedian.

The duo will welcome plenty of guests too. The lineup suggests that while the broadcast will be built around golf, the conversations could go anywhere. Troy Aikman, Josh Allen, Charles Barkley, Doris Burke, Fred Couples, Jon Hamm, and Peyton & Eli Manning are all scheduled to make appearances.

“We loved doing Monday Night Football with ESPN and the entire Omaha team has been looking forward to producing alternate telecasts that celebrate other sports,” Peyton Manning said in a press release. “As one of golf’s majors, the PGA Championship is a perfect place to do our first one for golf and we look forward to working with Joe, Michael and everyone in ESPN’s golf team.”

Joe Buck and Michael Collins will be on TV for all four days of the PGA Championship. They will be on for four hours each day. The broadcast will alternate between ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN+ depending on where the traditional coverage of the event is airing.

The PGA Championship with Joe Buck & Michael Collins is the latest offering from ESPN’s deal with Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions. The company has also committed to produce alternate coverage of MMA and college football broadcasts in the future.

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Tom Brady To Join FOX At End Of Career

“Whether or not Tom Brady is great on TV remains to be seen. What is certain is that the network just added star power that is unmatched amongst other networks that carry NFL games.”

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Tom Brady won’t be in the booth this season for FOX, but he will be there eventually. The network’s PR account tweeted that as soon as Brady is ready to call it a career, he will join Kevin Burkhardt to call the biggest game on the network’s slate each week.

“We are delighted that Tom has committed to joining the Fox team and wish him all the best during this upcoming season,” FOX CEO Lachlan Murdoch said in a statement.

FOX has made no secret of its desire to bring Brady aboard. The network has been courting him ever since he announced his retirement in February. The desire to pair him with Burkhardt was first reported in March by Andrew Marchand of The New York Post.

This news raises questions about the future for a lot of the parties involved. First, who will be Burkhardt’s partner this season? Tom Brady has committed to play for the Buccaneers. Next, what does this mean for the quarterback’s future? Does this guarantee that 2022 will be his final season in the NFL? Finally, what now for Greg Olsen? He had been Burkhardt’s partner last season and has expressed interest in continuing to work together.

All of those answers will be addressed in time. Right now, FOX is busy celebrating.

Whether or not Tom Brady is great on TV remains to be seen. What is certain is that the network just added star power that is unmatched amongst other networks that carry NFL games.

That is going to cost them too. Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports reports that Brady’s FOX paycheck will eclipse $20 million annually.

FOX’s deal with Tom Brady is similar to the one NBC made with Drew Brees before his final season in New Orleans. It allowed the quarterback one more season and promised him a nice landing spot in the media when his playing days are done. We will have to wait and see whether or not FOX will end up waiting longer than the one season NBC did.

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Ratings for NHL Regional Coverage Down Across Most Of The League

“Only four teams with available data (the Kings, Wild, Panthers, and Red Wings) saw ratings growth in 2021-22.”

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While national TV ratings for the NHL season can and should be celebrated, ratings for regional sports networks appear to be a cause for concern. John Ourand of Sports Business Journal reported Monday that RSNs across the league were down 23% compared to last year.

The 2020-21 season was shortened to 56 games because of the COVID pandemic.

Only four teams with available data (the Kings, Wild, Panthers, and Red Wings) saw ratings growth in 2021-22. Numbers for Carolina, Nashville and the Canadian teams were unavailable.

Arizona saw the biggest dip year over year. Bally Sports Arizona was down 58% compared to last year. Part of it is understandable. The Coyotes were one of the worst teams in the league.

Viewership for the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning was down 20%. The average rating for games on Bally Sports Sun was 1.49, good enough for 10th of the teams on the list.

The Pittsburgh Penguins had an average rating of 5.43 on AT&T Sportsnet Pittsburgh this season, which topped the league, but viewership was still down 30% versus last season.

The Seattle Kraken had an average rating of 0.96 for their inaugural season on Root Sports.

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