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Jordan Kent Takes Over As TV Voice Of Trail Blazers

“Despite his five years with the Blazers, northwest sports fans might also remember Kent from his time as a wide receiver with the Seahawks and in the Pac-10 with the Ducks.”

Brandon Contes

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It’s not uncommon to see a retired athlete launch their second career as a sports broadcaster. What’s rare is to see that athlete become a play-by-play voice instead of an analyst, even more unprecedented is doing it for a sport other than the one they played.

Earlier this week the Portland Trail Blazers announced Jordan Kent as their TV play-by-play voice on NBC Sports Northwest for the rapidly approaching 2020-21 NBA season. It will mark the fifth season Kent has spent with the Trail Blazers, previously hosting their pregame, halftime and postgame shows. Despite his five years with the Blazers, northwest sports fans might also remember Kent from his time as a wide receiver with the Seahawks and in the Pac-10 with the Ducks. In addition to football, Kent also lettered in basketball for the University of Oregon.

Kent stepped in as the Blazers play-by-play voice during the NBA restart, taking over for Kevin Calabro, who announced he was stepping down in July. Calabro had a more than two-decade long tenure as the voice of the Supersonics, before joining the Blazers in 2016. Now Kent will get the opportunity to be the Blazers TV voice on a more permanent basis.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to step into the Television Play-by-Play role,” Kent said in the press release. “I have some pretty big shoes to fill, following in the footsteps of the great Kevin Calabro, but I’m up for the challenge and feel great support from the entire broadcast team and all of Rip City.”

Retired athletes working as play-by-play announcers or covering different sports isn’t completely without precedent. For sports fans my age, Ahmad Rashad is synonymous with basketball thanks to his long tenure hosting NBA Inside Stuff despite having a very successful career as an NFL running back. Pat Summerall was one of the best play-by-play voices in the history of football after he retired as a player. Steve Nash has covered soccer and former NBA center Brad Daugherty has long been a NASCAR analyst. But Kent is doing both, he’s a retired athlete turned play-by-play voice, in a different sport than the one he played professionally. 

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David Kaplan Leaving NBC Sports Chicago

“I was presented an opportunity that will allow me to spend a lot more time my wife, Mindy, our four sons, and their expanding families. This is far from a retirement.”

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David Kaplan has announced he is departing NBC Sports Chicago. In a video posted to his YouTube channel, Kaplan said a new path opened that he couldn’t turn down.

“I was presented an opportunity that will allow me to spend a lot more time my wife, Mindy, our four sons, and their expanding families. This is far from a retirement. You’ll still be able to catch me weekday mornings with Jonathan Hood on the Kap and JHood morning show on ESPN 1000. It will also allow me to provide you with more engaging and outstanding content right here on YouTube.”

Kaplan, who will turn 62 this weekend, accepted a buyout offered by NBCUniversal. He has hosted several different shows for the network during his tenure.

“He’s made enormous contributions to our network, and his passion, opinions and love of Chicago’s teams have made him a beloved and respected figure, not just with fans but also his colleagues,” NBC Sports Chicago Vice President of Content John Schippman told The Chicago Sun-Times. “We wish him the best and look forward to seeing what’s next.”

December 30th will be his final day at NBC Sports Chicago. He called his time with the network “an amazing run”.

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Sports TV News

NASCAR Chasing Nearly $1 Billion Annual Rights Fee In Next TV Deal

“We work really closely together, both from a scheduling perspective, but also just in terms of how they monetize the sport.”

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The current media rights deal for NASCAR with FOX Sports and NBC Sports doesn’t end until after the 2024 season, but the organization is currently plotting what it wants its next deal to look like, according to a report from Front Office Sports.

Currently, NASCAR makes $820 million per year from the two networks. In its new rights deal, it is expected to seek a deal in the neighborhood of $900-950 million range.

NASCAR plans to begin negotiating with its current media partners in the early months of 2023, but is currently happy with FOX and NBC.

“We work really closely together, both from a scheduling perspective, but also just in terms of how they monetize the sport. Whether that’s pushing more brands and advertisers to spend on Fox and NBC,” NASCAR Senior Vice President of Media and Productions Brian Herbst told FOS. “Fox had their third consecutive year of ad revenue increases in 2022. NBC had their second consecutive year of ad revenue increases in 2022. So it’s working for them — both from a viewership and an ad revenue perspective.”

In February of this year, NASCAR President Steve Phelps told the Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast that broadcast television “has to be a part” of the organization’s next television rights deal.

As its current media partners, FOX and NBC have exclusive negotiating windows with NASCAR.

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Sports TV News

NFL Sunday Ticket Negotiations With Apple ‘Have Gotten Silly’

“Apple’s like, ‘OK, we can’t sell internationally. OK, that was important to us. And we can’t sell it exclusively against Fox and CBS. Well, OK. Well, that changes its value.’”

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A report from The Athletic details why the NFL has not announced a new partner for the NFL Sunday Ticket package. David Kaplan claims there have been continued hiccups in the negotiations, mentioning the bargaining has gotten sideways between the league and Apple.

“This negotiation has gotten silly. … Clearly, there’s a problem. I think it’s really clear Apple is learning things they didn’t know,” the anonymous NFL source told Kaplan. “What the conversation is, is Apple’s like, ‘OK, we can’t sell internationally. OK, that was important to us. And we can’t sell it exclusively against Fox and CBS. Well, OK. Well, that changes its value.’”

The report also details Amazon Prime and YouTube remain in the mix as potential suitors for the service, should talks with Apple and the league fall apart.

The NFL is looking for as much as $3.5 billion annually for rights to the service.

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