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Rece Davis: GameDay Is Missing ‘Spontaneity’

“He and the rest of the cast are not doing a completely different show, but the on-site fans have become such an important part of College GameDay that it is hard not to notice they are missing.”

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ESPN’s flagship college football show is going golfing this week. College GameDay will broadcast live from Augusta National Golf Club this Saturday, which is also the second-to-last day of action at The Masters. Host Rece Davis was on a conference call with reporters earlier this week and was asked to reflect on the season for the show so far.

The obvious difference for College GameDay amidst the Covid-19 pandemic is there are no crowds. Davis says it makes for a big difference in the energy of the show.

“I think the number one thing that we’ve all noticed is that when you have normal situations in the crowd, you get instantaneous feedback, good and bad,” Davis said. “Whatever you say, if you say something good about your host rival or something they don’t like and you get booed, and if you say their teams good, then you get cheers. There’s a certain adrenaline and rush it goes along with it, and I think there’s a great energy that comes from having a show in a setting like that when you’re surrounded by, in some cases you know 25,000 people, you know, depending on the venue.”

Davis wanted to make it clear that he thinks the nuts and bolts of the show still work. He and the rest of the cast are not doing a completely different show, but the on-site fans have become such an important part of College GameDay that it is hard not to notice they are missing.

“You also don’t have the spontaneity of being able to you say something they boo and kind of react to and have a little fun with it and then move on. That part’s gone. But I think the discussion and the interaction. And the chemistry has been the same, you just miss that little bit of instantaneous energy.”

Davis said his first thought when the idea of doing College GameDay from Augusta National was presented to him was “that would be awesome”. He says The Masters and college football make for a good fit.

“It was very exciting to be able to do something different, especially this year and maybe be able to give people a little look at two great events. Obviously, the Masters stands alone, and then a college football Saturday, which we, you know, hold great reverence for as well and be able to connect those two things and do it from Augusta National is something that was very exciting.”

Kirk Herbstreit, who has been a part of College GameDay since before ESPN began taking the show around the country, says that he has never seen this kind of excitement for a broadcast before.

“I can tell you this, whenever we announced that GameDay was going to be at Augusta, I’ve never received more texts from people around the country than I did when we announced that location,” he told reporters.

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Sports Media Reacts to Charles Barkley Retirement Announcement

“We’re looking forward to another fantastic NBA on TNT season and further discussion of our future plans with him.”

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Screengrab from Charles Barkley on Club Shay Shay
Screengrab: Club Shay Shay on YouTube

Charles Barkley said on NBA TV after Game 4 of the NBA Finals that he will retire from television after next season, no matter what happens with TNT and the league. Near the conclusion of the NBA TV postgame show, Barkley said:

“There’s been a lot of noise the last few months and I just want to say, I’ve talked to all of the other networks, but I ain’t going nowhere other than TNT, but I have made the decision myself, no matter what happens, next year is going to be my last year on television. And I just want to say thank you to my NBA family, you guys have been great to me, my heart is full with joy and gratitude.”

Barkley went on to say that he wants to turn the baton over to someone like Jamal Crawford or Vince Carter should Inside the NBA continue with Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal.

TNT put out a statement that said, “Charles is a Hall of Famer and broadcasting icon who is and will always be a beloved member of the TNT Sports family. We’re looking forward to another fantastic NBA on TNT season and further discussion of our future plans with him.”

Several in sports media took to social media to post about their thoughts on Barkley’s career with TNT or wondering if Barkley’s ‘retirement’ is real:

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Charles Barkley Announces He Will Retire From TV After Next Season

“Next year, I am just going to retire after 25 years, and I just wanted to say thank you and I wanted y’all to hear it from me first.”

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Screenbrad from NBA TV with Charles Barkley
Screengrab: NBA TV

Charles Barkley is not waiting. After voicing his frustration several times with the way the media rights negotiations have been handled by his current employer, Warner Bros. Discovery/TNT, Barkley is no longer waiting for them to make a decision, he has announced his own decision.

After Game 4 of the NBA Finals concluded between the Dallas Mavericks and the Boston Celtics, Barkley took time on the postgame show on NBA TV to announce no matter what happens, he will retire as an NBA commentator after next season, which will be his 25th with TNT.

“I’ve been thinking guys,” Barkley said “I want to say this, because you guys are my family. I really love TNT, all the people who work here, NBA Television. You guys have been great to me for 24 years and I just want to say thank you to my entire NBA family. I love you guys.

“There’s been a lot of noise the last few months and I just want to say, I’ve talked to all of the other networks, but I ain’t going nowhere other than TNT, but I have made the decision myself, no matter what happens, next year is going to be my last year on television. And I just want to say thank you to my NBA family, you guys have been great to me, my heart is full with joy and gratitude.

“But I am going to pass the baton at the end of next year. I hope the NBA stays with TNT, but for me personally, I wanted you guys to hear it from me, because I am not doing any more interviews, don’t y’all be calling me, nobody calling me, I am not talking about this again. But I wanted to tell my NBA TV and TNT family that I am not going to another network, but I am going to pass the baton to either Jamal Crawford, Vince Carter or you Steve [Smith]. Next year, I am just going to retire after 25 years, and I just wanted to say thank you and I wanted y’all to hear it from me first.”

The NBA’s current media rights agreements with Disney/ESPN and WBD/TNT expire after next season. Many reports have said the NBA will soon sign agreements with Disney, NBCUniversal and Amazon to be the league’s new broadcasting partners beginning with the 2025-26 season. The Wall Street Journal has reported the total value of the new media rights packages is expected to be $76 billion over 11 years.

Rumors of a possible fourth media package being made in order for the NBA to keep its 40-year relationship with Turner Sports going have surfaced, but it looks like either way there will be changes coming to Inside the NBA, the award-winning show Barkley is a part of along with Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal.

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FOX Sports Moving UFL Games to Friday Nights in 2025

“The regular season average television audience of 816,000 was more than 30% higher than the pace from the previous year.”

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The United Football League logo

FOX Sports CEO Eric Shanks recently confirmed a report from Deadline last month that said United Football League games would move to Friday nights in 2025. The Deadline report had said FOX planned to replace WWE Smackdown with sports coverage from college football and basketball as well as games from the UFL.

Shanks’ comments were made during a Zoom with reporters about the news of their new agreement with the NTT IndyCar Series. SI’s Mike Mitchell reported that the UFL worked with FOX to move the games so they could complete their auto racing deal.

Shanks said many of FOX’s UFL games would be moved to Friday night when asked about the change but did not provide more detail.

The UFL was split between FOX and ABC/ESPN this season. The regular season average television audience of 816,000 was more than 30% higher than the pace from the previous year and the recent conference championship games were up 57% over the averages from the USFL and XFL last season. According to Mitchell, the league saw a large increase in the 18-49 demographic on FOX compared to USFL programming in 2023.

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