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Geoff Mason, Sports Video Group Set Up Mental Health Support For Members

“Mason noticed an uptick in reports of mental health and substance abuse problems among TV production staffs as sports leagues picked back up and COVID protocols became increasingly strict.”

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Longtime sports TV producer Geoff Mason caught wind of a television production staffer who attempted suicide in one of the professional league Florida bubbles after being filled with feelings of isolation and depression. 

In a recent story, John Ourand of Sports Business Journal, outlined the story of Mason, who is 37 years sober, and his effort to bring relief to those within his field struggling with mental health issues. 

Mason noticed an uptick in reports of mental health and substance abuse problems among TV production staffs as sports leagues picked back up and COVID protocols became increasingly strict. 

“I deal in rehab,” Mason told SBJ. “I deal in AA. I deal in treatment. I understand that we’re all not very far away from going over the edge. When I hear signals, I know how to recognize them. And this was a signal to me. I thought to myself, ‘I’ve got to pick up the phone, we’ve got to do something about it, this is bullshit.’”  

Teaming up with Ken Kerschbaumer, who runs Sports Video Group, the two set up a partnership with the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, providing a helpline for SVG members struggling and looking for professional help. 

“We’re working on a top-down basis,” Mason said of the partnership which has been in operation for about a month, according to SBJ. “Our job is to make the heads of sports departments aware that when they get a call from one of their people, they will have in front of them two things: an 800 number and an email address. We’re encouraging them to pick up the phone and call us. Once we get the information as to how to proceed first-step-wise, then we can begin to be responsive.”

Ourand notes that Mason expects these resources will have a trickle-down effect to the actual production staff who can take advantage of them. 

“We’re already working on the Final Four and Indy, looking at integrating ourselves within the framework of all those people that are going to come to Indy for the Final Four,” Mason said. “Our job is to make ourselves known and available. If you’re in a hotel room suffering, or whether you own a company that supplies labor to 130 broadcast pickups per month, you need to know that help is just a phone call or an email away. It does not have to be intimidating.”

Sports TV News

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.”

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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.

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Sports TV News

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?”

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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.

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Sports TV News

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.”

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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.

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