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MASN Slashes Staff For Orioles, Nationals Coverage

“According to The Athletic, MASN recently informed both teams that the network would no longer provide pre and postgame coverage.”




The Mid-Atlantic Sports Network is making significant programming and personnel changes to Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals broadcasts ahead of the 2021 MLB season, according to The Athletic

There’s a long list of Orioles announcers who won’t retain their roles with the club this season, including Gary Thorne and Jim Hunter. Thorne did not participate in the Orioles 2020 season which was shortened by COVID-19, but an unresolved contract dispute was a contributing factor. Last summer, it was reported Thorne and the Orioles were working toward a contract resolution for the 72-year-old play-by-play voice to return for the 2021 season, but that’s no longer the case. 

Hunter has been with the Orioles since 1997, where he’s worked as a play-by-play voice for both radio and TV, later contributing to the team’s pre and postgame coverage. Hunter announced on Twitter that he was parting with the Orioles. 

“I was informed this week by [the Orioles] my contract will not be renewed for 2021 ending my career w/the ball club,” Hunter tweeted last Friday. “It’s disappointing to have my tenure come to an end especially since it was not my decision. For 24 years I gave my heart & soul to the broadcasts & now it’s over.”

Other Orioles broadcasters who reportedly won’t be returning to MASN during the 2021 season include Mike Bordick, Dave Johnson, Tom Davis and Rick Dempsey.

According to The Athletic, MASN recently informed both teams that the network would no longer provide pre and postgame coverage. Instead, it’s up to each team to independently fund their pre and postgame shows if they would like the programming to continue. As The Athletic notes, costs for talent, truck rentals, production, and rights fees can easily equate to totals in the millions.

MASN is uniquely co-owned by both the Orioles and Nationals, but Baltimore is the majority stakeholder. Baltimore owns 77 percent of the network with the Nationals holding just 23 percent. The Orioles received a majority share of the network in 2005, reaching the agreement after losing the Washington TV market to the Nationals who relocated from Montreal. 

But it’s been a point of contention recently, with the Nationals arguing MASN’s current structure heavily favors the Orioles and both sides engaged in legal disputes over rights fees. In 2019, Major League Baseball’s arbitrator decided the Orioles owed $100 million to the Nationals based on fair market value from 2012-2016, but Baltimore has continued to appeal the ruling. 

Sports TV News

Dave Portnoy: CBS Wouldn’t Work With Barstool On Arizona Bowl

Barstool is now the presenting sponsor and exclusive TV distributor of the Arizona Bowl.



Courtesy: Barstool Sports

Barstool Sports is now the broadcaster and presenting sponsor of the Arizona Bowl in a deal that almost didn’t include the former. Barstool founder Dave Portnoy discussed details of the negotiation on this week’s The Dave Portnoy Show with Eddie & Co.

Portnoy says Barstool originally wanted to just sponsor the game, while CBS handled the broadcast duties, but that didn’t sit well with everyone involved.

“CBS won’t work with us? Kick them the f*ck out, get those f*ckin white-haired…get them out, we’ll do the game ourselves,” Portnoy said on his show.

“Not because they didn’t like us,” Portnoy continued. “I think they know we’re gonna eat their lunch, and they view us as a competitor. Do you wanna give the hungry wolf fresh meat? Do you want to basically put steroids in your competitor?”

The bowl airs on New Year’s Eve in a matchup between the Mountain West and Mid-American Conference. Barstool has been a staunch supporter of #MACtion and all things MAC sports for years.

CEO Erika Nardini is the yin to Portnoy’s yang, and she discussed the milestone deal in an interview this week.

“We really believe that what we can do is take the best of traditional broadcast and take the best of traditional sponsorship and do both in a brand new way,” Barstool CEO Erika Nardini said in an interview with Sportico. “We think we’ll bring new fans. We know we will bring a level of energy, and we’ll cover the game in a way that is completely unique, and uniquely Barstool.”

For Nardini and Barstool, this is just another step towards growth in every possible entertainment space, including TV.

“There’s no reason we can’t play in the broadcast space, the sponsorship space, and the comedy or personality and opinion space,” she continued. “Obviously, we want to make sure we do it right and do it well, but this is a watershed moment for rethinking where and how games are broadcast.”

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Sports TV News

NBC Offering Make Goods To Olympic Advertisers

“The 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro delivered an average of 30.7 million viewers across all of NBC’s platforms for the first four nights of competition. Tokyo has seen a 43% drop in audience.”




NBC’s ratings projections for the Tokyo Olympics are not being met. That can be for a myriad of reasons, but long tape delays for primetime coverage of top events and just a general lack of excitement for the events being played in front of virtually no one and in the midst of a pandemic seem to be two of the top factors. Whatever the case, this is not what advertisers signed up for and they are letting the network know it.

Sportico’s Anthony Crupi reports that NBC is trying to make those advertisers happy with some additional spots on the house. It isn’t that the Olympics are a ratings disaster. Compared to other sports in 2021, the only sport that has consistently delivered more viewers is the NFL. But the numbers aren’t what NBC promised.

The 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro delivered an average of 30.7 million viewers across all of NBC’s platforms for the first four nights of competition. Tokyo has seen a 43% drop in audience. Even with more access to the games and more platforms on which to watch them, NBC has only been able to deliver an average audience of 17.5 million.

Tokyo is also facing a lack of star power compared to previous Olympics. Even before Simone Biles withdrew from gymnastics competition, NBC was already having to figure out how to fill the hole left by the retirements of Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt.

One agency told Crupi that NBC seems to be avoiding selling off whatever inventory is left both digitally and on air. Those instead have been used as make good spots for unhappy advertisers.

Between Peacock, NBCSN, and NBC’s website, Olympic competition is on 24 hours a day in 2021. That creates a large amount of inventory that did not exist for previous games. The network says that as a result, it is not in danger of running out of “Audience Deficiency Units,” which can be used to pacify unhappy advertisers.

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Sports TV News

Jalen Rose To NBA Rookies: ‘You Can’t Be Thin-Skinned’

Jalen Rose discussed on Jalen and Jacoby his advice for the next class of NBA players ahead of Thursday’s draft.



Jalen Rose is never one to hold back on grandiose thoughts and opinions that grab headlines. He claimed he was the source of all kids being named Jalen, said that his segment with Skip Bayless changed sports television, and said Kevin Love’s place on the Olympic team was racially motivated, and that was all just this year. The 14-year NBA veteran told some fascinating stories while delivering some advice to 2021 NBA rookies on Thursday’s Jalen & Jacoby.

“You’re not an amateur anymore. You’re an adult, you’re a pro. You can’t be thin-skinned,” he said. “Money is the root of all evil. It is going to change the dynamic of your family forever.”

Rose was taken with the 13th overall pick in the 1994 NBA Draft after forgoing his senior season at Michigan. He mentioned how much he loves seeing players’ lives get changed as they are able to move their family out of rough conditions and into better lives through generational wealth. He even told a story detailing how it affected his family, his children, and those around him after he was selected by the Denver Nuggets.

There is no one better to learn from, oftentimes, than someone who has made the mistake they are telling you not to make. Rose gave some of that advice at the nudging from Jacoby regarding a story that any fresh-out-of-college kid coming into money can relate to: avoid truckload quantities of beer.

“Fridge full of 40s?,” Rose said. “My goal was to have a swimming pool full of 40s, but then as I thought about the dynamic of all these bottles in the pool, that’s just dumb.”

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