The NCAA announced on Monday that the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) will indeed take place this year and will be broadcast on ESPN.
The tournament will consist of a 16-team field, down from 32 in previous years. According to Awful Announcing, having the broadcast rights to every game will allow ESPN to fill some otherwise sparse weeks in March with more basketball.
Similar to the men’s and women’s NCAA tournaments taking place solely in Indiana and Texas respectively, the NIT will take place in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to limit travel and provide a safe environment.
According to a release put out by the NCAA, “Teams and pairings for the 2021 NIT are scheduled to be released by the NIT Committee at 8:30 p.m. Eastern time Sunday, March 14, on ESPNU. Because of the reduced field size, all 16 teams will be selected as at-large participants, and there will be no automatic qualifiers for the NIT.”
JJ Redick Suggests He & Draymond Green Host NBA Manningcast
“I would be honored to sit in a room with a GOAT like yourself and talk basketball.”
With the overwhelming success that the Manningcast has been for Monday Night Football, other leagues and networks are looking to replicate ESPN’s and the Manning Brothers’ formula.
There may be some willing hosts for an NBA version of the show in JJ Redick and Draymond Green. Redick joined Green’s new podcast The Draymond Green Show on The Volume to talk about a potential partnership between the two in the future.
“I know you got a lot of basketball left in you, but a lot of people have said to me you and Draymond need to do a version of the Manning brothers Monday Night Football when Draymond is retired. Just keep that in mind when you retire in 5 or 6 years,” said Redick to Green.
Before answering, Draymond Green noted that he had recently been a guest on the Manningcast. Not only did he like the experience, he said it is now his favorite way to watch Monday Night Football.
Green liked the idea of teaming with Redick. He said that the duo play very different styles of basketball. That would give the listeners two very different perspectives on the game.
“I would be honored to sit in a room with a GOAT like yourself and talk basketball,” Green added. Redick ended the conversation about a potential alternate NBA feed by saying “We’ll make it happen.”
This would not be something new for the NBA to do. They are already trying out the idea of an alternate cast of NBA broadcasts with Jamal Crawford and Quentin Richardson on NBA League Pass.
As Redick stated, it may be a while until we see Draymond Green retire from his playing career in the NBA, but when he does I am sure that he will be a hot commodity in the sports media world.
All 3 Thanksgiving Games Pull Big Audiences For NFL
CBS’s production of the overtime thriller between the Dallas Cowboys and the Las Vegas Raiders brought in a whopping 38.5 million average viewers.
The numbers are in for the NFL Thanksgiving day games, and the results are overall a positive for the league. CBS received the highest viewership of all the networks this Thanksgiving, and put up some record numbers in the process.
CBS’s production of the overtime thriller between the Dallas Cowboys and the Las Vegas Raiders brought in a whopping 38.5 million average viewers. This is a 26% increase from last year’s comparable window and the highest viewership for a regular-season game on any network since 1990.
The game is also the most-watched television program on any network since last year’s Super Bowl on CBS.
Paramount+, featuring live NFL ON CBS local market games, scored an NFL regular-season viewership record for total streams, streaming minutes and unique viewers while registering triple-digit year-over-year growth in streaming minutes and unique viewers from Thanksgiving Day 2020 in a huge success for CBS on the day.
FOX also faired well, as their viewership for the first game of the day between the Detroit Lions and the Chicago Bears was up 14% over last years window, sitting at 26.7 million average viewers.
Despite the game itself not being super exciting, the game set a record for the most-streamed Thanksgiving day game across FOX Sports properties in their history.
The primetime game on NBC did not fair as well, as they came in at an average of 19.3 million viewers, a 7% decrease from 2019, as 2020’s game was postponed due to COVID protocols. NBC was not aided by what was mostly a one-sided game most of the night.
Disney Investing In Content To Combat ESPN Subscriber Decline
Disney revealed that they have seen a 10% drop in pay-TV subscribers with access to ESPN.
Disney has decided to ramp up spending while ESPN faces a tricky situation of losing subscribers for their traditional audience of cable subscribers, but an increase in streaming numbers.
Disney has said that it would spend $33 billion on content in fiscal 2022, which began on October 1st. The company’s annual reports shows that this number is up 32% from last fiscal year, where the company spent $25 billion.
Of the $33 billion, which spans all Disney networks and studios, with a target of 140 scripted and unscripted series, $10.3 billion is earmarked for sports programming, per the filing.
Disney revealed that they have seen a 10% drop in pay-TV subscribers with access to ESPN. This number fell to 76 million, from 84 million at the end of fiscal 2020.
These numbers show the steady decline coming from not only traditional TV but ESPN in particular. The tally is well below ESPN’s peak of just north of 100 million homes nearly a decade ago.
ESPN News and ESPNU, which each had 62 million pay-TV subscribers a year ago, dropped to a respective 59 million and 51 million in fiscal 2021.
All is not gloom for ESPN however, as they have been putting up impressive numbers for their streaming service ESPN+. ESPN+, which costs $6.99 per month, ended the fiscal year with 17 million subscribers, up 66% year-over-year.
Disney has denied that they would spin off ESPN but indicated that it may consider bundling ESPN+, Disney+, and Hulu into a single service at a later date.
For the time being, they have added ESPN+ and Disney + to their Hulu Live TV package, a move set to affect Hulu customers in December with a $5 increase to $64.99 per month.
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