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Alanna Rizzo Returns To MLB Network, Joins High Heat

“A seven-time Emmy Award winner, Rizzo will be a welcomed asset to High Heat, where she’ll “provide news and commentary on the latest MLB storylines” according to the network press release.”

Brandon Contes

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Alanna Rizzo’s break from baseball turned out to be very brief. Two months after she announced her departure from covering the Dodgers for SportsNet LA, Rizzo is now joining MLB Network as a contributor to High Heat with Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo.

A seven-time Emmy Award winner, Rizzo will be a welcomed asset to High Heat, where she’ll “provide news and commentary on the latest MLB storylines” according to the network press release.

“I am incredibly excited to reunite with my MLB Network colleagues,” said Rizzo. “To be able to continue to cover the sport I love with the network that covers it better than anyone is a privilege. I cannot wait to team up with Chris Russo on High Heat.”

Rizzo spent the last seven Major League Baseball seasons with SportsNet LA, but prior to covering the Dodgers, she worked with MLB Network in 2012 and 2013. With the network, Rizzo contributed to a variety of shows including Intentional Talk and Quick Pitch, working as a reporter in-studio and on-site.  

“Great addition by MLB Network. Great addition for the show,” Russo added. “She will add an element to High Heat that we haven’t had in eight years.”

High Heat launched with Russo on March 31, 2014, but longtime show producer and on-air contributor Bruce Schein was part of a round of layoffs by MLB Network earlier this year. Rizzo will make her debut on High Heat this Friday April 2. High Heat airs on MLB Network weekdays at 1pm ET.

Sports TV News

Don Mattingly Joining Blue Jays Staff After YES Network Courtship

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

Jordan Bondurant

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YES Network

The New York Yankees regional sports network can take Don Mattingly off its talent wish list. Mattingly was announced Wednesday as a bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays starting in 2023.

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

But Mattingly told Andrew Marchand of The New York Post this week that he had another opportunity in the works but wouldn’t elaborate.

YES also has been considering luring Yankees legend and Hall of Famer Derek Jeter into broadcasting. But no formal talks have taken place.

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Sports TV News

ESPN Paying Nearly $45 Billion For Rights Fees Through 2027

Currently, the network’s largest spending comes for its Monday Night Football package, which is $2.6 billion annually

Jordan Bondurant

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The last year or two has been evident that the price of rights to airing major college and professional sporting events on television are only going up. But the various networks either with longstanding relationships with leagues and conferences or looking to break into the media rights landscape are willing to pay up. That’s no more evident with Disney, which will be shelling out tens of billions of dollars to have regular season and postseason events air on ESPN.

According to Sportico, which reviewed Disney’s annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, ESPN is set to spend $44.9 billion on sports media rights through 2027.

Currently, the network’s largest spending comes for its Monday Night Football package, which is $2.6 billion annually. Additionally, ESPN will pay $1.4 billion through the 2024-25 season for NBA rights.

The Sportico report noted ESPN will generate more than $8.1 billion in affiliate revenue to help offset those costs. The network will soon be entering talks to renew its media rights deal to be the exclusive home for nearly all NCAA Division I championships, as well as engaging in new NBA rights negotiations.

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Sports TV News

Return of Bob Iger Puts Pac-12 ‘Not Exactly In A Great Place’

“I think it’s even more evident it’s not gonna happen. These places aren’t gonna spend big money on the Pac-12.”

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The Pac-12 is currently in a media rights negotiation with partners for its next TV deal after the departure of USC and UCLA. The conference has remained committed to the stance that it feels it can match the dollar amount given to the Big 12 from FOX and ESPN. However, Andrew Marchand of The New York Post isn’t so confident.

During The Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast, Marchand said the recent return of Bob Iger as Disney CEO, coupled with recent layoffs from Amazon, could spell bad news for the PAC 12’s quest to match what the Big 12 received.

“Do I still think they can get the same number as the Big 12? I do, but you start thinking about where this is going and that’s not exactly a great place to be if you’re the Pac-12. They might get the number, but the idea that they’ll get a lot more than the Big 12 — which I’ve already said is not gonna happen — I think it’s even more evident it’s not gonna happen. These places aren’t gonna spend big money on the Pac-12…I think there’s some rough waters out in the Pacific.”

Marchand said if the University of California Board of Regents won’t allow UCLA to join the Big Ten as expected, the conference would then set its sights on Washington and Oregon, which would continue to decimate the Pac-12.

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