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Tom Brady, Bucs vs Patriots Reportedly Set For Week 4

Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are set to visit the New England Patriots on October 3, per reports.

MIchael Quirk

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As the NFL continues its assault on the sports media landscape with a 12-month news cycle, the league is set to unveil its 272-game schedule Wednesday evening. That has not stopped various news outlets from reporting leaks from the schedule, including a particularly appetizing tidbit from Bleacher Report’s Master Tesfatsion.

Tesfatsion, known as @MasterTes on Twitter, reported early Wednesday morning that Tom Brady will make his return to Foxboro on October 3 as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will take on the New England Patriots. Brady famously spent the first 20 years of his NFL career donning the Pat Patriot insignia on his helmet, before jettisoning – like many Northeasterners before him – down to Tampa last offseason.

Brady won six Super Bowls in New England for a franchise that had zero Super Bowls and just seven postseason wins in its history before his arrival. The future first-ballot Hall of Famer wasted no time in Tampa as he won his seventh Super Bowl this past February to cap his first season as a Buc. Cam Newton started 15 games in place of Brady in New England, with a lone spot start for Brian Hoyer with Newton unavailable. The Patriots this season with both Newton and 2021 first round pick Mac Jones vying for the starting quarterback position.

The game will mark arguably the most-anticipated return date in the NFL since Brett Favre returned to Lambeau Field as a member of the Minnesota Vikings on Nov. 1, 2009, a game the Vikings won 38-26. Not only will Brady return to his old grounds; but he will be joined by tight end Rob Gronkowski who played his first nine years in Foxboro, as well. Former Patriot turned radio host Jermaine Wiggins postured on WEEI’s The Greg Hill Show Wednesday morning that this game will draw a larger audience than the Super Bowl. While the math on that remains to be seen, this particular Sunday Night Football telecast figures to be must-watch TV.

Sports TV News

3.72 Million Tune In To See LeBron James Break Scoring Record

Jordan Bondurant

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Getty Images

Lakers star LeBron James surpassed the NBA’s all-time scoring record on Tuesday night, and TNT benefitted from the milestone ratings wise.

According to Sports Media Watch, Tuesday night’s game averaged 2.98 million viewers. That figure made it TNT’s biggest regular season audience in over two years.

The broadcast peaked at 3.72 million around 11:45 p.m. when James passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the record.

Reporting also indicated that the game was the number one single-network program on TV in key demographics.

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Sports TV News

Disney Makes ESPN Independent Division In Corporate Restructuring

Jordan Bondurant

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ESPN

Disney is in the process of reorganizing and restructuring the company, and details have emerged about the company’s plans for ESPN.

Deadline reported on Wednesday that ESPN will be one of three standalone segments comprising Disney. Entertainment and Parks, Experiences & Products are the other two segments.

The reorganization comes amid the exit of former CEO Bob Chapek and the re-entry of CEO Bob Iger. As one of Iger’s first moves back running Disney, he announced a restructuring of Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution.

It was also reported that Jimmy Pitaro will continue as the president of ESPN.

In total, more than 7,000 jobs will be eliminated after the restructuring.

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Sports TV News

Roger Goodell: ‘Wouldn’t Surprise Me’ To See Thursday Night Football Move to Flex Scheduling

“Not today, but it’ll certainly be something that’s on our horizon.”

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Thursday Night Football

In 2023, Monday Night Football will join Sunday Night Football in having the ability to flex NFL games into its window. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday Night Football could someday join that elite club.

During his “State of the League” speech Wednesday, Goodell said Thursday Night Football having the ability to flex matchups “wouldn’t at all surprise me”.

“Not today, but it’ll certainly be something that’s on our horizon,” the NFL Commissioner said.

ESPN bargained for the ability to move higher profile games into Monday Night Football during its negotiations with the league for the next television contract that begins this upcoming season.

NBC has long held the ability to shift a select number of games from earlier windows into the Sunday Night Football primetime slot.

Amazon Prime Video just completed the first of an 11-year contract that sees the streaming platform spend nearly $1 billion per year on the Thursday Night Football package.

One of the largest storylines of Amazon’s debut season with the NFL was the near-constant ridicule from play-by-play announcer Al Michaels over the lackluster TNF schedule. Michaels made headlines over several weeks for his candor on the lack of interesting matchups, going as far as to joke that if the schedule didn’t improve he would retire.

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