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Burke Magnus Gets Promotion At ESPN

Magnus has now been promoted twice in the past year.

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: Getty Images

Burke Magnus continues rising up the ranks at ESPN. Chairman Jimmy Pitaro announced Magnus’s promotion from Executive Vice President of Programming & Original Content to President of Programming & Original Content.

Magnus will continue reporting directly to Pitaro in the expanded role. ESPN is famous for its original programming and sports media rights deals. All of which Magnus will continue overseeing, along with more oversight on ESPN and ESPN+ original content development.

“Burke is a talented leader and collaborative colleague who has been instrumental in guiding ESPN through what has undoubtedly been one of the most challenging and critical periods in our history,” Pitaro said in a press release announcing the promotion. “He is an industry-leading programming strategist who continues to take on new challenges with his signature combination of relationship building and creativity.”

Recent rights deals with the NFL, MLB, NHL, SEC, and La Liga have had a big influence from the executive. He has also been an integral figure in the return of sports during the pandemic. Magnus has now been promoted twice in the past year after moving up to the vice president role last November. Two jobs a quarter century in the making.

Magnus joined ESPN in 1995 as a program associate and moved his way up through different programming departments to his position today. His big jump happened from 2004 to 2008 when he ran ESPNU. Magnus guided all programming, production, and operations exquisitely. College basketball ratings increased and the run brought about lasting ideas like the basketball version of “College Gameday” and Bracket Buster Saturday.

Magnus has been named to the “CableFax100”, which salutes the industry’s top power players and movers, every year since 2018. Magnus graduated from Holy Cross in 1988. He then earned his master’s degree in sport management from the University of Massachusetts in 1994 before starting at ESPN.

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Matt Hutchings Resigns as COO and EVP of Kroenke Sports and Entertainment

“I am grateful for the professional opportunities and thrilling experiences that have come with my time at KSE.”

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A big change is taking place in the mile high city. Kroenke Sports and Entertainment‘s top executive Matt Hutchings is moving on. KSE, which owns the Denver Nuggets, Colorado Avalanche, Colorado Rapids, Colorado Mammoth, Altitude TV and Altitude Sports Radio will now turn to a new voice to move the company forward.

Hutchings has been a key figure for the company since 2013. He was also involved in management from 2004-2012, taking a one-year detour in between to Houston to serve as president of Comcast Sportsnet Houston.

During his tenure, KSE has been involved in an ongoing battle with Colorado’s largest cable provider, Comcast. The two sides remain in a dispute over carriage fees to air Nuggets and Avalanche games. As a result, local Comcast customers have been unable to watch both teams since 2019. Both the Nuggets and Avalanche have won championships during that period.

In a press release, Hutchings said, “I am grateful for the professional opportunities and thrilling experiences that have come with my time at KSE. We have realized tremendous growth as a company and seen unprecedented success among our teams. I will be watching and cheering KSE on as they continue to lead the way in sports, broadcasting, and entertainment in Colorado and beyond.”

Hutchings was an advocate for moving the company into the local sports radio space. Altitude 950 launched in April 2016, moving to the FM dial at 92.5FM in September 2018. After a slow start, Altitude Sports Radio took the sports radio ratings lead locally in 2023. The company has since utilized 950AM to feature sports betting content from VSiN.

Losing Huchings is a big loss for KSE. How it affects the future in local radio and television remains to be seen. The top priority for the next executive is to make sure the Comcast battle gets handled so Colorado sports fans can regain the ability to watch their favorite teams.

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NESN Bruins Announcer Jack Edwards Addresses Speech Slowdown Issues For First Time

“The way I see it, two things work to my disadvantage. The game is speeding up all the time. And I’m slowing down all the time.”

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Jack Edwards of NESN
Courtesy: NESN

Longtime NESN Boston Bruins play-by-play man Jack Edwards recently spoke to The Boston Globe and addressed an ongoing health issue. While Edwards says he’s been cleared of cancer, dementia, and a stroke, he is still slurring and slowing his words at an increasing rate. Edwards credits it to two primary factors:

“The way I see it, two things work to my disadvantage,” Edwards said to the Boston Globe. “The game is speeding up all the time. And I’m slowing down all the time.”

According to The Globe, this is the first time Edwards has spoken about his struggles publicly, mostly because of the mysticism surrounding his condition. It’s not related to any sort of accident, or serious disease or condition — and doctors have no formal diagnosis or medical term to give him. Edwards says he is in “robust” health and receives “superior” grades on intellect tests. But Edwards still struggles with his speech slowing down.

“It doesn’t fit in any slot,” Edwards said. “There have been a couple of guesses, but they haven’t made a definitive diagnosis and they’ve been working on me for a year and a half. It’s very frustrating, as you can imagine, for me to have this slowdown in my speech.”

At the behest of his daughter, Edwards began speech therapy following his struggle with reading the Declaration of Independence on July 4, something Edwards and his father have done each year. “The Declaration of Independence has quite a few unusual words,” says Edwards, “and a year and a half ago, I couldn’t process the words, and it’s not like it was unfamiliar. I’ve read it for, like, 20 years, 25 years.”

Edwards goes through 40-60 minutes of what he calls “exhaustive and exhausting” speech therapy exercises on non-game days but still finds time to freshen up on game days for about 10 minutes. He’s appreciative of the work his speech therapy team does with him every day.

“I thank all the people who are working on this problem and helping me, and they seem to feel and I anecdotally feel that I’m making incremental progress,” he says. “The brain is a funny thing, especially mine. It is still possible to train a 66½-year-old brain to do the same things you used to do in a different way. And that’s what we’re working on through speech therapy.”

While Edwards is optimistic, he is a realist and is treating his speech issues as an in-season injury. If it gets better, he will continue to serve as the Bruins’ play-by-play voice. If not, he offers the stark reality of his situation. “If I, or NESN, decide that I’m hurting the product or costing the fans an enjoyable experience, I will say goodbye. But we haven’t had any discussions like that.”

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Nielsen Custom Survey: Super Bowl LVIII Reached Estimated 210 Million Viewers

“The Super Bowl is singular across the television and media landscape not only in its unparalleled viewership, but because it is largely watched in group settings.”

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NFL Logo at Media Row 2023

A custom survey commissioned by the National Football League to Nielsen Media Research discovered that Super Bowl LVIII reached an estimated 210 million viewers, representing nearly two-thirds of Americans across CBS, Paramount+, Nickelodeon and Univision, along with CBS Sports, Univision and NFL digital properties, including NFL+. This represents a 4% increase compared to last year’s game figure of 202 million unique viewers reported through the Nielsen syndicated ratings service that measures viewers who tuned in for at least one minute of the game.

This survey, which was ordered to add to Nielsen’s audience measurement data and provide more insight into the total audience estimate for the league’s championship game, discovered that Super Bowl LVIII had an average minute audience of approximately 143 million viewers.

The survey encompassed 5,267 households and reviewed the size of viewership groups, location notwithstanding, and if they are larger than what is currently measured by Nielsen in the present day. NORC at the University of Chicago conducted the survey utilizing the AmeriSpeak panel.

“The Super Bowl is singular across the television and media landscape not only in its unparalleled viewership, but because it is largely watched in group settings,” Paul Ballew, chief data and analytics officer of the National Football League, said in a statement. “With that in mind, additional measurement is needed in order to have a complete picture of the total viewership of this special event and the results of this custom survey with Nielsen illustrate the true magnitude of the Super Bowl.”

Nielsen Media Research found that Super Bowl LVIII averaged nearly 124 million viewers across the aforementioned properties, rendering it the most-watched Super Bowl matchup of all time. The research firm is in the midst of expanding its national out-of-home panel as well which will bring its coverage to 100% of the portable people meter (PPM) technology footprint. Nielsen data recently demonstrated that NFL games encapsulated 93 of the top 100 most-watched television broadcasts throughout 2023.

“Nielsen understands the nuance of the Super Bowl, which historically has drawn the largest television audience of the year and includes unparalleled viewership from large groups of people, both in and out of homes,” Deirdre Thomas, chief product officer at Nielsen, said in a statement. “We are proud that the NFL partners with Nielsen to provide the best possible measurement of their programming, for the Super Bowl and throughout the season.

“Additionally, we’re excited about the expansion of our National Out-Of-Home panel, which we announced earlier this month, because it will enhance our ability to provide the most complete picture of the audience, especially for major events like the Super Bowl.”

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