NBC Sports Group announced on Tuesday it has added Olympic Gold Medalists Vince Carter, Kara Lawson, and Candace Parker as basketball analysts for the Olympic Games beginning next month.
“We are excited to have this distinguished trio of U.S. Olympic basketball stars join our commentary team in Tokyo. Vince, Kara and Candace will bring viewers their unique perspectives on what’s happening on the court while also telling the stories about what it takes to make it to the medal stand – from tryouts, to practices and qualifying, to medal-round play,” said Rebecca Chatman, Vice President and Coordinating Producer of NBC Olympics production.
Lawson won her Gold at the 2008 Games, leading the team with 15 points in the final game. Parker was also on the 2008 team, and won a second Gold in 2012 when she also led the team in scoring with 21 points in the last match. Carter retired from the NBA after last season, and won a Gold back in 2000 when he just about created a foreign conflict with a dunk heard around the world
The interesting media angle here is that both Carter and Parker have prominent roles covering the NBA for other networks. Vince Carter signed with ESPN immediately after retiring following the 2019-2020 season. He can be seen on a variety of studio programs and also as a game analyst for both the NBA and ACC basketball. Parker is part of TNT’s studio crew for Tuesday night NBA games. She stole the spotlight from co-stars Shaquille O’Neal and Dwayne Wade a number of times this season for her outspokenness and willingness to challenge them on how she viewed players and situations.
Lawson has a broadcasting background herself. She has served as both a studio and game analyst for ESPN as well as local broadcasts of the Kings and Wizards. She was named the head coach of the women’s team at Duke University before the 2020-21 season.
ESPN+ To Stream TSN’s NHL Free Agency Coverage
As part of its increased hockey coverage, ESPN-Plus will stream a seven-hour NHL free agency special on Wednesday.
ESPN has dove head first into its resurgent coverage of the NHL. It began with a full special covering the Seattle Kraken expansion draft earlier this month, and will continue with some borrowing from the country’s neighbor to the north. ESPN announced it will stream TSN’s annual coverage of the start of NHL free agency on ESPN+.
The coverage will commence at 11 a.m. EST on July 28 and run seven hours, hosted by James Duthie. Signings will be covered by a flurry of analysts including Gord Miller, Bob McKenzie, Darren Dreger, and Pierre LeBrun. TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button will also be on hand, as will almost two dozen other NHL and TSN personalities.
Teams are still clearing salary cap room ahead of the onslaught of deals, and the NHL looks to capitalize similarly to how the NBA and NFL have used ESPN to make their offseasons as full of coverage as the seasons of play.
ESPN+ will be a major factor in ESPN’s NHL coverage. The platform will be home to games each week. It will also carry exclusive programming, including the highlight show In the Crease, hosted by Linda Cohen.
Adam Schefter Expected To Join Mannings On Monday Night Football
The NFL insider has been with ESPN since 2009.
ESPN executives have nailed down two members of the Manning Monday Night Football Megacast already; now they have to round out the trio. One familiar face has a leg up on one of the hottest jobs in the industry right now.
Front Office Sports’ Michael McCarthy reports that Adam Schefter is a leading candidate to join Peyton and Eli Manning for their Monday Night Football Megacast, airing ten times this season on ESPN2. Schefter has never been a TV host or play-by-play voice at the company, but sources told McCarthy this isn’t set up as a “down and distance” broadcast.
“It will be like watching ‘Monday Night Football’ with the Mannings and their friends. The win will be how funny and interesting the whole conversation is,” A source said to FOS. “If you want down and distance, that’s on the main broadcast. This should look and feel totally different.”
A source went on to say that the job is pictured “more like Ernie Johnson Jr. — and less like Al Michaels,” with Schefter (or whoever gets the gig) facilitating conversations around the game with the Mannings.
McCarthy confirmed that the brothers have the final say on who will join them in the booth as the hottest job in sports media opens up. Name a big name and they’ve likely already had their agent on the phone to pump them up in Bristol, Conn.
“Everyone wants in. Every agent in town is calling ESPN,” a source said to FOS.
The brothers won’t be on-site for these games. Instead, they’ll pull off all ten broadcasts this season in a looser, remote atmosphere. Schefter could be a strong fit for that type of hybrid role, and the professional timing couldn’t be much better for the NFL insider.
Schefter has been with ESPN since 2009 and signed his current five-year deal back in 2016. He’s a routine news breaker and a valuable asset for ESPN. Dangling the carrot of ten games with the Mannings could spell a fresh deal between Schefter and ESPN. Who is reeling in the Manning Conversations this fall? We’ll find out soon enough.
Liberty Extends ESPN Deal
Liberty and ESPN reached a deal that gives the flames exclusive rights to the Flames’ football games through 2025.
In a state dominated by FBS programs Virginia and Virginia Tech, and FCS power James Madison, Liberty University has needed to be aggressive in order to stay relevant. They hired Scott Jackson, the longtime assistant to the legendary Mike Fox at UNC, to coach their baseball program. The Flames also hired Ritchie McKay, Tony Bennett’s top assistant at UVA, to lead their basketball program. Of course, they famously hired ex-Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze to be their head football coach. Now, they have extended their exclusive media rights deal with ESPN through 2025.
The deal will see all of Liberty’s football games available on an ESPN platform, with a guarantee of at least one game available on a linear station and ESPN has the right to choose a non-traditional gameday to air a second linear broadcast. Liberty’s 12-game schedule is highlighted by a pair of road games at Power Five schools: a September 24 date with Syracuse and a pseudo-homecoming of sorts for Freeze against Ole Miss November 6.
“We are pleased to continue to showcase Liberty home football games exclusively on ESPN platforms in the years ahead through this multi-year extension of our rights agreement which began in 2018. The recent success of the Flames has made them one of the more intriguing programs in college football the past few seasons.” said Dan Margulis, senior director of programming and acquisitions, ESPN.
The move comes during a tumultuous time in college football as Oklahoma and Texas are reportedly nearing a deal to join the SEC. Liberty is currently one of just six FBS independents, along with BYU, UMass, Army, Notre Dame, and New Mexico State. That list is a mixed bag of those who are independent by choice and those who are not.
The Flames will embark on just their fourth season in the FBS this fall, and the smoke surrounding the school’s desire to join the AAC is palpable. Gaining favor with the Worldwide Leader is a good first step for a program that’s always focused on putting one in front of the other as of late.
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