The battle for broadcast talent isn’t slowing down between Turner and ESPN. Both companies have been bolstering their hockey talent pool in anticipation of the NHL arriving in the fall. According to Andrew Marchand, ESPN is hiring three-time Stanley Cup champion Chris Chelios as a studio analyst.
The legend joins Mark Messier as a member of ESPN’s top studio team. The NHL made a strong commitment to ESPN and ABC, which air four of the next seven Stanley Cup finals.
Turner landed the biggest fish out there by acquiring Wayne Gretzky but Messier and Chelios are slapshot additions to the ESPN team. Chelios has worked for ESPN before as an analyst on their World Cup of Hockey broadcasts.
Few players defined the sport like Chelios did over his 26-year career. He won two titles with the Detroit Red Wings and one with the Montreal Canadiens. Chelios played in 1,651 regular-season games and scored 185 goals, 763 assists, and 948 points. In 26 years, Chelios missed the playoffs just twice.
At 45, Chelios became the second-oldest NHL player ever. The feat trails only the legendary Gordie Howe, who played until he was 52 years old.
The lauded defenseman joins a strong roster of ESPN hockey voices ready to call the action. Ray Ferraro and Brian Boucher are game analysts alongside Kevin Weekes. While Leah Hextall fulfills play-by-play roles and other duties. Steve Levy and Sean Mcdonough are in the running for lead play-by-play duties, but Marchand confirmed they haven’t chosen that role.
On the Turner side, Kenny Albert and Eddie Olczyk are leading the way on game broadcasts. The NHL and Turner agreed to a seven-year deal that will pay $225 million per year for the rights to three Stanley Cups, half the playoffs, and some regular-season games, including the Winter Classic.
Russ Heltman is a daily news writer for BSM. He is the morning host and producer for 89.3 WMKV in Cincinnati, OH. He also works in gameday communications for FC Cincinnati and additionally contributes to the AllBengals blog for Sports Illustrated. Russ can be found on Twitter @RussHeltman11 or you can reach him by email at Heltmandm@yahoo.com.
FOX Will Use Chris Fallica On Belmont Stakes Coverage
“While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.”
The Bear will be more than just a college football presence when he moves to FOX. Chris Fallica wrapped his final duties for ESPN last week and is now headed to a new network and will tackle some new responsibilities.
Fallica’s new role at FOX will involve plenty of sports gambling content. Richard Deitsch of The Athletic reports that content will include horse racing.
“One Fox Sports source said look for him to appear on the Belmont Stakes coverage,” Deitsch wrote in his weekly media column.
Starting in 2023, horse racing’s Triple Crown will not be seen all in one place. While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.
How the network intends to use Chris Fallica on the broadcast is not clear. Given that he is coming to the network to contribute to gambling conversations, it is likely he would either be making picks or at least reviewing odds right up to the start of the race.
NBCUniversal CEO Expects Disney To Buy Company’s Hulu Stake
“Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal.”
The Walt Disney Company owns 67% of Hulu. The other 33% is owned by NBCUniversal. The latter company doesn’t expect that to be the case forever.
“It’s worth a lot of money,” NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said at an investor conference earlier this week, “and I think there’s no indication that anything else is going to happen than Disney writing us a big check.”
Hulu is primarily a platform for movies and television shows. It is a major part of Disney’s deal with the NHL though. The streaming giant is part of the package of 103 games that are exclusive to ESPN and ABC. Hulu is also a live TV provider for many. The company’s Hulu Plus Live TV package had over 4 million subscribers as of the summer of 2022.
Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal. He credits sports and content migrated from Hulu as the reason Peacock has grown to 18 million paid subscriptions since September.
Deadline reports that if Disney does want to acquire NBCUniversal’s stake in Hulu, “the price could fluctuate but will be in the tens of billions of dollars.”
Greg Olsen Believes He and Kevin Burkhardt Can Handle Games ‘On Any Stage’
“Obviously, the bosses get paid a lot to make hard decisions. You have to obviously do what your bosses decide. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”
“If you’re asking me, I think Kevin and I have shown that we can handle a game on any stage – on any day. We just did it on Thanksgiving. We’ll do it again around Christmas. And obviously throughout the [NFL] Playoffs,” said Olsen. “So whatever decision they make. Obviously, the bosses get paid a lot to make hard decisions. You have to obviously do what your bosses decide. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
“But as of now, I anticipate Kevin and I, the two of us, with Erin and Tom down on the sidelines, the four of us, broadcasting the Super Bowl in February in Arizona. Until I’m told otherwise, that’s how we’re proceeding.”
Olsen also told FOS he has negotiated a new contract with FOX Sports, but declined to share details. He is slated to be replaced on the top broadcast crew once Tom Brady ends his playing career. Brady will then begin a 10-year, $375 million contract to serve as the network’s top NFL game analyst and brand ambassador.