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ESPN Bolsters NHL Roster, Names Sean McDonough Lead Announcer

ESPN continues to fill out its NHL coverage team, announcing Ryan McDonough as lead broadcaster and Steve Levy leading the studio team.

MIchael Quirk

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Earlier this year, ESPN made waves in the sports media community when it acquired broadcast rights for the NHL heading into the 2021-2022 season. Since then, there has been a race for talent with TNT (who also acquired rights) similar to when the United States and Russia were dueling to be first on the moon. The Worldwide Leader announced on Tuesday its hockey roster, that will have Sean McDonough lead its play-by-play with Steve Levy heading up the studio coverage.

ESPN has put together a strong roster met with diversity in gender, race, and age between its hosts, reporters, and analysts. Hall of Fame sportscaster and longtime hockey expert Linda Cohn will host In The Crease, a nightly program on ESPN Plus. John BuccigrossBob Wischusen and Leah Hextall will also lend their voices to the play-by-play for the network, Blake Bolden, Emily Kaplan, and Greg Wyshynski handling reporting roles.

“This new and groundbreaking lineup will bring the NHL to an expanding legion of passionate fans,” said Jimmy Pitaro, Chairman of ESPN and Sports Content. “We set out to put together a roster that would excite, engage and educate the entire range of fans – from diehard to casual – while inspiring the next generation. With this lineup, we believe we have done just that. We could not be more excited to welcome this talented and diverse group to the ESPN hockey family.”

Sports TV News

Netflix CEO: ‘We’re Not Anti-Sports, We’re Just Pro-Profit’

“He characterized expensive media rights as a “loss leader” in the streaming world and noted that Netflix doesn’t view sports as a necessity to grow.”

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Netflix will not join Apple and Amazon in the rush to gobble up live sports rights. Co-CEO Ted Sarandos addressed the streaming giant’s disinterest at the UBS Global Technology, Media & Telecom Conference on Wednesday.

He characterized expensive media rights as a “loss leader” in the streaming world and noted that Netflix doesn’t view sports as a necessity to grow.

“We’re not anti-sports,” Sarandos said according to Deadline. “We’re just pro-profit. We have yet to figure out how to do it. But I’m very confident we can get twice as big as we are without sports.” 

Questions about the interest the company has in carrying live sports have come up several times in the past. Sarandon made similar comments last year when asked about it.

Reed Hastings, Sarandos’s co-CEO at Netflix, has a slightly different view. In 2021, he indicated that Netflix could be interested in F1 rights someday thanks to the success of its documentary series Drive to Survive, but that would be a special case. Any league interested in doing business with Netflix, he said, would have to allow Netflix to control all of its content.

Ted Sarandos echoed that sentiment in his most recent comments. He said that the company does not see a way to profit by “renting big-league sports.”

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Sports TV News

FOX Sued for Patent Infringement Over NFL Scheduling

“Recentive Analytics filed suit against FOX in a Delaware federal court on November 29 according to Yahoo Sports.”

Jordan Bondurant

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An analytics company is suing FOX over claims that the network developed a mapping tool using their patented technology to create a season slate of NFL games.

Recentive Analytics filed suit against FOX in a Delaware federal court on November 29 according to Yahoo Sports.

The lawsuit claims FOX used access to Recentive’s predictive analytics tools to develop a resource of their own that would create optimal schedules for its 1 and 4 p.m. NFLwindows.

The company is seeking a declaration that FOX infringed on two of its patents. Recentive is also suing for damages and wants an injunction keeping FOX from using Recentive tech and preventing the network from “selling, offering for sale, marketing or using any internal network and mapping analytics tool for the scheduling and regionalization of events covered by the patents.”

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Sports TV News

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.”

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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.

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