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John Buccigross, Chris Fowler Lead Broadcasts of 2021 NHL Draft

ESPN has simulcasted TSN draft coverage in the past.

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Courtesy: NHL

It’s almost time for the Kraken to awaken. The NHL announced their broadcast plans for the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft and regular NHL Draft this week. 

The expansion draft starts off the festivities on Wednesday, July 21, at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2 in the U.S. and Sportsnet and SN NOW in Canada. The event is taking place live in Seattle, home of the Kraken, the NHL’s latest expansion team rounding out the league with 32 franchises. 

The Kraken has an opportunity to add existing players in the league to their squad to make sure they have enough talent to compete in their expansion season. The Vegas Golden Knights leave quite the lofty standard on that front, reaching the Stanley Cup Finals in their inaugural season. They fell to the Washington Capitals in five games.

ESPN is sending some of their top talents to bolster the event, with Chris Fowler hosting alongside former NHL player Dominic Moore and Kevin Weekes, one of the company’s most recent additions to their hockey coverage. Weekes provided commentary and analysis for NHL Network and Hockey Night in Canada. He’ll be reporting from various iconic Seattle locations.

Next up for ESPN is the complete NHL Draft, with John Buccigross hosting live coverage of the opening round on Friday, July 23 at 8 p.m. ET. He is joined by Sportsnet analysts Elliotte Friedman and Sam Cosentino. Weekes alongside NHL Network’s Jackie Redmond and ESPN’s Emily Kaplan are joining the coverage team to provide insight and analysis.

These broadcasts are a clear step forward for ESPN’s hockey coverage. In past years they have chosen to simulcast TSN coverage of the NHL Draft rather than devote their own talent and resources. ABC and ESPN are splitting the league’s broadcast duties with Turner over much of this decade. These events give the former a chance to drop the puck on a new era of domestic NHL coverage in style.

Sports TV News

Drinks With Binks Renewed At FuboTV

The new series will premiere with two new episodes on September 18th.

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Drinks with Binks is returning for a fourth season. The show hosted by Julie Stewart-Binks was renewed by Fubo Sports Network on Tuesday.

The new season starts with two new episodes on September 18th. Dan Patrick will be a guest on the season debut.

Stewart-Binks has had numerous notable guests in the past ranging from athletes to media personalities to celebrities including Kenny Mayne, Michael Rapaport, Cari Champion, Jemele Hill, and many others.

Stewart-Binks has built up numerous relationships with some of her former coworkers turned guests over the years during her time at FS1, ESPN, and Barstool Sports.

Topics on previous episodes of Drinks With Binks range very widely from in depth sports analysis from former professionals of said sport, to personal and professional stories from some of the top personalities within the sports industry.

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Sports TV News

Is ESPN Creating a Problem For Itself With The Manningcast?

”I think it does a tremendous disservice to Levy, Griese, and Riddick” said Lewis referring to the traditional Monday Night Football booth.

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The alternate Manningcast on ESPN2 for the debut of Monday Night Football was met with a mixed bag of reactions. Mostly praise on the premise that it was very entertaining. The Mannings certainly have a certain charisma for the camera.

However purists of the game may find that this alternate cast is not for them, for a number of different reasons.

It is more of a fluff over substance kind of feel to it. The Mannings have plenty of stories to tell, along with some real insight, but if you are a fan of either team it may become a bit distracting.

Andy Masur made a great point when looking at the Manning Cast, people with a vested interest in the game may not want to tune into this alternate cast. He also added that as a play-by-play broadcaster himself, it did make him question what the future holds for that position.

One concerning thing for ESPN is that they have have indirectly created competition within their own company.

Jon Lewis aka Paulsen of SportsMediaWatch.com had plenty to say on his podcast about this, saying

”I think it does a tremendous disservice to Levy, Griese, and Riddick” said Lewis referring to the traditional Monday Night Football booth.

Though Griese was asked about this and said that he didn’t think that it did create competition. Lewis added that it is a slap in the face for ESPN to put so much attention into the alternate cast over the main cast.

Griese may be offering his honest opinion. As Masur said, there will be plenty of people that never think twice about watching the Manningcast over the traditional ESPN broadcast. While it isn’t one-for-one though, it is still another product that his own company is promoting. In that sense, Peyton and Eli are competition for Griese, Levy and Riddick in the same way that whatever is on Disney Channel or Freeform at 8:30 pm Eastern on Monday is competition for them.

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Sports TV News

Lisa Byington Named New TV Voice Of The Bucks

“Lisa Byington acknowledged that there will be talk of history related to her hire. She said it was addressed with her, but never made the focus of any discussions with the team.”

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The Milwaukee Bucks are following up a world championship by making a little history. The team has hired Lisa Byington as it’s new TV play-by-play broadcaster on Bally Sports Wisconsin. Byington becomes the first woman to serve as the full-time voice of a men’s team in a major professional league.

“I’m absolutely thrilled for this opportunity, and the ability to work with a first-class franchise and a championship organization like the Milwaukee Bucks,” Byington said in a press release. “My sincerest appreciation and thanks go out to so many, but, in particular, Bucks President Peter Feigin and Bally Sports Wisconsin Executive Producer Tony Tortorici for making this such a smooth process from start to finish. I know that I will be stepping into the role long-held by Jim Paschke, and I appreciate his passion for the team and the memorable moments his voice will always be a part of. I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge his work and commitment to the franchise, and it’s my honor to be the one who takes the baton from him. I’m particularly excited to work with such an amazing team of Marques Johnson, Zora Stephenson, Steve Novak and everyone involved with Bucks games at Bally Sports Wisconsin.”

It has already been a busy year for Lisa Byington. She worked for CBS and Turner calling games in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. She also recently returned from Tokyo, where she called men’s and women’s soccer games during the Olympics.

“We are so excited to welcome Lisa to the Bucks family and to bring such a talented play-by-play announcer to our broadcast team,” said Bucks and Fiserv Forum President Peter Feigin. “Lisa’s extensive television broadcasting background, including her play-by-play work for high-level NCAA basketball on several national networks, makes her the perfect choice to take on this major role. While we appreciate the significance of selecting Lisa, and we celebrate this historic moment, Lisa earned this position based on her extraordinary skills and experience. We look forward to Lisa becoming the voice of the Bucks.”

Lisa Byington acknowledged that there will be talk of history related to her hire. She said it was addressed with her, but never made the focus of any discussions with the team.

“I applaud the Bucks for taking the first steps toward making hires like this more of the norm in the NBA. Because it’s time,” she said.

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