As women continue to knock down barriers and create opportunities for themselves in the broadcasting booth, the list of “firsts” left to be accomplished is fortunately dwindling. That list got a little bit smaller on Thursday as it was announced July 20’s broadcast of the Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles will be the first-ever all-women broadcast for Major League Baseball, according to USA Today.
The booth will be led by Orioles play-by-play announcer Melanie Newman, who will be joined by MLB.com analyst Sarah Langs along with High Heat contributor Alanna Rizzo on the field. The pre-game and post-game will be handled by MLB Network’s Heidi Watney and Lauren Gardner, as well.
MLB CRO Noah Garden told The New York Times the move is not an experiment, but rather a sign of things to come. ESPN added a lot of significant depth to its baseball coverage when Jessica Mendoza joined the seasoned team. Given the array of baseball experience to be featured in the booth and studio for the upcoming Rays-Orioles game, it figures to be an exciting move forward for a league that so often times is lamented for being stuck in the past.
Michael Quirk is a news writer for Barrett Sports Media. Additionally, he is a co-host of the Spgahetti Junction Boys and a contributor to 5 Reasons Sports in Miami. His prior experiences include writing for 247Sports, Bleacher Report, FanSided, and The Key West Citizen. To connect, find him on Twitter @SJBMichael.
WWE Moving Smackdown From FOX to USA in 2024
“Under the terms of the deal, NBCUniversal will produce four primetime WWE specials each year too. Those will run on NBC.”
All good things must come to an end. That is the case with the relationship between the WWE and FOX. Smackdown will leave the network next year and return to USA Network in a new media rights agreement.
Several reports from earlier this year have indicated that FOX was unlikely to renew the deal.
A five-year deal worth a reported $287 million per year between the WWE and NBCUniversal begins in October 2024. It will put Smackdown on USA, where it ran from 2016 until 2019, and has a total value of more than $1.4 billion.
Under the terms of the deal, NBCUniversal will produce four prime time WWE specials each year too beginning during the 2024-25 season. Those will run on NBC.
“It’s a privilege and thrill to continue NBCU’s decades-long partnership with WWE which has helped cement USA Network’s consistent position as the top-rated cable entertainment network in live viewership,” Frances Berwick, chairman of NBCUniversal Entertainment, said in a statement. “With Friday nights on USA, primetime specials on NBC, and the WWE hub on Peacock, we’ll continue to use the power of our portfolio to super-serve this passionate fanbase.”
This does not mean all of WWE’s media rights are accounted for. The company is still in discussions for a new deal for Raw, which it expects to reach next year.
USA has enjoyed a more than 20-year relationship with Raw. It has been the anchor of the network’s Monday night programming and is routinely WWE’s most-viewed TV product.
NBCUniversal’s Peacock is also the home of WWE Network. The addition of Smackdown should strengthen the company’s position with the WWE.
Ourand reports that while the signs seem to indicate that WWE will exclusively be doing business with NBCUniversal, nothing is decided. Disney and Amazon have both met with TKO Holdings about acquiring some WWE programming and the companies have discussed the potential for Raw to move to a different night as part of a new deal.
ESPN Decision Not to Show Nick Chubb Replay ‘Out of Respect to the Viewers’
“We viewed the replays in our production truck immediately after the play and decided to use discretion out of respect to the viewers and Nick Chubb.”
The decision made not to show a replay of Nick Chubb’s injury on ABC’s Monday Night Football broadcast has been met with scrutiny. The network did not offer a detailed explanation for the decision.
“We viewed the replays in our production truck immediately after the play and decided to use discretion out of respect to the viewers and Nick Chubb,” an ESPN spokesperson said when asked by The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch how the decision was made.
The spokesperson added that the decision did not come down from network brass. It was made onsite by the Monday Night Football production crew.
On the broadcast, Troy Aikman revealed that the injury was “as bad as you can imagine” after Joe Buck told the audience that he had been informed that the network had decided not to replay the interview.
While some members of the public praised the decision, some sports media professionals have had the opposite reaction, including Dan Patrick, who said ABC had a duty to the viewers to show a replay to put the sport and the event in context.
Marcellus Wiley has ‘No Love & No Respect’ for Stephen A. Smith’s Ethics
“I love the truth more than any of these fools, and the truth is, you cannot attack Max’s credentials.”
Marcellus Wiley doesn’t want to hear Stephen A. Smith caping for Shannon Sharpe. He said its hard to overlook the hypocrisy of the ESPN star saying it is unfair to see Sharpe “pushed out” of Undisputed when he did the same thing to Max Kellerman on First Take.
Smith said that he has no ill-will towards Kellerman but did not like hosting First Take with him. He claimed that his ultimatum to ESPN management that one of them had to go was about the show not resonating with audiences the way it used to.
“He got Max fired. Put off the show,” Wiley said. “It’s hard to say. Stephen A felt threatened point blank. Ain’t no way around it.”
Wiley says that part of Stephen A. Smith’s problem with Terrell Owens is that Owens touched a nerve with his joke that Kellerman sounded Blacker than Smith. Wiley said that for whatever reason, it is something Smith remains sensitive about.
He also took Smith to task for claiming that he knows the story behind Sharpe’s ouster from FS1 but cannot tell it. Wiley says Smith has a more compelling story to tell and that people just want to hear him own up to why Kellerman had to go.
“I still got love for Stephen A,” Wiley said. “At the same time, you know me, I love the truth more than any of these fools, and the truth is, you cannot attack Max’s credentials.”
He added that for all of the talk about Kellerman never being the right fit for First Take, he can remember working with Kellerman on ESPN Los Angeles and hearing Smith call to try and convince Kellerman to move to New York to join First Take.
“Grandma always said ‘can’t makes sense out of nonsense.’ Let me say this. Stephen A gets a salute from all, especially me, because I respect his work ethic. But right now, and a lot of people are seeing it right before our very eyes, no love and no respect for your ethics.”