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.
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.
NSMA Names Finalists for 2023 National Awards
Winners will be invited to the 64th NSMA Awards Weekend & National Convention in June or July 2024.
The National Sports Media Association (NSMA) on Wednesday announced its finalists for 2023 national awards.
The national sportswriter of the year finalists are: Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN; Dan Wetzel of Yahoo; Dana O’Neil of The Athletic; Jeff Passan of ESPN; Marc J. Spears of Andscape and ESPN; Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic; Pat Forde of Sports Illustrated; Peter King of NBC Sports; Sally Jenkins of The Washington Post, and Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated.
The national Sportscaster of the Year finalists are: Brian Anderson of CBS/TBS/TNT; Charles Barkley of TNT/TBS; Doris Burke of ABC/ESPN; Jim Nantz of CBS; Joe Buck of ESPN; Joe Davis of FOX; Kevin Harlan of CBS/TNT/TBS/Westwood One; Mike Breen of ABC/ESPN; Mike Tirico of NBC, and Sean McDonough of ABC/ESPN.
The Hall of Fame Sportswriter finalists are: Christine Brennan, Claire Smith, Howard Bryant, Ira Berkow, Jayson Stark, Mike Downey, Ralph Wiley, Ray Didinger, Roger Kahn, and Wendell Smith.
The Hall of Fame sportscaster finalists are: Andrea Kremer, Charlie Neal, Don Criqui, Jaime Jarrin, James Brown, Joe Buck, Mary Carillo, Mike Tirico, Phyllis George, and Tim McCarver.
Winners will be invited to the 64th NSMA Awards Weekend & National Convention next summer.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He’s a multimedia journalist and communicator who works at the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond. Jordan also contributes occasional coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, WRIC-TV 8News and Audacy Richmond. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.
Kirk Herbstreit: Social Media Still Critical of Al Michaels Because of Last Year’s Comments
“He hears the noise. He has more of an ‘F you’ attitude about it than ‘I am going to show them’.”
The narrative going around social media is that legendary broadcaster Al Michaels doesn’t have too much excitement when he calls a Thursday Night Football game on Amazon Prime with Kirk Herbstreit. However, in Herbstreit’s mind, that is nowhere near the truth.
Herbstreit was a guest on the Pardon My Take podcast this week and he said that he thinks a lot of people are holding two games from last year against Michaels. One was the Chargers-Jaguars Wild Card playoff game and the other was the Colts-Broncos matchup that was a 12-9 overtime game.
“I think everyone is holding the Jacksonville playoff game last year against him. I didn’t work with him in that game and it got a lot of criticism after that game.”
“Social media is using that as a narrative and they are just using that and the one time in Indy/Denver he talked about how what a shitty game it was we were doing. It is almost like they are using those two examples to say ‘Al Michaels hates Thursday night, Al Michaels has lost it.'”
One comparison he gave for both he and Michaels is that while Thursday night games have strong atmospheres, they don’t compare to when Michaels used to call Sunday Night Football or Monday Night Football or when Herbstreit does a big Saturday Night game for college football.
“We’ve had a great schedule this year. We’ve had some great games. If you listen to me calling Florida State/Florida or to me this weekend, I’m standing the whole game, Chris Fowler is standing the whole game. There’s energy that is unparalleled in these college atmospheres. You get caught up in the moment you are performing in.”
“I think Al when he would do Sunday Night or Monday Night Football, those games were massive. You are doing big games and your voice projects based on the setting that you are in. These Thursday night games are good atmospheres, but I don’t think they are at the level of a Sunday night game or when I’m doing a Saturday night game. So, I think your voice always matches with what you are doing.”
Herbstreit has been with Michaels for the last two seasons and there is one thing that he is impressed by about him and he feels that both of them are similar in terms of how much excitement they bring with the situation warrants it.
“I’ve noticed that Al Michaels is pretty much like me. When the game warrants excitement, he brings excitement…I think Al hears it, he disagrees with it. He’s really enjoying our crew and what we are doing. To be at his age and I marvel at what he does. Producers talking in his ear, he’s always recognizing and ID’ing typically the right guy every time. At his age, I’m blown away by it.”
“He hears the noise. He has more of an ‘F you’ attitude about it than ‘I am going to show them’. He thinks it’s a bunch of bullshit, I think it’s a bunch of bullshit. I think it’s a narrative that social media is running with.”
Ricky Keeler is a reporter for BSM with a primary focus on sports media podcasts and national personalities. He is also an active podcaster with an interest in pursuing a career in sports media. You can find him on Twitter @Rickinator555 or reach him by email at [email protected].
Clay Travis: CBS Executives Should Be Fired For Allowing SEC to Leave for ESPN
“CBS tripping all over themselves and ending their relationship with the SEC is so dumb that every single person who was responsible for that decision should be fired on the spot.”
OutKick host Clay Travis has harsh words for CBS executives who he says let the SEC leave for ESPN in lieu of a new deal with the Big Ten.
During OutKick The Show, Clay Travis broached the topic of the near future’s cosmic shift of college football media rights and made some stark comments about CBS and the execs that “ended their relationship with the SEC.”
“This is what CBS did, the single dumbest decision in the history of my life in sports media,” Travis said. “CBS tripping all over themselves and ending their relationship with the SEC is so dumb that every single person who was responsible for that decision should be fired on the spot.
“If I ran CBS, I would be like, ‘Everybody who screwed up the SEC game of the week and chose not to extend it at what would have been a substantial discount to what they ended up paying for a far worse package from the Big Ten? All of them should be fired.’”
Starting in 2024, the SEC will no longer air on CBS and will find its new home on ESPN and ABC. In its place will be a new-look Big Ten, sporting four top programs that fled the sinking Pac-12: USC, UCLA, Oregon, and Washington. Despite the excitement surrounding the Big Ten, Travis still feels like the move is a massive downgrade, comparing the SEC game of the week to a first-overall pick versus a third-round pick in the form of the Big Ten games.
“CBS Sports had the greatest television package in college sports history, in that they had the number one draft pick of every SEC game every week,” Travis said. “They went from the best game in college football many weeks — the SEC premier pick — to leaving the SEC and getting like third-round draft picks from the Big Ten.”
Travis credits ESPN for fostering their relationship with the SEC over the past two decades, which originally culminated in the formation of the SEC Network, a channel dedicated to all things Southeastern Conference. Disney and ESPN lay in wait while CBS had the big games, then took the next step with the SEC while CBS had its eyes elsewhere.
Now, the two sports titans are going steady at the proverbial sports media dance while CBS seemingly grabbed the first option on the other side of the floor. All CBS had to do, Clay Travis says, was pay a little more for then-new SEC entrants Texas A&M and Missouri back in 2012, and all would still be good.
“All the SEC had to do…was bump their payment up a little bit…and they could’ve extended their relationship,” Clay Travis said. “Yet when the SEC expanded and added Missouri and Texas A&M, ESPN said ‘Here is our checkbook, SEC. We want to be in business with you for as long as we can. We understand what you’re doing and we want to be in business with you. And that was the impetus behind the launching of the SEC Network.’”’
However, Texas and Oklahoma are leaving the Big 12 two years early and will join the SEC in 2024, which means more money for CBS that they may have not been willing to pay, even for some of the most recognizable programs in the country.
Despite the doom and gloom surrounding the deal, the new Big Ten will be no slouch. While CBS will lose perennial college football powerhouses like Alabama and Georgia, it gains USC and UCLA, Oregon and Washington from the Pac-12. This is on top of their existing teams like Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Nebraska, and Iowa. The only regular-season college football game to crack the top 100 broadcasts of 2022 was last year’s edition of “The Game” between Michigan and Ohio State.