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ESPN Re-Signs Sam Ravech

“Ravech is likely to receive other assignments over the life of the new contract. Sam did not want to speculate on what those assignments might be.”

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The suits in Bristol like being in the Ravech business. That is why ESPN has signed Sam Ravech to a new multi-year contract. Barrett Sports Media has learned the new deal will see the younger Ravech calling college sports and the upcoming Little League World Series.

That is a very personal assignment for Ravech. Not only has growing up around baseball given him a level of appreciation for all levels of the game, but getting to call regional action in Bristol means that he will have some very personal memories about the venue he will be broadcasting from.

“I’m getting to broadcast a Little League regional in Bristol at the Giamatti Center, and I grew up going there during summer camps to play Little League Baseball,” he told BSM. “It was our team’s dream to go play there. When we were in Little League. We just never made it that far. We were one step away.”

Since joining ESPN in 2018, Sam Ravech has called a number of events on multiple platforms for the network. Last year, BSM’s Tyler McComas wrote about Sam and his father Karl Ravech calling college basketball games simultaneously on different ESPN networks.

Not unlike Mike Golic Jr., Sam has been accused of nepotism leading to his opportunity at ESPN. Mike Golic Sr. used to joke that maybe nepotism explains the first contract, but it doesn’t explain why ESPN chose to get rid of him and keep Junior.

Ravech’s situation is different though. Any time someone suggests on social media that Sam is only where he is because of nepotism, plenty of others from across the industry are quick to say that clearly the accuser has never seen Sam’s work. It’s a response that the younger Ravech is grateful for and says no one should be surprised that he wanted to go into broadcasting.

“I think a lot of people grow up wanting to be just like their dad or their mom. It just so happens that my dad works for ESPN and I grew up wanting to be like him,” he says. “You know, he was my hero growing up. So I think a lot of kids, a lot of people can relate to that. I’m not entirely sure why all the nepotism gets thrown my way. Like, I don’t think it’s a really a crazy idea when you’re a kid growing up to want to do that. But it just so happened that it turned out to work out for me. And I like to think I’m pretty good at what I do.

An ESPN spokesman says Sam Ravech is likely to receive other assignments over the life of the new contract. Sam did not want to speculate on what those assignments might be. He told BSM that right now, it is hard to even say what ESPN’s strategy will be in five years with the broadcast industry constantly changing.

“I don’t think anyone knows what the next five years will look like. But I do think that ESPN is in a very unique position to be the leader in that. And they have been for a long time.

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NESN Bruins Announcer Jack Edwards Addresses Speech Slowdown Issues For First Time

“The way I see it, two things work to my disadvantage. The game is speeding up all the time. And I’m slowing down all the time.”

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Jack Edwards of NESN
Courtesy: NESN

Longtime NESN Boston Bruins play-by-play man Jack Edwards recently spoke to The Boston Globe and addressed an ongoing health issue. While Edwards says he’s been cleared of cancer, dementia, and a stroke, he is still slurring and slowing his words at an increasing rate. Edwards credits it to two primary factors:

“The way I see it, two things work to my disadvantage,” Edwards said to the Boston Globe. “The game is speeding up all the time. And I’m slowing down all the time.”

According to The Globe, this is the first time Edwards has spoken about his struggles publicly, mostly because of the mysticism surrounding his condition. It’s not related to any sort of accident, or serious disease or condition — and doctors have no formal diagnosis or medical term to give him. Edwards says he is in “robust” health and receives “superior” grades on intellect tests. But Edwards still struggles with his speech slowing down.

“It doesn’t fit in any slot,” Edwards said. “There have been a couple of guesses, but they haven’t made a definitive diagnosis and they’ve been working on me for a year and a half. It’s very frustrating, as you can imagine, for me to have this slowdown in my speech.”

At the behest of his daughter, Edwards began speech therapy following his struggle with reading the Declaration of Independence on July 4, something Edwards and his father have done each year. “The Declaration of Independence has quite a few unusual words,” says Edwards, “and a year and a half ago, I couldn’t process the words, and it’s not like it was unfamiliar. I’ve read it for, like, 20 years, 25 years.”

Edwards goes through 40-60 minutes of what he calls “exhaustive and exhausting” speech therapy exercises on non-game days but still finds time to freshen up on game days for about 10 minutes. He’s appreciative of the work his speech therapy team does with him every day.

“I thank all the people who are working on this problem and helping me, and they seem to feel and I anecdotally feel that I’m making incremental progress,” he says. “The brain is a funny thing, especially mine. It is still possible to train a 66½-year-old brain to do the same things you used to do in a different way. And that’s what we’re working on through speech therapy.”

While Edwards is optimistic, he is a realist and is treating his speech issues as an in-season injury. If it gets better, he will continue to serve as the Bruins’ play-by-play voice. If not, he offers the stark reality of his situation. “If I, or NESN, decide that I’m hurting the product or costing the fans an enjoyable experience, I will say goodbye. But we haven’t had any discussions like that.”

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Nielsen Custom Survey: Super Bowl LVIII Reached Estimated 210 Million Viewers

“The Super Bowl is singular across the television and media landscape not only in its unparalleled viewership, but because it is largely watched in group settings.”

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A custom survey commissioned by the National Football League to Nielsen Media Research discovered that Super Bowl LVIII reached an estimated 210 million viewers, representing nearly two-thirds of Americans across CBS, Paramount+, Nickelodeon and Univision, along with CBS Sports, Univision and NFL digital properties, including NFL+. This represents a 4% increase compared to last year’s game figure of 202 million unique viewers reported through the Nielsen syndicated ratings service that measures viewers who tuned in for at least one minute of the game.

This survey, which was ordered to add to Nielsen’s audience measurement data and provide more insight into the total audience estimate for the league’s championship game, discovered that Super Bowl LVIII had an average minute audience of approximately 143 million viewers.

The survey encompassed 5,267 households and reviewed the size of viewership groups, location notwithstanding, and if they are larger than what is currently measured by Nielsen in the present day. NORC at the University of Chicago conducted the survey utilizing the AmeriSpeak panel.

“The Super Bowl is singular across the television and media landscape not only in its unparalleled viewership, but because it is largely watched in group settings,” Paul Ballew, chief data and analytics officer of the National Football League, said in a statement. “With that in mind, additional measurement is needed in order to have a complete picture of the total viewership of this special event and the results of this custom survey with Nielsen illustrate the true magnitude of the Super Bowl.”

Nielsen Media Research found that Super Bowl LVIII averaged nearly 124 million viewers across the aforementioned properties, rendering it the most-watched Super Bowl matchup of all time. The research firm is in the midst of expanding its national out-of-home panel as well which will bring its coverage to 100% of the portable people meter (PPM) technology footprint. Nielsen data recently demonstrated that NFL games encapsulated 93 of the top 100 most-watched television broadcasts throughout 2023.

“Nielsen understands the nuance of the Super Bowl, which historically has drawn the largest television audience of the year and includes unparalleled viewership from large groups of people, both in and out of homes,” Deirdre Thomas, chief product officer at Nielsen, said in a statement. “We are proud that the NFL partners with Nielsen to provide the best possible measurement of their programming, for the Super Bowl and throughout the season.

“Additionally, we’re excited about the expansion of our National Out-Of-Home panel, which we announced earlier this month, because it will enhance our ability to provide the most complete picture of the audience, especially for major events like the Super Bowl.”

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Report: Luke Donald To Join NBC Golf Coverage for Two Events

According to Sports Business Journal, Donald will join NBC’s coverage of the Cognizant Classic and the Arnold Palmer Invitational alongside Dan Hicks.

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Luke Donald after a golf swing
Courtesy: Wikipedia

NBC continues its quest to find a full-time golf analyst and will allegedly next try out former European Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald to fill the role. According to Sports Business Journal, NBC is expected to announce the move this weekend.

SBJ reports Donald will join NBC’s coverage of the Cognizant Classic and the Arnold Palmer Invitational alongside Dan Hicks. The sometimes-active pro’s stock reportedly rose within NBC following Europe’s massive win over the U.S. in the Ryder Cup last September. He also brings star power as a former world number one and PGA Tour Player of the Year.

Donald is the latest name to join NBC as a golf analyst since the network laid off Paul Azinger in November. Donald will directly succeed Jim “Bones” Mackay, who will call the Mexico Open this weekend, who himself succeeded former Tour pros like Brandel Chamblee and Kevin Kisner. At one point, Geoff Ogilvy was rumored to be an option for NBC, but with each passing analyst, that thought seems more likely to remain in the rumor mill.

The Cognizant Classic takes place from Feb. 29–Mar. 3 at the PGA National Members Club in Palm Springs Beach, FL. The Arnold Palmer Invitational will air Mar. 7–10, 2024 at Palmer’s Bay Hill Golf Course in Arnold, MD.

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