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.“
Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX
“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”
FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.
A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.
The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.
Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.
That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.
Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.
FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars
“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”
The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.
Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.
Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.
“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”
Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.
“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.
FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.
NBA Draft To Get Simulcast From ESPN & ABC
“This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.”
ESPN is set for the 2022 NBA Draft coming up on June 23 at 8 p.m. from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The network announced Wednesday the crews that will handle coverage on both ESPN and ABC.
ABC will broadcast the first round in primetime. Kevin Negandhi will host and will be joined by Stephen A. Smith, Chiney Ogwumike and Jalen Rose. Monica McNutt will be reporting and interviewing draftees.
This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.
Malika Andrews will host both rounds for ESPN. Jay Bilas, Kendrick Perkins and Adrian Wojnarowski will share the set. Analysts Bobby Marks and Mike Schmitz will contribute.
“We’re thrilled that Malika Andrews will host this year’s ESPN presentation as she brings her well-documented, widespread skillset to our main set,” said David Roberts, head of NBA and Studio Production for ESPN. “The event will showcase the scope and depth of our NBA and college basketball talent roster with accomplished journalists and high-profile personalities across ESPN, ABC and ESPN Radio.”
ESPN will air a pre-draft red carpet show hosted by Cassidy Hubbarth from 5-6 p.m. Perkins and Richard Jefferson will also make appearances.