Connect with us

Sports TV News

ESPN Celebrates 42nd Anniversary Of First Broadcast

“The first SportsCenter telecast aired to roughly 30,000 viewers while being available to over 1.4 million subscribers.”

Published

on

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN is celebrating its 42nd anniversary today as the network commemorates its first live telecast on Sept. 7, 1979. The sports world is celebrating the milestone that cemented sports television as an everlasting phenomenon.

Bill Rasmussen and his son, Scott, conceived of the idea for an all-sports network a year earlier. The Hartford Whalers NHL club had just fired the father-son duo from their jobs with the team. Their first order of business? Finding an ideal place to broadcast their signal from.

The duo landed on an office building in Plainville, Connecticut. One big issue remained though. They couldn’t legally build broadcast satellites on the building because of an ordinance. After a little bit more digging, the Rasmussens chose Bristol, Conn., as the spot to harness the power of their satellite.

“The moment when everything clicked was Aug. 16, 1978,” Scott Rasmussen said in an oral history of ESPN’s first game broadcast. “We learned about the satellite, this incredible technology that can send a broadcast signal all around America for less money than it used to cost to send it around Connecticut.”

Beer and sports have long been connected, and that was a factor in ESPN’s early development. The network secured Anheuser-Busch with a $1 million advertising deal in the spring of 1979 to help aid their credibility.

Budweiser ads didn’t make them the worldwide leader in sports though, SportsCenter and live games are why ESPN is king, and the former got its start 42 years ago today. The first SportsCenter telecast aired to roughly 30,000 viewers while being available to over 1.4 million subscribers.

Word of mouth spread quickly around ESPN as they exploded in popularity over the years. The early days were a set of trial and error periods. The network had to have a wide range of sports to air because they couldn’t repeat SportsCenter 24 hours a day.

The first sport to air on the network wasn’t any of the major four fans think about today. Instead, they decided to air a professional slo-pitch softball game between the Kentucky Bourbons & the Milwaukee Schlitzes.

“Poker didn’t cut it,” Bill Rasmussen said. “Table tennis and pool didn’t cut it. We couldn’t do a live football game. We couldn’t do a major league baseball game. We had been playing with things like Irish hurling. Have you ever watched Irish hurling? It’s not going to excite you. But as Lee Leonard mentioned in his open, everybody plays softball on Sunday.”

Now, 42 years later, ESPN is still airing softball, along with so many other defining moments from America’s most popular sports.

Sports TV News

Greg Olsen To Partner With Kevin Burkhardt For Super Bowl LVII

“Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.”

Published

on

The deal isn’t done yet, but Andrew Marchand of The New York Post reports that Greg Olsen is on his way to joining Kevin Burkhardt in the top NFL booth at FOX. Although Tom Brady will take over that role after he retires and leaves the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Olsen will spend at least this season on FOX’s A-Team.

Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.

Earlier this year, the former Panther told The Mac Attack on WFNZ in Charlotte that he was disappointed he didn’t get to call a postseason game. He will more than make up for that in 2023. As Burkhardt’s partner, Olsen is in line to be the analyst for Super Bowl LVII.

Marchand writes that we could get a taste of what is to come in February. He speculates that if the Buccaneers are not in the Super Bowl, it is possible Tom Brady could make his FOX debut, either in the booth alongside Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen or as part of the network’s studio show.

Now, FOX has to make a decision about it’s number 2 NFL booth. According to Marchand, Drew Brees is a candidate to be the analyst. Adam Amin and Joe Davis have emerged as candidates for the play-by-play role.

Continue Reading

Sports TV News

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.”

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading

Sports TV News

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?”

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending

Copyright © 2021 Barrett Media.