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Disney Exploring Kid-Friendly NFL Broadcast

“It’s clear that there is a marketplace for engaging younger fans, and the league isn’t getting in the way.”

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Courtesy: Disney

Get ready for more niche broadcasts from the NFL’s partners. Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports reports that Disney is exploring their own kids-themed NFL broadcasts to match the Nickelodeon broadcast during the Wild Card Playoff game.

ViacomCBS, Nickelodeon’s parent company, instituted the new format for last year’s Chicago Bears Wild Card loss to the New Orleans Saints. It was a big hit for Nickelodeon, which is now diving deeper into NFL coverage with a weekly show dedicated to the sport. They are also bringing the “slime game” back in January.

“Look, Disney invented kids’ entertainment,” a source told Front Office Sports. “They’ve had to sit back watching Nickelodeon and CBS pound their chests all year. Well, Disney thinks they can do it better when it comes to reaching kids and families.”

The options for Disney are wide-ranging, from a Star Wars-themed broadcast that could pit the Rebels against the Empire or a similar format to their Avengers NBA broadcast from earlier this year. Disney afforded ESPN access to Marvel properties for their “Arena of Heroes” game between the New Orleans Pelicans and Golden State Warriors on May 3.

Disney and the NFL declined to comment on the report to FOS as the mouse house works to finalize their plan to use during a Monday Night Football broadcast down the line or for their Wild Card game.

Whatever they end up agreeing to, it’s clear that there is a marketplace for engaging younger fans, and the league isn’t getting in the way. McCarthy noted that the NFL’s chief media and business officer, Brian Rolapp, is encouraging broadcast partners to dive into their imagination with alternate broadcasts.

“Collaboration across Nickelodeon, CBS Sports, and NFL Media will allow us to deliver authentic and fun NFL coverage all season long,” Said Amanda Herald, vice president of NFL marketing strategy and insights when the league expanded their Nickelodeon relationship.

Traditional and new media lines are blurring more and more every day, making it inevitable that Mickey Mouse, Darth Vader, or Iron Man gets involved in the gridiron action.

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Sports TV News

Gus Johnson: Aqib Talib Has A Very Bright Future In TV

“The duo joined the Sports Media with Richard Deitsch podcast on The Athletic this week.”

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Gus Johnson

This Sunday, FOX will unveil a new broadcast team as Gus Johnson and 12-year NFL veteran cornerback Aqib Talib will be on the call for the Vikings-Cardinals matchup.

Calling games isn’t new for Talib. He was in the booth for two games last season, and he was part of the Los Angeles Rams’ preseason television crew. However, he has never done a game with Johnson, who fans are excited to hear on NFL games again. 

The duo joined the Sports Media with Richard Deitsch podcast on The Athletic this week. Johnson is very high on Talib’s future in the business. 

“Aqib had called games last year and we talked about me calling some games and it kind of just fell into place,” the excitable play-by-play man said. “It was kind of the perfect situation for us to work together because we feel really confident and strong about Aqib’s talent. We think he has a very, very bright future as a broadcaster. They wanted to put him with someone who had a little experience and I was excited about getting back in the NFL. The way I like to say it, it was perfect…It’s going to be a lot of fun.” 

Talib mentioned that he has an eight-game schedule at FOX this season. He will call Cardinals-Jaguars in Week 3 and Lions-Bears in Week 4 with Johnson.

“I thought we sounded good. I’m a people person, so I will vibe with just about anybody you put me with,” Talib said of his partner. “When I was with Gus, Gus has a way with making me more comfortable. When we did the practice game, I just felt more comfortable sitting there. After hanging out with Gus, I can tell you right now I will feel a lot more comfortable than any other booth I have sat in because we are building a relationship.”

When viewers hear Talib call games, they are getting more of the defensive perspective as opposed to hearing an analyst that is a quarterback. Johnson is drawn to Talib’s authenticity and insinuated that he may be a little jealous of the broadcast industry the former defensive back is starting in versus the one Johnson himself walked into.

“I’ve heard Aqib do games and yes he does sound different and that’s a good thing because nobody’s made up the same way. It’s a different sound from what we are accustomed to hearing, but I think it is a great sound and I think the sound is going to continue to improve as he does this more. The world is changing, that’s what I realize. I’m 54 years old, I look at the world and I see how people react to authenticity and it is kind of refreshing. I came in at a time where there was kind of a standard sound. This is going to be fun.”

With Johnson’s enthusiasm that for calling games and Talib’s different perspective on the game, this should make for a fun broadcast duo. 

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Sports TV News

Boomer Esiason: No Coach Wants To Be On In-Season Hard Knocks

“This is like the NFL jamming it down somebody’s throat, and I’m sure their owner out there obviously had to give the blessing for it or it’s not going to happen.”

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Boomer Esiason

During last night’s electrifying matchup between the New York Giants and Washington Football Team, the National Football League announced that HBO’s Hard Knocks will be producing its first ever in-season episodes centered on the Indianapolis Colts. In a statement released by the National Football League, excitement was communicated about this new opportunity to expand the show’s coverage of the action on- and off-the-gridiron.

“We could not be more thrilled to bring ‘Hard Knocks’ and the remarkable behind-the-scenes access it provides for an entirety of an N.F.L. season,” said N.F.L. Films senior executive Ross Ketover. “Thanks to HBO, along with the incredible cooperation from the Colts, we are able to deliver a groundbreaking new edition of the series.”

That excitement was not as much shared on a cloudy, damp Friday morning in New York City following a devastating loss by the Giants. Following their critiques of Daniel Jones, head coach Joe Judge and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, Boomer & Gio took some time on WFAN to speak about the implications this announcement will surely have on different stakeholders across the league.

“There’s no coach in the NFL that wants this,” said Boomer Esiason, former NFL MVP. “This is like the NFL jamming it down somebody’s throat, and I’m sure their owner out there obviously had to give the blessing for it or it’s not going to happen.”

Hard Knocks followed the Dallas Cowboys during training camp and the preseason this year after finishing third in the NFC East division in 2020, which included losing star quarterback Dak Prescott to an ankle injury. Esiason continued in his analysis on the ramifications of the momentous announcement, which divulged that multiple new episodes of the nearly 20-year series would begin premiering on Nov. 17.

“The head of the union should be fired if the HBO sponsorship money is not a part of the salary cap negotiation,” said Esiason. “I’m sure that it is; I’m assuming that it is.”

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Sports TV News

Hard Knocks Launching In-Season Edition In November

“Hard Knocks In Season: The Indianapolis Colts will debut on November 17.”

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Hard Knocks

The Indianapolis Colts are making their first appearance on Hard Knocks and we won’t have to wait until next summer to see it. The team will be at the center of the first ever in season edition of the HBO docuseries. 

Hard Knocks In Season: The Indianapolis Colts will debut on November 17. Fans will get to follow the team in real time as they push towards the end of the regular season. New episodes drop every Wednesday in HBO and HBO Max through the end of the team’s season. 

“We could not be more thrilled to bring Hard Knocks and the remarkable behind-the-scenes access it provides for the entirety of an NFL season,” Ross Ketover, NFL Films Senior Executive said in a press release. “Thanks to HBO, along with the incredible cooperation from the Colts, we are able to deliver a groundbreaking new edition of the series.”

The announcement was made during the halftime show of Thursday Night Football this week. The Colts dropped a hype video on the team’s official Twitter page immediately after. 

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