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Amazon Begins Final Year Of Sharing Thursday Night Football

“Outside of the traditional play-by-play call from Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, fans can find other alternate feeds on Amazon’s platform.”

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: Amazon

The tri-cast Thursday Night Football model is in its final season as Amazon gets ready to take over the property completely in 2022. This week marks their first broadcast of the property in 2021, and they announced new additions to the coverage.

Next year, Amazon begins an 11-year deal as the sole provider of Thursday Night Football after sharing the rights with NFL Network and Fox since 2017.

Amazon’s increased pregame coverage kicks off at 7 p.m. ET with the NFL Next pregame show featuring Kay Adams, Chris Long, Andrew Hawkins, and Daniel Jeremiah. The crew is diving into that week’s matchup with a spin using AWS Next Gen Stats. They are also adding a new social media component to this year’s show that they’ll unveil on Thursday.

Outside of the traditional play-by-play call from Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, fans can find other alternate feeds on Amazon’s platform. No new additions here as Andrea Kremer and Hannah Storm are together for the fourth-straight season on Amazon’s broadcast feed.

The Scouts Feed is back as well this year with NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks and Daniel Jeremiah on the call alongside Fox Sports’ personality Joy Taylor. Producers superimposed the trio into the broadcast using a greenscreen last year. Twitch is back in the foray this season as well, with Hawkins and Kimmi Chex hosting the NFL Next Live feed. Former players like Nick Mangold and Malcolm Jenkins are joining them as well.

Twitch is featured more prominently in Amazon’s weekly coverage this year as well. Amazon purchased the live-streaming platform for just under $1 billion in 2014.

Outside of Thursday’s, Twitch is housing two NFL talk shows. Hawkins and Mangold host the NFL Comment Box every Monday at 3 p.m. ET. The two former players are answering fan questions throughout the show. While, Wednesdays feature The NFL Machine, with Mangold, Chex, and Aqib Talib breaking down the previous week’s games in an “NFL Films” format.

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After Losing Out On Big Ten Rights, ESPN Turns Focus to NCAA Championships

According to Front Office Sports, ESPN’s contract for 29 NCAA Championships ends in 2024.

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After reportedly losing out on the Big Ten’s television rights, ESPN is reportedly turning to securing the NCAA Championship rights from hitting the open market.

According to Front Office Sports, ESPN’s contract for 29 NCAA Championships ends in 2024. Those 29 championships include everything from Women’s basketball to ice hockey, wrestling, softball, and baseball. The network pays a reported $34 million for the rights to broadcast those championship events.

However, according to a study commissioned by the NCAA reveals that the women’s basketball tournament could be worth anywhere from $81 million to $112 million per year by its lonesome. The NCAA is reportedly considering selling the women’s basketball tournament rights as a standalone product in the next negotiation.

Sources told Front Office Sports ESPN remains interested in striking deals with the Pac-12 and Big 12 media rights, as well as renewing a deal for the College Football Playoff.

The news comes after Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand reported ESPN declined a final offer from the Big Ten for a portion of the conference’s media rights. The reported deal was seven years and $380 million per year.

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ESPN Announces The Return of Stephen A. Smith to First Take

ESPN announced Smith will be returning to First Take on Monday, August 15th.

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Stephen A. Smith

First Take has been without it’s anchor since the day after the NBA Draft in June. That’s when the ESPN personality took some time off to undergo shoulder surgery and to rehabilitate. However, it appears the wait for his return is almost over.

ESPN announced with a tweet that Smith will be returning to First Take on Monday, August 15th. They also teased a guest appearance from Michael Irvin.

This comes a day after Smith tweeted that the countdown was on for his return and we are one week away from the event.

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Field Yates Re-Ups With ESPN

After the departure of Matthew Berry to NBC, ESPN has locked down fantasy expert Field Yates with a new contract to remain in Bristol.

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Field Yates

After the departure of Matthew Berry to NBC, ESPN has locked down fantasy expert Field Yates with a new contract to remain in Bristol.

Yates, 35, would have been a valuable target for FanDuel or DraftKings, surmises Andrew Marchand of The New York Post — who first reported the news — due to his large following on Twitter.

Yates, who also works as a host of Fantasy Football Now and NFL Insider for the network, across multiple platforms including ESPN Radio, will continue in those roles in addition to an assumed expansion of fantasy football duties after Berry’s exit.

He has worked for ESPN since 2012.

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