Sports TV News
Eddie Olczyk: I Want Inside The NBA Crew On TNT NHL Show
“We will be keeping an eye on those ESPN games. I think personally it will only help as far as raising the bar and raising the competition level. Yes, we want to be better than those guys for sure.”
After NBC Sports owned the sole broadcast rights to the NHL for 16 years, two networks (TNT and ESPN) will share the league’s rights beginning this season. The NHL’s 2021-22 season begins on Tuesday night on ESPN. TNT will have a doubleheader Wednesday with the New York Rangers vs. the Washington Capitals (7:30 PM ET) and the Chicago Blackhawks vs. the Colorado Avalanche (10 PM).
Before the season gets underway, the lead broadcast team of Kenny Albert, Eddie Olczyk, and Keith Jones took some time to answer questions about the upcoming season and want to continue building on what they had established before last season came to an end.
“For the last 16 years as part of the NBC team, I think NBC did such an unbelievable job, said Albert. “We will try to continue the legacy and raise the bar even higher. Turner’s always willing to try new things, they pride themselves on storytelling and educating. Hopefully, we will be able to do all of those things.”
Even though the trio is new to TNT, they aren’t new to each other. That could be critical in terms of separating their broadcasts from the others.
“The chemistry for the 3 of us took front and center. TNT, to be a part of their big family, it’s going to be very exciting. It’s a new challenge. We know a lot of eyes will be on us. We have a job to do. We are going to entertain. We are going to be ourselves,” said Olczyk
Albert has experience being a part of a network that shared the NHL broadcast rights when he was doing play-by-play for the NHL on FOX from 1995-1999. During that time, FOX and ESPN would split the Stanley Cup Finals. As Albert mentioned, they used to joke at FOX that all the series would end in sweeps. He told BSM that with the league’s TV rights once again split between two different networks, it will feel a lot like those old days.
“I’m sure we will have a little bit of friendly competition with Boucher and Ray Ferraro and some of the other guys. It can only help raise the bar. The three of us and Brendan [Burke] and Darren [Pang] and the entire studio crew, we are all competitors and we want to be the best. We will be keeping an eye on those ESPN games. I think personally it will only help as far as raising the bar and raising the competition level. Yes, we want to be better than those guys for sure.”
Players are feeling the excitement of the NHL’s new media deals. Keith Jones can relate to that because he was a player when FOX got the rights to the sport.
“I thought that was pretty cool and that it was an opportunity for us to continue to grow the game. I think as players, they all want to take hockey to a new level. They want to compete with the other major sports and they want to make sure that they show just how great of a game they play and how great they are. I think they are going to embrace it even more than they have in the past. Having a couple of networks going head-to-head only makes it more exciting for everyone involved.”
Having the NHL means more opportunities for TNT to use its partnerships with the NBA and All Elite Wrestling for cross-promotion. Eddie Olczyk believes that should be great for the network and the league. He wouldn’t rule out the possibility of maybe the Inside The NBA guys playing a part in some broadcasts.
“I think everyone knows Charles Barkley loves the NHL. He loves the NHL Playoffs. It’s the one question that I’ve probably gotten more since I have become a part of the family. ‘You think Charles will be on the hockey call at any point?’ And I’m like I sure hope so. Maybe we can get Charles and Shaq and Kenny and Ernie over there and have some fun or get them on-site. I don’t know. I would assume it’s going to happen at some point.”
Ricky Keeler is a reporter for BSM with a primary focus on sports media podcasts and national personalities. He is also an active podcaster with an interest in pursuing a career in sports media. You can find him on Twitter @Rickinator555 or reach him by email at RickJKeeler@gmail.com.
Sports TV News
Sean McManus: LIV Golfers Won’t Get Different Treatment During The Masters
“We’re not gonna put our heads in the sand.”
CBS Sports is preparing for coverage of its 68th consecutive year of The Masters, but the 2023 event could prove to be unlike any before it, and CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus is cognizant of the situation.
After several former Masters champions departed the PGA Tour for the upstart LIV Golf, many pondered what that meant for the sport’s major championships. The Masters decided to continue to allow the golfers who are now playing exclusively with the Saudi-backed league to compete for the green jacket. McManus shared that CBS will continue the showcase the golfers as it always has.
“We’re not gonna cover up or hide anything,” McManus said, as reported by Golf Digest. “As I’ve said so often, our job is to cover the golf tournament. We’re not gonna show any different treatment for the golfers who have played on the LIV tour than we do the other golfers. And if there’s a pertinent point or something that we need to, or we feel that we should bring up in our coverage on Saturday and Sunday, or on our other coverage throughout the week, you know, we’re not gonna put our heads in the sand.
“Having said that, unless it really affects the story that’s taking place on the golf course, we’re not gonna go out of our way to cover it. I’m not sure there’s anything that we could add to the story as it already exists. We’ll cover it as, as is suitable.”
Sports TV News
NFL Owners Not Voting on Flex Scheduling For Thursday Night Football
“The owners have simply decided to wait until May to make their decision.”
Amazon will have to wait for flex scheduling. NFL owners decided to table a proposal that would allow the league to create more compelling matchups for Thursday Night Football later in the season.
That doesn’t mean flex scheduling won’t be a reality on Thursday nights this season. The owners have simply decided to wait until May to make their decision.
Earlier this week, Peter King of NBC Sports reported that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is pushing the idea. Coaches have been outspoken about how much they dislike it, complaining about managing injuries and the competitive disadvantage that would come with finding out you suddenly have a shorter week of preparation than expected. According to King, Goodell is trying to make Amazon happy after the first season of Thursday Night Football failed to deliver projected audience numbers for Prime Video.
League owners did take a step they hope will lead to fewer games between losing teams. Last season, teams could only be scheduled once for a Thursday night game. The owners decided to bump that limit up to twice per season.
Goodell defended the proposal against accusations that the league is prioritizing revenue over player safety.
“We always look at the data with respect to injuries,” he told the media gathered at the league meetings. “That is what drove our decisions throughout the first 12 or so years of Thursday Night Football and how it’s evolved. I think the data was very clear: it doesn’t show a higher injury rate. But we recognize shorter weeks. We went through this with COVID, too.”
When the idea of flex scheduling is revisited in May, it will require the support of 24 team owners in order to become a reality.
Sports TV News
Eric Shanks Got Approval From Alex Rodriguez Before FOX Hired Derek Jeter
“Why wouldn’t we reach out?”
Derek Jeter is going to work a very limited schedule for FOX next season. Still, before he came on board, FOX Sports CEO Eric Shanks wanted the support of Jeter’s former Yankees teammate and on-again/off-again friend Alex Rodriguez.
Andrew Marchand is reporting that Shanks reached out to ARod personally. Rodriguez gave his approval to the network.
“Why wouldn’t we reach out?” a Fox Sports spokesman said when The New York Post reached out for confirmation.
While Derek Jeter is now part of the FOX family, fans shouldn’t expect to see him every time baseball is on the network. He is only scheduled to work “marquee events”. This season, those include the London series, the All-Star Game, and the World Series.
He will be at the desk alongside Kevin Burkhardt, David Ortíz, and Rodriguez.