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ESPN Aims To Build NHL Coverage Around Access

“The NHL just wrapped up a 16-year stint on NBC, and they are ready to spice up the broadcasts in their new homes with ESPN and Turner.”

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Courtesy: ESPN, NHL

ESPN is ready to give hockey fans a whole new look and feel surrounding their hockey broadcasts. Front Office Sports’ Michael McCarthy spoke with network executives about all the details as the puck gets ready to drop on the 2021-22 NHL season Tuesday, Oct. 12.

The Disney-owned network is utilizing on-ice cameras in the replay room, locker rooms, and a way to track the puck and players on the ice.

“It gives you a perspective of the size of the players, and it gets viewers on the ice.” Mark Gross, ESPN’s senior vice president, production and remote events, said about the cameras being sent onto the ice for shootouts and commercial breaks.

ESPN is following in the footsteps of their NBA and NFL broadcasts with their rules analyst Dave Jackson. The former referee is on deck to assess the tape under review and walk viewers through what they are seeing from the replay room in Toronto.

“It will provide such great context on what is being reviewed — and why it’s being reviewed,” Gross said to McCarthy about the replay room camera.

The NHL just wrapped up a 16-year stint on NBC, and they are ready to spice up the broadcasts in their new homes on ESPN and TNT. The locker room cam should help in that goal when fans get to see a coach’s pregame speech or hear players mic’d up as they prepare for the game.

“If a fan’s fortunate enough to go to an NHL game in person, it’s an incredible experience. We want the experience to be just as good at home,” said Gross. “Hearing a pregame speech from a coach? They’re not getting that in the arena. But you’re getting that if you’re watching the game on one of our networks.”

On top of all the camera work, the league partnered with SportsMEDIA Technology to continue integrating state-of-the-art player/puck tracking systems into their broadcasts this season.

All of the details from Gross and ESPN’s plan for hockey are in McCarthy’s article here.

Sports TV News

Colin Cowherd Lets Listeners Decide If He Ever Talks About Baker Mayfield Again

“I am no longer captivated by Baker Mayfield topics.”

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Colin Cowherd has been a critic of Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield ever since he was drafted in 2018, but Cowherd may be out of the Baker Mayfield business going forward.

The Fox Sports host put up a video on Twitter about his feelings on Mayfield, and gave his fans of the show a rare opportunity to control some content that he talks about on the show.

“I was watching Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson play on Sunday Night, and Lamar had four picks, and still won, I thought he was fascinating. Didn’t play well but I thought he was fascinating, and I thought, Baker is easily the second most interesting quarterback in this game,” said Cowherd. “He is 28-28 as a starter, I was clearly right about the argument, I am no longer captivated by Baker Mayfield topics.”

That led to Cowherd putting up a Twitter poll and leaving the decision about how to proceed in the listeners’ hands.

“People ask me why I still talk about Baker, and I thought you know what, you are right. That is why I am going to let you decide whether or not I talk about Baker ever again. At 8:30 Pacific I am putting up a poll on Twitter which will decide whether or not I talk about Baker going forward.”

Cowherd then said that if the poll says that he should stop talking about Mayfield, that he will be done regardless of the circumstances.

“If he goes on a 5 game win streak, he gets to the playoffs, the AFC Championship, the Super Bowl, I won’t be talking about him, you can’t have it both ways.”

The results of the poll showed that the fans no longer wanted Cowherd to talk about Mayfield, a result which seemed to be the obvious choice considering how often his name comes out of Cowherds mouth.

It remains to be seen whether or not Cowherd will honor this going forward. If the Browns were to make the Super Bowl I find it extremely hard to believe that it won’t be a topic on his show, but it will be good to hear no repetitive Baker Mayfield talk for at least a little while from him.

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An NBA Manningcast With JJ Reddick & Draymond Green?

“I would be honored to sit in a room with a GOAT like yourself and talk basketball.”

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With the overwhelming success that the Manningcast has been for Monday Night Football, other leagues and networks are looking to replicate ESPN’s and the Manning Brothers’ formula.

There may be some willing hosts for an NBA version of the show in JJ Redick and Draymond Green. Redick joined Green’s new podcast The Draymond Green Show on The Volume to talk about a potential partnership between the two in the future.

“I know you got a lot of basketball left in you, but a lot of people have said to me you and Draymond need to do a version of the Manning brothers Monday Night Football when Draymond is retired. Just keep that in mind when you retire in 5 or 6 years,” said Redick to Green.

Before answering, Draymond Green noted that he had recently been a guest on the Manningcast. Not only did he like the experience, he said it is now his favorite way to watch Monday Night Football.

Green liked the idea of teaming with Redick. He said that the duo play very different styles of basketball. That would give the listeners two very different perspectives on the game.

“I would be honored to sit in a room with a GOAT like yourself and talk basketball,” Green added. Redick ended the conversation about a potential alternate NBA feed by saying “We’ll make it happen.”

This would not be something new for the NBA to do. They are already trying out the idea of an alternate cast of NBA broadcasts with Jamal Crawford and Quentin Richardson on NBA League Pass.

As Redick stated, it may be a while until we see Draymond Green retire from his playing career in the NBA, but when he does I am sure that he will be a hot commodity in the sports media world.

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Sports TV News

All 3 Thanksgiving Games Pull Big Audiences For NFL

CBS’s production of the overtime thriller between the Dallas Cowboys and the Las Vegas Raiders brought in a whopping 38.5 million average viewers.

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The numbers are in for the NFL Thanksgiving day games, and the results are overall a positive for the league. CBS received the highest viewership of all the networks this Thanksgiving, and put up some record numbers in the process.

CBS’s production of the overtime thriller between the Dallas Cowboys and the Las Vegas Raiders brought in a whopping 38.5 million average viewers. This is a 26% increase from last year’s comparable window and the highest viewership for a regular-season game on any network since 1990.

The game is also the most-watched television program on any network since last year’s Super Bowl on CBS.

Paramount+, featuring live NFL ON CBS local market games, scored an NFL regular-season viewership record for total streams, streaming minutes and unique viewers while registering triple-digit year-over-year growth in streaming minutes and unique viewers from Thanksgiving Day 2020 in a huge success for CBS on the day.

FOX also faired well, as their viewership for the first game of the day between the Detroit Lions and the Chicago Bears was up 14% over last years window, sitting at 26.7 million average viewers.

Despite the game itself not being super exciting, the game set a record for the most-streamed Thanksgiving day game across FOX Sports properties in their history.

The primetime game on NBC did not fair as well, as they came in at an average of 19.3 million viewers, a 7% decrease from 2019, as 2020’s game was postponed due to COVID protocols. NBC was not aided by what was mostly a one-sided game most of the night.

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