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Doris Burke Told Holly Rowe To Take Jazz Analyst Job

“I told her what the opportunity was and the first thing she said was you can do it. That’s all I needed to hear.”

Ricky Keeler

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This fall, Holly Rowe added another job to her great broadcast resume when she became an analyst on the Utah Jazz TV broadcasts with Craig Bolerjack and Thurl Bailey. Her journey to getting this role started before COVID at a play in New York City. 

On the latest episode of The Sports Media with Richard Deitsch Podcast, Rowe talked about the story that led her to getting the Jazz position and her initial assumptions about the offer. 

“I was at a play with my son before COVID hit and these two men walked up to me and said, Are you Holly Rowe? It turned out to be part of the ownership group for the Utah Jazz now. At that time, they were executives at Qualtrics, Mike Maughan and Ryan Smith. They wanted me to come out and do an interview with Adam Silver at their big convention in Salt Lake City. I did that 3 years ago and I got to meet Oprah.

“We kind of started a relationship. I knew them then and they ended up buying the Jazz with an investment group a little bit later. This summer, somebody from the Jazz emailed me and said, hey, we’d love to talk to you about becoming a part of our organization. It was Bart Sharp, their chief officer of marketing, so I kind of thought it was a marketing role. I live in Utah, I’m frequently talking about the Jazz, so I kind of thought it was along those lines.” 

Rowe told Deitsch that she was shocked that she was considered for an analyst role because it wasn’t something she was actively pursuing. In the end, she sought guidance from friend and ESPN colleague Doris Burke.

“I told her what the opportunity was and the first thing she said was you can do it. That’s all I needed to hear. If Doris Burke had any pause at all, I would not have done it because her opinion means everything to me. She knows my knowledge of basketball. That’s all it took for me.” 

With Rowe in this new role, she hopes that the industry will go to more of positionless broadcasting in the future and not focus on who has a specific title.

“We get so caught up in who is doing the play-by-play, who is the sideline reporter. We get caught up in these titles. I said ‘I’d love it to be positionless broadcasting. I kind of think that’s what we’re in’…We are all working together. We are just talking basketball and I think that’s cool. Positionless basketball is a cool thing right now, so we are kind of on that trend.” 

Since the Jazz told her that they wanted more storytelling on their broadcasts, it’s tough to say that they didn’t find a great fit by adding Rowe, who does a good job telling stories of athletes on college football, college basketball, women’s softball, and WNBA broadcasts. 

Sports TV News

NBC Officially Unveils Noah Eagle, Todd Blackledge as New Big Ten Booth

“With their collective college football experience and great enthusiasm for the game, Todd, Noah and Kathryn join a production team that can’t wait to kick off the Big Ten season.”

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It’s officially official: Noah Eagle, Todd Blackledge, and Kathryn Tappen will join the Big Ten on NBC booth when the network begins airing the conference’s football package in 2023.

NBC made the announcement Thursday, after weeks of speculation about the moves.

“We are excited to showcase Big Ten Saturday Night on the NBC Sports’ primetime marquee,” said NBC Sports Executive Producer Sam Flood. “When you hear Todd’s voice, you know it’s a big college football game. It has been that way for decades.

“Noah is one of the industry’s rising young play-by-play commentators, who has excelled calling numerous sports across multiple platforms for a wide range of audiences. We are thrilled to pair him in the booth with Todd.

“Kathryn has told the stories of so many memorable Notre Dame Football moments over the last decade in her on-field reporting and interviews,” Flood continued. “With their collective college football experience and great enthusiasm for the game, Todd, Noah and Kathryn join a production team that can’t wait to kick off the Big Ten season.”

Blackledge joins NBC after working as a college football analyst for the network for the past 17 seasons. Previously, he was the an analyst for CBS and ABC, making 2023 his 30th consecutive season covering college football as an analyst.

Eagle is the son of broadcasting legend Ian Eagle, and currently serves as the radio voice of the Los Angeles Clippers. He comes to NBC after calling college football games for FOX Sports in 2022.

Tappen has spent the past nine seasons working NBC’s college football coverage with Notre Dame. Eight of those nine seasons were spent as the network’s sideline reporter before anchoring the studio coverage from South Bend in 2022.

2023 will mark the beginning of a seven-year contract for NBC to air Big Ten football games in primetime. The move is one of the biggest notable expansions in the college football arena for the network since its partnership with Notre Dame began in 1991.

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Sports TV News

CBS Tried ‘Intervention’ With Tony Romo

“They knew, they anticipated this. That’s a credit to them, the people in charge there. But it has not gotten better.”

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After his performance during the 2022 season, many have questioned why CBS Sports NFL analyst Tony Romo has seemed off his game after seeing high praise during the early stages of his broadcasting career.

A recent nugget from Andrew Marchand of The New York Post claims CBS executives attempted an “intervention” with Romo before the season.

“Tony Romo needs to study more,” Marchand said during The Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast. “He needs to be better prepared. As you move away from the sidelines, you need to do more work. I know CBS is aware of this. They tried an intervention last offseason. They knew, they anticipated this. That’s a credit to them, the people in charge there. But it has not gotten better.”

Marchand also argued that it appears as if Romo’s partner — Jim Nantz — is content to let the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback struggle.

“This was the narrative out of CBS when Romo was getting all of the publicity: you heard from Nantz’ side and people from CBS that Nantz was the one creating Romo,” quipped Marchand. “The issue now is, why isn’t Nantz helping Romo get to this next level?”

Romo — who signed a 10-year, $180 million contract with CBS in 2020 — addressed his critics in an interview with Jenna Lemoncelli of The New York Post, saying he’s simply trying new things.

“I mean, some changes are good, some you’re like, ‘Ah, I shouldn’t do that’. But I always trial and error a bunch and sometimes it works.”

The 42-year-old Romo appeared to push back on the insinuation that he doesn’t prepare for broadcasts like he used to during the interview.

“You’re going to fail all the time, but at the same time, you succeed because of that, as long as you think about it and try to understand how to improve and then go about the process to make that happen, which is work ethic and commitment. But you got to have a plan for it before.”

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Sports TV News

Jason Benetti: Negotiations With Chicago White Sox ‘Kind of A Pain’

“I just thought it would be easier. But just because it wasn’t easier doesn’t mean it didn’t get done.”

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Jason Benetti

Jason Benetti and Steve Stone recently saw their contracts renewed by NBC Sports Chicago to team once more as the television voices of the Chicago White Sox. Benetti says the talks about a renewal weren’t without their hiccups.

In a profile with Chicago Sun-Times writer Jeff Agrest, Benetti said the talks about the situation weren’t exactly what he envisioned.

“The really good news is we got somewhere good,” Benetti said. “It was kind of a pain, really. There were some things that we had to get through that I thought were silly, and I’m sure they thought some of the stuff that I was talking about might’ve been silly. But we got there in the end.”

Agrest reported the Atlanta Braves were watching the situation with bated breath. Their television play-by-play announcer, Chip Caray, recently departed for the same position with the St. Louis Cardinals.

One of the sticking points in the negotiations between the White Sox and Benetti was how many regular season contests he would miss due to his work with FOX Sports. Benetti is announcing MLB and college football games for the network in 2023 and did his first NFL work for FOX Sports this season. Benetti admitted that were points of frustration along the way.

“I think the work has been strong and I appreciate the heck out of the fans and I have loved the Sox for all my life. I just thought it would be easier. But just because it wasn’t easier doesn’t mean it didn’t get done. Where I have put myself, totally honestly, the place I am is we got it done, and that means something. It means both sides wanted it to happen.”

Chicago White Sox Senior Vice President of Revenue and Marketing Brooks Boyer told Agrest he didn’t see any complications in the negotiations.

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