The Boston Bruins had a road game on Wednesday, but TV play-by-play man Jack Edwards wasn’t in the building for it, and he’s not pleased about the situation. The broadcaster called the game from NESN’s Watertown studios in what’s become his new normal ever since the COVID-19 pandemic started.
“I hear it in many announcers’ voices when they’re calling games from the studio. I’m not alone in this,” Edwards told The Athletic’s Fluto Shinzawa. “It’s frustrating. But as the saying goes, that decision is made way above my pay grade.”
It’s not only more convenient for broadcast affiliates to keep their broadcasters at home for every game but it’s also cost-effective. Every network got a taste of how much they can save on travel expenses across this pandemic.
“We had done eight hockey games in the previous 10 months. You can imagine what that did to the bottom line,” Edwards said. “To their credit, NESN laid nobody off during the pandemic. That is remarkable humanity, especially in the broadcast world, where an entire competitor shut down. NBC Sports Boston vanished. Nobody lost his or her job at NESN. I trust them. I respectfully voiced my opinion, sometimes too loudly for their ears.”
Edwards told The Athletic that sometimes plays he can’t see on his monitor screen will happen when he could’ve easily recognized them in a regular arena broadcast. Despite all the frustration, Edwards is staying a loyal employee.
“The captains of the ship have determined that this is the way we’re going to chart our course,” Edwards said. “I’m going to do the best job I can. I have benefited from their acceptance of my protests. They’re doing what is best for NESN. That’s their job.”
Edwards is back home at TD Garden again on Saturday night when the Bruins battle the Florida Panthers.
“They know I’m not going to like it,” Edwards said. “But they tolerate me.”
Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX
“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”
FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.
A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.
The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.
Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.
That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.
Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.
FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars
“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”
The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.
Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.
Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.
“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”
Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.
“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.
FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.
NBA Draft To Get Simulcast From ESPN & ABC
“This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.”
ESPN is set for the 2022 NBA Draft coming up on June 23 at 8 p.m. from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The network announced Wednesday the crews that will handle coverage on both ESPN and ABC.
ABC will broadcast the first round in primetime. Kevin Negandhi will host and will be joined by Stephen A. Smith, Chiney Ogwumike and Jalen Rose. Monica McNutt will be reporting and interviewing draftees.
This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.
Malika Andrews will host both rounds for ESPN. Jay Bilas, Kendrick Perkins and Adrian Wojnarowski will share the set. Analysts Bobby Marks and Mike Schmitz will contribute.
“We’re thrilled that Malika Andrews will host this year’s ESPN presentation as she brings her well-documented, widespread skillset to our main set,” said David Roberts, head of NBA and Studio Production for ESPN. “The event will showcase the scope and depth of our NBA and college basketball talent roster with accomplished journalists and high-profile personalities across ESPN, ABC and ESPN Radio.”
ESPN will air a pre-draft red carpet show hosted by Cassidy Hubbarth from 5-6 p.m. Perkins and Richard Jefferson will also make appearances.