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Mike Tirico Explains What It Is Like To Work With Bill Walton

“Tirico mentioned he learned that while sometimes you have to get Walton back into the game, you have to give the analyst a chance to be himself.”

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Since Mike TIrico began his career at ESPN in the 1990’s, he has had the opportunity to work with many different analysts across multiple networks. Working with different analysts can lead to a different approach in calling the game. 

On this week’s episode of The Dave Pasch Podcast, Pasch had one of his mentors from Syracuse on the show in Tirico. Pasch brought that he got the chance to work with Bill Walton in 2006 since Mike Tirico was doing Monday Night Football (Tirico called NBA games with Jon Barry and Walton for ESPN). Tirico mentioned he learned that while sometimes you have to get Walton back into the game, you have to give the analyst a chance to be himself. 

“With Walton, I learned that the hard way. I’d sit there and Bill would just go,” Mike Tirico said. “I’m like what are we doing, the producers have to show the viewers, and Bill was in Bill world. When you just gotta do it in a loving way, Bill is grateful that you do it. You kind of get him back to the game every once in a while, but you give him the space to have the canvas to be so enjoyable.”  

It was all part of a conversation on how Mike Tirico is able to work with different analysts with different levels of experience and he feels that regardless of how much experience the person has next to him in the booth, being a play-by-play announcer requires making sure the analyst is the best they can be.

For Tirico, it is important to give back to his alma mater at Syracuse because of how people like Dick Stockton, Bob Costas, and Marv Albert came back to Syracuse when he was a student to share their experience. During that time, Mike Tirico has seen the industry grow to the point where people can root for each other to succeed.

“The thing continues to grow, so we don’t have to be fighting over the same jobs. There are a lot more jobs out there than there used to be. I just enjoy being able to share a little bit of my experience with folks and kind of give back because I felt like along the way, people were kind to a kid in his 20’s who didn’t know what he was doing to help me out.” 

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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.”

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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.

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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?”

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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