Sports TV News
ESPN Celebrates Veterans Week With Special Content On Multiple Shows
“We are also committed to helping veterans and their families find career opportunities to help create new possibilities.”
Following its annual tradition of Veterans Day recognition, ESPN will salute veterans and active members of the U.S. Armed Forces with a week of programming and initiatives across platforms Nov. 8-15.
ESPN’s Get Up, First Take, NFL Countdown, Monday Night Football, Monday Night Countdown, and College Gameday will all have Veterans Week content as well as ESPN’s digital and audio platforms.
The centerpiece of the Veterans Week content will be a special edition of SportsCenter airing from the US Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT and Coast Guard Station New York.
There will also be daily shoutouts for the special week by numerous notable athletes including Jimmy Butler, Draymond Green, Aaron Rodgers, and many more.
Part of the special content will be exclusive interviews with some players and coaches at the Coast Guard Academy football team, as well as a sit down with longtime ESPN reporter Sal Paolantonio, talking about his time in the Navy.
“Every year ESPN is proud to celebrate Veterans Day and honor our veterans and active military through our storytelling across our linear and digital platforms,” said Kevin Martinez, ESPN vice president of Corporate Citizenship. “We are also committed to helping veterans and their families find career opportunities to help create new possibilities.”
In addition to ESPN’s commitment to honor veterans, they have supported virtual career fairs for disabled veterans in the past. The events have resulted in 2,900 interviews and 960 jobs offered to those who have sacrificed for the United States.
Reice Shipley is a daily news writer and social media assistant for BSM. He is a graduate of Ithaca University, contributor to the Syracuse Mets, and aspires to work behind the scenes in sports media in the future. He can be found on Twitter @Reice_Shipley18 or you may reach him by email at RShipley@ithaca.edu.
Sports TV News
Bomani Jones: Cancellation of High Noon ‘Had Zero To Do With Me’
“I could have the greatest version of ‘High Noon’ that was possible [but] there’s not a place in [ESPN’s] line-up for that right now.”
Bomani Jones still has a presence at ESPN. He may not be on TV regularly, but he still hosts The Right Time podcast three times a week. That is different from ten years ago when he was on the network regularly on shows like Around the Horn, Highly Questionable, and High Noon.
In a new interview with Fortune, Jones reflected on the ups and downs of his personal and professional life. He was asked about High Noon, the show featuring himself and Pablo Torre and was billed as a more nuanced approach to sports debate.
It was canceled after less than two years on the air. Jones says he does not view it as a failure and he does not view it as a television audience rejecting him. It was the result of ESPN bosses deciding to go in a different direction with their afternoon programming.
“I could have the greatest version of ‘High Noon’ that was possible [but] there’s not a place in [ESPN’s] line-up for that right now,” he said. “That’s just not what they do, and that has zero to do with me.”
Bomani Jones is now on HBO each week as host of Game Theory. He said that the show feels like the first time he has been able to execute something close to his original vision on television. That is the key to building long-term audience loyalty.
“You want to do your work in the place where it gets the most visibility so long as you can stay true to what it is that you’re doing. Because once people can sniff that you’re not being true to yourself and what you’re doing, then they don’t care about anything else. It doesn’t matter. Your credibility is gone once they don’t believe that you’re being true to you.”
Sports TV News
NBC Sports Washington to Drop Commanders Programming
“Where the studio shows and shoulder programming goes in the future remains unclear.”
The contract between the Washington Commanders and NBC Sports Washington comes to an end this month. That will be the end of shows centered on the team airing on the regional sports network.
NBC Sports Washington and the Washington NFL franchise have been in business together for years. Where the studio shows and shoulder programming goes in the future remains unclear.
Last year, Monumental Sports, which owns the Washington Capitals, Mystics and Wizards, bought the network last year. While much of the network’s future programming is expected to center on those teams, John Ourand of Sports Business Journal writes that Monumental did make an effort to extend the partnership with the Commanders.
“Monumental started to negotiate a new deal, but I’m told that the two sides did not get close to a deal,” he wrote.
With the team up for sale, so much of the future of the franchise remains in question. It is very likely that a new ownership group would be in place before a new local media rights deal for the Commanders is done.
Sports TV News
Skip Bayless: I’m The Cal Ripken of Debate Shows
“I have done 52,000 debate topics on live TV, which means I’m almost 52,000 and 0 at winning debates because I don’t think I’ve ever lost one.”
If you ask Skip Bayless if he has ever lost a debate on UNDISPUTED or when he was at First Take, he will tell you he has been undefeated against whomever he goes up against on the 9-10 topics that he debates daily.
On his podcast, The Skip Bayless Show, Bayless made an estimate as to how many shows he has done over the duration of over two decades and how he compared himself to being the Cal Ripken of sports debate shows.
“Here’s my best estimation. Over 23 years and 4 months on national television, I have done 5,715 shows. If we have averaged 9 topics per show, that means I have done 52,000 debate topics on live TV, which means I’m almost 52,000 and 0 at winning debates because I don’t think I’ve ever lost one.”
“Nobody is more experienced in the debate format than I am. You can say I am the Cal Ripken of the genre. My friends, Michael Wilson and Tony Kornheiser, have been on TV for more years doing their show, which is all-time great, but their show is only 30 minutes a day. Mine was 2 hours a day at ESPN and 2.5 hours a day for the 6.5 years I’ve been at FS1.”
In the mailbag portion of his show, Bayless gave away the keys to winning a debate and how he always is ready whenever a show goes live.
“It’s preparation and concentration. Most debates are won the night before by researching and thinking them through. If he goes there, I will go here. If he goes here, I will go there. Then, of course, when that red light goes on, you must lock in and you must hyper focus for each of those 9-10 topics. If you let your mind wander for even a split second, you lose. We are live and I live for live.”
While some might disagree with what Bayless has to say, he knows that he doesn’t say things for shock value and he is not afraid to say how he feels about any subject.
“Shock jocks get exposed as frauds, as one-trick ponies. I am not that. God gave me a pretty good brain, a pretty good feel for sports and the people in and around sports. I watch those people very closely. I watch the games very closely and I am constantly asking myself what is really going on here?
“I am not afraid to say what I see and I see a lot. At heart, I am a truth teller, not a shock jock. I am often proven right. In fact, if you want to know the truth…I am invariably proven to be right again and again over time. People just try to explain me away and I just keep showing up every day after day after day. I stand strong. I don’t back off. I endure.”
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.