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Marv Albert Launched Jeff Van Gundy’s Broadcast Career

“I think every broadcaster should have to try to coach and/or play, and every coach should have to try to broadcast.”

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Many NBA fans nowadays may forget that ESPN’s Jeff Van Gundy had many stops before getting to ESPN. Van Gundy was a longtime coach for the New York Knicks and Houston Rockets before moving to the booth.

It was his time coaching for the Knicks that actually propelled his broadcasting career in a way. Marv Albert was apart of the broadcasting team at MSG from 1967-2004, and helped push for Van Gundy’s first broadcasting job alongside him at TNT when Van Gundy’s time with the Knicks was over.

Van Gundy talked about his time with Albert on the Marchand and Ourand Podcast yesterday and discussed how it helped his career.

“I did [NBA broadcasting] once between when I ended with the Knicks and started with the Rockets, I went on TNT for a year and Marv Albert really pushed for that,” said Van Gundy.“And so I worked with he and Mike Fratello. The crazy thing, even though Marv did our games [with the Knicks], it wasn’t like we spoke often. He was one of the old-school guys who wanted to keep a healthy distance between team and broadcaster so that he could remain objective.

“When we did [speak], it was a little contentious. And then to find out that he actually pushed for me when we really didn’t have any great relationship or anything, it really meant a lot to me. And I learned so much with him and Mike Fratello.”

Van Gundy said that while he was the Knicks coach, he didn’t appreciate Albert’s objectivity and wanted more of a homer.

“The thing I didn’t understand is, and now I do, is that you just have to say what you think in those jobs, and you can’t be worried about how it’s gonna be received. You have to try to be fair and direct and that’s what he was as a Knicks broadcaster. And I thought there was an anti-Knicks bias at times, and an anti-Ewing bias, and a pro-Jordan, pro-Bulls bias.”

Sports TV News

Jimmy Pitaro: Reaching Younger Audience A Priority for ESPN

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience. As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

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Many in the media industry have voice concern that millennials and Gen Z aren’t consuming traditional media outlets like previous generations. ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said it’s a priority for the network.

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience,” Pitaro said, quoted by Morning Consult sports business reporter Mark J. Burns. “As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

Pitaro made the comments at Sports Business Journal’s Media Innovators conference Wednesday. It is a continuation of comments he has made in recent years.

In 2018, Pitaro said at ESPN’s upfront “I think we are doing a fantastic job serving the sports fanatic,” said Pitaro. “What about the casual sports customer? Are we doing all we can to serve him or her?”.

In 2019, Pitaro said it was “all hands on deck” to reach a younger audience and women. “We have to be open and go to where our customers are,” he said in regards to reaching younger viewers on social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

Earlier this year, Pitaro added that ESPN won’t be leaving linear television anytime soon.

“What I will tell you is that as I sit here right now, that business is still incredible,” Pitaro said. “We serve the sports fan anyway and at any time. I know there are a lot of people that still want ESPN in that traditional ecosystem.”

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Sports TV News

Don Mattingly Joining Blue Jays Staff After YES Network Courtship

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

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The New York Yankees regional sports network can take Don Mattingly off its talent wish list. Mattingly was announced Wednesday as a bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays starting in 2023.

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

But Mattingly told Andrew Marchand of The New York Post this week that he had another opportunity in the works but wouldn’t elaborate.

YES also has been considering luring Yankees legend and Hall of Famer Derek Jeter into broadcasting. But no formal talks have taken place.

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Sports TV News

ESPN Paying Nearly $45 Billion For Rights Fees Through 2027

Currently, the network’s largest spending comes for its Monday Night Football package, which is $2.6 billion annually

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The last year or two has been evident that the price of rights to airing major college and professional sporting events on television are only going up. But the various networks either with longstanding relationships with leagues and conferences or looking to break into the media rights landscape are willing to pay up. That’s no more evident with Disney, which will be shelling out tens of billions of dollars to have regular season and postseason events air on ESPN.

According to Sportico, which reviewed Disney’s annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, ESPN is set to spend $44.9 billion on sports media rights through 2027.

Currently, the network’s largest spending comes for its Monday Night Football package, which is $2.6 billion annually. Additionally, ESPN will pay $1.4 billion through the 2024-25 season for NBA rights.

The Sportico report noted ESPN will generate more than $8.1 billion in affiliate revenue to help offset those costs. The network will soon be entering talks to renew its media rights deal to be the exclusive home for nearly all NCAA Division I championships, as well as engaging in new NBA rights negotiations.

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