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Michele Tafoya to Work 300th NFL Game This Weekend

Michele Tafoya will serve as the sideline reporter for her 300th NFL regular-season game this Sunday.

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NBC’s Michelle Tafoya is set to break a record for the company this Sunday. Michele Tafoya will serve as the sideline reporter for her 300th NFL regular-season game – a primetime NFL record.

Sunday marks the 45th Cowboys regular-season game that Tafoya will work, ranking Dallas as the team she has covered most in her 18 seasons on the NFL sidelines (2011-present with NBC, 2006-10 with ESPN, 2004-05 with ABC).

This weekend also marks her 16th regular-season game featuring the Washington Football Team, and her fifth Dallas-Washington matchup. In all, Tafoya’s NFL regular season sideline reporting has taken her to 42 stadiums, with Sunday’s trip to AT&T Stadium her personal-high 19th at the venue.

Here is a report on Tafoya’s time on the NFL sidelines in the regular-season.

Most games by stadium:

Stadium, Location# of Games
AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX19*
Heinz Field, Pittsburgh18
Empower Field at Mile High, Denver16
Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA15
Lambeau Field, Green Bay15
Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia15
Lumen Field, Seattle15

Most Games by team:

NFL club# of Games
Dallas Cowboys45*
Green Bay Packers42
New England Patriots37
Philadelphia Eagles34
Pittsburgh Steelers34

Most games by matchup:

NFL club# of Games
Cowboys-Eagles12
Cowboys-Giants11
Ravens-Steelers9
Bears-Packers7
Packers-Vikings7

Tafoya’s future with NBC is up in the air, as she is expected to be done as a sideline reporter for the network after the season. It is unclear at this point if the company has other plans for Tafoya going forward in a different role.

Sports TV News

Al Michaels: Condensed Prep Time For Thursday Night Football ‘A Downside’

“It’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us.”

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There were bound to be unexpected hiccups and unintended consequences as Al Michaels moved to Thursday Night Football with Amazon Prime Video.

He told The Boston Globe Thursday that one of the downsides of the week’s schedule is less prep time with the teams playing in the game.

“When we go to see the teams, it’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us,” Michaels said. “And all the time I’ve been doing this, I’ve built some great relationships with coaches and players and GMs and owners and you name it, and I don’t get that much time to spend with them anymore. That’s a downside part of it for me. Some of the best stories you get come from those relationships.”

Michaels has raised eyebrows this season while not being shy about his disdain for some poor matchups early in the schedule. However, he now understands that there are quality games as the season approaches its close.

“The schedule was a little leaky with the Carolina-Atlanta game and a couple of other games that we’ve had, but now we’re positioned for a nice run down the stretch,” said Michaels.

The 78-year-old was also asked how he remains energetic and passionate for the job he’s held for so long.

The games are exciting. I love sports. You don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s no script. And unscripted television is the greatest.”

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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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