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Kendra Andrews Made ESPN Debut Tuesday, Joined Sister Malika on ‘NBA Today’

Malika Andrews later acknowledged on Twitter that it was special to share the screen with her sister.

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@malika_andrews on Twitter

On Tuesday, ESPN officially announced what had been reported last month: Kendra Andrews is joining the network to cover the Golden State Warriors.

Andrews’ hiring was especially notable because her older sister already works at ESPN. Malika Andrews is currently the host of daily studio show NBA Today, originally joining the network as a reporter who earned acclaim for her coverage of the 2020-21 season finishing in the Orlando bubble.

It was surely only a matter of time before the sisters appeared together on NBA Today. But ESPN took care of that with Kendra’s first day on the job.

Bringing the network’s Warriors reporter on the show wasn’t just ESPN creating a cute story, though Malika later acknowledged on Twitter that it was special to share the screen with her sister.

But the NBA Today host got right to the business at hand. Golden State has been one of the NBA’s best teams this season. Going into Tuesday’s play, the Warriors have the second-best record in the league at 31-12. Kendra figures to be a prominent part of ESPN’s coverage, following the Warriors on another possible championship run.

Yet the team had struggled a bit in its past seven games, compiling a 2-5 record amid injuries to Draymond Green, Steph Curry, and Gary Payton II, while also working Klay Thompson back into their lineup. But everything looked fine in a 102-86 victory over the Detroit Pistons (10-33) Tuesday night, which began a seven-game homestand.

Andrews joins ESPN after covering Golden State for NBC Sports Bay Area. Prior to that, she covered the Denver Nuggets for The Athletic. With her hire, the network’s previous Warriors reporter, Nick Friedell, moves to the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks beat.

“I’m excited and so grateful to be joining ESPN and this talented team of journalists,” said Andrews in ESPN’s official announcement. “Growing up in Oakland, I understand how important the Warriors and the NBA are to the Bay Area. I’m looking forward to sharing their stories as they continue an already thrilling season.”

As a profile in the San Jose Mercury News by Shayna Rubin mentions, both Andrews sisters grew up watching the Warriors.

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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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