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ESPN Decides Not To Send Reporters To Beijing For 2022 Winter Olympics

ESPN originally planned to send four reporters to Beijing to provide coverage.

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One day after NBC announced that none of its 2022 Winter Olympics broadcast teams will work on-site from Beijing and instead work remotely, ESPN has made a similar decision.

On Thursday, the network announced that it won’t send any news personnel to China to cover the Winter Games. According to its official release on the matter, ESPN originally planned to send four reporters to Beijing to provide coverage. But those four will now work remotely with the numerous television and digital personnel assigned to the Olympics.

ESPN.com already has a section dedicated to its Olympics coverage and plans will continue to provide the site with feature content along with scoreboards, medal counts, and additional information and statistics that will be updated in real-time. That Olympics content will also be available on the ESPN app.

Though video restrictions for Olympics highlights will be in place, SportsCenter will also report on results from Beijing and run reports and features on the Beijing games. (NBC holds exclusive rights in the U.S. for Olympics video footage.)

“The safety of our employees is of utmost importance to us,” said Norby Williamson, ESPN’s executive VP, event and studio production, in the network’s announcement. “With the pandemic continuing to be a global threat, and with the COVID-related on-site restrictions in place for the Olympics that would make coverage very challenging, we felt that keeping our people home was the best decision for us.”

The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics begin with the opening ceremony Friday, Feb. 4.

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John Anderson to Join University of Missouri Faculty After Leaving SportsCenter

“Why wouldn’t you want to go play for the Yankees? That’s what Mizzou is.”

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Photo of John Anderson of ESPN from the Missouri School of Journalism
Photo Courtesy: Missouri School of Journalism

John Anderson, who announced in March that he would leave ESPN’s SportsCenter when his contract runs out at the end of the month, has found his landing spot. He will be joining the faculty at his alma mater, the University of Missouri. The Missouri School of Journalism said Anderson will be the school’s Endowed Chair in Radio and Television Journalism and will begin with the spring semester in January 2025.

Anderson, who joined ESPN in 1999 does plan to continue covering certain events, but after 25 years he thought it was time to stop doing ESPN’s flagship show. His final SportsCenter is scheduled for Friday, June 28.

    “My contract runs out at ESPN at the end of June,” Anderson said on his podcast back in March. “I have decided that that will be the end. I’m going to leave the company. I’m going to sort of retire from ‘SportsCenter.’ I’m going to get to do a few track-and-field things, I’m going to get to continue to do the Boston Marathon and the New York Marathon – which I love – and some NCAA track meets and some SEC stuff.

    “I am incredibly excited about that. It’s been a good run…I feel like it’s been a good run. The operation has changed. I don’t know that it’s passed me by, but it’s taken its toll and I still want to be able to do the best shows that I can, and I don’t know that if in years 26 or 27 I have the stamina to do it again.”

    About his new role, Anderson said in a release from the school, “Why wouldn’t you want to go play for the Yankees? That’s what Mizzou is. If you’re going to go play, why not go play for the team with all the world titles? I could not have thought of a better post-ESPN landing spot.”

    Anderson said he comes from a long line of educators. “My grandparents were teachers, and my mother, being raised by those people, had respect for teachers. Two of my uncles taught math. That sort of trickled down to me,” he said.

    “John has kept fans and aspiring sports journalists in the know for more than two decades, and I’m so excited that he has chosen to bring that experience back to his alma mater for the benefit of new generations of students,” said David Kurpius, dean of the School of Journalism said in a release.

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    ‘Foul Territory’ to Air Live on Bally Sports RSNs as Part of New Partnership

    “We are thrilled to partner with Bally Sports to bring Foul Territory to an even wider audience.”

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    Foul Territory Logo
    Courtesy: Make Plays Media

    The Foul Territory program has agreed to a new linear and streaming partnership with the Bally Sports regional networks (RSNs) that will launch on Monday, June 24. Make Plays Media, which is the parent company of Foul Territory and several other shows within the network of shows, will air its digital program from 1 to 3 p.m. EST on the Bally Sports RSNs and the company app. The program will also work with Bally Sports to present exclusive guests, unique content and more, which will accompany the live game broadcasts across the Bally Sports portfolio of networks.

    “We are thrilled to partner with Bally Sports to bring Foul Territory to an even wider audience,” Marc Weiner, chief executive officer of Make Plays Media, said in a statement. “Bally Sports has the largest daily baseball audience in the country and we can’t wait to work with our new partners to bring FT’s real baseball talk to their passionate fan base live every day.”

    The Foul Territory program launched last March and features a roster of former players that provide their insights and opinions to the show, including A.J. Pierzynski, Todd Frazier and Erik Kratz. Scott Braun hosts the show, which frequently features guest appearances by MLB players, managers and general managers. While Foul Territory will now be live every day on the Bally Sports RSNs, the show will still be available across social and audio platforms.

    Over the last several months, the Foul Territory Network of programs has expanded with new offerings dedicated to the Los Angeles Dodgers (Dodgers Territory), Atlanta Braves (Hammer Territory) and Chicago Cubs (North Side Territory). Ken Rosenthal, baseball reporter and insider, also hosts his own program, Fair Territory, that covers news and issues around the sport each week. Rosenthal also contributes to the Foul Territory program as well in addition to working with FOX Sports and The Athletic.

    The Bally Sports regional networks, which are owned by Diamond Sports Group, has the linear broadcasting rights to 12 Major League Baseball teams. Diamond Sports Group has been in Ch. 11 bankruptcy proceedings for over a year and is approaching a confirmation hearing in late-July. The company was unable to reach a renewed distribution agreement with Comcast Corporation, resulting in the channels not being on the service for more than a month.

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    Stanley Cup Final Game 6 Draws 4.2 Million U.S. Viewers

    The game peaked at 4.9 million viewers as the Oilers evened the series at three games apiece after being down three games to none in the series.

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    Logo for the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs

    Friday night’s Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final series between the Edmonton Oilers and the Florida Panthers delivered the highest number of viewers of the series with 4.2 million people tuning in in the United States according to Nielsen fast-nationals. The number was reported by Sports Media Watch’s Jon Lewis who said the game drew 28% less viewers than the last Game 6 two years ago between the Colorado Avalanche and the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    The game peaked at 4.9 million viewers as the Oilers evened the series at three games apiece after being down three games to none in the series. While a high for the series, Lewis reports there have been 20 Game 6’s in the past 30 years and this game had the fifth-lowest audience.

    Lewis also said three of the bottom five games on the list involved a Canadian team. The Carolina Hurricanes-Edmonton Oilers series in 2006 and the New York Rangers-Vancouver Canucks series in 1994 were the other two in addition to Friday night’s game.

    Game 7 of the series will be played tonight at 8 p.m. ET on ABC and ESPN+. The Oilers will be looking for their sixth Stanley Cup win and first since 1990. The Florida Panthers will be looking to hoist the Stanley Cup trophy for the first time in franchise history.

    Sean McDonough is calling the games on ABC along with Ray Ferraro and Emily Kaplan. Steve Levy, Mark Messier and PK Subban provide analysis before the game and in between periods.

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