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ESPN Reportedly Considering Al Michaels For ‘Monday Night Football’

It’s also entirely possible that Michaels’ representatives are floating this ESPN possibility to create some urgency with Amazon and get the best deal possible.

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Don’t pencil in Al Michaels for Amazon’s Thursday Night Football play-by-play opening quite yet.

The wide belief throughout the sports TV industry is that Michaels will indeed go to Amazon after his contract with NBC expires following Super Bowl LVI on Feb. 13. But according to the New York Post‘s Andrew Marchand, ESPN is considering taking a run at the legendary broadcaster for its Monday Night Football broadcast.

Amazon and Michaels haven’t apparently reached an agreement yet. Though there are some who wonder if that might get finalized in the next couple of weeks so Michaels can give a proper goodbye at the close of the Super Bowl telecast.

But Amazon hasn’t settled on a potential broadcast partner for Michaels yet, and that choice could influence whether or not this becomes a done deal. Troy Aikman appears to be the favorite for the analyst spot and he’ll reportedly have to decide whether or not to call a game for Amazon and Fox each week or move over exclusively to Amazon.

Or, as Marchand speculates, perhaps he and Michaels will decide to go to ESPN if that becomes an option.

Does this mean that ESPN wants to blow up its current MNF team of Steve Levy, Brian Griese, and Louis Riddick? Marchand has reported that Griese’s contract is up, so the network is surely evaluating whether or not to bring the three-man crew back.

In the process, ESPN also apparently wants to see if there’s any interest from Michaels, though Marchand says no conversations have occurred.

Other options for a Michaels partner, whether it’s with Amazon or ESPN, could be Sean Payton (who is reportedly stepping down as New Orleans Saints coach), Pete Carroll, or Sean McVay. Carroll is still the Seattle Seahawks’ head coach, while McVay is coaching the Los Angeles Rams in Sunday’s NFC Championship game amid a possible Super Bowl run.

(Marchand contradicts reports that Fox would consider Payton as a replacement for Aikman on the network’s No. 1 NFL broadcast team with Joe Buck, reporting that the network is more interested in him as a studio analyst.)

It’s also entirely possible that Michaels’ representatives are floating this ESPN possibility to create some urgency with Amazon and get the best deal possible. Michaels returning to MNF, where he was the play-by-play voice for 20 years with ABC and ESPN, would be the sort of headline-grabbing move that ESPN has long sought for its showcase NFL telecast.

Sports TV News

Netflix CEO: ‘We’re Not Anti-Sports, We’re Just Pro-Profit’

“He characterized expensive media rights as a “loss leader” in the streaming world and noted that Netflix doesn’t view sports as a necessity to grow.”

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Netflix will not join Apple and Amazon in the rush to gobble up live sports rights. Co-CEO Ted Sarandos addressed the streaming giant’s disinterest at the UBS Global Technology, Media & Telecom Conference on Wednesday.

He characterized expensive media rights as a “loss leader” in the streaming world and noted that Netflix doesn’t view sports as a necessity to grow.

“We’re not anti-sports,” Sarandos said according to Deadline. “We’re just pro-profit. We have yet to figure out how to do it. But I’m very confident we can get twice as big as we are without sports.” 

Questions about the interest the company has in carrying live sports have come up several times in the past. Sarandon made similar comments last year when asked about it.

Reed Hastings, Sarandos’s co-CEO at Netflix, has a slightly different view. In 2021, he indicated that Netflix could be interested in F1 rights someday thanks to the success of its documentary series Drive to Survive, but that would be a special case. Any league interested in doing business with Netflix, he said, would have to allow Netflix to control all of its content.

Ted Sarandos echoed that sentiment in his most recent comments. He said that the company does not see a way to profit by “renting big-league sports.”

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Sports TV News

FOX Sued for Patent Infringement Over NFL Scheduling

“Recentive Analytics filed suit against FOX in a Delaware federal court on November 29 according to Yahoo Sports.”

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An analytics company is suing FOX over claims that the network developed a mapping tool using their patented technology to create a season slate of NFL games.

Recentive Analytics filed suit against FOX in a Delaware federal court on November 29 according to Yahoo Sports.

The lawsuit claims FOX used access to Recentive’s predictive analytics tools to develop a resource of their own that would create optimal schedules for its 1 and 4 p.m. NFLwindows.

The company is seeking a declaration that FOX infringed on two of its patents. Recentive is also suing for damages and wants an injunction keeping FOX from using Recentive tech and preventing the network from “selling, offering for sale, marketing or using any internal network and mapping analytics tool for the scheduling and regionalization of events covered by the patents.”

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Sports TV News

FOX Will Use Chris Fallica On Belmont Stakes Coverage

“While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.”

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The Bear will be more than just a college football presence when he moves to FOX. Chris Fallica wrapped his final duties for ESPN last week and is now headed to a new network and will tackle some new responsibilities.

Fallica’s new role at FOX will involve plenty of sports gambling content. Richard Deitsch of The Athletic reports that content will include horse racing.

“One Fox Sports source said look for him to appear on the Belmont Stakes coverage,” Deitsch wrote in his weekly media column.

Starting in 2023, horse racing’s Triple Crown will not be seen all in one place. While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.

How the network intends to use Chris Fallica on the broadcast is not clear. Given that he is coming to the network to contribute to gambling conversations, it is likely he would either be making picks or at least reviewing odds right up to the start of the race.

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