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New USFL’s Inaugural Game To Be Broadcast On Both NBC And Fox

“The first game played in any new league is itself historical and having the USFL’s inaugural game simulcast by NBC and FOX makes it even more so.”

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The inaugural game for the new USFL will air on not one, but two networks when the spring football league kicks off on Saturday, April 16.

NBC Sports announced on Tuesday that the USFL’s season opener between the New Jersey Generals and Birmingham Stallions will broadcast in primetime at 7:30 p.m. ET. The telecast will air on NBC and Fox, marking the first time one event has aired on two competing broadcast networks since Super Bowl I was shown on NBC and CBS in 1967.

“Having two broadcast networks combine and start something like the USFL is not only unique but represents our commitment to making spring football succeed,” said NBC Sports chairman Pete Bevacqua in the network’s official announcement. “We’re excited about the opportunity, and we appreciate the partnership and cooperation that we’ve had with Eric and his team at FOX Sports.”

NBC’s involvement in the USFL was already unusual with Fox investing in the upstart league (taking a minority share) and becoming its flagship TV network. Fox will air 12 games for the 2022 season, 10 of them on FS1. But the more TV partners, the better, especially from a risk standpoint. NBC will split the season slate with Fox, televising on the broadcast network, USA Network, and streaming service Peacock.

The new USFL isn’t a “revival,” per se, with no connection to the 1980s version of the spring football league. But all of the original team names will be part of the new venture. Though each of the eight clubs is connected to a particular market, all of the USFL’s games will be played in Birmingham, Alabama.

“The first game played in any new league is itself historical and having the USFL’s inaugural game simulcast by NBC and FOX makes it even more so,” said Eric Shanks, Fox Sports CEO and executive producer. “It’s rare when two competitors can come together and see how cooperation can lead to long-term benefit, and it wouldn’t be possible without having terrific relationships with Pete, Jon Miller, and so many others at NBC Sports.”

In total, 42 regular-season and postseason USFL games will air between Fox and NBC networks. NBC Sports will air 22 contests, dividing among the main broadcast network (nine), USA Network (nine), and Peacock (four). Fox will broadcast another 22, with 14 games on its main network and eight being televised on FS1.

The USFL’s inaugural season will launch with eight teams split into North and South divisions. The Generals will be joined in the North by the Michigan Panthers, Pittsburgh Maulers, and Philadelphia Stars. The South will be made up of the Stallions, the Houston Gamblers, New Orleans Breakers, and Tampa Bay Bandits.

Sports TV News

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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