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ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro Agrees to 3-Year Contract Extension

Pitaro is appearing at the 2022 BSM Summit, held at The Anne Bernstein Theater in New York City March 2-3.

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Jimmy Pitaro has signed a contract extension to remain as ESPN president. The New York Post‘s Andrew Marchand reported the news in his Monday “Sports Clicker” newsletter. (You can subscribe here.)

Pitaro’s new contract adds another three-and-a-half years to his current agreement. During his tenure, which began in March 2018, Pitaro’s biggest accomplishments may be smoothing out ESPN’s relationship with the NFL and negotiate a new TV rights deal that includes two playoff games and two Super Bowl broadcasts, in addition to continuing the Monday Night Football package and rights to highlights for the network’s studio programming including SportsCenter, NFL Live, Sunday NFL Countdown, and Monday Night Countdown.

Additionally, Pitaro has strengthened ESPN+ as networks like NBC and CBS have emphasized an increased focus on their streaming platforms. (Fox, curiously, hasn’t appeared to make streaming much of a priority, pointing to its Tubi service.) ESPN’s streaming service currently has 17.1 million subscribers, undoubtedly aided by ESPN+ being included in the Disney bundle with Disney+ and Hulu.

As Marchand points out, some of the challenges ahead for Pitaro include finding younger talent to feature, which ESPN has done successfully with NFL Live, overhauling the show with Laura Rutledge, Mina Kimes, Marcus Spears, and Dan Orlovsky. The network has also appeared to emphasize individual personalities like Stephen A. Smith (or even Scott Van Pelt) less. Will that continue or does ESPN have to find new faces and voices to highlight?

ESPN has also shown some creativity in adding special alternate broadcasts to its schedule, such as the baseball “Nerdcast” incorporating analytics and advanced metrics with Jason Benetti, Mike Petriello, and Eduardo Perez. Of course, the jewel of alternate broadcasts during the past year was the “ManningCast” featuring Peyton and Eli Manning with a rotating cast of guests during Monday Night Football.

During the upcoming Major League Baseball season, ESPN will add a “Kay-Rod” alternate telecast for eight Sunday Night Baseball broadcasts featuring Alex Rodriguez and Michael Kay in a set-up similar to the “ManningCast.” Will more of these alternate broadcasts be developed or will the network find that viewers’ appetites for such programming is limited?

Perhaps one of those questions will be answered when Pitaro appears at the 2022 BSM Summit, held at The Anne Bernstein Theater in New York City March 2-3.

As Jason Barrett describes, he and Pitaro will have a 35-minute conversation on stage “discussing the state of the sports media industry, the opportunities and challenges facing operators in 2022 and beyond, the growth of sports betting, network radio, podcasts, subscriptions, social, and many other issues.” Tickets for the event can be purchased here.

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Warriors Fans Throw Objects At Charles Barkley On Inside the NBA Set

“Barkley yelled back at the crowd but never actually left the set.”

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TNT/Larry Brown Sports

Charles Barkley is no stranger to being the object of fans’ ire. The cities of San Antonio and Cleveland have a history of being the butt of the Round Mound of Rebound’s jokes. Thursday night in San Francisco, fans of the Warriors took things to a different level, throwing objects at Barkley on the Inside the NBA set.

The TNT studio show was broadcasting live from outside the Chase Center. The crowd chanted “Chuck, you suck!” at Barkley before the game. After Golden State clinched a birth in the NBA Finals, things got physical.

Fans threw things at the set, including a rolled-up t-shirt, which hit Charles Barkley in the back of the head. That resulted in Barkley leaving his seat and bowing up to the audience.

“Come on Chuck!” Ernie Johnson pleaded as Kenny Smith repeatedly said “Sit down Chuck.”

Barkley yelled back at the crowd but never actually left the set.

Now that the Western Conference Finals are over, TNT’s NBA schedule has concluded. That doesn’t mean Charles Barkley won’t return to San Francisco for the NBA Finals, but it is highly unlikely given the reception he has received there.

Barkley spent most of the postseason telling Golden State fans they were annoying and need to shut up and saying the city of San Francisco has “dirty ass streets”.

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Jon Miller To Call MLB Sunday Leadoff Game On Peacock

“According to a press release, Jason Benetti has a scheduling conflict.”

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Rich Eisen Show

Legendary play-by-play man Jon Miller will be returning to the national broadcast booth on Sunday. He will call the San Francisco Giants vs. Cincinnati Reds game for Peacock. He’ll be joined in the booth by Barry Larkin and Shawn Estes.

According to a press release, Jason Benetti has a scheduling conflict. Benetti, the regular play-by-play voice of Peacock’s MLB Sunday Leadoff, is also the television voice of the Chicago White Sox. NBC Sports Chicago has prioritized this weekend’s series between the White Sox and Cubs, making Benetti unavailable to the national broadcast.

Miller has been calling Giants games since 1997 and previously shared the Sunday Night Baseball booth on ESPN with hall of famer Joe Morgan.

The broadcast, called MLB Sunday Leadoff, will begin at 11 a.m. with pregame coverage hosted by Ahmed Fareed. The game broadcast begins at 11:30 a.m.

The game will take place in an exclusive two-hour broadcast window prior to the start of the rest of the league’s day of games.

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Amazon Eyeing Pat McAfee For Thursday Night Football Megacast

“No deal is done yet. A source tells McCarthy that it hinges on McAfee’s very busy schedule, but a Megacast is appealing to the former punter.’

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First it was the Mannings. Now it’s McAfee. Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports reports that Pat McAfee could be at the center of an alternate broadcast of Thursday Night Football on Amazon in the 2022 season.

No deal is done yet. A source tells McCarthy that it hinges on McAfee’s very busy schedule, but a Megacast is appealing to the former punter.

Rumors of Amazon’s interest in McAfee began to bubble up last month. While he never directly addressed them, he did make mention on his show that he was “up to something” and insinuated that Amazon wasn’t the only company he was talking to.

McAfee has said on his show in the past that he wants to be part of an NFL broadcast. However, he is firm in that it would not be in the broadcast booth.

“I can’t call games. Not yet,” McAfee said on a show in February. “Have to be done with this show to call games. Because that’s like a 3-day, 4-day thing.” 

In addition to his daily show, McAfee is also committed to the WWE. He is on the road for Smackdown every Friday.

There is no word on exactly what a Pat McAfee-centered broadcast would look like. When reports first came out regarding discussions with McAfee, Ryan Glasspiegel of The New York Post reported that moving The Pat McAfee Show to Amazon was on the table. If that happens, it would make sense to use his entire crew on the Thursday Night Football presentation.

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