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CBS Sports Launching Race and Culture Unit

The unit will “pinpoint opportunities, identify priorities, and help shape the editorial director for all CBS Sports content at the intersection of sport, race, and culture.”

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CBS Sports is expanding its coverage, launching a unit that will cover Race and Culture. As announced by the network Tuesday, the unit will be led by veteran journalist David Cummings and Sarah M. Kasadi.

According to CBS Sports’ official announcement, the Race and Culture Unit will “pinpoint opportunities, identify priorities, and help shape the editorial director for all CBS Sports content at the intersection of sport, race, and culture.” The network will also take steps to ensure that diversity, equity, and inclusion are emphasized in creating content and raising issues to cover.

Cummings was named Senior Director. His previous work includes a stint as senior deputy editor for ESPN the Magazine, in addition to covering sports for the New York Daily News, Miami Herald, and The Source.

“Diversity and inclusion have long been a part of CBS Sports’ DNA before DE&I became a part of major corporations’ internal focus. For me, it dates back to the revolutionary cast of The NFL Today, with Irv Cross and Phyllis George, in the 1970s,” Cummings said in a statement.

“Today, we have a tremendous opportunity to build on and strengthen that DNA, focusing a diverse lens on the content we create, the messages we send, the voices we hear, and the stories we tell. I am excited for all that Sarah and I can create together, further elevating CBS Sports.”

Kazadi will be Senior Producer. She returns to CBS Sports after working as a feature producer at ESPN for The Undefeated and E60. Other news outlets featuring her work include The New York Times, The Guardian, and Newsweek. Recently, she produced and reported for the documentary I Run With Maud: A Promise. A Movement, which chronicled Black distance runners banding together for change and justice in light of Ahmaud Arbery’s murder.

“It’s a blessing to rejoin the CBS Sports team in this special role,” Kazadi added. “Honoring those who have been historically excluded and misrepresented is a personal passion. I’m excited about creating compelling work that strives to meet the moment.”

Cummings and Kazadi will be tasked with building on programming devoted to race and diversity, including the all-female sports talk show We Need to Talk, the Portraits in Black series of features, and content focusing on the first-ever HBCU men’s college basketball All-Star game being played April 3 in New Orleans.

In 2020, CBS News created a similar unit to cover Race and Culture, led by veteran ESPN and ABC News producer Alvin Patrick.

Sports TV News

Al Michaels: Condensed Prep Time For Thursday Night Football ‘A Downside’

“It’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us.”

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There were bound to be unexpected hiccups and unintended consequences as Al Michaels moved to Thursday Night Football with Amazon Prime Video.

He told The Boston Globe Thursday that one of the downsides of the week’s schedule is less prep time with the teams playing in the game.

“When we go to see the teams, it’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us,” Michaels said. “And all the time I’ve been doing this, I’ve built some great relationships with coaches and players and GMs and owners and you name it, and I don’t get that much time to spend with them anymore. That’s a downside part of it for me. Some of the best stories you get come from those relationships.”

Michaels has raised eyebrows this season while not being shy about his disdain for some poor matchups early in the schedule. However, he now understands that there are quality games as the season approaches its close.

“The schedule was a little leaky with the Carolina-Atlanta game and a couple of other games that we’ve had, but now we’re positioned for a nice run down the stretch,” said Michaels.

The 78-year-old was also asked how he remains energetic and passionate for the job he’s held for so long.

The games are exciting. I love sports. You don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s no script. And unscripted television is the greatest.”

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Sports TV News

Jimmy Pitaro: Reaching Younger Audience A Priority for ESPN

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience. As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

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Many in the media industry have voice concern that millennials and Gen Z aren’t consuming traditional media outlets like previous generations. ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said it’s a priority for the network.

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience,” Pitaro said, quoted by Morning Consult sports business reporter Mark J. Burns. “As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

Pitaro made the comments at Sports Business Journal’s Media Innovators conference Wednesday. It is a continuation of comments he has made in recent years.

In 2018, Pitaro said at ESPN’s upfront “I think we are doing a fantastic job serving the sports fanatic,” said Pitaro. “What about the casual sports customer? Are we doing all we can to serve him or her?”.

In 2019, Pitaro said it was “all hands on deck” to reach a younger audience and women. “We have to be open and go to where our customers are,” he said in regards to reaching younger viewers on social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

Earlier this year, Pitaro added that ESPN won’t be leaving linear television anytime soon.

“What I will tell you is that as I sit here right now, that business is still incredible,” Pitaro said. “We serve the sports fan anyway and at any time. I know there are a lot of people that still want ESPN in that traditional ecosystem.”

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Sports TV News

Don Mattingly Joining Blue Jays Staff After YES Network Courtship

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

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The New York Yankees regional sports network can take Don Mattingly off its talent wish list. Mattingly was announced Wednesday as a bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays starting in 2023.

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

But Mattingly told Andrew Marchand of The New York Post this week that he had another opportunity in the works but wouldn’t elaborate.

YES also has been considering luring Yankees legend and Hall of Famer Derek Jeter into broadcasting. But no formal talks have taken place.

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