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NY Daily News’ Bob Raissman: Phil Simms Should Be Amazon’s ‘TNF’ Analyst

Former New York Giants linebacker Carl Banks is campaigning for Fox to hire his old teammate for the broadcast booth.

Jordan Bondurant

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Phil Simms

News dropped last week that Troy Aikman is reportedly set to join the Monday Night Football booth on ESPN. Now, not only does Fox need a new color commentator alongside Joe Buck, but Amazon is still on the lookout for an analyst for its Thursday Night Football broadcast on Prime Video this fall.

New York Daily News columnist Bob Raissman believes the man Amazon should be looking at for the position is Phil Simms.

“He may not be fresh off the field, but Simms sounds like he never left it,” Raissman wrote. “Most importantly, Simms has a distinct personality. His country wit, and comforting presence, makes him one of the most likeable NFL analysts on TV. Yet he also has the unique ability to deliver hard truths and caustic opinions (even on the NFL media) when necessary.”

Simms, who has been with CBS for nearly 20 years, has the experience working games with some of the best in the business (Greg Gumbel, Jim Nantz, Dick Enberg). The chance to add another veteran voice to the presentation, Raissman writes, is something that Amazon brass should realize is staring them in the face.

Raissman isn’t the only one sharing that opinion, by the way. Former New York Giants linebacker Carl Banks is campaigning for Fox to hire his old teammate for the broadcast booth.

Responding to Banks’s tweet, WFAN’s Evan Roberts and Craig Carton also advocated Simms as a good hire for Fox.

“(T)hey should realize there is a marquee voice in the ozone who would bring instant credibility to their product, a voice who is as good or better than any of the candidates who have surfaced,” Raissman wrote.

No telling if Simms has anything in his current CBS contract that would allow him to make the jump to Amazon if they came calling. But Raissman and others are clearly advocating for the former Giants quarterback to get a shot.

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.

Jordan Bondurant

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YES Network

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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Sports TV News

ESPN Paying Nearly $45 Billion For Rights Fees Through 2027

Currently, the network’s largest spending comes for its Monday Night Football package, which is $2.6 billion annually

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The last year or two has been evident that the price of rights to airing major college and professional sporting events on television are only going up. But the various networks either with longstanding relationships with leagues and conferences or looking to break into the media rights landscape are willing to pay up. That’s no more evident with Disney, which will be shelling out tens of billions of dollars to have regular season and postseason events air on ESPN.

According to Sportico, which reviewed Disney’s annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, ESPN is set to spend $44.9 billion on sports media rights through 2027.

Currently, the network’s largest spending comes for its Monday Night Football package, which is $2.6 billion annually. Additionally, ESPN will pay $1.4 billion through the 2024-25 season for NBA rights.

The Sportico report noted ESPN will generate more than $8.1 billion in affiliate revenue to help offset those costs. The network will soon be entering talks to renew its media rights deal to be the exclusive home for nearly all NCAA Division I championships, as well as engaging in new NBA rights negotiations.

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