Just as reports circulated about Amazon showing interest in ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit for its Thursday Night Football analyst opening, news of the streaming platform meeting with another prospective broadcaster is making the rounds.
According to Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, Amazon is meeting with former New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton this week regarding the TNF gig. Perhaps this is the meeting that Amazon originally wanted with Sean McVay. Regardless, Florio reports this is the second time that Payton has met with Amazon executives, which would appear to indicate the sides are inching toward an agreement.
News of Payton meeting with Amazon comes just days after Fox reportedly entered negotiations with the coach. Does this mean that talks with Fox hit a wall? Or are Payton and his representatives doing their due diligence in exploring all possible options?
Previous reports indicated that Fox was more interested in Payton as a studio analyst, perhaps to eventually replace Jimmy Johnson for the coaching perspective on the Fox NFL Sunday studio crew. He could work on the Fox NFL Kickoff team before that or bounce between the two shows.
But with Troy Aikman reportedly leaving Fox’s No. 1 NFL broadcast team for ESPN and Monday Night Football, the network has an opening alongside Joe Buck and Payton would be a splashy name that attracts headlines (and, hopefully, viewers). And as Florio points out, Fox might not pay as much as Amazon but the over-the-air network has a greater reach and more established credibility with fans.
One concern with hiring Payton would be whether or not he intends to return to NFL coaching (notably the Dallas Cowboys) after taking a year off from the grind. Fox presumably would consider it less of an issue if they had to replace him on a studio crew after one season. But as the analyst on the No. 1 broadcast team, that seems more problematic in terms of developing on-screen chemistry and familiarity with viewers.
Putting play-by-play broadcaster Joe Buck in the position of working with two different analysts in consecutive seasons seems unfair to him. But maybe the subtext to such a move would be that this is an experiment.
There’s no guarantee Payton will be good as a broadcaster. And if he’s a flop, Fox could just move Greg Olsen up to that spot, which they could’ve done anyway. Any bad publicity from making changes so often might be offset by the big headlines attracted by putting a top NFL coach in the booth.
Of course, that’s making the presumption that Payton wants to return to coaching. Maybe he doesn’t, especially since the money in broadcasting is so much better for a far less demanding lifestyle.
Ian Casselberry is a sports media columnist for BSM. He has previously written and edited for Awful Announcing, The Comeback, Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, MLive, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation. You can find him on Twitter @iancass or reach him by email at email@example.com.
FanDuel TV Strikes Deal With ONE Championship Martial Arts
“We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”
FanDuel TV and ONE Championship Martial Arts have struck a deal that will see the MMA, Muay Thai, kickboxing, and submission grappling series air weekly events on the newly launched channel.
“We’re eager to continue expanding the variety of content we’re offering at FanDuel TV to introduce our audience to emerging sports,” said FanDuel Chief Commercial Officer Mike Raffensperger. “We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”
ONE Championship is a top-five global sports property for digital viewership and engagement according to Nielsen measurements.
“We are thrilled to join the FanDuel TV lineup and give our passionate U.S. audience yet another way to engage with ONE Championship,” said ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong. “Having a quality partner in FanDuel will help raise the profile of our company in the region and provide their viewers with action-packed martial arts events like they have never seen before.”
Bob Costas Re-Lives First Announcing Assignment For NBC
“My biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979.”
Legendary sports broadcaster Bob Costas appeared on KNBR’s Tolbert & Copes Thursday to discuss the death of Baseball Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry. But before the conversation turned to the recently departed pitcher, the show asked Costas about what he has announced that would surprise someone. He reminisced about his first time on the air for NBC.
“My very first assignment for NBC, my biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979,” Costas recounted. “There was a program on NBC then called Sports World. It was an anthology series that was their answer to the gold standard, ABC’s Wide World of Sports.
“So they traveled the globe, like Wide World of Sports did. So they sent me, wearing a red NBC jacket, to Tokyo to cover a sumo wrestling tournament with seven-time world power-lifting champion Larry Pacifico as my color man. Now, this is all the Japanese I learned as we came on the air: ‘Minasan kon’nichwa watashinoamaeha Bob Costas’, which means ‘Hello everyone, my name is Bob Costas’. If ever there was typecasting, when they sat and looked at their roster of announcers and went ‘Who should we send to the sumo wrestling? It’s gotta be Costas, who’s entire body weight would constitute one meal for the sumo wrestling champion.”
Costas departed NBC Sports in 2019 after 40 years with the network, announcing MLB, NBA, and the Olympics, in addition to his work with the network’s sumo wrestling coverage.
Matt Leinart, Alex Smith Make Wager Over Pac-12 Championship Game
“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous. I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.”
FOX Sports analyst Matt Leinart and ESPN analyst Alex Smith have made a friendly wager over the upcoming Pac-12 Championship Game.
USC, Leinart’s alma mater, is slated to play Utah, where Smith attended, in the game Friday evening on FOX from Las Vegas.
The two agreed to don the other player’s jersey. “At least it will be 11,” Smith said, noting he and Leinart both wore the number during their playing days.
“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous,” Leinart said when presented with the offer. “I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.” Smith jokingly responded by calling USC “Free Agent University”. He added he would overnight Leinart a jersey to ensure he had one if the Utes were victorious.
Garrett Searight is the Editor of Barrett Sports Media and Barrett News Media. He previously was the Program Director and Afternoon Co-Host on 93.1 The Fan in Lima, OH. He is also a play-by-play announcer for TV and Radio broadcasts in Western Ohio.