Major League Baseball’s lockout didn’t take all of the sport’s headlines on Monday. Baseball’s other big story was Derek Jeter stepping down as CEO of the Miami Marlins. Jeter also gave up his ownership share of the club, a four percent stake believed to be worth approximately $45 million.
The obvious question is what’s next for Jeter. According to Front Office Sports’ Michael McCarthy, ESPN would like to speak with him about a television opportunity. No overtures have yet been made, but McCarthy reports that the network would love to go into business with him, presumably as an analyst.
Additionally, ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro is a big New York Yankees fan, which is apparently fueling speculation that he’d love to add The Captain to the network’s roster.
If so, Pitaro might want to have a word with Stephen A. Smith about messaging after the First Take host said on Monday’s show that he’d like to see Jeter return to the Yankees in some capacity.
Speaking of The Captain, that’s the title of an upcoming six-part docuseries chronicling Jeter’s Hall of Fame career with the Yankees that includes five World Series championships and 3,465 hits. So there’s already a working relationship of sorts between Jeter and ESPN.
What kind of role could Jeter have with ESPN if he were to join the network? The obvious job would appear to be the analyst position on Sunday Night Baseball.
But ESPN just overhauled its SNF crew with Karl Ravech calling play-by-play alongside analysts David Cone and Eduardo Perez. Would the network blow up its new team after one season (a season that hasn’t even happened yet)? Not to mention that two former Yankees in the booth probably wouldn’t be popular.
Even adding him for occasional appearances, as was suggested by one of McCarthy’s sources, seems problematic. Sure, it would draw attention (and potential viewers), but a three-man booth is crowded enough as it is.
McCarthy raises another possibility that Jeter could headline an alternate Sunday Night Baseball broadcast. Jeter’s former teammate Alex Rodriguez and Yankees broadcaster Michael Kay are already doing a “Kay-Rod” alternate SNF broadcast, but plans are for the two to only work eight of the 25 games ESPN will broadcast on Sunday nights.
That presumably leaves room for another telecast headlined by Jeter. (Some Yankees fans might also take delight in Jeter possibly upstaging and taking viewers’ affection away from A-Rod.)
All of this is speculation, of course. Jeter just left the Marlins and there’s been no indication that he’s interested in broadcasting. But if he is, ESPN is apparently waiting to add Jeter to a growing number of star personalities that includes Peyton and Eli Manning and, very soon, Troy Aikman.
Peter King: ‘Tom Brady Needs To Study Cris Collinsworth’
“He’ll know that to be good, he has to get out of his comfort zone of all niceties and tell it like it is.”
Peter King dedicated a not-insignificant portion of his “Football Morning in America” column this week to advice for Tom Brady. FOX announced last week that the Buccaneers’ quarterback will become the network’s lead NFL analyst upon his retirement.
Brady’s decision and his reported salary have been the source of much speculation and prediction amongst his soon-to-be colleagues.
King is optimistic that Tom Brady will be entertaining and informative when he makes his FOX debut. He did offer the GOAT a little bit of advice about what he should be doing in the months leading up to calling it quits on his playing days and starting his new career.
“I think what I’d do if I were Brady is study Cris Collinsworth—and honest to goodness, I don’t say that because I work for NBC,” he wrote. “I say it because Collinsworth knows how to talk X’s-and-O’s conversationally, he’s an easy listen, and he can criticize when the time comes.”
Interestingly, last week, Collinsworth says he hears from most former players that are getting ready to make the jump to broadcasting. He was surprised he never heard from Tom Brady before FOX announced their deal.
King had two other suggestions. The first was that Brady watch multiple games from start to finish so that he can hear what the give-and-take between a broadcaster and analyst sounds like. The other is that he has to commit to being interesting and not censoring himself. King has faith that Brady will be able to do that.
“He’ll know that to be good, he has to get out of his comfort zone of all niceties and tell it like it is. On that LeBron James show last year, Brady said, ‘Ninety percent of what I say is not what I’m thinking. There’s a part of me that doesn’t like conflict, so in the end I always just try to play it super-flat.’ That has to end once he’s on TV if he wants to be any good.”
Nick Wright Critical Of ABC Crew As Giannis Antetokounmpo Struggles In Game 7
“He reminded his followers on Twitter that the two-time MVP has put together some amazing performances in this series.”
Giannis Antetokounmpo started hot in Game 7 on Sunday. By the time the game ended though, the Boston Celtics were on their way to Miami for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals and the defending champions were headed back to Milwaukee.
The Celtics’ defense gave the Milwaukee Bucks fits in the second half. The ABC broadcast put a special spotlight on Antetokounmpo, who got multiple drives to the basket that he could not finish.
“The best has got to show up when the best is needed, and Giannis has been disappointing,” said Mark Jackson over a package of highlights of Giannis missing shots. “As great of a player as he is, given credit to the Celtics’ defense, but he has struggled offensively time and time again.”
Nick Wright of FS1 noticed and he didn’t appreciate it. He reminded his followers on Twitter that the two-time MVP has put together some amazing performances in this series.
Mike Been, Mark Jackson, and Jeff Van Gundy were not particularly hard on Giannis. The trio made the typical comments we hear when things aren’t going a great player’s way.
Wright did not harp on the issue beyond the single tweet. The outcome was not in doubt as the clock winded down. He gave credit to the Celtics rather than tweet about the Bucks or Giannis.
Stephanie McMahon: WWE Is A Better Advertising Investment Than Sports
“We can script the buzzer-beater moments, we can script the Hail Marys.”
Everyone knows that professional wrestling is scripted. The storylines, the outcomes of matches, all of it is predetermined. But in the eyes of WWE, that’s what makes their product so different, and better than traditional sports.
WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon told Deadline that when it comes to pitching advertisers, sports entertainment allows room for a range of different approaches to make something work.
“We can script the buzzer-beater moments, we can script the Hail Marys,” she said. “We have a leg up on sports. … You may object to what we do, but you’re never going to be bored.”
McMahon added that WWE has a much easier process in dealing with sponsors. Everything is handled in-house.
“We own all of the IP,” she said. “When brands deal with us, they just deal with us. We create something together.”
WWE is coming off a positive Q1 earnings report, which had the company up 27% in total revenue. Its two weekly primetime shows, Monday Night RAW and Friday Night SmackDown, continue to do well in ratings, and all special and pay-per-view events, in addition to its streaming platform WWE Network, are all housed on Peacock.