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Turner Sports SVP Tara August Clarifies Kobe Bryant ‘Inside the NBA’ Situation

“It wasn’t that he didn’t want to do PR or other things or a litany of things to promote the show. It was actually the press release wording where the deal fell apart.”

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In any press release from a media company or public relations firm, the wording is always important because you never know what effects it can have. In fact, according to Turner Sports senior vice president Tara August, it ended up costing them hiring Kobe Bryant. 

Last week, Charles Barkley was on The Draymond Green Show on The Volume and revealed to Green that Turner Sports had a deal with Kobe Bryant, but it ended up falling through.

Soon thereafter, August went on The Steam Room with EJ and Chuck podcast with Barkley and Ernie Johnson just to clarify Barkley’s comments a little bit. He wasn’t wrong, but it was actually the wording in the press release that cost the big deal from happening 12 hours before it was going to be official. 

“It was an amazing opportunity that we had when Kobe had announced that he was retiring,” said August. “We knew he was the best and we wanted him with TNT with you guys. This was the season right before we added in the additional Tuesdays. We started talking to Kobe at the All-Star Break and then meeting with him along the way up until the end of the season.”

“We got the deal done, a short version of the deal done. He was really excited. We made up plans that we were going to announce it during the playoffs,” she continued. “The great Craig Barry and Drew Watkins came up with this amazing piece of tape that we would use as the announcement video. Kobe had his creative hands in it. We did the deal and then we got to the press release.

“The press release talked about what he would be doing on Tuesdays and Thursdays with TNT and Inside The NBA and contributing the rest of the season. He didn’t like that kind of phrasing in the press release. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to do PR or other things or a litany of things to promote the show. It was actually the press release wording where the deal fell apart.”

In fact, Bryant actually had a lot of ideas for Turner Sports that the company was willing to try.

“End of the season came and he had some really unique ideas about the Tuesday package,” August said. “We were going to sort of say hey, do you want to executive produce this with us in a different way? He had some really unique ideas. I don’t think that we were totally bought into all of them, but we were willing to try.”

While the deal never got done, August mentioned that the two sides were able to work on different ideas together. However, she like everyone else, wonders what would have happened if Bryant had decided to join TNT:

“The best thing that came out of it was we still worked with him,” said August. “Both sides really still had so much respect for each other… He still came on our air and did some other really fun projects. It was one of those deals that never really got out that it could have happened and how that would have changed things.” 

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Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX

“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”

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FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.

A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.

The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.

Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.

That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.

Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.

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FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”

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The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.

Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.

Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”

Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.

“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.

FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.

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NBA Draft To Get Simulcast From ESPN & ABC

“This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.”

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ESPN is set for the 2022 NBA Draft coming up on June 23 at 8 p.m. from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The network announced Wednesday the crews that will handle coverage on both ESPN and ABC.

ABC will broadcast the first round in primetime. Kevin Negandhi will host and will be joined by Stephen A. Smith, Chiney Ogwumike and Jalen Rose. Monica McNutt will be reporting and interviewing draftees.

This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.

Malika Andrews will host both rounds for ESPN. Jay Bilas, Kendrick Perkins and Adrian Wojnarowski will share the set. Analysts Bobby Marks and Mike Schmitz will contribute.

“We’re thrilled that Malika Andrews will host this year’s ESPN presentation as she brings her well-documented, widespread skillset to our main set,” said David Roberts, head of NBA and Studio Production for ESPN. “The event will showcase the scope and depth of our NBA and college basketball talent roster with accomplished journalists and high-profile personalities across ESPN, ABC and ESPN Radio.”

ESPN will air a pre-draft red carpet show hosted by Cassidy Hubbarth from 5-6 p.m. Perkins and Richard Jefferson will also make appearances.

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