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Mark Jones Re-Signs With ESPN, Agreeing to Multi-Year Contract Extension

“This is where I want to be. I’m absolutely thrilled to continue this unimaginable journey through sports at ESPN with the most talented people in the industry.”

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Mark Jones has been with ESPN since 1990, and his 32-year career with the network is going to continue. The broadcaster has agreed to a multi-year contract extension with ESPN, which was announced on Friday.

Jones is one of ESPN’s top play-by-play voices on the NBA and college football. He’s served in a variety of roles during his long career at the network, including anchoring NBA studio programming and SportsCenter, hosting NBA All-Star and NBA Draft coverage, and calling play-by-play on men’s and women’s college basketball, in addition to the WNBA.

“Mark Jones’s love for — and commitment to — the NBA and our presentation of the league is exceptional,” said Tim Corrigan, ESPN vice president of production, in a statement. “His ability to cover the game, measure the moment, and share valuable, memorable notes about the teams, the players, and the game defines his style.”

Jones will be on the call this Sunday (March 13) for ABC’s broadcast of the New York Knicks at the Brooklyn Nets, with analyst Doris Burke (who also just signed an extension with the network) and reporter Malika Andrews.

Previously, Jones has also called track and field, gymnastics, and speed skating for ESPN and ABC’s Wide World of Sports.

Jones is also currently the TV play-by-play voice on Sacramento Kings game telecasts for NBC Sports California, now finishing up his second season with the team.

“This is where I want to be,” Jones said in ESPN’s official announcement. “I’m absolutely thrilled to continue this unimaginable journey through sports at ESPN with the most talented people in the industry.

“I think about walking into the NBA Today and SportsCenter studios in 1990 with a chance to document the Michael Jordan-era Chicago Bulls, and almost 32 years later I’m covering another all-time legend in LeBron James. I’m elated by the opportunities I’ve had. I’ve even interviewed our first Black President Barack Obama.”

Jones also expressed gratitude to ESPN for allowing him to call one of his daughter’s basketball games with San Jose State last month.

Prior to joining ESPN/ABC, Jones worked at TSN in Toronto, where he anchored studio coverage and highlight programs, in addition to a weekly show featuring the Toronto Blue Jays. His brother, Paul, still works in Canada as the radio play-by-play announcer for the Toronto Raptors.

Sports TV News

LIV Golf Nearing TV Deal With The CW Network

“LIV Golf television analyst David Feherty had hinted that the upstart league could potentially have a deal in place with The CW Network for American television rights.”

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According to a report from Front Office Sports, LIV Golf has laid out a deal with The CW Network for television carriage in the United States.

The deal is a multi-year agreement that will see the tour own real estate in lesser-viewed time slots on the network. A revenue-sharing relationship between the tour and the television network is expected to be struck.

LIV Golf television analyst David Feherty had hinted that the upstart league could potentially have a deal in place with The CW Network for American television rights.

After a standup comedy show in West Palm Beach last week, Feherty reportedly told the crowd “Have you heard of CW? I might get fired for this, but…,” according to report from Tom D’Angelo of The Palm Beach Post.

Sports Business Journal reporter John Ourand had previously reported a deal between the Saudi-backed breakaway golf tour and the network was likely.

Nexstar Media Group — the nation’s largest television owner — is the majority owner of The CW Network. There are around 220 affiliates of the network on over-the-air television stations. Rumors of an acquisition of LIV Golf’s rights come on the heels of The CW Network being linked to the potential launch of a college football bowl game that would air exclusively on the network.

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Sports TV News

Stephen A. Smith: ‘I Don’t Feel Obligated To Agree With Black Community’

“I want the Black community to always know that they have somebody in me that’s going to at least tell the world what we’re feeling and why, whether I agree with it or not.”

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Stephen A. Smith is out promoting his new memoir Straight Shooter. He recently sat down for a conversation with Men’s Health magazine.

Interviewer Rachel Epstein covers a wide variety of topics with Smith. Some are about what can be found in the book. Some are about the First Take star’s public perception.

She asked how Smith balances the responsibility of representing the Black community with his brand. On ESPN, Smith is known for being unique and unapologetic for his sometimes over-the-top persona.

“Number one by being fair,” he said. “By trying to gather as much information and educate myself on issues as much as I possibly can.”

He added that he has never felt pressure to think a certain way or say a certain thing. Even if pressure existed, he prides himself on not giving in to it.

“I never feel an obligation to agree with my community. I believe we all have a right to think the way we want to think. But I do feel a responsibility to make sure that the perspective emanating from my community is heard, even if I disagree.”

Stephen A. Smith is one of the highest-paid and most visible employees at ESPN. He said that a certain responsibility comes along with that status. He wants the Black community to know that even if he doesn’t agree, he will make sure people know what he is hearing when he is on TV talking about an important subject.

“I want the Black community to always know that they have somebody in me that’s going to at least tell the world what we’re feeling and why, whether I agree with it or not.”

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Sports TV News

Kathryn Tappen Joining NBC’s Big Ten Coverage

“Tappen was in line to replace Michele Tafoya as the sideline reporter for Sunday Night Football but was passed over by the network in favor of Melissa Stark.”

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NBC has tabbed Kathryn Tappen as its sideline reporter for the network’s upcoming coverage of Big Ten football, according to a report from Andrew Marchand of The New York Post.

According to Marchand, Tappen was in line to replace Michele Tafoya as the sideline reporter for Sunday Night Football but was passed over by the network in favor of Melissa Stark.

Tappen has hosted Notre Dame football’s studio coverage and Peacock Sunday Night Football Final. She also worked as NBC’s lead interviewer for its coverage of the PGA Tour, but left that broadcast team at the end of 2022 as part of the network’s larger shakeup of its golf coverage.

The appointment of Kathryn Tappen conceivably concludes the Big Ten on NBC broadcast crew. Noah Eagle and Todd Blackledge are expected to pair as the network’s play-by-play announcer and color analyst, respectively. NBC has yet to officially unveil its coverage plans for the 2023 college football season.

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