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Mike Florio Tried to Scare NBC Away From Partnering With Pro Football Talk

“You just got to talk about whatever comes out, and you have to sound like you know what you are talking about.”

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NBC Sports Group

Over the last 20 years, Mike Florio has gone from a lawyer in West Virginia to being the founder of Pro Football Talk and being one of the top NFL insiders in the business. Now, he is also an author, as his book Playmakers: How the NFL Really Works (And Doesn’t) was released recently.

Florio was a guest on The Adam Schein Podcast this week to talk about the book, his career, and some of the trades that happened in the NFL involving Russell Wilson and Carson Wentz. He mentioned that when he was doing radio spots in the early years of Pro Football Talk, it helped him become better as a lawyer as well:

“I started doing radio spots very early on,” said Florio. “I love doing radio spots because I looked at it this way. It was a way to market the business without it being an obvious advertisement. I didn’t have to pay for it. All I had to do was talk about football for 15 minutes and whoever happened to listen to it, here is the name of the website 4-5 times and maybe they go check it out.

“I was practicing law at the time and you have to talk on your feet on a regular basis when you do that. One thing I learned is that all the radio I was doing was actually making me better in court because you learn how to get comfortable operating with no net whatsoever, no notes, you just got to talk about whatever comes out, and you have to sound like you know what you are talking about.”

Once Dan Patrick left ESPN, Florio was a guest on his show. However in July 2010, he got an unexpected offer from the show. He thought he would just be a guest as the fill-in host when Patrick took a week off, but it ended up being a new opportunity for him.

“It was 2010. I was already with NBC, but I wasn’t a regular weekly member and didn’t know where this all was going to go,” Florio recalled. “Dan’s people called me in July 2010 and said Dan’s off next week, can you come on the show? I was like sure, whoever the replacement host is, just have him call me.

“They were like no, no, you’re the host. Time out. It’s one thing to talk for 10 minutes; for 3 hours, there’s no way, no how I can do that, but I did it. I was over-prepared for it. I had way too many notes and I was scared to death. I had no idea what a hard break was.”

Florio went on to explain that he ended up taking a hard break a minute earlier than he was supposed to. He ended up learning from it and is now one of the hosts of Pro Football Talk Live with Chris Simms and he’s part of the NBC Football Night In America crew every Sunday night during the season. 

Before Florio was on TV, NBC Sports tried to make a pitch for ProFootballTalk to be a part of NBCSports.com in 2009 and while Florio tried to scare them away in a parallel to a Seinfeld episode. However, it ended up becoming a key part of the website:

“When NBC, which was woefully behind its competitors on the dot com side, they didn’t have much of a presence on NBCSports.com. It was run by people who had Olympics background and didn’t care about football, baseball, basketball, etc. Rick Cordella, who is now the Chief Revenue Officer of Peacock, he was in charge of NBCSports.com and he called me in January 2009 and he made the pitch about how he wants to partner with PFT. I tried to scare him away. I didn’t want to do it.”

While Florio was afraid to do it, he said it was the best professional move that he ever made to join the NBC Sports family. 

Sports TV News

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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Sports TV News

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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