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MLB Network Adds Analysts Ruben Amaro Jr., Bo Porter, And Three New Hosts

A.J. Andrews, Kelana Martin, and Siera Santos will host across MLB Network studio programming.

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Soon after adding Alex Avila and Cameron Maybin as studio analysts, MLB Network has announced that five more new faces are joining its on-air roster.

Ruben Amaro Jr., former Philadelphia Phillies general manager and first-base coach with the Boston Red Sox and New York Mets (with whom he was also a special advisor, will be part of the studio analyst rotation. (He’ll also continue with NBC Sports Philadelphia on its Phillies coverage and appear regularly on WIP’s morning show with Angelo Cataldi.)

Also signing on as an analyst is former Houston Astros manager Bo Porter, who previously worked as a coach with the Miami Marlins, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Washington Nationals. He’ll begin on MLB Network’s Grapefruit League coverage beginning March 24. Porter isn’t new to broadcasting, having provided analysis for MLB Network (most recently on the Andre Dawson Classic in February) and MASN’s Nationals coverage.

A.J. Andrews will be the new host of MLB Network’s kids-focused program, Play Ball, taking over for Harold Reynolds. She’ll also continue as a studio analyst for SEC Network and host for BetMGM and PlayersTV. Andrews was a softball star at LSU, where she played in two Women’s College World Series, before playing professionally.

Kelana Martin will be the new regular host of Quick Pitch, MLB Network’s nightly highlights show, along with a variety of other network studio programming. She will also be a host on MLB Big Inning, the live whiparound program for MLB.TV and Apple TV+. Martin joins MLB Network from NBC Sports Bay Area, where she covered the San Francisco 49ers as a senior reporter and hosted 49ers Live.

And Siera Santos will also host across MLB Network studio programming, including Quick Pitch and MLB Big Inning. She was most recently the sports anchor at FOX 10 in Phoenix, and has also anchored at FOX 32 in Chicago and NBC Sports Chicago, where she was a reporter on Chicago White Sox telecasts.

Sports TV News

FOX Sports Sees Record-Setting Ratings Weekend

The World Cup matchup between the U.S. and England on Black Friday and Michigan/Ohio State on Saturday saw tens of millions of viewers tuning in.

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FOX Sports has been home to a number of record-setting games in terms of viewership over the last several days.

In addition to FOX Sports setting a new mark for a Thanksgiving and regular season NFL audience, the World Cup matchup between the U.S. and England on Black Friday and Michigan/Ohio State on Saturday saw tens of millions of viewers tuning in.

The network reported the U.S./England match in the group stage of the 2022 World Cup averaged 15.377 million. It was the most-watched English-language soccer game in the U.S. ever, topping the 1994 World Cup final between Italy and Brazil.

Viewership of the match was up 11% compared to the second group stage contest for the U.S. team in 2014 against Portugal. The audience peaked at 19.646 million from 3:30-3:45 p.m.

FOX Sports also reported the Michigan/Ohio State game on Saturday drew in 17 million, which made it the most-watched regular season college game on the network ever. That figure was also the highest of any regular season contest since 2011. That game also saw the audience peak at 19.6 million.

Viewership for the game was up 3% compared to last year.

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Sports TV News

ESPN Bowl Plans Could Be Altered By NFL Flex Scheduling

“While this situation poses a challenge, we are accustomed to flexibility and having to maneuver our event schedules.”

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ESPN could be forced to adjust its upcoming bowl season schedule if the NFL decides to flex a Las Vegas Raiders game a week before Christmas.

ESPN announced its contingency plans for two bowl contests, the Las Vegas Bowl and the New Mexico Bowl. The Las Vegas Bowl is currently planned to kick off from Allegiant Stadium at 7:30 p.m. on December 17. The Raiders right now are still planning to play in the Sunday night game the next night against the Patriots.

Should the NFL decide to flex the Raiders out of the SNF window, ESPN will swap kickoff times between the Las Vegas Bowl and the New Mexico Bowl. That would mean the game in sin city will kick off at 11:30 a.m. local time, with the contest in Albuquerque starting at 5:20 p.m. local time that evening.

“The SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl and New Mexico Bowl are both owned and operated by ESPN Events, so this change is a solution that will work for all parties,” ESPN Events vice president Clint Overby said. “While this situation poses a challenge, we are accustomed to flexibility and having to maneuver our event schedules. We are more than prepared to move forward with this revised schedule if necessary.”

Kickoff times will be determined well enough ahead that the schools taking part in both games shouldn’t be adversely affected.

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Sports TV News

NFL Thanksgiving Games Set Ratings Records

FOX Sports added that viewership was up 49% compared to 2021.

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The Thanksgiving slate of NFL games last week brought in the largest audiences ever. Viewership across all three games averaged 33.5 million.

The game with the largest viewership was Giants/Cowboys in the 4:30 p.m. window. FOX Sports reported that 42 million watched Dallas beat New York 28-20. It is the largest regular season audience ever, surpassing the previous leader set 32 years ago.

The network added that viewership was up 49% compared to 2021. FOX carried the Detroit Lions traditional noon Thanksgiving game last year. Compared to the Cowboys turkey day contest on CBS in 2021, viewership was up 3%.

The Bills/Lions game in the early window on CBS averaged 31.627 million, with the audience peaking at 41.981 million. It was the most-watched early Thanksgiving game on record.

Patriots/Vikings on NBC in the nightcap averaged 25.9 million. That figure was up 24% compared to Bills/Saints a year ago, with NBC Sports claiming it’s the second most-watched primetime Thanksgiving game on record. The game was simulcast in Spanish on Telemundo, which averaged 565,000 viewers and made it the most-watched NFL game ever on the network.

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