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David Cone Looks Forward to ESPN ‘Sunday Night Baseball,’ ‘Kay-Rod’ Competition

“Obviously, there is a little bit of competition there when we are going head-to-head… But they are not doing a full schedule… We’ll have plenty of games where it’s the regular Sunday Night booth.”

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Sunday night, April 10, viewers will have the option to watch Red Sox-Yankees via the main telecast on ESPN (with new broadcast team Karl Ravech, David Cone, and Eduardo Perez) or the alternate Kay-Rod broadcast with Michael Kay and Alex Rodriguez on ESPN2.

Cone works with Kay on the YES Network calling Yankees games and they will now be “competing” with each other eight Sundays out of the year.

On the latest episode of The Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast, Cone joined Andrew Marchand and John Ourand and he was asked about the Kay-Rod broadcast and whether or not he views it as competition to the main broadcast.

“Obviously, there is a little bit of competition there when we are going head-to-head,” said Cone. “You just can’t deny that, but they are not doing a full schedule… We’ll have plenty of games where it’s the regular Sunday Night booth. It’s a nice alternative.”

At the same time, Cone is curious to see how that alternate broadcast turns out and he knows that Kay is going to bring the best out of Rodriguez once the microphones turn on.

“I think it’s going to be really interesting to see what Michael can do with Alex,” he said. “I have a feeling Michael is going to bring some things out of A-Rod. That’s Michael Kay’s forte, knowing him very well over the years. I think he is going to loosen up Alex a little bit and get him in a different format. Alex has a lot to offer. I think the right guy bringing it out of him is the key.”

Throughout the interview, Cone talked about other job opportunities that he could have taken in the past, such as almost working at SNY when the network was starting.

Most recently, Cone interviewed for the Yankees pitching coach position in 2019. While the veteran pitcher has been one of the broadcasters helping viewers with how he explains analytics and sabermetrics in baseball, he knew he would need some work to catch up with what the Yankees are doing now.

“I’m not sure how close I came, but it was a serious interview, so I was thankful for that,” said Cone. “They really put me through the car wash, as they say. It was the entire organization and every department that I went through. It was very thorough. I would have taken the job had it been offered, but I think I had sat out a little too long. From a technological standpoint, I needed some more continuing education.”

“Even though I cover that in broadcasting now in terms of analytics, sabermetrics, or what not,” he added. “If you’ve heard my broadcasts, you know I have a growth mentality towards those things. But I would have had to play a lot of catch-up in order to get up to speed and that was just a little daunting for the Yankees to take that chance at that point.”

While Cone isn’t a pitching coach now, the audience that watches Yankees games enjoys the analysis he brings to the table. Starting next week, a national ESPN audience will get its chance to hear what people in the tri-state area get to listen to often. 

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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