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Amazon Under Fire For TNF Halftime Show’s Handling of Tua Injury

There was plenty of reaction to how Amazon covered the situation and lacked the awareness to acknowledge what transpired last Sunday.

Jordan Bondurant

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Tua

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffered a head injury in the 2nd quarter of Thursday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

The images of Tua’s injury and the reaction of his body to the injury shocked not only the other players and fans in the stadium, but also those watching the Thursday night game on Amazon Prime Video.

At halftime, Tony Gonzalez, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Richard Sherman all offered their reactions, with host Charissa Thompson providing an update from the team.

But noticeably absent in that discussion and reaction was the fact that Tua was playing in the game and suffered a head injury less than a week after he was believed to have suffered a concussion in Miami’s Week 3 game against the Buffalo Bills. Add in the fact that the NFL Players Association is also investigating whether league concussion protocols were followed, as Tua returned to that game and helped lead the Dolphins to a victory.

There was plenty of reaction to how Amazon covered the situation and lacked the awareness to acknowledge what transpired last Sunday.

The network did provide a deeper discussion during its postgame show and Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit addressed the issue in the 3rd quarter. Unfortunately it didn’t become a bigger discussion on the broadcast until social media became littered with negative reactions to the halftime show’s approach to discussing the various issues involving the Dolphins quarterback prior to his injury during Thursday night’s game.

With Amazon now in partnership with the NFL, it’ll be interesting to watch how the network handles future sensitive issues given what they experienced covering the Tua Tagovailoa story.

Sports TV News

Jimmy Pitaro: Reaching Younger Audience A Priority for ESPN

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience. As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

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Many in the media industry have voice concern that millennials and Gen Z aren’t consuming traditional media outlets like previous generations. ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said it’s a priority for the network.

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience,” Pitaro said, quoted by Morning Consult sports business reporter Mark J. Burns. “As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

Pitaro made the comments at Sports Business Journal’s Media Innovators conference Wednesday. It is a continuation of comments he has made in recent years.

In 2018, Pitaro said at ESPN’s upfront “I think we are doing a fantastic job serving the sports fanatic,” said Pitaro. “What about the casual sports customer? Are we doing all we can to serve him or her?”.

In 2019, Pitaro said it was “all hands on deck” to reach a younger audience and women. “We have to be open and go to where our customers are,” he said in regards to reaching younger viewers on social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

Earlier this year, Pitaro added that ESPN won’t be leaving linear television anytime soon.

“What I will tell you is that as I sit here right now, that business is still incredible,” Pitaro said. “We serve the sports fan anyway and at any time. I know there are a lot of people that still want ESPN in that traditional ecosystem.”

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Sports TV News

Don Mattingly Joining Blue Jays Staff After YES Network Courtship

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

Jordan Bondurant

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YES Network

The New York Yankees regional sports network can take Don Mattingly off its talent wish list. Mattingly was announced Wednesday as a bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays starting in 2023.

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

But Mattingly told Andrew Marchand of The New York Post this week that he had another opportunity in the works but wouldn’t elaborate.

YES also has been considering luring Yankees legend and Hall of Famer Derek Jeter into broadcasting. But no formal talks have taken place.

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Sports TV News

ESPN Paying Nearly $45 Billion For Rights Fees Through 2027

Currently, the network’s largest spending comes for its Monday Night Football package, which is $2.6 billion annually

Jordan Bondurant

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The last year or two has been evident that the price of rights to airing major college and professional sporting events on television are only going up. But the various networks either with longstanding relationships with leagues and conferences or looking to break into the media rights landscape are willing to pay up. That’s no more evident with Disney, which will be shelling out tens of billions of dollars to have regular season and postseason events air on ESPN.

According to Sportico, which reviewed Disney’s annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, ESPN is set to spend $44.9 billion on sports media rights through 2027.

Currently, the network’s largest spending comes for its Monday Night Football package, which is $2.6 billion annually. Additionally, ESPN will pay $1.4 billion through the 2024-25 season for NBA rights.

The Sportico report noted ESPN will generate more than $8.1 billion in affiliate revenue to help offset those costs. The network will soon be entering talks to renew its media rights deal to be the exclusive home for nearly all NCAA Division I championships, as well as engaging in new NBA rights negotiations.

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