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Montana Senator Working To Bring College GameDay to State

“It’s time for the State of Montana to be in that spotlight. ESPN has never been here before, and it is time.”

Jordan Bondurant

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ESPN’s College GameDay doesn’t have the extensive list of appearances at FCS schools as it does at FBS schools, but one legislator in big sky country is trying to convince the show to come to their state for the first time.

Montana state senator Ellie Boldman has drafted LC807, which she hopes will be come a joint resolution early next year and eventually culminate in GameDay setting up shop in Missoula at the University of Montana in 2023.

“The Montana legislature often sends this type of unified voice of support when we feel, as lawmakers, and as a body, we are compelled to formalize our beliefs, on behalf of the people of the State of Montana,” Boldman told 406mtsports.com. “Bringing ESPN College GameDay to the State of Montana is worthy of such an enthusiastic endorsement.”

GameDay has been to FCS schools only 11 times since 2002. The show has emanated from both North Dakota and South Dakota, but never Montana. GameDay was at Jackson State University this past weekend, and Boldman sees the value in having the national spotlight on a place that often gets passed over.

“The opportunity to host College GameDay is an economic driver,” she said. “The amount of money the free exposure provides for the universities featured on its program is enormous, coupled with the economic benefit for the private sector, including our hotels, restaurants, bars and related sales of game day gear. It’s time for the State of Montana to be in that spotlight. ESPN has never been here before, and it is time.”

The legislation will be taken up when the state government convenes in January. It’s Boldman’s hope that GameDay will come to Montana when the University of Montana and Montana State meet in their annual rivalry game. She said she hopes the resolution will have full support from both chambers.

“I would imagine it will be mailed to ESPN College GameDay officials with the signatures of all 150 Montana State legislators, representing urban, rural and Tribal communities,” she said. “You can tell Desmond Howard, Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso, Pat McAfee and David Pollack to pack their bags. Montana is ready, and we’re coming for them.”

Sports TV News

FOX Will Use Chris Fallica On Belmont Stakes Coverage

“While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.”

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The Bear will be more than just a college football presence when he moves to FOX. Chris Fallica wrapped his final duties for ESPN last week and is now headed to a new network and will tackle some new responsibilities.

Fallica’s new role at FOX will involve plenty of sports gambling content. Richard Deitsch of The Athletic reports that content will include horse racing.

“One Fox Sports source said look for him to appear on the Belmont Stakes coverage,” Deitsch wrote in his weekly media column.

Starting in 2023, horse racing’s Triple Crown will not be seen all in one place. While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.

How the network intends to use Chris Fallica on the broadcast is not clear. Given that he is coming to the network to contribute to gambling conversations, it is likely he would either be making picks or at least reviewing odds right up to the start of the race.

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Sports TV News

NBCUniversal CEO Expects Disney To Buy Company’s Hulu Stake

“Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal.”

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The Walt Disney Company owns 67% of Hulu. The other 33% is owned by NBCUniversal. The latter company doesn’t expect that to be the case forever.

“It’s worth a lot of money,” NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said at an investor conference earlier this week, “and I think there’s no indication that anything else is going to happen than Disney writing us a big check.”

Hulu is primarily a platform for movies and television shows. It is a major part of Disney’s deal with the NHL though. The streaming giant is part of the package of 103 games that are exclusive to ESPN and ABC. Hulu is also a live TV provider for many. The company’s Hulu Plus Live TV package had over 4 million subscribers as of the summer of 2022.

Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal. He credits sports and content migrated from Hulu as the reason Peacock has grown to 18 million paid subscriptions since September.

Deadline reports that if Disney does want to acquire NBCUniversal’s stake in Hulu, “the price could fluctuate but will be in the tens of billions of dollars.”

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Sports TV News

Greg Olsen Believes He and Kevin Burkhardt Can Handle Games ‘On Any Stage’

“Obviously, the bosses get paid a lot to make hard decisions. You have to obviously do what your bosses decide. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”

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Greg Olsen

Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen are on tap to call Super Bowl LVII in February, and Olsen told Front Office Sports he has the confidence to announce the game with no hesitations.

“If you’re asking me, I think Kevin and I have shown that we can handle a game on any stage – on any day. We just did it on Thanksgiving. We’ll do it again around Christmas. And obviously throughout the [NFL] Playoffs,” said Olsen. “So whatever decision they make. Obviously, the bosses get paid a lot to make hard decisions. You have to obviously do what your bosses decide. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

“But as of now, I anticipate Kevin and I, the two of us, with Erin and Tom down on the sidelines, the four of us, broadcasting the Super Bowl in February in Arizona. Until I’m told otherwise, that’s how we’re proceeding.”

Olsen also told FOS he has negotiated a new contract with FOX Sports, but declined to share details. He is slated to be replaced on the top broadcast crew once Tom Brady ends his playing career. Brady will then begin a 10-year, $375 million contract to serve as the network’s top NFL game analyst and brand ambassador.

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