Sports TV News
TV Executives Try To Make Sense Of How ESPN Landed Cowboys vs Tom Brady in Playoffs
“McCarthy asked a series of unnamed TV executives to share their best theories.”
Michael McCarthy is not sure how one of the most coveted games on the NFL’s Super Wild Card Weekend schedule landed on ESPN. He is using his column at Front Office Sports to make sense of the league putting the Dallas Cowboys’ visit to Tampa Bay ended up on Monday night.
McCarthy asked a series of unnamed TV executives to share their best theories. After all, last year, ESPN landed the Rams and Cardinals in the same spot. Certainly, the league’s most popular team versus its biggest celebrity will draw considerably more eyeballs.
One of the more interesting theories is that the NFL is using this as a “make good” to ESPN. The network essentially lost its last Monday Night Football game of the regular season following Damar Hamlin’s collapse on the field in Cincinnati. One rival TV executive suggests that the NFL is giving the network its top playoff audience to “make up” for that.
For the record, that game was the most watched in the history of Monday Night Football on ESPN, but the network did not tout the ratings or include them in its year end average.
Another executive suggested that ESPN is capable of delivering a different level of star power, one that this game warrants. Between Joe Buck and Troy Aikman calling Monday Night Football and Peyton and Eli Manning anchoring their alternate broadcast, the Disney networks could provide a big game feel that competitors could not.
Disney’s improving relationship with the NFL and the fact that the network pays one of the highest rates for its television package were also mentioned as potential factors. McCarthy himself theorizes that the game is the only one on the schedule capable of being a sort of grand finale to the weekend’s action.
“Even better, the prime-time blockbuster is the only NFL playoff game on the calendar Monday, after a doubleheader Saturday and a tripleheader on Sunday,” he writes. “That means the entire country (including the extended NFL family of players, coaches, and executives) will be tuning in.”
Sports TV News
Adam Silver Addresses Disney Rumors at NBA Board of Governors Meeting
“I have no intention of going anywhere.”
Adam Silver wants NBA team governors to know that he wants to keep working for them. The league commissioner addressed rumors that he is on a short list of potential successors for Bob Iger when he steps down from the CEO role at The Walt Disney Company in 2024.
Silver, whose contract with the NBA happens to expire in 2024, was asked directly if he had spoken with Iger or anyone else at Disney.
“I love my job at the NBA,” he reportedly said at a Board of Governors meeting. “I have no intention of going anywhere.”
The inclusion of Silver’s name on Iger’s list makes a lot of sense. The NBA and Disney have had a great relationship predating Silver taking over the commissioner’s role. ABC and ESPN are expected to renew their TV deal with the league this summer.
The two sides also partnered on a live entertainment complex at Disney Springs on Walt Disney World property in Florida called The NBA Experience. It closed during the Covid-19 pandemic.
At 60 years old, Adam Silver is likely in no hurry to retire. When his contract with the NBA expires, it will be up to him whether he wants to remain the commissioner of the league or not.
Sports TV News
NFL Network Cuts Continue With Willie McGinest
“McGinest is currently in the middle of a lawsuit resulting from an incident in a LA-area restaurant in December.”
Willie McGinest is the latest victim of cost reduction layoffs at NFL Media. The NFL Network analyst is out according to Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports.
McGinest is currently in the middle of a lawsuit resulting from an incident in an LA-area restaurant in December. He is being sued and faces up to eight years in prison for allegedly attacking a fellow customer.
Since news of the investigation became public, NFL Network has kept Willie McGinest off the air.
McCarthy reached out to McGinest and NFL Network. Neither offered a comment at this time.
NFL Media has been busy this week as the company looks to reduce its expenses. Willie McGinest joins Jim Trotter and Rachel Bonnetta on the list of on-air talents that have lost their jobs at NFL Network.
Sports TV News
Holly Rowe Signs Long-Term Extension With ESPN
“I feel like I am living my best life and I am so grateful to ESPN for letting me keep doing this.”
ESPN reporter Holly Rowe has signed a multi-year extension to remain with the company.
Rowe works as a sideline reporter for ESPN/ABC’s coverage of college football — including the College Football Playoffs, the WNBA, women’s college basketball, and the Women’s College World Series, among other high-profile assignments.
“I feel like I am living my best life and I am so grateful to ESPN for letting me keep doing this,” Rowe told The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch.
Earlier this year, Rowe was named the 2023 Curt Gowdy Media Award winner from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame for her electronic media work.
Rowe joined ESPN in 1998, and signed her last contract extension with the network in 2018 shortly before she announced she had undergone her final chemotherapy treatment in August of that year after a melanoma diagnosis in 2016.
According to Deitsch, Rowe’s contract was set to expire next month.