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Dan Orlovsky: Stephen A. Smith Allows Me to Be Me on First Take

“He’s not focused on having this intense ‘I’ve got to be right moment’. He just wants to have fun talking football and arguing about sports in general.”

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Dan Orlovsky has become a regular presence on ESPN whether it’s calling football games as an analyst or talking about the game on NFL Live, Get Up, or First Take and he loves every job that he gets to do.

Orlovsky was a guest on the most recent episode of GOLF’s SUBPAR with Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz. When he was asked what he likes doing the best out of all of the things he gets to do, he mentioned that it’s a question he gets all the time and he dove into why he loves each of the roles he has.

“I love them all to be honest with you. We get asked that question all the time by executives: What’s your end goal? What do you want to do more of? What do you want to do less of? I always say I love it all. If you get a good live game, it’s nails. There’s nothing that beats a good live game. Really in college football, if you get the right scene, right setting, and get a great game, it’s tough to beat…If you get a good college football or NFL game, those are great.

First Take is a blast because Stephen A. called me 2 years ago and was like I want to give you Thursdays. Thursday is going to be your day. I think the thing that gave me so much joy in doing Thursdays with Stephen A. is he’s so ‘Go be yourself’. He’s not focused on having this intense ‘I’ve got to be right moment’. He just wants to have fun talking football and arguing about sports in general. I love doing First Take.

 “I love doing Get Up because it kind of was where I got started and they’ve given me a lot of creative freedom. NFL Live is my favorite when it comes to I’m with people who I love. Those people are like family to me. That’s where I am my most nerd is NFL Live. I love it all.”

When Orlovsky was discussing more about working with Smith, he talked about how all Smith wants to do is talk sports and that conversations that extend into the commercial break never get personal even though some could view them as awkward.

“One of the first times I did First Take, we were in commercial break and I was sitting there talking to Stephen A. about whatever. All of a sudden when you are on set, someone yells 15 seconds till we are live. Stephen A says what’s the topic?

Live TV comes on and he goes from this casual conversation to performance. I think that’s empowering when you see him do that because that’s part of that show. He takes a ton of pride in it, but it’s not fake. It’s just who he is in that moment. He’s not overly sensitive. He’s never going to get defensive about stuff. He just literally wants to chop it up and argue and disagree and have entertaining sports conversations. It could be viewed as awkward, but it’s never personal.”

When Orlovsky first became a part of the media, he told Knost and Stoltz he learned the power of making a list and that when coming up with a Top 5, it should be something that generates conversation.

“I learned early on in this business lists are supposed to be disagreed upon. If you make a list and everyone’s like ‘I kind of agree’, it’s boring. I am aware when I make lists of trying to make something that is going to generate conversation, generate disagreement. I’m not going to make a list that I don’t think is accurate or don’t think is something I stand by. I’ve had guys reach out to me and be like ‘What the heck is this all about?’. I have had agents text me. They text me all the time saying ‘What are you doing? You are driving value’.

“I am aware I am on ESPN a ton. I try to be very conscious of that as well. I have had guys and agents reach out a bunch, but I have to do my job the best I can.”

Even though Orlovsky had a solid career as a backup in the NFL, he said that he is having more fun now because of the success that he is having.

“I am better at this than I was as a player. Once you settle into that role, it’s really cool as a backup, but you don’t have any competitive release though. You do all the work as everyone else, but you don’t get to go out on Sundays and prove that work was worth it. I love doing this now because there’s an aspect of taking immense pride in trying to find something that you can be really good at after you were really good at something…It’s another opportunity to find a way to be really good at something and have that as a daily challenge.”

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‘Foul Territory’ to Air Live on Bally Sports RSNs as Part of New Partnership

“We are thrilled to partner with Bally Sports to bring Foul Territory to an even wider audience.”

Barrett Sports Media

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Foul Territory Logo
Courtesy: Make Plays Media

The Foul Territory program has agreed to a new linear and streaming partnership with the Bally Sports regional networks (RSNs) that will launch on Monday, June 24. Make Plays Media, which is the parent company of Foul Territory and several other shows within the network of shows, will air its digital program from 1 to 3 p.m. EST on the Bally Sports RSNs and the company app. The program will also work with Bally Sports to present exclusive guests, unique content and more, which will accompany the live game broadcasts across the Bally Sports portfolio of networks.

“We are thrilled to partner with Bally Sports to bring Foul Territory to an even wider audience,” Marc Weiner, chief executive officer of Make Plays Media, said in a statement. “Bally Sports has the largest daily baseball audience in the country and we can’t wait to work with our new partners to bring FT’s real baseball talk to their passionate fan base live every day.”

The Foul Territory program launched last March and features a roster of former players that provide their insights and opinions to the show, including A.J. Pierzynski, Todd Frazier and Erik Kratz. Scott Braun hosts the show, which frequently features guest appearances by MLB players, managers and general managers. While Foul Territory will now be live every day on the Bally Sports RSNs, the show will still be available across social and audio platforms.

Over the last several months, the Foul Territory Network of programs has expanded with new offerings dedicated to the Los Angeles Dodgers (Dodgers Territory), Atlanta Braves (Hammer Territory) and Chicago Cubs (North Side Territory). Ken Rosenthal, baseball reporter and insider, also hosts his own program, Fair Territory, that covers news and issues around the sport each week. Rosenthal also contributes to the Foul Territory program as well in addition to working with FOX Sports and The Athletic.

The Bally Sports regional networks, which are owned by Diamond Sports Group, has the linear broadcasting rights to 12 Major League Baseball teams. Diamond Sports Group has been in Ch. 11 bankruptcy proceedings for over a year and is approaching a confirmation hearing in late-July. The company was unable to reach a renewed distribution agreement with Comcast Corporation, resulting in the channels not being on the service for more than a month.

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Stanley Cup Final Game 6 Draws 4.2 Million U.S. Viewers

The game peaked at 4.9 million viewers as the Oilers evened the series at three games apiece after being down three games to none in the series.

Barrett Sports Media

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Logo for the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Friday night’s Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final series between the Edmonton Oilers and the Florida Panthers delivered the highest number of viewers of the series with 4.2 million people tuning in in the United States according to Nielsen fast-nationals. The number was reported by Sports Media Watch’s Jon Lewis who said the game drew 28% less viewers than the last Game 6 two years ago between the Colorado Avalanche and the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The game peaked at 4.9 million viewers as the Oilers evened the series at three games apiece after being down three games to none in the series. While a high for the series, Lewis reports there have been 20 Game 6’s in the past 30 years and this game had the fifth-lowest audience.

Lewis also said three of the bottom five games on the list involved a Canadian team. The Carolina Hurricanes-Edmonton Oilers series in 2006 and the New York Rangers-Vancouver Canucks series in 1994 were the other two in addition to Friday night’s game.

Game 7 of the series will be played tonight at 8 p.m. ET on ABC and ESPN+. The Oilers will be looking for their sixth Stanley Cup win and first since 1990. The Florida Panthers will be looking to hoist the Stanley Cup trophy for the first time in franchise history.

Sean McDonough is calling the games on ABC along with Ray Ferraro and Emily Kaplan. Steve Levy, Mark Messier and PK Subban provide analysis before the game and in between periods.

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Miami Marlins Offer Two Months of Bally Sports+ as Diamond Sports Group Ch. 11 Bankruptcy Continues

“It’s not summer without Marlins baseball, and we want to ensure that Marlins fans have access to watch our games whether at loanDepot park, at home or on-the-go.”

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Bally Sports Logo
(Illustration) | Courtesy: Diamond Sports Group

As Diamond Sports Group moves closer to a confirmation hearing in late-July amid its Ch. 11 bankruptcy, the Bally Sports RSN operator will need to provide its league partners with documentation of its carriage agreements with certain distributors, albeit with restrictions to safeguard against divulging sensitive information. Attorneys for Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association and National Hockey League will be given access to Diamond Sports Group contracts with Cox, Charter and DirecTV with strict levels of confidentiality following a ruling by Judge Christopher Lopez within U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas. The most-favored nation clauses within these deals will be released in an anonymized manner to be reviewed by non-staff counsel of the leagues.

Diamond Sports Group and Comcast Corporation were unable to come to terms on a new carriage agreement before the expiration of the deal at the end of April, limiting the consumer footprint in certain marketplaces. Comcast had moved several of its regional sports network partners to its “Ultimate TV” tier in the past, which requires consumers to pay a premium to receive those channels. As the bankruptcy proceedings continue, the Miami Marlins have introduced an offer to pay for consumers to receive two months of games through Bally Sports+, the company’s direct-to-consumer streaming service.

“It’s not summer without Marlins baseball, and we want to ensure that Marlins fans have access to watch our games whether at loanDepot park, at home or on-the-go. With thanks to our ownership, we are proud to offer two months of Bally Sports+ for our fans to catch every pitch of Marlins Baseball,” Caroline O’Connor, Marlins President of Business Operations, said in a statement. “With this incredible offer, fans can catch our games and follow along throughout the summer months – on us.”

Bally Sports+ provides fans a means to watch the games without a television provider and currently has direct-to-consumer broadcast rights for five of the 12 MLB teams it carries on linear television. Major League Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr. testified in bankruptcy court last year that Diamond Sports Group threatened bankruptcy and the subsequent selective rejecting of contracts if the league did not grant it direct-to-consumer broadcast rights to strengthen the Bally Sports+ offering. Manfred declined this proposal and established a local media department, which began producing and disseminating games for the San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks following the teams being dropped by Diamond Sports Group.

Diamond Sports Group agreed to a streaming deal with Amazon that would make Prime Video the means for consumers to purchase direct-to-consumer access to stream local regional sports networks and live game broadcasts. Earlier this year, Diamond was approved to receive $450 million in debtor-in-possession financing, and Amazon agreed to pay $115 million in convertible notes, some of which are expected to be used to pay back the DIP financing it receives. Junior creditors would then assume operations of the subsidiary if it is able to emerge and successfully execute its restructuring support agreement (RSA).

Diamond also reached an amended management services agreement with Sinclair, its parent company, that was approved by Judge Lopez. The pact dropped litigation that Diamond had brought against Sinclair and provided the plaintiff a cash payment of $495 million, along with ongoing management and transitional services in support of its reorganization and partition from parent company operations.

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