Connect with us
Executive Editor Ad
Jim Cutler Demos

Sports TV News

Marcus Spears Gets Big Money Extension At ESPN

“According to the New York Post, Spears and ESPN agreed to a new four-year contract last week.”

Jordan Bondurant

Published

on

Despite layoffs being ongoing at Disney and expected to impact ESPN in the near future as part of Disney’s restructuring, some ESPN talent aren’t being laid off or let go but rather rewarded with new contracts.

NFL analyst Marcus Spears isn’t going anywhere. According to the New York Post, Spears and ESPN agreed to a new four-year contract last week. Additionally, Spears will be receiving a pay increase with the new deal.

Spears appears regularly on ESPN programs like NFL Live, First Take and Get Up and hosts the Swagu & Perk podcast with Kendrick Perkins.

Marcus will continue to contribute to all of those programs with the possibility of expanding his presence on other ESPN shows in the future.

Disney plans to lay off 7,000 employees this year. The reduction in workforce has already begun at Disney, but things aren’t anticipated to start at ESPN until the next few weeks.

Sign up for the BSM 8@8

The Top 8 Sports Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox, every morning at 8am ET.

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Sports TV News

Mike Francesa: Roger Goodell ‘Wants Everbody’s TV Dates’ For NFL

“Until somebody says, hey, you know what, I’m not interested and the can’t get somebody to buy it, they’re going to keep putting it out there.”

Published

on

Mike Francesa
Courtesy: Getty Images

Any television executive will tell you that there is no such thing as too much NFL football. In a time when very little brings Americans to their TV to watch live, the NFL is as reliable as it gets. 

On his podcast this week, Mike Francesa was asked if he saw that changing any time soon. He said there is no evidence that the league is anywhere near over-saturation.

“The NFL has a product. They continue to get top dollar for their products,” he said. “Until they don’t, they will continue to dispense it like Pez.”

Thanks to the revenue that the league generates from its TV contracts, Francesa says there is no reason to think that the league isn’t considering trying to get more games on TV in exclusive windows.

“Goodell’s theory is, ‘You know what? I want everybody’s TV dates. I want the NBA’s Christmas dates. I want college football’s dates.’”

It isn’t as easy as putting more games on whenever they want. Congressional protections limit the NFL to expanding what days games are played until after high school and college football seasons end. 

Amazon will host an exclusive game on Black Friday in 2023, a first for the league. Francesa said it is foolish to think it is the last time the NFL will consider expanding its offerings.

“Until somebody says, hey, you know what, I’m not interested and the can’t get somebody to buy it, they’re going to keep putting it out there.”

Sign up for the BSM 8@8

The Top 8 Sports Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox, every morning at 8am ET.

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Continue Reading

Sports TV News

Kevin Burkhardt: ‘We Couldn’t Do Enough’ Taylor Swift Coverage

“He scored the touchdown, but that’s all I wanted to do was Taylor Swift.”

Published

on

Kevin Burkhardt
Courtesy: FOX Sports

When FOX Sports revealed that Taylor Swift was attending the Kansas City Chiefs game against the Chicago Bears on Sunday afternoon, it sent the world of sports and pop culture into a frenzy. There had been rumors over the preceding weeks that Smith had been conversing with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, possibly dating him after he tried to give her a friendship bracelet with his phone number on it at one of the shows on her “Eras Tour.”

While no public confirmation has been made regarding whether or not the duo is officially a couple, many fans are assuming that their getaway in a convertible and hosting a private party at a Kansas City restaurant are signs pointing in that direction.

Kevin Burkhardt, Greg Olsen, Erin Andrews and Tom Rinaldi were on the call for the “America’s Game of the Week” matchup on FOX Sports and received word a few hours before the game that she would be present. There was little to no discussion about it, however, instead focusing on the game at hand. Once the game turned into a blowout – which Kansas City led 41-0 at one point – producer Richie Zyontz and associate director Rich Russo guided the broadcast and chose to broadcast Swift’s reaction from the suite level.

“I think we played it out naturally,” Burkhardt said in a recent interview with Sports Illustrated. “Obviously, we set it up early and showed it and showed him coming on the field and she was there and her reaction, and I think we went to it maybe one other time. And then in the second half, we couldn’t do it enough. He scored the touchdown, but that’s all I wanted to do was Taylor Swift.”

Burkhardt does not feel that the broadcast overdid its coverage of Swift, working it into the broadcast flow of the game. FOX Sports revealed that the game was the most-watched telecast among any network with an average viewership of 24.3 million viewers. The broadcast also ranked first among all key female demographics and led Kelce to gain 300,000 social media followers and counting and see a 400% increase in merchandise sales. Kelce and his brother host a weekly podcast, New Heights, through Wave Sports + Entertainment and release new episodes on Wednesdays, a moment when they could discuss what happened on Sunday.

After the game, Erin Andrews asked Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes if he felt any added pressure to get Kelce a touchdown. In response, Mahomes revealed that he knew that she was there and indeed felt some pressure to get a pass to the two-time Super Bowl champion tight end.

“We talked about it and then he scored,” Burkhardt said. “It was just so awesome, so that part was evident, but with the fans it was hard because that place is always rocking and crazy.”

Burkhardt shared that one of his favorite Taylor Swift songs is “22,” which comes from the “Red” album. While he does not know when it is the next time the FOX Sports lead announcing team will call a Chiefs game, he hopes to be behind the microphone for a game from GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium sometime again this season. The Chiefs will be featured on this week’s edition of Sunday Night Football on Sunday, Oct. 1 at 8:20 p.m. EST/5:20 p.m. PST against the New York Jets.

“I think my line on Sunday was like, ‘The romance America needs,’ and it’s funny because we all love it,” Burkhardt said. “We all love Kelce; he’s the greatest dude ever. It’s fun. Also, I think, like, ‘Okay, Taylor Swift is here,’ but if she was there and you saw her on camera and she was hard to see… but she was jumping up and down watching the game going crazy. It was awesome. That was the best part about it – it wasn’t just that she was there; it was her reactions.”

Sign up for the BSM 8@8

The Top 8 Sports Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox, every morning at 8am ET.

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Continue Reading

Sports TV News

CBS Sports’ Sean McManus Retiring in April 2024, David Berson Named Successor

“The timing just feels right to me.”

Published

on

Sean McManus
Courtesy: Mary Kouw, CBS

Sean McManus will be retiring as the chairman of CBS Sports early next year, and will be succeeded by David Berson in leading the entity. McManus has been leading the company since 1996 and helped reacquire rights to the National Football League in 1998, keeping a relationship with the league ever since. News of the decision was first reported by Andrew Marchand of the New York Post and later confirmed by CBS Sports.

“Leading CBS Sports has been an honor and I have been so fortunate to work with the most talented team in sports media, along with our incredible partners, for nearly three decades. It has been a fantastic run and the thrill of a lifetime,” McManus said in a statement. “I am pleased to leave CBS Sports in an even stronger place than when I arrived, knowing that all of our marquee properties are locked up through this decade and beyond.”

McManus negotiated media deals with the National Football League several times throughout his tenure with the company, including a recent 11-year multi-platform rights agreement that sheds conference affiliations. In the end, the agreement sees CBS Sports pay a reported $2.1 billion a year for rights to games and has top-tier commentators Jim Nantz, Ian Eagle and Kevin Harlan on the call. The NFL on CBS recently reported a record-setting September, with its best viewership in the month over the last 13 years with an average of 18.7 million households. McManus will remain in his position through Super Bowl LVIII and the 2024 Masters Tournament, the latter of which concludes on Sunday, April 14.

“Sean is a first-ballot, hall of fame executive who has masterfully managed all aspects of CBS Sports for 27 years and helped guide us through a transformative era in sports television,” George Cheeks, president and chief executive officer of CBS and chief content officer of news and sports at Paramount+, said in a statement. “His achievements here and the culture of excellence he established for CBS Sports – on screen and off – will benefit CBS and Paramount Global long into the future.”

The network is also in the midst of its first season with rights to the Big Ten Conference, televising a 3:30 p.m. national game for seven Saturdays throughout the season. This is the final season the network has rights to the Southeastern Conference (SEC) before The Walt Disney Company (ABC/ESPN) takes on the full package in 2024, worth a reported $710 million annually.

“The timing just feels right to me,” McManus said. “I’m proud of the fact that George [Cheeks] and Bob Bakish are in complete agreement that this timing is perfect, so I feel really good about it, and I have total and complete faith in David.”

David Berson

David Berson is set to become the next leader of CBS Sports. (Michele Crowe/CBS)

David Berson will assume the role of “Chief Executive Officer” in addition to his title as President of CBS Sports in April 2024. The move will make him the seventh person to lead CBS Sports in the history of the business division.

“The future at CBS Sports is in the extremely capable hands of David Berson, who will seamlessly succeed me, as we planned,” McManus said. “He is an outstanding leader and strategist, with knowledge and experience across all facets of the business, and has established excellent relationships with our partners and across our team.”

Sign up for the BSM 8@8

The Top 8 Sports Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox, every morning at 8am ET.

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Continue Reading
Advertisement

Barrett Media Writers

Copyright © 2023 Barrett Media.