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Michael Irvin Set to Join Undisputed

“Irvin has been absent from television since Super Bowl week in Phoenix back in February.”

Jordan Bondurant

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MICHAEL IRVIN
Courtesy: USA Today Sports

As Skip Bayless prepares for the return of Undisputed on FS1 next Monday, another name has been reportedly added to the list of contributors/debaters in Hall of Famer Michael Irvin.

Irvin will join Richard Sherman, Keyshawn Johnson, Rachel Nichols and rapper Lil Wayne as part of the rotating cast that will sit opposite Bayless and discuss and debate the biggest stories in sports.

But while some viewers will be tuning in hoping to catch Bayless in a shouting match over various topics, it appears the network is shifting towards more in-depth conversations.

“It’s not like the debate part of sports television is going away because debate is intrinsic in sports conversations,” FS1 vice president of content Charlie Dixon told Sports Business Journal. “I just feel like with the audience, and where America is as a consumer right now, there’s enough strife going on in everybody’s day-to-day that doesn’t have to just be debate.”

Irvin has been absent from television since Super Bowl week in Phoenix back in February. He was suspended by NFL Network and removed from ESPN’s Super Bowl week coverage after sexual harassment allegations surfaced following an exchange with a female hotel worker.

Irvin has filed a $100 million lawsuit against Marriott International and the woman who accused him of making an unwanted sexual advance towards her.

Irvin has denied any wrongdoing.

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NHL Stanley Cup Final Game 4 Averages 3.1 Million Viewers on ESPN Networks

Through its first four games, the Stanley Cup Final is averaging 3.3 million total viewers, which is up 11% from last year’s matchup.

Barrett Sports Media

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ESPN on ABC
Courtesy: The Walt Disney Company

The Stanley Cup Final has extended to another game after the Edmonton Oilers defeated the Florida Panthers on Saturday night to attain its first win of the series. While Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Stuart Skinner seek to keep the Oilers’ season alive on Tuesday night, the Panthers aim to close out the first Stanley Cup championship in franchise history. The Panthers, however, will need to overcome giving up eight unanswered goals to the Oilers in Game 4 in order to achieve that task.

The Game 4 win-or-go-home matchup averaged 3.1 million viewers on ABC, according to Nielsen Media Research, which is up 20% from the comparable game last year. ESPN’s broadcast of the Stanley Cup Final on ABC peaked at 3.52 million viewers and attained a 1.4 rating, the latter of which is up 15% from last year’s Stanley Cup Final Game 4 between the Florida Panthers and Vegas Golden Knights televised on TNT, TBS and truTV.

Although the game elicited year-over-year gains, viewership is down 33% from the last Stanley Cup Final Game 4 on ABC, which was a matchup between the Colorado Avalanche and Tampa Bay Lightning in 2022. Moreover, the rating declined by a full share from the 2.4 share the matchup garnered last year. The fourth game of this year’s series is down from Game 2, which averaged 3.56 million viewers with a 1.9 rating, along with the 3.35 million viewers and 1.8 rating for the third game, according to Jon Lewis of Sports Media Watch.

Through its first four games, the Stanley Cup Final is averaging 3.3 million total viewers, which is up 11% from last year’s matchup in this regard. An average of 1.2 million viewers within the Persons 18-49 demographic are watching the Stanley Cup Final, a 25% year-over-year increase as well. Viewers within the Persons 18-49 demographic equated to an average of 1.1 million for Game 4, representative of a 20% year-over-year increase.

The Stanley Cup Finals on ESPN platforms have averaged 1.6 million total viewers and 633,000 viewers within the Persons 18-49 demographic, a year-over-year increase of 38% and 28% in those categories, respectively. The Walt Disney Company (ESPN/ABC) is nearing the conclusion of its third season of NHL broadcasts since reacquiring broadcast rights to the league and will have four more seasons to go on its current seven-year media rights deal.

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Tom Brady Makes FOX Sports Broadcast Booth Debut

“I can’t go down there on the field anymore, what are you talking about?”

Barrett Sports Media

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Screengrab from the UFL Championship game on FOX with Curt Menefee, Tom Brady and Joel Klatt
Screengrab: UFL Championship Game on FOX

If Spring Football gave us anything, it gave us this. Let the record show that the first time Tom Brady analyzed a pro football game from a broadcasting booth as an employee of FOX Sports, it was with teams from Birmingham and San Antonio, with the game being played in St. Louis.

That may someday be a trivia question hardly anyone will be able to answer. For now, it just marks the debut of Brady’s time as a football analyst as part of his 10-year $375 million deal he signed with FOX. Brady was not officially on the call of the UFL Championship game, but he did join play-by-play man Curt Menefee and analyst Joel Klatt in the second quarter on Sunday when the Birmingham Stallions beat the San Antonio Brahmas 25-0 at The Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis

“We bring in a little instant offense,” Menefee said. “You know him, you love him. Tom Brady, legendary quarterback, just had his number retired.”

“I can’t go down there on the field anymore, what are you talking about?” Brady quipped.

“He is joining us here at FOX sports as I am sure you have heard as an analyst this fall, can’t wait to see him,” Menefee said before asking Brady for his take on what he had seen in the UFL game. “So far, what are your impressions in this early going Championship game, sometimes teams can be a little bit tight, it looks like it may be right here.”

“They’re all a little different when you get into these games,” Brady said. “There’s a lot of defense out there right now. You see the defense out there playing with a lot of energy but someone’s gotta get the ball down the field and try and open this field up a little bit. It’s a lot of horizontal passes and the defense is swarming and trying to punch the ball out. ‘Make them defend every blade of grass,’ that’s what we used to say.’

At the conclusion of the game, Brady was on the field to present the championship game MVP award which went to Birmingham quarterback Adrian Martinez who played for both Nebraska and Kansas State and was the league’s regular season MVP.

Brady is set to work with Kevin Burkhardt this fall on the FOX No. 1 broadcast team. The pair will call the top game for FOX each week starting with the September 8 game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Cleveland Browns.

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Monumental Sports Network No Longer Available on Fubo

“We urge our fans to consider accessing other pay TV providers or subscribing to Monumental Sports Network directly.”

Barrett Sports Media

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Photo of a studio at Monumental Sports Network
Courtesy: Monumental Sports Network

Fubo subscribers in the Washington, D.C. area will no longer be able to watch Monumental Sports Network, the regional service that airs Wahington Wizards, Capitals and Mystics games in addition to other sports coverage.

Monumental Sports & Entertainment explained in a press release that after lengthy negotiations, Fubo has refused several offers to keep the independent local network available to its users. “This means that D.C. sports fans who are Fubo subscribers do not have access to live games for the Mystics, Capitals, Wizards, and other local teams such as the Washington Spirit and area HBCUs, colleges, and high schools,” the company said in its release.

“Throughout the process, we negotiated in good faith to keep our local independent network available to Fubo’s subscribers, including offering Fubo market-rate terms that other larger distributors have accepted,” the statement continued. “Unfortunately, Fubo did not appear motivated to come to a deal and refused several generous offers.

“Moving forward, our highly-rated WNBA content, including Wednesday’s Mystics-Fever game, will no longer be available on Fubo, which is unfortunate given the unprecedented interest that women’s sports are experiencing. This outcome seems at odds with Fubo’s claim to be the leading sports-focused live TV platform and clearly signals a total lack of interest in local women’s sports at a time when the rest of the world has declared their importance.  Would Fubo ever consider taking away Monumental from its fans if our NHL and NBA teams were in season?

“Unlike Fubo, we remain committed to women’s sports and serving D.C. sports fans. We urge our fans to consider accessing other pay TV providers or subscribing to Monumental Sports Network directly at monumentalsportsnetwork.com.”

WUSA9, the CBS affiliate in Washington, D.C. said they reached out to Fubo and received the following from a spokesperson:

“Fubo has been engaged in good faith negotiations with Monumental Sports Network but we were unable to reach a deal. As a result, the network left Fubo on June 15, 2024.”

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