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John McEnroe Absent From ESPN US Open Coverage After COVID-19 Diagnosis

“I’m watching the US Open from home and can’t wait to get back to work soon.”

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John McEnroe
Courtesy: Matthew Stockman, Getty Images

As the US Open commences this week from Flushing, N.Y., ESPN’s lead tennis analyst will not be on site. John McEnroe, one of the most accomplished tennis players of all time, is missing the early stages of the tournament after testing positive for coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 disease. Although the World Health Organization declared an end to its public health emergency in May, the virus continues to circulate, with case numbers recently increasing presumably due to the emergence of additional, highly-mutated variants and their progeny.

“Unfortunately, after feeling a bit under the weather, I tested positive for COVID,” McEnroe said in a statement. “I’m watching the US Open from home and can’t wait to get back to work soon.”

McEnroe has a storied history at the US Open, with the tournament representing the place where he captured four of his seven Grand Slam singles titles. He was showcased on the network’s first ever tennis telecast in 1979 at the Davis Cup and works with his brother, Patrick, on the tennis coverage. John defeated Patrick to win his 77th and final singles title of his career in 1991, ending his illustrious tennis career and going out as one of the greatest of all time.

When ESPN covered the tournament for the first time in 2009, he joined the network and shortly thereafter began contributing to its exclusive Wimbledon Championships coverage in 2012. The network added that it wishes the analyst well and looks forward to welcoming him back on the broadcast when he is ready.

The US Open ends on Sunday, Sept. 10 with the men’s singles final and has already included enthralling action. Women’s tennis champion Billie Jean King and former U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama participated in a ceremony from Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday night celebrating 50 years of equal pay for men and women in the tournament.

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Report: MLB Nearing Deal with Unknown Platform to Resume Sunday Morning Game Broadcasts

“Our initiative with Peacock was a valuable experience with a collaborative partner in our ongoing effort to explore a variety of streaming offerings for our fans as their consumption habits continue to evolve.”

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Major League Baseball
Courtesy: Major League Baseball

Ahead of the Major League Baseball season, the league and Comcast had yet to reach a deal regarding Sunday morning baseball games. Peacock, the OTT streaming platform for the company, broadcast these games for the last two seasons, which equated to 19 such contests last year. Andrew Marchand of The Athletic reports that there is interest from Comcast and NBC in a deal to resume airing these games but for less than $30 million per year, the rate it had paid over the last two years. MLB is reportedly nearing an agreement with another platform to broadcast the Sunday morning baseball games.

“Our initiative with Peacock was a valuable experience with a collaborative partner in our ongoing effort to explore a variety of streaming offerings for our fans as their consumption habits continue to evolve,” a Major League Baseball spokesperson said in a statement to The Athletic.

The Sunday morning MLB games on Peacock started either at 11:35 a.m. or 12:05 p.m. EST and included a play-by-play announcer and an analyst who had familiarity with the teams playing in the game. Other MLB games taking place on Sundays were prohibited to begin earlier than 1:30 p.m. EST, granting the platform a window. Two weekly Friday night MLB games during the regular season are exclusively broadcast on Apple TV+ as part of a seven-year contract between the two entities worth a reported $85 million per season.

Peacock recently served as the exclusive home of an NFL Wild Card game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins. The coldest game on record from GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium drew an average minute audience of 23 million viewers, rendering it the most-streamed event in U.S. history. Moreover, the playoff game was attributed to 30% of worldwide internet usage for the day. The platform reportedly paid $110 million for the rights to the game, part of a weekend featuring three NFL Wild Card contests.

Amazon Prime Video is reportedly set to exclusively stream an NFL Wild Card game next year, continuing to expand its portfolio of games that includes Thursday Night Football and an exclusive Black Friday Football game.

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ESPN Reveals Broadcast Plans for 2024 WNBA Draft

“WNBA Countdown will air live from the WNBA Draft for the first time and commence the proceedings at 7 p.m. EST.”

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WNBA Draft '24
Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN will be the broadcast home of the 2024 WNBA Draft from the Brooklyn Academy of Music in Brooklyn, N.Y., taking place on Monday, April 15 at 7:30 p.m. EST. Ryan Ruocco will be the host for on-site coverage and will be joined by analysts Rebecca Lobo and Andraya Carter and reporter Holly Rowe. Lobo and Carter will provide their insights and analysis on the draft picks throughout the night, while Rowe will interview the draftees once they are officially selected.

Preceding this coverage is a special edition of SportsCenter that will be hosted by Elle Duncan live from the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Duncan will welcome Andraya Carter and Chiney Ogwumike on the 6 p.m. EST version of the show to discuss the WNBA Draft leading up to ESPN coverage of the event.

Once SportsCenter concludes, WNBA Countdown will air live from the WNBA Draft for the first time and commence the proceedings at 7 p.m. EST. LaChina Robinson will host the show with analysts Chiney Ogwumike and Carolyn Peck where they will preview the action. ESPN will look back at the college basketball season for Iowa guard Caitlin Clark, who became the NCAA Division I basketball all-time scoring leader earlier in the year. The show will also highlight some of the best outfits on the night as they arrive on the “Orange Carpet” and interview draftees as well.

ESPN will provide WNBA Draft coverage through the conclusion of the third round, which will include cameras situated in draft rooms for several teams around the league. These organizations, all of whom will be making a first-round selection, are the Indiana Fever, Los Angeles Sparks, Chicago Sky, Dallas Wings and Washington Mystics. Ruocco, Lobo, Carter and Rowe will also guide viewers regarding storylines for the WNBA season, which will be broadcast across Disney and ESPN platforms as announced on Wednesday.

Aside from its network coverage, ESPN.com will provide content related to the WNBA Draft including ranking draft classes, forecasting Caitlin Clark’s WNBA rookie season and feature articles surrounding the consensus No. 1 pick from Ramona Shelburne and Kevin Pelton. ESPN staff writer Alexa Philippou will anchor live coverage on draft day that will provide the latest information on trades, draft picks and news. Moreover, WNBA DraftCast will provide information and analysis surrounding draft picks, along with prospect grades and rankings. ESPN staff writer Michael Voepel will issue report-card grades to the draft classes for each team at the conclusion of the event as well.

ESPN Social will execute an all-access takeover featuring the projected top draft picks on the Instagram story for SportsCenter. There will also be live content from New York City including moments on the “Orange Carpet,” on-site content and selection updates with custom images on Instagram and TikTok.

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Sports Media Reacts to the Death of O.J. Simpson

Simpson was a star football player, turned actor and sports broadcaster, who was later accused of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her boyfriend Ronald Goldman.

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Photo of OJ Simpson, Frank Gifford and Joe Namath
Credit: Mickey Pfleger/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images

The family of O.J. Simpson announced his death from cancer earlier today at the age of 76. Simpson was a star football player, turned actor and sports broadcaster, who was later accused of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her boyfriend Ronald Goldman.

Many in the sports media world reacted to his passing:

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