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Pat McAfee Show Makes Its ESPN Debut

“If it wasn’t for Aaron [Rodgers], our show doesn’t go to the places that it has been ever.”

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Pat McAfee
Courtesy: Joshua R. Gateley, ESPN Images

After months of anticipation and excitement, The Pat McAfee Show made its ESPN debut on Thursday, coinciding with the first day of the National Football League season. As the familiar sights and sounds of First Take faded from the screen, a disclaimer appeared as a narrator read the notice prior to the show’s electrifying introduction playing on the air.

“The following progrum is a collection of stooges talking about happenings in the sports world,” the message read. “It is meant to be comedic informative. The opinions expressed on this show do not necessarily reflect the beliefs of their peers, their boss, or ESPN. There may be some ‘cuss’ words because that’s how humans in the real world talk. If you are a young, please seek permission before watching any further.”

From there, the show started as usual, lauding the start of the NFL season as the Detroit Lions take on the Kansas City Chiefs at 8:20 p.m. EST/5:20 p.m. PST on NBC. McAfee outlined the key storylines of the game, specifically the quarterback battle between Lions starter Jared Goff and the Chiefs’ reigning Super Bowl champion and Most Valuable Player award-winning superstar Patrick Mahomes. After some time passed, McAfee addressed the move to a linear network, which is essentially simulcasting the YouTube version of the show on its airwaves, albeit on a slight tape delay.

“We can’t thank you enough for joining us here on ESPN and on our YouTube where it’ll be status, the same,” McAfee said. “But here on ESPN, we want to let you know that we are a show that is very thankful and lucky to be here. We are honored to be here, and what we’re about to do for the next couple of hours is something that you might not have seen a lot in the world of sports media, especially on linear television. We’re about to have a great… damn time.”

About 10 minutes into the show, McAfee welcomed New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers onto the show as its first guest. Part of the reason McAfee and his cast gained traction in the sports media landscape was because of their weekly interviews with Rodgers, who always brought his perspectives and insights about the game of football to the air. The appearance was brief and featured a conversation about ESPN’s censorship rules, something that Rodgers assured the viewers that he would have no part of.

“I will not be censoring myself,” Rodgers said, “so if you’ve got to go over and watch it in different places, I will be the same old, same old, and I look forward to speaking with all of you in the near future.”

ESPN is licensing 235 episodes of McAfee’s program, a move that garnered considerable backlash since it happened in close proximity to The Walt Disney Company laying off 7,000 employees to slash $5.5 billion in operating costs. Additionally, ESPN cut several members of its on-air talent roster, some of whom have since found new platforms to continue working in sports media. As for McAfee, he will now have a dedicated two-hour slot on ESPN’s linear channel and appear on College GameDay on the weekends, which averaged 1.7 million viewers leading up to the showdown between UNC and South Carolina.

“If it wasn’t for Aaron, our show doesn’t go to the places that it has been ever,” McAfee said. “Those conversations on those Tuesdays have evolved into something pretty remarkable, and I’m very open to this. A lot of people who hate our show will say, ‘Only ‘cause Aaron Rodgers spoke on our show is it good.’ That’s a pretty good call – we would agree completely – so we’re excited that Aaron Rodgers’ Tuesday is back.”

Other guests throughout the first episode of the program include Omaha Productions founder and Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning, ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter and Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs. Competing against the McAfee show on linear television is The Herd with Colin Cowherd on FOX Sports 1, which also airs on FOX Sports Radio affiliates around the United States.

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MLB at Rickwood Field Game Averages 2.346 Million Viewers on FOX

The telecast of the game peaked with 2.559 million viewers in the quarter-hour spanning from 8:45 to 9 p.m. EST.

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MLB at Rickwood Field Logo
Courtesy: Major League Baseball

The San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals played from Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Ala. on Thursday night, marking the first time that the ballpark hosted a regular-season Major League Baseball game. The historic event paid tribute to the Negro Leagues and the life of Hall of Fame outfielder Willie Mays, who passed away peacefully on Tuesday at the age of 93. FOX Sports broadcast the game and attained its best performance for a Thursday night MLB regular season telecast since September 2022, averaging 2.346 million viewers for the event. Viewership data for the game is provided by Nielsen Media Research and Adobe Analytics.

The telecast of the game peaked with 2.559 million viewers in the quarter-hour spanning from 8:45 to 9 p.m. EST. Compared to last year’s regular season average for MLB telecasts on FOX, the contest was up 25%. Thursday night games on FOX averaged 1.665 million viewers last year, rendering the game from Rickwood Field an increase of 41%. The San Francisco, Calif. designated market area posted a 3.9 rating and 18 share for the game, the best for an MLB telecast on any network in the 2024 season in the area. Additionally, the St. Louis, Mo. designated market area had a 9.4 rating and 29 share for the game, also its best performance for an MLB telecast on any network amid the current season.

The broadcast of the game on FOX Sports featured play-by-play announcer Joe Davis, analyst John Smoltz and reporters Ken Rosenthal and Tom Verducci. During the FOX MLB pregame show, various special guests joined host Kevin Burkhardt and analysts Álex Rodríguez, David Ortiz and Derek Jeter, including Reggie Jackson, Barry Bonds and Ken Griffey Jr. Within the game, Rosenthal interviewed former Birmingham Black Barons pitcher Rev. Bill Greason, along with former Indianapolis Clowns second baseman Reggie Howard. FOX Sports broadcast half an inning of the game in black and white as well, replicating how baseball telecasts looked in 1954.

FOX Sports is currently in the third year of its seven-year media rights deal with Major League Baseball and will broadcast the MLB All-Star Game next month from Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. The network will also present the World Series for the 25th consecutive year this October featuring the American League and National League Champions.

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ESPN Announces Coverage Plans for Inaugural Two-Day NBA Draft

The ESPN team will feature Malika Andrews, Andraya Carter, Jay Bilas and Richard Jefferson. ABC will have Kevin Negandhi hosting alongside Stephen A. Smith and Bob Myers.

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Logo for ESPN and the 2024 NBA Draft

The NBA is set to debut a new format for its draft. Instead of doing both rounds in one night, this year will be the first time the league has used a two-day format with night one coming up on Wednesday, June 26 followed by night two on Thursday June 27. Television coverage will be provided by ESPN and ABC.

On Wednesday, ESPN will begin with NBA Today starting at 3 p.m. ET, which will be hosted by Christine Williamson, Kendrick Perkins, Austin Rivers and CJ McCollum. They will be followed by a Red Carpet Special at 5 p.m. ET with Cassidy Hubbarth, Kendrick Perkins and Richard Jefferson. Coverage of the draft begins at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN and at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

The ESPN team will feature Malika Andrews, Andraya Carter, Jay Bilas and Richard Jefferson. ABC will have Kevin Negandhi hosting alongside Stephen A. Smith and Bob Myers.

ESPN reporters and insiders Monica McNutt, Adrian Wojnarowski, Bobby Marks and Jonathan Givony are set to appear on both broadcasts.

For Round 2 on Thursday, ESPN will again start with NBA Today at 3 p.m. ET with Christine Williamson, Kendrick Perkins, Austin Rivers and Tim Legler. That will be followed by coverage of the draft beginning at 4 p.m. ET with Malika Andrews, Stephen A. Smith, Bob Myers, Adrian Wojnarowski, Bobby Marks and Jonathan Givony.

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Michael Phelps Joining NBCUniversal Coverage of Olympic Games Paris 2024

“With his ability to analyze and entertain, our viewers are in for another gold-medal performance.”

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Michael Phelps
Courtesy: NBC Olympics & Paralympics on X

Michael Phelps, the 23-time Olympic gold medalist who is the most-decorated Olympic athlete of all time, will be joining NBCUniversal for coverage of the Olympic Games Paris 2024 this summer. Phelps returns to the coverage after being part of the broadcast during the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 and will provide his commentary and analysis on prime time and daytime shows in Paris on NBC and Peacock.

Additionally, he will join Dan Hicks and Rowdy Gaines in the broadcast booth for select swimming competition telecasts from the París La Défense Arena, along with correspondent/analyst Elizabeth Beisel and reporter Melissa Stark. Phelps will return to NBC and Peacock on Friday night broadcasting coverage of the U.S. Olympic Trials-Swimming from Indianapolis, Ind. beginning at 8 p.m. EST/PST.

“We are excited to have Michael return to our coverage across both daytime and primetime, and of course, the place where no one knows more about winning – at the pool,” Molly Solomon, executive producer and president of NBC Olympics Production, said in a statement. “With his ability to analyze and entertain, our viewers are in for another gold-medal performance.”

NBC has been televising coverage throughout the week live in prime time leading up to the Olympic games. The swimming trials are averaging 3.2 million viewers in prime time across NBC and Peacock, which is up 20% from the trials for the Olympic Games three years ago. The event is taking place from Lucas Oil Stadium, the home of the Indianapolis Colts, and has featured accomplished swimmers such as Katie Ledecky, Gretchen Walsh and Regan Smith. Moreover, the prime time broadcast of the diving competition on Monday and Tuesday from Knoxville, Tenn. is averaging 2.9 million viewers, a 39% rise from three years ago.

The International Olympic Committee granted NBCUniversal the U.S. media rights for the Olympic Games through 2032 for $7.65 billion. NBCUniversal has been the exclusive broadcast home of the Summer Olympic Games in the United States since 1988 when it produced 179.5 hours of broadcast coverage. The company is scheduled to broadcast the Olympic Games from Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy in 2026, Los Angeles, Calif. in 2028 and Brisbane, Australia in 2032, along with the 2030 Winter Olympic Games from a location to be determined.

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