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 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.”
The CW to Air 2023 Barstool Arizona Bowl
After going streaming-only last year, the 2023 Barstool Arizona Bowl will also air on the CW.
The Barstool Arizona Bowl just secured an additional broadcast home — The CW.
The news broke earlier today on Twitter from the official Barstool Arizona Bowl account. The 2023 Barstool Arizona Bowl will stream once more on Barstool.TV but can also be found on your local CW affiliate.
Fear not, Stoolies — your favorite Barstool personalities won’t be replaced by The CW’s broadcast teams. Pardon My Take’s Jake Marsh confirmed that he will once again assume play-by-play duties, while his bosses Dan “Big Cat” Katz and Dave Portnoy will join him as color commentators. Caleb Pressley and Adam “Rone” Ferrone will act as sideline reporters.
Last year, Barstool ditched a traditional media platform to air their bowl game after reports surfaced that CBS wouldn’t work with Barstool to broadcast the game. Instead, the company streamed the game direct-to-consumer on Barstool.TV, the company’s streaming platform. Ratings were about on par with a streaming-only event, with 1 million total viewers, 500,000 unique viewers, and a high of 130,000 concurrent viewers according to Front Office Sports.
Last year, Ohio defeated Wyoming 30-27. We’ll find out which two teams will play in this year’s Barstool Arizona Bowl following this weekend’s college football slate.
Jeff Kotuby is a nationally-published journalist with bylines on many popular broadcasting and pop culture sites, including The Streamable, eBaum’s World, Twin Galaxies, and more. Jeff grew up in the shadows of New York City and cultivated his love for sports media with the classic broadcasting voices of the area, like Mike & The Mad Dog, Mike “Doc” Emerick, and Michael Kay. You can reach Jeff on Twitter @JeffKotu3y.
CFP National Championship Game Could Rotate Between Partners in New TV Deal
According to Front Office Sports, ESPN and FOX have already made presentations to the CFP.
Ahead of the College Football Playoff (CFP) expansion to 12 teams in the 2024 season, the playoff could look to have the National Championship Game rotate among its media partners every year.
The goal through the process would be to maximize the scope of the media rights fees and cross-promote the game once the existing 12-year, $5.64 billion rights deal with ESPN expires, sources have told Front Office Sports.
Various media outlets have reportedly expressed interest in acquiring rights to the CFP, including ESPN, FOX Sports, NBC Sports, and Warner Bros. Discovery, along with streaming providers Amazon Prime Video and Apple. Michael McCarthy and Amanda Christovich of Front Office Sports reported the news of the prospective structure, along with several media companies that could be involved in the bidding.
Within the report, it is stated that no structure of a deal has been agreed upon at the moment. Last year’s contest between Georgia and TCU averaged 17.2 million viewers on ABC, which made the contest the least-watched National Championship Game since the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) came into existence in 1999. According to Front Office Sports, ESPN and FOX have already made presentations to the CFP, and ESPN could be reportedly willing to forgo part of the CFP to pay for other rights, such as the National Basketball Association.
The discussion surrounding the CFP comes at a time when NASCAR recently announced seven-year media rights deals with CBS, NBC, Warner Bros. Discovery, and Amazon Prime Video worth a combined $7.7 billion. Moreover, the Big Ten inked a seven-year, $8 billion deal with CBS, NBC, and FOX that began this season and is slated to run through 2029.
ESPN will broadcast the National Championship Game on Jan. 8, 2024 at 7:30 PM ET.
Last year, the network presented an alternate broadcast featuring Pat McAfee and members of his program, The Pat McAfee Show, broadcast on ESPN2 while Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Holly Rowe, and Molly McGrath were on the traditional presentation on ESPN.
Andrew Whitworth: Being on Amazon Prime Video Keeps Me Connected to Football
“I just finished this incredibly long football career, but I feel like I’m 18 years old and I just got a fake ID and I can go to a club.”
After 16 seasons in the NFL, Andrew Whitworth is officially retired from playing the game, but he is still very much around the gridiron as a member of Amazon Prime Video’s Thursday Night Football studio broadcast team.
Whitworth is on-site at the games every week behind the desk as an analyst on TNF Tonight where he provides his insight and expertise regarding the action on the field. The four-time Pro Bowler is situated alongside Tony Gonzalez, Richard Sherman, and Ryan Fitzpatrick, along with host Charissa Thompson.
In a recent interview with Yahoo Sports, Whitworth described how he is looking at the game of football in a different light now that he is retired. Within his remarks, he conveyed that he is not sure if he was necessarily a fan of the sport when he was playing, something he acknowledges is ludicrous to state but a legitimate question he has. Rather than viewing the game as a whole, he was more focused on his role as an offensive tackle and being able to effectuate scoring drives by stopping defenses.
“I just finished this incredibly long football career, but I feel like I’m 18 years old and I just got a fake ID and I can go to a club,” Whitworth said. “That’s how I feel watching football now – I just want to consume everything I can.”
Immediately after the final season of his career – which ended with a Super Bowl championship as a member of the Los Angeles Rams – Andrew Whitworth wanted to discover a way to remain involved in the sport. There were options, he shared, to stay within the Rams organization, along with opportunities to work with other teams. His mindset was focused on the art of storytelling though and how to promulgate and discuss a sport that granted him a successful career.
“Being in these stadiums, it keeps you so connected,” Whitworth said. “And every week it seems, I’ve got players asking me, ‘Hey man, you got any thoughts on my game? Things you could help me with?’ For my last five or six years in the NFL, I was kind of a coach-player, mentoring guys. Now, I’m getting to do that a little bit while also covering the games, which has been great.”
Andrew Whitworth outlined a typical week as a member of the Amazon Prime Video Thursday Night Football broadcast, which begins with a production meeting on Monday mornings and subsequent research and film study. In the afternoon he coaches a junior high basketball team for his son and then proceeds to coach his other son’s football team. The film study continues on Tuesday before traveling to the city where the game is taking place that night.
“As soon as I get to that city, I start putting together a tape to talk about and show the producers,” Whitworth said of his Wednesday routine. “We all get together, usually at the hotel, and spend [four to five] hours having dinner and talking about the game.”
Another production meeting takes place on Thursday morning before touring the city and finding enjoyable things to do throughout the day. The crew then arrives to the stadium to do the broadcast that night – in this case, a matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks, which begins with TNF Tonight at 7 PM ET.