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MLB on TBS Unveils Alternate Broadcast for NLCS

The first-of-its-kind experience will center on cultural conversations through the game of baseball featuring both current and former Latino MLB players.

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MLB on TBS
Courtesy: Warner Bros. Discovery

Coverage of the 2023 National League Championship Series begins on Monday night from Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Penn. in a matchup between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Philadelphia Phillies. The victor of this best-of-seven series will advance to the World Series, granting them a chance to hoist the Commissioner’s Trophy and claim ultimate glory within Major League Baseball. As part of its seven-year media rights deal with the league, worth a reported $535 million annually, Warner Bros. Discovery network TBS will be the home of the proceedings.

The traditional broadcast booth includes Brian Anderson delivering the play-by-play, with analysts Ron Darling and Jeff Francoeur and reporter Matt Winer. Utilizing traditional linear cable television or B/R Sports Add-On through Max, the company’s direct-to-consumer (DTC) streaming service, fans will be able to watch the action in real time.

For viewers who prefer a different viewing experience, the network will air a secondary viewing presentation – titled Postseason ALTcast: Peloteros. The first-of-its-kind experience will center on cultural conversations through the game of baseball featuring both current and former Latino MLB players. MLB on TBS analysts Pedro Martínez and Albert Pujols will be on this feed for every game of the NLCS, along with MLB Network analyst Yonder Alonso. MLB Network personality and former Los Angeles Dodgers reporter Alanna Rizzo will serve as the program’s host.

Current players slated to join include New York Yankees starting pitcher Néstor Cortés Jr. and Los Angeles Dodgers utility player Enrique Hernández. These broadcasts will be available through the sports tier on Max, and will also air on cable television through truTV.

Pujols will join the MLB on TBS Leadoff studio team throughout the series, which makes its planned transition to Lauren Shehadi as the host. Ernie Johnson, who had hosted the program throughout the divisional round, is preparing to launch another new season of Inside the NBA with Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny “The Jet” Smith and Charles Barkley. Shehadi will be joined by Martínez and Pujols, in addition to Jimmy Rollins and Curtis Granderson, to synthesize the action, present highlights and interview players and personnel. All broadcasts follow with MLB on TBS Closer, which contains the same cast as the pregame show.

Coverage of the NLCS begins on Monday night with the Diamondbacks-Phillies matchup with MLB on TBS Leadoff at 7:30 p.m. EST/4:30 p.m. PST. Game action, which will be covered by both the traditional broadcast and Postseason ALTcast: Peloteros, gets underway at 8 p.m. EST/5 p.m. PST on TBS and truTV, respectively, with both properties airing through the B/R Sports Add-On through Max.

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Report: Stephen A. Smith Offered $18 Million Per Year Contract by ESPN

“Smith has reportedly been seeking some $25 million per year.”

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Stephen A. Smith

Let the negotiations begin. John Ourand of Puck is reporting ESPN has made an initial offer to Stephen A. Smith whose contract ends in a year. Ourand reports the offer was for a 5-year deal worth a total of $90 million, or $18 million per year.

According to reports, Smith’s current deal with ESPN, which was signed in 2019, pays him $8 million per year. Smith hosts the daily morning show First Take, takes part in ESPN and ABC’s NBA coverage and also makes other appearances on the network. Away from ESPN, Smith hosts his podcast, The Stephen A. Smith Show and also owns his own production company, Mr. SAS Productions

The 5-year, $90 million offer matches what Troy Aikman signed on for to do Monday Night Football and would put Smith at the top of the list as far as salaries at ESPN, however he and his representatives with WME might be looking for more, a lot more.

Ourand writes, “Smith has reportedly been seeking some $25 million per year. While $18 million might seem like a ton of dough, I’m told Stephen A. wants McAfee bucks. Indeed, WME’s response to ESPN was to point to Pat McAfee’s deal, which nets close to $30 million per year between his studio show and College GameDay appearances. WME also had the chutzpah to use ESPN’s $700 million deal with Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions as a comp.”

Smith was a guest of Jim Rome on The Jim Rome Show recently and addressed some health concerns he had after being diagnosed with COVID-19 a few years ago. He ultimately said, “I’m getting myself in shape, and I’m not satisfied, and because I feel better than I’ve felt in 30 years, I feel like once upon a time when I thought that I had about a couple of years left, man, I think I can do this for another 25-30 years the way that I’m feeling.”

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Report: Los Angeles Lakers Hire ESPN Basketball Analyst JJ Redick as Head Coach

Adrian Wojnarowski reports the analyst and podcaster met with Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and vice president and general manager Rob Pelinka over the weekend and talks continued until the job was offered and accepted this morning.

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Logo for the LA Lakers and a screengrab of JJ Redick
Screengrab: JJ Redick on YouTube

At the end of July last year, ESPN made the announcement that Doc Rivers and Doris Burke would team with Mike Breen as the lead NBA broadcast team. The two would replace Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy who were both let go. While there might have been other factors involved, some said Van Gundy’s exit was partially because ESPN was concerned he had a strong desire to return to coaching. Since that time, Rivers has left to become the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks and his replacement, JJ Redick is now set to be named the head coach of the LA Lakers.

According to ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, Redick and the team have reached agreement on a four-year contract. Wojnarowski reports the analyst and podcaster met with Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and vice president and general manager Rob Pelinka over the weekend and talks continued until the job was offered and accepted this morning.

One of the podcasts Redick has been hosting, Mind the Game, is co-hosted by Lakers star LeBron James. James is expected to decline his player option for next season and become an unrestricted free agent, however one would assume it is now likely he will sign a new deal with the team.

Redick played 15 years in the NBA, mostly for the Orlando Magic, the LA Clippers and the Philadelphia 76ers. Redick has never coached high level basketball before.

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NESN Announces Alternate Telecasts for Red Sox Games Hosted by Jared Carrabis

“This viewing experience will be complementary to our live game telecast on NESN and will provide a new way for fans to engage with the Red Sox and NESN through differentiated conversation and real-time analysis from new faces and special guests.”

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Graphic for Unobstructed Views on NESN with host Jared Carrabis
Graphic Courtesy: NESN

NESN has announced it will air live alternate telecasts on NESN+ of Boston Red Sox games which will be hosted by baseball personality Jared Carrabis. Unobstructed Views will air for the first time on Tuesday June 25 and is scheduled for 10 shows throughout the rest of the season.

The show will have a rotating cast of co-hosts starting with former Red Sox reliever and current NESN studio analyst Jonathan Papelbon for the first episode. Papelbon will also return on the Tuesday, July 9 broadcast. Other co-hosts will include social media content creator Ian Brownhill along with NBC Sports host and betting analyst Sara Perlman Mancini.

“We’re always experimenting with new ways to enhance the game experience for Red Sox fans,” NESN COO Matt Volk said in a release. “This viewing experience will be complementary to our live game telecast on NESN and will provide a new way for fans to engage with the Red Sox and NESN through differentiated conversation and real-time analysis from new faces and special guests.”

Unobstructed Views will be filmed live from NESN’s studio, and the hosts will be joined by guests from the baseball world and other personalities in Boston sports culture. The show will also encourage fan engagement through live interactions on social media, featuring a live digital social media wall inside the studio during the show.

NESN has had several innovations over the years include being the first RSN to launch a direct-to-consumer streaming service. NESN also recently added a feature called “NESN View” that allows fans to toggle on data overlays onto live games for live stats and updates throughout the game on NESN 360.

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