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Josh Krulewitz to Lead ESPN Communications

“It’s quite an honor to be trusted to represent the elite ESPN brand, collaborate with Disney, and to work alongside the most talented and dedicated colleagues around.”

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Josh Krulewitz ESPN

ESPN has named Josh Krulewitz as its news senior vice president of communications, tasked with leading the company’s communications department beginning on Dec. 31. The 32-year ESPN veteran is succeeding Chris LaPlaca in the role, who is the company’s longest-tenured behind-the-scenes employee.

Within his new job, Josh Krulewitz is reporting to Jimmy Pitaro, chairman of ESPN, and Kristina Schake, senior executive vice president and chief communications officer of The Walt Disney Company.

Throughout his time with ESPN, Josh Krulewitz has been part of various aspects surrounding the company’s business, contributing to communications surrounding sports broadcasts, league and event agreements, internal communications and issue management among other things. Moreover, he has helped advise executives, talent and employees within the company pertaining to media and employee relations, along with brand building, narratives and strategy.

“Josh is a dynamic, collaborative, and strategic communications leader,” Pitaro said in a statement. “I’ve worked closely with Josh for many years and have benefitted from his excellent advice during many challenging situations. I have seen him cultivate countless relationships with media and ESPN colleagues over the years, all of which will benefit him and all of us as we continue to navigate through a complex sports media environment. He will work closely with Disney colleagues and continue to look for ways for us to enhance our brand and reputation.”

Krulewitz’s journey in the communications department began as an undergraduate student at the University of Connecticut before joining full time in July 1992. Krulewitz has been serving as vice president of the department since 2006, during which he has been part of various public relations campaigns and other media relations involving ESPN.

“This one-of-a-kind role leading the world-class ESPN Communications team comes with extraordinary responsibility,” Krulewitz said in a statement. “It’s quite an honor to be trusted to represent the elite ESPN brand, collaborate with Disney, and to work alongside the most talented and dedicated colleagues around.”

Last week, ESPN held a retirement party for LaPlaca where various guests were on hand to honor his career, including Jimmy Pitaro, George Bodenheimer and Rosa Gatti. ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, who interned under LaPlaca at ESPN, was also at the ceremony and broke the news of Draymond Green’s indefinite suspension from the NBA after he punched Phoenix Suns center Jusuf Nurkić during a game. The event had nearly 130 ESPN staffers on hand to commend LaPlaca for his work ahead of his impending retirement.

“Chris has played a pivotal role in virtually all major events in ESPN’s history, serving as a key strategist and spokesperson and leading the Comms group since 2008,” Pitaro said in a statement. “I’ve relied on his integrity, judgment and instincts since I arrived here, and I am incredibly grateful for all he has done for me and for ESPN.”

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Sports TV News

The Sports Media Industry Remembers ESPN NFL Insider Chris Mortensen

“Upon learning of Mortensen’s passing, members of the sports media industry flocked to social media to remember the ESPN legend.”

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ESPN has lost a legend. Longtime NFL insider Chris Mortensen passed away Sunday morning at the age of 72. Mortensen spent more than three decades working for the worldwide leader in sports. The news of his passing was first made public by ESPN PR.

Affectionally referred to by his colleagues as ‘Mort’, Chris Mortensen contributed to ESPN’s NFL programs, SportsCenter and was the network’s top news breaker for years. He earned the Pro Football Writers of America’s Dick McCann Award in 2016, receiving his honor at the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s enshrinement ceremony in August of that same year. It was also the same year when Mortensen broke the news of Peyton Manning retiring from the NFL.

Unfortunately, 2016 was also the year when it was revealed that Mortensen was diagnosed with Stage 4 throat cancer.

“Mort was widely respected as an industry pioneer and universally beloved as a supportive, hard-working teammate,” ESPN chairman Jimmy Pitaro said in a statement. “He covered the NFL with extraordinary skill and passion, and was at the top of his field for decades. He will truly be missed by colleagues and fans, and our hearts and thoughts are with his loved ones.”

In 2023, Mortensen stepped away from his role at ESPN to focus on his health, family and faith. Prior to joining ESPN he wrote for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution covering the Falcons, Braves and the NFL He was also a columnist for The Sporting News and a consultant with CBS Sports’ ‘NFL Today’.

Chris Mortensen is survived by his wife, Micki, and son, Alex. Upon learning of his passing, members of the sports media industry flocked to social media to remember the ESPN legend.

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Struggles Continue for ‘Undisputed’ On FS1

According to Sports Media Watch, the Feb. 27 edition of the program had 50,000 viewers, the lowest in the show’s history.

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Skip Bayless
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It’s been raining and pouring for Undisputed over the last few months — and February saw an all-time low for the long-running Skip Bayless vehicle. According to Sports Media Watch, the Feb. 27 edition of the program had 50,000 viewers, the lowest in the show’s history.

Among the shows that defeated Undisputed head-to-head were a re-air of Get Up on ESPN2 and first-round Dubai Open tennis on The Tennis Channel, according to Sports Media Watch.

Undisputed has been in dire straits for months. According to figures provided by USTVDB, the show passed 200,000 viewers just twice since August — the Monday, Sep. 4 edition that featured new co-hosts Michael Irvin, Keyshawn Johnson, and Richard Sherman and took place after the University of Colorado’s win over TCU, and the Monday, Jan. 15 edition following another Dallas Cowboys playoff loss, this time a blowout at the hands of the Green Bay Packers. Its viewers were likely there to revel in Bayless’ misery as a vocal Cowboys fan. For perspective, First Take enjoyed its most-watched episode ever on Jan. 15 with an average of 1.5 million viewers.

The show routinely averaged near or over 200,000 viewers but saw a sudden decline once co-host Shannon Sharpe left the show following last year’s NBA Finals. Sharpe then joined First Take, which saw its most-watched year ever in 2023, averaging almost 500,000 viewers per episode, and hasn’t slowed down at all.

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Minnesota Twins Add Former Outfielder Denard Span to Rotating Group of Analysts

Span played 11 years in the major leagues, started his career with the Twins, and will now join the Bally Sports North rotation of analysts for Twins games.

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Former Twins outfield Denard Span making a catch
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Minnesota Twins broadcaster Bally Sports North is adding another baseball alumnus to its airwaves. According to The Athletic’s Twins beat reporter Aaron Gleeman, Denard Span will join the Bally Sports North rotation of analysts for the 2024 MLB season.

Span played 11 years in the major leagues and started his career with the Twins. After five years in Minnesota, he left for the Nationals, where he had perhaps his best statistical season in 2014. He went on to play for the Giants, Rays, and Mariners before retiring after the 2018 season.

Bally Sports North’s analysis desk includes Hall of Famer Justin Morneau, former World Series champ Roy Smalley, along with former Twins LaTroy Hawkins, Glen Perkins, and Trevor Plouffe. The analysts will call games alongside play-by-play man Cory Provus, who will move from radio to television full-time this season. The guys will be joined by Audra Martin and Katie Storm, who will provide on-field reporting.

According to KTTC, Provus is a three-time winner of Minnesota Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sports Media Association and before joining the Twins, spent three seasons in Milwaukee where he did play-by-play with Hall of Famer Bob Uecker.

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