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ESPN Not Locked Into Any Particular Format With Lead NBA Broadcast Booth

“We’re going to look at everything.”

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NBA on ESPN – NYC Sign

Earlier in the week, JJ Redick was officially introduced as the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers in a press conference. Redick was added to the lead NBA on ESPN broadcasting booth following the departure of Doc Rivers during the regular season to become the new head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks. Entering the season, Redick was part of another broadcast team with Ryan Ruocco and Richard Jefferson. Burke Magnus, the president of content at ESPN, recently sat for an interview on the Sports Media with Richard Deitsch podcast and outlined the situation that took place over the last year.

Magnus acknowledged that it was difficult to let go of Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson, who had worked alongside Mike Breen to form a trio that called 15 NBA Finals together. Looking back at the decision ESPN made, he believes they revamped the NBA on ESPN team in an innovative manner and had its best studio show in many years. Rivers’ departure, which came after he gave the network a three-year commitment and signed a contract where it was written that he was not going to return to coaching, presented a challenge for ESPN within the year.

“I thought JJ really stepped up and filled in at a very high level,” Magnus said. “By the way, if he ever wants to come back and be a broadcaster after coaching, I think we all know; I think the world knows now that he’s a great basketball mind, and he certainly has a bright future in our world if he ever finds himself in it again.”

ESPN has utilized a three-person broadcast booth for the NBA Finals in every year since 2014; however, it is not a construction towards which the network needs to adhere going forward. While Magnus acknowledged that Breen, Jackson and Van Gundy executed the games at a very high level for a sustained period of time, the network is not necessarily tied to the idea. Magnus conveyed that it depends on the personalities that are involved as it pertains to how many people are involved in the broadcast booth.

“We’re going to look at everything,” Magnus said. “I mean, with the only exception – I’ll give you this breaking news right now – Mike Breen’s not going anywhere, right, so that position is filled and now we have to work, and Mike will have a seat at the table in that conversation too because chemistry is an enormous part of it, so no, we’re not locked into any particular format there.”

The NBA is reportedly formalizing media rights contracts with The Walt Disney Company (ESPN/ABC), NBCUniversal and Amazon’s Prime Video, according to Tom Friend of Sports Business Journal. While no announcement has been made at the moment, the deals are reportedly expected to be worth $76 billion collectively over the term of the agreement. Magnus discussed the NBA on ESPN earlier in the podcast, conveying that the network feels good about its position within the negotiating process.

“Obviously I can’t confirm anything, which probably doesn’t surprise you at all, but I can say that the team has been working really, really diligently over a long period of time at this point, and based on the existing relationship that we have with the NBA over many years and also the current state of it, which I would say is very, very good and strong, positive, productive, great two-way street, great collaboration with Adam and his team,” Magnus said. “We feel relatively confident about our future with the league as they work to finalize everything with all of their partners.”

Magnus stated that he recently read that it has been nearly two months of saying that the deals will be complete in two weeks. As everyone awaits a resolution, there are still questions surrounding the breadth of the matching rights clause within Warner Bros. Discovery’s contract and how it could be used to attempt to potentially keep the NBA intact. ESPN reportedly came to a handshake agreement on a deal during the 90-day exclusive negotiating window for incumbent rightsholders, which, if finalized, would extend its media rights with the league that resumed in 2002.

“I don’t know – it’s no secret they have a lot of things to work out with various facets of the deal, many of which don’t impact or involve us, so I know, or at least I’m confident having spent some time with them at Finals and games and playoff games along the way, that they’re just as anxious as the rest of the world and the industry to finalize this so we all can move on.”

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Michael

    June 26, 2024 at 5:58 pm

    ESPN needs to learn it’s standing in sports. They stink, with their ill-placed hiring policies and awful announcing of the NBA in particular. Eduardo Perez and David Cone are just as bad. Especially Cone. Back to the NBA. Mark Evans is the better game caller. I also loves when he works with any of the females on color commentary to explain what just happened, because these women only repeat the replay you are watching. He has stumped Doris multiple times. We need more of this. But more importantly, how about the idea that men call the men’s sports, and women call the women’s sports. And pay them on the ratings. Obviously, I will be villifie. But Senior Management at ESPN wish they could do this. Mike Breen is excellent. But if Doris Burke is put as number 1 option for color/analysis, I definitely do not need to watch ESPN, and won’t. ESPN broke up the money making clan of Breen, Van Gundy and Jackson to cut costs. Wrong cuts. I doubt I’ll be watching ESPN NBAif they pick Richard Jefferson too. He’s to weak.

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Alex Cohen, Voice of the Iowa Cubs, to Make Major League PBP Debut This Weekend

“Thrilled to be on the call for a pair of Cubs games starting this weekend!”

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Photo Courtesy: Alex Cohen on LinkedIn

Alex Cohen, who has been the voice of the Iowa Cubs for the last seven seasons, is getting called up to the big leagues. For the first time ever, Cohen will call Major League Baseball when he fills in for Jon Sciambi on Marquee Sports Network this Sunday. He has also been told he will have a second game on July 19.

“Thrilled to be on the call for a pair of Cubs games starting this weekend!” Cohen posted on his X account. “So appreciative of Marquee Sports Network and the Iowa Cubs for the opportunity. Will wax poetically about it all later, but until then…Thank you all and can’t wait for Sunday in St. Louis and Friday at Wrigley!”

Cohen was named Ballpark Digest’s 2023 Broadcaster of the Year award. He calls all 150 home and road games for the Cubs Triple-A affiliate on AM 940 in Des Moines and does select games on TV as well. Cohen has previously done some Cubs Spring Training games on Marquee as well as 670 The Score.

Cohen also does work for Iowa State and handles many of their broadcasts on ESPN+. In addition to working with Marquee he has also done work for the Big Ten Network.

Cohen is a 2011 graduate of Indiana University who served as the Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations for the Idaho Falls Chukars, the Rookie Affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. He then headed to manage broadcasting and media relations for the Bowling Green Hot Rods, the Single-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays.

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FOX Sports Sets NFL Announcing Teams for 2024

Tom Brady will make his regular season debut with Burkhardt when FOX Sports airs the Dallas Cowboys-Cleveland Browns game on September 8 at 4:25 p.m. ET.

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During this NFL offseason, most of the broadcaster talk has been centered around the arrival of Tom Brady as part of the No. 1 team on FOX Sports with Kevin Burkhardt. Recently it was revealed that Greg Olsen, who had been working with Burkhardt, would be paired with Joe Davis for the upcoming season. Now, based on a report from Andrew Marchand, we know who the rest of the teams will be.

Davis had been working with Daryl Johnston, however ‘Moose’ is now going to be paired with Kevin Kugler. Kugler had previously worked with former NFL quarterback Mark Sanchez, but Sanchez will now be the analyst for Adam Amin.

That means Mark Schlereth will have a new partner as he had been working with Amin. Schlereth will now work with veteran play-by-play announcer Chris Myers. The only team that will stay intact from last season is the pairing of longtime FOX Sports NFL announcer Kenny Albert and Jonathan Vilma.

Tom Brady will make his regular season debut with Burkhardt when FOX Sports airs the Dallas Cowboys-Cleveland Browns game on September 8 at 4:25 p.m. ET.

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NBC Sports Announces Open Championship Coverage Plans

Luke Donald, former World No. 1 and current captain for the European Ryder Cup team, joins Dan Hicks as an analyst for NBC Sports’ coverage of the Open Championship.

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From July 18-21, the 152nd Open Championship at Royal Troon Golf Club in Troon, Scotland will receive extensive live coverage from NBC Sports, Peacock, and USA Network.

Throughout the course of the tournament, NBC Sports will offer over 50 hours of live coverage from Thursday to Sunday, with a total of more than 200 hours from Royal Troon including featured groups, featured holes, and Golf Central Live from The Open studio coverage.

Luke Donald, former World No. 1 and current captain for the European Ryder Cup team, joins Dan Hicks as an analyst for NBC Sports’ coverage of the Open Championship. This will be his second time serving as an analyst with NBC Sports, after previously debuting at the Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches and the Arnold Palmer Invitational earlier this year.

The upcoming tournament will be Mike Tirico’s 26th time broadcasting the Open Championship, and his fourth time at Royal Troon. He first broadcasted the event at this location back in 1997 when Justin Leonard was crowned champion.

The play-by-play pairings for the tournament in addition to Hicks and Donald will be Tirico with Brad Faxon, Terry Gannon and Paul McGinley along with Steve Sands and Notah Begay III.

John Wood, Smylie Kaufman, Jim ‘Bones’ Mackay and Curt Byrum will serve as on-course reporters and Cara Banks will handle player interviews.

NBC Sports will enhance their extensive coverage of the Open Championship with live broadcasts of selected groups on Peacock, featuring two morning and two afternoon groups each day. Peacock will also provide a dedicated feed for the iconic par-3 ‘Postage Stamp’ 8th hole throughout the tournament.

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