Et Cetera of Sports Media#5

Demarus Dye| BKD TV Insiders

The Return of Sports Media review here on BKD TV, that we call Et Cetera of Sports Media, Thanks to Richard Deitsch Media circus stories in & Ken Fangs of Fang’s Bites for assistance in this article.

New NBA TV Deals

David Dow/NBAE/Getty Images Thanks to a new TV deal, NBA games will continue to air on ESPN and TNT through the 2024-25 season.

On Monday, ESPN and Turner Sports extended their marriage with the NBA for nine additional years, meaning ABC, TNT and ESPN will televise NBA games beginning with the 2016-17 season and running through the 2024-25 season. The cost of such matrimony? Multiple outlets (first reported by The New York Times) said the the value of the deal was $24 billion over nine years, making the average yearly payments rising from $930 million to $2.6 billion. Sources told the Sports Business Journal that ESPN will account for about $1.4 billion of the deal per year, and Turner’s payment will average around $1.2 billion. By the end of these new agreements, the NBA will have been in business with Turner for 41 years and ABC/ESPN for to 23 years.

he new media rights agreement has ESPN/ABC televising 100 regular season games (an increase of 10 over the current deal) while Turner will air 64 games (an increase of 12 games). The games will continue to air on Wednesdays (ESPN), Thursdays (TNT), Fridays (ESPN), and Sundays (ABC/ESPN). NBA TV will air games Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Saturday. The NBA Finals will remain on ABC.

Who will replace Steve Kerr on TNT?

Turner Sports, which will soon make the official announcement that Greg Anthony, Grant Hill and Chris Webber will form a three-person rotation as TNT’s top NBA analyst alongside game announcer Marv Albert. That job had been Kerr’s for the past four seasons but Kerr has since moved onto the head coaching position of the Golden State Warriors.

Why the decision to form a rotation as opposed to replacing Kerr with a single broadcaster?

“We have a really deep talent roster and we plan to dig into it and use everybody,” Turner Sports senior vice president Craig Barry told Sports Illustrated last week. “We are in a unique position to be able to work through a rotation with A-grade talent. We are looking at it from a perspective that each guy brings something to the table.”

Barry said that Reggie Miller will continue to pair up with Kevin Harlan on a second announcing team, but Miller could occasionally do games with Albert. Hill and Webber could also work with Harlan in a mix-and-match scenario. Inside The NBA host Charles Barkley will also call some games with Albert and Harlan as well. Barry said the plan is to match analysts based on geography and the matchups of individual games. Turner executives will also make weekly decisions on when a booth should be two or three people.

“This will be a little bit unique because we have time to try out different scenarios and different formulas to see what works,” Barry said. “Marv is a consummate professional and he will have the opportunity to work with different people who have different strengths.”

Barry said he does not consider the three main analysts in a tryout competition for the job next season.

“In the past we had Doug Collins and Steve and they were earmarked for that role,” Barry said. “Now if three months into the season we feel like there is a great chemistry forming with one team or something comes to the surface, we will definitely look at it. But we also will leave the door open for players and coaches next year that might want an opportunity. It keeps us in a place for options, but we are not starving for analysts.”

Regarding the sideline assignments, Barry would not say if Craig Sager would return at the start of the season or at a later date. Sager received treatment for adult acute myeloid leukemia earlier this year and is recuperating at home. (David Aldridge and Rachel Nichols are Turner’s current NBA sideline reporters.). “He’s been through it all,” said Craig Sager Jr., who works as a Falcons beat writer for the Score Atlanta. “Energy level’s come back. Things change fast but I have all the confidence he’s just a few months away.”

“Craig has a place here when he feels better and he is ready to come back to work,” Barry said. “The door is wide open for Craig when he is ready whether it is opening day, three months or six months from now. We support him 100 percent.”

Changes on ESPN College Basketball Gameday & contract extentions or Vitale, Bilas & Hall of Fame Coach Jim Calhoun Joins ESPN.

Jay Bilas has entered a long-term marriage with ESPN. The network announced last week that Bilas had signed a contact extension through the 2022-23 men’s college basketball season. As part of that extension, Bilas will now serve as the top analyst on ESPN’s Saturday night game of the week. He’ll also continue to be part of the College GameDay show and ESPN’s coverage of the NBA draft.

Why did Bilas want to re-sign with ESPN for such an extended period?

“I’ve been with ESPN for 20 years, and the company has been committed to me from the beginning,” Bilas said in an email. “I like to think I’ve been equally committed, and when ESPN made it clear it was willing to commit to me long term, I didn’t hesitate. In my experience, we have great games, we’re committed to basketball and we have great people.  It was a no-brainer for me, and I’m thrilled.”

ESPN college basketball analysts Seth Greenberg and Jay Williams have joined the cast of ESPN College GameDay. Bilas and host Rece Davis are the only holdovers.

Hall of Famer Dick Vitale, one of sport’s most influential and recognizable personalities, has reached a new contract extension with ESPN to continue as a college basketball analyst with the company through 2016-17. Vitale will call some of the season’s top games across ESPN networks, including regular-season action primarily on ESPN and ESPN2 and the Men’s Final Four for ESPN International. The agreement was announced by John Wildhack, ESPN Executive Vice President, Production and Programming.

“Dick is the ultimate ambassador who has always recognized the importance of both educating and entertaining the audience,” Wildhack said. “He puts his heart and soul into everything he does – his work, his life, his family – and we are all better for it.  We are thrilled to have his unmistakable presence on ESPN for years to come.”

Vitale added, “I am just so honored to be at ESPN for over three decades. I am absolutely thrilled, at my relatively young age of 75, ESPN feels I am still passionate enough to talk about a game I love, college basketball.  I am just so grateful to be part of the ESPN family. Without ESPN, there would no Dickie V; there would be no Hall of Fames.  I am forever indebted to them.”

Vitale joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season — just after the network’s September 1979 launch — following a successful coaching career.  He called ESPN’s first-ever major NCAA basketball game – Wisconsin at DePaul on Dec. 5, 1979 (a 90-77 DePaul win).  Since then, he’s called more than a thousand games.

Hall of Fame Coach Jim Calhoun Joins ESPN

Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame Coach Jim Calhoun, who led the University of Connecticut to three NCAA National Championships (1999, 2004, 2011), has joined ESPN as a men’s college basketball analyst. Calhoun will provide expert insight and analysis across ESPN, including studio programming, joining select game telecasts and conducting sit-down interviews with top figures in the game.

Calhoun, along will new college basketball analyst Shane Battier, will first appear on the network from the State Farm Champions Classic – the early-season, neutral-site men’s doubleheader to be played Tuesday, Nov. 18, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The culminating event of the College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon showcases preseason-ranked No. 18 Michigan State vs. No. 2 Duke at 7 p.m., followed by No. 10 Kansas vs. No. 1 Kentucky at 9 p.m., with a special one-hour edition of College GameDay Covered by State Farm at 6 p.m.

CBS New All Female Sports Show debuted September 30

CBS Sports debuts WE NEED TO TALK, the first-ever nationally-televised all-female sports show, debuted on September 30 at 10:00 PM, ET on CBS Sports Network.

Eleven of the 12 WE NEED TO TALK panelists join tonight’s show to discuss sports news from across the country including the latest NFL news, the handling of concussions at the collegiate level and Derek Jeter’s retirement.Lesley Visser, Amy Trask, Tracy Wolfson, Dana Jacobson, Allie LaForce,Andrea Kremer, Laila Ali, Lisa Leslie, Swin Cash and Katrina Adams are all featured in tonight’s premiere episode. In the show’s first season, WE NEED TO TALK airs weekly on Tuesday evenings at 10:00 PM, ET.

WE NEED TO TALK is led by Emmy Award-winning Coordinating Producers Emilie Deutsch and Suzanne Smith. Amy Salmanson and Julie Keryc produce with Smith directing.

Gus Johnson out as FOX lead Soccer Voice (September 14)

This is a patented Deitsch Bomb from Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated. He breaks news that Gus Johnson has stepped down as the #1 voice for soccer. Speaking with Johnson, Deitsch reports several factors came into play in what Johnson and Fox Sports President Eric Shanks are calling a mutual decision.

Johnson told Deitsch that he called Shanks and informed him that he could not give the sport the attention it deserved given his schedule college football and basketball. Johnson said his decision was influenced by the death of his mother due to ovarian cancer and his impending nuptials next year.

He added, “What I realized about calling soccer and especially international soccer, I needed to do 35-40 games just to get my bars up and my chops going. Because of my schedule, I never had a chance to get that kind of experience and work in. I always felt like I was cramming, and I don’t think that’s a good thing. If I am not the best I can be, I did not think it was something I should continue to do.”

Johnson was scheduled to call next year’s Women’s World Cup in Canada and he admitted that he was coming in cold to the women’s side of the sport, “I don’t want to do my company a disservice, and more importantly, I don’t want to do the sport a disservice. I feel more comfortable with the men and learning the women felt like a new language. Down the road if I can get some rest and healing, I am not opposed to going back to do some soccer. Maybe not at the same pace as the No. 1 guy, but I’d love to be on the team.”

When Johnson was named as the number one voice for soccer, it was met with derision by hardcore soccer fans. And while he did improve from his first games, it wasn’t to the level of experienced soccer voices and especially to where he could be considered a lead announcer. While Shanks felt Johnson could get to that level, Gus would have needed plenty of reps on international soccer and MLS which Fox will begin airing next year. However, with Johnson’s schedule of basketball and football games, he would not have been able to reach the heights as an Ian Darke, Martin Tyler, Jon Champion or even an Adrian Healey, Arlo White, Phil Schoen or Derek Rae.

So this leaves Fox with a vacancy. The experienced Tyler immediately comes to mind for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. He has a relationship with Fox through Sky Sports and has called the UEFA Champions League Final for Sky which Fox has picked up before using Johnson on the game.

As for the Women’s World Cup, Deitsch writes that Fox may use a different #1 voice for that event and another for the Men’s WC in ’18.

Right now, Fox does have a little time to find its voice and fill its bench. We’ll see the names as we get closer to the Women’s World Cup qualifiers.

From Awful Announcing Sports Media’s top 10 rising stars on their website–


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