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The Et Cetera of Sports Media is back for 2 hits this month as later this month we will have the NFL/College Football Analyst Crews, but for right now the Olympics and other changes below. Lets take a look below.
NBC Olympics Commentators Roster, a record from NBC at 170
Bob Costas leads a record 170 NBC Olympics commentators – the most ever for an Olympics – as NBCUniversal presents coverage of the Games of the XXXI Olympiad from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil across NBC, NBCSN, Bravo, CNBC, Golf Channel, MSNBC, USA Network, TELEMUNDO, NBC UNIVERSO, the NBC Sports app, and NBCOlympics.com.
The Opening Ceremony of the 2016 Rio Olympics is this Friday, August 5 on NBC. Matt Lauer, co-anchor of TODAY, Meredith Vieira, special correspondent for TODAY, and Hoda Kotb, co-host of the fourth hour of TODAY, will host the Opening Ceremony.
More than 40 members of the team will be making their NBC Olympics debuts, led by NBC Sports Group’s Mike Tirico and Golf Channel’s David Feherty.
NBC Sports Group presents expanded coverage of the Rio Games, including golf returning to the Olympics for the first time since 1904. The overall talent lineup features the return of many of the network’s signature Olympic hosts, play-by-play commentators and analysts with Olympic experience.
NBC Olympics commentator notes:
- The roster includes Olympians who have won a combined total of 63 Olympic medals (30 gold, 21 silver, and 12 bronze). Team NBC would have finished fifth in the London medal count ahead of Germany and behind Team USA, China, Russia and Great Britain.
- Bob Costas, a 27-time Emmy Award winner, serves as NBC’s primetime host; Al Michaels andMike Tirico will serve as hosts during NBC’s daytime coverage on weekdays and weekends. Dan Patrick and Rebecca Lowe will work across both NBC and NBCSN. Liam McHugh and Carolyn Manno will handle NBCSN hosting duties. Ryan Seacrest will serve as host for NBC’s late night coverage.
- Rio 2016 will be Matt Lauer’s 11th Olympics for TODAY, and his fifth in a role on the primetime Opening Ceremony broadcast. Meredith Vieira works her third Opening Ceremony for NBC. Hoda Kotb previously worked at multiple Olympics for NBC News including in Athens (2004), Torino (2006), Beijing (2008) and London (2012).
- Among the Olympians on Team NBC: Four-time Trinidad and Tobago Olympic track and field medalist Ato Boldon, 2008 U.S. Olympic gymnastics gold medalist Nastia Liukin, two-time U.S. Olympic gymnastics medalist Tim Daggett, three-time U.S. Olympic swimming gold medalist Rowdy Gaines, four-time U.S. Olympic track gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross, two-time U.S. Olympic women’s soccer gold medalists Kate Markgraf and Angela Hucles, U.S. Olympic women’s soccer silver medalist Danielle Slaton,S. Olympic volleyball gold medalistsPaul Sunderland and Chris Marlowe, two-time U.S. Olympic wrestling gold medalist John Smith, three-time U.S Olympic rowing medalist Mary Whipple, two-time U.S. Olympic basketball gold medalist Swin Cash, U.S. Olympic diving gold medalist Laura Wilkinson, U.S. Olympic beach volleyball gold medalist Dain Blanton, U.S. Olympic equestrian gold medalist Melanie Smith-Taylor, U.S. Olympic synchronized swimming gold medalist Heather Olson, 2012 U.S. Olympic decathlon silver medalist Trey Hardee, 1998 U.S. Olympic figure skating gold medalist Tara Lipinski, two-time U.S. Olympic ice hockey medalist AJ Mleczko, and 2006 U.S. Olympic ice dance silver medalist Tanith White.
- The 170 commentators will work coverage on NBCU platforms – NBC, NBCSN, Bravo, CNBC, Golf Channel, MSNBC, USA Network, the NBC Sports app, and NBCOlympics.com – the most in-depth coverage in Summer Olympics history. TELEMUNDO and NBC UNIVERSO commentators will be announced in the coming weeks.
FOLLOWING IS A RUNDOWN OF NBC OLYMPICS’ ON-AIR & DIGITAL TEAM:
NBC & NBCSN HOSTS:
- BOB COSTAS: Costas serves as NBC’s primetime Olympic host for a U.S. television record 11th time when the world’s top athletes gather for the Games of the XXXI Olympiad. He has served as primetime host for every Olympics on NBC since 1992, including the 2012 London Games, which is the most-watched television event in U.S. history, reaching 217 million viewers. The Rio assignment is Costas’ seventh as primetime host of a Summer Games – also the most in U.S. television history. This will be Costas’ 12th Olympics for NBC, as he served as NBC’s late night host at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
- AL MICHAELS: Michaels works his fourth consecutive Games for NBC Olympics after serving in a similar hosting capacity in Sochi (2014), London (2012), and Vancouver (2010). One of the most renowned commentators of all-time, Michaels’ legendary “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!” call at the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics stands as one of the most famous calls in sports history.
- MIKE TIRICO: Tirico makes his NBC Olympics debut, serving as a daytime NBC host. Two summers ago, he served as a host of ESPN’s 2014 FIFA World Cup coverage from Brazil.
- DAN PATRICK: Patrick handles his fourth NBC Olympics assignment. He previously hosted daytime coverage at the 2014 Sochi Games and the 2012 London Olympics, and served as a reporter in Vancouver in 2010.
- REBECCA LOWE: Lowe serves as an NBC Olympics host for the second time, after making her debut in Sochi in 2014. The 2016-17 season will mark Lowe’s fourth season as host of NBC Sports Group’s exclusive Premier League coverage in the U.S.
- LIAM MCHUGH: McHugh returns to NBC Olympics in a hosting role for the third time. He previously was host of the Olympic hockey coverage at the 2014 Sochi Games and served as an anchor of NBCSN’s coverage in London in 2012.
- CAROLYN MANNO: Manno makes her NBC Olympics hosting debut in Rio. She previously served as a freestyle skiing reporter at the 2014 Sochi Games, and was a sportsdesk reporter at the 2012 London Olympics. Manno also worked as a studio host during the 2014 Sochi Paralympics.
- RYAN SEACREST: Seacrest will serve as host for NBC’s late night coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Seacrest was a correspondent for NBC’s coverage of the 2012 London Games, during which he interviewed U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps and was one of the hosts of the Closing Ceremony.
- MARY CARILLO: Rio marks Carillo’s 13thOlympic assignment overall and 10th for NBC. She spent nearly three weeks traversing Brazil to film her travelogues, which have been a fundamental part of introducing the people, culture, and history of the host country and city to the U.S. television audience since the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Carillo also served as a correspondent for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and was the host and interviewer for a primetime 20-year retrospective documentary about Olympic figure skaters Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding. She was late night host and correspondent at the 2012 London Olympics, 2010 Vancouver Olympics and 2008 Beijing Olympics.
- JIMMY ROBERTS: A 13-time Emmy Award-winning broadcaster and writer, Roberts will reprise his role reporting on the stories of the Games, his 16thOlympic assignment. He has reported on “Ping Pong Diplomacy” in Beijing, Bode Miller in Vancouver, changes to Wimbledon for the Olympics in London, and hockey in Russia from Sochi.
- DAVID FEHERTY: Feherty will offer commentary on NBC’s primetime coverage, as well on other shows and platforms. He will also contribute to NBC’s Opening Ceremony coverage on August 5. In addition to his correspondent role in Rio, Feherty will serve as an on-course reporter and tower analyst during the men’s golf competition (August 11-14, Golf Channel), and contribute to Golf Channel’s Live From the Olympics coverage of both the men’s and women’s competitions.
- TOM BROKAW: One of the most respected and distinguished news anchors in television history, Brokaw will present features on the history of man along the famed Amazon River, which flows through northern Brazil, and the Gaucho cowboy lifestyle – a bit of the American West in the Brazilian Southeast. Brokaw has a long history of contributing special stories to NBC’s Olympic coverage.
- HODA KOTB: In addition to her Opening Ceremony role, Kotb will serve as a correspondent, providing her unique brand of conversation, commentary and insight into the sights, sounds and happenings in Rio.
- BELA KAROLYI: Karolyi, the gymnastics coaching legend, will serve as a correspondent, reprising his role from the 2012 London Olympics and 2008 Beijing Games.
- TARA LIPINSKI AND JOHNNY WEIR: Lipinski and Weir will work together on NBC’s coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, as they explore the rich culture, sights, sounds and, of course, fashion, of Rio. After receiving critical acclaim for their figure skating analysis on NBCSN’s coverage of the 2014 Sochi Games, Lipinski and Weir were named NBC’s lead figure skating commentary team. Lipinski is the youngest individual gold medalist in the history of the Olympic Winter Games, capturing a gold medal at the Nagano Olympics in 1998 at the age of 15. Weir is a two-time Olympian, three-time U.S. national champion and World bronze medalist.
- ALESSANDRA AMBROSIO AND ADRIANA LIMA: Ambrosio and Lima will present features and offer commentary on the Olympics in their native Brazil during NBC’s late night coverage, hosted by Ryan Seacrest at NBC Olympics’ Copacabana Beach studio. They will also contribute to NBC Olympics’ coverage across various networks and platforms.
REPORTERS: NBC Olympics’ reporters will cover various venues and locations throughout the Games, and will contribute to features on a variety of platforms including The Olympic Zone – a nightly 30-minute show that airs on NBC affiliates. The reporters, all based in Rio, include: NBC News correspondents Anne Thompson, Craig Melvin, Gadi Schwartz, and Jill Martin, along with NBC Sports Group’s Rutledge Wood (NASCAR features reporter), Alex Flanagan, Dalen Cuff (CSN New England anchor and reporter), and Dhani Jones, the former NFL linebacker who is a host of the NBC primetime hit Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge. Jac Collinsworth joins the team in Rio as NBC Olympics’ first-ever social media correspondent. He’ll interview athletes, NBC analysts and give a behind the scenes look at the Rio Games.
BRAVO, USA NETWORK, CNBC, MSNBC HOSTS: Dave Briggs (Bravo/Tennis), Ahmed Fareed(USA Network), Brett Haber (Bravo/Tennis), Fred Roggin (CNBC) and Rob Simmelkjaer (MSNBC) will serve as hosts for NBC Olympics coverage of the Rio Olympics from NBC Sports Group’s International Broadcast Center in Stamford, Conn. Briggs and Fareed make their Olympic debuts, while Haber returns for his second Olympic assignment, Roggin returns for his ninth, and Simmelkjaer reprises his role from London.
GOLF CHANNEL LIVE FROM THE OLYMPICS: Golf Channel will provide wraparound news coverage immediately prior to and following live coverage of the competition via its Golf Central Live From the Olympics programming. Rich Lerner will host coverage from Rio’s Olympic golf course and will be joined by Nick Faldo (men’s competition) and Karen Stupples (women’s competition). Golf Channel insider Rex Hoggard and Todd Lewis also will provide daily reports and offer interviews with players on-site. Analysts David Duval, Brandel Chamblee, Frank Nobilo,Jim Gallagher Jr., Aaron Oberholser, Paige Mackenzie and reporter Tim Rosaforte will join hosts Ryan Burr and Kelly Tilghman from Golf Channel’s World Headquarters throughout the Olympics.
OLYMPIC NEWS DESK UPDATES: Hosted by Julie Donaldson and Jenna Corrado, Olympic News Desk updates will stream periodically throughout the day on NBCOlympics.com. They will feature the most up-to-date news, competition and highlights, from the day’s events in Rio. Olympic Desk Updates will be produced at NBC Sports Group’s International Broadcast Center in Stamford, Conn.
GYMNASTICS: Five-time Olympic medalist and 2008 Olympic all-around champion Nastia Liukin makes her debut as an NBC Olympics gymnastics analyst in Rio, alongside two-time Olympic medalist Tim Daggett and play-by-play voice Al Trautwig. In addition, coaching legend Bela Karolyi reprises his role with NBC Olympics as a primetime correspondent. Daggett, who has contributed to NBC Olympics’ coverage since the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, works alongside Trautwig for the fifth consecutive Games. Liukin will work her third Olympics with NBC Sports, previously serving as a reporter during NBC Sports Group’s coverage of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, and as an NBCOlympics.com contributor during the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Andrea Joyce returns as a reporter for her ninth Olympics with NBC Sports Group.
SWIMMING: Dan Hicks calls swimming in Rio alongside analyst and three-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist Rowdy Gaines. Rio marks Hicks and Gaines’ sixth Olympics calling swimming together. NBC’s Sunday Night Football sideline reporter and multiple Emmy Award-winner Michele Tafoya joins Hicks and Gaines in Rio, working her fourth Olympics, and making her debut at the swimming competition.
TRACK & FIELD: Tom Hammond, who has won acclaim for his memorable calls at the last six Summer Olympics, will once again call track & field. Kenny Albert will handle play-by-play duties for track events on NBCSN, making his Summer Olympics debut for NBC after calling Olympic hockey since 2002, and Todd Harris handles play-by-play for field events – his fifth Olympic assignment. Ato Boldon returns as an analyst in his fourth Olympic assignment. Lewis Johnsonwill serve as a track and field reporter in his ninth assignment with NBC Olympics. Craig Masback, who worked as a track & field commentator for NBC in Barcelona, Atlanta, Beijing, and London, returns to provide analysis on the men’s marathon and distance races. Tim Hutchings, a former middle-distance runner who represented Great Britain at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, will provide analysis on the marathons. Four-time Olympic gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross and 2012 Olympic decathlon silver medalist Trey Hardee make their NBC Olympics debuts as analysts.
DIVING: Ted Robinson, working his seventh Olympics, will handle play-by-play for diving coverage. Cynthia Potter, who made three Olympic teams and won bronze in 1976, returns as analyst, a role she’s handled for NBC since the 1992 Games. Olympic gold medalist Laura Wilkinson will serve as an on-deck analyst, and Kelli Stavast will serve as a reporter in their debuts with NBC Olympics.
BEACH VOLLEYBALL: Chris Marlowe won a gold medal as captain of the 1984 U.S. Olympic volleyball team, and will return to handle beach volleyball play-by-play for his seventh Olympics as an NBC commentator. Marlowe will split play-by-play duties with Jason Knapp, making his second Olympic appearance. Beach volleyball Olympian Kevin Wong returns for his second Olympic assignment as an analyst, joined by analyst and Olympic gold medalist Dain Blanton, who makes his NBC Olympics debut, and reporter Kathryn Tappen, in her Summer Olympics debut after hosting hockey in Sochi.
VOLLEYBALL: Paul Sunderland, a member of the gold medal-winning U.S. volleyball team at the 1984 Olympics, returns to call indoor volleyball, a role he’s held for NBC Olympics in Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney, Beijing, and London. He is joined by two-time Olympian Kevin Barnett, in his third Olympic assignment, and reporter Heather Cox, working her fourth Summer Games for NBC Olympics.
BASKETBALL: Legendary basketball play-by-play broadcaster Marv Albert returns to the Olympics to call Team USA men’s basketball for the first time since the U.S. men captured gold in Atlanta in 1996. He will be joined by former NBA head coach and 1972 U.S. Olympian Doug Collins, and reporter Ros Gold-Onwude, who works Golden State Warriors telecasts for CSN Bay Area. The 2016 Rio Olympics mark Albert’s fifth NBC Olympics assignment and third calling men’s basketball. Collins takes on his fourth Olympic broadcasting assignment.
Coverage of Team USA women’s basketball will be handled by CSN-Philadelphia’s Marc Zumoff(play-by-play) and 1976 U.S. Olympian Ann Meyers (analyst). They will be joined by reporter Kerith Burke, an anchor and reporter for SNY who also covers University of Connecticut men’s and women’s basketball. Zumoff, the play-by-play voice of the Philadelphia 76ers since 1994, makes his Olympics debut. Meyers, a 1993 inductee into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and a silver medalist as a member of the first-ever U.S. Women’s Olympic Basketball Team (1976), works her fifth consecutive Summer Games for NBC. Gold-Onwude, who competed in three Final Fours and was 2010 Pac-12 Co-Defensive Player of the Year while playing for Stanford, makes her Olympics debut.
GOLF: Johnny Miller, World Golf Hall-of-Famer and NBC analyst of more than 25 years will lead the network’s live tournament coverage of the men’s competition, rotating lead analyst roles with six-time major champion and Hall-of-Famer Nick Faldo in the 18th tower. David Feherty, Emmy-nominated sports personality and longtime golf broadcaster, will split time as a tower analyst and on-course reporter, and Peter Jacobsen will serve as a second tower analyst. Roger Maltbie andCurt Byrum will offer insight from inside the ropes as on-course reporters along with Feherty. Veteran NBC Olympic personalities Terry Gannon and Steve Sands will join Miller and Faldo in the broadcast booth, rotating play-by-play duties. Todd Lewis will serve as a reporter and conduct player interviews.
Gannon and Sands also will handle play-by-play during the women’s competition, where they’ll be Hall-of-Famer, 10-time major champion and winner of 72 tournaments on the LPGA Tour, Annika Sorenstam. Byrum also will join the 18th tower as an analyst, while Tom Abbott will be positioned as a tower analyst. Jerry Foltz and Kay Cockerill will serve as on-course reporters. Karen Stupples also will contribute to Golf Channel’s live tournament coverage as an analyst, and Lewis will conduct player interviews.
SOCCER: NBC Sports Group’s lead Premier League play-by-play announcer Arlo White returns to the Olympics to call Team USA women’s soccer in Rio, alongside analyst and two-time U.S. Olympic women’s soccer gold medalist Kate Markgraf. White and Markgraf, working their second Olympics for NBC, will be joined by CSN Mid-Atlantic reporter Sebastian Salazar, who makes his Olympic debut.
Steve Bower, Steve Cangialosi, and Mark Followill will handle play-by-play duties from NBC Sports Group’s International Broadcast Center in Stamford, Conn., joined by men’s soccer analystsRobbie Earle, Kyle Martino, Robbie Mustoe and Stuart Holden. U.S. Olympic silver medalistDanielle Slaton makes her debut as a women’s soccer analyst and two-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist Angela Hucles returns for her second Summer Games as a soccer analyst.
WATER POLO: Paul Burmeister will serve as the water polo play-by-play announcer in his NBC Olympics debut. He is joined by Wolf Wigo, a three-time Olympian and former captain of U.S. men’s water polo team, and Julie Swail, former captain of the U.S. women’s water polo team that earned the silver medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Swail made her NBC Olympics debut as a water polo analyst in Athens in 2004. In 2008, she competed in the triathlon at the Beijing Olympics. She will also reprise her role as the analyst for the triathlon competition. NBC Sports Group’s NHL “Inside the Glass” analyst Pierre McGuire will serve as a water polo reporter in his fourth Olympic assignment.
BOXING: Play-by-play voice Kenny Rice returns to call boxing after making his Olympic debut with NBC Sports Group as a boxing reporter at the 2004 Athens Games. He will be joined by analystB.J. Flores and reporter Chris Mannix.
WRESTLING: Jason Knapp will serve as the wrestling play-by-play announcer after making his Olympic debut in the same role in London. John Smith, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and four-time world champion, makes his Olympic commentating debut as an analyst in Rio.
More on the Sport by Sport breakdown click here for it.
Tom Jackson resigns from ESPN
The report from Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News that Tom Jackson will leave ESPN provided some wiggle room for the veteran analyst to return to Sunday NFL Countdown for what would be his 30th season. Multiple industry sources tell PFT that the decision has been made: Jackson won’t be coming back.
As one source explained it, ESPN’s decision to bring back Trent Dilfer after his contract had expired and it appeared he would leaving arose in part from Jackson’s decision to leave.
Jackson had long been regarded as being tied at the hip with on-air partner Chris Berman. With Berman reportedly entering his last year at ESPN, it’s somewhat odd that Jackson wouldn’t want to do a victory lap with Berman.
Unless, of course, that victory lap will be all about Berman and/or consist of Berman complaining about the fact that ESPN management has apparently nudged him out.
Heather Cox leaves ESPN for NBC
She’s had some high profile assignments for ESPN as sideline reporter for ABC’s Saturday Night Football and on the NBA. Now she’s leaving for NBC where she will be the sideline reporter for Thursday Night Football and join her fellow former ESPN’er Mike Tirico who will call the games. Cox’s departure from the Worldwide Leader was reported back in May, but the deal was not made official until today.
Cox will make her Peacock debut during the Olympics. She’ll be the reporter for the indoor volleyball competition. Cox is not totally unfamiliar with NBC as she has covered Olympic beach volleyball in Athens, Beijing and London. In Rio, Cox will be the reporter for indoor volleyball.
In addition to working on the Olympics and Thursday Night Football, Cox will cover select events for Golf Channel and will also be assigned to other major events produced by NBC Sports.
Of course we have a quote from Heather in the official announcement:
“I am excited to join NBC Sports Group and can’t wait to travel to Rio,” Cox said. “I have always valued my Olympic relationship with NBC, and I’m thrilled to extend that full-time to the NFL, Football Night in America, golf and many more events in NBC’s deep portfolio.”
NBC Sports Executive Producer Sam Flood is quoted as well:
“We are excited to add Heather, a big-game reporter, to our Thursday Night Football team,” said Sam Flood, Executive Producer of NBC Sports. “She did an excellent job at three previous Summer Games with NBC, and appropriately, her first assignment is the Rio Olympics.”
Cox worked at ESPN from 1994 through this year. Among her duties besides college football and the NBA at the Worldwide Leader, she covered the WNBA, women’s college basketball, golf’s U.S. Women’s Open and NCAA Championships.
Cox is one of the better sideline reporters. She doesn’t ask clichéd questions (How do you feel/Talk about/What was on your mind) and listens to the answers for follow ups. With NBC’s bit event portfolio, expect to see Cox when NBC has the Super Bowl in 2018 and on future Olympics.
Molly McGrath leaves FOX Sports for ESPN
With the 2016 college football season fast-approaching, ESPN has hired Molly McGrath as a college sports sideline reporter and host. McGrath, who worked at ESPN in 2011 as a production assistant, returns to the company to be a sideline reporter for ESPN’s Friday night college football telecasts and will also host College Football Live on select days beginning in late August and continuing through the season. McGrath will also be a sideline reporter on ESPN’s 2016-17 college basketball telecasts.
“It is great to welcome Molly back to ESPN,” said senior coordinating producer Lee Fitting. “Versatility is one of her many strengths that will be on display throughout the college football and basketball seasons. She immediately makes our college sports coverage better and we look forward to working with her for years to come.”
During her first tenure with ESPN, the San Francisco native learned the ins-and-outs of a national media outlet, working behind the scenes on SportsCenter and a variety of other studio shows. Her duties included logging play-by-play of sporting events, writing shot sheets and producing highlights.
“I am thrilled to bring my career full circle as I return to the ESPN family,” said McGrath. “Over the last five years, I have worked extremely hard to put myself in a position to return to ESPN as an on-air commentator. This opportunity will continue to challenge me and elevate my career to the next level.”
McGrath worked for the Boston Celtics as a web and in-arena reporter at the TD Garden while also hosting Celtics Now on Comcast SportsNet New England in 2012 and 2013 before moving to Fox Sports where she continued her hosting and sideline responsibilities, including working on Fox Sports lead college football commentating team and NFL games.
McGrath graduated from Boston College in 2011. While in school, she began her media career interning for NESN and WHDH-TV in Boston and also received the Athletic Director’s Award for Academic Excellence from Boston College.
Shannon Spake leaves ESPN for FOX Sports
FOX Sports announces the addition of veteran sports reporter Shannon Spake, who joins the network as a sideline reporter for its college football and college basketball coverage and serves as a member of its NASCAR broadcast team on pit road and in the NASCAR RACE HUB studio. Spake also will report from the sidelines for select FOX NFL broadcasts.
Spake makes her return to FOX Sports during the 2016 college football season, joining the network’s lead college football broadcast team of play-by-play announcer Gus Johnson and analyst Joel Klatt.
Spake’s move to FOX after several years with ESPN represents a “homecoming” for the reporter, who worked for FOX Sports’ SPEED a little more than a decade ago. Beginning in 2005, she reported for SPEED’s NASCAR Nation, co-hosted Backseat Drivers and reported from the NASCAR garage during the network’s coverage of the 2006 Daytona SpeedWeeks.
“Bringing Shannon back into the FOX Sports fold is the next step in ensuring our on-air teams are second-to-none,” said John Entz, EVP, Production & Executive Producer, FOX Sports. “Since her days with SPEED, we proudly have watched her become one of the preeminent reporters on the college sidelines today — one with the unique ability to transition seamlessly to the NASCAR garage. Shannon will be a huge complement to all our broadcast teams.”
Prior to joining FOX Sports, Spake served in multiple roles at ESPN, beginning in 2006. She most recently was a sideline reporter for Saturday college football games and select Bowl games, including a New Year’s Six Bowl. She served as a sideline reporter for ESPN’s Saturday Primetime and Super Tuesday SEC college basketball telecasts. She also worked the 2015 NBA Draft and covered multiple NCAA men’s basketball tournaments and Final Four championships for SportsCenter. Spake also was tasked with pit reporting for ESPN and ABC’s NASCAR coverage and offered reports on NASCAR and college sports for SportsCenter. Additionally, she hosted and reported for NASCAR Now on ESPN2.
“I am thrilled to return to the network that gave me my first opportunity in sports broadcasting,” Spake said. “I have always pushed for diversity in my career — to contribute across multiple platforms while covering a variety of sports — and FOX Sports has given me an amazing opportunity to continue to do that.”
In 2003, Spake was hired as a reporter and producer for WCCB-TV, the FOX affiliate in Charlotte, N.C. The following year, she joined the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats (now Hornets) to report and produce for C-SET, the team’s regional sports network.
In 1999, Spake interned for Neil Rogers Show on Miami’s WQAM prior to moving to New York City in 2000 to join Nickelodeon as assistant coordinator of on-air promotions. Starting in 2000, she spent two years at CBS – including one at The Early Show as an associate producer. While there, Spake covered historic events such as the 2000 presidential election and the September 11th attacks. She worked as a production assistant on Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel on HBO in 2003 and performed freelance production work for several specialty television projects, including the MTV Video Music Awards, VH-1 Fashion Awards, CBS’ The NFL Today and boxing on HBO.
ACC Network to launch next year via Digital, TV Network in 2019
The ACC finally got what it was looking for, a TV network, and with it, a new TV contract that has been extended to the 2035-36 season. The story first surfaced in the Raleigh News & Observer which first discussed an over the top digital platform. But then as the story developed, we learned that this was going to be a two-pronged approach: an online network called “ACC Network Plus” which will be seen on the WatchESPN platform and then the linear TV network which will begin operation in 2019.
ESPN’s deals for the SEC Network and Longhorn Network had to be negotiated with the major pay TV providers over the last few years. With those agreements locked in place for several years, bringing an ACC Network into place now would leave it out in the cold so by launching it in 2019 when several contracts are up for renewal, ESPN through its owner, Disney can work on bundling the ACC Network with the other ESPN Family of Networks in hopes of avoiding disputes and preventing customers from missing the launch.
When the ACC signed with ESPN in 2011, the conference’s presidents and athletic directors had been optimistic that a TV network would be coming. But ESPN was hesitant. There was the worry over cord cutting, reduced costs and there was also an alleged penalty payment hanging over ESPN’s head if a network wasn’t in the cards by 2017. But as talks between the Alleged Worldwide Leader and the conference progressed, optimism grew not just among the conference’s AD’s, but also ACC President John Swofford who danced around reporters questions, but did make it sound that a TV network was getting closer to fruition earlier this year.
ESPN’s Brett McMurphy says the extension of the network’s rights with the ACC for another 20 years now makes it extremely tough for a school to leave for another conference and strengthens ties with Notre Dame which is in league for all sports except for football:
The conference’s grant of rights makes it untenable financially for a school to leave, guaranteeing in the 20 years of the deal that a school’s media rights, including revenue, for all home games would remain with the ACC regardless of the school’s affiliation.
The ACC’s new grant of rights also automatically extends Notre Dame’s contract with the conference as a member in all sports but football through 2035-36, a source said. If the Irish forgo football independence in the next 20 years, they are contracted to join the ACC.
So ESPN has locked the ACC and SEC into long-term contracts and controls both the digital rights and league TV networks ensuring content from two of the major BCS conferences well into the 2030’s. And it allows the ACC to keep up with the Big Ten and SEC, the two richest college conferences.
And it leaves the Big 12, the only major conference without a TV network and puts pressure on that league to get one into place. We’ll see what happens as the college sports landscape continues to change.
More Media news via SI’s Richard Deitsch SI Media Podcast with SBJ John Ourand with the news above & more
Like I said Above, we will back later this month with another Et Cetera of Sports for the NFL & College Football Announcing Crews for the 2016 Season.