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Mendoza Shines During ESPN Game

Jason Barrett

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Sunday night’s game between the Cubs and Dodgers would have been historic even had Jake Arrieta not thrown a no-hitter and regardless of the circumstances that resulted in Jessica Mendoza being on the air for ESPN alongside Dan Shulman and John Kruk on the network’s signature baseball broadcast.

Simply being in that position, making history as the first woman on that high profile of a production, Mendoza encapsulated the American dream, at a time when the leading candidate for a major political party’s presidential nomination is parading around in a silly hat that says “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN” and proposing the erection of a wall to keep out foreigners.

America already is great, which is the reason that people want to come here in the first place. People come to America to find a better life for themselves and better opportunities for future generations of their families.

Mendoza is a second-generation Mexican-American. She has a master’s degree from Stanford, has been president of the Women’s Sports Foundation and wound up making history in a male-dominated profession. No matter what you think of the chain of events that resulted in her being in that booth at Dodger Stadium on Sunday night, the fact she was there should be an inspiration to anyone who loves this country and what it represents.

And for those who say “stick to sports,” well, sports often turns out to be a forum for American culture, going from Jackie Robinson to the Women’s World Cup this summer. So, there absolutely is room in sports to talk both about Schilling’s social media presence and Mendoza popping through a glass ceiling.

As it turned out, Mendoza wasn’t just there. She was excellent. For that matter, so were Shulman and Kruk in calling the no-hitter. It was a broadcast for ESPN to be proud of, all around. If the best advice you can get is “be yourself,” everyone lived up to it. Shulman showed off his play-by-play chops, Kruk thrived making points about the ins and outs of the game without fear of mockery for his sometimes clumsy way of getting to those points and Mendoza expertly broke down inside-the-game elements like pitch sequencing and the science of hitting.

Here she is talking about Dexter Fowler’s single up the middle in the eighth inning: “Fowler just has a good approach. That’s three different pitchers that he’s faced, and all he’s doing is trying to simplify and let this ball get to his back leg. This is something so hard to do as a hitter, because your impatience wants you to get it out in front, but you watch how he lets this ball get back and because of that he’s able to hit it right up the middle. All of his hits tonight coming middle to opposite field.”

Kruk follows up with this: “I think that’s where Dexter Fowler gets in trouble. He gets home run happy, and he tries to pull balls, get out in front of balls and he doesn’t stay back like that. His game to me, even though he has 14 home runs, is get on, create havoc with your legs, hit the ball to all fields.”

This is how a two-analyst setup should work, with the voices complementing each other. In this case, Mendoza has the more cerebral part of the breakdown, while Kruk talks about the mindset required to properly execute those elements of the game. Simply putting a hitter and a pitcher together to “capture both sides of the game” does not get the job done. The voices need to build off of each other, and that is what happened here.

To read the rest of the story visit the Sporting News where it was originally published

Sports TV News

The NFL Still Considering Multiple Offers For Sunday Ticket

The NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has not bid for the package but has stated it is willing to partner with the new rightsholder for a potential deal.

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Sunday Ticket Negotiations

DirecTV currently has the rights to Sunday Ticket. That deal expires at the end of this upcoming football season. The NFL is expected to make a boatload of cash when they decide which media organization gets the next rights to the package. The only question is… who will that be?

Alex Sherman of CNBC reports that the NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has decided not bid for the package. However, they are interested in partnering with the new rightsholder for a potential deal. DirecTV knows that Sunday Ticket is a staple in bars and restaurants and is interested in maintaining those relationships.

Outside of the bar/restaurant industry, success has been limited for the satellite provider with the football package. Fewer than two million subscribers signed up for Sunday Ticket each year which made the package a money-loser for the satellite TV provider.

According to the report, the NFL wants more than $2 billion for the rights and a stake in NFL Media, which is being packaged with Sunday Ticket. Also on the table is the NFL’s mobile rights. The league’s previous mobile agreement with Verizon has ended.

An interesting piece of the negotiations is Sunday Ticket price. According to the report, a buyer would have limited flexibility on pricing. The NFL signed contracts with CBS and Fox and within the framework of those deals, language mandates Sunday Ticket have a premium price. That’s to prevent loss of viewers from the networks that feature local market Sunday afternoon games. So essentially, the price is the price for the consumer.

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Sports TV News

F1 Renews With ESPN For U.S. Media Rights

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

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F1 ESPN

The racing series F1 has decided to stick with ESPN through 2025.

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

The reported value of the three-year contract is set to pay F1 $75-90M per year for the U.S. media rights. Amazon had offered to pay roughly $100M per year, with the right to sublicense to a linear broadcast network. Comcast’s offer was similar to ESPN’s in terms of value and the structure. They also wanted to put select races on it’s streaming service, Peacock.

Netflix was in on the negotiations, as well. The makers of Drive to Survive, the streaming series that many credit with the sport’s explosion in popularity in recent years, wasn’t close on on their financial offer. Also, it seems F1 executives were not ready to put all of its races on a streaming service just yet.

Currently, F1 receives $5M per year for ESPN to broadcast it’s races. ESPN has grabbed about 1.0 million viewers per race. That makes F1 a more than viable option for the network to invest into again. ESPN will be able to put a small number of races on its ESPN+ streaming service exclusively. The vast majority being on ABC or ESPN.

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Sports TV News

Skip Bayless Says He And Stephen A. Smith ‘Sorted Out’ Their Disagreement

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

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Skip Bayless

Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless were locked in a war of words last week following the First Take host’s appearance on JJ Redick’s Old Man and the Three podcast.

The origins of their partnership were discussed and Bayless admitted he did not like the way Smith characterized the state of First Take before he arrived on set. Smith insisted that Bayless simply misunderstood what he meant by saying that he was told the show needed him.

Over the weekend, Skip Bayless says he and Stephen A. Smith got together at the Bayless home in California to talk things out in private.

“He was in LA, he came over, we sat by the pool,” he said on the latest episode of The Skip Bayless Show. “It wasn’t the easiest conversation for a while, but we slowly but surely sorted it out. We got through it, and we have been through so much together.”

Bayless reiterated that he considers Smith a brother. They love each other. That doesn’t mean they are always going to remember events the same way or see eye-to-eye all the time.

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

Fighting doesn’t mean the relationship is fractured. In fact, Skip Bayless was adamant that he remains closer to Smith than he is to most people in his life.

“I don’t trust easily because of the way I was raised, but I do trust Stephen Anthony Smith. Trust him with my life. Always have and always will. I trust he will always be there for me, and you better believe I will always be there for him.”

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