Sports TV News
NBA Countdown Returns; Adds Chauncey Billups
NBA Countdown – ABC’s and ESPN’s NBA pre-game show – will return for the 2015-16 NBA season, beginning with preseason coverage on Wednesday, Oct. 21, at 7:30 p.m. ET. NBA Countdown will then make its regular-season debut during ESPN’s first night of coverage, on Wednesday, Oct. 28, at 7 p.m. NBA Countdown will air throughout the season and NBA Playoffs, concluding with NBA Finals pre-game shows on ABC.
NBA Countdown on Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays
Sage Steele returns for her third season as NBA Countdown host, joining analysts Jalen Roseand Doug Collins – also in their third seasons on the show – to form the Countdown team. The trio will generally appear on pre-game shows prior to NBA on ESPN Friday doubleheaders,Saturday Night NBA on ABC (launching Jan. 23) and NBA Sunday Showcase on ABC(beginning Jan. 31).
“Mr. Big Shot” joins Wednesday NBA Countdown team
Chauncey Billups, who joined ESPN as an analyst during the 2014-15 NBA season, will join the Wednesday edition of NBA Countdown as an analyst, alongside Jalen Rose and Doris Burke, who is in her second season on the show.
Note: NBA Countdown will emanate from ESPN’s Los Angeles Production Center across the street from the Staples Center for the fifth consecutive season.
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
Sports TV News
Jazz Owner: Reaching 40% of Market ‘Not Gonna Fly’ in Next TV Deal
“If you’ve got rabbit ears on your television, you’re going to be able to watch the games.”
The Utah Jazz are looking for a new TV partner and team owner Ryan Smith has a very specific goal in mind. He wants everyone in Utah to be able to see the team’s games on television.
“Right now we’re producing Jazz games to 40% of our market. I stood up publicly and said that’s not gonna fly this next year. We’re going wall to wall in the state, 3 million people. Everyone’s going to have access. If you’ve got rabbit ears on your television, you’re going to be able to watch the games,” he said on the latest edition of Sportsnet’s 32 Thoughts podcast.
The Jazz are one of several teams that have become free agents after WBD Sports decided to shudder the company’s regional networks.
Amidst uncertainty facing the RSN model, multiple teams in the Western United States have chosen to do television deals with local television groups. The Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury will have their games shown across Arizona thanks to a deal with Gray Television. Scripps Sports signed a deal with the Vegas Golden Knights that will have the team’s games on local stations in multiple states.
Smith isn’t just thinking about local television. He wants Jazz fans to be able to stream the team’s games too.
Whatever company ends up in business with the team, it will be the first time the Utah Jazz will be on a new network since 2009. Smith says even if that means taking a hit in revenue, a TV deal that puts the team on more screens is a sound investment.
“That’s super important to me … we’ll figure out how to offset the revenue contract for that another way, but our players and coaches … they’re working way too hard to not have their games be viewed by the masses.”
Sports TV News
Dan Le Batard & Crew Rip Skip Bayless Over Jimmy Butler Report
“Dan if there was a media member who would have released that information, and I gave you one guess, who are you guessing?”
Hot takes are what Skip Bayless does. They may not be popular with everyone, but there is nothing irresponsible about them. The FS1 host dropping private information about Jimmy Butler’s family on an episode of Undisputed is totally different though and crosses a line according to The Dan Le Batard Show crew.
On Monday, Bayless made reference to a health issue in the Butler family to explain Jimmy Butler’s poor shooting performance.
Le Batard, on Tuesday, said it was irresponsible and an invasion of Jimmy Butler’s privacy.
Producer Mike Ryan added that the story was well-known by people that cover the Miami Heat. It had not been reported out of respect for the family.
“I was really surprised that, number one, Skip Bayless had the sources to know what was going on because it’s deeply personal,” he said. “Number two, they went to air with it.”
Stugotz took a bit of a different view. He did not excuse Skip Bayless for revealing the private information. He just did not share the shock his colleagues had.
“I mean, him knowing is one thing and maybe I should be surprised by that,” Stugotz said. “Him using it on the air and unveiling it to the world? We should not be surprised. I’m not saying ‘He’s Skip. No one else is Skip!’ like he’s great. That’s what Skip does.”
Le Batard pushed back saying Skip Bayless may try to shock his audience for ratings, but that is very different than breaching someone’s privacy.
“Dan if there was a media member who would have released that information, and I gave you one guess, who are you guessing?” Stugotz responded.
Show contributor Greg Cote did not mince words. As a journalist, he said that there is no justifying what Bayless did.
“It’s a disservice to journalism to invade someone’s privacy like that. Jimmy Butler deserves to deal with personal issues personally and privately, and to put that out there in the middle of the Finals to try to explain why he’s had a couple of shooting games in a row is irresponsible.”
Sports TV News
Dan Le Batard: Sports Television is Playing a Different Game Than Skip Bayless Is
“If you liked that show in whatever incarnations that Bayless did it in, who do you put opposite him right now that you’d want to watch it the same way?”
The spotlight has been on Shannon Sharpe as he prepares to exit FOX Sports and Undisputed with Skip Bayless, but there hasn’t been much talk about who will replace Sharpe on the debate show. On The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz on Monday, Dan Le Batard threw that very question out to his audience.
“If you liked that show in whatever incarnations that Bayless did it in, who do you put opposite him right now that you’d want to watch it the same way?” Le Batard said. He noted that there was just the right dynamic between Sharpe and Bayless before things started going south. “Because you’re hanging on to a 70-year-old star.”
Le Batard, who is 54, pointed out that there are examples of debate shows still chugging along with older hosts. Pardon The Interruption on ESPN came to Dan’s mind, but the point is that the landscape has evolved even in sports debate.
“Kornheiser and Wilbon are still doing it, but Shannon Sharpe is here to play a different game. Pat McAfee is here to play a different game,” Le Batard said. “There is a different game being played right now. ESPN is slashing costs, there are going to be fewer and fewer of these jobs.”
Suggestions of Emmanuel Acho and Chris Broussard for replacements were thrown out there, but ultimately Dan wondered who would subject themselves to the situation of having to constantly battle a guy like Bayless.
“Who wants to work next to someone every day that they don’t like so much that they would on their way out the door say ‘Shannon Sharpe would like your tweet,'” Dan asked.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He’s a multimedia journalist and communicator who works at the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond. Jordan also contributes occasional coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, WRIC-TV 8News and Audacy Richmond. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.