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Is Yahoo’s NFL Telecast a Sign of the Future?

Jason Barrett

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Television has done as much for the NFL as any professional sports league, but the relationship may be a little different after Sunday.

For the first time, the NFL is offering a regular-season game exclusively on the Internet. Well, folks in Buffalo and Jacksonville still can watch the Bills-Jaguars game on traditional TV, but others — even subscribers to DirecTV’s “Sunday Ticket” — will have to use their computers or mobile devices.

The 9:30 a.m. telecast from London is free and available on Yahoo.com, which will distribute the telecast on every platform imaginable. It will be produced by CBS, which has assigned the announcing team of Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon and Jamie Erdahl.

To get a better idea of the implications of this venture, we reached out to Ken Fuchs, vice president of Yahoo’s media network, for insight.

Q: Do you consider this a historic moment for the Internet, broadcasting a live NFL game exclusively?

A: Not just for the Internet, but for the sports industry and the live broadcast industry, this is the first time there’s ever been a live, free, all-access, global broadcast of an NFL game. That’s a big thing considering the reach of sports, the reach of Yahoo and the popularity around every game that happens.

Q: What would be considered a success to you?

A: First and foremost, we want to provide a great experience for NFL fans and anybody who tunes in. We want to have the highest technical quality around the experience. We want them to feel like it’s an NFL broadcast in many respects.

Secondly, we do want to deliver a live experience that’s scaled to a big audience, and, thirdly, we have a lot of great advertising partnerships that we want to provide a really strong experience around as well.

Q: You have a lot of subscribers already, but did you have to do any additional reinforcement to make sure you could handle the potential volume of traffic?

A: No. Considering that every month we’re delivering content and video to a billion people around the world and 600 million or more on mobile devices, we’re always looking at how to ensure our structure is strong, that we’re delivering against whatever the experience might be, in this case, a live broadcast. It’s something that we spent extra time ensuring that we’re prepared. We understand the deliverables that we need to have at our end to ensure that a high, high number of people can come in and watch it.

Q: Do you look at this as a beginning of what you hope will be a partnership with the NFL?

A: We’ve had a longstanding partnership with the NFL in a number of different areas, video space and other ways. We value that partnership quite a bit. Our mutual success around that partnership is what led us to this moment. It wasn’t something that just came out of the blue. Going forward, based on the success we have around the game, both parties will look at it as, “What can we do next?”

Q: Looking at it from the NFL’s standpoint, is the way we’re consuming NFL games changing pretty quickly? In 5-10 years, will television not be the No. 1 distributor of NFL games?

A: There’s a lot of trends happening that are starting to shift more and more rapidly. You have, for the first time ever, a decline in cable subscribers. You have a millennial generation that is spending more time consuming video on the Internet than they are on actual traditional television. You are starting to see a lot of success with over-the-top (OTT) delivery of a wide variety of content types, from music, like we do with “Live Nation,” to over-the-air programming to live sports.

Live sports has always been a little bit of a bellwether because of the power that it brings and the fact that it’s feneral and the fact that it’s very social. The NFL is a bellwether for sports in this country. This is something where we think that there’s a transition that’s rapidly starting to happen. Everybody sees that happening, and we’re excited to be at the forefront of pushing it into that direction even more aggressively.

To read the rest of the interview visit the Times Union where it was originally published

Sports TV News

Chris Berman Says NBC Offered To Triple His Salary In 1989 to Leave ESPN

“(NBC) put an offer out there that was times three or four, which — ok — that took a while to get resolved.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Chris Berman has always felt like ESPN was home for him.

There have been a couple of instances throughout his more than four-decade career at The Worldwide Leader where Berman was entertaining offers to leave. But Berman told Jimmy Traina on the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast he always knew ESPN was where he needed to be.

One instance came in 1989 when ESPN was still somewhat a single fledgling sports channel. Berman at the time was weighing leaving Bristol for NBC.

“ESPN was a different place,” Berman said. “We were only one channel then, remember.”

“(NBC) put an offer out there that was times three or four,” he added. “Which — ok — that took a while to get resolved.”

Berman said in terms of his career, deciding to remain at ESPN turned out to be the right choice.

“My God it’s the greatest move I never made,” he said. “At the time I was gonna be the number two guy behind Bob Costas doing football.

“Just job-wise, forget money and this – I’m not in it for that anyway,” Berman added. “I started at 16 thousand bucks.”

Chris talked about the coverage the potential move received. He said the decision was about something bigger than money. He loved getting to cover sports every day.

“That was not the point,” he said. “I wasn’t leveraging anything, and again thank God I’ve been here 43 years.”

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Sports TV News

ESPN, ESPN2 To Air 5 Hour NBA Trade Deadline Special Thursday

Jordan Bondurant

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The NBA trade deadline is this week, and ESPN is going all-in on coverage.

ESPN announced Monday that it will air a five-hour special across ESPN and ESPN2 making sure every deal leading up to the deadline is covered.

The NBA Today Trade Deadline Special will air starting at 1:00 PM on Thursday on ESPN, and the final two hours leading up to the official deadline will air on ESPN 2.

From Los Angeles, Malika Andrews will host. She will be joined by Jalen Rose, Zach Lowe, Chiney Ogwumike, Kendrick Perkins, Richard Jefferson, Ramona Shelburne, Brian Windhorst, and Vince Carter.

Adrian Wojnarowski will be breaking news from Bristol alongside Tim Legler and Bobby Marks. Meanwhile, Stephen A. Smith and Michael Wilbon will be weighing in from Scottsdale, Arizona from ESPN’s Super Bowl set.

Several other ESPN NBA reporters will also be contributing coverage throughout the afternoon.

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Sports TV News

Tom Brady: I’ll Join FOX in 2024

“Even in the future, I wanna be great at what I do. That takes time strategizing, and learning, and evolving.”

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Many have questioned whether Tom Brady will actually join FOX Sports’ top NFL booth after he retires. Today, we have that answer.

During an appearance on The Herd with Colin Cowherd, Brady confirmed he will indeed join Kevin Burkhardt in the network’s top NFL booth, but not until the 2024 season.

“Decompression is important,” Brady said, noting he’ll join the network’s NFL coverage after a year off from the game. “You’re on this kind of really crazy treadmill/hamster wheel, loving the moment, loving the journey, (but) at the same time there’s a daily fight. I have an appreciation to those who are so committed to showing up every day and putting in their max effort to their life and their career.

“I think — for me — I want to be great at what I do. So last week, talking with the people at FOX Sports and the leadership there allowing me to start my FOX opportunity in the fall of 2024 is something that’s great for me.”

Brady added he needs time to absorb a new career before jumping in head first.

“Take some time to really learn, become great at what I want to do, become great at thinking about the opportunity, and make sure I don’t rush into anything. Even in the future, I wanna be great at what I do. That takes time strategizing, and learning, and evolving, and I have so many people to rely on that can support me in that growth, too.”

The seven-time Super Bowl winning quarterback concluded by saying there are other aspects of his life outside of football that “need some catching up and energy”. He went through a high-profile divorce from supermodel Gisele Bündchen, reportedly stemming from his refusal to retire after the 2021 NFL season.

Brady signed a reported 10-year, $375 million contract with FOX Sports to join the network’s top NFL announcing crew, and serve as a brand ambassador in May of last year.

The addition of Brady to the FOX Sports booth creates a potential log jam in the analyst role. Current FOX Sports top NFL analyst Greg Olsen has received high praise from many both inside and outside the industry for his work with Burkhardt. Olsen hasn’t been shy about his wish to remain in the network’s top booth, saying that while the situation “sucks”, he is a “big boy” and “knows what he signed up for”.

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