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Lundquist & Danielson Discuss Their Partnership

Jason Barrett

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Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson have spent the past decade as broadcast partners at CBS – as the cornerstone of the network’s college football coverage – and as part of the SEC on CBS, the duo has seen some of the biggest games in the conference’s history.

The Sentinel caught up with both as they get set to broadcast this week’s Florida-Georgia game Saturday at 3:30 ET on CBS.

Q: How would you describe the past 10 years in broadcasting together?

Lundquist: “Since I’ve started network television in 1974 – I haven’t kept a list, but I have a pretty good idea that – I’ve had more than 40 partners. I’m his longest running partner and he’s mine. It’s been 10 years and we’ve established a friendship and an understanding of each other.  I don’t want to irritate any of my previous partners, but I think Gary is the best that I’ve ever worked with.”

Q: What makes your partnership work?

Lundquist: “It wasn’t easy the first year. It never is for anybody. There is a feeling out process. I had worked with Todd Blackledge for the previous six. We had a sudden opening and Gary was available. … I was thrilled because I always respected his degree of preparation, the insight that he brought to a telecast – I’ve learned in the subsequent decade that he never ever makes a comment that is flippant. If he takes a stance, you can rest assured that he has thought about it, he’s researched it, and he believes it. He’s a very principled broadcaster. … It’s that kind of thing that he brings to the broadcast that I really admire.”

“On a personal level, we’ve adjusted every year. I think we’ve grown closer as the years have gone by. I think that has to do with respect. I trust Gary implicitly. I know when we show up in Jacksonville, he will be as well-prepared as he can be. He goes about it completely different than I do because he’s got a responsibility. I’m more the nuts-and-bolts guy – the storyteller – so I’m looking for anecdotes and human interest things and Gary is studying tape and trying to break down who can bring what to the encounter. So we have different roles.”

“I think over the years we’ve learned to A) trust each other – he trusts me to get my side of it done so I come in there prepared and then I think the personalities are so completely different. But that’s turned into strength. That was not true in 2006. We had our moments where we talked over each other and we had our moments where he would look at me and raise his eyes and think ‘Where are you going with this?’ And I would have my moments where I would look at him – it was never expressed – but I would think ‘Why did you just say that.’ But over time – and it began to happen in the second year. He’s so well-prepared and he such concrete opinions. He’s uncanny at his ability to anticipate. I think that’s one of his greatest strengths.”

“We’re not chit-chatting all the time and we don’t normally talk during the week. We go about it completely separately and completely differently. I’ve learned to know when he’s got something on his mind and that he wants to express it. And so I give him the space and I hope he feels that way. And he knows if it’s an anecdote about something, I’ll raise my finger in the air to let him know I have something that I think can add value. … We try to make it as much of a conversation as we can.”

Danielson: “I think first of all what made it work was that we weren’t young newlyweds. We had both gone through a few marriages and we both respected each other’s work when we came to this marriage. We knew that really there is no such thing as a utopia as a partner – everybody has their flaws. Everybody needs their space. … I think we both know that there is time to get away from each other. There is time to give each other space, but we both know that we’re better together than we are separate.

“I marvel at the way that Verne can get along with everybody from the university prior to the game. He takes a deep interest in the smallest things of people. I might not do that outwardly as much as him, but I appreciate it. I think he takes a look at me and has respect for the fact that I can shut out the outside world – almost like a player – and get down to the basics. I think we both respect that about each other.”

“It’s better for us to bring a different perspective each week and if we work too closely together we sort of get the same perspective. … I think the biggest part is that we both understand that we don’t have to be the same to like each other and we don’t have to exactly the same perspective to do a good job for the game. We can come at it from different ends and blend in the middle.”

To read the rest of the article visit the Orlando Sentinel 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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