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The Starters Will Call a Summer League Game on NBA TV

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NBA TV has big plans for its fan-focused studio show The Starters during the summer months. The network is planing extensive NBA Summer League coverage from Sacramento, Utah and especially Las Vegas. According to a press release, July is the month where The Starters will take center stage with a nightly recap show and even calling a game.

The Starters, NBA TV’s collective of fan-focused voices, will offer a 30-minute recap show following each night’s final game from Las Vegas, July 6-10. Co-hosts J.E. Skeets and Tas Melas and contributors Trey Kerby and Leigh Ellis will offer nightly highlights, news and information, along with interviews with players and coaches. The foursome will also call a Summer League game together on Tuesday, July 10. The network’s signature studio show, NBA GameTime, will feature live episodes following each day’s last game of the night, July 11-17.

So much about this decision is intriguing. First of all, if you have ever seen The Starters, you know they are very irreverent if not downright silly at times. How will that play with NBA TV’s audience of hardcore fans? There’s also the dynamics of a four man booth. How is that going to work exactly with guys that have never done play-by-play before?

Whatever the answers to those questions, it is great to see the network trying something like this during Summer League play. It is a time with fewer viewers anyway, so what does it hurt to experiment?

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After Losing Out On Big Ten Rights, ESPN Turns Focus to NCAA Championships

According to Front Office Sports, ESPN’s contract for 29 NCAA Championships ends in 2024.

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After reportedly losing out on the Big Ten’s television rights, ESPN is reportedly turning to securing the NCAA Championship rights from hitting the open market.

According to Front Office Sports, ESPN’s contract for 29 NCAA Championships ends in 2024. Those 29 championships include everything from Women’s basketball to ice hockey, wrestling, softball, and baseball. The network pays a reported $34 million for the rights to broadcast those championship events.

However, according to a study commissioned by the NCAA reveals that the women’s basketball tournament could be worth anywhere from $81 million to $112 million per year by its lonesome. The NCAA is reportedly considering selling the women’s basketball tournament rights as a standalone product in the next negotiation.

Sources told Front Office Sports ESPN remains interested in striking deals with the Pac-12 and Big 12 media rights, as well as renewing a deal for the College Football Playoff.

The news comes after Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand reported ESPN declined a final offer from the Big Ten for a portion of the conference’s media rights. The reported deal was seven years and $380 million per year.

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ESPN Announces The Return of Stephen A. Smith to First Take

ESPN announced Smith will be returning to First Take on Monday, August 15th.

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Stephen A. Smith

First Take has been without it’s anchor since the day after the NBA Draft in June. That’s when the ESPN personality took some time off to undergo shoulder surgery and to rehabilitate. However, it appears the wait for his return is almost over.

ESPN announced with a tweet that Smith will be returning to First Take on Monday, August 15th. They also teased a guest appearance from Michael Irvin.

This comes a day after Smith tweeted that the countdown was on for his return and we are one week away from the event.

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Field Yates Re-Ups With ESPN

After the departure of Matthew Berry to NBC, ESPN has locked down fantasy expert Field Yates with a new contract to remain in Bristol.

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Field Yates

After the departure of Matthew Berry to NBC, ESPN has locked down fantasy expert Field Yates with a new contract to remain in Bristol.

Yates, 35, would have been a valuable target for FanDuel or DraftKings, surmises Andrew Marchand of The New York Post — who first reported the news — due to his large following on Twitter.

Yates, who also works as a host of Fantasy Football Now and NFL Insider for the network, across multiple platforms including ESPN Radio, will continue in those roles in addition to an assumed expansion of fantasy football duties after Berry’s exit.

He has worked for ESPN since 2012.

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