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Mandt Talks About Nassar Victims’ ESPYs Moment

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Richard Deitsch of The Athletic called the presentation of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award to the survivors of sexual assault at the hands of Michigan State and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar “the most powerful moment in the 25-year history of the ESPY Awards”. Actress Jennifer Garner introduced and narrated a short film in which multiple survivors detailed their abuse and subsequent testimony before 141 of them came on stage to accept the award in person.

Deitsch doesn’t overestimate one bit how powerful the moment was. If you haven’t already seen it, you can watch it here.

In a new “Media Circus” column at The Athletic, Deitsch and ESPYs producer Maura Mandt talked about how the moment came together. It was not only an emotional one, but one that Deitsch speculates was quite expensive.

She would not say how much the segment cost, but industry sources told The Athletic that ESPN likely spent about $1 million all told. All of the Nassar survivors, including ones not on the stage, were given a custom bracelet from ESPN with the word “Courage” inscribed on the top and the date of the ESPYs.

Mandt said that ESPN’s willingness to work with her staff is what made the event possible, because there was so much to consider in the way of what these women’s needs would be once they got to Los Angeles for the ceremony.

When we had the number we tried to provide as much thought as we could to how to make this experience one that would be positive. We had everything from hair and makeup to crisis counselors to therapy dogs standing by to offer support. We had an entire operation for just this segment, with about 50-60 people just working on this. One thing I want to add is the support that ESPN gave to us in doing this. No matter what the ask was from us — and there were many —(executive vice president of content) Connor Schell, Allison Overholt (an ESPN vice president and editor of ESPN The Magazine and (ESPN President) Jimmy Pitaro never hesitated to put doing the right thing over cost.

How do you pull of a segment where 142 different people would be on stage? Mandt told Deitsch that there was a lot of practice.

We rehearsed with 141 stand-ins for three hours on Tuesday night, then we had all the survivors come and ran through it three times with them and (presenter) Jennifer Garner. We then showed them the piece. It was one of the most special moments in my career. I was so honored and humbled to speak to these survivors. They were incredibly gracious and kind. They are remarkable – each and every one. And to realize that they represent so many more.

The full interview can be found here.

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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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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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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