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ESPN Tried to Keep Jemele Hill During Buyout Talks

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Jemele Hill will receive $6.25 million to walk away from ESPN this month. That isn’t what the network wanted according to Andrew Marchand. Despite public perception that Hill was persona non grata at ESPN, Marchand reports in The New York Post that ESPN offered her a number of different options hoping one would intrigue her enough to stay.

The first idea that was floated was that Jemele Hill become the permanent co-host of Highly Questionable. Dan Le Batard and Gonzalo “Papi” Le Batard have never permanently replaced Bomani Jones since he left the show in June of 2017. Hill has filled that role multiple times and has a good relationship with Dan. Hill passed.

ESPN also offered Jemele Hill a permanent role on SportsNation. Marchand did not indicate what the role was, but SportsNation was recently cancelled, so Hill probably did the smart thing in turning it down.

Another option floated to Hill was increasing her role with The Undefeated. According to Marchand, ESPN wanted to not only allow Hill to work on more prominent stories, but also use her as a part of Undefeated branded programming on ESPN+.

Hill’s final day was originally reported to be last Friday. ESPN has extended that a bit, although in all likelihood she will not be seen on the air very much. Her previously recorded interview with Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is expected to be her final appearance on ESPN. Her final day of employment will be September 15.

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Pat McAfee Feels Good About His College Football MegaCast Debut

“I feel good going into the next one. I feel like we’ve learned from this first one,” he said.

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The College Football MegaCast featuring Pat McAfee and his daily YouTube show’s cast debuted on ESPN2 over the weekend, and McAfee is looking forward to the next edition.

On his show Monday, McAfee told co-host A.J. Hawk that he felt good about how the show went considering it was uncharted territory to be in.

“We had no idea how successful it would be,” McAfee said. “Like this is the first time we’re being judged in a different fashion. I don’t think we marketed it much, you know, because I don’t think we knew how it was gonna go.”

The alternate feed is being produced for ESPN by Omaha Productions, which is also responsible for the ManningCast which runs alongside the traditional Monday Night Football broadcast.

McAfee said this first show turned out to be a learning experience and that they started off on the right foot.

“I feel good going into the next one. I feel like we’ve learned from this first one,” he said. “We had no idea, it was very much of a roll of the dice. Going into the next one I think we’re gonna try and make it even grander and bigger, and I’m very excited for it.”

As for the style in which they covered the Clemson/N.C. State game, McAfee added that the giveaways and guest interactions added a lot of value.

“I think it’s the right way to watch a game, and to be honest I think it’s keeping us all invested as much and even more,” he said.

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Sports TV News

LA Clippers Sign New Contract with Bally Sports

The multi-year agreement will go into effect this season. Bally will carry 63 of the team’s 2022-23 regular season games.

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The Los Angeles Clippers will continue its relationship with Bally Sports, completing a new deal over the weekend to keep Bally as the team’s regional sports network.

The multi-year agreement will go into effect this season. Bally will carry 63 of the team’s 2022-23 regular season games. Additionally, 11 games will be carried by KTLA, giving the team some additional viewership reach. The remaining eight games will be broadcast on national television.

Brian Sieman will continue on as the play-by-play broadcaster for games, with Jim Jackson and Mike Fratello swapping the analyst chair. Jamie Maggio and Kristina Pink will be reporting.

According to the Los Angeles Times, all signs pointed to the team and the network hashing out a new contract.

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ESPN’s NFL Programming Sees Big September Growth

For ESPN, September has been a really strong month with their NFL programming.

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NFL Studio

For ESPN, September has been a really strong month with their NFL programming.

Sunday NFL Countdown is averaging 1.4 million viewers per show thus far in 2022. That up 15% from 2021’s first three shows of the NFL season. The season premiere – Sunday, Sept. 11 – averaged 1.6 million viewers, tying the network’s best Week 1 audience for the show since 2016 and is up 35% year-over-year.

NFL Live experienced large growth too. The episode airing after the first NFL Sunday, on Monday September 12, averaged 664,000 viewers which beat every NFL Live episode last season, including the most-watched episode on 2021 (December 17) which grabbed 635,000 viewers.

Monday Night Countdown is averaging 1.3 million viewers for its two, non-staggered September episodes, which aired in its traditional timeslot (6-8 pm).

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