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Beadle Not Likely To Be Reassigned By ESPN

“Rachel Nichols will take over for Beadle on Countdown, with Maria Taylor filling in when she can.”

Jack Ferris

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Last week news broke that Michelle Beadle would not be returning to ESPN’s NBA Countdown this year, adding another chapter to an already complicated relationship between the network and its one-time star.

Rachel Nichols will take over for Beadle on Countdown, with Maria Taylor filling in when she can.

At the start of the decade, Beadle was one of the rising stars of the industry.  The San Antonio native came up through the ranks via the YES Network covering the Nets before showcasing her personality on the Michael Kay Show for ESPN New York.  She emerged on the national scene when she teamed up with Colin Cowherd on SportsNation in 2009, a pivotal program for ESPN at the time due to it’s embrace of social media interaction and trending viral videos – sports related or otherwise. 

In 2012, Beadle left ESPN to work for NBC covering sports and appearing regularly on Access Hollywood.  It was a marriage that didn’t last long.  
Less than two years after her departure, John Skipper welcomed Beadle back to ESPN with a contract worth $5 million annually.

From here, as outlined in a recent New York Post article by Andrew Marchand, things get interesting.  It’s not clear how both sides landed on the $5 million number, as Beadle was just let out of her NBC contract and it didn’t seem like any other outlets were bidding on her services.  Either way, it appeared Beadle was a favorite of Skipper and she had a home with the company as long as he was in charge.  Beadle went back to SportsNation duties, helped out with NBA studio coverage and eventually launched Beadlemania – a podcast under the Grantland umbrella.  

Beadle’s role with ESPN became increasingly ambiguous as soon as Skipper resigned in 2017.  She was lured to New York to help launch Get Up! in early 2018 but was moved off the show relatively quickly after saying on air that she was no longer going to watch NFL games.  She’s been a mainstay on NBA Countdown since 2016, and now with that show in her rear view mirror, it’s not likely Beadle will find another landing spot with ESPN, a company that still owes her $5 million for the next 1-2 years.

Marchand goes on to speculate Jimmy Pitaro made the move as part of his larger vision for ESPN; to get the network back to 24/7 news and information with less “Skipper All-Stars” driving content themselves.

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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