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John Michael Moves To TV For Cleveland Cavaliers

“With John Michael moving to the television broadcast table, the Cavaliers have hired Tim Alcorn as their new radio play-by-play voice.”

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The Cleveland Cavaliers have announced changes to their television and radio broadcasts after longtime play-by-play announcer, Fred McLeod passed away unexpectedly two weeks ago.

Taking over for McLeod as the Cavs TV announcer, will be their radio voice of the past eight seasons, John Michael.  Michael leaves the radio booth to join Cavs telecasts on FOX Sports Ohio, where he previously worked as the Columbus Blue Jackets pre and postgame host, having also served as their rink-side reporter.  Michael will partner with TV analyst and former on-court fan favorite, “Mr. Cavalier,” Austin Carr on the call.

“It is with an incredibly heavy heart that I begin this season of Cavaliers basketball,” said John Michael. “I am honored and humbled that the Cavs organization and FOX Sports Ohio have looked to me to carry on for a special part of our family who left us way too soon. Every ounce of preparation, hard work and creativity that is poured into each television broadcast this season will be dedicated to the very high standard that Fred McLeod set. I am looking forward to joining my friend Austin Carr and helping deliver a great and entertaining season of Cavs basketball broadcasts.”

The late Fred McLeod joined the Cavaliers telecasts as their play-by-play voice in 2006, following a 22-year tenure as an announcer for the Detroit Pistons.  The sportscaster died suddenly on September 9th at the age of 67.

“The loss of Fred McLeod is something that has hurt all of us greatly. Certainly, we will always carry great thoughts and memories of Fred with us forever,” said Tad Carper, Cavaliers Executive Vice President and Chief Communications Officer. “We are fortunate, though, to have John Michael as part of our broadcast family. John is a very talented, dedicated, hard-working and insightful broadcaster who has a great spectrum of experience and perspective to now bring to our TV broadcasts. We’re pleased to have him join Austin Carr at the table and Angel Gray on sideline as we head into our 50th season and the many special elements and history that will be a part of our season-long presentation of Cavs basketball.”

With John Michael moving to the television broadcast table, the Cavaliers have hired Tim Alcorn as their new radio play-by-play voice.  

“I am incredibly honored to have been selected by the Cavaliers as the next radio play-by-play announcer for the organization,” said Alcorn. “The position is truly a ‘dream job.’ It’s both exciting and humbling to be chosen. I’m also aware the opportunity would not have occurred if not for the untimely passing of Fred McLeod and I will strive to uphold the high standards that Fred, John Michael, Joe Tait and others established as Cavs announcers. I’m eager to get started as the Cavs embark on their 50th season.”

Alcorn is a longtime Northeast Ohio media personality, beginning his radio career in 1985 at WOBL.  For the past 27 years, the new Cavs radio voice worked at news/talk AM 930 WEOL in Elyria, Ohio as their sports director and station manager.

Returning to the Cavs radio booth will be analyst Jim Chones who begins his 10th season on the broadcast.  All games are carried by the Cavaliers Radio Network which originates from their flagship stations WTAM 1100 and FM 100.7 WMMS.

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click 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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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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