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Coaches Weary Of Media Access In XFL

“We knew that would be a factor, but not until I watched the broadcast late [Sunday] night where I said, ‘Oh, man. We got to do something different.”

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Everyone watching the XFL last weekend was impressed with the access provided to viewers throughout the telecasts. Players and head coaches were mic’d up, with sideline reporters able to grab unique instant reactions such as a kicker after missing a field goal. 

Attempting to build excitement during their reboot season, the XFL is giving fans access they can’t get during an NFL game. Last season, Sam Darnold was caught on mic saying he’s “seeing ghosts” during a game against the Patriots, which caused embarrassment for the Jets quarterback and teams to rethink letting their players be mic’d up during a national broadcast.

While XFL head coaches knew they were going to be mic’d up during the game, they didn’t realize how much of it would be aired during the broadcast. Coaches could be heard on the telecast calling plays, which can obviously be grabbed by the opposing team. 

“We knew that would be a factor, but not until I watched the broadcast late [Sunday] night where I said, ‘Oh, man. We got to do something different,'” DC Defenders head coach Pep Hamilton said during an interview with 106.7 The Fan’s Sports Junkies.

According to Ethan Cadeaux of NBC Sports Washington, Hamilton didn’t take issue with the access, but it does force him to spend extra time changing up the play calls. 

In Seattle, the head coach of the Dragons, Jim Zorn said he was “absolutely shocked” he could be heard calling plays on the TV broadcast.

“I think it gave a fan a chance to hear and see something they’ve never heard before, but I felt very exposed,” Zorn said according to Scott Hanson of the Seattle Times. “Information on a football team has to be guarded a little bit, so we just got it right out there. I know it had to be fun for everybody, but not super fun for me to reveal all that stuff. But I was glad I didn’t stutter or fumble the play calls.”

While the audience enjoys the access and it serves as a great way for the XFL to separate themselves from other professional leagues, concern about sign-stealing and play-call stealing does make you wonder whether or not the gimmick has staying power.

Sports TV News

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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Sports TV News

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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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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