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NBC Won’t Trade Al Michaels To ESPN

“ESPN could still land Manning, although they won’t have Michaels as his broadcast partner, they still have a lot of money to offer.”

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The idea of ESPN trading for NBC’s lead football announcer Al Michaels seemed farfetched from the start, which is why it was categorized as a “dream” scenario. After initially reporting ESPN’s interest in landing Michaels, Andrew Marchand of The New York Post now says it won’t happen.

“We look forward to Al completing his contract and calling Sunday Night Football games on NBC,” Greg Hughes, an NBC Sports spokesman, told Marchand.

As ESPN looks to revamp their Monday Night Football booth, acquiring Al Michaels was viewed as a way to lure Peyton Manning to the broadcast. Since CBS plucked Tony Romo off the football field and moved him into its top broadcast booth, ESPN has continued its attempts at acquiring Manning. But NBC declining to trade Al Michaels will subsequently end ESPN’s dream scenario.

Yes, NBC has former ESPN MNF announcer Mike Tirico waiting to step in as their play-by-play voice for NFL broadcasts. But NBC has little reason to move on from Michaels right now, who remains under contract for two years, including Super Bowl LVI during his final season. 

In addition to landing on trade compensation, Michaels would also have to agree to a deal with ESPN. That final Super Bowl with NBC is likely a game Michaels won’t want to give up, as it could be his last. While ESPN/ABC has reportedly shown interest in re-entering the network rotation for Super Bowl coverage, there’s no guarantee it happens before the 75-year old Michaels retires. 

ESPN could still land Manning, although they won’t have Michaels as his broadcast partner, they still have a lot of money to offer. Last week, Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports reported ESPN was preparing to offer Manning between $18 and $20 million per year. $20 million per year to call Monday Night Football games has to at least be intriguing, even for a two-time Super Bowl champ that earned $250 million as a player. 

ESPN’s current Monday Night Football crew featuring Joe Tessitore and Booger McFarland is considered to be the least appealing lead broadcast team in the NFL. Marchand also reports ESPN has considered a replacement booth featuring play-by-play voice Steve Levy alongside analysts Louis Riddick and Brian Griese.

Sports TV News

FOX Sued for Patent Infringement Over NFL Scheduling

“Recentive Analytics filed suit against FOX in a Delaware federal court on November 29 according to Yahoo Sports.”

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An analytics company is suing FOX over claims that the network developed a mapping tool using their patented technology to create a season slate of NFL games.

Recentive Analytics filed suit against FOX in a Delaware federal court on November 29 according to Yahoo Sports.

The lawsuit claims FOX used access to Recentive’s predictive analytics tools to develop a resource of their own that would create optimal schedules for its 1 and 4 p.m. NFLwindows.

The company is seeking a declaration that FOX infringed on two of its patents. Recentive is also suing for damages and wants an injunction keeping FOX from using Recentive tech and preventing the network from “selling, offering for sale, marketing or using any internal network and mapping analytics tool for the scheduling and regionalization of events covered by the patents.”

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Sports TV News

FOX Will Use Chris Fallica On Belmont Stakes Coverage

“While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.”

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The Bear will be more than just a college football presence when he moves to FOX. Chris Fallica wrapped his final duties for ESPN last week and is now headed to a new network and will tackle some new responsibilities.

Fallica’s new role at FOX will involve plenty of sports gambling content. Richard Deitsch of The Athletic reports that content will include horse racing.

“One Fox Sports source said look for him to appear on the Belmont Stakes coverage,” Deitsch wrote in his weekly media column.

Starting in 2023, horse racing’s Triple Crown will not be seen all in one place. While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.

How the network intends to use Chris Fallica on the broadcast is not clear. Given that he is coming to the network to contribute to gambling conversations, it is likely he would either be making picks or at least reviewing odds right up to the start of the race.

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Sports TV News

NBCUniversal CEO Expects Disney To Buy Company’s Hulu Stake

“Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal.”

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The Walt Disney Company owns 67% of Hulu. The other 33% is owned by NBCUniversal. The latter company doesn’t expect that to be the case forever.

“It’s worth a lot of money,” NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said at an investor conference earlier this week, “and I think there’s no indication that anything else is going to happen than Disney writing us a big check.”

Hulu is primarily a platform for movies and television shows. It is a major part of Disney’s deal with the NHL though. The streaming giant is part of the package of 103 games that are exclusive to ESPN and ABC. Hulu is also a live TV provider for many. The company’s Hulu Plus Live TV package had over 4 million subscribers as of the summer of 2022.

Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal. He credits sports and content migrated from Hulu as the reason Peacock has grown to 18 million paid subscriptions since September.

Deadline reports that if Disney does want to acquire NBCUniversal’s stake in Hulu, “the price could fluctuate but will be in the tens of billions of dollars.”

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