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Malika Andrews Hates NBA Bubble Comparisons To Prison

“As the bubble was beginning, Andrews mentioned that people joked with her about how her quarantine time was over and considering what has gone on in the United States, it was something that bothered her.”

Ricky Keeler

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After the Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA Finals Sunday night against the Miami Heat, the NBA bubble down in Walt Disney World officially came to a close. For 107 days, the NBA took on the tough task and it ended up being a success. 

One reporter who was down in Florida covering the action from the beginning to the end was ESPN’s Malika Andrews, who has become one of the rising stars in the industry. On the latest ESPN Daily with Pablo Torre, she talked to Torre before she left the bubble and when she got home to New York City and reflected on what life was like in Orlando and how it feels now that she’s back. 

During part of this podcast, she was joined by her producer, Malinda Adams, who was with Andrews for all 107 days in Orlando. As the bubble was beginning, Andrews mentioned that people joked with her about how her quarantine time was over and considering what has gone on in the United States, it was something that bothered her.

“When I first got here, there were a lot of folks who joked when you got out of quarantine, you served your time and that always bothered me mainly because when you look at prison systems in the United States, that has been a hot bed for Coronavirus in many cases and so they couldn’t be more different than the discomfort that folks who are incarcerated here in the United States are going through.”

Andrews and Adams had worked together before the bubble as Andrews said they worked together during the Eastern Conference Finals last season. However, when you are stuck in one place for a long period of time, that bond can continue to grow.

 That bond extended over to the people that Andrews and Adams were around daily inside of the bubble. While Andrews mentions that as a reporter, it is important to set boundaries with the people you cover, this experience, naturally, tended to be a little different. 

“I have long maintained that an important pillar of what we do is setting boundaries with the people you cover. I grow very fond of people I cover, but I try to make sure a friendship could never come between asking the necessary, hard questions that need to be asked. But, I do think there’s something bonding about this experience. Everyone became creatures of habit there and you got to know people’s quirks, habits, routines. We gave a hug to Heather in the mail room and Pam in the package room, people I never would have met.” 

Both of them reflected on their own memories of what went on in Orlando, but one moment stood out where Adams not only had to play producer, but she had to put on her reporter hat as well as the Bucks were about to boycott Game 5 of their first round series against the Magic.

“When the Milwaukee Bucks elected to boycott, it was Malinda who was following the Orlando Magic side of it because I could only be in one place. She was the one who was texting me, the Magic are on the court, they left the court. It was one of the things where she was a reporter down here,” said Andrews. 

So, now back in New York, what does Andrews think now about the NBA season not having a firm date for the 2021 season? She brought up there is some anxiety about no official date being mentioned yet.

“Well, part of the reason that I think there was a bittersweet feeling to the end of the bubble in addition to the fact there were many close relationships built, the fact that it was something that felt safe, I think the other thing that makes it a little bit sad and anxiety-provoking is that there isn’t a firm date for the restart of the season yet.”

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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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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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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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