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Steve Levy Confident About Return To Monday Night Football Booth

Richard Deitsch of The Athletic sat down with Steve Levy talking about calling games for ESPN next season.

Will Galvez

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Steve Levy is the play-by-play voice for ESPN’s Monday Night Football. Every week, his call comes along with superb in-game analysis from Louis Riddick and Brian Griese.

Levy feels confident he and his crew are returning to the booth for the 2021 NFL season.

https://twitter.com/richarddeitsch/status/1361373748960632835

Richard Deitsch of The Athletic sat down with Steve Levy talking about calling games for ESPN next season. He asked what ESPN management has left with him (Riddick and Griese included) regarding next year.

“I would say they have been incredible with their communication and without getting into names, that communication has been at the very top and also down at the company. I have heard from a lot of people personally,” said Levy.

“At least once or twice a week during the season, we would hear either compliments or constructive criticism, and really, for the most part, it was extremely positive throughout the entire season. I hope to hear something sooner rather than later,” he added. 

When Deitsch asked for his concrete opinion on whether or not the MNF trio should return to call games next season, Levy wasn’t shy in his response.

“Absolutely. No doubt in my mind. I thought we started in a good place and finished strong. And now with a year under our belts collectively, and I don’t want to speak for Brian (Griese) and Louis (Riddick) and Lisa (Salters) is obviously the staple, but in some kind of a normal NFL season, I think we’d only be better,” Levy concluded.

Networks enjoy continuity. Society appreciates continuity. It seems right they return.

However, ESPN has not been shy in its attempts to upgrade its Monday Night Football booth in the last several offseasons and rumors have the Worldwide Leader at least intrigued by Phillip Rivers after the future Hall of Famer’s retirement last month.

Sports TV News

Al Michaels: Condensed Prep Time For Thursday Night Football ‘A Downside’

“It’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us.”

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There were bound to be unexpected hiccups and unintended consequences as Al Michaels moved to Thursday Night Football with Amazon Prime Video.

He told The Boston Globe Thursday that one of the downsides of the week’s schedule is less prep time with the teams playing in the game.

“When we go to see the teams, it’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us,” Michaels said. “And all the time I’ve been doing this, I’ve built some great relationships with coaches and players and GMs and owners and you name it, and I don’t get that much time to spend with them anymore. That’s a downside part of it for me. Some of the best stories you get come from those relationships.”

Michaels has raised eyebrows this season while not being shy about his disdain for some poor matchups early in the schedule. However, he now understands that there are quality games as the season approaches its close.

“The schedule was a little leaky with the Carolina-Atlanta game and a couple of other games that we’ve had, but now we’re positioned for a nice run down the stretch,” said Michaels.

The 78-year-old was also asked how he remains energetic and passionate for the job he’s held for so long.

The games are exciting. I love sports. You don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s no script. And unscripted television is the greatest.”

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Sports TV News

Jimmy Pitaro: Reaching Younger Audience A Priority for ESPN

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience. As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

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Many in the media industry have voice concern that millennials and Gen Z aren’t consuming traditional media outlets like previous generations. ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said it’s a priority for the network.

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience,” Pitaro said, quoted by Morning Consult sports business reporter Mark J. Burns. “As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

Pitaro made the comments at Sports Business Journal’s Media Innovators conference Wednesday. It is a continuation of comments he has made in recent years.

In 2018, Pitaro said at ESPN’s upfront “I think we are doing a fantastic job serving the sports fanatic,” said Pitaro. “What about the casual sports customer? Are we doing all we can to serve him or her?”.

In 2019, Pitaro said it was “all hands on deck” to reach a younger audience and women. “We have to be open and go to where our customers are,” he said in regards to reaching younger viewers on social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

Earlier this year, Pitaro added that ESPN won’t be leaving linear television anytime soon.

“What I will tell you is that as I sit here right now, that business is still incredible,” Pitaro said. “We serve the sports fan anyway and at any time. I know there are a lot of people that still want ESPN in that traditional ecosystem.”

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Sports TV News

Don Mattingly Joining Blue Jays Staff After YES Network Courtship

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

Jordan Bondurant

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The New York Yankees regional sports network can take Don Mattingly off its talent wish list. Mattingly was announced Wednesday as a bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays starting in 2023.

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

But Mattingly told Andrew Marchand of The New York Post this week that he had another opportunity in the works but wouldn’t elaborate.

YES also has been considering luring Yankees legend and Hall of Famer Derek Jeter into broadcasting. But no formal talks have taken place.

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