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Toronto Raptors To Feature All Female Broadcast Crew

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To recognize International Women’s Day, the Toronto Raptors announced plans to have an all-female team of broadcasters for an upcoming telecast.

For their March 24 game against the Denver Nuggets, the Raptors broadcast on TSN will feature Meghan McPeak as their play-by-play voice and Canadian national star Kia Nurse providing color analysis. TSN anchor Kayla Grey will report from the sideline, while Kate Beirness and Amy Audibert will host and provide studio analysis. The five women are making history as the first all-female broadcast team in NBA history. 

A native of Canada, McPeak currently works for Monumental Sports Network where she calls games for the Washington Mystics. Nurse is a WNBA player for the Phoenix Mercury. Grey is a reporter and anchor for TSN, while Beirness is the network’s sideline reporter for Raptors games and Audibert provides analysis for the team’s G League affiliate.

In 2018, McPeak became the first female broadcaster in more than three decades to provide play-by-play of an NBA game when she called a Washington Wizards preseason matchup. And on March 24, she’ll join Leandra Reilly Lardner as the only female broadcasters to call a regular-season NBA game. Lardner called a Nets-Sixers telecast in 1988. 

 “We wanted to highlight the contributions that women make individually — across so many broadcasts — by bringing them all together,” John Wiggins, Raptors vice-president of organizational diversity and inclusion, said in a statement. “Yes, we’re making a point. We hope this leads to more recognition of the many roles women play in pro sports. And we especially hope that one of the takeaways from this is for girls at home who see Meghan or Amy or Kayla, and think — hey, I could do that. There’s a place for me in sports.”

The NHL has similarly had all-female broadcasts to recognize International Women’s Day. On Monday, the NHL Network’s studio show NHL Now was co-hosted by an all-female crew for the fourth consecutive year. And last season, NBCSN presented a Blues-Blackhawks game with an all-female broadcast, both on-air and behind-the-scenes. 

Although it’s still uncommon, female announcers have begun to break through the male dominated sportscasting industry to work as NBA game analysts. Longtime industry trailblazer Doris Burke is now recognized as one of ESPN’s top game analysts for their NBA coverage. Stephanie Ready with the Hornets, Ann Meyers with the Suns, Kara Lawson for the Wizards and Sarah Kustok with the Nets are other female broadcasters to work as NBA game analysts in recent years.

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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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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