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Dan Shulman Explains Difficulties Of Calling TV/Radio Simulcast Of Games

“Speaking with Sean Fitz-Gerald of The Athletic, Shulman noted the differences between baseball on radio and television are significant, citing two areas specifically.”

Brandon Contes

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Sportsnet and the Toronto Blue Jays surprised many people earlier this year when they announced their decision to play the 2021 Major League Baseball season without a dedicated radio team, instead simulcasting their TV broadcast. 

In their attempts to explain the simulcast, they’ve highlighted how much of a challenge the task actually is. Bearing the brunt of that task is veteran play-by-play voice Dan Shulman. Despite his exceptional abilities and resume as a broadcaster, serving two audiences simultaneously is a different venture. 

Speaking with Sean Fitz-Gerald of The Athletic, Shulman noted the differences between baseball on radio and television are significant, citing two areas specifically.  

“One is, on radio, obviously you’re providing a lot more information more often — the score, the count, the inning, the baserunners, the outs. You need that when you’re listening on radio. On television, what we call the ‘bug’ — the scoreboard at the bottom — does that work for you. So you don’t really need to do it much at all,” Shulman told Fitz-Gerald.

“The second one is the whole “painting the picture” aspect of radio,” Shulman continued while stating he had not yet called a game that serves both platforms at the time of the interview. “So what I can say now is, I’m going to try to find the best balance I can to please both audiences. It can’t be entirely a TV call, and it can’t be entirely a radio call. It’s got to be a mix, and I want the radio listeners to know that I am going to try to keep them involved more by giving them the information they need more often than I normally would.”

Last month, Fitz-Gerald spoke to Sportsnet VP Rob Corte, who also noted Shulman’s need to find balance while speaking to different audiences at the same time. Corte declined to look beyond this season in terms of potentially returning to separate broadcasts to better service the radio and TV audiences individually. All parties are willing to acknowledge the difference in calling a game on radio and TV, but there’s still a wait-and-see approach as to how it will come together.

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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Sports TV News

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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