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Ian Eagle, Charles Davis Met Once Before Calling Games Together

“We had Cleveland-Baltimore; we took one walk together in Baltimore on the Saturday before the game. The next time together was in the booth.”

Ricky Keeler

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This past season, a new broadcasting duos that premiered in the NFL was Ian Eagle and Charles Davis as the second team for the NFL On CBS. Eagle has been on CBS since 1998, but Davis was in his first season calling games for the network after being at FOX as an analyst since 2017. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was not easy for the new pair to establish chemistry, but they found a way to make it work. 

On the latest episode of the New York, New York with John Jastremski podcast, Eagle talked about forming chemistry with Davis during a pandemic. The two never had one in-person meeting during the year, but they decided to have a ZOOM call every week for five straight months. In fact, the trio of Eagle, Davis, and sideline reporter Evan Washburn only saw each other once in-person before their first game of the season together.

“I went into Week 1 thinking that it was going to work,” Eagle said. “We had Cleveland-Baltimore; we took one walk together in Baltimore on the Saturday before the game. The next time together was in the booth. It felt like we had been doing games for 10 years. It was easy. He’s a great teammate. It doesn’t always work that way. It really depends on the individual.” 

Ian Eagle mentioned that although his role in the booth is very different from Davis’s, the duo have a similar idea of what a TV broadcast should sound like.

“I don’t want to ask him 12 questions on the air, I want to have a conversation. I know there are some out there that are like it’s your job to set him up. It’s your job to set him up but set him up in a way where you are conversing, not where it is pointed question, pointed question. That’s not a give-and-take, that’s not a partnership. You want it to feel like a couple of people that are at lunch or dinner and you are part of the conversation. That’s really important to me that it is both us and there is back and forth and Charles is a believer in that too. 

In the early days of his career, Eagle knew the importance of good teamwork when he worked as the associate producer for Mike & The Mad Dog in 1992. Eagle said the duo were best friends at that time. He wanted to bring the energy he saw then to whatever he would do next.

“If you want to be excellent at this job, you better make the person next to you feel comfortable so they can do their best work. I’ve taken a lot of pride in that part of it, the dynamic between play-by-play and analyst. That was from the seeds of WFAN, seeing in the newsroom and watching it translate on the air.”

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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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