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Viewers Wonder About Future Of NBC Sports

Richard Deitsch fielded plenty of questions surrounding NBC Sports in his weekly mailbag.

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: NBC

This is a murky time for NBC and its future in the sports broadcasting business. The company is shuttering its NBC Sports channel at the end of the year. Pair that with a loss of NHL broadcast rights, and NBC is left with the Olympics, Sunday Night Football, and the Premier League.

The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch fielded a mailbag this week, with NBC getting a lot of interest in terms of what their plan is moving forward.

“One of a ton of questions on NBCUniversal given the NHL’s move to ESPN and Turner,” Deitsch said in response to a reader. “First, I think NBCUniversal will spend significant money to retain the Premier League. Does that mean they will get it? No. But I think they will go for it. Keep in mind NBCUniversal ponied up big money for the WWE partnership to provide inventory for Peacock. The PL has the same value for Peacock. It’s a way to make their streaming service much more valuable. The question is the price.”

That is the next box to check for NBC, which obtained rights to the Premier League in a historic six-year deal back in 2015. The company was adamant about having a longer runway to develop the product during negotiations. Now, all that development has led into a rapidly changing media environment. NBC has the rights until the end of the 2021-22 season.

Another property that could be on its way out of the NBC coffers is IndyCar. NBC has exclusively broadcasted the racing promotion since 2019, but Jordan Bianchi thinks the relationship has run its course.

“IndyCar and NBC Sports definitely appear headed for a split,” Bianchi said in the mailbag. “Ending a relationship that first began on a part-time basis in 2008 then became exclusive in 2019. CBS Sports is now considered the leader to obtain IndyCar’s television rights, as Sports Business Journal first reported earlier this month. Should this deal come to fruition, it remains to be seen on which platform — CBS, CBS Sports or Paramount+ — the majority of IndyCar races will be aired.”

There are plenty of balls to juggle for NBC as more and more sharks appear ready to snatch up their valuable sports properties.

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Fox Officially Unveils NFL Broadcast Teams

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In what has been considered a formality for some time, Fox today officially unveiled Kevin Burkhardt, Greg Olsen, Erin Andrews, and Tom Rinaldi as their number one NFL broadcast team Monday. Burkhardt and Olsen were elevated to Fox’s top booth after the departure of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman to ESPN’s Monday Night Football earlier this year.

There were some reports that Drew Brees could have been a possibility to join the network, but those discussions fell apart.

The network’s other teams include several familiar faces to football fans:

#2 team: Joe Davis, Daryl “Moose” Johnston, Pam Oliver
#3 team: Adam Amin, Mark Schlereth, Kristina Pink
#4 team: Kenny Albert, Jonathan Vilma, Shannon Spake
#5 team: Kevin Kugler, Mark Sanchez, Laura Okmin
#6 team: Chris Myers, Robert Smith, Jen Hale

Olsen’s jump to the number one team with Burkhardt is a formality until the retirement of Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady. The seven-time Super Bowl winner will ascend to Fox’s number one booth upon his retirement, whenever that may be.

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Ryan Clark, Mad Dog Get Into Heated Argument on ‘First Take’

“Mad Dog, stop screaming at me now, bro. For the last time, you’re gonna stop screaming at me,” Clark interrupted.

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Former Pittsburgh Steeler, and current ESPN NFL analyst Ryan Clark and recent Radio Hall of Fame inductee Chris “Mad Dog” Russo squared off on Monday’s edition of First Take, with a heated exchange taking place between the two.

After a discussion about Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas meandered into a discussion about whether Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp would be voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame if he never played another game, Clark said about Hall of Fame voters “they must be voting like you (Russo) vote for the Heisman, where you just vote on whoever the hell you want based off the fact that they play quarterback”.

Russo quickly took exception to the perceived slight.

“Ryan, hold on now,” Russo said, in a louder manner than normal. “You said something, now I’m going to comment. I’ve been voting for the Heisman since before you were born.”

“Mad Dog, stop screaming at me now, bro. For the last time, you’re gonna stop screaming at me,” Clark interrupted.

“You said something that wasn’t right,” Russo said.

“Lower your voice,” the former Steeler interrupted again.

“I’ve been voting for the Heisman since before you were born,” Mad Dog reiterated, with a lower volume. “30 years.”

“I don’t care about that,” Clark rebutted.

“You’re saying I’m voting for the Heisman and saying I don’t deserve a vote. I’ve been voting for 30 years!”, Russo began to raise his voice again.

“I never said you don’t deserve a vote,” Clark replied before clarifying he disagrees with Russo’s sentiment about the college football award being only awarded to quarterbacks.

It’s not the first time Russo has clashed with First Take contributors. A discussion with J.J. Reddick went viral earlier this year after Reddick told Russo previous NBA players played with “plumbers and firefighters”.

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Todd Frazier Joining ESPN Little League World Series Booth

It will be a memorable summer for Fraizer at the LLWS because he will be inducted into the Little League Hall of Excellence. 

Ricky Keeler

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When people talk about 11-year MLB veteran Todd Frazier, some of the things that are usually mentioned on broadcasts usually is that he is from Toms River, New Jersey and that he played in the Little League World Series in 1998 (won the championship). Now, Frazier will have a bigger connection to the annual event in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

As first reported by Bobby Nightengale of The Cincinnati EnquirerFrazier will be in the TV booth (remotely) for ESPN for this year’s Little League World Series. He made his broadcast debut on Monday morning during one of the New England region semifinals between Maine and Massachusetts. 

Frazier told Nightengale that he wants to use this event to begin his second career in the broadcasting industry.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, especially for the Little League World Series since I’ve been a part of it. I know it and understand it really well. Kind of kickstart my second career here.” 

It will be a memorable summer for Fraizer at the LLWS because he will be inducted into the Little League Hall of Excellence. 

The Little League World Series begins on Wednesday, August 17 and ends on Sunday, August 28. It will be broadcasted on ESPN and ABC.  

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