Sports TV News
Ariel Helwani Announces Exit From ESPN
“During negotiations for a new deal, Helwani had the opportunity to see what other offers may exist for his services. He says he was excited by what he heard from other potential employers.”
Ariel Helwani is leaving ESPN. The MMA reporter shared the news on social media, confirming that his last day with the network will be June 15.
Helwani had been locked in contentious negotiations with ESPN according to an April report from Andrew Marchand of the New York Post. He announced in a video post on Instagram that he never expected to leave ESPN after three years, but during the past six months he was excited by what he heard from other potential employers.
Helwani had nothing but good things to say about the network. He called his time at ESPN “amazing” and the chance to work there “a dream come true.” He also praised Jimmy Pitaro and other members of ESPN’s management for having his back, something that he claims wasn’t provided at other places of employment.
While he is best known for the work he has done around the UFC and other MMA promotions, Helwani mentioned that covering the NBA Summer League was one of the stand out moments of his time at ESPN. He thanked Tim Corrigan for giving him the chance to work three games alongside Jorge Sedano and Vince Carter.
“I have a lot of respect for what ESPN stands for and I have a lot of respect for the people there. I’m truly grateful for what they gave me and for the opportunities that they gave me,” Helwani said, stressing that the decision to leave ESPN is his and there is no bad blood between him and the network.
Outkick’s Bobby Burack reports that many in the industry believe that Helwani can ride the wave of growth in MMA and the UFC and maximize his value outside of a traditional media deal.
Andrew Marchand reports that Helwani has signed one deal with Action Network. The deal will be non-exclusive. That means that Helwani can create content for other companies as well.
One interesting thing to note is that Helwani did not mention ESPN’s contract with the UFC. Helwani and UFC leader Dana White have a very contentious relationship. Helwani has been outspoken in the past about White meddling in his career and making it difficult to do his job. White even tried to revoke Helwani’s press credentials in the past, installing a lifetime ban before reversing his decision a few days later.
Sports TV News
NFL Network Cuts Continue With Willie McGinest
“McGinest is currently in the middle of a lawsuit resulting from an incident in a LA-area restaurant in December.”
Willie McGinest is the latest victim of cost reduction layoffs at NFL Media. The NFL Network analyst is out according to Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports.
McGinest is currently in the middle of a lawsuit resulting from an incident in an LA-area restaurant in December. He is being sued and faces up to eight years in prison for allegedly attacking a fellow customer.
Since news of the investigation became public, NFL Network has kept Willie McGinest off the air.
McCarthy reached out to McGinest and NFL Network. Neither offered a comment at this time.
NFL Media has been busy this week as the company looks to reduce its expenses. Willie McGinest joins Jim Trotter and Rachel Bonnetta on the list of on-air talents that have lost their jobs at NFL Network.
Sports TV News
Holly Rowe Signs Long-Term Extension With ESPN
“I feel like I am living my best life and I am so grateful to ESPN for letting me keep doing this.”
ESPN reporter Holly Rowe has signed a multi-year extension to remain with the company.
Rowe works as a sideline reporter for ESPN/ABC’s coverage of college football — including the College Football Playoffs, the WNBA, women’s college basketball, and the Women’s College World Series, among other high-profile assignments.
“I feel like I am living my best life and I am so grateful to ESPN for letting me keep doing this,” Rowe told The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch.
Earlier this year, Rowe was named the 2023 Curt Gowdy Media Award winner from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame for her electronic media work.
Rowe joined ESPN in 1998, and signed her last contract extension with the network in 2018 shortly before she announced she had undergone her final chemotherapy treatment in August of that year after a melanoma diagnosis in 2016.
According to Deitsch, Rowe’s contract was set to expire next month.
Sports TV News
Mike Florio: The NFL Will Have Games 7 Days a Week & Will Expand To Make it Happen
“So if you wanna increase the total number of games so you can have games Tuesday night, Wednesday night, Friday night, Saturday night, at some point you need more teams to get more games.”
Could you picture NFL games on every night of the week from September to January? ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio thinks it’ll happen in his lifetime.
In an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday, Florio said it’s inevitable that we’ll see the league play games every night.
“I think sooner than later we’re gonna have Tuesday Night Football, we’re gonna have Wednesday Night Football,” he said. “It’s gonna be hopefully in my lifetime a seven day a week, primetime event. There’s too much money to be made.”
“I would love to have football on every night of the week,” Florio added. “It would be nice to have a night or two off. Like Friday night and Saturday night would be nice, but I’d be fine with Tuesday and Wednesday.”
How does Florio think the NFL will get to the point of playing seven days a week during the season? Expansion. And the league has already expressed interest in establishing franchises in Europe.
“I think they’re gonna start moving that number from 32 to in time 34, 36, 38 eventually 40,” Florio said. “Quarterbacks is the key. Is there ever gonna be enough quarterbacks to have 40 NFL teams? But I think that would be the ultimate maximum number.”
Even McAfee added that an 18th NFL regular season game will be coming sooner rather than later. Florio said in order to justify the need for one more game, expansion is the answer.
“When it comes to the inventory, 18 games is the most they’re gonna get away with,” Florio said. “So if you wanna increase the total number of games so you can have games Tuesday night, Wednesday night, Friday night, Saturday night, at some point you need more teams to get more games.”
“If the money’s there to be made by the owners, they’ll deal with it,” he added.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He’s a multimedia journalist and communicator who works at the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond. Jordan also contributes occasional coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, WRIC-TV 8News and Audacy Richmond. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.