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NBC Puts Spotlight On Mental Health Of Olympians

The most decorated Olympian in history has been open about his mental health struggles.

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Simone Biles and mental health have been dominating the headlines at the Tokyo Olympics over the past week. NBC hasn’t ignored these issues despite Biles’s withdrawals impacting their viewership.

Mike Tirico sat down with former USA swimmer Michael Phelps in an exclusive NBC Olympics interview to dive deeper into these issues from an athlete who can relate to Biles. Many consider her the greatest gymnast of all time, but she has struggled with a case of the “twisties” at the Tokyo Olympics.  

The term refers to a miscommunication between a gymnast’s brain and her body that makes them unable to perform tricks they can normally do in their sleep. Performing while dealing with these mental blocks can be very dangerous in a sport that requires hyper-focus and athleticism.

“Maybe we’ll see change,” Phelps said in the exclusive NBC Olympics interview on Peacock. “Maybe we’ll actually be able to help athletes. One of the things I’ve been frustrated about is the lack of change and lack of support we have for mental health both during competition and post-competition.”

Phelps has been open and forthcoming about his mental health battles. Showing that even the most decorated Olympic athlete ever hits roadblocks sometimes, especially in a lonely environment like this year’s event.

“Dark. Scary,” Phelps said about being alone in Tokyo. “I had one kind of moment here where I just spun a little bit. For me, it can happen whenever it wants. I can wake up one day and feel like a million bucks, and the next day I can wake up and feel like all I want to do is curl up into a ball and go into a black hole. That’s my life. I’m a human being. I experience emotions just like everyone else does.”

Props to NBC for shining a brighter light on these issues. They allowed Phelps and Tirico an open space for discussion that can help fans and people worldwide understand these pressures a little bit better. 

Sports TV News

Fox Charging $250,000 For Field of Dreams Game Ads

The revelation from Ourand comes a day after Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch said the network was planning “record pricing” for its upcoming Super Bowl in February of 2023.

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For the second consecutive year, Major League Baseball is playing a regular season game at the Field of Dreams movie site in Dyersville, Iowa. And the 2022 edition has proved to be a lucrative one for Fox.

John Ourand of Sports Business Journal reports Fox has secured more revenue for this year’s game between the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds than any other regular season game on the network. Ourand also revealed commercials sold for $250,000 each.

The revelation from Ourand comes a day after Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch said the network was planning “record pricing” for its upcoming Super Bowl in February of 2023. NBC sold commercials for $7 million during Super Bowl LVI.

Also, per a report from the Des Moines Register, the game will not be held in 2023, as the site develops a complex for youth baseball and softball fields. Baseball Hall of Famer Frank Thomas is part of the ownership group of the site and said “It’s a lot going on. They don’t want to come back if the stadium’s not prepared.”

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Sports TV News

Disney CEO Bob Chapek: ESPN Viewers Under 30 ‘Absolutely Require’ Betting Content

“Our sports fans that are under 30 absolutely require this type of (sports betting) utility,” Chapek said. 

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Disney CEO Bob Chapek alluded to an upcoming partnership with a sportsbook during a second-quarter earnings call.

“Our sports fans that are under 30 absolutely require this type of (sports betting) utility,” Chapek said. 

Disney reported a revenue increase of 26% year-over-year, bringing in $21.5 billion in the quarter. ESPN+ now features 22.8 million subscribers, while Disney+ is at 152.1 million. Hulu, which Disney owns 67% of, now has 46.2 million subscribers.

Also during the call, Chapek discussed what a direct-to-consumer future looks like for ESPN, saying “we’ve negotiated flexibility into our new rights agreements”.

ESPN has continued to invest in the sports betting space, offering shows like Daily Wager, while also announcing the addition of sports betting expert Liz Loza earlier this week.

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Sports TV News

Potential Big Ten/ESPN Deal Did Not Include ESPN Plus Option

“I’ve been told ESPN’s deal did not include direct-to-consumer on ESPN+, it was a strict linear television deal.”

Jordan Bondurant

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ESPN, BIG TEN

A shockwave went thru the sports media landscape on Tuesday when reports surfaced that the Big Ten would not be awarding a media rights deal with longtime partner ESPN. Since then, more details have come out about why the two might not be in business together after this season.

On The Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast, John Ourand added another piece of the puzzle that could offer some illumination. According to his reporting and sources, ESPN wanted to be able to offer Big Ten games on their direct-to-consumer streaming option, ESPN+ and the Big Ten didn’t receive that well.

“I’ve been told ESPN’s deal did not include direct-to-consumer on ESPN+, it was a strict linear television deal.”

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