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Steve Levy Reveals The Moment Monday Night Football Crew Loosened Up

“Last year required real adaptation on the part of the three broadcasters.”

Ricky Keeler

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On September 13, Steve Levy, Brian Griese, and Louis Riddick will begin their second year of calling Monday Night Football games for ESPN. Their first year working as a trio brought a lot of challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic, calling games with no fans, and being a three-man booth calling games. 

Griese and Levy were guests on the most recent episode of The Dave Pasch Podcast (Riddick will be on a separate episode). Pasch used to call college football games with Griese on ESPN. While there were many challenges to calling games last season, Levy mentioned that working with Griese previously on college football helped get past a lot of those obstacles. 

“I was really fortunate that I wasn’t starting from scratch with Brian. That might have been too much. New producer, new director, three in the booth which can be tricky, has its own sort of issues. In a year where you are not laying out for crowd noise, that was the season to have three voices…We tried to make it as good as possible and we knew we were going to be judged by whatever was coming through the TV screen and the speakers. We were comfortable being judged by that”

Levy took the listener inside the booth. Last year required real adaptation on the part of the three broadcasters. Levy said there were fewer people next to him than ever before.

“We replaced people in the booth with monitors. In an effort to keep your six feet distance, no spotter standing next to us, there was a monitor, the spotter was in another booth. No statistician. Instead of the statistician, we had another monitor in front of us. You got to see the manicure of whoever was pointing to a place in the booth with their own camera. We didn’t know what to go off of.” 

One of the highlights of last season for Levy was in Week 3 when ESPN had the Chiefs-Ravens game. Levy says one tweet from Patrick Mahomes’ mother helped the trio loosen up. It also helped break the ice between them.

After Riddick had called Patrick Mahomes “Pat Mahomes” for most of the night, Mahomes’s mother tweeted “his name is Patrick.”

“We’re in the break and it’s being revealed to us on social media that Patrick’s mom is saying all this stuff and I’m like guys, we’ve got to throw it up on the screen…Louis got hysterical. It loosened everybody up. It’s moments like that. I thought that was a really good jumping-off point for the three of us in the booth.”

Year 2 for Levy, Griese, and Riddick begins on Monday, September 13 when the Baltimore Ravens head to Las Vegas to take on the Raiders (8:15 PM ET). 

Sports TV News

Pat McAfee Feels Good About His College Football MegaCast Debut

“I feel good going into the next one. I feel like we’ve learned from this first one,” he said.

Jordan Bondurant

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The College Football MegaCast featuring Pat McAfee and his daily YouTube show’s cast debuted on ESPN2 over the weekend, and McAfee is looking forward to the next edition.

On his show Monday, McAfee told co-host A.J. Hawk that he felt good about how the show went considering it was uncharted territory to be in.

“We had no idea how successful it would be,” McAfee said. “Like this is the first time we’re being judged in a different fashion. I don’t think we marketed it much, you know, because I don’t think we knew how it was gonna go.”

The alternate feed is being produced for ESPN by Omaha Productions, which is also responsible for the ManningCast which runs alongside the traditional Monday Night Football broadcast.

McAfee said this first show turned out to be a learning experience and that they started off on the right foot.

“I feel good going into the next one. I feel like we’ve learned from this first one,” he said. “We had no idea, it was very much of a roll of the dice. Going into the next one I think we’re gonna try and make it even grander and bigger, and I’m very excited for it.”

As for the style in which they covered the Clemson/N.C. State game, McAfee added that the giveaways and guest interactions added a lot of value.

“I think it’s the right way to watch a game, and to be honest I think it’s keeping us all invested as much and even more,” he said.

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Sports TV News

LA Clippers Sign New Contract with Bally Sports

The multi-year agreement will go into effect this season. Bally will carry 63 of the team’s 2022-23 regular season games.

Jordan Bondurant

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The Los Angeles Clippers will continue its relationship with Bally Sports, completing a new deal over the weekend to keep Bally as the team’s regional sports network.

The multi-year agreement will go into effect this season. Bally will carry 63 of the team’s 2022-23 regular season games. Additionally, 11 games will be carried by KTLA, giving the team some additional viewership reach. The remaining eight games will be broadcast on national television.

Brian Sieman will continue on as the play-by-play broadcaster for games, with Jim Jackson and Mike Fratello swapping the analyst chair. Jamie Maggio and Kristina Pink will be reporting.

According to the Los Angeles Times, all signs pointed to the team and the network hashing out a new contract.

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ESPN’s NFL Programming Sees Big September Growth

For ESPN, September has been a really strong month with their NFL programming.

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For ESPN, September has been a really strong month with their NFL programming.

Sunday NFL Countdown is averaging 1.4 million viewers per show thus far in 2022. That up 15% from 2021’s first three shows of the NFL season. The season premiere – Sunday, Sept. 11 – averaged 1.6 million viewers, tying the network’s best Week 1 audience for the show since 2016 and is up 35% year-over-year.

NFL Live experienced large growth too. The episode airing after the first NFL Sunday, on Monday September 12, averaged 664,000 viewers which beat every NFL Live episode last season, including the most-watched episode on 2021 (December 17) which grabbed 635,000 viewers.

Monday Night Countdown is averaging 1.3 million viewers for its two, non-staggered September episodes, which aired in its traditional timeslot (6-8 pm).

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