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ESPN Nearly Sold Out Of NHL Ad Inventory

“Our business is on fire.”

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The reunion of the NHL and ESPN may just be the perfect partnership for both sides. The season debut was a hit, having the highest number of viewers for an opening night on record for the NHL.

Ratings are certainly nice, but revenue is nicer and it appears that ESPN has been cashing in plenty.

The NHL’s return has supercharged advertising sales for Disney. The company is nearly sold out of commercial inventory for the 2021-22 NHL season. The entertainment giant expects more than $100 million in NHL-related ad sales this season, sources told Front Office Sports.

“We are very, very well sold,” said Rita Ferro, president of Disney advertising sales, who declined to comment on numbers but noted significant demand across ESPN, ESPN+, and Hulu. “We have a couple of positions left, mostly in the playoffs and Finals.”

Disney has attracted new advertising partners for the NHL, as well as some that previously spent money with NBC Sports, which had been the home for the NHL for 16 years.

Expedia will present 25 games on ABC and ESPN and New Amsterdam Vodka will present 75 games on Disney’s streaming platforms. Lexus, Fidelity, and Subway are among presenting, in-game, and studio sponsors.

Disney is paying $400 million annually to serve as the league’s TV partner, while Turner sports is paying $225 million for the “B” package.

It seems that the deal has been great for both sides as Ferro added that “Our business is on fire.”

Sports TV News

Mike Greenberg Absent Due to ‘Setback’

The longtime ESPN personality tweeted that he would miss the rest of the week from his duties and thanked those “carrying the ball” for him while he was out.

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Mike Greenberg has been absent from Get Up and his ESPN Radio show since Wednesday, and explained that he has suffered “a little setback” as the reason.

The longtime ESPN personality tweeted that he would miss the rest of the week from his duties and thanked those “carrying the ball” for him while he was out.

Greenberg did not specify what ailment he suffered a setback from, but said he hoped to “get back as fast” as he could.

ESPN Radio afternoon duo Chris Canty and Chris Carlin filled in for Greenberg on Greeny, while on Get Up, Dan Graziano filled in on Wednesday and Brian Custer handled the hosting duties on Thursday and Friday.

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Sports TV News

Pat McAfee Added To ABC Booth For Las Vegas Bowl

“Dave Pasch will call the game. Laura Rutledge will be on the sidelines.”

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Pat McAfee

While all of the talk about college football on TV centered on the Big Ten and its new deals with FOX, CBS, and NBC in the off-season, it was ESPN that made a deal to steal the spotlight during the season. The network added Pat McAfee to the College GameDay crew ahead of the show’s week 2 visit to Austin, TX. Now, the flamboyant analyst is ready to go from pregame to in-game.

McAfee’s College GameDay co-host Kirk Herbstreit was a guest on McAfee’s show Friday. He revealed that he and McAfee will serve as co-hosts for ABC’s broadcast of the Las Vegas Bowl on Saturday, December 17.

“It’s gonna be a blast,” Herbstreit told McAfee. “It’s your game. I’m just kinda there to hang out with you.”

Pat McAfee joked that can’t be true because he will still be identifying a lot of players by numbers while Herbstreit will be able to give the guys’ entire career history. He added that the idea that he gets to share a booth with Herbstreit is “hilarious.”

The Las Vegas Bowl will feature the Florida Gators and the Oregon State Beavers. Dave Pasch will call the game. Laura Rutledge will be on the sidelines.

In his first deal with ESPN, Pat McAfee worked with Adam Amin and Matt Hasselbeck. The trio called Thursday night college football games during the 2019 season.

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Jon Morosi Got ‘Adrenaline Rush at 4:30 AM’ Reporting Aaron Judge News

“It’s special, it’s unique. I never take it for granted.”

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At the Winter Meetings this week out in San Diego, MLB Network insider Jon Morosi was the first to break the news that Aaron Judge was reportedly re-signing with the New York Yankees on a 9-year, $360 million deal.

 The news broke very early in the morning in San Diego, but Morosi was awake because he wanted to wish his wife Alexis a Happy Birthday. He was a guest on High Heat on Thursday with Alanna Rizzo to talk about what it was like to break that story and be the one that has the news first when every reporter is at the Winter Meetings.

“There is that adrenaline rush especially at 4:30, 5 o’clock in the morning when you hit that button and you say okay, when I walk down to this lobby, it’s going to be interesting because it’s something you are about to say. It’s special, it’s unique. I never take it for granted.”

Morosi did mention how the Winter Meetings and the trade deadline are sensitive times for everyone involved and he talked about a time he reported on a pitcher that was going to be traded and what the first tweet he got back from that report was.

“I remember one time I was at a Winter Meetings reporting on a possible trade about a pitcher going somewhere. I tweeted his name, he’s going to be on the move. The first reply to that tweet was from the player’s wife saying please tell me where. I was right, so I felt good about that, but it’s pressure.

“We have to remember there’s a human element to this for the players, the reporters, for the agents involved. It’s a sensitive time, it’s an exciting time. Certainly, it was a proud moment, but I was lucky to be part of a great team here that put all of us in a position to succeed. Most of all, I’m lucky to be married to Alexis.”

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