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ESPN Releasing Barry Bonds E:60 Special

“The slugger was a famously prickly personality who rubbed a lot of his teammates and the media the wrong way.”

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN is releasing BONDS on Sunday. An E:60 special feature on the life, career, and controversy that surrounds Barry Bonds to this day. Bonds has failed to crack the Baseball Hall of Fame every year of his eligibility so far and he’s running out of chances.

Bonds is entering his final year of eligibility and will be left to sands of baseball time should he not get 75% of the vote this winter.

The slugger was a famously prickly personality who rubbed a lot of his teammates and the media the wrong way. Bonds didn’t do his quest for the Hall of Fame any favors by acting like a heel to the media—especially at the end of his career.

One of the media members synonymous with Bonds during that time was Pedro Gomez, who unfortunately passed away in February at the age of 58.

ESPN did not list Gomez among the 18 names released as interviewees for the special, but he had plenty of first-hand interactions with Bonds throughout the years. 

“This was inevitable,” Gomez said when Bonds returned to San Francisco Giants Spring Training in 2014 as a hitting instructor. “The Giants and Barry Bonds will be linked forever. There’s no denying that. Bonds accomplished his greatest feats in a Giants uniform, so having him be a guest instructor is a no-brainer.”

Gomez was on the “Bonds Beat” in 2005 and 2007 as the star winded down his career.

“He was warm towards me today, reaching out to say hello and shake my hand,” said Gomez. “That was, to say the least, not always the case during my seasons of covering Bonds. He admitted [in Monday’s news conference] that was a ‘character’ that he may have needed [to portray] to play at such a high level.”

Gomez later joked that he wouldn’t be surprised if ESPN sent him back out to the Bay Area for another extended stint covering the all-time home run leader. We’ll see if the “Bonds Beat” sparks up again—from a hall of fame induction speech this time.

Sports TV News

FOX Sports Sees Record-Setting Ratings Weekend

The World Cup matchup between the U.S. and England on Black Friday and Michigan/Ohio State on Saturday saw tens of millions of viewers tuning in.

Jordan Bondurant

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FOX Sports has been home to a number of record-setting games in terms of viewership over the last several days.

In addition to FOX Sports setting a new mark for a Thanksgiving and regular season NFL audience, the World Cup matchup between the U.S. and England on Black Friday and Michigan/Ohio State on Saturday saw tens of millions of viewers tuning in.

The network reported the U.S./England match in the group stage of the 2022 World Cup averaged 15.377 million. It was the most-watched English-language soccer game in the U.S. ever, topping the 1994 World Cup final between Italy and Brazil.

Viewership of the match was up 11% compared to the second group stage contest for the U.S. team in 2014 against Portugal. The audience peaked at 19.646 million from 3:30-3:45 p.m.

FOX Sports also reported the Michigan/Ohio State game on Saturday drew in 17 million, which made it the most-watched regular season college game on the network ever. That figure was also the highest of any regular season contest since 2011. That game also saw the audience peak at 19.6 million.

Viewership for the game was up 3% compared to last year.

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Sports TV News

ESPN Bowl Plans Could Be Altered By NFL Flex Scheduling

“While this situation poses a challenge, we are accustomed to flexibility and having to maneuver our event schedules.”

Jordan Bondurant

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ESPN could be forced to adjust its upcoming bowl season schedule if the NFL decides to flex a Las Vegas Raiders game a week before Christmas.

ESPN announced its contingency plans for two bowl contests, the Las Vegas Bowl and the New Mexico Bowl. The Las Vegas Bowl is currently planned to kick off from Allegiant Stadium at 7:30 p.m. on December 17. The Raiders right now are still planning to play in the Sunday night game the next night against the Patriots.

Should the NFL decide to flex the Raiders out of the SNF window, ESPN will swap kickoff times between the Las Vegas Bowl and the New Mexico Bowl. That would mean the game in sin city will kick off at 11:30 a.m. local time, with the contest in Albuquerque starting at 5:20 p.m. local time that evening.

“The SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl and New Mexico Bowl are both owned and operated by ESPN Events, so this change is a solution that will work for all parties,” ESPN Events vice president Clint Overby said. “While this situation poses a challenge, we are accustomed to flexibility and having to maneuver our event schedules. We are more than prepared to move forward with this revised schedule if necessary.”

Kickoff times will be determined well enough ahead that the schools taking part in both games shouldn’t be adversely affected.

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Sports TV News

NFL Thanksgiving Games Set Ratings Records

FOX Sports added that viewership was up 49% compared to 2021.

Jordan Bondurant

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The Thanksgiving slate of NFL games last week brought in the largest audiences ever. Viewership across all three games averaged 33.5 million.

The game with the largest viewership was Giants/Cowboys in the 4:30 p.m. window. FOX Sports reported that 42 million watched Dallas beat New York 28-20. It is the largest regular season audience ever, surpassing the previous leader set 32 years ago.

The network added that viewership was up 49% compared to 2021. FOX carried the Detroit Lions traditional noon Thanksgiving game last year. Compared to the Cowboys turkey day contest on CBS in 2021, viewership was up 3%.

The Bills/Lions game in the early window on CBS averaged 31.627 million, with the audience peaking at 41.981 million. It was the most-watched early Thanksgiving game on record.

Patriots/Vikings on NBC in the nightcap averaged 25.9 million. That figure was up 24% compared to Bills/Saints a year ago, with NBC Sports claiming it’s the second most-watched primetime Thanksgiving game on record. The game was simulcast in Spanish on Telemundo, which averaged 565,000 viewers and made it the most-watched NFL game ever on the network.

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