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Mike Tirico Explains What It Is Like To Work With Bill Walton

“Tirico mentioned he learned that while sometimes you have to get Walton back into the game, you have to give the analyst a chance to be himself.”

Ricky Keeler

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Since Mike TIrico began his career at ESPN in the 1990’s, he has had the opportunity to work with many different analysts across multiple networks. Working with different analysts can lead to a different approach in calling the game. 

On this week’s episode of The Dave Pasch Podcast, Pasch had one of his mentors from Syracuse on the show in Tirico. Pasch brought that he got the chance to work with Bill Walton in 2006 since Mike Tirico was doing Monday Night Football (Tirico called NBA games with Jon Barry and Walton for ESPN). Tirico mentioned he learned that while sometimes you have to get Walton back into the game, you have to give the analyst a chance to be himself. 

“With Walton, I learned that the hard way. I’d sit there and Bill would just go,” Mike Tirico said. “I’m like what are we doing, the producers have to show the viewers, and Bill was in Bill world. When you just gotta do it in a loving way, Bill is grateful that you do it. You kind of get him back to the game every once in a while, but you give him the space to have the canvas to be so enjoyable.”  

It was all part of a conversation on how Mike Tirico is able to work with different analysts with different levels of experience and he feels that regardless of how much experience the person has next to him in the booth, being a play-by-play announcer requires making sure the analyst is the best they can be.

For Tirico, it is important to give back to his alma mater at Syracuse because of how people like Dick Stockton, Bob Costas, and Marv Albert came back to Syracuse when he was a student to share their experience. During that time, Mike Tirico has seen the industry grow to the point where people can root for each other to succeed.

“The thing continues to grow, so we don’t have to be fighting over the same jobs. There are a lot more jobs out there than there used to be. I just enjoy being able to share a little bit of my experience with folks and kind of give back because I felt like along the way, people were kind to a kid in his 20’s who didn’t know what he was doing to help me out.” 

Sports TV News

Matthew Berry Joins NBC Sports

Berry is expected to host a daily podcast and have his own Sunday fantasy football show.

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Matthew Berry

Matthew Berry, the fantasy football expert that helped to elevate the niche to mainstay programming surrounding the football season, is joining NBC Sports.

Berry, who left ESPN less than a month ago, is expected to host a daily podcast and have his own Sunday fantasy football show, sources told The New York Post. The show might go against Fantasy Football Now, his previous show that airs on ESPN2.

The show is also expected to be on NBC’s streaming service, Peacock, as well as possibly on some NBC affiliates. Berry could also make appearances on Sunday Night Football.

NBC Sports declined comment.

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Sports TV News

NBC Pushing for Big Ten/NFL Primetime Pairing in Media Rights Deal

“The Big Ten would have exposure in every TV home,” said one source to Front Office Sports. “It would also be a smart idea to follow the model of the most successful sports league in America.” 

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Big Ten media rights negotiations are getting closer to being completed. The results could mean a minimum of $1.25 billion annual distribution for the conference’s soon-to-be sixteen members. One of the bidders in the process, NBC, has an interesting idea to make the Big Ten the “NFL of college football conferences.”

NBC has reportedly pushed the idea of combining Big Ten broadcasts with its existing Notre Dame coverage and would feature the Big Ten in its primetime window. With CBS, ESPN/ABC also bidding on coverage packages, such a series of deals would make the Big Ten the only college football conference that would be seen across all of the American broadcast networks. Something only few entities have done, like the NFL.

NBC is also pushing the allure of having primetime Big Ten football on Saturday night and primetime coverage of Sunday’s only NFL evening game with Sunday Night Football.

“The Big Ten would have exposure in every TV home,” said one source to Front Office Sports. “It would also be a smart idea to follow the model of the most successful sports league in America.” 

The Big Ten’s current media rights deals expire after the 2023 season.

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ESPN’s College GameDay Adds Peloton Instructor and Sports Reporter Jess Sims

ESPN has announced the newest member of the College GameDay show for this football season and it’s Jess Sims.

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Jess Sims

ESPN has announced the newest member of the College GameDay show for this football season and it’s Jess Sims.

Sims is a very popular Peloton instructor and a sports reporter. According to ESPN, Sims will be joining the show weekly with Rece Davis, Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard and David Pollack. The show is entering it’s 36th season.

Sims played college basketball at Liberty College, then worked with the WNBA’s New York Liberty as an in-arena host and sideline reporter for the last two seasons.

“Jess is a rising star who exudes personality and energy.  We’re looking forward to her adding to the excitement surrounding College GameDay each week throughout the season – both during the show and as we engage with students and fans on every campus we visit” said Lee Fitting, ESPN senior vice president, production.

“I am so excited to join the GameDay crew because the show not only celebrates all of the on-field action, but also highlights the passionate communities that surround the games,” said Sims. “This is such a great opportunity to get back to my roots in college sports and I can’t wait to meet incredible athletes and fans and explore these campuses and cities that eat, sleep and breathe their hometown teams.”

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