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Cris Collinsworth: NBC Wanted To Do The Maddencast Years Ago

“There was a time when they wanted John Madden to do the games and I’m in the studio and they always sort of had this dream of two analysts doing the games.”

Ricky Keeler

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Fans of the NFL have heard Cris Collinsworth’s voice on either NBC or FOX at some point on Sundays in their lives. He is more known for being an analyst than doing play-by-play, but it was an idea that NBC thought of trying when they got the rights to football back. 

On the latest episode of the Just Getting Started with Rich Eisen podcast, Collinsworth talked about his broadcasting journey and an idea NBC had that was similar to what Peyton and Eli Manning are doing now at ESPN.

“There was a time when they wanted John Madden to do the games and I’m in the studio and they always sort of had this dream of two analysts doing the games. I would sort of do the play-by-play and John would be the caller, but it would be much more of a conversation about football than a traditional broadcast. Like Peyton and Eli sort of.”

“They fly a jumbo jet 747 across the country. They take the whole NBC Sports team to John Madden’s studios. We go in to do this game. I’m doing the play-by-play. I’m sort of like how hard can it be?  I started doing some practice games before that. They put a microphone on me and Merril Hoge came and they would record them and we would call the games.”

However, when Collinsworth tried to do play-by-play, he quickly learned that he could not call the game the same way he does as an analyst. 

“I couldn’t undo what I had learned to do my whole life. When I broadcast the game, I don’t watch the football. A lot of times, I lose where it is. I think Al’s job is to tell you what’s happening to the football and my job is to tell you something you didn’t see. When I’m trying to do play-by-play, now I’ve got to watch the football. I didn’t really know just getting on-the-air, that’s a lot harder than you think it is.”

As the story goes on, Dick Ebersol tells Collinsworth if he wants the job, he can have it. However, Ebersol also mentioned that he had the chance to get Al Michaels and now the two are partners on the NBC broadcast years later. 

According to Collinsworth, Ebersol has been an important figure in his life. Collinsworth told Eisen that at one point, he could have stayed at FOX or gone to CBS at the time. He was going to go to CBS, but something Ebersol said made him change his mind: 

“He said ‘you are very good at football and breaking it down and serious and you’re edgy. They are going to teach you how to have fun with broadcasting. They are going to teach you that broadcasting is more than just the game. It’s a story. It’s a sense of humor. It’s a welcome into my home.’ I thought about it a long time and I was definitely going to be the fourth wheel on that show, but I was happy that I did.”

Sports TV News

The NFL Still Considering Multiple Offers For Sunday Ticket

The NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has not bid for the package but has stated it is willing to partner with the new rightsholder for a potential deal.

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Sunday Ticket Negotiations

DirecTV currently has the rights to Sunday Ticket. That deal expires at the end of this upcoming football season. The NFL is expected to make a boatload of cash when they decide which media organization gets the next rights to the package. The only question is… who will that be?

Alex Sherman of CNBC reports that the NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has decided not bid for the package. However, they are interested in partnering with the new rightsholder for a potential deal. DirecTV knows that Sunday Ticket is a staple in bars and restaurants and is interested in maintaining those relationships.

Outside of the bar/restaurant industry, success has been limited for the satellite provider with the football package. Fewer than two million subscribers signed up for Sunday Ticket each year which made the package a money-loser for the satellite TV provider.

According to the report, the NFL wants more than $2 billion for the rights and a stake in NFL Media, which is being packaged with Sunday Ticket. Also on the table is the NFL’s mobile rights. The league’s previous mobile agreement with Verizon has ended.

An interesting piece of the negotiations is Sunday Ticket price. According to the report, a buyer would have limited flexibility on pricing. The NFL signed contracts with CBS and Fox and within the framework of those deals, language mandates Sunday Ticket have a premium price. That’s to prevent loss of viewers from the networks that feature local market Sunday afternoon games. So essentially, the price is the price for the consumer.

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F1 Renews With ESPN For U.S. Media Rights

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

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F1 ESPN

The racing series F1 has decided to stick with ESPN through 2025.

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

The reported value of the three-year contract is set to pay F1 $75-90M per year for the U.S. media rights. Amazon had offered to pay roughly $100M per year, with the right to sublicense to a linear broadcast network. Comcast’s offer was similar to ESPN’s in terms of value and the structure. They also wanted to put select races on it’s streaming service, Peacock.

Netflix was in on the negotiations, as well. The makers of Drive to Survive, the streaming series that many credit with the sport’s explosion in popularity in recent years, wasn’t close on on their financial offer. Also, it seems F1 executives were not ready to put all of its races on a streaming service just yet.

Currently, F1 receives $5M per year for ESPN to broadcast it’s races. ESPN has grabbed about 1.0 million viewers per race. That makes F1 a more than viable option for the network to invest into again. ESPN will be able to put a small number of races on its ESPN+ streaming service exclusively. The vast majority being on ABC or ESPN.

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Skip Bayless Says He And Stephen A. Smith ‘Sorted Out’ Their Disagreement

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

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Skip Bayless

Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless were locked in a war of words last week following the First Take host’s appearance on JJ Redick’s Old Man and the Three podcast.

The origins of their partnership were discussed and Bayless admitted he did not like the way Smith characterized the state of First Take before he arrived on set. Smith insisted that Bayless simply misunderstood what he meant by saying that he was told the show needed him.

Over the weekend, Skip Bayless says he and Stephen A. Smith got together at the Bayless home in California to talk things out in private.

“He was in LA, he came over, we sat by the pool,” he said on the latest episode of The Skip Bayless Show. “It wasn’t the easiest conversation for a while, but we slowly but surely sorted it out. We got through it, and we have been through so much together.”

Bayless reiterated that he considers Smith a brother. They love each other. That doesn’t mean they are always going to remember events the same way or see eye-to-eye all the time.

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

Fighting doesn’t mean the relationship is fractured. In fact, Skip Bayless was adamant that he remains closer to Smith than he is to most people in his life.

“I don’t trust easily because of the way I was raised, but I do trust Stephen Anthony Smith. Trust him with my life. Always have and always will. I trust he will always be there for me, and you better believe I will always be there for him.”

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