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NBC: We Have To Rebuild Olympic Excitement In US After Beijing

“An unnamed source close to the Olympics and the television business told Bauder and Reed that “this feels like a particularly vulnerable moment” for NBC.”

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The shine is very much off NBC’s multi-billion dollar deal with the IOC as the network looks to rebound after a disappointing Winter Olympics. The network has warned all along that viewership would be down, but a column from the AP highlights concerns that Beijing 2022 may have permanently tarnished the games for American audiences.

NBC is not looking to renegotiate or void its deal, which runs through 2032 according to David Bauder and Joe Reedy. In fact, NBC Sports boss Pete Bevacqua has been upfront about the fact that NBC was expecting lower ratings for the 2022 Games. Still, he acknowledged that the network has work to do to bring back the huge audiences it once enjoyed for the Olympics.

“I think we in many ways have to work internally with the IOC with the USOPC to rejuvenate the Games coming out of Tokyo and Beijing in preparation for Paris, Italy and LA. That is going to be a strategic priority of ours,” Bevacqua said.

An unnamed source close to the Olympics and the television business told Bauder and Reed that “this feels like a particularly vulnerable moment” for NBC. The network is coming off of back-to-back games based in Asia, which means the majority of American audiences were seeing events on television long after the results were known. Add to that personal distaste for the the Chinese government and NBC was in a virtual no-win situation.

Mike Tirico, who anchored the 2022 Winter Olympics for NBC, said that what transpired during the games themselves may have had an even bigger effect. He pointed to Kamila Valieva, the Russian figure skater who was allowed to compete on Thursday even after failing a drug test.

Tirico said on air that the reaction to Valieva and the image of her on the ice Thursday looking so vulnerable and afraid before her routine was “even more damaging to the [Olympic] product.”

NBC executives are certainly happy to see the next two Olympics shift to Europe. The 2024 Summer Games will be in Paris and the 2026 Winter Games in Italy. That doesn’t alleviate the time difference entirely though.

For that, NBC will have to wait until 2028 when the Summer Games go to Los Angeles. Executives will then keep their fingers crossed that the IOC calls out either Salt Lake City or Vancouver when it selects a host for the 2030 Winter Games. That could happen as soon as this summer.

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After Losing Out On Big Ten Rights, ESPN Turns Focus to NCAA Championships

According to Front Office Sports, ESPN’s contract for 29 NCAA Championships ends in 2024.

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After reportedly losing out on the Big Ten’s television rights, ESPN is reportedly turning to securing the NCAA Championship rights from hitting the open market.

According to Front Office Sports, ESPN’s contract for 29 NCAA Championships ends in 2024. Those 29 championships include everything from Women’s basketball to ice hockey, wrestling, softball, and baseball. The network pays a reported $34 million for the rights to broadcast those championship events.

However, according to a study commissioned by the NCAA reveals that the women’s basketball tournament could be worth anywhere from $81 million to $112 million per year by its lonesome. The NCAA is reportedly considering selling the women’s basketball tournament rights as a standalone product in the next negotiation.

Sources told Front Office Sports ESPN remains interested in striking deals with the Pac-12 and Big 12 media rights, as well as renewing a deal for the College Football Playoff.

The news comes after Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand reported ESPN declined a final offer from the Big Ten for a portion of the conference’s media rights. The reported deal was seven years and $380 million per year.

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ESPN Announces The Return of Stephen A. Smith to First Take

ESPN announced Smith will be returning to First Take on Monday, August 15th.

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Stephen A. Smith

First Take has been without it’s anchor since the day after the NBA Draft in June. That’s when the ESPN personality took some time off to undergo shoulder surgery and to rehabilitate. However, it appears the wait for his return is almost over.

ESPN announced with a tweet that Smith will be returning to First Take on Monday, August 15th. They also teased a guest appearance from Michael Irvin.

This comes a day after Smith tweeted that the countdown was on for his return and we are one week away from the event.

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Field Yates Re-Ups With ESPN

After the departure of Matthew Berry to NBC, ESPN has locked down fantasy expert Field Yates with a new contract to remain in Bristol.

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Field Yates

After the departure of Matthew Berry to NBC, ESPN has locked down fantasy expert Field Yates with a new contract to remain in Bristol.

Yates, 35, would have been a valuable target for FanDuel or DraftKings, surmises Andrew Marchand of The New York Post — who first reported the news — due to his large following on Twitter.

Yates, who also works as a host of Fantasy Football Now and NFL Insider for the network, across multiple platforms including ESPN Radio, will continue in those roles in addition to an assumed expansion of fantasy football duties after Berry’s exit.

He has worked for ESPN since 2012.

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