Sports TV News
Bob Costas Opens Up On Conflicts With NBC Over Commentaries
“On HBO, I pretty much was in control of what I said. On NBC, I had to insert a lot of it parenthetically where you pick your spots.”
Bob Costas spent the vast majority of his broadcasting career at NBC and a few years after his departure from the network, Costas has reflected on the relationship that soured.
Speaking with Graham Bensinger as part of In Depth with Graham Bensinger, Costas talked about his relationship with NBC Sports boss Dick Ebersol.
“I didn’t always in any given moment like Dick Ebersol because he’s a strong-willed person, and I have some thoughts of my own and I’m not a cookie-cutter broadcaster,” Costas said. “But there was never a time that I didn’t admire, respect and, in some sense, love him.”
Costas added he had a different relationship with Ebersol than a lot of his other NBC colleagues because of the fact that he was one of the only few that would really challenge Ebersol.
Eventually, Costas began doing work for HBO in addition to his NBC duties. Costas talked about the differences in the freedom he had to express himself.
“On HBO, I pretty much was in control of what I said. On NBC, I had to insert a lot of it parenthetically where you pick your spots,” he said. “HBO is a performer’s paradise. Always has been completely supportive.”
A 2012 NBC Sports Network panel that Costas hosted focused heavily on the link between football players and CTE. That started putting Costas at odds with the network, which remains a big broadcast partner with the league. Costas said eventually the writing on the wall became clear.
“It got to a passive aggressive place, where I think maybe both parties couldn’t see the forest through the trees. And I think that they began to view me as much more of an annoyance than an asset,” he said. “I knew that if I left, that I could go to places where I would be able to do what I wanted to do at that point.”
Later, an ESPN piece originally meant to be a retrospective on Costas’s long career behind the microphone turned into a showdown between Costas and NBC, ultimately leading to Costas quietly departing the network.
“The way that it was presented, at least from their perspective, was I was the hero in the story and they were the villains,” he said. “I never felt that way.”
Costas admitted he wished there would have been some sort of formal goodbye on the air and that things would’ve ended a bit differently with NBC. But he did say he remains open to doing business with the network again in the future and isn’t ruling anything out.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He’s a multimedia journalist and communicator who works at the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond. Jordan also contributes occasional coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, WRIC-TV 8News and Audacy Richmond. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.
Sports TV News
Sean McManus: LIV Golfers Won’t Get Different Treatment During The Masters
“We’re not gonna put our heads in the sand.”
CBS Sports is preparing for coverage of its 68th consecutive year of The Masters, but the 2023 event could prove to be unlike any before it, and CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus is cognizant of the situation.
After several former Masters champions departed the PGA Tour for the upstart LIV Golf, many pondered what that meant for the sport’s major championships. The Masters decided to continue to allow the golfers who are now playing exclusively with the Saudi-backed league to compete for the green jacket. McManus shared that CBS will continue the showcase the golfers as it always has.
“We’re not gonna cover up or hide anything,” McManus said, as reported by Golf Digest. “As I’ve said so often, our job is to cover the golf tournament. We’re not gonna show any different treatment for the golfers who have played on the LIV tour than we do the other golfers. And if there’s a pertinent point or something that we need to, or we feel that we should bring up in our coverage on Saturday and Sunday, or on our other coverage throughout the week, you know, we’re not gonna put our heads in the sand.
“Having said that, unless it really affects the story that’s taking place on the golf course, we’re not gonna go out of our way to cover it. I’m not sure there’s anything that we could add to the story as it already exists. We’ll cover it as, as is suitable.”
Sports TV News
NFL Owners Not Voting on Flex Scheduling For Thursday Night Football
“The owners have simply decided to wait until May to make their decision.”
Amazon will have to wait for flex scheduling. NFL owners decided to table a proposal that would allow the league to create more compelling matchups for Thursday Night Football later in the season.
That doesn’t mean flex scheduling won’t be a reality on Thursday nights this season. The owners have simply decided to wait until May to make their decision.
Earlier this week, Peter King of NBC Sports reported that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is pushing the idea. Coaches have been outspoken about how much they dislike it, complaining about managing injuries and the competitive disadvantage that would come with finding out you suddenly have a shorter week of preparation than expected. According to King, Goodell is trying to make Amazon happy after the first season of Thursday Night Football failed to deliver projected audience numbers for Prime Video.
League owners did take a step they hope will lead to fewer games between losing teams. Last season, teams could only be scheduled once for a Thursday night game. The owners decided to bump that limit up to twice per season.
Goodell defended the proposal against accusations that the league is prioritizing revenue over player safety.
“We always look at the data with respect to injuries,” he told the media gathered at the league meetings. “That is what drove our decisions throughout the first 12 or so years of Thursday Night Football and how it’s evolved. I think the data was very clear: it doesn’t show a higher injury rate. But we recognize shorter weeks. We went through this with COVID, too.”
When the idea of flex scheduling is revisited in May, it will require the support of 24 team owners in order to become a reality.
Sports TV News
Eric Shanks Got Approval From Alex Rodriguez Before FOX Hired Derek Jeter
“Why wouldn’t we reach out?”
Derek Jeter is going to work a very limited schedule for FOX next season. Still, before he came on board, FOX Sports CEO Eric Shanks wanted the support of Jeter’s former Yankees teammate and on-again/off-again friend Alex Rodriguez.
Andrew Marchand is reporting that Shanks reached out to ARod personally. Rodriguez gave his approval to the network.
“Why wouldn’t we reach out?” a Fox Sports spokesman said when The New York Post reached out for confirmation.
While Derek Jeter is now part of the FOX family, fans shouldn’t expect to see him every time baseball is on the network. He is only scheduled to work “marquee events”. This season, those include the London series, the All-Star Game, and the World Series.
He will be at the desk alongside Kevin Burkhardt, David Ortíz, and Rodriguez.