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David Cone Looks Forward to ESPN ‘Sunday Night Baseball,’ ‘Kay-Rod’ Competition

“Obviously, there is a little bit of competition there when we are going head-to-head… But they are not doing a full schedule… We’ll have plenty of games where it’s the regular Sunday Night booth.”

Ricky Keeler

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Sunday night, April 10, viewers will have the option to watch Red Sox-Yankees via the main telecast on ESPN (with new broadcast team Karl Ravech, David Cone, and Eduardo Perez) or the alternate Kay-Rod broadcast with Michael Kay and Alex Rodriguez on ESPN2.

Cone works with Kay on the YES Network calling Yankees games and they will now be “competing” with each other eight Sundays out of the year.

On the latest episode of The Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast, Cone joined Andrew Marchand and John Ourand and he was asked about the Kay-Rod broadcast and whether or not he views it as competition to the main broadcast.

“Obviously, there is a little bit of competition there when we are going head-to-head,” said Cone. “You just can’t deny that, but they are not doing a full schedule… We’ll have plenty of games where it’s the regular Sunday Night booth. It’s a nice alternative.”

At the same time, Cone is curious to see how that alternate broadcast turns out and he knows that Kay is going to bring the best out of Rodriguez once the microphones turn on.

“I think it’s going to be really interesting to see what Michael can do with Alex,” he said. “I have a feeling Michael is going to bring some things out of A-Rod. That’s Michael Kay’s forte, knowing him very well over the years. I think he is going to loosen up Alex a little bit and get him in a different format. Alex has a lot to offer. I think the right guy bringing it out of him is the key.”

Throughout the interview, Cone talked about other job opportunities that he could have taken in the past, such as almost working at SNY when the network was starting.

Most recently, Cone interviewed for the Yankees pitching coach position in 2019. While the veteran pitcher has been one of the broadcasters helping viewers with how he explains analytics and sabermetrics in baseball, he knew he would need some work to catch up with what the Yankees are doing now.

“I’m not sure how close I came, but it was a serious interview, so I was thankful for that,” said Cone. “They really put me through the car wash, as they say. It was the entire organization and every department that I went through. It was very thorough. I would have taken the job had it been offered, but I think I had sat out a little too long. From a technological standpoint, I needed some more continuing education.”

“Even though I cover that in broadcasting now in terms of analytics, sabermetrics, or what not,” he added. “If you’ve heard my broadcasts, you know I have a growth mentality towards those things. But I would have had to play a lot of catch-up in order to get up to speed and that was just a little daunting for the Yankees to take that chance at that point.”

While Cone isn’t a pitching coach now, the audience that watches Yankees games enjoys the analysis he brings to the table. Starting next week, a national ESPN audience will get its chance to hear what people in the tri-state area get to listen to often. 

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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Sports TV News

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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