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John Skipper Says ACC Should Focus On Paying Notre Dame More than NBC

“Personally, I would tell them I will figure out how to pay you $80 million a year not to be independent,” said Skipper.

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Notre Dame is the single most valuable independent football property when it comes to it’s media rights. Last year, the university received $22 million for those rights and it wants a raise. John Skipper, the former president of ESPN, joined The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz and discussed where that raise should come from.

Skipper started by saying that the ideal setup for the massive payouts is almost complete. He says the ideal payout structure would begin with four, 16-team conferences. He noted that the SEC and Big Ten are there. He then added that the Pac-12 and Big 12 will have to formulate some configuration to get to 16-teams and the ACC, which is already partially in bed with Notre Dame, needs two teams to get there.

That’s when Skipper said that whatever the ACC is doing, it’s main goal should be to convince Notre Dame to abandon its independence and join the ACC for the money.

“Personally, I would tell them I will figure out how to pay you $80 million a year not to be independent,” said Skipper. “If I was at the ACC, I would be maniacally focused, though it would be hard.”

Skipper also knows that Notre Dame has leverage and it would take a lot to get them to abandon their independence but everyone else may have to force their hand.

“(Notre Dame) Athletic Director (Jack) Swarbrick, very bright guy, done a very good job, doesn’t think he has to make a move,” began Skipper. “But here’s what I’m telling you should happen: four conferences, sixteen teams. New college playoff system: the top four teams from the top four conferences go. Sixteen teams. That is where you then turn to Notre Dame and go ‘you don’t want to be in that? It’s okay but you’re not going to be in that’.”

With the conference realignment landscape fluidity at a fever pitch, the one big piece coveted by all is the Notre Dame piece. Last week it was reported that Notre Dame knows this, sees the media rights business booming, and has reached out to NBC to ask for $75 million to continue their partnership with the network.

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Sports TV News

Robert Griffin III Replaces Randy Moss on Monday Night Countdown

The network announced the addition of Robert Griffin III to the pre-game program.

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Robert Griffin III
David Becker, Getty Images

With Monday Night Countdown set to lead into Thursday’s preseason matchup with the Chicago Bears and Seattle Seahawks, ESPN announced their lineup for the show.

The network announced the addition of Robert Griffin III to the pre-game program. Robert Griffin III will join Booger McFarland and Steve Young as the show’s main analysts.

They will be partnered with Suzy Kolber who returns for her sixth year as the show’s host and news breaker Adam Schefter.

It was reported in July that analyst Randy Moss would not be returning to the show, opting instead to focus solely on Sunday Night Countdown.

The first regular season action featuring Monday Night Countdown will be on Monday, September 12 when the Seahawks play the Denver Broncos.

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Sports TV News

Leafs Nation Network, the Toronto Maple Leafs Channel, Is Going Off the Air

“Thank you for your viewership. As of Sept. 1, Leafs Nation Network TV services will no longer be on air.”

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The Toronto Maple Leafs launched Leafs TV, a team-specific specialty channel in 2001 and rebranded it as Leafs Nation Network in 2017. However, after nearly twenty-one years on the air, it will fade to black at the end of August.

“Thank you for your viewership,” the channel told viewers who have tuned in recently. “As of Sept. 1, Leafs Nation Network TV services will no longer be on air.”

The news was confirmed to the Sun. Staff said they had been informed of the news a few weeks ago however few jobs are expected to be lost, of any, as many of the LNN duties will be moved to the digital format.

Leafs TV was part of the sale of the Toronto Maple Leafs franchise sale in 2011 to Bell-Rogers communications (worth $1.32 billion). With that sale, Leafs TV began to become a “redundant” channel focusing mainly on classic games and interviews once Rogers made a 2014 deal to become the dominant NHL network, grabbing the majority of live programming.

“Leafs TV was a big bargaining chip at the time of the (Rogers-Bell sale), but they’ve come to see that (lack of game broadcast presence) doesn’t work,” a source told the Sun.

A statement from MLSE on Tuesday read in part: “With new and increasing opportunities to share content on its digital platforms, subscribers to the Leafs Nation Network were informed earlier this month that the channel would cease being broadcast on Sept. 1. Maple Leafs game day and practice coverage will continue to be shared across the team’s digital platforms, combined with exciting new content on the team’s social and digital channels. The team will continue to produce live Marlies home games with details being shared in the weeks ahead about where those broadcasts will be made available.”

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Stephen A. Smith Says He Wants Mike Francesa on First Take

Russo smiled and chirped back, ““You can’t beat me, you’re never gonna beat him.”

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Stephen A. Smith, Mike Francesa

Stephen A. Smith seems to be looking to debate every major media personality with big opinions and he has set his eyes on Mike Francesa.

Smith was on First Take on Wednesday with weekly guest Chris “Mad Dog” Russo and chastising Russo for being upset with Aaron Rodgers calling out his wide receivers. That’s when Smith brought up the former WFAN tandem of Mike and the Mad Dog.

“The thing that disappoints me about you,” Smith said to Russo, “you’re upset with honesty. You are not only hosting your own radio show, you have your own channel.”

Smith continued, “You are one of the pioneers if not THE pioneer with Mike Francesa, who, by the way, I got to get him on this show one day too, with you. You understand what I’m saying? I mean it would be my honor to have Mike Francesa too.”

Russo smiled and chirped back, ““You can’t beat me, you’re never gonna beat him.”

Smith returned once more with “I ain’t scared. I’m never gonna beat him, but I’ll try, damn it.”

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