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Jimmy Pitaro: Reaching Younger Audience A Priority for ESPN

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience. As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

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Many in the media industry have voice concern that millennials and Gen Z aren’t consuming traditional media outlets like previous generations. ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said it’s a priority for the network.

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience,” Pitaro said, quoted by Morning Consult sports business reporter Mark J. Burns. “As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

Pitaro made the comments at Sports Business Journal’s Media Innovators conference Wednesday. It is a continuation of comments he has made in recent years.

In 2018, Pitaro said at ESPN’s upfront “I think we are doing a fantastic job serving the sports fanatic,” said Pitaro. “What about the casual sports customer? Are we doing all we can to serve him or her?”.

In 2019, Pitaro said it was “all hands on deck” to reach a younger audience and women. “We have to be open and go to where our customers are,” he said in regards to reaching younger viewers on social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

Earlier this year, Pitaro added that ESPN won’t be leaving linear television anytime soon.

“What I will tell you is that as I sit here right now, that business is still incredible,” Pitaro said. “We serve the sports fan anyway and at any time. I know there are a lot of people that still want ESPN in that traditional ecosystem.”

Sports TV News

Chris Berman Says NBC Offered To Triple His Salary In 1989 to Leave ESPN

“(NBC) put an offer out there that was times three or four, which — ok — that took a while to get resolved.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Chris Berman has always felt like ESPN was home for him.

There have been a couple of instances throughout his more than four-decade career at The Worldwide Leader where Berman was entertaining offers to leave. But Berman told Jimmy Traina on the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast he always knew ESPN was where he needed to be.

One instance came in 1989 when ESPN was still somewhat a single fledgling sports channel. Berman at the time was weighing leaving Bristol for NBC.

“ESPN was a different place,” Berman said. “We were only one channel then, remember.”

“(NBC) put an offer out there that was times three or four,” he added. “Which — ok — that took a while to get resolved.”

Berman said in terms of his career, deciding to remain at ESPN turned out to be the right choice.

“My God it’s the greatest move I never made,” he said. “At the time I was gonna be the number two guy behind Bob Costas doing football.

“Just job-wise, forget money and this – I’m not in it for that anyway,” Berman added. “I started at 16 thousand bucks.”

Chris talked about the coverage the potential move received. He said the decision was about something bigger than money. He loved getting to cover sports every day.

“That was not the point,” he said. “I wasn’t leveraging anything, and again thank God I’ve been here 43 years.”

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Sports TV News

ESPN, ESPN2 To Air 5 Hour NBA Trade Deadline Special Thursday

Jordan Bondurant

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The NBA trade deadline is this week, and ESPN is going all-in on coverage.

ESPN announced Monday that it will air a five-hour special across ESPN and ESPN2 making sure every deal leading up to the deadline is covered.

The NBA Today Trade Deadline Special will air starting at 1:00 PM on Thursday on ESPN, and the final two hours leading up to the official deadline will air on ESPN 2.

From Los Angeles, Malika Andrews will host. She will be joined by Jalen Rose, Zach Lowe, Chiney Ogwumike, Kendrick Perkins, Richard Jefferson, Ramona Shelburne, Brian Windhorst, and Vince Carter.

Adrian Wojnarowski will be breaking news from Bristol alongside Tim Legler and Bobby Marks. Meanwhile, Stephen A. Smith and Michael Wilbon will be weighing in from Scottsdale, Arizona from ESPN’s Super Bowl set.

Several other ESPN NBA reporters will also be contributing coverage throughout the afternoon.

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Sports TV News

Tom Brady: I’ll Join FOX in 2024

“Even in the future, I wanna be great at what I do. That takes time strategizing, and learning, and evolving.”

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Many have questioned whether Tom Brady will actually join FOX Sports’ top NFL booth after he retires. Today, we have that answer.

During an appearance on The Herd with Colin Cowherd, Brady confirmed he will indeed join Kevin Burkhardt in the network’s top NFL booth, but not until the 2024 season.

“Decompression is important,” Brady said, noting he’ll join the network’s NFL coverage after a year off from the game. “You’re on this kind of really crazy treadmill/hamster wheel, loving the moment, loving the journey, (but) at the same time there’s a daily fight. I have an appreciation to those who are so committed to showing up every day and putting in their max effort to their life and their career.

“I think — for me — I want to be great at what I do. So last week, talking with the people at FOX Sports and the leadership there allowing me to start my FOX opportunity in the fall of 2024 is something that’s great for me.”

Brady added he needs time to absorb a new career before jumping in head first.

“Take some time to really learn, become great at what I want to do, become great at thinking about the opportunity, and make sure I don’t rush into anything. Even in the future, I wanna be great at what I do. That takes time strategizing, and learning, and evolving, and I have so many people to rely on that can support me in that growth, too.”

The seven-time Super Bowl winning quarterback concluded by saying there are other aspects of his life outside of football that “need some catching up and energy”. He went through a high-profile divorce from supermodel Gisele Bündchen, reportedly stemming from his refusal to retire after the 2021 NFL season.

Brady signed a reported 10-year, $375 million contract with FOX Sports to join the network’s top NFL announcing crew, and serve as a brand ambassador in May of last year.

The addition of Brady to the FOX Sports booth creates a potential log jam in the analyst role. Current FOX Sports top NFL analyst Greg Olsen has received high praise from many both inside and outside the industry for his work with Burkhardt. Olsen hasn’t been shy about his wish to remain in the network’s top booth, saying that while the situation “sucks”, he is a “big boy” and “knows what he signed up for”.

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