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ESPN ‘Has All The Keys’ To Getting Texas, Oklahoma To SEC By 2024

“For programming purposes, it makes sense that ESPN would want to see Oklahoma and Texas in the SEC as soon as possible. Financially though, it may not.”

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The Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners announced back in the summer of 2020 that they intended to leave the Big 12 and join the SEC. The timetable was always unclear. It is widely believed that the two schools wouldn’t be able to leave the Big 12 until the league’s current television contracts with FOX and ESPN expire in 2025, but according to Brett McMurphy, the Worldwide Leader in Sports may have the power to move things along a little faster.

Currently, the Big 12 is in a TV contract that runs out in 2025. While Texas and Oklahoma did agree to the terms of a new deal, which will run through 2031, it is with the understanding that those two teams will not be in the league when the new deal begins. To leave before 2025 would mean that the teams devalue the current contract. That is why the conference is not making it easy for the Sooners and Longhorns to leave.

“ESPN has all the keys to the castle for this to happen,” a source told McMurphy.

Not only would ESPN have to figure out how to compensate the Big 12, but it could be on the hook for a lot more money to the SEC. Beginning in 2024, ESPN and the SEC enter into a 10-year deal worth nearly $300 million. There is a clause in that deal though that would raise the price tag if any new members are added to the conference.

For programming purposes, it makes sense that ESPN would want to see Oklahoma and Texas in the SEC as soon as possible. Financially though, it may not.

The two schools would each have to pay an exit fee. While that price tag sits at $84 million (the sum of the league’s distribution for two years) right now, it is likely to be negotiated down to around $50 million per school.

Would ESPN be willing to shell out $100 million to help the schools foot that bill? Would it be willing to do that if it means the price tag on its new SEC deal goes up? On top of all of that, would the network make those leaps if it knew they would devalue the deal currently in place with the Big 12?

A second source told Brett McMurphy that FOX does not intend to stand in the way of any move and both conferences are eager to get this done and get Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC in time for the 2024 football season. That means that the final decision very well could be ESPN’s.

Sports TV News

LIV Golf Nearing TV Deal With The CW Network

“LIV Golf television analyst David Feherty had hinted that the upstart league could potentially have a deal in place with The CW Network for American television rights.”

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LIV Golf

According to a report from Front Office Sports, LIV Golf has laid out a deal with The CW Network for television carriage in the United States.

The deal is a multi-year agreement that will see the tour own real estate in lesser-viewed time slots on the network. A revenue-sharing relationship between the tour and the television network is expected to be struck.

LIV Golf television analyst David Feherty had hinted that the upstart league could potentially have a deal in place with The CW Network for American television rights.

After a standup comedy show in West Palm Beach last week, Feherty reportedly told the crowd “Have you heard of CW? I might get fired for this, but…,” according to report from Tom D’Angelo of The Palm Beach Post.

Sports Business Journal reporter John Ourand had previously reported a deal between the Saudi-backed breakaway golf tour and the network was likely.

Nexstar Media Group — the nation’s largest television owner — is the majority owner of The CW Network. There are around 220 affiliates of the network on over-the-air television stations. Rumors of an acquisition of LIV Golf’s rights come on the heels of The CW Network being linked to the potential launch of a college football bowl game that would air exclusively on the network.

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Sports TV News

Stephen A. Smith: ‘I Don’t Feel Obligated To Agree With Black Community’

“I want the Black community to always know that they have somebody in me that’s going to at least tell the world what we’re feeling and why, whether I agree with it or not.”

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Stephen A. Smith is out promoting his new memoir Straight Shooter. He recently sat down for a conversation with Men’s Health magazine.

Interviewer Rachel Epstein covers a wide variety of topics with Smith. Some are about what can be found in the book. Some are about the First Take star’s public perception.

She asked how Smith balances the responsibility of representing the Black community with his brand. On ESPN, Smith is known for being unique and unapologetic for his sometimes over-the-top persona.

“Number one by being fair,” he said. “By trying to gather as much information and educate myself on issues as much as I possibly can.”

He added that he has never felt pressure to think a certain way or say a certain thing. Even if pressure existed, he prides himself on not giving in to it.

“I never feel an obligation to agree with my community. I believe we all have a right to think the way we want to think. But I do feel a responsibility to make sure that the perspective emanating from my community is heard, even if I disagree.”

Stephen A. Smith is one of the highest-paid and most visible employees at ESPN. He said that a certain responsibility comes along with that status. He wants the Black community to know that even if he doesn’t agree, he will make sure people know what he is hearing when he is on TV talking about an important subject.

“I want the Black community to always know that they have somebody in me that’s going to at least tell the world what we’re feeling and why, whether I agree with it or not.”

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Sports TV News

Kathryn Tappen Joining NBC’s Big Ten Coverage

“Tappen was in line to replace Michele Tafoya as the sideline reporter for Sunday Night Football but was passed over by the network in favor of Melissa Stark.”

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NBC has tabbed Kathryn Tappen as its sideline reporter for the network’s upcoming coverage of Big Ten football, according to a report from Andrew Marchand of The New York Post.

According to Marchand, Tappen was in line to replace Michele Tafoya as the sideline reporter for Sunday Night Football but was passed over by the network in favor of Melissa Stark.

Tappen has hosted Notre Dame football’s studio coverage and Peacock Sunday Night Football Final. She also worked as NBC’s lead interviewer for its coverage of the PGA Tour, but left that broadcast team at the end of 2022 as part of the network’s larger shakeup of its golf coverage.

The appointment of Kathryn Tappen conceivably concludes the Big Ten on NBC broadcast crew. Noah Eagle and Todd Blackledge are expected to pair as the network’s play-by-play announcer and color analyst, respectively. NBC has yet to officially unveil its coverage plans for the 2023 college football season.

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