Sports TV News
Ian Eagle Tries to Give Noah Eagle ‘Oreo Cookie’ Critiques
“If there’s something that stands out to me, I’ll mention it to him, but not necessarily the day after the game. It might be in a series of conversations we have a week later.”
With two broadcasters in the family, Ian Eagle and his son Noah get a chance to pick the brain of the other and provide input, but they try to provide each other a lot of positive input.
On the latest episode of Fowler, Who You Got?, Chris Fowler had a conversation with both Noah and Ian Eagle and Ian told Fowler that if there are any “critiques”, there is a lot of positivity around any criticism of a call Noah had.
“Our dynamic is one of positivity. If there’s something that stands out to me, I’ll mention it to him, but not necessarily the day after the game. It might be in a series of conversations we have a week later, 10 days later. Usually, it will be in the Oreo cookie realm, which would be positive, critique, positive.”
Both broadcasters also got into pivotal moments for them in their career and Ian discussed how he knew it was pivotal when his bosses at CBS would trust him with an assignment, whether it was calling The Masters for CBSSports.com or getting to call Army-Navy football for nine years beginning in 2002.
“CBS trusted me and that’s a huge word in our business when your bosses start to trust you and that was probably pivotal as I look back in my career of recognizing without them saying but based on the assignment. Getting Army-Navy in 2002, that came out of left field. I had not done college football for CBS. That was not something I assumed could happen. They gave it to me and I ended up doing it for 9 years.”
One of the events Ian called that most people might not remember off the top of their head was the NCAA Track and Field Outdoor Championship (2004-2012) and he said calling track and field is a play-by-play broadcaster’s dream.
“I did track and field. I had never been to a track and field event. I ended up doing 8 straight NCAA Track and Field outdoor championships and loved it. I thought the whole vibe was a play-by-play man’s dream. Every race is good. If it’s a lopsided race, it’s exciting that someone dominated the field. If it’s close, it’s equally exciting that it’s coming right down to the wire and someone is going to win at the very last instant.”
As for Noah, he reflected on the first NFL Wild Card Nickelodeon broadcast he did with Nate Burleson and he mentioned to Fowler that before that first game, he and Burleson agreed not to look at their phones or social media during the broadcast.
“Our first year doing it, it’s a Wild Card Game. Sure you can go and watch the normal broadcast, but we knew that because it was so new, a lot of people were going to tune in. We just knew we were going to get all different types of people. So, trying to invite the entire audience was seminal in our minds.
“The best thing Nate and I did year 1 was before the game, we looked at each other and we said ‘Put it away. Just put it to the side. We don’t want to be impacted by anything.’ We didn’t want any words that anyone was saying, anything was texted to us. We just didn’t want anyone to impact us.”
Due to his experience calling the Nickelodeon NFL games, Noah has learned that he can balance having fun on a broadcast with being serious and has carried it into the other events that he does.
“Doing those games has taught me a lot of how to balance the fun with the serious, how to get down to the nitty gritty when you have to, how to take care of the business that maybe a network wants you to take care of or your producer wants you to take care of. At the same time, not losing sight of that kid in you. I think I have taken a lot of that to the not animated or different broadcasts I’ve done. It’s just making sure I still have fun with it. Doing it has been good practice in a lot of ways.”
Sports TV News
JJ Redick: ESPN Sells The NBA As ‘Only 5 or 6 Teams Matter’
“To me, this could be the best thing possible for the NBA and its fans because we have not done a good job of selling the rest of the NBA.”
Following the Los Angeles Lakers’ elimination from the NBA Playoffs, the matchup between the Association’s two most accomplished clubs – the Lakers and Boston Celtics – is no longer a possibility. On Tuesday morning’s edition of First Take on ESPN, JJ Redick suggested how it would be a seminal occurrence for the NBA to have teams from smaller media markets square off for the championship, familiarizing basketball and sports fans at large with new teams and players.
“We somehow have sold the NBA as a league where only five or six teams matter and a league where only five or six players matter,” Redick said on the program. “To me, this could be a watershed moment for the NBA. To me, this could be the best thing possible for the NBA and its fans because we have not done a good job of selling the rest of the NBA.”
Redick pointed out how after Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, the talking points were focused on the Lakers and what the team needed to do to have a legitimate chance to win the series. He reminded people that Nuggets center and two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokić had his third consecutive triple-double, posting an unparalleled statline of 34 points, 21 rebounds and 14 assists.
“We don’t do a good job of selling what the NBA is, which is 30 teams, 450 players [and] multiple superstars,” Redick said. “The fact that people are now being like, ‘Oh, I didn’t realize Nikola Jokić was good’…. Well, let’s put him on TV more!”
Stephen A. Smith told Redick that the NBA has not established its games akin to “events” as much as the National Football League. Smith expressed how he has seen pastors change the time of their Sunday sermons in order to ensure they were home to watch professional football games. While football is very much a team sport, Smith offered Redick his perspective that basketball is “built on superstars.”
“The NBA became what it is because it gravitated to individuality,” Smith said. “Even though the Boston Celtics were a great team and the Lakers ultimately were a great team, they sold Magic and Bird. Michael Jordan comes along – they sold Michael Jordan, and obviously, all the names that we don’t need to get into followed. They sold the individual.”
Smith addressed Redick and accentuated the incredible feats of Jokić, but part of what has made him one of sports media’s most prominent personalities is by having a shrewd perception of his audience. ESPN and other major sports networks are fully aware that Los Angeles supersedes Denver in terms of media consumers, and that the Lakers are recognized as an international brand.
“I’m not where I am today if it were not for the NBA,” Smith said. “Basketball has done wonders for my life, and I’m incredibly grateful and thankful, and the NBA will always be promoted on this show. Please understand in the same breath, we also have to pay attention to what the audience wants to hear too.”
Sports TV News
Diamond Sports Group In Danger of Losing Padres TV Rights
“The company has a grace period to deliver the payment that runs through May 30.”
Diamond Sports Group filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March after failing to make a scheduled debt payment to its creditors. At the time, the company had more than $8 billion in debt and was commencing a process of restructuring. Yet the company stated its Ballys-branded regional sports networks would continue to operate as usual. Major League Baseball decided to take action though and establish a plan to broadcast games locally if the company missed a rights payment.
Now, it is looking that is exactly what will happen. Diamond missed a payment to the San Diego Padres last week, meaning the team’s media rights could soon be the property of Major League Baseball. The company has a grace period to deliver the payment that runs through May 30. If it were to miss the payment, it would mark the first time it will relinquish a contract in this way.
“Despite Diamond’s economic situation, there is every expectation that they will continue televising all games they are committed to during the bankruptcy process,” Major League Baseball said in a statement. “Major League Baseball is ready to produce and distribute games to fans in their local markets in the event that Diamond or any other regional sports network is unable to do so as required by their agreement with our club.”
The company’s current contract with the San Diego Padres has nine years and approximately $540 million remaining with an escalator clause built into the deal. This means that the final year of the deal would cost Diamond Sports Group more than $70 million in rights fees, and while the team is in the top five for television deliveries, the entity perhaps may not view it as sustainable. The momentum headed in this direction was first reported by John Ourand of Sports Business Journal.
The company has also pushed Major League Baseball teams to agree to deals to stream the games in order to recoup lost cable revenue. By being granted the rights to stream games directly to consumers, Diamond Sports Group has vowed to pay the rights fees it owes to nine MLB teams. The company currently has the streaming rights for just five of the 14 major league clubs on its regional sports networks.
Some industry experts believe Diamond Sports Group is utilizing this stalemate to be able to exit media rights deals that are losing the company money. For example, the Diamondbacks’ media rights contract garners an annual payment of about $68 million while amassing the second-lowest local television ratings of any Major League Baseball team.
On May 31, a bankruptcy judge will establish how much money Diamond Sports Group owes its clubs for media rights fees while in Chapter 11 bankruptcy and whether it can continue broadcasting games at this time. The Arizona Diamondbacks, Cleveland Guardians and Minnesota Twins filed emergency motions urging the judge to coerce Diamond Sports Group to make their payments. If the company is unable to distribute payments, the emergency motion calls for teams to issue default notices to the regional sports networks, which could permit the termination of media rights contracts.
Sports TV News
Devin McCourty Joining Football Night in America on NBC
“I’m very grateful for this opportunity from NBC Sports to learn from great individuals, chase new goals and provide viewers with my thoughts on the biggest games every week.”
NBC Sports has enhanced its roster of football analysts with the signing of Devin McCourty. He will join the cast of Football Night in America leading up to each week’s broadcast of Sunday Night Football.
McCourty is a three-time Super Bowl champion and played his entire 13-year career as a defensive back with the New England Patriots, and has the record for most career playoff games started by a defensive player.
“It’s rare when you have the opportunity to add a three-time Super Bowl-winner to your team, and we’re excited to welcome Devin McCourty to Football Night following an incredible NFL career,” said Sam Flood, executive producer and president of production at NBC Sports. “Devin is a leader in every sense of the word, both on and off the field, and his dynamic personality and passion for the game will be a great addition to the show.”
McCourty’s twin brother, Jason, currently works on the cast of NFL Network’s Good Morning Football, and the two co-hosted a podcast together while playing called Double Coverage. Devin was a guest host on Good Morning Football earlier in the season and also contributed to pregame coverage on The NFL Today and NFL Draft content for CBS Sports.
“I’m excited to be a rookie on the best team in America again,” McCourty said in a statement. “I’m very grateful for this opportunity from NBC Sports to learn from great individuals, chase new goals and provide viewers with my thoughts on the biggest games every week.”