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Wingo Signs New Deal At ESPN

Jason Barrett

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Fox isn’t the only network tinkering with its NFL Sunday pre-game coverage recipe. Awful Announcing has learned that ESPN will be debuting a new Sunday edition of NFL Insiders which will replace the first hour of Sunday NFL Countdown. The move is part of a soon-to-be announced multi-year extension for Trey Wingo, whose role with the network will expand.

Wingo’s new deal guarantees the longterm Bristol veteran will enter a third decade of employment at ESPN having joined ESPN in 1997.

The new Sunday Morning NFL Insiders show will partner the popular host with Adam Schefter, Chris Mortensen and Louis Riddick for one hour leading into a shortened Sunday NFL Countdown.

The new Sunday edition of NFL Insiders will debut on September 13th and will air regularly at 10am ET. ESPN’s pre-game coverage will also see some additional retooling too as the now two hour Sunday NFL Countdown will be moving to a more fluid “whip-around” type format. Schefter and Mortensen will continue to be involved in Countdown in addition to their new roles on Insiders. It’s believed that Matthew Berry will get a much more prominent role on Countdown as ESPN’s fantasy expert as well.

ESPN’s retention of Wingo is significant as the network has had many high profile talent departures over the past few months.  Wingo hosts a lot of the network’s core NFL programming in NFL Live and NFL Primetime as well as serving as a host for the NFL Draft in later rounds. Many including myself prefer Wingo as a host for NFL studio shows and the draft to Chris Berman, who can be polarizing with his unique bombastic on air presence. Berman is believed to be one of ESPN’s highest paid employees and as ESPN becomes more focused on tightening their talent budgets, the securing of Wingo could potentially give the network added flexibility as needed in future discussions with Berman and other NFL studio talent.

This is also a significant bump in visibility for Schefter, Mortensen, and Riddick and provides a very strong frontline of talent focused more on delivery of news and information opposed to the more analysis focused talent of Countdown. Berry’s increased role on Countdown also makes a lot of sense given fantasy football is getting the added boost of the growing daily fantasy market. With DraftKings’ partnership with ESPN, I imagine a good amount of Berry’s added visibility may begin to focus on daily fantasy football opposed to traditional fantasy football.

ESPN’s retention of Wingo was very much needed (I also like Riddick’s elevation as he was a star during the NFL Draft this year) and some of these adjustments are in line with changing viewer habits. Hardcore NFL fans will now have more exposure to familiar personalities and differing content formats before Sunday’s games, which is a good thing.

Credit to the Awful Announcing who originally published this article

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ESPN Layoffs Resume, NFL & NBA Talent Likely To See Biggest Cuts

“The company is beginning its latest phase of layoffs this week with Vice President of Research, Insights and Analytics Barry Blyn receiving a pink slip Wednesday morning.”

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ESPN will look to slash $30 million in salary as The Walt Disney Company’s layoffs continue, with a majority of it coming from talent covering the NFL and NBA. The network’s goal is to have the layoffs completed by the end of June according to a report by Front Office Sports.

Through it all, Max Kellerman’s afternoon television show This Just In could be canceled in order to slot Pat McAfee’s show into the daily programming lineup. Kellerman’s show airs from 2 to 3 p.m. EST, meaning more moves could be on the way to hold McAfee’s statement that his show will air immediately following First Take, which concludes at noon.

Employee morale at ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol is reportedly quite low, with people questioning why the company chose to pay McAfee and lay off a litany of its dedicated and longtime staffers.

The company is beginning its latest phase of layoffs this week with Vice President of Research, Insights and Analytics Barry Blyn receiving a pink slip Wednesday morning. More names are surely to follow as The Worldwide Leader looks to do its part to contribute to Disney cutting $5.5 billion in costs. The final round is expected to impact 2,500 employees in different areas of the company.

The company expects to report its own earnings for the first time this November, and sources have stated that the numbers will be impressive. Conducting the layoffs in separate rounds and saving on-air talent for last, however, has certainly played a role in public perception of the moves, and this week’s round will largely impact executives and other personnel behind the scenes.

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Eli Manning: ‘People Enjoy’ When ManningCast Has to Apologize for Language

“We get a lot of curse words, some from Peyton, some from guests.”

Jordan Bondurant

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The ManningCast on ESPN has become appointment viewing for select Monday Night Football games. Eli Manning loves the fun, laid-back nature of the show he and brother Peyton put on for fans.

But with live TV, sometimes unpredictable things happen, and sometimes people use profanity. Eli, speaking on Tuesday at the 4se sports and entertainment event in New York City, said viewers get a kick out of when the two let occasional profanities slip and have to scramble to say sorry.

“We get a lot of curse words, some from Peyton, some from guests,” he said. “I feel like we’re apologizing for a lot of things on the show, but I guess people enjoy that part.”

Manning has said previously that the goal is for viewers to get the sense that Peyton and Eli are right there with them on their couch watching the game. Eli said it’s been fun getting to show some authenticity now that he’s retired.

“When I was playing, there was a conscious effort; I didn’t want either my fans or coaches to think I had a life outside of football,” he said. “Once I retired, I realized I didn’t have to hold back.”

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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.”

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JJ Redick

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.”

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