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ESPN Reveals NFL Coverage Plans

Jason Barrett

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ESPN’s commentator team of Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and sideline reporter Lisa Salters return for MNF’s 46th season (10th on ESPN). Schedule release. What to watch for:

  • MNF will introduce a new show open, as well as new graphics, animations, and a new shield logo.
  • After successful testing in the preseason, MNF will add Pylon Cam to its regular season game coverage. The system uses four custom-molded goal line pylons that house four cameras each to offer brand new perspectives around the goal line. It is the latest in the MNF history of innovative production enhancements and was first deployed and tested during the College Football Playoff Championship in January and then further developed for this season.
  • The MNF production will also feature a new booth backdrop; weekly telecasts will utilize four Dreamcatchers, six Sony 4300 cameras in high frame rate 1080p, one Sony 4300 in high frame rate UHD 4k at the high end zone, and two iMovix Phantom cameras in high frame rate UHD 4k on the goal lines.
  • In celebration of Frank Gifford’s life and longtime contributions to MNF, the No. 16 he wore as a Giants player will be placed on all of the MNF production trucks this season. Tirico and Gruden will also wear No. 16 lapel pins during games, and Gifford’s voice will be featured in the new MNF show open.

Sunday NFL Countdown – New two-hour, more fast-paced show; increased role for Matthew Berry
The 2015 season marks the 30th anniversary of Sunday NFL Countdown (11 a.m.-1 p.m. ET, ESPN), which debuted in 1985 as NFL GameDay. Host Chris Berman, analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson, host/reporter Wendi Nix and NFL Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter kick off the show’s fourth decade with a more fast-paced, whip-around two-hour format. Details:

  • Senior fantasy sports analyst Matthew Berry will have a more prominent role on the show.
  • The new show open pairs remade music by Chase Holfelder with messages voiced by Kai Greene.
  • ESPN will have a camera at every NFL game on Sundays.

NFL Insiders: Sunday Edition – ESPN’s popular weekday show is added to Sunday lineup
Debuting September 13 and leading into Sunday NFL Countdown, the new one-hour NFL Insiders: Sunday Edition (10-11 a.m., ESPN) will provide fans with up-to-the-minute information on Sunday’s slate of NFL games. Trey Wingo will host with NFL Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter and NFL Front Office Insider Louis Riddick.

ESPN Fantasy Field Yates joins Fantasy Football Now; New Fantasy Football Kickoff on Tuesdays

  • The two-hour Fantasy Football Now (Sundays, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on ESPN2) pregame show returns with NFL Insider/reporter Field Yates joining Robert Flores, Matthew Berry, Tim Hasselbeck, Sara Walsh and Stephania Bell.
  • The new 30-minute Fantasy Football Kickoff (Tuesdays, 3-3:30 p.m. on ESPN) show with Berry, Flores and Hasselbeck airs throughout the season.

More ESPN NFL Studio – Expanded NFL roles for Suzy Kolber and Josina Anderson

ESPN Radio

  • For the third year, ESPN Radio broadcasts out-of-market NFL games, beginning September 13. Commentators include play-by-play announcers Marc Kestecher, Bill Rosinski and Ryan Ruocco, and analysts Herm Edwards, Shaun O’Hara and Bill Polian.
  • A new fall football-themed weekend lineup kicked off September 5.
  • ESPN Audio podcasts ESPN Fantasy Focus Football, ESPN Fantasy Football Weekly andESPN DFS Podcast offer fans dedicated fantasy football coverage.
  • ESPN Radio shows travel to select NFL cities and Monday Night Football games as part of its annual Fall Football Tour, including Mike and Mike at the New York Jets facility on September 11.
  • Mike and Mike and other shows welcome weekly guests – Cris Carter, Trent Dilfer, Mike Ditka, Ron Jaworski, Steve Young and more – to discuss the NFL.

ESPN Digital and Print
ESPN.com’s NFL coverage starts with an industry-leading group of 32 NFL Nation team reporters, which provides a 365-day stream of news, analysis, game coverage, predictions, interviews, fantasy insight, as well photos, videos, and social elements surrounding each NFL club. Their work and faces are featured daily on shows like SportsCenter, NFL Live and NFL Insiders. Other NFL coverage staples:

  • 32 for 32: A new daily feature each morning featuring one must-read nugget for each team. This is the NFL fan’s daily cheatsheet on the biggest names and storylines throughout the league.
  • Football Power Index: Designed to be a predictive measure of power, the FPI makes its NFL debut this season. The addition of Brian Burke, founder of the popular website Advanced Football Analytics and a leading voice in NFL analytics, will allow ESPN Stats & Info to do even more with football analytics. Each week, FPI will be used to highlight the most overrated and underrated teams.
  • Top Names for News: A new joint column from Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen each Thursday, plus John Clayton’s Inside the Huddle both in column and video form throughout the week.
  • An NFL ‘Front Office:’ Hall-of-Famer Bill Polian, Louis Riddick, Mark Dominik, Herm Edwards, and more, debate key personnel issues during the season.
  • The Insiders: Mike Sando, Field Yates, Matt Williamson, Adam Caplan and others deliver deep breakdowns daily.
  • Power Rankings: Nothing is clicked on or argued over more. This drops every Tuesday in conjunction with SportsCenter. #ESPNRANK – a preseason countdown of the top 100 players in the NFL – is also a popular feature this season.
  • ‘This Guy’ for Monday Night Football: Jon Gruden calls the game, and he previews MNFevery week for ESPN Insiders.
  • The Hot Read: Elizabeth Merrill, Jim Trotter, Ashley Fox, Greg Garber, Kevin Van Valkenberg, Seth Wickersham and others offer weekly enterprise reporting throughout the season.
  • Kiper & McShay: Mel Kiper’s Big Board and Todd McShay’s Top 32 run throughout the season, and their mock drafts start in December and run through April. Kiper’s Grades and Todd’s Best Picks won’t only live online, but feed days of post-draft TV programming, including a signature show.
  • espnW: NFL coverage on espnW includes features from Kate Fagan, Jane McManus, Sarah Spain and others.
  • com: Senior writer Bill Barnwell and staff writer Jonathan Abrams regularly cover NFL topics for Grantland.com.

Sports TV News

David Kaplan Leaving NBC Sports Chicago

“I was presented an opportunity that will allow me to spend a lot more time my wife, Mindy, our four sons, and their expanding families. This is far from a retirement.”

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David Kaplan has announced he is departing NBC Sports Chicago. In a video posted to his YouTube channel, Kaplan said a new path opened that he couldn’t turn down.

“I was presented an opportunity that will allow me to spend a lot more time my wife, Mindy, our four sons, and their expanding families. This is far from a retirement. You’ll still be able to catch me weekday mornings with Jonathan Hood on the Kap and JHood morning show on ESPN 1000. It will also allow me to provide you with more engaging and outstanding content right here on YouTube.”

Kaplan, who will turn 62 this weekend, accepted a buyout offered by NBCUniversal. He has hosted several different shows for the network during his tenure.

“He’s made enormous contributions to our network, and his passion, opinions and love of Chicago’s teams have made him a beloved and respected figure, not just with fans but also his colleagues,” NBC Sports Chicago Vice President of Content John Schippman told The Chicago Sun-Times. “We wish him the best and look forward to seeing what’s next.”

December 30th will be his final day at NBC Sports Chicago. He called his time with the network “an amazing run”.

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Sports TV News

NASCAR Chasing Nearly $1 Billion Annual Rights Fee In Next TV Deal

“We work really closely together, both from a scheduling perspective, but also just in terms of how they monetize the sport.”

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The current media rights deal for NASCAR with FOX Sports and NBC Sports doesn’t end until after the 2024 season, but the organization is currently plotting what it wants its next deal to look like, according to a report from Front Office Sports.

Currently, NASCAR makes $820 million per year from the two networks. In its new rights deal, it is expected to seek a deal in the neighborhood of $900-950 million range.

NASCAR plans to begin negotiating with its current media partners in the early months of 2023, but is currently happy with FOX and NBC.

“We work really closely together, both from a scheduling perspective, but also just in terms of how they monetize the sport. Whether that’s pushing more brands and advertisers to spend on Fox and NBC,” NASCAR Senior Vice President of Media and Productions Brian Herbst told FOS. “Fox had their third consecutive year of ad revenue increases in 2022. NBC had their second consecutive year of ad revenue increases in 2022. So it’s working for them — both from a viewership and an ad revenue perspective.”

In February of this year, NASCAR President Steve Phelps told the Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast that broadcast television “has to be a part” of the organization’s next television rights deal.

As its current media partners, FOX and NBC have exclusive negotiating windows with NASCAR.

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Sports TV News

NFL Sunday Ticket Negotiations With Apple ‘Have Gotten Silly’

“Apple’s like, ‘OK, we can’t sell internationally. OK, that was important to us. And we can’t sell it exclusively against Fox and CBS. Well, OK. Well, that changes its value.’”

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A report from The Athletic details why the NFL has not announced a new partner for the NFL Sunday Ticket package. David Kaplan claims there have been continued hiccups in the negotiations, mentioning the bargaining has gotten sideways between the league and Apple.

“This negotiation has gotten silly. … Clearly, there’s a problem. I think it’s really clear Apple is learning things they didn’t know,” the anonymous NFL source told Kaplan. “What the conversation is, is Apple’s like, ‘OK, we can’t sell internationally. OK, that was important to us. And we can’t sell it exclusively against Fox and CBS. Well, OK. Well, that changes its value.’”

The report also details Amazon Prime and YouTube remain in the mix as potential suitors for the service, should talks with Apple and the league fall apart.

The NFL is looking for as much as $3.5 billion annually for rights to the service.

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