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CSN Chicago Hires Leila Rahimi As Anchor/Reporter

Jason Barrett

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Comcast SportsNet, the television home for the most games and most comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs and White Sox, today officially announced the hiring of sportscaster Leila Rahimi as its newest on-air talent member for the network’s signature nightly sports news program, SportsNet Central.  Rahimi will primarily handle anchoring duties, along with providing a variety of local professional, collegiate and high school sports feature reports.  In addition, Rahimi, who will begin her on-air duties Thursday night (Oct. 29) on Comcast SportsNet, will also participate in a variety of digital initiatives that will be showcased on CSNChicago.com.  The announcement was made by Kevin Cross, Senior Director of News & Original Content for Comcast SportsNet Chicago.

“Leila joins us with a deep knowledge of the regional sports network business, along with a true passion for the local sports scene,” said Cross.  “Her acclaimed experience in our industry will certainly benefit both our network and our viewers. Leila will be a terrific addition to our stellar talent line-up.”

Rahimi most recently was an anchor/host/reporter at Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia, where she anchored SportsNet Central and provided field reports for the Phillies (MLB), Eagles (NFL), Flyers (NHL), 76ers (NBA), along with Villanova and Temple from a collegiate standpoint.  Plus, she also hosted magazine-style programs for the regional sports network.  In addition, Rahimi was also recently an anchor/host for the MLB Network’s Strike Zone Channel, which provides commercial-free whip-around coverage of live games from around the league.

Prior to her time in Philadelphia, Rahimi served as an anchor, reporter, sideline reporter and host at Comcast SportsNet Houston (2012-14) where provided sideline/beat reporting duties for the network’s Rockets basketball and Astros baseball telecasts, along with hosting pre/postgame shows, anchoring SportsNet Central, and hosting an hour-long, weekly high school football show. A multiple Emmy-award nominee, Rahimi covered numerous large-scale events, including the Rockets’ trip to Asia for the 2014 NBA Global Games and the 2013 MLB All-Star Game in New York.

Rahimi also served as the field reporter for Fox Sports San Diego’s Padres baseball telecasts in 2012, along with producing/hosting a weekly Padres magazine-style program.  From 2007-12, she was a sports reporter at KXAN-TV, the NBC affiliate in Austin, TX, covering the University of Texas and local high schools.  Additional stops along Rahimi’s career path included a producing, then reporting role at Fox Sports Southwest in Dallas, TX, along with sports reporter/anchor duties at KXII-TV, the CBS affiliate in Sherman, TX.  Earlier in her career, Rahimi also spent four years as an update anchor/reporter at Sports Radio 1130 AM, “The Ticket,” in Dallas.

Rahimi, a native of Denton, TX, graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of North Texas with a degree in journalism.

Credit to CSN Chicago who originally published this article

Sports TV News

Pac-12 Networks Content Could Be Headed To ACC Network

“Dellenger and Forde report that talks to make the deal a reality are in the very early stages.”

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ESPN has been at the center of a lot of conversations about the future of college sports following the Big Ten plucking UCLA and USC out of the Pac-12. The network could be part of a broadcasting partnership that is meant to secure the futures of the Pac-12 and the ACC.

In a joint report for Sports Illustrated, Ross Dellenger and Pat Forde write that the two conferences would not merge, but that the ACC Network could get renamed and include content centered on both conferences.

A deal like this would pay dividends for all involved. The ACC would get more TV revenue and the Pac-12 would get broader distribution that it had with its proprietary Pac-12 Networks, which was reportedly struggling to even stay afloat. It could also secure the conference’s future as some members consider leaving for the Big 12. As for ESPN, this deal would put them back in business with the Pac-12.

A programming alliance between the two conferences could create some marquee non-conference matchups for football and basketball. That would give ESPN event programming to promote and sell.

Dellenger and Forde report that talks to make the deal a reality are in the very early stages. They write that “those briefed on the ACC–Pac-12 proposal believe it has plenty of hurdles to clear and details to be ironed out before becoming a reality.”

The obvious question all parties involved will want to be answered is would merging ACC Network and Pac-12 Networks content generate enough new revenue to make the move viable. Sources told Sports Illustrated that it is what they will be focused on if talks progress.

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Sports TV News

UFC Draws Record Ratings for UFC 276 Prelims on ESPN and ABC

The ratings make it the second-most watched UFC telecast since the promotion began airing on ESPN in 2019. It was also the top telecast ever for a preliminary card.

Jordan Bondurant

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UFC, ESPN and ABC have plenty to celebrate following this weekend’s UFC 276 pay-per-view.

Ratings for the preliminary card show a combined audience of 1.8 million tuned in across ABC and ESPN. ABC drew 929,000 viewers for their portion of the card, which marked the first time UFC aired in primetime on the network.

ESPN drew 871,000 in the lead-up to the main card from Las Vegas.

The ratings make it the second-most watched UFC telecast since the promotion began airing on ESPN in 2019. It was also the top telecast ever for a preliminary card.

UFC will return to ABC on July 16 but won’t air in primetime. Coverage of UFC Fight Night from UBS Arena on Long Island will air in the afternoon.

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Sports TV News

Brian Windhorst Explains What Was Behind His Viral Rant

“To be honest with you, part of what I was doing was trying to do was avoid aggregation,” he said. “Because if I come out and go I think the Jazz are going to trade Rudy Gobert today, then everything on the internet is ‘Windhorst Report: Jazz trade Gobert.’ And then maybe they don’t trade him.”

Jordan Bondurant

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There wasn’t a ton of NBA free agency news leading into the long holiday weekend last week, but what news there was became wildly more interesting thanks to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.

Windhorst, appearing on First Take on Friday, went on an entertaining rant about the Utah Jazz trading Royce O’Neale to Brooklyn, throwing tidbits out there that insinuated more was to come.

The monologue went viral and became the subject of plenty of memes.

Talking on his podcast Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective, Windhorst explained that the ‘A’ block of First Take is 30 minutes long, much different than the other ESPN shows he appears on. He said he approached it from a podcasting perspective and added that First Take was really the only place he could’ve pulled something like that off given a multitude of factors.

“It had to have occurred on a show like that,” Windhorst said. “So I was able to kind of draw out and kind of have a conversation about the Utah Jazz.”

Windhorst said he knew the Jazz were going to trade Rudy Gobert, which happened not long after his rant started circulating the internet. But he said he needed to avoid tipping others in the media off or potentially even wrecking the trade before it became official.

“To be honest with you, part of what I was doing was trying to do was avoid aggregation,” he said. “Because if I come out and go I think the Jazz are going to trade Rudy Gobert today, then everything on the internet is ‘Windhorst Report: Jazz trade Gobert.’ And then maybe they don’t trade him.”

Windhorst said he knew he was becoming the subject of many a meme, but after being on the road so long and away from home covering the NBA playoffs, he didn’t really have a chance to relish in the moment.

“I came back home and had nonstop family stuff to do, and they didn’t care about any of that,” he said. “I was getting like 250 text messages and seeing all these memes, but I had to prepare for the people we had coming over for the 4th of July. I couldn’t really focus on it.”

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