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ESPN Cuts Ties with Eric Davis and Donovan McNabb

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After being named in an NFL Network sexual harassment investigation and being suspended by ESPN while the matter was further researched, John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal reports that the worldwide leader in sports has chosen to part ways with Donovan McNabb and Eric Davis. In a lawsuit brought forward by former NFL Network stylist Jami Cantor, McNabb is accused of sending inappropriate text messages and Davis is accused of rubbing his body against the woman and making uncomfortable comments.

As a result of the lawsuit, former NFL players turned analysts Marshall Faulk, Ike Taylor and Heath Evans remain suspended by the NFL Network pending an investigation.

Since joining ESPN, McNabb had appeared on shows like “First Take”. He also co-hosted an ESPN Radio show during the NFL season. Davis was a member of the ESPN L.A. afternoon show working alongside Marcellus Wiley. The station recently added Sean Farnham to the mix. No word yet on if 710 will continue with Farnham and Wiley or add a third member.

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Sinclair’s Estimated Streaming Service Fee Much More Expensive Than Competitors

The estimated fee of $20.25 would be a good deal more than other direct-to-consumer services such as the Disney bundle, priced at $13.99.

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Sinclair’s Diamond Sports Group recently gained streaming rights for live NHL and NBA games. The company is working hard to become the premier direct-to-consumer service in sports. However, as Sportico’s Anthony Crupi reports, that will likely come at a premium price for consumers.

Outlined in Sinclair’s 8-K quarterly report filed to the SEC, all scenarios point to a monthly subscription fee of around $20.25. But will that be the most profitable scenario in which Diamond Sports achieves 975,000 subscribers for $237 million worth of revenue? Or will it result in the lesser scenario of 309,000 subscribers, predicting $75 million in revenue?

The rates are based on Diamond’s ability to stream NHL and NBA games in its affiliated franchises’ local markets. The fees are expected to increase as Diamond renews its legacy distribution deals with its member MLB teams. The Bally Sports nets have distribution deals in place with 14 MLB clubs, but only the Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Miami Marlins, and Milwaukee Brewers have signed off on a streaming agreement.

In 2021, Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley in 2021 took issue with refuted reports of the company seeking a $23 monthly fee for consumers. Yet he also provided no details on what price the company had in mind.

The estimated fee of $20.25 would be a good deal more than other direct-to-consumer services such as the Disney bundle, which includes ESPN+, Disney+, and Hulu, priced at $13.99.

Sinclair still has a few loose ends to tie up. Its recent $600 million financing deal and associated NBA renewal will be vital for the DTC launch. Last spring, the company’s broadcast division renewed its carriage agreement with Charter. But Sinclair’s standalone RSN deal with providers is scheduled to finish before March 31.

Charter’s Spectrum is the nation’s second-largest cable-TV provider. At the end of 2021’s third quarter, the company serviced 15.3 million residential video subscribers. Renewing the RSN contract is currently being negotiated, but agreeing to such deals is touchier now than ever.

The Diamond RSNs have been non-existent for 8.42 million DISH Network subscribers, even before Sinclair acquired the 21 former Fox Sports channels for $9.6 billion in August 2019.

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Basketball College GameDay Returns To Road January 29

“College GameDay came off the road at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. This will be the first road trip since then.”

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College GameDay is making a comeback in Lawrence, Kansas.  On January 29th the crew comprised of Rece Davis, Jay Bilas, LaPhonso Ellis and Seth Greenberg will be live ahead of the Big 12/SEC Challenge matchup between the No. 12 Kentucky Wildcats and No. 7 Jayhawks (6 p.m. ET, ESPN).

The show stayed in the studio all of last season. College GameDay came off the road at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. This will be the first road trip since then.

It will be the fourth time ESPN has sent its GameDay crew to a Kentucky/Kansas game. The show begins at 11 AM that morning.

The show’s cast includes Jay Bilas, Laphonso Ellis, and Seth Greenberg. It is hosted by Rece Davis.

College GameDay tipped off its college basketball season last week and will continue in studio this Saturday, Jan. 22nd. As with the football show, ESPN will choose future locations based on the biggest matchups on the college basketball calendar each week.

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Kendra Andrews Made ESPN Debut Tuesday, Joined Sister Malika on ‘NBA Today’

Malika Andrews later acknowledged on Twitter that it was special to share the screen with her sister.

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@malika_andrews on Twitter

On Tuesday, ESPN officially announced what had been reported last month: Kendra Andrews is joining the network to cover the Golden State Warriors.

Andrews’ hiring was especially notable because her older sister already works at ESPN. Malika Andrews is currently the host of daily studio show NBA Today, originally joining the network as a reporter who earned acclaim for her coverage of the 2020-21 season finishing in the Orlando bubble.

It was surely only a matter of time before the sisters appeared together on NBA Today. But ESPN took care of that with Kendra’s first day on the job.

Bringing the network’s Warriors reporter on the show wasn’t just ESPN creating a cute story, though Malika later acknowledged on Twitter that it was special to share the screen with her sister.

But the NBA Today host got right to the business at hand. Golden State has been one of the NBA’s best teams this season. Going into Tuesday’s play, the Warriors have the second-best record in the league at 31-12. Kendra figures to be a prominent part of ESPN’s coverage, following the Warriors on another possible championship run.

Yet the team had struggled a bit in its past seven games, compiling a 2-5 record amid injuries to Draymond Green, Steph Curry, and Gary Payton II, while also working Klay Thompson back into their lineup. But everything looked fine in a 102-86 victory over the Detroit Pistons (10-33) Tuesday night, which began a seven-game homestand.

Andrews joins ESPN after covering Golden State for NBC Sports Bay Area. Prior to that, she covered the Denver Nuggets for The Athletic. With her hire, the network’s previous Warriors reporter, Nick Friedell, moves to the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks beat.

“I’m excited and so grateful to be joining ESPN and this talented team of journalists,” said Andrews in ESPN’s official announcement. “Growing up in Oakland, I understand how important the Warriors and the NBA are to the Bay Area. I’m looking forward to sharing their stories as they continue an already thrilling season.”

As a profile in the San Jose Mercury News by Shayna Rubin mentions, both Andrews sisters grew up watching the Warriors.

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