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Bill Simmons Returns to ESPN as Part of 20 Hour Doc

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ESPN will air a 20-hour documentary called Basketball: A Love Story. ESPN will present it in 10 two-hour parts. The Dan Klores directed series clocks in at 90 minutes longer than Ken Burns’s exhaustive 1994 Baseball. According to ESPN, Basketball: A Love Story will trace the history of the pro sport through 60 interconnected short stories.

Klores and his team conducted over 500 hours of interviews for the series. Those interviews include some of the biggest names in the history of the game like Mike Krzyzewski, Phil Jackson, and Charles Barkley. They include current players like Anthony Davis and Dirk Nowitzki. They include influential members of the basketball media like Bob Ryan, Stephen A. Smith, and Bill Simmons.

Wait…Bill Simmons?

That’s right. The Sports Guy is returning to ESPN (ever so briefly, mind you) to participate in Basketball: A Love Story. It is likely a one-off collaboration, as Simmons recently signed a new deal to remain at HBO, but given Simmons’s history with ESPN and the NBA, this makes sense.

Simmons was part of the network’s NBA Countdown crew until his departure in 2015. He also released the 2009 New York Times bestseller The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to the Sports Guy. He is also responsible for the creation of 30 for 30, which revolutionized ESPN’s documentary presentation.

Basketball: A Love Story will debut in a unique way. Each individual short story will be made available on the ESPN app starting on September 18. The stories will be presented as a woven narrative beginning October 9. New chapters will debut each Tuesday.

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Curt Menefee to Call Two Seahawks Preseason Games

FOX NFL studio host Curt Menefee will be on the TV play-by-play for the preseason opener on August 13 and the finale on August 26.

Jordan Bondurant

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Curt Menefee

The 2022 NFL preseason is going to kick off in earnest later this week, and the Seattle Seahawks have revealed their broadcast crews for two of the team’s three preseason contests.

FOX NFL studio host Curt Menefee will be on the TV play-by-play for the preseason opener on August 13 and the finale on August 26. He’ll be joined in the booth by former Seahawk Michael Robinson. The games will air locally on KING 5, the city’s NBC affiliate.

Additionally for the TV broadcasts, Paul Silvi and Ray Roberts will host the pre and postgame shows, with former Seahawk Michael Bennett working as an analyst.

On the radio, Steve Raible and Dave Wyman will call all three games. Jen Mueller will be the sideline reporter. Michael Bumpus will be the studio host and will be joined by former players Jordan Babineaux, Paul Moyer, Roberts, Marcus Trufant and Robert Turbin.

Radio broadcasts air on Seattle Sports 710 AM and KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM and are distributed across Washington on the Seahawks Radio Network.

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Sports TV News

After Losing Out On Big Ten Rights, ESPN Turns Focus to NCAA Championships

According to Front Office Sports, ESPN’s contract for 29 NCAA Championships ends in 2024.

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After reportedly losing out on the Big Ten’s television rights, ESPN is reportedly turning to securing the NCAA Championship rights from hitting the open market.

According to Front Office Sports, ESPN’s contract for 29 NCAA Championships ends in 2024. Those 29 championships include everything from Women’s basketball to ice hockey, wrestling, softball, and baseball. The network pays a reported $34 million for the rights to broadcast those championship events.

However, according to a study commissioned by the NCAA reveals that the women’s basketball tournament could be worth anywhere from $81 million to $112 million per year by its lonesome. The NCAA is reportedly considering selling the women’s basketball tournament rights as a standalone product in the next negotiation.

Sources told Front Office Sports ESPN remains interested in striking deals with the Pac-12 and Big 12 media rights, as well as renewing a deal for the College Football Playoff.

The news comes after Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand reported ESPN declined a final offer from the Big Ten for a portion of the conference’s media rights. The reported deal was seven years and $380 million per year.

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ESPN Announces The Return of Stephen A. Smith to First Take

ESPN announced Smith will be returning to First Take on Monday, August 15th.

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Stephen A. Smith

First Take has been without it’s anchor since the day after the NBA Draft in June. That’s when the ESPN personality took some time off to undergo shoulder surgery and to rehabilitate. However, it appears the wait for his return is almost over.

ESPN announced with a tweet that Smith will be returning to First Take on Monday, August 15th. They also teased a guest appearance from Michael Irvin.

This comes a day after Smith tweeted that the countdown was on for his return and we are one week away from the event.

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