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ESPN May Revive Daily Version of Baseball Tonight

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Both Awful Announcing and Andrew Marchand of The New York Post report that ESPN is considering bringing Baseball Tonight back to its daily lineup. The show switched to a Sundays-only schedule after the company went through a massive round of layoffs in 2017. Intentional Talk, which originates from MLB Network, has been airing on ESPN2 to fill the void since that time.

The deal with MLB Network ends in April, and according to Awful Announcing, ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro wants to bring back a daily baseball show. Whether or not that show would be called “Baseball Tonight” and when or where it airs are details that still need to be worked out.

The change in programming philosophy comes as a result of Pitaro wanting to add more play-by-play of the MLB Playoffs to ESPN’s portfolio. Currently the World Wide Leader only has rights to a single Wild Card game. Pitaro has described getting at least one full series as a “top priority” for ESPN.

ESPN already has an impressive staff if they want to revive a daily baseball show. Karl Ravech and Adnan Virk are still under contract. They both served as hosts of the show during the last two seasons. Analysts Mark Texiera, David Ross, and Eduardo Perez are still under contract. The network also has insiders Buster Olney, Pedro Gomez, and Tim Kurkjian still under contract.

Apparently ESPN is not resting its hat on those names alone. Marchand reports that the network isn’t done adding baseball talent to its roster.

ESPN already has had talks to add Ryan Howard, according to sources. The Post previously reported the network has signed Yahoo’s Jeff Passan to be its Adam Schefter of baseball. Passan will begin in January. ESPN may look to acquire another analyst or two.

Whether this show airs on ESPN, ESPN2, or even ESPN+ is still up for discussion. It could even float between networks to accommodate play-by-play schedules. Whatever the case is, it does appear that a daily baseball show is coming back to ESPN and that show will play a key role in the network expanding its involvement in broadcasting MLB Playoff games.

Sports TV News

FanDuel TV Strikes Deal With ONE Championship Martial Arts

“We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”

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FanDuel TV and ONE Championship Martial Arts have struck a deal that will see the MMA, Muay Thai, kickboxing, and submission grappling series air weekly events on the newly launched channel.

“We’re eager to continue expanding the variety of content we’re offering at FanDuel TV to introduce our audience to emerging sports,” said FanDuel Chief Commercial Officer Mike Raffensperger. “We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”

ONE Championship is a top-five global sports property for digital viewership and engagement according to Nielsen measurements.

“We are thrilled to join the FanDuel TV lineup and give our passionate U.S. audience yet another way to engage with ONE Championship,” said ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong. “Having a quality partner in FanDuel will help raise the profile of our company in the region and provide their viewers with action-packed martial arts events like they have never seen before.”

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Bob Costas Re-Lives First Announcing Assignment For NBC

“My biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979.”

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Legendary sports broadcaster Bob Costas appeared on KNBR’s Tolbert & Copes Thursday to discuss the death of Baseball Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry. But before the conversation turned to the recently departed pitcher, the show asked Costas about what he has announced that would surprise someone. He reminisced about his first time on the air for NBC.

“My very first assignment for NBC, my biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979,” Costas recounted. “There was a program on NBC then called Sports World. It was an anthology series that was their answer to the gold standard, ABC’s Wide World of Sports.

“So they traveled the globe, like Wide World of Sports did. So they sent me, wearing a red NBC jacket, to Tokyo to cover a sumo wrestling tournament with seven-time world power-lifting champion Larry Pacifico as my color man. Now, this is all the Japanese I learned as we came on the air: ‘Minasan kon’nichwa watashinoamaeha Bob Costas’, which means ‘Hello everyone, my name is Bob Costas’. If ever there was typecasting, when they sat and looked at their roster of announcers and went ‘Who should we send to the sumo wrestling? It’s gotta be Costas, who’s entire body weight would constitute one meal for the sumo wrestling champion.”

Costas departed NBC Sports in 2019 after 40 years with the network, announcing MLB, NBA, and the Olympics, in addition to his work with the network’s sumo wrestling coverage.

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Matt Leinart, Alex Smith Make Wager Over Pac-12 Championship Game

“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous. I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.”

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FOX Sports analyst Matt Leinart and ESPN analyst Alex Smith have made a friendly wager over the upcoming Pac-12 Championship Game.

USC, Leinart’s alma mater, is slated to play Utah, where Smith attended, in the game Friday evening on FOX from Las Vegas.

The two agreed to don the other player’s jersey. “At least it will be 11,” Smith said, noting he and Leinart both wore the number during their playing days.

“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous,” Leinart said when presented with the offer. “I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.” Smith jokingly responded by calling USC “Free Agent University”. He added he would overnight Leinart a jersey to ensure he had one if the Utes were victorious.

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