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Joe Simpson Moving To Braves Radio Booth in 2019

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The Atlanta Braves are making some major changes to their TV broadcast booth in 2019. Journeyman outfielder, Jeff Francoeur, who played for eight different teams in 12 Major League seasons (including two stints in Atlanta totaling four years), will move into the lead analyst role on Fox Sports South. Tom Glavine’s TV work will also increase for the team this year.

Former lead TV analyst Joe Simpson isn’t out entirely. He will spend the majority of his 28th season on the broadcast team working on radio. Braves CEO Derek Schiller told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Simpson will be part of one of two teams that will handle Braves play-by-play on the radio.

We’ll start the season with a preference of pairing Jim Powell with Joe Simpson and pairing Don Sutton with Ben Ingram, but there is going to be rotation.

Simpson will also work 20 to 30 games on TV next season. He says the number shocked him when it was first presented to him even though he did plan to reduce his TV schedule in 2019. “I was suggesting maybe cutting back to like 120 TV games, hoping to fill in the rest with some radio. But they’ve cut me back to 20 or 30 TV games with the rest being radio, so that came as a surprise.”

Simpson made headlines this summer when he ranted about the Dodgers disrespecting the sport and its fans by taking batting practice in shorts and t-shirts. Fans criticized Simpson, his TV partner Chip Carey, and Major League Baseball over the comments. Schiller and Fox Sports South General Manager each said that incident, and another where Simpson questioned the age of Nationals outfielder Juan Soto was not a factor in their decision.

“Absolutely not,” Genthner said when asked if the controversies contributed to the change. “To emphasize that point, we didn’t reprimand Joe, didn’t do anything to admonish him in any way (for the comments). … He’s a professional broadcaster, and he voiced his personal opinion about something, but not to the extent in any way, shape or form that it impacted his career in our point of view.”

Said Schiller: ”I think that’s just coincidence. … If we had any concerns about what he said, we wouldn’t be as comfortable as we are putting him on radio. Remember, he still is going to be a broadcaster for the Braves. If we had any reservations, any hesitations, about what Joe Simpson says into the microphone, he wouldn’t be doing the job we’ve asked him to do.”

Asked if he felt the incidents affected the decision, Simpson said: “I would sincerely hope not. … If that was not part of their decision-making process, then I am glad about that.

 

 

Sports TV News

The NFL Still Considering Multiple Offers For Sunday Ticket

The NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has not bid for the package but has stated it is willing to partner with the new rightsholder for a potential deal.

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Sunday Ticket Negotiations

DirecTV currently has the rights to Sunday Ticket. That deal expires at the end of this upcoming football season. The NFL is expected to make a boatload of cash when they decide which media organization gets the next rights to the package. The only question is… who will that be?

Alex Sherman of CNBC reports that the NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has decided not bid for the package. However, they are interested in partnering with the new rightsholder for a potential deal. DirecTV knows that Sunday Ticket is a staple in bars and restaurants and is interested in maintaining those relationships.

Outside of the bar/restaurant industry, success has been limited for the satellite provider with the football package. Fewer than two million subscribers signed up for Sunday Ticket each year which made the package a money-loser for the satellite TV provider.

According to the report, the NFL wants more than $2 billion for the rights and a stake in NFL Media, which is being packaged with Sunday Ticket. Also on the table is the NFL’s mobile rights. The league’s previous mobile agreement with Verizon has ended.

An interesting piece of the negotiations is Sunday Ticket price. According to the report, a buyer would have limited flexibility on pricing. The NFL signed contracts with CBS and Fox and within the framework of those deals, language mandates Sunday Ticket have a premium price. That’s to prevent loss of viewers from the networks that feature local market Sunday afternoon games. So essentially, the price is the price for the consumer.

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Sports TV News

F1 Renews With ESPN For U.S. Media Rights

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

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F1 ESPN

The racing series F1 has decided to stick with ESPN through 2025.

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

The reported value of the three-year contract is set to pay F1 $75-90M per year for the U.S. media rights. Amazon had offered to pay roughly $100M per year, with the right to sublicense to a linear broadcast network. Comcast’s offer was similar to ESPN’s in terms of value and the structure. They also wanted to put select races on it’s streaming service, Peacock.

Netflix was in on the negotiations, as well. The makers of Drive to Survive, the streaming series that many credit with the sport’s explosion in popularity in recent years, wasn’t close on on their financial offer. Also, it seems F1 executives were not ready to put all of its races on a streaming service just yet.

Currently, F1 receives $5M per year for ESPN to broadcast it’s races. ESPN has grabbed about 1.0 million viewers per race. That makes F1 a more than viable option for the network to invest into again. ESPN will be able to put a small number of races on its ESPN+ streaming service exclusively. The vast majority being on ABC or ESPN.

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Skip Bayless Says He And Stephen A. Smith ‘Sorted Out’ Their Disagreement

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

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Skip Bayless

Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless were locked in a war of words last week following the First Take host’s appearance on JJ Redick’s Old Man and the Three podcast.

The origins of their partnership were discussed and Bayless admitted he did not like the way Smith characterized the state of First Take before he arrived on set. Smith insisted that Bayless simply misunderstood what he meant by saying that he was told the show needed him.

Over the weekend, Skip Bayless says he and Stephen A. Smith got together at the Bayless home in California to talk things out in private.

“He was in LA, he came over, we sat by the pool,” he said on the latest episode of The Skip Bayless Show. “It wasn’t the easiest conversation for a while, but we slowly but surely sorted it out. We got through it, and we have been through so much together.”

Bayless reiterated that he considers Smith a brother. They love each other. That doesn’t mean they are always going to remember events the same way or see eye-to-eye all the time.

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

Fighting doesn’t mean the relationship is fractured. In fact, Skip Bayless was adamant that he remains closer to Smith than he is to most people in his life.

“I don’t trust easily because of the way I was raised, but I do trust Stephen Anthony Smith. Trust him with my life. Always have and always will. I trust he will always be there for me, and you better believe I will always be there for him.”

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