ESPN will present a very special edition of NFL PrimeTime this weekend. The Championship Sunday edition of the show will see former co-hosts Chris Berman and Tom Jackson reunite alongside Keyshawn Johnson.
This will be the first time the duo has worked together, breaking down playoff games since Super Bowl L in 2016. Jackson made his retirement official after the 2016 Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Berman stepped away from a full-time schedule with ESPN after the 2016 NFL season.
Berman appeared on Johnson’s morning show on ESPN 710 LA to talk about the event. He said “It’ll be fun. I think everybody likes it. We’re watching football, along with everybody else in America and around the world. Watching #1 against #2 in two games, you and I and Tommy with Mort in the background. A lot of people are comfortable with us, and those that aren’t? Can’t help you now!”
Bill Walton To Anchor Alternate Broadcast On NBA League Pass
“We are set for blastoff and the volcanic eruption on Monday night January 23. Seven o’clock Pacific time, be there. Miss this at your own peril.”
Bill Walton is going to be the star of his own show on Monday night when the San Antonio Spurs and the Portland Trail Blazers tip off.
Walton will be the focus of the first of several upcoming alternate broadcasts on NBA League Pass called Throw It Down with Bill Walton. Walton will be joined by Jason Benetti of FOX Sports for the maiden broadcast.
“We’ve got the NBA intergalactic platform,” Walton told Andrew Marchand of the New York Post. We’ve got the world’s greatest basketball players. We’ve got the business. We’ve got the entertainment…I’m the luckiest guy in the world. We are set for blastoff and the volcanic eruption on Monday night January 23. Seven o’clock Pacific time, be there. Miss this at your own peril. You’ve been suitably warned. I’m fired up.”
Walton said having Benetti join him will be a real treat.
“He is a phenomenal conversationalist, quick-witted as can be and interesting, intriguing, inspirational, fun, all the things that I look for in life,” he said.
As for what fans can expect to see when they tune in to this special alternate broadcast of the game, Walton said it will be like nothing anyone’s experienced before.
“It will be like an incredible book. It will be a phenomenal concert,” he said. “It will be an extraordinary basketball game. It will represent everything that’s good in life, in sports, the NBA business, in the world.”
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He works full-time as a multimedia specialist at the Virginia State Corporation Commission, while also putting in part-time work for News Radio WRVA and 910 The Fan in Richmond. Additionally, you can find Jordan contributing coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and ABC 8News. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.
Pac-12 Sources Express Concern With No TV Deal
“If we know anything about college sports, it’s that you can’t assume the status quo will last.”
Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff has been unwavering in his timeline for finalizing the conference’s television rights deals. However, many inside the conference are growing impatient.
A report from Jon Wilner of The Mercury News details conference sources growing in worry about the unresolved rights deals.
“The Pac-12 cannot get overconfident,” one source told Wilner. “If we know anything about college sports, it’s that you can’t assume the status quo will last.”
Kliavkoff’s lack of urgency is explained by his belief that Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, and Utah won’t receive enough revenue from the Big 12 to explore a move to that conference, while the Big Ten reportedly remains reluctant to poach Oregon, Washington, Cal, and Stanford. The recent departure of Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren only cements that position.
The Pac-12 is the only Power 5 conference with remaining football inventory until 2031, giving it a position of strength. Wilner posits if Turner, Amazon, or Apple want Power 5 television rights, “there’s only one place to turn”.
However, sources inside the conference are worried about overplaying its hand.
“If you slow-play it,” the source told Wilner, “you become vulnerable to the unknowns.”
The conference reportedly sent “robust” proposals to ESPN and Amazon Prime Video to secure the conference’s television rights, but nothing has been finalized.
In the past, Kliavkoff has believed the conference’s women’s basketball schedule is an important factor in the television rights negotiations.
“I think women’s basketball is our fastest-growing television sport,” Kliavkoff said in November. “Ratings are increasing faster than any other sport. And I think it’s one of the sports that has been undervalued traditionally, in media rights. I think that provides a great opportunity.”
LIV Golf To Debut on The CW Next Month
“Saturday and Sunday competitions will be available both on The CW and The CW app. Friday events will only be available to stream through the app.”
The deal is done. All 14 events in the 2023 LIV Golf season will air on The CW. The tour and the network have agreed to a multi-year deal which finally puts the upstart LIV Golf on television in the United States.
LIV Golf makes its CW debut next month. The network will carry LIV’s competition at the Mayakoba Resort’s El Camaleón course in Mexico from February 24th-26th.
“This is a momentous day for LIV Golf as this partnership is about more than just media rights. The CW’s nationwide reach as America’s fifth broadcast network will provide accessibility for our fans and maximum exposure for our athletes and partners,” CEO & Commissioner of LIV Golf Greg Norman said in a press release. “The CW recognizes the enormous interest in and potential of our league and with their support, more fans will experience the energy and innovative competition that LIV Golf is using to reinvigorate the sport.”
The arrangement is unique. Saturday and Sunday competitions will be available both on The CW and The CW app. Friday events will only be available to stream through the app.
Finding a television partner has yielded some very public struggles for LIV Golf. The tour went without a media partner in the United States for its first season. All events were available for free exclusively online. Norman told ESPN Chicago that all four major networks spoke with LIV Golf, but those talks did not result in a deal. Apple and Amazon also reportedly passed with Apple saying the league and its backing from Saudi Arabia were “too toxic”.
Dennis Miller, president of The CW, sees the tour as a smaller piece in a larger strategy to remake the network.
“For The CW, our partnership with LIV Golf marks a significant milestone in our goal to re-engineer the network with quality, diversified programming for our viewers, advertisers, and CW affiliates. This also marks the first time in The CW’s 17-year history that the network is the exclusive broadcast home for live mainstream sports,” he said.
LIV Golf is not the only sport that The CW has been connected to in recent months. The network has also explored launching a college football bowl game in Cincinnati.