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Hard Knocks Will Focus On The Raiders This Year

“The Raiders made plenty of moves in free agency that will give HBO producers plenty of material to choose from over the course of the 5 episode season.”

Jack Ferris

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If you’re thirsty for sprinkler heads popping up onto freshly cut fields, tight shots of slow motion spirals, and workout montages cut to Top 40 singles – fear not. A new season of Hard Knocks is just about 2 months away.

This year, the popular HBO series will focus on the Raiders and their final season in Oakland before heading to Las Vegas.  Despite what you might believe, head coaches and front offices don’t exactly leap at the opportunity to be featured on the annual docu-series.  It’s a distraction having camera crews at ever practice, every meeting, and following players, coaches and executives home to get a glimpse of their personal lives.  With that said, the program is immensely popular every summer, so the show must go on.

As a compromise, the NFL and HBO have agreed to only select teams who A) do not have a first year head coach B) have not made the playoffs the last 2 years and C) have not been on Hard Knocks in the past 10 years.  Outside of the Raiders, the teams that qualified this year were the Lions, 49ers, Redskins and Giants.

Always a polarizing franchise, the Raiders made plenty of moves in free agency that will give HBO producers plenty of material to choose from over the course of the 5 episode season.  The largest offseason splash the Silver and Black made this year was trading for Steelers WR Antonio Brown.  As if bringing on that one man content creator wasn’t enough, they also signed huge personalities like LB Vontaze Burfict (known to most as the NFL’s dirtiest player) and OG Richie Ingocnito (the catalyst behind “BullyGate”) to the roster.  

Even if the Raiders had a vanilla roster when it came to characters, their head coach might have enough charisma himself to carry the season.  8 year Monday Night Football veteran Jon Gruden is entering season 2 of his second stint with the Raiders, and has a lot of winning to do to justify his 10 year $100,000,000 deal.  The fun is set to begin August 6th on HBO.

Sports TV News

FOX Says NFL Ad Sales Up From 2021, ‘Record Pricing’ Expected for Super Bowl LVII

“It’s obviously such a huge year for us,” Murdoch added later. “We’re looking forward to getting record pricing for the Super Bowl.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Super Bowl 57

FOX shared some lucrative news with investors on its quarterly earnings call on Wednesday. The network said sales for the NFL season are in a very short word: up.

FOX CEO Lachlan Murdoch said “We sold more NFL Sunday advertising in the current upfront market than we did across Sunday and Thursday combined in the prior year’s market.”

He also went on to note that didn’t include commitments made for the network’s presentation of Super Bowl 57 in February.

“This excludes advertising commitments for the upcoming Super Bowl, where we are pacing well ahead of schedule and seeing very robust demand and record pricing levels.”

FOX began selling Super Bowl 57 ads last summer.

Murdoch didn’t share specific numbers regarding Super Bowl sales but in comparison, NBCUniversal sold 3-second spots for upwards of $7 million this last February.

“It’s obviously such a huge year for us,” Murdoch added later. “We’re looking forward to getting record pricing for the Super Bowl, and we’re well ahead of plan in terms of selling our Super Bowl positions.”

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Sports TV News

Potential Big Ten/ESPN Deal Did Not Include ESPN Plus Option

“I’ve been told ESPN’s deal did not include direct-to-consumer on ESPN+, it was a strict linear television deal.”

Jordan Bondurant

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ESPN, BIG TEN

A shockwave went thru the sports media landscape on Tuesday when reports surfaced that the Big Ten would not be awarding a media rights deal with longtime partner ESPN. Since then, more details have come out about why the two might not be in business together after this season.

On The Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast, John Ourand added another piece of the puzzle that could offer some illumination. According to his reporting and sources, ESPN wanted to be able to offer Big Ten games on their direct-to-consumer streaming option, ESPN+ and the Big Ten didn’t receive that well.

“I’ve been told ESPN’s deal did not include direct-to-consumer on ESPN+, it was a strict linear television deal.”

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Sports TV News

Bill Spaulding to Become New Jersey Devils New TV Play-by-Play Voice

Spaulding will replace Steve Cangialosi on the MSG Network broadcasts.

Jordan Bondurant

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New Jersey Devils

The New Jersey Devils will have a new TV play-by-play voice when the puck drops on the 2022-23 season in October.

According to sources, Ryan Novozinsky of NJ.com reported the team has hired Bill Spaulding for the job. Spaulding will replace Steve Cangialosi on the MSG Network broadcasts.

Cangialosi left as the team’s play-by-play man at the end of this past season. He had been with the team for 11 seasons.

Spaulding is a Syracuse University grad and has previously called Olympic hockey, as well as college games, on NBC. Additionally, Spaulding has experience calling college sports for ESPN. He’s a recipient of the Jim Nantz Award, which is given each year to the nation’s top collegiate sportscaster.

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