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Bucks Announce Zora Stephens As Sideline Reporter

“Stephenson takes over for Katie George who moved on to the ACC Network after one season with the Bucks.”

Brandon Contes

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The Milwaukee Bucks announced the addition of Zora Stephenson to their Fox Sports Wisconsin telecasts during the upcoming season.  Stephenson joins the network as the Bucks sideline reporter.

“It’s such an exciting time to be part of the Bucks organization, and I’m thrilled to be able to tell the stories surrounding this team and Fiserv Forum,” Stephenson said in the press release. “Basketball has always been a huge part of my life and what better way to continue that than with the Bucks family.

“This is a first-class organization throughout, from the players, to the coaches, executives and the fans. The sky is the limit for this city and team, and I can’t wait to get started in Milwaukee.”

It’s the second year in a row that the Bucks will have a new sideline reporter for their games on Fox Sports Wisconsin.  Stephenson takes over for Katie George who moved on to the ACC Network after one season with the Bucks.  George now offers sideline reports for the ACC Network, joining a broadcast team featuring Dave O’Brien and Tim Hasselbeck.  

Prior to accepting her new position as the Bucks sideline reporter, Stephenson worked as a news reporter and anchor in Denver, CO, having also spent time with WNCT-TV in Greenville, North Carolina.

“Zora’s award-winning ability to report and ask insightful questions, along with her vast basketball experience and expertise, will be a great addition to Bucks games on Fox Sports Wisconsin and across our digital channels,” Milwaukee Bucks and Fiserv Forum president Peter Feigin said in a statement. 

“We’re confident she’s the right person to tell the story of Bucks basketball and the world-class Fiserv Forum.  We look forward to her joining us in Milwaukee and for Bucks fans across the globe to get to know her.”

Stephenson will join the Fox Sports Wisconsin Bucks broadcast team that features play-by-play voice Jim Paschke along with analysts, Marques Johnson and Steve Novak.  Stephenson’s role with the team will also see her contribute to their digital platforms including Bucks.com.

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.

Sports TV News

LIV Golf Nearing TV Deal With The CW Network

“LIV Golf television analyst David Feherty had hinted that the upstart league could potentially have a deal in place with The CW Network for American television rights.”

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LIV Golf

According to a report from Front Office Sports, LIV Golf has laid out a deal with The CW Network for television carriage in the United States.

The deal is a multi-year agreement that will see the tour own real estate in lesser-viewed time slots on the network. A revenue-sharing relationship between the tour and the television network is expected to be struck.

LIV Golf television analyst David Feherty had hinted that the upstart league could potentially have a deal in place with The CW Network for American television rights.

After a standup comedy show in West Palm Beach last week, Feherty reportedly told the crowd “Have you heard of CW? I might get fired for this, but…,” according to report from Tom D’Angelo of The Palm Beach Post.

Sports Business Journal reporter John Ourand had previously reported a deal between the Saudi-backed breakaway golf tour and the network was likely.

Nexstar Media Group — the nation’s largest television owner — is the majority owner of The CW Network. There are around 220 affiliates of the network on over-the-air television stations. Rumors of an acquisition of LIV Golf’s rights come on the heels of The CW Network being linked to the potential launch of a college football bowl game that would air exclusively on the network.

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Sports TV News

Stephen A. Smith: ‘I Don’t Feel Obligated To Agree With Black Community’

“I want the Black community to always know that they have somebody in me that’s going to at least tell the world what we’re feeling and why, whether I agree with it or not.”

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Stephen A. Smith is out promoting his new memoir Straight Shooter. He recently sat down for a conversation with Men’s Health magazine.

Interviewer Rachel Epstein covers a wide variety of topics with Smith. Some are about what can be found in the book. Some are about the First Take star’s public perception.

She asked how Smith balances the responsibility of representing the Black community with his brand. On ESPN, Smith is known for being unique and unapologetic for his sometimes over-the-top persona.

“Number one by being fair,” he said. “By trying to gather as much information and educate myself on issues as much as I possibly can.”

He added that he has never felt pressure to think a certain way or say a certain thing. Even if pressure existed, he prides himself on not giving in to it.

“I never feel an obligation to agree with my community. I believe we all have a right to think the way we want to think. But I do feel a responsibility to make sure that the perspective emanating from my community is heard, even if I disagree.”

Stephen A. Smith is one of the highest-paid and most visible employees at ESPN. He said that a certain responsibility comes along with that status. He wants the Black community to know that even if he doesn’t agree, he will make sure people know what he is hearing when he is on TV talking about an important subject.

“I want the Black community to always know that they have somebody in me that’s going to at least tell the world what we’re feeling and why, whether I agree with it or not.”

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Sports TV News

Kathryn Tappen Joining NBC’s Big Ten Coverage

“Tappen was in line to replace Michele Tafoya as the sideline reporter for Sunday Night Football but was passed over by the network in favor of Melissa Stark.”

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NBC has tabbed Kathryn Tappen as its sideline reporter for the network’s upcoming coverage of Big Ten football, according to a report from Andrew Marchand of The New York Post.

According to Marchand, Tappen was in line to replace Michele Tafoya as the sideline reporter for Sunday Night Football but was passed over by the network in favor of Melissa Stark.

Tappen has hosted Notre Dame football’s studio coverage and Peacock Sunday Night Football Final. She also worked as NBC’s lead interviewer for its coverage of the PGA Tour, but left that broadcast team at the end of 2022 as part of the network’s larger shakeup of its golf coverage.

The appointment of Kathryn Tappen conceivably concludes the Big Ten on NBC broadcast crew. Noah Eagle and Todd Blackledge are expected to pair as the network’s play-by-play announcer and color analyst, respectively. NBC has yet to officially unveil its coverage plans for the 2023 college football season.

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