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Troy Aikman Interested In Front Office Positions

“Aikman has been critical of the Cowboys and the way they’ve operated under Jerry Jones, and he’s simultaneously interested in a general manager type position.”

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Troy Aikman and Joe Buck on FOX, Tony Romo with Jim Nantz on CBS and Cris Collinsworth partnered with Al Michaels on NBC, football fans have three elite primetime broadcast pairings to listen to, but for how much longer?

The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand previously reported Romo will seek a big pay increase next year and could be recruited by ESPN to join the Monday Night Football booth. Another former Cowboys quarterback, Troy Aikman recently discussed his future which included aspirations away from broadcasting.

While his analyst role on FOX has been great for Aikman in his post-playing days, the three-time Super Bowl Champion believes there might be a third career on tap. Aikman has been critical of the Cowboys and the way they’ve operated under Jerry Jones, and he’s simultaneously interested in a general manager type position.

“It’s something that I guess I’ve always somewhat entertained,” Aikman said Tuesday during his weekly spot with The Musers on 1310 The Ticket. “I’ve had a chance to talk with John Elway in previous years, I’ve visited with John Lynch and the decision that he made to take on that job in San Francisco, and I’ve said many many times, I still believe there’s another frontier for me — maybe there’s not — but I believe that there is, and I think that might very well be it. It’s something that I think would be very challenging. I’d be giving up a lot to leave the job that I have to take on a role like that. It’s an all-consuming job and I certainly recognize that, but I think the challenge would make it worthwhile.

“Now whether or not I’m ever afforded that opportunity, we’ll see, but with each year that passes, the likelihood of it happening becomes less and less,” Aikman continued. “I understand that more and more teams want to go young and kind of groom somebody that’s gonna be there for the long haul, but relatively speaking, I’ve got a lot of great years left and I feel that having been in a championship locker room and knowing what that looks like, what that feels like, and then I guess my job now as a broadcaster, I’ve been in those organizations.”

Understanding the unlikelihood of landing a position with Jerry Jones and the Cowboys, Aikman seemed open to opportunities with other organizations. Aikman noted John Lynch, who went directly from broadcasting to the 49ers front office, similarly Mike Mayock shifted from being an NFL Network analyst to the Raiders general manager position one year ago.

This isn’t the first time Aikman mentioned an interest of leaving the broadcast booth to operate an NFL franchise. In January, the FOX NFL analyst discussed his general manager aspirations with Kimberly Martin of Yahoo Sports.

Aikman also mentioned the difficult nature of the GM position and understands he would potentially need to work his way up the ranks with an NFL team. Still, it would likely take a prominent front office role to lure Aikman away from his analyst job on FOX, a gig he is exceptional at.

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

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Stephen A. Smith, Jay Williams Get Worked Up Arguing Over Kyrie Irving

Smith called Williams “an apologist” for defending Irving.

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Stephen A. Smith may be trying to turn himself down a bit since being hospitalized for COVID during the New Year’s holiday. But as pointed out by the New York Post‘s Ryan Glasspiegel, it sure didn’t look that way on Wednesday’s First Take while arguing about Kyrie Irving with guest co-host Jay Williams.

First Take viewers and sports media observers already know how Smith feels about Irving, who’s refused to take the COVID-19 vaccine and only played in four games for the Brooklyn Nets this season due to health and safety protocols throughout the league.

When Smith announced on-air in December that he tested positive for COVID and was experiencing symptoms, he ended the segment by criticizing the Nets for the “disgraceful move” of allowing Irving to rejoin the team despite only being able to play in road games. (He’s prohibited from playing in Brooklyn due to New York state vaccine mandates.)

On Wednesday, Smith repeated that assertion, adding that it would be bad for basketball if the Nets won the NBA championship with Irving only playing away from Brooklyn’s Barclay Center. And if it wasn’t certain how Smith feels, check out the look on his face at the 1:14 mark of the video below when Williams begins to defend the Nets.

With Kevin Durant out four to six weeks with a sprained knee, the Nets will likely slide down the Eastern Conference standings and possibly lose home-court advantage in the opening rounds of the NBA Playoffs. But with Irving allowed to play on the road, Williams argued that the Nets might enjoy an advantage in opposing arenas. Smith, to put it mildly, disagreed.

“Kyrie Irving being available for just road games and him playing for the Brooklyn Nets under those conditions,” said Smith, “you’re all in or you’re all out, I believe that if the Brooklyn Nets win the championship, it would be bad for basketball.”

Williams, who removed his jacket as he got more worked up, said Smith is attacking Irving’s character and created a narrative against the guard, who has every right not to take the vaccine if he so chooses.

The two probably could’ve gone on longer, but moderator Molly Qerim closed the segment because Williams had a radio appearance scheduled. Williams then amusingly accused Smith of planning a debate that he knew would be cut off. Smith responded by calling Williams “an apologist” for Irving.

This got heated! And they’ll shout it out over this topic again with fewer than 40 games remaining in the Nets’ season.

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Ron Franklin, Longtime ESPN Broadcaster, Passes Away at 79

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Ron Franklin was a prominent voice for a generation of fans growing up watching college football and basketball on ESPN. The veteran broadcaster passed away on Tuesday at the age of 79.

The sad news was first revealed by Mike Barnes, communication consultant and former sports director at Austin’s KVUE.

Franklin is best known for his work with ESPN, where he called games and anchored studio shows from 1987 to 2011. In addition to college football and basketball, he also called tennis, college baseball, and Olympic sports during his tenure at the network.

Before joining ESPN, Franklin was a sports director for news stations in New Mexico, Tulsa, and Houston in the 1960s and 1970s. From 1971 to 1982, he was the play-by-play broadcaster for the Houston Oilers. Franklin then moved on to call University of Texas football and men’s basketball from 1983 to 1988.

Fran Fraschilla, Franklin’s longtime broadcast partner on college basketball, shared the news on Twitter upon learning of it.

Unfortunately, Franklin didn’t avoid controversy during his time at ESPN. In 2005, he was reprimanded by producers after a condescending remark to sideline reporter Holly Rowe in which he called her “sweetheart.” Five years later, he called reporter Jeannine Edwards “sweet baby” during a production meeting. When she objected, Franklin followed up with a profane insult.

Franklin was pulled from the radio broadcast of the Fiesta Bowl after the incident and fired by ESPN soon thereafter a colleague reported him to management. He sued the network for wrongful termination, a case that was eventually settled out of court.

Plenty of other colleagues, friends, and fan expressed their condolences for Franklin on social media after hearing of his passing, including Dick Vitale and former NFL coach Wade Phillips.

“He’s going to be missed. I just think of all the great times we had working together,” former broadcast partner Mike Gottfried told AL.com. “I just knew the guy came prepared, he worked hard, he studied and his voice was so dominant, and so good that everybody knew he was. He loved the game, he loved the coaches, he loved the players.”

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Sinclair’s Estimated Streaming Service Fee Much More Expensive Than Competitors

The estimated fee of $20.25 would be a good deal more than other direct-to-consumer services such as the Disney bundle, priced at $13.99.

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Sinclair’s Diamond Sports Group recently gained streaming rights for live NHL and NBA games. The company is working hard to become the premier direct-to-consumer service in sports. However, as Sportico’s Anthony Crupi reports, that will likely come at a premium price for consumers.

Outlined in Sinclair’s 8-K quarterly report filed to the SEC, all scenarios point to a monthly subscription fee of around $20.25. But will that be the most profitable scenario in which Diamond Sports achieves 975,000 subscribers for $237 million worth of revenue? Or will it result in the lesser scenario of 309,000 subscribers, predicting $75 million in revenue?

The rates are based on Diamond’s ability to stream NHL and NBA games in its affiliated franchises’ local markets. The fees are expected to increase as Diamond renews its legacy distribution deals with its member MLB teams. The Bally Sports nets have distribution deals in place with 14 MLB clubs, but only the Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Miami Marlins, and Milwaukee Brewers have signed off on a streaming agreement.

In 2021, Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley in 2021 took issue with refuted reports of the company seeking a $23 monthly fee for consumers. Yet he also provided no details on what price the company had in mind.

The estimated fee of $20.25 would be a good deal more than other direct-to-consumer services such as the Disney bundle, which includes ESPN+, Disney+, and Hulu, priced at $13.99.

Sinclair still has a few loose ends to tie up. Its recent $600 million financing deal and associated NBA renewal will be vital for the DTC launch. Last spring, the company’s broadcast division renewed its carriage agreement with Charter. But Sinclair’s standalone RSN deal with providers is scheduled to finish before March 31.

Charter’s Spectrum is the nation’s second-largest cable-TV provider. At the end of 2021’s third quarter, the company serviced 15.3 million residential video subscribers. Renewing the RSN contract is currently being negotiated, but agreeing to such deals is touchier now than ever.

The Diamond RSNs have been non-existent for 8.42 million DISH Network subscribers, even before Sinclair acquired the 21 former Fox Sports channels for $9.6 billion in August 2019.

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