Sports TV News
James Blake Joins ESPN
“Blake played tennis professionally from 1999-2013, ranking as high as No. 4 in the world, while winning 10 titles during his career.”
As the first Grand Slam tournament of the 2020 tennis season begins with the Australian Open, ESPN announced they’ve signed eight longtime analysts to new deals, also adding James Blake to their coverage.
Pam Shriver who joined the network in 1990, Patrick McEnroe (1995), Chris McKendry (1996), Joe Fernandez (2000), Brad Gilbert (2004), Darren Cahill (2007), John McEnroe (2009) and Chrissie Evert (2011), will all continue their tenures covering tennis for ESPN after signing new contracts.
In addition to their returning commentators, ESPN announced retired American tennis player James Blake will join the network for Wimbledon and the US Open later this year.
“ESPN is proud of the chemistry, experience and broad perspective, both generationally and historically, our roster represents, and we are thrilled the unmatched team will continue intact to provide the best in analysis, insights, opinions and storytelling,” said Jamie Reynolds, ESPN vice president, production. “When we add someone of the caliber of James Blake, a recognized voice in the sport, to the mix, we’ll be all the stronger, with his intelligence, close ties to the sport and fresh perspective. He will join us for Wimbledon and the US Open, reflecting the number of hours and volume of content ESPN commits to those events.”
Blake played tennis professionally from 1999-2013, ranking as high as No. 4 in the world, while winning 10 titles during his career. Since retiring, Blake founded the Thomas Blake Sr. Memorial Cancer Research Fund at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in memory of his father. Blake has also contributed to the Tennis Channel, NBC and CNN as an analyst for the sport.
Six weeks before his father died in 2004, Blake slipped on a clay tennis court and collided with the net post, fracturing his neck. Battling back from the injury, he returned to play nearly a decade professionally. Blake’s 2007 autobiography, Breaking Back: How I Lost Everything and Won Back My Life, detailing his difficult comeback was a New York Times Best Seller.
Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here
Brandon Contes is a former reporter for BSM, now working for Awful Announcing. You can find him on Twitter @BrandonContes or reach him by email at Brandon.Contes@gmail.com.
Sports TV News
Steve Rosenberg Out As President of Diamond Sports Group
“John Ourand of Sports Business Journal reports that a memo went out to the company on Monday morning announcing the change.”
A company declaring bankruptcy is never good for the people at the top. Steve Rosenberg is experiencing that right now. He is out as the president of Diamond Sports Group.
John Ourand of Sports Business Journal reports that a memo went out to the company on Monday morning announcing the change. In it, Diamond CEO David Preschlack wrote that CFO David DeVoe will assume Rosenberg’s responsibilities for now.
Steve Rosenberg joined Sinclair in 2020. He replaced Jeff Krolik as the company’s president of local sports.
Last week, Diamond Sports Group filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company intends to work out new deals with the NBA and NHL for its Bally Sports RSNs in hopes that it will remain in tact. Ourand writes that an attempt to do the same with Major League Baseball has not yielded meaningful results as of yet.
“With the recent appointments we have made to the senior leadership team, and the talented staff we have throughout the organization, I am confident in this team’s ability to work together to execute our strategic goals at this time,” Preschlack wrote in his memo.
Sports TV News
Variety Predicts Sports Betting Broadcasts Future of RSNs
“With the state of the RSN business a little hazy for some networks, closer integration with gambling is something that VIP+ expects to be leant into more in an effort to engage the most passionate local fans.”
The sports betting market grew in 2022. With five new states legalizing mobile wagering last year, that is not a surprise. The overall take for sportsbooks was $93.4 billion. That is a whopping 84% growth over 2021.
With so much money coming from new markets, Variety wanted to get an idea of how much the sports betting industry is actually growing versus how much of the growth is artificial.
The study from the publication’s VIP+ shows that in markets with a full year of mobile wagering on the books before 2022, the growth is slower but still significant at 19%. Writer Gavin Bridge suggests that the statistic could hold the answer for the future of regional sports networks.
“While winning money was the most popular reason for sports betting, data provided by VIP+’s research partner CRG Global in our ‘Sports Gambling & Media‘ report show that one of the most popular reasons was that betting ‘makes the games I watch more exciting,’ with several other reasons relating to watching televised games also important to some betters,” he writes.
With regional sports networks looking for a new model in the face of serious economic uncertainty, Bridge points to Comcast’s regional NBC Sports networks as a reasonable path forward.
Through its partnership with PointsBet, NBC offers alternate broadcasts of the local teams it covers that have a gambling focus. The alternate feed have not been available for every game on the RSNs, but Bridge writes that we could see more of that in the future.
“With the state of the RSN business a little hazy for some networks, closer integration with gambling is something that VIP+ expects to be leant into more in an effort to engage the most passionate local fans. Ultimately, sports betting overlays and alternative game feeds can be anticipated for most major sports in the coming years as media partners look for new revenue streams and ways to engage fans for longer.”
Sports TV News
NCAA Tournament Delivers Highest-Rated Round of 64 Ever
“ For the first round on Thursday and Friday of last week, games accomplished a total audience delivery of 9.2 million viewers.”
The first two rounds of the 2023 NCAA tournament are in the books, and the TV ratings indicate historic viewership.
For the first round on Thursday and Friday of last week, games accomplished a total audience delivery of 9.2 million viewers. This was for contests on TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV in addition to streaming on March Madness Live.
Action on Thursday averaged 8.4 million, up 2% compared to 2022.
On Friday, game broadcasts averaged 9.3 million, making it the most-watched first round ever.
The Sweet 16 tips off on Thursday this week.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He’s a multimedia journalist and communicator who works at the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond. Jordan also contributes occasional 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, WRIC-TV 8News and Audacy Richmond. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.