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Twins Increase Justin Morneau’s Role On TV

“After sitting out the 2017 season, the former MVP and four-time All-Star officially retired and joined the Twins TV broadcast team in 2018, calling more games in 2019 and now taking over as their lead analyst this season.”

Brandon Contes

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Justin Morneau is taking on an increased role as part of the Minnesota Twins broadcast team. First reported by Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune, the retired first baseman will be in the Twins TV booth as an analyst for 80 games this season.

FOX Sports North recently stated their Twins’ broadcast lineup hasn’t been finalized, but according to Hartman, Morneau is adding to his schedule, while Hall of Fame pitcher and longtime analyst Burt Blyleven will work less games. The 68-year old Blyleven contributed as an analyst for 80 games in 2018, 50 last year and will likely reduce his schedule to 30 broadcasts this season.

Meanwhile, Morneau has continued to increase his analyst work for the Twins in recent years. After sitting out the 2017 season, the former MVP and four-time All-Star officially retired and joined the Twins TV broadcast team in 2018, calling more games in 2019 and now taking over as their lead analyst this season.

In addition to joining their broadcast team in 2018, Morneau also took on a role in the front office which was described as assisting with “position player development by focusing on transition programs and teaching an understanding of major league expectations, environment, and culture.” Whether or not that has changed was not announced, but recently, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred made it clear he was not comfortable with journalists moonlighting as front office personnel.

“Let me give you a short answer on that one: No. I’m not all that comfortable with it. I’m really not,” Manfred said earlier this month according to the New York Post’s Ken Davidoff. “But it’s a topic that remains under discussion internally. As you know, it causes a lot of complications, not just on this particular incident or comments, but in general.”

“This particular incident” referred to Pedro Martinez and Jessica Mendoza criticizing Mike Fiers for exposing the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal. Martinez works for MLB Network and TBS as an analyst, while also contributing as a special assistant to the Boston Red Sox. Mendoza is an ESPN analyst and has since resigned from her role as a baseball operations adviser to the New York Mets.

Unlike Mendoza and Martinez, Morneau will not be working as an analyst on the national stage. Similarly, Kirk Gibson continues to call games locally for the Tigers on FOX Sports Detroit while working as an adviser to general manager Al Avila. But again, whether or not Morneau is still working in the Twins front office has not been reported in conjunction with the news that he’ll be taking on an increased analyst role.

Sports TV News

The NFL Still Considering Multiple Offers For Sunday Ticket

The NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has not bid for the package but has stated it is willing to partner with the new rightsholder for a potential deal.

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Sunday Ticket Negotiations

DirecTV currently has the rights to Sunday Ticket. That deal expires at the end of this upcoming football season. The NFL is expected to make a boatload of cash when they decide which media organization gets the next rights to the package. The only question is… who will that be?

Alex Sherman of CNBC reports that the NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has decided not bid for the package. However, they are interested in partnering with the new rightsholder for a potential deal. DirecTV knows that Sunday Ticket is a staple in bars and restaurants and is interested in maintaining those relationships.

Outside of the bar/restaurant industry, success has been limited for the satellite provider with the football package. Fewer than two million subscribers signed up for Sunday Ticket each year which made the package a money-loser for the satellite TV provider.

According to the report, the NFL wants more than $2 billion for the rights and a stake in NFL Media, which is being packaged with Sunday Ticket. Also on the table is the NFL’s mobile rights. The league’s previous mobile agreement with Verizon has ended.

An interesting piece of the negotiations is Sunday Ticket price. According to the report, a buyer would have limited flexibility on pricing. The NFL signed contracts with CBS and Fox and within the framework of those deals, language mandates Sunday Ticket have a premium price. That’s to prevent loss of viewers from the networks that feature local market Sunday afternoon games. So essentially, the price is the price for the consumer.

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Sports TV News

F1 Renews With ESPN For U.S. Media Rights

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

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F1 ESPN

The racing series F1 has decided to stick with ESPN through 2025.

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

The reported value of the three-year contract is set to pay F1 $75-90M per year for the U.S. media rights. Amazon had offered to pay roughly $100M per year, with the right to sublicense to a linear broadcast network. Comcast’s offer was similar to ESPN’s in terms of value and the structure. They also wanted to put select races on it’s streaming service, Peacock.

Netflix was in on the negotiations, as well. The makers of Drive to Survive, the streaming series that many credit with the sport’s explosion in popularity in recent years, wasn’t close on on their financial offer. Also, it seems F1 executives were not ready to put all of its races on a streaming service just yet.

Currently, F1 receives $5M per year for ESPN to broadcast it’s races. ESPN has grabbed about 1.0 million viewers per race. That makes F1 a more than viable option for the network to invest into again. ESPN will be able to put a small number of races on its ESPN+ streaming service exclusively. The vast majority being on ABC or ESPN.

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Sports TV News

Skip Bayless Says He And Stephen A. Smith ‘Sorted Out’ Their Disagreement

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

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Skip Bayless

Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless were locked in a war of words last week following the First Take host’s appearance on JJ Redick’s Old Man and the Three podcast.

The origins of their partnership were discussed and Bayless admitted he did not like the way Smith characterized the state of First Take before he arrived on set. Smith insisted that Bayless simply misunderstood what he meant by saying that he was told the show needed him.

Over the weekend, Skip Bayless says he and Stephen A. Smith got together at the Bayless home in California to talk things out in private.

“He was in LA, he came over, we sat by the pool,” he said on the latest episode of The Skip Bayless Show. “It wasn’t the easiest conversation for a while, but we slowly but surely sorted it out. We got through it, and we have been through so much together.”

Bayless reiterated that he considers Smith a brother. They love each other. That doesn’t mean they are always going to remember events the same way or see eye-to-eye all the time.

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

Fighting doesn’t mean the relationship is fractured. In fact, Skip Bayless was adamant that he remains closer to Smith than he is to most people in his life.

“I don’t trust easily because of the way I was raised, but I do trust Stephen Anthony Smith. Trust him with my life. Always have and always will. I trust he will always be there for me, and you better believe I will always be there for him.”

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