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NBA Legends & Entertainers Talk Last Dance With Stephen A Smith

“The special began with Smith talking to Magic Johnson about Jordan’s competitiveness and the Lakers facing the Bulls in the 1991 NBA Finals, a series that the Bulls won in 5 games.”

Ricky Keeler

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Over the last five weeks, The Last Dance documentary was appointment television for sports fans as they watched the story of Michael Jordan and the 1997-1998 Chicago Bulls that won the franchise’s sixth NBA title. 

On Tuesday night, Stephen A Smith was the executive producer and hosted a one-hour special on ABC called After The Dance, which looked back at the memorable moments from the documentary and allowed different guests to reflect on that time period. Smith brought on guests from both the sports and entertainment worlds to talk about their favorite Jordan moments. 

The special began with Smith talking to Magic Johnson about Jordan’s competitiveness and the Lakers facing the Bulls in the 1991 NBA Finals, a series that the Bulls won in 5 games. Magic would end the show with Smith discussing the Jordan-LeBron James greatest of all-time debate. 

Then, the conversation shifted to more of Jordan’s impact off the court. Smith spoke with Whoopi Goldberg from The View about his influence on the world of pop culture.

“I see someone who has taken a brand and pulled it up and through, who took the idea of us and animation and made it totally different,” Goldberg said of Jordan. “He touched everything on the planet and everyone wanted to get next to him.”

One of the more emotional parts of the documentary for people was Episode 5 when the 1998 All-Star Game was brought up and you saw the interview with the late Kobe Bryant about facing MJ. Smith had Shaquille O’Neal on the show to talk about both of their mentalities on the court.

“It’s pretty much equal. Kobe made a great point. We all look at players before us and we take a little bit from them. I am glad they had a relationship,” O’Neal said. “A lot of people always said who is the greatest in the game: Jordan or Lebron. I think you must respect Kobe’s name and add it to the conversation.”

From the broadcast side, we got to hear from Robin Roberts, who was an anchor on SportsCenter during MJ’s run and is now on Good Morning America. Roberts brought up her favorite memories of being around Jordan.

“The press conference before the 1992 Olympics. All of the legends are there,” she remembered. “MJ just kind of scratched his head and all of  the cameras were flicking. It was amazing to see the reaction. I loved people watching him.”

Many characteristics of Jordan were emphasized in the documentary, including his competitive nature. That competitiveness showed on the court and it once occurred in a game of dominoes with Anthony Anderson from Blackish: 

The documentary itself had a great ending, but Smith’s special reflecting on Jordan’s career and getting the thoughts from different perspectives was a good way to continue the conversation and reflect on all of the footage that we saw. As usual, Smith had a good way with words to wrap up the night. 

“Jordan didn’t dance, as in dance around at all, He gave his take on the dynastic era through his lens and we all should love him for it… You can still indeed appreciate today’s greatness while still acknowledging it isn’t the good old days. Jordan did that for us at a time at a time when the sports world desperately needed it.”

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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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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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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