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FOX Won’t Use Thom Brennaman For 2020 NFL Games

“The disgraced broadcaster is now in crisis mode, offering a second apology in an op-ed for The Cincinnati Inquirer on Thursday as he attempts to express remorse and a commitment to understanding LGBTQ+ issues.”

Brandon Contes

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In the hours after he said a homophobic slur in front of a hot mic, play-by-play announcer Thom Brennaman was quickly suspended by the Cincinnati Reds and now FOX Sports, from his scheduled NFL broadcasts for the upcoming season. 

“FOX Sports is extremely disappointed with Thom Brennaman’s remarks during Wednesday’s Cincinnati Reds telecast,” FOX said in a statement Thursday. “The language used was abhorrent, unacceptable, and not representative of the values of FOX Sports.”

Brennaman has been a national announcer with FOX for decades, calling NFL games since 1994 and MLB games from 1996-2014. Last season, Brennaman was part of FOX’s No. 3 broadcast team, alongside analyst Chris Spielman and field reporter Shannon Spake. In 2006, Brennaman joined the Reds as a play-by-play announcer, the organization where his father Marty Brennaman worked as their radio voice from 1974-2019. 

The disgraced broadcaster is now in crisis mode, offering a second apology in an op-ed for The Cincinnati Inquirer on Thursday as he attempts to express remorse and a commitment to understanding LGBTQ+ issues. 

“To the LGBTQ+ community – I am truly and deeply sorry,” Brennaman wrote. “You should never be denigrated with crude and hateful language. I failed you, and I cannot say enough how sorry I am.”

The longtime Cincinnati Reds and FOX announcer went on to state the steps he’s taking to become more informed. 

“I have spoken at length with Billy Bean, vice president and special assistant to the commissioner of baseball and an openly gay man, and Evan Millward, WCPO-TV anchorman, who have been generous with their time and patience to help me understand the impact of my actions and provided me with resources to educate myself and work to become a more informed person.

“With their help, I am going to start improving my understanding of LGBTQ+ issues and not in a way to simply check a box to keep my job, but to sincerely have an impact and change. I immediately plan to participate in   diversity, equity and inclusion training and have reached out to PFLAG for resources and guidance.”

Two hours after uttering the slur during a live broadcast, Brennaman realized his career was in jeopardy, but a statement by GLAAD said his first apology was “incredibly weak and not enough,” also “demanding full accountability” from the Reds, Major League Baseball and FOX.

“I don’t know if I’m going to be putting on this headset again,” Brennaman said before exiting the Reds broadcast Wednesday night in the fifth inning.  If he does get the opportunity to put the headset on again, it certainly won’t be any time soon. 

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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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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