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Al Michaels Won’t Call Entire 2020 Sunday Night Football Slate

“That means Mike Tirico will call the Green Bay Packers’ visit to New Orleans. Michaels’s schedule beyond that is unclear at this time.”

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Mike Tirico is going to get some real experience in the Sunday Night Football booth this fall. On a conference call to preview the season on Thursday, SNF producer Fred Gaudelli said that the regular voice of the broadcast, Al Michaels, would be “taking some bye weeks this fall.”

The first bye week for Michaels is week 3. That means Mike Tirico will call the Green Bay Packers’ visit to New Orleans. Michaels’s schedule beyond that is unclear at this time.

Joe Lucia of Awful Announcing notes that the week 3 game in New Orleans is a bit of an outlier in the early season SNF schedule. Aside from the season opener in Kansas City, week 3 is the only time SNF leaves the Pacific time zone until week 8. Al Michaels lives in the Los Angeles area. Skipping week 3 greatly reduces his travel demands.

When he left ESPN for NBC in 2016, it was widely believed that it was only a matter of time before Mike Tirico took over calling Sunday Night Football. After all, he was the play-by-play voice of Monday Night Football at ESPN for ten seasons. Between Michaels working a reduced schedule and Drew Brees signing a deal earlier this year to begin working for NBC as soon as he retires from the Saints, it is likely that day is very close.

Sports TV News

Matthew Berry Joins NBC Sports

Berry is expected to host a daily podcast and have his own Sunday fantasy football show.

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Matthew Berry

Matthew Berry, the fantasy football expert that helped to elevate the niche to mainstay programming surrounding the football season, is joining NBC Sports.

Berry, who left ESPN less than a month ago, is expected to host a daily podcast and have his own Sunday fantasy football show, sources told The New York Post. The show might go against Fantasy Football Now, his previous show that airs on ESPN2.

The show is also expected to be on NBC’s streaming service, Peacock, as well as possibly on some NBC affiliates. Berry could also make appearances on Sunday Night Football.

NBC Sports declined comment.

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Sports TV News

NBC Pushing for Big Ten/NFL Primetime Pairing in Media Rights Deal

“The Big Ten would have exposure in every TV home,” said one source to Front Office Sports. “It would also be a smart idea to follow the model of the most successful sports league in America.” 

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Big Ten media rights negotiations are getting closer to being completed. The results could mean a minimum of $1.25 billion annual distribution for the conference’s soon-to-be sixteen members. One of the bidders in the process, NBC, has an interesting idea to make the Big Ten the “NFL of college football conferences.”

NBC has reportedly pushed the idea of combining Big Ten broadcasts with its existing Notre Dame coverage and would feature the Big Ten in its primetime window. With CBS, ESPN/ABC also bidding on coverage packages, such a series of deals would make the Big Ten the only college football conference that would be seen across all of the American broadcast networks. Something only few entities have done, like the NFL.

NBC is also pushing the allure of having primetime Big Ten football on Saturday night and primetime coverage of Sunday’s only NFL evening game with Sunday Night Football.

“The Big Ten would have exposure in every TV home,” said one source to Front Office Sports. “It would also be a smart idea to follow the model of the most successful sports league in America.” 

The Big Ten’s current media rights deals expire after the 2023 season.

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ESPN’s College GameDay Adds Peloton Instructor and Sports Reporter Jess Sims

ESPN has announced the newest member of the College GameDay show for this football season and it’s Jess Sims.

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Jess Sims

ESPN has announced the newest member of the College GameDay show for this football season and it’s Jess Sims.

Sims is a very popular Peloton instructor and a sports reporter. According to ESPN, Sims will be joining the show weekly with Rece Davis, Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard and David Pollack. The show is entering it’s 36th season.

Sims played college basketball at Liberty College, then worked with the WNBA’s New York Liberty as an in-arena host and sideline reporter for the last two seasons.

“Jess is a rising star who exudes personality and energy.  We’re looking forward to her adding to the excitement surrounding College GameDay each week throughout the season – both during the show and as we engage with students and fans on every campus we visit” said Lee Fitting, ESPN senior vice president, production.

“I am so excited to join the GameDay crew because the show not only celebrates all of the on-field action, but also highlights the passionate communities that surround the games,” said Sims. “This is such a great opportunity to get back to my roots in college sports and I can’t wait to meet incredible athletes and fans and explore these campuses and cities that eat, sleep and breathe their hometown teams.”

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