Malika Andrews was a guest on Scott Van Pelt’s midnight edition of SportsCenter on Thursday morning. In addition to discussing the Miami Heat’s victory over the Boston Celtics, she was also asked about the mood of players inside the NBA Bubble after the state of Kentucky declined to file charges against two of the three officers in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor.
Taylor was asleep in her home when police entered. It was not the address on a no-knock warrant that three officers were attempting to serve. Taylor’s boyfriend fired his legally registered gun, believing it was a home invasion. Taylor was killed in her bed in the exchange of bullets.
Van Pelt noted that the incident was a major factor in NBA players’ demands that any restart in play after Covid-19 shutdown the regular season in March include messages of social justice.
Andrews answered that the players “were hurting.” She cited a conversation with the Celtics’ Jalen Brown in which the guard said “what do you expect about a system that is rigged against, that was founded on an unfairness against people that look like him and people that look like me.”
Scott Van Pelt was supportive of Andrews, who could not hide her emotions as she discussed the mood of the ESPN Wide World of Sports campus in Walt Disney World on Wednesday.
“We’ve talked before, Scott, about how my job here is to objectively cover the truth and to share what these players are going through. Today what they’re going through is that they’re hurting,” Andrews said with a quiver in her voice. “I have prided myself in being able to be objective and cover these sorts of issues. But when it is so clear that the system of objectivity in journalism is so whitewashed and doesn’t account for the fact that when I am walking up the hill my wonderful producer Melinda reminds me that Breonna Taylor was 26 and I am 25 and that could have been me, it is very hard to continue to go to work.”
Malika Andrews was not the only ESPN employee to comment on the events of the day in Louisville, Kentucky. Jalen Rose addressed his feelings and the feelings of his colleagues and players on the floor during the network’s pregame show.
He also shouted “It’d also be a great day to arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor,” as the network went to commercial during halftime of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Only one of the three officers that entered Taylor’s home on the night she was killed faced any charges at all. Those charges are for wanton endangerment and are not related to Taylor’s death at all.
Ron Franklin, Longtime ESPN Broadcaster, Passes Away at 79
Ron Franklin was a prominent voice for a generation of fans growing up watching college football and basketball on ESPN. The veteran broadcaster passed away on Tuesday at the age of 79.
The sad news was first revealed by Mike Barnes, communication consultant and former sports director at Austin’s KVUE.
Franklin is best known for his work with ESPN, where he called games and anchored studio shows from 1987 to 2011. In addition to college football and basketball, he also called tennis, college baseball, and Olympic sports during his tenure at the network.
Before joining ESPN, Franklin was a sports director for news stations in New Mexico, Tulsa, and Houston in the 1960s and 1970s. From 1971 to 1982, he was the play-by-play broadcaster for the Houston Oilers. Franklin then moved on to call University of Texas football and men’s basketball from 1983 to 1988.
Fran Fraschilla, Franklin’s longtime broadcast partner on college basketball, shared the news on Twitter upon learning of it.
Unfortunately, Franklin didn’t avoid controversy during his time at ESPN. In 2005, he was reprimanded by producers after a condescending remark to sideline reporter Holly Rowe in which he called her “sweetheart.” Five years later, he called reporter Jeannine Edwards “sweet baby” during a production meeting. When she objected, Franklin followed up with a profane insult.
Franklin was pulled from the radio broadcast of the Fiesta Bowl after the incident and fired by ESPN soon thereafter a colleague reported him to management. He sued the network for wrongful termination, a case that was eventually settled out of court.
Plenty of other colleagues, friends, and fan expressed their condolences for Franklin on social media after hearing of his passing, including Dick Vitale and former NFL coach Wade Phillips.
Just hearing the news that Ron Franklin has passed. We spent many years side by side every Saturday and Monday night for @espn. I always had chills when that voice opened our shows knowing it was time to go. “Kutter, Kenny, Jon, let’s have a good one”. RIP dear friend. pic.twitter.com/Lx0xdNbZxu— jon sundvold (@JonSundvold) January 19, 2022
“He’s going to be missed. I just think of all the great times we had working together,” former broadcast partner Mike Gottfried told AL.com. “I just knew the guy came prepared, he worked hard, he studied and his voice was so dominant, and so good that everybody knew he was. He loved the game, he loved the coaches, he loved the players.”
Sinclair’s Estimated Streaming Service Fee Much More Expensive Than Competitors
The estimated fee of $20.25 would be a good deal more than other direct-to-consumer services such as the Disney bundle, priced at $13.99.
Sinclair’s Diamond Sports Group recently gained streaming rights for live NHL and NBA games. The company is working hard to become the premier direct-to-consumer service in sports. However, as Sportico’s Anthony Crupi reports, that will likely come at a premium price for consumers.
Outlined in Sinclair’s 8-K quarterly report filed to the SEC, all scenarios point to a monthly subscription fee of around $20.25. But will that be the most profitable scenario in which Diamond Sports achieves 975,000 subscribers for $237 million worth of revenue? Or will it result in the lesser scenario of 309,000 subscribers, predicting $75 million in revenue?
The rates are based on Diamond’s ability to stream NHL and NBA games in its affiliated franchises’ local markets. The fees are expected to increase as Diamond renews its legacy distribution deals with its member MLB teams. The Bally Sports nets have distribution deals in place with 14 MLB clubs, but only the Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Miami Marlins, and Milwaukee Brewers have signed off on a streaming agreement.
In 2021, Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley in 2021 took issue with refuted reports of the company seeking a $23 monthly fee for consumers. Yet he also provided no details on what price the company had in mind.
The estimated fee of $20.25 would be a good deal more than other direct-to-consumer services such as the Disney bundle, which includes ESPN+, Disney+, and Hulu, priced at $13.99.
Sinclair still has a few loose ends to tie up. Its recent $600 million financing deal and associated NBA renewal will be vital for the DTC launch. Last spring, the company’s broadcast division renewed its carriage agreement with Charter. But Sinclair’s standalone RSN deal with providers is scheduled to finish before March 31.
Charter’s Spectrum is the nation’s second-largest cable-TV provider. At the end of 2021’s third quarter, the company serviced 15.3 million residential video subscribers. Renewing the RSN contract is currently being negotiated, but agreeing to such deals is touchier now than ever.
The Diamond RSNs have been non-existent for 8.42 million DISH Network subscribers, even before Sinclair acquired the 21 former Fox Sports channels for $9.6 billion in August 2019.
Basketball College GameDay Returns To Road January 29
“College GameDay came off the road at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. This will be the first road trip since then.”
College GameDay is making a comeback in Lawrence, Kansas. On January 29th the crew comprised of Rece Davis, Jay Bilas, LaPhonso Ellis and Seth Greenberg will be live ahead of the Big 12/SEC Challenge matchup between the No. 12 Kentucky Wildcats and No. 7 Jayhawks (6 p.m. ET, ESPN).
The show stayed in the studio all of last season. College GameDay came off the road at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. This will be the first road trip since then.
It will be the fourth time ESPN has sent its GameDay crew to a Kentucky/Kansas game. The show begins at 11 AM that morning.
The show’s cast includes Jay Bilas, Laphonso Ellis, and Seth Greenberg. It is hosted by Rece Davis.
College GameDay tipped off its college basketball season last week and will continue in studio this Saturday, Jan. 22nd. As with the football show, ESPN will choose future locations based on the biggest matchups on the college basketball calendar each week.
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