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NBC Turns Conference Call Into Doc Emrick Tribute

“Among those that participated were NBC Sports executive producer Sam Flood, NHL Comissioner Gary Bettman, and NBC colleagues Al Michaels and Eddie Olczyk.”

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NBC hosted a conference call on Monday to give the media a chance to speak to Mike “Doc” Emrick in the wake of announcing his retirement. While plenty of reporters and hosts got to ask questions, the call took an unexpected turn for some.

The network invited NBC and NHL colleagues to join the call. They were introduced as special guests before offering words of praise and congratulations to Emrick. Among those that participated were NBC Sports executive producer Sam Flood, NHL Comissioner Gary Bettman, and NBC colleagues Al Michaels and Eddie Olczyk.

Bettman told Emrick that he was “just a treasure,” noting that hockey is not going to be the same without his passion.

“There’s nobody who does a play-by-play as well as you do,” the Commissioner said. “And I just want to thank you for all of the incredible energy and effort you’ve given us and our fans, in particular the insights you give them to the game. The experience you give them watching hockey is just outstanding, and both personally and professionally we’re going to miss you. I’m going to miss you.”

Eddie Olczyk started by thanking Emrick for welcoming him as a teammate 14 years ago when the duo was first put together by NBC brass. He went on to say that even if the messages have not gone directly to Emrick, he has heard from plenty of people in the league that want to pass well wishes onto the legendary play-by-play man.

“My phone, my email has been swamped since late last night. Been hard conversations with a lot of people, communicating with our teammate Brian Boucher, Jonesy, and hearing from legendary hockey players like Ron Francis, Denis Savard, sending their well wishes, players like Ulf Samuelsson and Luke Richardson, Todd Marchant. The appreciation for everything you have given to our game is that we’re all much better for having you in our lives and we will miss you.”

Al Michaels was the final “special guest” to participate in the call. He compared Doc Emrick to his former partner John Madden. He noted that while Madden won a Super Bowl and is remembered as a great coach, it was his contributions as a broadcaster that made the biggest impact on the NFL. Michaels said he hopes fans know that Emrick had the same kind of impact on hockey.

“So in your retirement I would like you to create a video game,” Michaels said. “Because I think of you much as I think of John Madden, as a man who has been as important to the National Hockey League as anybody, and I say that because you have made the game so much more relevant, interesting, relatable, exciting, and I think just in listening to you, people who love hockey and are in that cult, but we love you, and you’ve also brought a lot of people into the game who might not otherwise have paid attention to hockey.”

Emrick was a little sheepish about all of the love. In fact, was the call ended, he was more concerned about what wasn’t said than what was. He asked the call moderator to please offer any reporters that wanted to ask a question but did not get the chance to an email address. Emrick said he would be happy to respond to questions there to make sure everyone got what they needed.

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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