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Bomani Jones Questions Future For ‘Guys Talking Sports On Television’

“Jones is an undeniable talent who built a rising trajectory with ESPN, from writer to radio host to launching High Noon with Pablo Torre.”

Brandon Contes

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As ESPN’s roster of outspoken talent shrinks, Bomani Jones is left wondering what’s next for his future in the industry. 

Jones has watched some of his colleagues move to other networks or attempt to jumpstart their own brand, but the multiplatform contributor told The Washington Post he still doesn’t feel restricted by ESPN’s guardrails. 

Jones is an undeniable talent who built a rising trajectory with ESPN, from writer to radio host to launching High Noon with Pablo Torre. But last year, the show was cancelled for ratings and prompted the odd question of whether it was “too smart” for daytime television. 

So while Jones might not feel restricted by ESPN, his talent is limited by the predetermined objectives set for sports fans. 

“I don’t know — for this entire industry, not just ESPN,” Jones told Ben Strauss of The Washington Post. “I don’t know what the paradigm is going to be for guys on television talking about sports if you’re not Stephen A. Smith.”

Under contract through 2022, with a reduced role and a reduced salary, Jones continues to create his Right Time podcast and contribute as a guest to multiple shows. Last summer, his demand rose as social issues were prioritized after George Floyd was murdered and sports had a clear intersection with conversations of racism.

And while ESPN valued those discussions when it was at the height of our national conversation, the network ultimately prioritizes sticking to sports. Despite being viewed as a left-leaning network, it was the stick to sports request that caused Dan Le Batard to seek “freedom,” leaving the Mickey Mouse owned sports company. 

“Dan is a hell raiser, right?” Jones said to Strauss. “That’s not the role I think I play in the ecosystem.”

Not a hell raiser, but with ESPN’s push toward live sports, if more versions of SportsCenter are going to be their focal point for original content, Jones has something more to offer.

Sports TV News

Kevin Negandhi: I’m the Same on SportsCenter As I Am In Real Life

“I’ve always just tried to find that blend where I can be respectful for the audience and have a good time and have fun delivering highlights.”

Ricky Keeler

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Kevin Negandhi has been one of the hosts of the 6:00 PM ET SportsCenter on ESPN over the last few years. Even in this prominent role, Negandhi takes great pride in making sure the viewer is being entertained and getting an escape from the real world, at least for an hour.

Negandhi was a guest on The Adam Schein Podcast this week and Schein asked him how he would describe his broadcast style. He wanted to make it clear that if you met him on the street, he is the same person that you see on ESPN.

“I’m the person that you would meet casually, I’m the same person on TV. I’ve always said that I represent not just my family, not just where I’m from, I represent the passion of the great area and region that is Philadelphia. When you see me on TV, I feel like I’m letting you into a conversation I would normally have with you if we were talking about something. You are here for an escape, let’s talk about it because I got in the business because I passionately love sports. It was my connection with my family growing up. Connection with my family still to this day. It’s kind of like get in with us.”

Whenever Negandhi is hosting SportsCenter, he told Schein he tries to find a good mix of giving the highlights and the news while also understanding that the viewer is looking to be entertained as well.

“I’ve always just tried to find that blend where I can be respectful for the audience and have a good time and have fun delivering highlights and delivering the news and making sure you are entertained but at the same time understanding that I’m having fun with you while you are watching us as an escape.”

One other broadcaster that stands out for not being just a broadcaster according to Negandhi is Scott Van Pelt because Van Pelt is comfortable being himself and doesn’t have a filter.

“Scott Van Pelt really stands out to me because when you watch Scott, there is no filter with Scott. He’s not a broadcaster. Scott is Scott and he is comfortable in his skin.”

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Sports TV News

MLS Season Pass Debuts on Apple TV

The first MLS season begins on Saturday, February 25th, with Nashville SC taking on New York City FC. All matches will be available for free during the first week of the season.

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MLS Season Pass on Apple TV debuted to much fanfare for Major League Soccer fans Wednesday.

Fans from around the world will be able to watch every MLS contest as the launch of the service begins the streaming platform’s 10-year, $2.5 billion media rights contract with the American soccer league.

With the debut of the service, most MLS games will now take place on Saturdays and select Wednesdays with 7:30 PM local start times.

MLS Season Pass will feature several prominent soccer voices, including analysts Taylor Twellman and Cobi Jones, play-by-play man Max Bretos, and studio host Liam McHugh.

The MLS season begins on Saturday, February 25th, with Nashville SC taking on New York City FC. All matches will be available for free during the first week of the season.

The streaming service will cost $14.99 per month or $99 per season, with existing AppleTV+ subscribers being offered the package at a discounted price of $12.99 per month or $79 for the season.

MLS Season Pass launches on a wide range of viewing platforms. Not only is the service available on televisions, smartphones, and tablets, but it can also be viewed on smart TVs, computers, and video game consoles.

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Sports TV News

MLB Network Dropped By YouTube TV

“MLB Network has offered terms consistent with what close to 300 other U.S. providers have agreed to for distribution.”

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After contract negotiations stalled, YouTube TV dropped MLB Network from its channel lineup.

“We apologize for the news and will continue conversations with the MLB to advocate on your behalf, in the hope of restoring their content on YouTube TV,” an email to YouTube TV subscribers said.

MLB Network was previously included in YouTube TV’s $64.99 per month plan before being dropped Tuesday.

Spring Training for MLB franchises begins on February 24th.

“With Spring Training about to start, we regret that YouTube TV has been unwilling to negotiate a fair carriage agreement,” an MLB Network spokesperson told Barrett Sports Media. “MLB Network has offered terms consistent with what close to 300 other U.S. providers have agreed to for distribution.

“With the great demand and value for live baseball content, Major League Baseball’s commitment to MLB Network now and in the future is stronger than ever before, and we remain open and committed to reaching an agreement with YouTube TV as soon as possible.”

YouTube TV has gone through several carriage disputes in the past, with most — like those with NBCUniversal and Disney — being resolved after short disruptions to subscribers.

Viewers affected by the decision from YouTube TV can go to findlmbnetwork.com to see alternative options.

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