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ESPN Interested In Jim Nantz If He Is A Free Agent

“The addition of the 61-year-old Nantz could be an attractive asset as ESPN/ABC negotiates future rights deals.”

Brandon Contes

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Jim Nantz

Jim Nantz is synonymous with CBS Sports, and as much as it’s hard to picture the iconic announcer with another network, that won’t stop him from fielding offers. And if Nantz is available, it’s logical to see ESPN topping the list of potential suitors. 

In recent NFL off-seasons, ESPN has been linked to big names such as Al Michaels, Tony Romo and Peyton Manning for their Monday Night Football booth. Eventually landing on a trio featuring Steve Levy, Louis Riddick and Brian Griese, the MNF crew received praise for the first time in years. But a major broadcaster like Nantz doesn’t often make it to free agency. 

According to Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports, if Nantz does hit free agency this summer, ESPN will be interested in his services to lead their NFL and Masters golf coverage. 

A few months ago, it was reported Nantz is seeking a pay increase similar to the one CBS gave his broadcast partner Tony Romo earlier last year. According to The New York Post, the play-by-play voice wants to top Romo’s $17.5 annual salary, a number that far exceeds other network sportscasters. Having been a prominent announcer for CBS since the 1980s, Nantz currently makes about $6.5 million per year, just over a third of what Romo earns. 

This Sunday, Nantz will call his sixth Super Bowl for CBS Sports as he continues to be their lead voice for NFL football, college basketball and the PGA. Over the next three months, Nantz is scheduled to broadcast an impressive list of sporting events which includes the Super Bowl, NCAA Final Four and The Masters.

In the past year, ESPN cut a significant amount of salary, conducting the company’s largest round of layoffs in the wake of COVID-19, while letting contracts expire for some of their prominent talent. But the financial moves help set ESPN up to make more investments in live sports. 

The addition of the 61-year-old Nantz could be an attractive asset as ESPN/ABC negotiates future rights deals. The network has reportedly sought to increase their NFL TV packages and enter the network Super Bowl rotation.

Nantz also recently expressed a desire to work into his 80s, with plans of anchoring Masters coverage beyond 2035. Golf’s most prestigious tournament is synonymous with CBS, but The Masters has signed one-year contracts with the network since 1956. Nantz is similarly synonymous with The Masters and if he signed a deal with Disney, it could open the door for ABC to acquire the tournament’s Saturday and Sunday coverage.

If Nantz does become a free agent, he’ll certainly have interested suitors with ESPN waiting at the front of the line. But after more than three decades with CBS, convincing other networks that he’s willing to go elsewhere might be the most difficult task in negotiating his next deal.

Sports TV News

Stephen A. Smith Slams Washington Post For Jerry Jones Reporting

“But you’re going to bring up a photo of him when he was 14, 15 years old? 65 or 66 years ago? This is where cancel culture gets into the mix.”

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Stephen A. Smith

After reporting from The Washington Post revealed a photo of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones standing on the steps of North Little Rock High School as six black students attempted to integrate in 1957, ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith has slammed the outlet’s reporting and defended Jones on First Take Monday.

“I’m pretty pissed off,” said Smith. “I’m pissed off but not for reasons that people would think. I am very, very fond of Jerry Jones, and I’m not hiding that from anybody. Is his record perfect? No, but I’m pissed off because he doesn’t deserve what just happened. He doesn’t deserve it. One report, our report, said he was 14 years old. Another report said he was 15 years old. At minimum that’s 65 years ago.

“You’re going to bring up a picture of Jerry Jones standing at this protest — no question — what was happening is not something that anybody — as a black person — should be appreciative about. You had six students trying to desegregate the school,” Smith said before stating that racism is still “alive and well’ in America, noting black men especially face it daily.

“But you’re going to bring up a photo of him when he was 14, 15 years old? 65 or 66 years ago? This is where cancel culture gets into the mix. You’re making an attempt to eradicate him, what he stands for and all he has done.”

Smith continued by saying he doesn’t have a problem with the photo, and Jones’ youth changes the potential for outrage, noting if he was 30 or 35 rather than a teenager, that would be a bigger indicator of his character.

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Sports TV News

Gus Johnson: ‘Nobody Ever Told Me I Was Doing It Wrong’

“I just want to delight in the excellence of these young men and women that I have the chance to call because I know it’s so important to them because it’s important to me.”

Ricky Keeler

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Gus Johnson

While fans get to hear Gus Johnson call big college football and college basketball games and get to see his reactions to memorable moments, he unfortunately never gets to see his own reaction, but he just enjoys being a part of sports, such as when he called Michigan-Ohio State for FOX this past Saturday.

Johnson was a guest on The Rich Eisen Show last week and he said while calling a game, he never wants to be too controversial and he appreciates that people choose to watch him during their times of relaxation.

“They say you never see yourself, you only see a reflection. You’ve never seen your face. You’ve only seen a reflection of your face as a human being. I can’t see myself. I would love to see myself during those moments because I sometimes don’t really understand the reaction. To me, I’m just watching the game, I’m a fan. I’m a journalist and I take that seriously, but more than anything, I’m just a fan of sports. Thank God for sports.

“People for the last almost 30 years have allowed me to come into their homes during their times of relaxation, rest, to spend time with their families. That’s important to me. When I call the game, I don’t want to be too controversial. I’m not trying to be 60 Minutes. I just want to delight in the excellence of these young men and women that I have the chance to call because I know it’s so important to them because it’s important to me. It connects you to great moments in your life and in your mind.”

Before he got to FOX, Johnson was at CBS Sports from 1995-2011 calling some memorable NCAA Tournament games and NFL games that went down to the wire. In an era where criticism can be found easily, Johnson told Eisen that he never received criticism about his broadcast style from any of his bosses:

“Nobody ever told me that I was doing it wrong. That’s one thing I loved about the CBS experience. At CBS Sports, we had different kind of broadcasters. Our leader back then and still is Jim Nantz. He had his own style. We had Verne Lundquist, we had Dick Enberg there during that time. Don Criqui was there during that time. Not one time did anybody ever tell me that I wasn’t doing it right. Nobody ever said ‘Gus, don’t do it that way’. I would get negative criticism when the Internet started, but not from my bosses.”

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Sports TV News

Scott Hanson Clarifies NFL RedZone Missteps During Raiders/Seahawks

Hanson believed in the moment that CBS was airing the overtime period to a national audience. But due to NFL broadcasting rules, the game was only available on select stations.

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NFL RedZone host Scott Hanson ruffled feathers for many football fans Sunday when he told viewers to switch from the channel to their local CBS affiliates to see the conclusion of the Las Vegas Raiders and Seattle Seahawks game.

Unfortunately, for both viewers and Hanson, the game was only being shown in a small portion of the country, with the rest of the nation’s CBS affiliates already airing 60 Minutes. The game was also available to NFL Sunday Ticket subscribers.

Hanson took to Twitter Sunday evening to explain what happened on the air and to apologize for the miscalculation.

Hanson believed in the moment that CBS was airing the overtime period to a national audience. But due to NFL broadcasting rules, the game was only available to stations in the Las Vegas, Fresno, Sacramento, Reno, Eugene, Portland, Boise, Seattle, and Spokane markets on the west coast. Additionally, the game was available in Chicago, Tampa, Atlanta, and Charlotte.

He apologized for the mistake and said he would have more details at a later date.

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