ESPN is upping its NFL Draft coverage by adding industry veteran Matt Miller and extending Senior Bowl Executive Director Jim Nagy’s contract as NFL Draft contributors.
The former NFL Draft analyst and insider for Bleacher Report, Matt Miller, made his ESPN debut Friday morning, joining Greeny and the crew on Get Up! His is a face ESPN fans will need to get used to, because according to ESPN Press Room, Miller has joined the network as an NFL Draft contributor and will appear on NFL Live, SportsCenter, NFL Draft and Mock Draft specials, ESPN+ exclusive programs, ESPN Radio and more.
“We have been paying attention to Matt’s work; he is a well-respected voice who will make our NFL Draft team even stronger, and he has earned this opportunity,” said Seth Markman, ESPN vice president, production. “While we look back with pride on all ESPN has done to cover the NFL Draft these past four decades, we are confident our best work is ahead of us, and Matt will play an important role in where we’re going.”
“When I was in elementary school a teacher asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up. I told her I wanted to be Mel Kiper, Jr.,” Miller said in ESPN’s press release. “After a decade helping to build Bleacher Report, it’s my dream come true to join the amazing NFL Draft team at ESPN.”
As Bleacher Report’s lead NFL Draft writer from 2010-2021, Miller contributed mock drafts, scouting reports and in-depth stories, becoming the most-read author in the history of the website. He also recently launched The Draft Scout – a site for all things NFL offseason. In addition, Miller hosts a daily sports radio show and contributes to a twice-weekly podcast covering college and NFL football.
In addition to Miller, Nagy’s contract extension will allow him to continue providing analysis across a multitude of platforms as and ESPN NFL Draft contributor.
Nagy is in his third NFL Draft season with ESPN, but new in 2021, his role will allow him to take part in original NFL Draft-focused programming on ESPN+.
“Jim is smart and insightful and his experiences scouting in the NFL and leading the Senior Bowl add a valuable dimension to our Draft coverage,” said Seth Markman, ESPN vice president, production. “In returning our veteran teammate Jim and welcoming in Matt Miller, we continue to demonstrate our dedication to the NFL Draft and serving our viewers.”
Nagy added, “I couldn’t be more excited to be re-joining ESPN’s talented team for coverage of the 2021 NFL Draft. Due to Covid’s impact on the NFL scouting process, this year’s draft will be as unpredictable as any we’ve seen. Looking forward to a fun next few months.”
Nagy returns to the network Feb. 25 and will appear on SportsCenter Special: Mel Kiper’s NFL Mock Draft 2.0 and other shows.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”