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Toronto Raptors To Feature All Female Broadcast Crew

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To recognize International Women’s Day, the Toronto Raptors announced plans to have an all-female team of broadcasters for an upcoming telecast.

For their March 24 game against the Denver Nuggets, the Raptors broadcast on TSN will feature Meghan McPeak as their play-by-play voice and Canadian national star Kia Nurse providing color analysis. TSN anchor Kayla Grey will report from the sideline, while Kate Beirness and Amy Audibert will host and provide studio analysis. The five women are making history as the first all-female broadcast team in NBA history. 

A native of Canada, McPeak currently works for Monumental Sports Network where she calls games for the Washington Mystics. Nurse is a WNBA player for the Phoenix Mercury. Grey is a reporter and anchor for TSN, while Beirness is the network’s sideline reporter for Raptors games and Audibert provides analysis for the team’s G League affiliate.

In 2018, McPeak became the first female broadcaster in more than three decades to provide play-by-play of an NBA game when she called a Washington Wizards preseason matchup. And on March 24, she’ll join Leandra Reilly Lardner as the only female broadcasters to call a regular-season NBA game. Lardner called a Nets-Sixers telecast in 1988. 

 “We wanted to highlight the contributions that women make individually — across so many broadcasts — by bringing them all together,” John Wiggins, Raptors vice-president of organizational diversity and inclusion, said in a statement. “Yes, we’re making a point. We hope this leads to more recognition of the many roles women play in pro sports. And we especially hope that one of the takeaways from this is for girls at home who see Meghan or Amy or Kayla, and think — hey, I could do that. There’s a place for me in sports.”

The NHL has similarly had all-female broadcasts to recognize International Women’s Day. On Monday, the NHL Network’s studio show NHL Now was co-hosted by an all-female crew for the fourth consecutive year. And last season, NBCSN presented a Blues-Blackhawks game with an all-female broadcast, both on-air and behind-the-scenes. 

Although it’s still uncommon, female announcers have begun to break through the male dominated sportscasting industry to work as NBA game analysts. Longtime industry trailblazer Doris Burke is now recognized as one of ESPN’s top game analysts for their NBA coverage. Stephanie Ready with the Hornets, Ann Meyers with the Suns, Kara Lawson for the Wizards and Sarah Kustok with the Nets are other female broadcasters to work as NBA game analysts in recent years.

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ESPN Paying $45 Billion For Rights Fees Through 2027

Currently, the network’s largest spending comes for its Monday Night Football package, which is $2.6 billion annually

Jordan Bondurant

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The last year or two has been evident that the price of rights to airing major college and professional sporting events on television are only going up. But the various networks either with longstanding relationships with leagues and conferences or looking to break into the media rights landscape are willing to pay up. That’s no more evident with Disney, which will be shelling out tens of billions of dollars to have regular season and postseason events air on ESPN.

According to Sportico, which reviewed Disney’s annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, ESPN is set to spend $44.9 billion on sports media rights through 2027.

Currently, the network’s largest spending comes for its Monday Night Football package, which is $2.6 billion annually. Additionally, ESPN will pay $1.4 billion through the 2024-25 season for NBA rights.

The Sportico report noted ESPN will generate more than $8.1 billion in affiliate revenue to help offset those costs. The network will soon be entering talks to renew its media rights deal to be the exclusive home for nearly all NCAA Division I championships, as well as engaging in new NBA rights negotiations.

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Return of Bob Iger Puts Pac-12 ‘Not Exactly In A Great Place’

“I think it’s even more evident it’s not gonna happen. These places aren’t gonna spend big money on the Pac-12.”

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The Pac-12 is currently in a media rights negotiation with partners for its next TV deal after the departure of USC and UCLA. The conference has remained committed to the stance that it feels it can match the dollar amount given to the Big 12 from FOX and ESPN. However, Andrew Marchand of The New York Post isn’t so confident.

During The Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast, Marchand said the recent return of Bob Iger as Disney CEO, coupled with recent layoffs from Amazon, could spell bad news for the PAC 12’s quest to match what the Big 12 received.

“Do I still think they can get the same number as the Big 12? I do, but you start thinking about where this is going and that’s not exactly a great place to be if you’re the Pac-12. They might get the number, but the idea that they’ll get a lot more than the Big 12 — which I’ve already said is not gonna happen — I think it’s even more evident it’s not gonna happen. These places aren’t gonna spend big money on the Pac-12…I think there’s some rough waters out in the Pacific.”

Marchand said if the University of California Board of Regents won’t allow UCLA to join the Big Ten as expected, the conference would then set its sights on Washington and Oregon, which would continue to decimate the Pac-12.

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Sports TV News

Ray Didinger Thought NFL Films Was Joking When Approached About Upcoming Special

“I’ve always contended that NFL Films could make anything interesting, and they actually managed to do that with me. So that’s the ultimate proof of it.”

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Philadelphia media icon Ray Didinger has a career story worth telling, and that’s why NFL Films will be focusing on it for an upcoming edition of NFL Films Presents…

Didinger, who worked for more than two decades at NFL Films working his way up to the role of senior producer, told Dom Giordano on 1210 WPHT on Tuesday that he was actually surprised when producer Chris Barlow approached him with the idea.

“When NFL Films told me they wanted to do this, I thought they were joking,” Didinger said. “When (Barlow) sent me the email and said we want to do a show about you (and Tommy McDonald), I thought he was just pulling my leg.”

Didinger stated that he was fortunate to have the chance to have his story told. He’s looking forward to fans being able to check out the show, which airs at 12:30 a.m. on Friday on FS1.

“It really turned out well,” he said. “I saw the rough cut of it, and it’s really neat.”

“NFL Films, they are the state of the art in sports cinematography there’s no question about that,” he added. “I’ve always contended that NFL Films could make anything interesting, and they actually managed to do that with me. So that’s the ultimate proof of it.”

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