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Kenny Mayne: It’s a Good Time To Be a Free Agent

Kenny Mayne opened up to Richard Deitsch of The Athletic about his departure from ESPN, and what’s next.

MIchael Quirk

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Longtime SportsCenter anchor and idiosyncratic relic of America’s nightly living room routine Kenny Mayne announced on Monday his time at ESPN is coming to an end in the coming weeks. Mayne tweeted, “I am leaving ESPN” as a “salary cap casualty” leaving many to wonder what lies in wait for the longtime television staple. He spoke with Richard Deitsch of The Athletic about that and more.

As for the reason to his departure, Mayne said he was offered a 14 percent reduction in work for a 61 percent reduction in pay in a meeting he described as “almost seems like they offered me something that I would turn down.” The offer rejection means Mayne, an anchor with the company since 1994, will host just six more SportsCenters before entering the unknown. That limelight purgatory figures to be short-lived as he told Deitsch he’s received calls and texts not just congratulating him on his tenure, but inquiring if he would join other enterprises.

“I thought of doing this for a couple of different contracts and it wasn’t as good a market as it is right now to be a free agent,” he said. “Right now it seems to be a good time based on the incoming calls. Previously, it would have been, ‘What the hell am I going to do? Make a movie? Sell pencils?'”

Mayne gave insight into his wide array of projects he assisted in during his time in Bristol. In addition to his regular appearances on SportsCenter, he also had a heavy hand in the iconic This Is SportsCenter commercial series, Mayne Street, and even in the company upfronts where they pitched to media buyers. The departure adds to the list in recent years that include Bill Simmons, Dan Patrick, Trey Wingo, Mike Golic, Dan Le Batard, and others, who left the network in pursuit of other opportunities in one capacity or another. As to what Mayne could be doing, he joked on Twitter in response to former colleague Keith Olbermann admonishing the quantity of podcasts on the market.

“I feel like there’s room for one more.”

Sports TV News

ESPN’s NFL Programming Sees Big September Growth

For ESPN, September has been a really strong month with their NFL programming.

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For ESPN, September has been a really strong month with their NFL programming.

Sunday NFL Countdown is averaging 1.4 million viewers per show thus far in 2022. That up 15% from 2021’s first three shows of the NFL season. The season premiere – Sunday, Sept. 11 – averaged 1.6 million viewers, tying the network’s best Week 1 audience for the show since 2016 and is up 35% year-over-year.

NFL Live experienced large growth too. The episode airing after the first NFL Sunday, on Monday September 12, averaged 664,000 viewers which beat every NFL Live episode last season, including the most-watched episode on 2021 (December 17) which grabbed 635,000 viewers.

Monday Night Countdown is averaging 1.3 million viewers for its two, non-staggered September episodes, which aired in its traditional timeslot (6-8 pm).

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Sports TV News

ESPN Assigns Broadcast Teams for MLB Wild Card Round

In preparation for the postseason, ESPN has assigned the broadcast teams for the series forthcoming.

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David Berding/Getty Images

There are just a few games left in the MLB season and the postseason begins this weekend with the Wild Card round. In preparation, ESPN has assigned the broadcast teams for the series forthcoming.

Andrew Marchand reports that the team assigned to the presumptive New York Mets Wild Card series will be Karl Ravech, David Cone and Eduardo Perez. The Mets still mathematically can win the NL East but they trail the Braves by two games with three to play.

He also reports that the St. Louis Wild Card series will be called by Michael Kay and Alex Rodriguez. The Cleveland series will be broadcast by Boog Sciambi and Doug Glanville while the Toronto series will be called by Dave Flemming, Jessica Mendoza and Tim Kurkjian.

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Sports TV News

Stugotz: ‘Sean McDonough Hates The Aaron Judge Cut-Ins’

“If you look at the numbers, if you look at the interest, if you look at the revenue that it generates for the networks, it makes more sense to have an Aaron Judge at-bat interrupted by an Iowa State field goal attempt than it does the other way around.”

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College football fans are not being shy with how they feel about Aaron Judge. Whether it is private conversations or social media posts, people are making their disdain for the cut-ins to college football games on ESPN networks when the Yankee slugger comes to bat known. On Monday morning, Stugotz added that it isn’t just fans that are unhappy.

The Dan Le Batard Show discussed the second straight week of cut-ins on Monday morning. Stugotz pointed out that one of ESPN’s primary college football voices sounds just as annoyed as fans are.

“Sean McDonough hates the toss to Aaron Judge,” he said. Hates it!”

Last week, ESPN and ABC cut into games when Judge was sitting on 60 home runs. This week, he was sitting on 61. A 62nd home run would be the most in American League history.

Stugotz added that has to be part of McDonough’s frustration.

“In his defense, what are we cutting in for? I have no idea if [Aaron Judge] is breaking a record, what record he’s breaking, if he’s clean. I have no idea!”

Producer Mike Ryan Ruiz said the fact that Judge is yet to deliver is making the cut-ins more frustrating for fans.

“I think what hurts the whole thing is that Aaron Judge has been terrible during these cut-ins,” Ruiz said. “He’s been God awful during these cut-ins. I haven’t seen a single home runs during one of these cut-ins. There was genuine fury at a watch party I was at. Fury! At Aaron Judge.”

A popular criticism of ESPN has been that this kind of attention would not be paid to Aaron Judge if he was chasing a mark that wasn’t the home run record if he played anywhere other than New York. According to Ryan, the mistake is bigger than that. Why would regular season baseball ever interrupt college football?

“If you look at the numbers, if you look at the interest, if you look at the revenue that it generates for the networks, it makes more sense to have an Aaron Judge at-bat interrupted by an Iowa State field goal attempt than it does the other way around.”

There are four games left in Major League Baseball’s regular season. You can bet college football fans will make plenty of signs for College GameDay if Judge cannot hit number 62 before the playoffs start.

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