Connect with us
BSM Summit
blank

Sports TV News

Rachel Nichols Off NBA Programming At ESPN

“Nichols’ show The Jump is ending in the next few weeks, and she is off the air with more than a year left on her ESPN contract.”

Russ Heltman

Published

on

blank
Courtesy: ESPN

The final shoe has dropped in the Rachel Nichols saga at ESPN. Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand reports that Nichols is off all NBA programming effective immediately.

It’s not known how much of a factor Nichols’ leaked conversation about Maria Taylor landing the NBA Countdown hosting gig played into the decision. Regardless, Nichols’ show The Jump is ending in the next few weeks, and she is off the air with more than a year left on her ESPN contract.

“We mutually agreed that this approach regarding our NBA coverage was best for all concerned,” ESPN Senior VP/Production David Roberts said in a statement to SBJ. “Rachel is an excellent reporter, host, and journalist, and we thank her for her many contributions to our NBA content.”

Roberts started overseeing NBA production at ESPN a couple of weeks ago, making this his first big shakeup with more on the way. Sources told SBJ to expect quite a few changes on the studio side of programming. The Jump will carry out its final episodes with guest hosts.

Nichols faced controversy earlier this summer for claiming ESPN chose Maria Taylor as NBA Countdown host because of her race in a conversation with sports PR exec Adam Mendelsohn. Those comments were recorded through Nichols studio set up in her Orlando bubble hotel room and spread to different ears throughout the company.

The Jump has been a success at ESPN since launching in early-2016. Viewers have praised Nichols for making the show her own. The Sports Emmys nominated her for Best Host this year. All while the show as a whole was nominated for an award at the ceremony a year prior.

None of that made Roberts flinch in his decision as the network inserts another shakeup to their television lineup. Ourand reports that ESPN will unveil a new daily NBA show prior to next season, but no firm details have surfaced. They don’t have much time to reel in all the pieces as the 2021 NBA season starts in less than two months.

Sports TV News

Al Michaels: Condensed Prep Time For Thursday Night Football ‘A Downside’

“It’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us.”

blank

Published

on

blank

There were bound to be unexpected hiccups and unintended consequences as Al Michaels moved to Thursday Night Football with Amazon Prime Video.

He told The Boston Globe Thursday that one of the downsides of the week’s schedule is less prep time with the teams playing in the game.

“When we go to see the teams, it’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us,” Michaels said. “And all the time I’ve been doing this, I’ve built some great relationships with coaches and players and GMs and owners and you name it, and I don’t get that much time to spend with them anymore. That’s a downside part of it for me. Some of the best stories you get come from those relationships.”

Michaels has raised eyebrows this season while not being shy about his disdain for some poor matchups early in the schedule. However, he now understands that there are quality games as the season approaches its close.

“The schedule was a little leaky with the Carolina-Atlanta game and a couple of other games that we’ve had, but now we’re positioned for a nice run down the stretch,” said Michaels.

The 78-year-old was also asked how he remains energetic and passionate for the job he’s held for so long.

The games are exciting. I love sports. You don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s no script. And unscripted television is the greatest.”

Continue Reading

Sports TV News

Jimmy Pitaro: Reaching Younger Audience A Priority for ESPN

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience. As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

blank

Published

on

blank

Many in the media industry have voice concern that millennials and Gen Z aren’t consuming traditional media outlets like previous generations. ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said it’s a priority for the network.

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience,” Pitaro said, quoted by Morning Consult sports business reporter Mark J. Burns. “As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

Pitaro made the comments at Sports Business Journal’s Media Innovators conference Wednesday. It is a continuation of comments he has made in recent years.

In 2018, Pitaro said at ESPN’s upfront “I think we are doing a fantastic job serving the sports fanatic,” said Pitaro. “What about the casual sports customer? Are we doing all we can to serve him or her?”.

In 2019, Pitaro said it was “all hands on deck” to reach a younger audience and women. “We have to be open and go to where our customers are,” he said in regards to reaching younger viewers on social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

Earlier this year, Pitaro added that ESPN won’t be leaving linear television anytime soon.

“What I will tell you is that as I sit here right now, that business is still incredible,” Pitaro said. “We serve the sports fan anyway and at any time. I know there are a lot of people that still want ESPN in that traditional ecosystem.”

Continue Reading

Sports TV News

Don Mattingly Joining Blue Jays Staff After YES Network Courtship

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

Jordan Bondurant

Published

on

YES Network

The New York Yankees regional sports network can take Don Mattingly off its talent wish list. Mattingly was announced Wednesday as a bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays starting in 2023.

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

But Mattingly told Andrew Marchand of The New York Post this week that he had another opportunity in the works but wouldn’t elaborate.

YES also has been considering luring Yankees legend and Hall of Famer Derek Jeter into broadcasting. But no formal talks have taken place.

Continue Reading
Advertisement blank
Advertisement blank

Barrett Media Writers

Copyright © 2022 Barrett Media.