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ESPN To Debut Podcast, Doc On 20th Anniversary Of PTI

“On the TV project, ESPN tapped their E:60 team to run the show.”

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: ESPN

Pardon The Interruption is celebrating 20 years on the air with a new one-hour documentary and ESPN Daily podcast series. The TV special airs on Tuesday, Sept. 28, at 7 p.m. ET, while the podcast series hosted by frequent PTI fill-in Pablo Torre is debuting a new episode each Saturday from Oct. 2-23.

Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser are television pioneers in a format that created “Happy Trails,” “Five Good Minutes,” and helped usher in the mailbag format with “Mail Time.” The show officially debuted on October 22, 2001, and has amassed roughly 5,000 episodes since going on the air.

Through it all, Wilbon and Kornheiser remain steadfast friends and are a beacon for top-notch chemistry in sports television.

PTI is the gold standard of sports discussion shows and one of the seminal programs in ESPN history,” said Norby Williamson, ESPN Executive Vice President, Event and Studio Production & Executive Editor. “Tony and Mike have shared a friendship for decades which has resulted in a remarkable television partnership – now 20 years strong, an incredible milestone that deserves to be celebrated.”

The podcast avenue seems fitting for a show that’s featured ESPN Daily’s Pablo Torre as a fill-in host quite a bit throughout the years. Kornheiser, Wilbon, and other well-known sports voices from across the years play a role in the project.

Names like JA Adande, David Aldridge, Frank Isola, Peter King, Dan Le Batard, Jackie MacMullan, Michele Tafoya, and Steve Young are all making appearances in the podcast series. 

On the TV project, ESPN tapped their E:60 team to run the show as Andy Tennant, Michael Baltierra, Vin Cannamela, Heather Lombardo, Dan Lindberg, and more help put the documentary special together. 

Even as they head into their third decade on the air, PTI is still the highest-rated sports studio show on television. They are averaging 626,000 viewers per episode during the first two weeks of the NFL season.

Sports TV News

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.

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Sunday Ticket Negotiations

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.

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Sports TV News

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.

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F1 ESPN

The racing series F1 has decided to stick with ESPN through 2025.

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.

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Sports TV News

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.”

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Skip Bayless

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.”

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