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Jay Williams Off ESPN’s NBA Countdown

Andrew Marchand of the New York Post has announced that Jay Williams will not be returning to ESPN’s NBA Countdown.

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ESPN has made yet another change to one of their NBA shows ahead of the start of the 2021-22 NBA season. Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reports that Jay Williams will not be returning to ESPN’s NBA Countdown.

Williams was previously alongside Maria Taylor, Jalen Rose, and Adrian Wojnarowski in the cast. This show has gone through some major overhaul. Taylor left ESPN completely after the NBA Finals, and Jalen Rose’s future on the show is reportedly also in question.

A number of different possibilities are on the table for ESPN, they are reportedly looking at Stephen A. Smith or Michael Wilbon to come on in an analyst role. If Smith were to be the choice, he has stated that he would love to work with Magic Johnson and Michael Wilson on the show.

The new host of NBA Countdown has also not been announced following Taylor’s departure, but ESPN is narrowing down their list, which reportedly includes SportsCenter anchors Michael Eaves and Elle Duncan.

Jay Williams is still a part of the ESPN family. He will continue with Keyshawn, JWill and Max in morning drive on ESPN Radio. There is no word on whether he will continue in a different capacity with the network’s NBA coverage or move back to college basketball.

New Director of NBA Production at ESPN Dave Roberts has certainly made some big changes since assuming the role. We may not be seeing the “bloodbath” that BSM’s Demetri Ravanos predicted last month, but it certainly seems like there are a lot of moving pieces on Roberts’s chess board.

Sports TV News

FOX Sued for Patent Infringement Over NFL Scheduling

“Recentive Analytics filed suit against FOX in a Delaware federal court on November 29 according to Yahoo Sports.”

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An analytics company is suing FOX over claims that the network developed a mapping tool using their patented technology to create a season slate of NFL games.

Recentive Analytics filed suit against FOX in a Delaware federal court on November 29 according to Yahoo Sports.

The lawsuit claims FOX used access to Recentive’s predictive analytics tools to develop a resource of their own that would create optimal schedules for its 1 and 4 p.m. NFLwindows.

The company is seeking a declaration that FOX infringed on two of its patents. Recentive is also suing for damages and wants an injunction keeping FOX from using Recentive tech and preventing the network from “selling, offering for sale, marketing or using any internal network and mapping analytics tool for the scheduling and regionalization of events covered by the patents.”

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FOX Will Use Chris Fallica On Belmont Stakes Coverage

“While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.”

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The Bear will be more than just a college football presence when he moves to FOX. Chris Fallica wrapped his final duties for ESPN last week and is now headed to a new network and will tackle some new responsibilities.

Fallica’s new role at FOX will involve plenty of sports gambling content. Richard Deitsch of The Athletic reports that content will include horse racing.

“One Fox Sports source said look for him to appear on the Belmont Stakes coverage,” Deitsch wrote in his weekly media column.

Starting in 2023, horse racing’s Triple Crown will not be seen all in one place. While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.

How the network intends to use Chris Fallica on the broadcast is not clear. Given that he is coming to the network to contribute to gambling conversations, it is likely he would either be making picks or at least reviewing odds right up to the start of the race.

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NBCUniversal CEO Expects Disney To Buy Company’s Hulu Stake

“Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal.”

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The Walt Disney Company owns 67% of Hulu. The other 33% is owned by NBCUniversal. The latter company doesn’t expect that to be the case forever.

“It’s worth a lot of money,” NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said at an investor conference earlier this week, “and I think there’s no indication that anything else is going to happen than Disney writing us a big check.”

Hulu is primarily a platform for movies and television shows. It is a major part of Disney’s deal with the NHL though. The streaming giant is part of the package of 103 games that are exclusive to ESPN and ABC. Hulu is also a live TV provider for many. The company’s Hulu Plus Live TV package had over 4 million subscribers as of the summer of 2022.

Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal. He credits sports and content migrated from Hulu as the reason Peacock has grown to 18 million paid subscriptions since September.

Deadline reports that if Disney does want to acquire NBCUniversal’s stake in Hulu, “the price could fluctuate but will be in the tens of billions of dollars.”

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