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Big Ten Network Names Award For Lisa Byington

“The award recipient earns a one-week professional immersion at the Big Ten Network studios in Chicago.”

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: Lisa Byington

Lisa Byington is breaking new broadcasting ground in more ways than one lately. The newly installed Milwaukee Bucks TV play-by-play voice became the first woman to call NBA games full time upon the hiring. Now, she has an award named after her.

Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren announced The Lisa Byington Award, which will be given to aspiring female broadcasters working on Big Ten Student U. Byington graduated from Northwestern in 1997 as a two-sport athlete in basketball and soccer. She joined the Big Ten Network in 2007 and became the first female play-by-play broadcaster for Big Ten football in 2017 and the first female play-by-play voice for an NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament game in 2021.

“We are incredibly grateful for all that Lisa has given us at the Big Ten Conference and through the Big Ten Network,” Warren said. “She is a pioneer in the field of sports broadcasting and a shining example of what can be achieved through hard work, passion, and dedication. Lisa has inspired countless young women, and it is our hope this award will serve as a stepping stone for the next generation of talented broadcasters.”

The award recipient earns a one-week professional immersion at the Big Ten Network studios in Chicago and has a chance to spruce up their broadcast reel with on-site producers and talent.

“Since day one at the Big Ten Network, Lisa’s work as a broadcaster and an ambassador for the Big Ten Conference has been outstanding,” said Big Ten Network President François McGillicuddy. “Along with her accomplishments and the relationships developed over nearly 15 years, this award will ensure Lisa’s impact is felt at our network and across the industry for years to come.”

Byington and the Bucks open their season on Tuesday, Oct. 19, against the Brooklyn Nets.

“I’m a broadcaster and I make my living on saying words, and I’m a little speechless right now,” Byington said. “It starts with small beginnings, and it starts with people believing in you and giving you opportunities. This award means the world and I look forward to meeting with the recipient each year and getting to know her.”

Sports TV News

Peter King: Sean McVay Wants to be a Star, ‘Not Just Some Guy on TV’

“I do think he had some regret over not taking a two- or three-year hiatus last year and taking one of the big TV jobs. Amazon? Maybe FOX? But if he really wanted to jump after winning the Super Bowl, he would have.”

Jordan Bondurant

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L.A. Rams head coach Sean McVay will remain at his post for the 2023-24 season. The team tweeted that news Friday afternoon, seeming to, at least for now, put the rumors of McVay leaving coaching for a TV job to rest.

ProFootballTalk’s Peter King wrote in Football Morning in America on Monday that McVay understands the kind of position on television he’s looking for may not necessarily be there for him.

“I don’t think that was the only thing about TV that appealed to him, but I don’t think McVay was interested in being Just a Guy on TV,” King wrote. “I do think he had some regret over not taking a two- or three-year hiatus last year and taking one of the big TV jobs. Amazon? Maybe FOX? But if he really wanted to jump after winning the Super Bowl, he would have.”

King noted that McVay has been told to “Do what makes you happy” by folks with the Rams. He also said he believes coaching is what Makes McVay happy. Especially with a chance to shake up his coaching staff and being involved in trying to bring the team back from a 5-12 season in their follow-up campaign to winning the Super Bowl.

“He wants to be challenged, and this staff wasn’t doing it,” King said. “Offensive coordinator Liam Coen may not have been what McVay wanted in an OC—a coach who would challenge him and bring new ideas to him—and that could be why he’s going back to the University of Kentucky as a coordinator.”

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Sports TV News

Lisa Salters Makes Monday Night Football History Completing 11th Season on Sideline

“Salters has been with ESPN for almost 23 years. She started as a general assignment reporter before moving to sideline reporting in 2006.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Monday night’s Cowboys/Bucs wild card playoff game set a new milestone for ESPN sideline reporter Lisa Salters.

The network tweeted that Salters completed her 11th season in that role. That makes her the longest tenured reporter in Monday Night Football history.

Salters has been with ESPN for almost 23 years. She started as a general assignment reporter before moving to sideline reporting in 2006.

“When I first got the call to do Monday Night Football, I would have never thought that 10 years later I would still be doing it,” Salters said last year in a video reminiscing on ten years on Monday Night Football. “I was at home and I got a phone call from my boss Vince Doria and he said, ‘Hey, I was wondering if you would be interested in being a sideline reporter for Monday Night Football‘, and I couldn’t believe what he just asked me.”

Salters is also featured on network coverage of the NBA, something she’s been doing since 2005.

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Sports TV News

No Conspiracy Behind ESPN Monday Night Playoff Game Selection

“The decision to continue with 4/5 games in the Monday night window came down to convenience.”

Jordan Bondurant

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ESPN has only carried NFL playoff games on Monday night for two seasons but has been a part of wild card weekends dating back to the 2014-15 campaign.

With the exception of one season, a 4-seed versus 5-seed matchup has always been covered by the Monday Night Football broadcast team in that stretch of nine seasons. That continued with Cowboys/Bucs this year.

In 2021-22, with the NFL expanding the playoff field to seven teams, the first Monday night playoff game was played. The Rams cruised past the Cardinals 34-11.

Last week, the decision was the source of much speculation. TV executives shared a number of theories about why ESPN landed the game that had the most star power in the Super Wild Card round of the playoffs.

Andrew Marchand of the New York Post wrote that no speculation was necessary. The decision to continue with 4/5 games in the Monday night window came down to convenience. The new format, the games that have a likelihood of altering seeding for the divisional rounds have already been played.

The 4/5 games this weekend proved to be pretty entertaining. The Jaguars rallied from down 27 to beat the Chargers. Al Michaels and Tony Dungy were ripped on social media for how they called a particularly exhilarating game for NBC. So it turns out Joe Buck and Troy Aikman would’ve called either one of the weekend’s best games.

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