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Bob Costas Hosting TBS Coverage Of MLB Playoffs

“He currently hosts Back On The Record, on Warner’s HBO, and contributes to CNN from time to time.”

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: Brett Davis USA TODAY Sports

Bob Costas is returning to the host desk for the 2021 National League Championship Series on TBS. According to Variety, this marks the first time Costas has worked event coverage for WarnerMedia.

He currently hosts Back On The Record, on Warner’s HBO, and contributes to CNN from time to time. Costas is also calling play-by-play of the ALDS between the Chicago White Sox and the Houston Astros on MLB Network.

Bob Costas divulged to Adam Schein that he doesn’t quite feel 100% like the same play-by-play voice he used to be. He echoed those sentiments to Variety.

“It’s my job to kind of move everything along, be the traffic cop asking a few good questions,” Costas said in the interview.

“It’s easier to host than it is to do play by play,” says Costas, who is focusing on “the big picture stuff. There’s much less pressure involved.”

Costas has not hosted a major event like this since Liam McHugh replaced him on Sunday Night Football coverage in 2017. That being said, WarnerMedia is thrilled with the addition, and now McHugh and Costas are co-workers once more.

“Bob’s passion for baseball is undeniable,” Craig Barry, Turner Sports’ chief content officer, said to Variety. “At the end of the day, he’s going to elevate our broadcast.”

WarnerMedia’s news and sports operations chairman Jeff Zucker has a friendship with Bob Costas dating back to the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, where Zucker aided the broadcaster as a researcher. The company wouldn’t rule out a permanent role for Costas.

“Bob’s passion for baseball is undeniable, and his love for the game and his ability to contribute to the broadcast, I think it is something we are interested in,” Barry said. “He has a longstanding relationship with Jeff, and I think that has played to our benefit to have an opportunity to partner with him, and we are excited to see if that’s a fit.”

Game 1 of the NLCS plays out next Saturday, Oct. 16, on TBS.

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.”

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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.”

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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

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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.

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Sports TV News

ESPN Paying Nearly $45 Billion For Rights Fees Through 2027

Currently, the network’s largest spending comes for its Monday Night Football package, which is $2.6 billion annually

Jordan Bondurant

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The last year or two has been evident that the price of rights to airing major college and professional sporting events on television are only going up. But the various networks either with longstanding relationships with leagues and conferences or looking to break into the media rights landscape are willing to pay up. That’s no more evident with Disney, which will be shelling out tens of billions of dollars to have regular season and postseason events air on ESPN.

According to Sportico, which reviewed Disney’s annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, ESPN is set to spend $44.9 billion on sports media rights through 2027.

Currently, the network’s largest spending comes for its Monday Night Football package, which is $2.6 billion annually. Additionally, ESPN will pay $1.4 billion through the 2024-25 season for NBA rights.

The Sportico report noted ESPN will generate more than $8.1 billion in affiliate revenue to help offset those costs. The network will soon be entering talks to renew its media rights deal to be the exclusive home for nearly all NCAA Division I championships, as well as engaging in new NBA rights negotiations.

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