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Sports TV News

ESPN Aims To Build NHL Coverage Around Access

“The NHL just wrapped up a 16-year stint on NBC, and they are ready to spice up the broadcasts in their new homes with ESPN and Turner.”

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: ESPN, NHL

ESPN is ready to give hockey fans a whole new look and feel surrounding their hockey broadcasts. Front Office Sports’ Michael McCarthy spoke with network executives about all the details as the puck gets ready to drop on the 2021-22 NHL season Tuesday, Oct. 12.

The Disney-owned network is utilizing on-ice cameras in the replay room, locker rooms, and a way to track the puck and players on the ice.

“It gives you a perspective of the size of the players, and it gets viewers on the ice.” Mark Gross, ESPN’s senior vice president, production and remote events, said about the cameras being sent onto the ice for shootouts and commercial breaks.

ESPN is following in the footsteps of their NBA and NFL broadcasts with their rules analyst Dave Jackson. The former referee is on deck to assess the tape under review and walk viewers through what they are seeing from the replay room in Toronto.

“It will provide such great context on what is being reviewed — and why it’s being reviewed,” Gross said to McCarthy about the replay room camera.

The NHL just wrapped up a 16-year stint on NBC, and they are ready to spice up the broadcasts in their new homes on ESPN and TNT. The locker room cam should help in that goal when fans get to see a coach’s pregame speech or hear players mic’d up as they prepare for the game.

“If a fan’s fortunate enough to go to an NHL game in person, it’s an incredible experience. We want the experience to be just as good at home,” said Gross. “Hearing a pregame speech from a coach? They’re not getting that in the arena. But you’re getting that if you’re watching the game on one of our networks.”

On top of all the camera work, the league partnered with SportsMEDIA Technology to continue integrating state-of-the-art player/puck tracking systems into their broadcasts this season.

All of the details from Gross and ESPN’s plan for hockey are in McCarthy’s article here.

Sports TV News

Stephen A. Smith Slams Washington Post For Jerry Jones Reporting

“But you’re going to bring up a photo of him when he was 14, 15 years old? 65 or 66 years ago? This is where cancel culture gets into the mix.”

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Stephen A. Smith

After reporting from The Washington Post revealed a photo of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones standing on the steps of North Little Rock High School as six black students attempted to integrate in 1957, ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith has slammed the outlet’s reporting and defended Jones on First Take Monday.

“I’m pretty pissed off,” said Smith. “I’m pissed off but not for reasons that people would think. I am very, very fond of Jerry Jones, and I’m not hiding that from anybody. Is his record perfect? No, but I’m pissed off because he doesn’t deserve what just happened. He doesn’t deserve it. One report, our report, said he was 14 years old. Another report said he was 15 years old. At minimum that’s 65 years ago.

“You’re going to bring up a picture of Jerry Jones standing at this protest — no question — what was happening is not something that anybody — as a black person — should be appreciative about. You had six students trying to desegregate the school,” Smith said before stating that racism is still “alive and well’ in America, noting black men especially face it daily.

“But you’re going to bring up a photo of him when he was 14, 15 years old? 65 or 66 years ago? This is where cancel culture gets into the mix. You’re making an attempt to eradicate him, what he stands for and all he has done.”

Smith continued by saying he doesn’t have a problem with the photo, and Jones’ youth changes the potential for outrage, noting if he was 30 or 35 rather than a teenager, that would be a bigger indicator of his character.

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Sports TV News

Gus Johnson: ‘Nobody Ever Told Me I Was Doing It Wrong’

“I just want to delight in the excellence of these young men and women that I have the chance to call because I know it’s so important to them because it’s important to me.”

Ricky Keeler

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Gus Johnson

While fans get to hear Gus Johnson call big college football and college basketball games and get to see his reactions to memorable moments, he unfortunately never gets to see his own reaction, but he just enjoys being a part of sports, such as when he called Michigan-Ohio State for FOX this past Saturday.

Johnson was a guest on The Rich Eisen Show last week and he said while calling a game, he never wants to be too controversial and he appreciates that people choose to watch him during their times of relaxation.

“They say you never see yourself, you only see a reflection. You’ve never seen your face. You’ve only seen a reflection of your face as a human being. I can’t see myself. I would love to see myself during those moments because I sometimes don’t really understand the reaction. To me, I’m just watching the game, I’m a fan. I’m a journalist and I take that seriously, but more than anything, I’m just a fan of sports. Thank God for sports.

“People for the last almost 30 years have allowed me to come into their homes during their times of relaxation, rest, to spend time with their families. That’s important to me. When I call the game, I don’t want to be too controversial. I’m not trying to be 60 Minutes. I just want to delight in the excellence of these young men and women that I have the chance to call because I know it’s so important to them because it’s important to me. It connects you to great moments in your life and in your mind.”

Before he got to FOX, Johnson was at CBS Sports from 1995-2011 calling some memorable NCAA Tournament games and NFL games that went down to the wire. In an era where criticism can be found easily, Johnson told Eisen that he never received criticism about his broadcast style from any of his bosses:

“Nobody ever told me that I was doing it wrong. That’s one thing I loved about the CBS experience. At CBS Sports, we had different kind of broadcasters. Our leader back then and still is Jim Nantz. He had his own style. We had Verne Lundquist, we had Dick Enberg there during that time. Don Criqui was there during that time. Not one time did anybody ever tell me that I wasn’t doing it right. Nobody ever said ‘Gus, don’t do it that way’. I would get negative criticism when the Internet started, but not from my bosses.”

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Sports TV News

Scott Hanson Clarifies NFL RedZone Missteps During Raiders/Seahawks

Hanson believed in the moment that CBS was airing the overtime period to a national audience. But due to NFL broadcasting rules, the game was only available on select stations.

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NFL RedZone host Scott Hanson ruffled feathers for many football fans Sunday when he told viewers to switch from the channel to their local CBS affiliates to see the conclusion of the Las Vegas Raiders and Seattle Seahawks game.

Unfortunately, for both viewers and Hanson, the game was only being shown in a small portion of the country, with the rest of the nation’s CBS affiliates already airing 60 Minutes. The game was also available to NFL Sunday Ticket subscribers.

Hanson took to Twitter Sunday evening to explain what happened on the air and to apologize for the miscalculation.

Hanson believed in the moment that CBS was airing the overtime period to a national audience. But due to NFL broadcasting rules, the game was only available to stations in the Las Vegas, Fresno, Sacramento, Reno, Eugene, Portland, Boise, Seattle, and Spokane markets on the west coast. Additionally, the game was available in Chicago, Tampa, Atlanta, and Charlotte.

He apologized for the mistake and said he would have more details at a later date.

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