A new NBA season begins on Tuesday night and TNT will have a doubleheader beginning with the Brooklyn Nets taking on the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks at 7:30 p.m ET followed by the Los Angeles Lakers hosting the Golden State Warriors.
Two of the analysts this season on the TNT broadcasts will be Reggie Miller (Warriors-Lakers with Kevin Harlan and Allie LaForce) and Stan Van Gundy (Nets-Bucks with Ian Eagle and Stephanie Ready). Miller will be entering his 17th season at TNT and he enjoys getting the chance to work with some of the best play-by-play broadcasters in the game.
“Number one, you have the best seat in the house on a nightly basis as a former player,” he said on a recent conference call. “You are between the lines and to be that close, we get to hear strategies, the trash talking. Stan understands the game so well. I get a chance to see plays or trends before they happen.
“Having been in this 17 years already, I’ve had the chance to work with some of the great play-by-play men in Dick Stockton, obviously marvelous Marv Albert, who retired last season, Kevin Harlan. The symmetry you form as a bond to tell these stories. The game is going to tell the story for you.”
As for Van Gundy, he is entering his second stint as an analyst at Turner after he spent last season as head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans. Since he is fairly new at the analyst role compared to Miller, he is always trying to learn and focuses on preparation.
“I try to focus on two things. One is I try to make sure that I’m really well-prepared going in, that I know the teams I’m watching, that I’ve watched them play recent games on film, that I’ve spent time looking at all the numbers, reading everything I can. The second thing is I ask for a lot of feedback particularly from the play-by-play guys I work with.”
The key to getting better for Van Gundy is always getting feedback not only from his play-by-play partner, but from people behind-the-scenes as well.
“I started working at Turner two years ago with Ian Eagle. He’s not only a great play-by-play guy, but a great coach and gave me a lot of help in that regard. In the bubble, I also worked with Spero Dedes and Brian Anderson. They gave me a lot of help. I worked the other night with Kevin Harlan.
“Asking those people to give you feedback, same with the producers and directors… I don’t want people telling me great job when it wasn’t. Tell me what I can do to get better. That’s something I’ll continue to try to do all year and validate the confidence that Turner has shown in me to give me this opportunity.”
After Van Gundy was let go by the Pelicans, he told his agent that the only network he wanted to work for was TNT. It would be a homecoming of sorts, as he was an analyst for the network during the 2019-2020 season. He mentioned that he liked working there because of the great people who put the NBA broadcast together and he wanted more of a defined role compared to what he had while at ESPN in 2018.
“My experience working with Turner/NBATV was outstanding. They treated people really, really well. I liked not only the broadcasters, but the people behind the scenes. The atmosphere is great. It’s just great for me to still be able to be around the game and be out there every night. Quite honestly, it’s a lot less stressful.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”