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Doris Burke Told Holly Rowe To Take Jazz Analyst Job

“I told her what the opportunity was and the first thing she said was you can do it. That’s all I needed to hear.”

Ricky Keeler

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This fall, Holly Rowe added another job to her great broadcast resume when she became an analyst on the Utah Jazz TV broadcasts with Craig Bolerjack and Thurl Bailey. Her journey to getting this role started before COVID at a play in New York City. 

On the latest episode of The Sports Media with Richard Deitsch Podcast, Rowe talked about the story that led her to getting the Jazz position and her initial assumptions about the offer. 

“I was at a play with my son before COVID hit and these two men walked up to me and said, Are you Holly Rowe? It turned out to be part of the ownership group for the Utah Jazz now. At that time, they were executives at Qualtrics, Mike Maughan and Ryan Smith. They wanted me to come out and do an interview with Adam Silver at their big convention in Salt Lake City. I did that 3 years ago and I got to meet Oprah.

“We kind of started a relationship. I knew them then and they ended up buying the Jazz with an investment group a little bit later. This summer, somebody from the Jazz emailed me and said, hey, we’d love to talk to you about becoming a part of our organization. It was Bart Sharp, their chief officer of marketing, so I kind of thought it was a marketing role. I live in Utah, I’m frequently talking about the Jazz, so I kind of thought it was along those lines.” 

Rowe told Deitsch that she was shocked that she was considered for an analyst role because it wasn’t something she was actively pursuing. In the end, she sought guidance from friend and ESPN colleague Doris Burke.

“I told her what the opportunity was and the first thing she said was you can do it. That’s all I needed to hear. If Doris Burke had any pause at all, I would not have done it because her opinion means everything to me. She knows my knowledge of basketball. That’s all it took for me.” 

With Rowe in this new role, she hopes that the industry will go to more of positionless broadcasting in the future and not focus on who has a specific title.

“We get so caught up in who is doing the play-by-play, who is the sideline reporter. We get caught up in these titles. I said ‘I’d love it to be positionless broadcasting. I kind of think that’s what we’re in’…We are all working together. We are just talking basketball and I think that’s cool. Positionless basketball is a cool thing right now, so we are kind of on that trend.” 

Since the Jazz told her that they wanted more storytelling on their broadcasts, it’s tough to say that they didn’t find a great fit by adding Rowe, who does a good job telling stories of athletes on college football, college basketball, women’s softball, and WNBA broadcasts. 

Sports TV News

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.

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The racing series F1 has decided to stick with ESPN through 2025.

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.

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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.”

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Skip Bayless

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.”

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Sports TV News

FOX Sports VP: ‘USFL Proves Spring Football As Valuable As Rising Properties’

“We want to show we belong in that category, and I think that happened.”

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Michael Mulvihill says the USFL accomplished exactly what FOX needed it to. It proved there is a large enough audience for spring football that it has a value on par with some of the hottest properties in sports media right now.

 “All we wanted to do is demonstrate that spring football can do viewership at the levels of Premier League, NHL regular season, Formula One or MLS,” the FOX Sports Executive VP said according to Sports Business Journal. “We want to show we belong in that category, and I think that happened.”

While none of those properties are pulling in the kind of media rights money the NFL or major college football is, Mulvihill pointed out that all of them have been in the news for the right reasons.

“You’re talking about properties that have all recently negotiated deals at substantial increases, or with F1, people know it’s about to.”

The USFL had a solid broadcasting footprint with games airing on FOX, NBC, FS1 and USA. Regular season games for the first year of the revived league averaged just under 700,000 viewers.

Mulvihill said fans behaved exactly how he expected them to in the first season of the USFL. Without any team loyalties, he isn’t surprised that people watched less of an average USFL game than they did the NFL or college football.

The USFL Playoffs begin this weekend. Canton, OH will host the league’s first championship game on July 3.

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