NFL fans can’t seem to get enough Tom Brady, and they’ll get another big fix next week when ESPN debuts Man in the Arena: Tom Brady. The multi-part documentary directed by Gotham Chopra debuts on Nov. 16.
The series is exclusively available to ESPN+ subscribers and will stream every episode on the platform. Religion of Sports is producing the documentary on Brady’s Super Bowl runs.
“Man in the Arena is more than a series of career highlights compiled together,” said Brady in a press release. “This series shows what an incredible journey it has been for me these past 22 years and the incredible people that have impacted me on this amazing ride. It is an inside look into how this journey has helped shape me into the man I am today.”
The series zooms in on each of Brady’s 10 Super Bowl appearances starting with Super Bowl XXXVI to this past February—when Brady brought the Buccaneers their second Super Bowl in franchise history.
“Tom Brady has been a dominant force in the NFL, and in the broader culture, for two decades now. No player in recent memory has been more analyzed or debated, more beloved or reviled,” said director Gotham Chopra. “Man in the Arena is an examination of his impact on and off the field, and I’m eager for that discussion to continue around the series.”
The project features exclusive interviews with key figures from Brady’s life and career, including Julie Brady, Maureen Brady, Nancy Brady, Tedy Bruschi, Gisele Bündchen, Drew Bledsoe, Julian Edelman, Alex Guerrero, Rob Gronkowski, Rodney Harrison, Peyton Manning, and more.
“Tom Brady went from being selected 199th overall in the 2000 NFL Draft to leading one of the greatest dynasties in sports, and he still isn’t done. That’s just the kind of story we love to tell: one that’s epic and sweeping on one hand, and human and complex on the other,” added Brian Lockhart, senior vice president, ESPN+ Original Content and ESPN Films.
The show will also have a weekly podcast companion hosted by Chopra available on all major podcast platforms.
Sinclair’s Estimated Streaming Service Fee Much More Expensive Than Competitors
The estimated fee of $20.25 would be a good deal more than other direct-to-consumer services such as the Disney bundle, priced at $13.99.
Sinclair’s Diamond Sports Group recently gained streaming rights for live NHL and NBA games. The company is working hard to become the premier direct-to-consumer service in sports. However, as Sportico’s Anthony Crupi reports, that will likely come at a premium price for consumers.
Outlined in Sinclair’s 8-K quarterly report filed to the SEC, all scenarios point to a monthly subscription fee of around $20.25. But will that be the most profitable scenario in which Diamond Sports achieves 975,000 subscribers for $237 million worth of revenue? Or will it result in the lesser scenario of 309,000 subscribers, predicting $75 million in revenue?
The rates are based on Diamond’s ability to stream NHL and NBA games in its affiliated franchises’ local markets. The fees are expected to increase as Diamond renews its legacy distribution deals with its member MLB teams. The Bally Sports nets have distribution deals in place with 14 MLB clubs, but only the Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Miami Marlins, and Milwaukee Brewers have signed off on a streaming agreement.
In 2021, Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley in 2021 took issue with refuted reports of the company seeking a $23 monthly fee for consumers. Yet he also provided no details on what price the company had in mind.
The estimated fee of $20.25 would be a good deal more than other direct-to-consumer services such as the Disney bundle, which includes ESPN+, Disney+, and Hulu, priced at $13.99.
Sinclair still has a few loose ends to tie up. Its recent $600 million financing deal and associated NBA renewal will be vital for the DTC launch. Last spring, the company’s broadcast division renewed its carriage agreement with Charter. But Sinclair’s standalone RSN deal with providers is scheduled to finish before March 31.
Charter’s Spectrum is the nation’s second-largest cable-TV provider. At the end of 2021’s third quarter, the company serviced 15.3 million residential video subscribers. Renewing the RSN contract is currently being negotiated, but agreeing to such deals is touchier now than ever.
The Diamond RSNs have been non-existent for 8.42 million DISH Network subscribers, even before Sinclair acquired the 21 former Fox Sports channels for $9.6 billion in August 2019.
Basketball College GameDay Returns To Road January 29
“College GameDay came off the road at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. This will be the first road trip since then.”
College GameDay is making a comeback in Lawrence, Kansas. On January 29th the crew comprised of Rece Davis, Jay Bilas, LaPhonso Ellis and Seth Greenberg will be live ahead of the Big 12/SEC Challenge matchup between the No. 12 Kentucky Wildcats and No. 7 Jayhawks (6 p.m. ET, ESPN).
The show stayed in the studio all of last season. College GameDay came off the road at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. This will be the first road trip since then.
It will be the fourth time ESPN has sent its GameDay crew to a Kentucky/Kansas game. The show begins at 11 AM that morning.
The show’s cast includes Jay Bilas, Laphonso Ellis, and Seth Greenberg. It is hosted by Rece Davis.
College GameDay tipped off its college basketball season last week and will continue in studio this Saturday, Jan. 22nd. As with the football show, ESPN will choose future locations based on the biggest matchups on the college basketball calendar each week.
Kendra Andrews Made ESPN Debut Tuesday, Joined Sister Malika on ‘NBA Today’
Malika Andrews later acknowledged on Twitter that it was special to share the screen with her sister.
Andrews’ hiring was especially notable because her older sister already works at ESPN. Malika Andrews is currently the host of daily studio show NBA Today, originally joining the network as a reporter who earned acclaim for her coverage of the 2020-21 season finishing in the Orlando bubble.
It was surely only a matter of time before the sisters appeared together on NBA Today. But ESPN took care of that with Kendra’s first day on the job.
Bringing the network’s Warriors reporter on the show wasn’t just ESPN creating a cute story, though Malika later acknowledged on Twitter that it was special to share the screen with her sister.
But the NBA Today host got right to the business at hand. Golden State has been one of the NBA’s best teams this season. Going into Tuesday’s play, the Warriors have the second-best record in the league at 31-12. Kendra figures to be a prominent part of ESPN’s coverage, following the Warriors on another possible championship run.
Yet the team had struggled a bit in its past seven games, compiling a 2-5 record amid injuries to Draymond Green, Steph Curry, and Gary Payton II, while also working Klay Thompson back into their lineup. But everything looked fine in a 102-86 victory over the Detroit Pistons (10-33) Tuesday night, which began a seven-game homestand.
Andrews joins ESPN after covering Golden State for NBC Sports Bay Area. Prior to that, she covered the Denver Nuggets for The Athletic. With her hire, the network’s previous Warriors reporter, Nick Friedell, moves to the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks beat.
“I’m excited and so grateful to be joining ESPN and this talented team of journalists,” said Andrews in ESPN’s official announcement. “Growing up in Oakland, I understand how important the Warriors and the NBA are to the Bay Area. I’m looking forward to sharing their stories as they continue an already thrilling season.”
As a profile in the San Jose Mercury News by Shayna Rubin mentions, both Andrews sisters grew up watching the Warriors.
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