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Ian Eagle, Mike Been Explain Why They Still Call Local Games

“Breen grew up a Knicks fan, so he enjoys calling games at Madison Square Garden.”

Ricky Keeler

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When you think about Mike Breen and Ian Eagle outside of the New York Tri-State area, you know them as NBA broadcasters for ESPN/ABC and TNT respectively. However, the people in the Tri-State have a connection to them as broadcasters for their local NBA teams, the Knicks (Breen on MSG) and the Nets (Eagle on YES). 

On the latest episode of the Sports Media With Richard Deitsch podcast, Deitsch asked them why they still call games for teams instead of being solely national.

“I feel a kinship with the organization, the production team,” replied Eagle. “That’s what keeps you going. In addition, I’d love to see the Nets win a championship and feel like you are part of that in some way…. There is this sense of commonality and sense of teamwork and feeling good for people that you have got to know.” 

Breen grew up a Knicks fan, so he enjoys calling games at Madison Square Garden. He mentioned that he calls a local and national game the same way and that the MSG broadcast actually helps him with his games for ESPN/ABC. Regular work with the Knicks means more exposure to the league as a whole.

While some broadcasters could view each other as competition, both Breen and Eagle feel that all of the NBA broadcasters have a great friendship and they end up rooting for each other to do well.

“I just know with Kevin Harlan, Brian Anderson, Dave Pasch, Mark Jones, Ryan Ruocco, Spero Dedes, whoever is doing this at the national level, I root for all of them. I want them all to do well. There’s enough to go around in this business,” said Eagle. 

“For some reason, our generation has become this close-knit bunch where we are always texting each other, trying to arrange dinners together,” Breen added. “Ian calls a game and I am texting him telling him that was a fantastic call. We go back-and-forth with everybody. I don’t know if the previous generation felt the same way, but there’s enough great jobs to go around that we are all living a dream…It’s like this amazing brotherhood. It’s one of my favorite things about the business.”

While it feels like many people try to compete in different businesses to try to reach the top of their profession, it is refreshing to hear that NBA broadcasters are rooting for each other. Breen and Eagle could always choose to go solely national, but the local connection they like with calling the Knicks and Nets puts them on another level with those fanbases. 

Sports TV News

After Losing Out On Big Ten Rights, ESPN Turns Focus to NCAA Championships

According to Front Office Sports, ESPN’s contract for 29 NCAA Championships ends in 2024.

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After reportedly losing out on the Big Ten’s television rights, ESPN is reportedly turning to securing the NCAA Championship rights from hitting the open market.

According to Front Office Sports, ESPN’s contract for 29 NCAA Championships ends in 2024. Those 29 championships include everything from Women’s basketball to ice hockey, wrestling, softball, and baseball. The network pays a reported $34 million for the rights to broadcast those championship events.

However, according to a study commissioned by the NCAA reveals that the women’s basketball tournament could be worth anywhere from $81 million to $112 million per year by its lonesome. The NCAA is reportedly considering selling the women’s basketball tournament rights as a standalone product in the next negotiation.

Sources told Front Office Sports ESPN remains interested in striking deals with the Pac-12 and Big 12 media rights, as well as renewing a deal for the College Football Playoff.

The news comes after Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand reported ESPN declined a final offer from the Big Ten for a portion of the conference’s media rights. The reported deal was seven years and $380 million per year.

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ESPN Announces The Return of Stephen A. Smith to First Take

ESPN announced Smith will be returning to First Take on Monday, August 15th.

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Stephen A. Smith

First Take has been without it’s anchor since the day after the NBA Draft in June. That’s when the ESPN personality took some time off to undergo shoulder surgery and to rehabilitate. However, it appears the wait for his return is almost over.

ESPN announced with a tweet that Smith will be returning to First Take on Monday, August 15th. They also teased a guest appearance from Michael Irvin.

This comes a day after Smith tweeted that the countdown was on for his return and we are one week away from the event.

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Field Yates Re-Ups With ESPN

After the departure of Matthew Berry to NBC, ESPN has locked down fantasy expert Field Yates with a new contract to remain in Bristol.

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Field Yates

After the departure of Matthew Berry to NBC, ESPN has locked down fantasy expert Field Yates with a new contract to remain in Bristol.

Yates, 35, would have been a valuable target for FanDuel or DraftKings, surmises Andrew Marchand of The New York Post — who first reported the news — due to his large following on Twitter.

Yates, who also works as a host of Fantasy Football Now and NFL Insider for the network, across multiple platforms including ESPN Radio, will continue in those roles in addition to an assumed expansion of fantasy football duties after Berry’s exit.

He has worked for ESPN since 2012.

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