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Ted Leonsis: RSNs Should Be Part Of Larger Sports Portfolios

“You could see a solution for RSNs if they roll into a bigger enterprise.”

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RSN’s across the country are struggling along with the established cable bundle being in decline. This means that those networks are going to need to think outside the box if they want to survive and be profitable.

Monumental Sports and Entertainment owns the Washington Capitals, Washington Wizards, and Washington Mystics. The company’s founder and CEO Ted Leonsis says folding the cable networks into a larger sports and entertainment portfolio could be the answer to their distributor problems.

“You could see a solution for RSNs if they roll into [a] bigger enterprise, so that business ends up with buildings and teams and the network,” he said. That would give the RSN “a platform to buy [another] team locally or merge with [another] team locally in another league, so that it is getting the roll-up effect, but it’s geographic in nature.” That way, he said, the RSN “can get some true leverage.”

JohnWallStreet of Sportico states that tying a regional sports network to a larger sports and entertainment portfolio is not a new strategy.

Dr. Jerry Buss co-founded Prime Ticket, which is now Bally Sports SoCal, to monetize local video broadcast inventory that was not airing anywhere else. Buss was focused on generating more revenue from the Lakers, Kings, and LA Forum, all of which he owned.

This can be seen recently as well, as MSG paired up its venues with its cable channels again last summer in a move that they said strengthened ability to pursue future growth opportunities, including those in mobile sports betting.

It will be interesting to see what the near future holds for RSNs, but as of now they are far less valuable than they once were.

Sports TV News

Louis Riddick Signs Contract Extension With ESPN

He will be on the network’s Thursday night college football package.

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Football analyst Louis Riddick has signed a new extension to continue his career with ESPN.

The network made the announcement on Wednesday when announcing their broadcast teams for the 2022 college football season. In that release, it was revealed that Riddick would be returning to the college football booth for the first time since 2019.

He will be on the network’s Thursday night college football package and be partnered with play-by-play commentator Matt Barrie and Harry Lyles Jr.

It was announced earlier this summer that Riddick would also be in the booth for ESPN’s preseason NFL action. He’ll also be in the booth for three weeks that ESPN has multiple games in that week.

Riddick’s first college football game assignment will be the Backyard Brawl game between West Virginia and Pittsburgh and the latter has already noted their excitement.

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Sports TV News

ESPN Adds Aaron Murray, Re-Signs Beth Mowins For College Football Coverage

Mowins provides play-by-play on college basketball and softball, and has been the Voice of the Women’s College World Series for more than two decades.

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Aaron Murray, Beth Mowins

ESPN announced the hiring of Aaron Murray to its analyst roster.

Murray, a former quarterback at Georgia and most recently an analyst with CBS Sports Network, will call a handful of games on the SEC Network. He’ll also appear on some of the network’s studio programming.

ESPN also announced the re-signing of play-by-play commentator Beth Mowins to a multi-year deal. In addition to football, Mowins provides play-by-play on college basketball and softball, and has been the Voice of the Women’s College World Series for more than two decades.

ESPN announced the broadcast crews for its college football coverage as well.

Game/NetworkCommentators
ABC Saturday Night FootballChris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Holly Rowe
ESPN Saturday Night PrimetimeSean McDonough, Todd Blackledge, Molly McGrath
ESPN and ABC SaturdayJoe Tessitore, Greg McElroy, Katie George
ESPN and ABC SaturdayMark Jones, Robert Griffin III, Quint Kessenich
ESPN and ABC SaturdayDave Pasch, Dusty Dvoracek, Tom Luginbill
ESPN and ABC SaturdayBob Wischusen, Dan Orlovsky, Kris Budden
ESPN and ABC SaturdayDave Flemming, Rod Gilmore, Tiffany Blackmon
ESPN and ESPN2 SaturdayAnish Shroff, Brock Osweiler, Taylor McGregor
ESPN and ESPN2 SaturdayBeth Mowins, Kirk Morrison, Stormy Buonantony
ESPN ThursdayMatt Barrie, Louis Riddick, Harry Lyles Jr.
ESPN and ESPN2 FridayRoy Philpott, Andre Ware, Paul Carcaterra
ESPN and ESPN2 SaturdayBrian Custer, Dustin Fox, Lauren Sisler
SEC Saturday NightTom Hart, Jordan Rodgers, Cole Cubelic
ACC Network PrimetimeDave O’Brien, Tim Hasselbeck, Kelsey Riggs
SEC NetworkDave Neal, Deuce McAllister, Andraya Carter
SEC NetworkTaylor Zarzour, Matt Stinchcomb, Alyssa Lang
ACC NetworkWes Durham, Roddy Jones, Taylor Davis
ACC NetworkChris Cotter, Mark Herzlich, Lericia Harris
ESPN2 and ESPNU SaturdayClay Matvick, Rocky Boiman, Dawn Davenport
ESPN2 and ESPNU SaturdayKevin Brown, Hutson Mason
ESPN2 and ESPNU SaturdayJohn Schriffen, Rene Ingoglia
ESPN2 and ESPNU SaturdayDrew Carter, TBD
ESPN2 and ESPNU SaturdayConnor Onion, Craig Haubert
Longhorn NetworkLowell Galindo, Sam Acho, Alex Chappell
ESPNU Thursday – HBCUTiffany Greene, Jay Walker
ESPN Radio Marc Kestecher, Kelly Stouffer, Ian FitzsimmonsMike Couzens, Max Starks

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Sports TV News

Shaquille O’Neal: ‘Would’ve Supported’ Charles Barkley Leaving TNT For LIV Golf

“If he had accepted it, I wouldn’t be mad. And if Charles had left? You’d still have me.”

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After flirting with LIV Golf, Inside the NBA‘s Charles Barkley reaffirmed his commitment to the show and TNT, but a colleague would have supported him if he left.

Shaquille O’Neal told USA Today, during an interview about his upcoming show Secret Celebrity Renovation on CBS, that he would have been in Barkley’s corner had he decided to join the LIV Golf broadcast crew.

“I would’ve supported him every which way,” O’Neal said. “Charles is one of those legends, like Bill Russell, who didn’t make a lot of money playing. So if a chance comes up like this at this age that’s legal – controversial but legal – you’ve got to look at it. If he had accepted it, I wouldn’t be mad. And if Charles had left? You’d still have me.”

While Inside the NBA would still have O’Neal, it was Barkley, Ernie Johnson, and Kenny Smith that took the show to new heights for a decade before O’Neal joined the show after his playing career ended in 2011.

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