The 2021 college football bowl season is upon us! The regular season has come and gone, conference champions have been crowned, and the College Football Playoff field has been set.
ESPN will carry 41 bowl games this season. That begins Dec. 17 at noon with the Bahamas Bowl featuring Middle Tennessee and Toledo and ends Jan. 10 with the CFP National Championship game in Indianapolis.
The network announced on Wednesday its broadcasting teams on the TV and radio sides for the CFP semifinal games, the Capital One Orange Bowl featuring top-seeded Alabama versus number four seed Cincinnati, and the Cotton Bowl Classic featuring a 2 vs. 3 seed matchup in Michigan and Georgia.
In Miami Gardens for the Orange Bowl, Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit will be in the TV broadcast booth while Holly Rowe and Marty Smith will handle sideline reporting duties. For ESPN Radio, Mark Jones, Robert Griffin III and Quint Kessenich will be on the call.
In Arlington for the Cotton Bowl, play-by-play will be handled by Sean McDonough, color commentary from Todd Blackledge, with Molly McGrath and Laura Rutledge reporting from the sidelines. Sean Kelley, Barrett Jones and Ian Fitzsimmons will handle radio duties.
Kevin Winter and Kirk Morrison will be back in Bristol, Conn. handling pre-game, halftime and post-game festivities for ESPN Radio.
The network has yet to announce its broadcast crews for the national championship game.
But ESPN did announce who would be calling the New Year’s Six lineup of games, which includes the Rose Bowl Game presented by Capital One, the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl, the Allstate Sugar Bowl and the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.
In Atlanta for the Peach Bowl will be Mark Jones, Robert Griffin III and Quint Kessenich. Bob Wischusen, Dan Orlovsky and Kris Budden will be in Glendale for the Fiesta Bowl. Fowler, Herbstreit and Rowe, along with Tiffany Blackmon, will call the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, while in New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl will be Joe Tessitore, Greg McElroy and Katie George.
The full lineup of broadcasters being used for all 41 bowl games the ESPN family of networks is carrying can be found at this link.
Stephen Watson Announced as New Host On Bally Sports Wisconsin
Bally Sports Wisconsin, the home of the Milwaukee Brewers and Milwaukee Bucks, has announced a new host for their respective pre and postgame shows. Brewers Live and Bucks Live now have Stephen Watson as a host.
Bally Sports Wisconsin, the television home of the Milwaukee Brewers and Milwaukee Bucks, has announced a new host of it’s pre and postgame offerings. Stephen Watson was announced as a new host for Brewers Live and Bucks Live.
Watson comes to Bally Sports Wisconsin from WISN-TV (Channel 12). There he had spent the last seven years as a sports anchor/reporter/host and covered all of Wisconsin’s major teams. In those seven years, Watson won three Emmy Awards.
“This is a dream opportunity to continue to cover two of the most successful franchises in sports right now while working alongside some of the most talented people in this industry,” Watson said. “Wisconsin sports fans are among the most passionate and dedicated in the country, and I look forward to matching their enthusiasm in my Brewers and Bucks coverage as a host and storyteller.”
Watson will share duties of hosting Brewers Live with Craig Coshun airing before and after each Brewers telecast. He will have similar responsibilities when hosting Bucks Live.
“We’re thrilled to add Stephen to our Bally Sports Wisconsin team. He is a proven content creator; his local knowledge and relationships will greatly benefit our telecasts,” said Tony Tortorici, executive producer, Bally Sports Wisconsin.
Watson is also a collegiate graduate of the area, graduating from the University of Wisconsin in 2011.
NBA Draft Ratings Rise 32% For ESPN and ABC
“The event peaked at 8:15pm ET when four and a half million viewers tuned in.”
The 2022 NBA Draft may have lacked the high profile prospect that prior drafts have had, but the intrigue surrounding the top three picks led to strong audience interest.
With all eyes on the Orlando Magic, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Houston Rockets viewership for the draft rose 32% year over year for ESPN. The first round on ABC and ESPN averaged close to four million viewers (3,988,000).
Paolo Banchero wound up going #1 to the Magic, Chet Holmgren to #2 to the Thunder, and Jabari Smith Jr. #3 to the Rockets. The full two rounds of the draft averaged just over three million viewers (3,047,000). Round 2 aired exclusively on ESPN.
The first round on ESPN and ABC was the most-watched program for June 23rd across all of television in all key demos. The event peaked at 8:15pm ET when four and a half million viewers (4,500,000) tuned in.
Shannon Sharpe Apologizes to Richard Jefferson for Calling Him Lazy
FS1’s Shannon Sharpe took to social media to clear the air between him and ESPN’s Richard Jefferson over some comments Sharpe made about the former NBA champion.
Sharpe said Jefferson was lazy for only wanting to talk about basketball. Jefferson is an NBA analyst for ESPN and doesn’t normally appear on debate shows or provide analysis on other sports.
“There is not a person in this industry since I have retired that would ever refer to my work ethic as being lazy,” Jefferson said in a response video on his TikTok. “So as long as you live don’t ever do that again or this conversation is gonna be much different.”
Sharpe saw the video and apologized saying his assessment of Jefferson was lazy.
“I want to apologize, I come to you as a man, Rich, and apologize to you for my take on what you said,” he said.
Much like Jefferson did, Sharpe then went on to break down the differences between hosts on debate shows who have to watch and study various different sports and analysts like Jefferson who only specialize in analyzing one sport.
But ultimately Sharpe wanted to bury the hatchet and make it clear to the internet that there’s no problems between the two.
“Richard and I do not have a beef,” Sharpe said. “There is nothing going on, and this is my last time addressing this issue.”
Jefferson tweeted on Saturday accepting Shannon’s apology.