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Ray Ferraro Turned Down Olympic Assignment

“I might have thought different if it was in, uh, almost any place else.”

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Hockey fans shouldn’t count on seeing Ray Ferraro on NBC in 2022. He recently told Julie Stewart-Binks that he has turned down the chance to call Olympic hockey in Beijing.

Some analysts expected Olympic fatigue to affect viewership. Ferraro proves it can affect broadcasters too.

“I turned down the Olympics this year,” Ferraro said on an episode of FuboTV’s Drinks with Binks that will air this weekend. “It was hard to do, but I’m not gonna go do it. And I’ll tell you, one hundred percent it’s because of last year. I just did this for three weeks. I can’t do it again.”

Stewart-Binks revealed that she had also turned down an opportunity to go to Beijing to cover the 2022 Winter Olympics, but said the decision for her was easy.

“It’s a lot to put yourself through while you’re trying to do your job. And you’re dealing with a global pandemic that isn’t eradicated yet,” she said.

Ray Ferraro admits that he will be disappointed to miss out on Olympic hockey, particularly if the NHL allows players to go. When Stewart-Binks mentioned that the games being in China helped make her decision, Ferraro concurred.

“Julie, I might have thought different if it was in, uh, almost any place else.”

Certainly, there are political and humanitarian reasons to oppose going to China. Ferraro said that there are other factors at play too. He said that he was thinking of worst-case scenarios that could affect his future and his employment at ESPN.

He joked that he couldn’t imagine his bosses would be happy with the extended time he would be forced to quarantine before returning to the country.

Any Olympics represents a moment in history, both for the sports world and society at large. Ray Ferraro knows that is true. He says he hasn’t lost sleep over the decision to skip the 2022 Games though.

“It’s was hard, but once I let it go, once I said I wasn’t gonna do it, I haven’t really thought about it again. I know I made the right decision for me.”

Sports TV News

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.

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Stephen Watson

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.

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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.”

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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.

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Shannon Sharpe Apologizes to Richard Jefferson for Calling Him Lazy

Jordan Bondurant

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Shannon Sharpe

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.

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