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Amazon Wants To Take ManningCast From ESPN

“Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions has a contract with ESPN that runs through 2023.”

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Amazon is making some big news in sports media this week. On Thursday, news broke that the tech and retail giant was in the market to create daily studio sports shows. Today comes news that one of the biggest TV phenomena of 2021 is on the company’s wishlist.

According to Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports, Amazon would like to bring the Manning brothers to Thursday Night Football. Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions has a contract with ESPN that runs through 2023. After that, Amazon hopes they can steal the ManningCast.

“Amazon could just come in with a ton of money for the show — plus Amazon Prime content deals for Omaha — then move ManningCast over in two years,” a source told McCarthy.

If the ManningCast leaves ESPN, chances are that other Omaha Productions programming would go too. If Amazon wants to add studio content to its sports footprint, the back catalog and new episodes of Peyton’s Places and its offshoots would be a good start.

There are two Manningcasts left in the 2021 season. Peyton and Eli will be back for Week 17 and for a playoff game in the Wild Card round.

McCarthy reports that should Amazon want to make a serious offer, negotiations on the future of the Manningcast and Omaha Productions would likely begin after the 2022 season.

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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

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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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