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Mark Schwarz Retiring After 32 Years at ESPN

“He was versatile, and in many ways, set a very high standard for reporters at ESPN.”

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ESPN Press Room

Monday (Jan. 31) will be Mark Schwarz’s last day with ESPN. The network’s longest-tenured reporter is retiring after 32 years on the job.

Schwarz’s career with ESPN began in 1990 and he has covered just about everything in the wide world of sports.

Most recently, he has been seen doing the “SC Report” segment on the 6 p.m. ET edition of SportsCenter. Topics have included Novak Djokovic’s bid to play in the Australian Open and the activism of Boston Celtics player Enes Freedom.

Schwarz seems to still be at the top of his game, so why call it a career now?

“I very much knew when I signed my last deal back in December of 2018 it would be my final deal,” Schwarz told ESPN’s Andy Hall. “And I have thoroughly enjoyed all 32 years that I’ve had.

“Using a sports cliché – I’ve put it all out on the field. I have plenty more to give, and I’m a young guy in good health, but there’s a lot more in my life that I’m looking to do right now, and I just want to enjoy the freedom that retirement offers.”

Throughout his entire career, Schwarz has been one of the best reporters in sports media.

“Schwarz brought a sense of storytelling and hard news reporting,” said Norby Williamson, ESPN Executive Vice President, Event and Studio Production & Executive Editor. “He was versatile, and in many ways, set a very high standard for reporters at ESPN.”

In a profession that can include tough questions and awkward situations, Schwarz never backed down to get the story.

“One of the things that I think has characterized my run is that I have been a bit of an outlier in terms of my willingness to get the story even if it creates friction with players, organizations, media relations people,” he said. “I’m not as worried about their feelings as getting the viewer the actual truth of what’s going on.”

In an era that seems to be run by social media, Schwarz has somehow avoided using Twitter and other digital outlets.

“I realize that most people are on Twitter because they’re trying to extend their brand, and I feel that my brand kind of stood for itself,” he said. “I didn’t need to explain it. If you saw my work, you got it. Me being on Twitter doesn’t really serve me at all.”

After all these years, Schwarz rides into the sunset with nothing but good feelings towards his longtime company.

“It’s just so great in a business like this where there’s so much turmoil and so much turnover, to have been given the opportunity to put together this type of run with this company is extraordinary,” he said. “And I’m grateful and honored to have done it.”

Sports TV News

Peter King: ‘Tom Brady Needs To Study Cris Collinsworth’

“He’ll know that to be good, he has to get out of his comfort zone of all niceties and tell it like it is.”

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Peter King dedicated a not-insignificant portion of his “Football Morning in America” column this week to advice for Tom Brady. FOX announced last week that the Buccaneers’ quarterback will become the network’s lead NFL analyst upon his retirement.

Brady’s decision and his reported salary have been the source of much speculation and prediction amongst his soon-to-be colleagues.

King is optimistic that Tom Brady will be entertaining and informative when he makes his FOX debut. He did offer the GOAT a little bit of advice about what he should be doing in the months leading up to calling it quits on his playing days and starting his new career.

“I think what I’d do if I were Brady is study Cris Collinsworth—and honest to goodness, I don’t say that because I work for NBC,” he wrote. “I say it because Collinsworth knows how to talk X’s-and-O’s conversationally, he’s an easy listen, and he can criticize when the time comes.”

Interestingly, last week, Collinsworth says he hears from most former players that are getting ready to make the jump to broadcasting. He was surprised he never heard from Tom Brady before FOX announced their deal.

King had two other suggestions. The first was that Brady watch multiple games from start to finish so that he can hear what the give-and-take between a broadcaster and analyst sounds like. The other is that he has to commit to being interesting and not censoring himself. King has faith that Brady will be able to do that.

“He’ll know that to be good, he has to get out of his comfort zone of all niceties and tell it like it is. On that LeBron James show last year, Brady said, ‘Ninety percent of what I say is not what I’m thinking. There’s a part of me that doesn’t like conflict, so in the end I always just try to play it super-flat.’ That has to end once he’s on TV if he wants to be any good.”

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Nick Wright Critical Of ABC Crew As Giannis Antetokounmpo Struggles In Game 7

“He reminded his followers on Twitter that the two-time MVP has put together some amazing performances in this series.”

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Giannis Antetokounmpo started hot in Game 7 on Sunday. By the time the game ended though, the Boston Celtics were on their way to Miami for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals and the defending champions were headed back to Milwaukee.

The Celtics’ defense gave the Milwaukee Bucks fits in the second half. The ABC broadcast put a special spotlight on Antetokounmpo, who got multiple drives to the basket that he could not finish.

“The best has got to show up when the best is needed, and Giannis has been disappointing,” said Mark Jackson over a package of highlights of Giannis missing shots. “As great of a player as he is, given credit to the Celtics’ defense, but he has struggled offensively time and time again.”

Nick Wright of FS1 noticed and he didn’t appreciate it. He reminded his followers on Twitter that the two-time MVP has put together some amazing performances in this series.

Mike Been, Mark Jackson, and Jeff Van Gundy were not particularly hard on Giannis. The trio made the typical comments we hear when things aren’t going a great player’s way.

Wright did not harp on the issue beyond the single tweet. The outcome was not in doubt as the clock winded down. He gave credit to the Celtics rather than tweet about the Bucks or Giannis.

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Stephanie McMahon: WWE Is A Better Advertising Investment Than Sports

“We can script the buzzer-beater moments, we can script the Hail Marys.”

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Everyone knows that professional wrestling is scripted. The storylines, the outcomes of matches, all of it is predetermined. But in the eyes of WWE, that’s what makes their product so different, and better than traditional sports.

WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon told Deadline that when it comes to pitching advertisers, sports entertainment allows room for a range of different approaches to make something work.

“We can script the buzzer-beater moments, we can script the Hail Marys,” she said. “We have a leg up on sports. … You may object to what we do, but you’re never going to be bored.”

McMahon added that WWE has a much easier process in dealing with sponsors. Everything is handled in-house.

“We own all of the IP,” she said. “When brands deal with us, they just deal with us. We create something together.”

WWE is coming off a positive Q1 earnings report, which had the company up 27% in total revenue. Its two weekly primetime shows, Monday Night RAW and Friday Night SmackDown, continue to do well in ratings, and all special and pay-per-view events, in addition to its streaming platform WWE Network, are all housed on Peacock.

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