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ESPN Extends ‘Monday Night Football’ Deal With Peyton and Eli Manning

The “ManningCast” will now be on ESPN2 and ESPN+ through the 2024 season.

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Fans will be able to watch ESPN’s “ManningCast” for one additional year than originally planned. According to the network’s NFL insider Adam Schefter, ESPN and Omaha Productions expanded their agreement for Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli through the 2024 season.

Peyton and Eli Manning’s initial deal with ESPN was a three-year agreement that ran through the 2023 season. The success of the “ManningCast” ensured that it would come back for the next two seasons and now a third is being added.

(The contract extension also staves off other potential suitors like Amazon, which had expressed interest.)

The alternate Monday Night Football broadcast with Peyton and Eli and a rotating cast of guests, aired on ESPN2 and ESPN+ this past NFL regular season for 10 games and immediately became popular with fans on social media and sports media observers.

The insight from both Manning brothers on playing quarterback in the NFL, sharing the thinking that goes into various situations, and providing analysis on decision-making by signal-callers and coaches provided an in-depth alternative from the quick-bite, 15-second commentary often heard on regular NFL telecasts.

More importantly, the “ManningCast” brought more fun and irreverence to its coverage with guests from the NFL, college football, and entertainment. Sometimes, that led to moments not usually seen on primetime TV, such as uttering curse words or using obscene gestures, that gave viewers the sense that most anything could happen. Such as Eli Manning comparing himself to Shakira, when explaining Dak Prescott’s warm-up exercises for his hips.

But the “ManningCast” production had plenty of bumps in its first season, notably going into commercial breaks abruptly while cutting off guests speaking. The delay on audio for guests speaking with Peyton and Eli on Zoom also made for a difficult listening experience at times. And sometimes, the Manning brothers and their guests were so engaged in a conversation that they weren’t closely following what was happening in the game.

Not everyone liked the “ManningCast.” Diehards wanting traditional play-by-play and analysis still have the regular MNF telecast on ESPN. (Whether or not Steve Levy, Brian Griese, and Louis Riddick return for a third season has yet to be determined.) Some grumps who just don’t like fun seemed to deliberately go against popular opinion and either criticize or ignore it.

Yet innovation in sports broadcasting isn’t always successful. And this was more than a different camera view or new technology used during a telecast. This was an entirely different sort of broadcast, one that banked on the likability of Peyton and Eli and creating the impression of watching a game with friends. Being well-received is a major victory for ESPN. It’s no surprise the network wants it to continue.

UPDATE: The official announcement from ESPN also says that the agreement with Omaha Productions includes alternate telecasts for UFC, college football, and golf. Hosts for each event will be named later.

Sports TV News

Fox Officially Unveils NFL Broadcast Teams

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In what has been considered a formality for some time, Fox today officially unveiled Kevin Burkhardt, Greg Olsen, Erin Andrews, and Tom Rinaldi as their number one NFL broadcast team Monday. Burkhardt and Olsen were elevated to Fox’s top booth after the departure of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman to ESPN’s Monday Night Football earlier this year.

There were some reports that Drew Brees could have been a possibility to join the network, but those discussions fell apart.

The network’s other teams include several familiar faces to football fans:

#2 team: Joe Davis, Daryl “Moose” Johnston, Pam Oliver
#3 team: Adam Amin, Mark Schlereth, Kristina Pink
#4 team: Kenny Albert, Jonathan Vilma, Shannon Spake
#5 team: Kevin Kugler, Mark Sanchez, Laura Okmin
#6 team: Chris Myers, Robert Smith, Jen Hale

Olsen’s jump to the number one team with Burkhardt is a formality until the retirement of Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady. The seven-time Super Bowl winner will ascend to Fox’s number one booth upon his retirement, whenever that may be.

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Ryan Clark, Mad Dog Get Into Heated Argument on ‘First Take’

“Mad Dog, stop screaming at me now, bro. For the last time, you’re gonna stop screaming at me,” Clark interrupted.

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Former Pittsburgh Steeler, and current ESPN NFL analyst Ryan Clark and recent Radio Hall of Fame inductee Chris “Mad Dog” Russo squared off on Monday’s edition of First Take, with a heated exchange taking place between the two.

After a discussion about Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas meandered into a discussion about whether Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp would be voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame if he never played another game, Clark said about Hall of Fame voters “they must be voting like you (Russo) vote for the Heisman, where you just vote on whoever the hell you want based off the fact that they play quarterback”.

Russo quickly took exception to the perceived slight.

“Ryan, hold on now,” Russo said, in a louder manner than normal. “You said something, now I’m going to comment. I’ve been voting for the Heisman since before you were born.”

“Mad Dog, stop screaming at me now, bro. For the last time, you’re gonna stop screaming at me,” Clark interrupted.

“You said something that wasn’t right,” Russo said.

“Lower your voice,” the former Steeler interrupted again.

“I’ve been voting for the Heisman since before you were born,” Mad Dog reiterated, with a lower volume. “30 years.”

“I don’t care about that,” Clark rebutted.

“You’re saying I’m voting for the Heisman and saying I don’t deserve a vote. I’ve been voting for 30 years!”, Russo began to raise his voice again.

“I never said you don’t deserve a vote,” Clark replied before clarifying he disagrees with Russo’s sentiment about the college football award being only awarded to quarterbacks.

It’s not the first time Russo has clashed with First Take contributors. A discussion with J.J. Reddick went viral earlier this year after Reddick told Russo previous NBA players played with “plumbers and firefighters”.

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Todd Frazier Joining ESPN Little League World Series Booth

It will be a memorable summer for Fraizer at the LLWS because he will be inducted into the Little League Hall of Excellence. 

Ricky Keeler

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When people talk about 11-year MLB veteran Todd Frazier, some of the things that are usually mentioned on broadcasts usually is that he is from Toms River, New Jersey and that he played in the Little League World Series in 1998 (won the championship). Now, Frazier will have a bigger connection to the annual event in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

As first reported by Bobby Nightengale of The Cincinnati EnquirerFrazier will be in the TV booth (remotely) for ESPN for this year’s Little League World Series. He made his broadcast debut on Monday morning during one of the New England region semifinals between Maine and Massachusetts. 

Frazier told Nightengale that he wants to use this event to begin his second career in the broadcasting industry.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, especially for the Little League World Series since I’ve been a part of it. I know it and understand it really well. Kind of kickstart my second career here.” 

It will be a memorable summer for Fraizer at the LLWS because he will be inducted into the Little League Hall of Excellence. 

The Little League World Series begins on Wednesday, August 17 and ends on Sunday, August 28. It will be broadcasted on ESPN and ABC.  

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