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Mark Jones Re-Signs With ESPN, Agreeing to Multi-Year Contract Extension

“This is where I want to be. I’m absolutely thrilled to continue this unimaginable journey through sports at ESPN with the most talented people in the industry.”

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Mark Jones has been with ESPN since 1990, and his 32-year career with the network is going to continue. The broadcaster has agreed to a multi-year contract extension with ESPN, which was announced on Friday.

Jones is one of ESPN’s top play-by-play voices on the NBA and college football. He’s served in a variety of roles during his long career at the network, including anchoring NBA studio programming and SportsCenter, hosting NBA All-Star and NBA Draft coverage, and calling play-by-play on men’s and women’s college basketball, in addition to the WNBA.

“Mark Jones’s love for — and commitment to — the NBA and our presentation of the league is exceptional,” said Tim Corrigan, ESPN vice president of production, in a statement. “His ability to cover the game, measure the moment, and share valuable, memorable notes about the teams, the players, and the game defines his style.”

Jones will be on the call this Sunday (March 13) for ABC’s broadcast of the New York Knicks at the Brooklyn Nets, with analyst Doris Burke (who also just signed an extension with the network) and reporter Malika Andrews.

Previously, Jones has also called track and field, gymnastics, and speed skating for ESPN and ABC’s Wide World of Sports.

Jones is also currently the TV play-by-play voice on Sacramento Kings game telecasts for NBC Sports California, now finishing up his second season with the team.

“This is where I want to be,” Jones said in ESPN’s official announcement. “I’m absolutely thrilled to continue this unimaginable journey through sports at ESPN with the most talented people in the industry.

“I think about walking into the NBA Today and SportsCenter studios in 1990 with a chance to document the Michael Jordan-era Chicago Bulls, and almost 32 years later I’m covering another all-time legend in LeBron James. I’m elated by the opportunities I’ve had. I’ve even interviewed our first Black President Barack Obama.”

Jones also expressed gratitude to ESPN for allowing him to call one of his daughter’s basketball games with San Jose State last month.

Prior to joining ESPN/ABC, Jones worked at TSN in Toronto, where he anchored studio coverage and highlight programs, in addition to a weekly show featuring the Toronto Blue Jays. His brother, Paul, still works in Canada as the radio play-by-play announcer for the Toronto Raptors.

Sports TV News

The NFL Still Considering Multiple Offers For Sunday Ticket

The NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has not bid for the package but has stated it is willing to partner with the new rightsholder for a potential deal.

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Sunday Ticket Negotiations

DirecTV currently has the rights to Sunday Ticket. That deal expires at the end of this upcoming football season. The NFL is expected to make a boatload of cash when they decide which media organization gets the next rights to the package. The only question is… who will that be?

Alex Sherman of CNBC reports that the NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has decided not bid for the package. However, they are interested in partnering with the new rightsholder for a potential deal. DirecTV knows that Sunday Ticket is a staple in bars and restaurants and is interested in maintaining those relationships.

Outside of the bar/restaurant industry, success has been limited for the satellite provider with the football package. Fewer than two million subscribers signed up for Sunday Ticket each year which made the package a money-loser for the satellite TV provider.

According to the report, the NFL wants more than $2 billion for the rights and a stake in NFL Media, which is being packaged with Sunday Ticket. Also on the table is the NFL’s mobile rights. The league’s previous mobile agreement with Verizon has ended.

An interesting piece of the negotiations is Sunday Ticket price. According to the report, a buyer would have limited flexibility on pricing. The NFL signed contracts with CBS and Fox and within the framework of those deals, language mandates Sunday Ticket have a premium price. That’s to prevent loss of viewers from the networks that feature local market Sunday afternoon games. So essentially, the price is the price for the consumer.

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Sports TV News

F1 Renews With ESPN For U.S. Media Rights

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

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F1 ESPN

The racing series F1 has decided to stick with ESPN through 2025.

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

The reported value of the three-year contract is set to pay F1 $75-90M per year for the U.S. media rights. Amazon had offered to pay roughly $100M per year, with the right to sublicense to a linear broadcast network. Comcast’s offer was similar to ESPN’s in terms of value and the structure. They also wanted to put select races on it’s streaming service, Peacock.

Netflix was in on the negotiations, as well. The makers of Drive to Survive, the streaming series that many credit with the sport’s explosion in popularity in recent years, wasn’t close on on their financial offer. Also, it seems F1 executives were not ready to put all of its races on a streaming service just yet.

Currently, F1 receives $5M per year for ESPN to broadcast it’s races. ESPN has grabbed about 1.0 million viewers per race. That makes F1 a more than viable option for the network to invest into again. ESPN will be able to put a small number of races on its ESPN+ streaming service exclusively. The vast majority being on ABC or ESPN.

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Sports TV News

Skip Bayless Says He And Stephen A. Smith ‘Sorted Out’ Their Disagreement

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

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Skip Bayless

Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless were locked in a war of words last week following the First Take host’s appearance on JJ Redick’s Old Man and the Three podcast.

The origins of their partnership were discussed and Bayless admitted he did not like the way Smith characterized the state of First Take before he arrived on set. Smith insisted that Bayless simply misunderstood what he meant by saying that he was told the show needed him.

Over the weekend, Skip Bayless says he and Stephen A. Smith got together at the Bayless home in California to talk things out in private.

“He was in LA, he came over, we sat by the pool,” he said on the latest episode of The Skip Bayless Show. “It wasn’t the easiest conversation for a while, but we slowly but surely sorted it out. We got through it, and we have been through so much together.”

Bayless reiterated that he considers Smith a brother. They love each other. That doesn’t mean they are always going to remember events the same way or see eye-to-eye all the time.

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

Fighting doesn’t mean the relationship is fractured. In fact, Skip Bayless was adamant that he remains closer to Smith than he is to most people in his life.

“I don’t trust easily because of the way I was raised, but I do trust Stephen Anthony Smith. Trust him with my life. Always have and always will. I trust he will always be there for me, and you better believe I will always be there for him.”

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