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Dick Vitale Speaks For First Time in 4 Weeks, Commenting on NCAA Tournament

“This is the first time you’re hearing me in over two months. Well, I just want to right now tip the hat to and salute on St. Patrick’s Day, the maize and blue of Michigan.”

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Dick Vitale broke his literal silence on Thursday, fittingly the day the 2022 NCAA Tournament tipped off.

Vitale posted a video to Twitter saying he had received permission to speak after four weeks of resting his voice from the doctor who recently performed surgery on his vocal cords. Dickie V used the opportunity to comment on the first Tournament game of the day, Michigan-Colorado State.

“This is the first time you’re hearing me in over two months,” Vitale said. “Well, I just want to right now tip the hat to and salute on St. Patrick’s Day, the maize and blue of Michigan. That was a really impressive win. Colorado State had won 25 games, that’s a quality team, they were a No. 6 seed and Michigan No. 11 as a seed.”

Dickie V provided commentary on games throughout the first day of NCAA Tournament play, including Richmond’s upset of Iowa and St. Peters’ shocking victory over Kentucky. “Cinderella” arriving early in the first round inspired another video.

However, Vitale didn’t mention that, like many fans on Thursday, his bracket was wiped out by Iowa and Kentucky losing.

Vitale using his voice only makes the month of March that much better for him. He also recently announced he was cancer-free after being diagnosed with melanoma.

Still, on Thursday, it was all about how the Wolverines pulled off the day’s first upset.

“The bottom line is, Hunter Dickinson was the difference maker,” Vitale said. “The seven-footer really played great, had 21 points… And Michigan marches on.”

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Al Michaels: Condensed Prep Time For Thursday Night Football ‘A Downside’

“It’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us.”

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There were bound to be unexpected hiccups and unintended consequences as Al Michaels moved to Thursday Night Football with Amazon Prime Video.

He told The Boston Globe Thursday that one of the downsides of the week’s schedule is less prep time with the teams playing in the game.

“When we go to see the teams, it’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us,” Michaels said. “And all the time I’ve been doing this, I’ve built some great relationships with coaches and players and GMs and owners and you name it, and I don’t get that much time to spend with them anymore. That’s a downside part of it for me. Some of the best stories you get come from those relationships.”

Michaels has raised eyebrows this season while not being shy about his disdain for some poor matchups early in the schedule. However, he now understands that there are quality games as the season approaches its close.

“The schedule was a little leaky with the Carolina-Atlanta game and a couple of other games that we’ve had, but now we’re positioned for a nice run down the stretch,” said Michaels.

The 78-year-old was also asked how he remains energetic and passionate for the job he’s held for so long.

The games are exciting. I love sports. You don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s no script. And unscripted television is the greatest.”

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Jimmy Pitaro: Reaching Younger Audience A Priority for ESPN

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience. As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

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Many in the media industry have voice concern that millennials and Gen Z aren’t consuming traditional media outlets like previous generations. ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said it’s a priority for the network.

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience,” Pitaro said, quoted by Morning Consult sports business reporter Mark J. Burns. “As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

Pitaro made the comments at Sports Business Journal’s Media Innovators conference Wednesday. It is a continuation of comments he has made in recent years.

In 2018, Pitaro said at ESPN’s upfront “I think we are doing a fantastic job serving the sports fanatic,” said Pitaro. “What about the casual sports customer? Are we doing all we can to serve him or her?”.

In 2019, Pitaro said it was “all hands on deck” to reach a younger audience and women. “We have to be open and go to where our customers are,” he said in regards to reaching younger viewers on social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

Earlier this year, Pitaro added that ESPN won’t be leaving linear television anytime soon.

“What I will tell you is that as I sit here right now, that business is still incredible,” Pitaro said. “We serve the sports fan anyway and at any time. I know there are a lot of people that still want ESPN in that traditional ecosystem.”

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Don Mattingly Joining Blue Jays Staff After YES Network Courtship

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

Jordan Bondurant

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The New York Yankees regional sports network can take Don Mattingly off its talent wish list. Mattingly was announced Wednesday as a bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays starting in 2023.

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

But Mattingly told Andrew Marchand of The New York Post this week that he had another opportunity in the works but wouldn’t elaborate.

YES also has been considering luring Yankees legend and Hall of Famer Derek Jeter into broadcasting. But no formal talks have taken place.

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