When the curtain goes up for the start of the 2022 Major League Baseball season, broadcaster Rod Allen will be entering the Miami Marlins broadcast booth rejuvenated and redeemed.
Allen was hired by the Marlins full-time to primarily handle TV broadcasts on Bally Sports Florida with some radio assignments sprinkled in. The former major-leaguer had been out of broadcasting in a full-time capacity since 2018.
“It was a long three years,” Allen told Tony Paul of the Detroit News.
Allen previously served as the Tigers’ color commentator alongside play-by-play man Mario Impemba for 16 seasons. But he was ultimately let go, as was Impemba, by then-Fox Sports Detroit following a physical altercation with Impemba outside the broadcast booth at a Tigers-White Sox game in September 2018.
“I couldn’t even put into words what I’ve gone through the last three years, mentally and things like that,” Allen said. “But that’s not important. The important thing is I’ve been given another opportunity. I’m just grateful and thankful.”
The incident is something Allen doesn’t care to talk about, but he said the fallout from it put him in a dark place. He told Paul a mix of family, primarily his four grandchildren, and faith helped carry him through.
“(Grandkids) just kept you going, man, because they don’t see that pain that you’re feeling, they don’t see that anxiety, they don’t feel the worry,” he said. “All they saw is Paw Paw, and they love Paw Paw. They made me feel great. There were a lot of good days, but there were a lot of bad days.”
Some connections at Bally Sports ultimately helped Allen get his foot back in the broadcasting door, but ultimately Allen said he was determined to put on the headset once again.
“I never lost hope,” he said. “I knew what happened that day, I handled it the right way, and I was told by everybody, I knew I would get another opportunity. I knew that some day, I would get another opportunity to get into the broadcast booth.”
“God has given me another opportunity to do what I love to do,” Allen added.
Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX
“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”
FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.
A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.
The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.
Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.
That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.
Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.
FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars
“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”
The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.
Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.
Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.
“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”
Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.
“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.
FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.
NBA Draft To Get Simulcast From ESPN & ABC
“This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.”
ESPN is set for the 2022 NBA Draft coming up on June 23 at 8 p.m. from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The network announced Wednesday the crews that will handle coverage on both ESPN and ABC.
ABC will broadcast the first round in primetime. Kevin Negandhi will host and will be joined by Stephen A. Smith, Chiney Ogwumike and Jalen Rose. Monica McNutt will be reporting and interviewing draftees.
This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.
Malika Andrews will host both rounds for ESPN. Jay Bilas, Kendrick Perkins and Adrian Wojnarowski will share the set. Analysts Bobby Marks and Mike Schmitz will contribute.
“We’re thrilled that Malika Andrews will host this year’s ESPN presentation as she brings her well-documented, widespread skillset to our main set,” said David Roberts, head of NBA and Studio Production for ESPN. “The event will showcase the scope and depth of our NBA and college basketball talent roster with accomplished journalists and high-profile personalities across ESPN, ABC and ESPN Radio.”
ESPN will air a pre-draft red carpet show hosted by Cassidy Hubbarth from 5-6 p.m. Perkins and Richard Jefferson will also make appearances.