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Common Man & T-Bone: SportsCenter Will Prioritize The SEC Over The Big Ten

“If it goes to NBC with Peacock, you can almost assure they’re going to put an Ohio State game on Peacock, and you’re going to have to go get that thing.”

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The Big Ten Conference’s current media rights deal with Fox and ESPN is set to expire in 2023, and, according to conference commissioner Kevin Warren, a new agreement is imminent. At the moment, the conference hopes to have a memorandum of understanding agreed to before Memorial Day; however, which of the seven suitors confirmed to be in talks for the media rights, is currently unknown.

On Tuesday afternoon, Common Man and T-Bone on 97.1 The Fan in Columbus spoke about the negotiations, which could amount to a record-setting $1 billion annually, that will impact where and how a quarter of the United States population watches its college football teams.

“[It’s] not a shock to me that this would get done fairly quickly,” said Jonathan “T-Bone” Smith. “The amount of money to be made off of this conference and all these rightsholders, they want a part of this. They want to be in the mix and make sure they don’t lose this college football money that comes to them.”

The last media rights deal involving the Big Ten was worth $2.64 billion and involved Fox and ESPN sharing the football rights, while CBS had exclusive rights to a package of basketball games.

Now with a myriad of different networks involved, the possibility of the conference severing ties with ESPN, a partnership existent since ESPN’s launch in 1979, is a very genuine possibility. If ESPN were to lose the media rights to Big Ten games, it could mean a massive shift in the way games are consumed by the viewing public.

“I had heard that NBC was very interested,” said co-host Mike “Common Man” Ricordati. “What would that mean, in terms of a lot of these games being stream-only on Peacock? That could be a possibility.”

Recent negotiations between NBC and sports leagues have implemented Peacock, NBC’s streaming service, to have exclusive rights to a set number of games. On the day before the start of the regular season, Major League Baseball and NBC came to terms on a two-year agreement worth a reported $30 million annually to broadcast 18 Sunday baseball games on the streaming service.

If the Big Ten were to secure a media rights deal with NBC, a similar scenario could play itself out, something that the afternoon duo compared to exclusive National Hockey League games being broadcast on ESPN+. The distinction they made, though, is in the size of the college football audience compared to the, according to Ricordati, “not large” NHL audience, and how restricting access could coerce fans to purchase new subscriptions.

“As much as they have ESPN+, I don’t think [that] right now [is] a huge strategy for them,” said Smith. “They put lots of college football games on ESPN+ – you can actually watch plenty of that stuff there – but they also put it on ESPN…If it goes to NBC with Peacock, you can almost assure they’re going to put an Ohio State game on Peacock, and you’re going to have to go get that thing.”

The SEC and ESPN recently agreed to a decade-long media rights deal worth approximately $3 billion. The agreement marks the first time that CBS will not hold the rights to the conference since 1996, meaning that if the network is unable to gain the Big Ten rights, it could be without college football entirely – at least for a period of time.

“If CBS is not involved in the SEC, are they just going to sit there and say, ‘Well, no college football for us – that’s it.’?,” asked Ricordati. “No, they’re going to get in on the Big Ten.”

The other aspect of the Big Ten ending its long-standing rights agreement with ESPN, according to the afternoon duo, is that it may not garner as much coverage overall across the properties of the network. While Smith affirmed Tuesday that “It’s not fair and it’s not right,” he came to the realization that “it will happen.”

“You will never go across ESPN SportsCenter Saturdays in the fall, and not see them showing Ohio State highlights; not see them talking about Ohio State as one of the top five teams – all that stuff,” added Smith. “But you’re not going to see them talk about the Iowas of the world as much and hyping them up the way they are going to hype the fourth or fifth best team in the SEC.”

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Tony Bruno Relives Favorite Moments With Angelo Cataldi on 94 WIP

“I loved every day. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that.”

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Tony Bruno has been a staple of the sports radio business for decades. Bruno is from Philadelphia and was teamed up in the early nineties with a duo still dominating the local airwaves there today, Angelo Cataldi and Al Morganti. The three reunited Thursday morning on 94 WIP to remember the glory days of their partnership and friendship.

One of the first moments Cataldi asked Bruno if he remembered was the update he did from a tree outside of their studio and the answer was an emphatic yes.

“Absolutely, it’s one of the highlights of my life – other than interviewing four Presidents and every sports athlete in history – there’s no bigger moment than me climbing up in the tree, which was obstructing our view of William Penn and the city skyline. That’s what I do, I was a man of action. I’m not one of these guys that talks the talk, I climb the tree to do whatever is necessary.”

More frivolity followed when Cataldi harkened back to a segment of ‘Damsels in Distress’ and a time in which Bruno was sent on the street during a snowstorm to help shovel people out of their driveways. Bruno quickly recalled, “Man of the people. I should run for – I should of run for Governor of Pennsylvania or Senate or something.”

Bruno added that his favorite rant (and one that Cataldi loved too) wasn’t about the Cowboys or sports at all. “My favorite was my Infinity Broadcasting rant where I went on one day and even ripped our bosses, all the way up to the top of Infinity Broadcasting.” Cataldi cackled and praised Bruno’s rants more before being interrupted by Bruno saying, “yeah, my only regret is I never really ripped Al (Morganti) the way I should have ripped him. I let him of the hook so many times.”

An insightful moment came at the end of the call when Cataldi asked rhetorically if Bruno ever thought they (Cataldi & Morganti) would still be doing this thirty years later and then asked if Tony ever regretted leaving.

“It was a tough decision, Ang,” Bruno answered. “I was given an ultimatum. When I came to work with you guys, I loved every day. Every day we had fun. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that. It wasn’t one of those, ‘oh I got to go; I’m too big for these guys’. I even turned the ESPN job down a couple of times.

“My kids were still younger then, I didn’t want to move. I didn’t have to move. They said just come up here on weekends and that’s how ESPN Radio started. So I was doing weekends and Tom Bigby (Program Director) didn’t like that either, told me it wasn’t going to work. It was a philosophical thing. When he told me, ‘you should go because we are not going to pay you what they’re paying you,’ I said ok.

Cataldi began to sign off with Bruno with genuine thanks: “I got to tell you something Tone, we are indebted to you for the rest of our lives because we both learned so much from you and you are one of the great talents that radio has ever had.”

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Dodgers Temporarily Pull Broadcasters Off Road

“If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road.”

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When the Los Angeles Dodgers visit the East Coast later this week, the men that call the action on TV and radio will not be with them. The games will instead be broadcast on AM570 LA Sports and SportsNet LA from their respective studios.

“Due to a few members of the Dodgers’ broadcast team having recently tested positive for COVID-19, and out of an abundance of caution, the Dodgers have decided to not travel their broadcasters to upcoming games in Philadelphia and Washington,” the Dodgers announced in a statement. Similar to the 2020 and 2021 MLB seasons, the games will be broadcast from Los Angeles,” reads a statement on the team’s Twitter account.

No further details are available, so the severity and the number of cases remain unknown.

Last September, both members of the Dodgers’ television play-by-play crew were forced into quarantine. Joe Davis was the first to test positive, followed later that month by Orel Hershiser.

On Wednesday, manager Dave Roberts told the media that the Dodgers’ roster and coaching staff are not effected.

“There’s there’s no symptoms in the clubhouse. I think that as far as the upstairs, as an organization, we’re all just trying to be very cautious. But as far as in the clubhouse, coaches, training staff, nothing like that.”

If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road. 2022 was supposed to be a return to normal for the Dodgers and many other teams after not letting broadcasters travel in 2020 and 2021.

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Pat McAfee: ‘No One Will Disrespect Jim Rome On My Show’

“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle.”

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Jim Rome is a sports radio icon and Pat McAfee recognizes that.

On The Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday, McAfee was talking to co-host A.J. Hawk about how Rome trended recently on Twitter.

This happened after news of Tom Brady’s FOX Sports deal surfaced, and a list of the top paid sports media personalities was compiled. Rome came in behind Brady at number two making a reported $30 million a year, and many were surprised by that number. McAfee wasn’t.

“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle,” he said. “I have nothing but respect for Jim Rome.”

McAfee gave props to Rome, 57, saying he’s been doing sports talk probably longer than anyone. He’s one of the most widely distributed hosts in the country. Pat said he won’t tolerate anyone talking smack about the Smack-Off King.

“No disrespect will be said on this show of Jim Rome, ever,” he said. “Love that man.”

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