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Mike Tirico Learned The Most About a Sport From Jon Gruden

“I’m not an expert in anything. I can probably have the best nerd conversation in football because of my time around Jon Gruden. The eight years with Gruden, it was like getting a PhD in football.”

Ricky Keeler

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Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden

While Mike Tirico has called numerous sports in his career for ESPN/ABC and now NBC, you won’t find him calling himself an expert at any of the sports he broadcasts despite how much he knows. 

Tirico was a guest on The NFL Rhodes Show with Lindsay Rhodes podcast and he admitted he isn’t an expert at any sport. However, he feels he can have the best conversation about football and it comes from the time he worked with former NFL head coach Jon Gruden on Monday Night Football:

“None. I’m not an expert in anything. I can probably have the best nerd conversation in football because of my time around Jon Gruden. The eight years with Gruden, it was like getting a PhD in football. Jon came out of coaching and he wanted a team to coach. He would explain X’s and O’s stuff to us… I thought I knew all the nomenclature of football, but then as time went on, it was good. I can recognize plays from a West Coast offense. That’s the one I can have the best conversation, but it’s nowhere near an expert level.”

This year, Tirico will be in the NBC Sunday Night Football booth calling games with Cris Collinsworth. Since the two of them have done games before, the transition from Collinsworth going from Al Michaels to Tirico should be smooth:

“Cris and Al were as good a team as you will ever see. Cris, Al, and Michele [Tafoya] made SNF a terrific broadcast for over a decade, which is unheard of in prime time TV. I’m so blessed to have been around them and work with them. Cris and I did about 20 games together, so there’s no ‘let’s see if this works’. We know how each other likes to operate and I get along with Cris and his family and vice versa. I’m very excited about the fact that there’s not a huge discovery process to this.”

With Tirico calling sports on a national level, he told Rhodes that he enjoys learning new information, but it is now difficult for a broadcaster to just jump in and call a game because of all of the information that is out there on a particular team:

“I still do love sports and I still like it a lot, so I enjoy the discovery phase of it… Because of not just the internet and social media and bloggers who have rightfully built a really good following with their teams. They kind of thread the needle of covering the team, voice of the fan, opinionated, throw stuff out there, follow it really closely and have some credibility. That has now made it harder to jump in and cover sports on a national level.”

“In some ways, that motivates you, but it also makes the job harder because there’s more out there to digest and I think it’s a fascinating job for us.”

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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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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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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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