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Andrew Marchand: ESPN+ Price Hike Is Step Towards Network Leaving Linear TV

“They want to create their own bundle (With ESPN+, Hulu and Disney+),” Marchand said. “It’s obvious. You’ve got sports, you’ve got entertainment, you’ve got TV with those three things. That’s where they’re trying to get you to go.”

Jordan Bondurant

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ESPN recently announced it would be upping the price for its streaming service ESPN+ from $6.99 to $9.99 a month. But there’s a method to that madness that makes some sense to those who follow sports media.

On their weekly podcast, The Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast, Andrew Marchand of the New York Post said the end game for the worldwide leader and parent company Disney is to eventually get to a point where all of its offerings will be available for consumers to stream at a premium price.

“They want to create their own bundle (With ESPN+, Hulu and Disney+),” Marchand said. “It’s obvious. You’ve got sports, you’ve got entertainment, you’ve got TV with those three things. That’s where they’re trying to get you to go.”

Ourand, who covers sports media for Sports Business Journal, said the way it was explained to him, the decision to make this seemingly incremental jump in price for ESPN+ comes from consumers having all the access to their favorite sports and teams all in one place.

“It really did make a little bit of sense,” Ourand said. “If you look at DAZN, they cost about $20 a month for some boxing, PGA Tour Live that was $10 a month, that’s now part of your ESPN+ subscription. NHL.TV, that was $25 a month, that’s all part of the subscription. So there’s a lot of content that on its own cost a lot more than ESPN+ did.”

Marchand added that this was ESPN’s way of trying to plan for that eventual end goal.

“It’s all about testing to see what the consumers are going to pay for,” he said. “It’s getting consumers used to the idea of paying a lot for streaming.”

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Sports Online

Big Cat: Listening to ESPN Wisconsin After Packers Playoff Loss ‘Highlight of My NFL Season’

“For three hours, I sat in my car. I arrived home –it’s a 20-minute drive — I arrived home, and I sat for three hours listening to callers be like ‘blow up Lambeau!’, ‘get 12 (Rodgers) outta here!’, ‘we need to build a dome, this team isn’t built for the outside’, and that was the highlight of my NFL season. And I have no problem saying that.”

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During a recent interview with Barstool Sports, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers had a poignant question for noted Chicago Bears fan Dan “Big Cat” Katz that he then used to slam the Packers quarterback while also expressing his enjoyment for Green Bay fans.

“Is it hard, for you as a Bears fan, that some of your greatest moments are cheering against me when the Bears aren’t playing?”, the Packers quarterback half-jokingly asked.

“Very good question,” Katz responded. “No, it’s actually great, because what I’ve told everyone is — I’m very realistic about the Bears — ‘not a great franchise, (the Bears) just don’t do the right things’ for the most part. Every year I look forward to the playoffs and the game that you’re going to lose. I’ve told this story on air, but, when you guys lost to San Francisco this year we were watching the game in New Jersey and I drove back to Brooklyn — brag — and I listened to (Mark) Tauscher. For three hours, I sat in my car. I arrived home –it’s a 20-minute drive — I arrived home, and I sat for three hours listening to callers be like ‘blow up Lambeau!’, ‘get 12 (Rodgers) outta here!’, ‘we need to build a dome, this team isn’t built for the outside’, and that was the highlight of my NFL season. And I have no problem saying that.”

Rodgers laughed at Big Cat as he delivered the message, seemingly getting genuine joy out of the conversation.

“I know I’m a loser,” Katz continued. “That’s the best part. I’ve come to grips with the fact that I’m a loser, so yes, watching you lose in the playoffs is…that’s my Super Bowl. And I’ve won a lot of Super Bowls if you do it that way. More than you.”

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Sports Online

Michael Silver Joins San Francisco Chronicle

“I’m ecstatic to join forces with some of my favorite journalists and be part of a publication I’ve been devouring for decades — in the greatest region on Earth,” Silver told The Chronicle.

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Veteran NFL reporter Michael Silver is joining The San Francisco Chronicle as their newest NFL columnist.

Silver will continue his work with The Volume, Bally Sports, and Backstage Media in addition to adding a column with the Chronicle.

“I’m ecstatic to join forces with some of my favorite journalists and be part of a publication I’ve been devouring for decades — in the greatest region on Earth,” Silver told The Chronicle. “It will be a thrill to write columns alongside Scott Ostler, a living legend, and my amazingly talented friend Ann Killion, who I’ve dreamed of working with since we were competing on the 49ers beat in the early ’90s. … As a native San Franciscan, this feels like home.

Silver has previously written for Sports Illustrated, Rolling Stone, GQ, NFL Network, and Yahoo! Sports, among others. He’s also authored books on Jerry Rice, Kurt Warner, and Dennis Rodman.

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Skip Bayless Tries to Win Debate Rounds ‘Like Muhammad Ali’

“I must admit I have been known upon rare occasion to try to win a debate the way Ali won rounds with a flurry at the end trying to get the last word also going through the stop or wrap sign.”

Ricky Keeler

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Skip Bayless

When people watch debate shows, they sometimes don’t want the debate to end. However, bills have to get paid and commercials have to be shown. However, when is the right time for a debate show to air a commercial? On the latest episode of The Skip Bayless Show, Skip was asked in an email by a listener about when he and Shannon Sharpe know to go to a debate on UNDISPUTED on FS1. Bayless said the show has more room to roam in the first two hours, but eventually, he gets the signal from his line producer.

“We loosely plan on 22-23 minutes in what we call our A block. We block out 25-ish minutes for our B block, which is the only block in the show that has two topics in it.”

“Our line producer in the control room, Nick, who is in our ears. He tries to sense along the trail when we are winding down or when we are trying to push the clock too far. His first cue to us in our ears, he tries to avoid speaking when we are speaking, the first cue is ‘start to wrap’. Then, a minute or so later, he says ‘wrap’. If we continue to not wrap, maybe we get a much stronger ‘wrap’.”

However, it might not be easy for Bayless and Sharpe to end the debate, especially if they both want to be the one who wins the argument. So, sometimes, they can easily go past the hard wrap sign that is given.

“Sometimes the guy sitting across from me at the debate desk gets all worked up and barrels right through that stop sign. I must admit I have been known upon rare occasion to try to win a debate the way Ali won rounds with a flurry at the end trying to get the last word also going through the stop or wrap sign,” said Bayless.

If there is one thing that Bayless is proud of, it’s the fact that UNDISPUTED has never gone past the allotted time, which allows The HERD with Colin Cowherd to begin on schedule.

“I must tell you not in 6 years have we ever not finished a show right on time. Not once have we pushed Colin over the cliff as he begins his show. That is just not acceptable.” 

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