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Pat McAfee To Take Hiatus From Smackdown To Be On College GameDay

“I am still very much in the WWE family and as one OG from the WWE said to me in a message that was very heartfelt, ‘Now one of our guys is on GameDay.’”

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Pat McAfee

Pat McAfee revealed details of his future on his YouTube show on Wednesday. It was announced late Tuesday night that he is now a full-time member of the College GameDay cast for ESPN.

McAfee revealed that discussions about a role at ESPN began at the end of the last college football season. He sat in a suite at the College Football Playoff National Championship Game with ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro. The two have been sharing ideas and negotiating ever since.

According to McAfee, the deal got done earlier this week and has him locked into College GameDay for the next two seasons.

“I am a lucky ing human. I know that,” Pat McAfee said. “I am trying to enjoy that as much as possible. I am living the dumbest life possible. I am trying to work my ass off, so hopefully karma does come around a little bit and if I didn’t work my ass off, Tim and Sally McAfee would be embarrassed.”

McAfee has been on College GameDay in the past. In 2019, he had a deal with ESPN that saw him with his toe in the company’s waters in several different ways including GameDay, Thursday night college football, and appearances on Get Up.

When that contract ended, McAfee said the timing felt wrong to try and work out a new deal. It was impossible to keep up the pace all of his jobs had created. Now, when it comes to ESPN, he can turn all of his attention to College GameDay, which he has held in high regard for as long as he can remember.

“It is an honor. It’s a show that is an institution. It’s a Saturday staple in all of our lives, from Truck drivers to suits and everybody in between. Saturday morning has a routine and it revolves around College GameDay.”

One thing will have to change. Pat McAfee said the WWE insisted he take time off to make his new role on College GameDay a priority. He says that his role on Smackdown is as important to him as anything that he does, so he is still part of the company, but he will not be on TV for a while.

“I am still very much in the WWE family and as one OG from the WWE said to me in a message that was very heartfelt, ‘Now one of our guys is on GameDay.’” He said. “So I am still very much part of the WWE family, will still very much be doing things, but for the good of college football and the good of the opportunity that is in front of me right now, I’ll be focused on College GameDay on Saturdays, this show Monday through Friday and then trying to watch every NFL game on Sundays.”

Triple H, the WWE’s Chief Content Office, confirmed the arrangement and the company’s support for Pat via Twitter.

McAfee insisted that his audience know that nothing in his media career is as important to him as his daily show. He said that every decision he has made in terms of other opportunities has been driven by what it means for the daily show.

“It has turned into something that I am passionate about and love more than any other chapter in the rest of my entire life,” he said. “I will never sacrifice this show for anything.”

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ESPN’s NFL Programming Sees Big September Growth

For ESPN, September has been a really strong month with their NFL programming.

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NFL Studio

For ESPN, September has been a really strong month with their NFL programming.

Sunday NFL Countdown is averaging 1.4 million viewers per show thus far in 2022. That up 15% from 2021’s first three shows of the NFL season. The season premiere – Sunday, Sept. 11 – averaged 1.6 million viewers, tying the network’s best Week 1 audience for the show since 2016 and is up 35% year-over-year.

NFL Live experienced large growth too. The episode airing after the first NFL Sunday, on Monday September 12, averaged 664,000 viewers which beat every NFL Live episode last season, including the most-watched episode on 2021 (December 17) which grabbed 635,000 viewers.

Monday Night Countdown is averaging 1.3 million viewers for its two, non-staggered September episodes, which aired in its traditional timeslot (6-8 pm).

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ESPN Assigns Broadcast Teams for MLB Wild Card Round

In preparation for the postseason, ESPN has assigned the broadcast teams for the series forthcoming.

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Wild Card
David Berding/Getty Images

There are just a few games left in the MLB season and the postseason begins this weekend with the Wild Card round. In preparation, ESPN has assigned the broadcast teams for the series forthcoming.

Andrew Marchand reports that the team assigned to the presumptive New York Mets Wild Card series will be Karl Ravech, David Cone and Eduardo Perez. The Mets still mathematically can win the NL East but they trail the Braves by two games with three to play.

He also reports that the St. Louis Wild Card series will be called by Michael Kay and Alex Rodriguez. The Cleveland series will be broadcast by Boog Sciambi and Doug Glanville while the Toronto series will be called by Dave Flemming, Jessica Mendoza and Tim Kurkjian.

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Stugotz: ‘Sean McDonough Hates The Aaron Judge Cut-Ins’

“If you look at the numbers, if you look at the interest, if you look at the revenue that it generates for the networks, it makes more sense to have an Aaron Judge at-bat interrupted by an Iowa State field goal attempt than it does the other way around.”

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College football fans are not being shy with how they feel about Aaron Judge. Whether it is private conversations or social media posts, people are making their disdain for the cut-ins to college football games on ESPN networks when the Yankee slugger comes to bat known. On Monday morning, Stugotz added that it isn’t just fans that are unhappy.

The Dan Le Batard Show discussed the second straight week of cut-ins on Monday morning. Stugotz pointed out that one of ESPN’s primary college football voices sounds just as annoyed as fans are.

“Sean McDonough hates the toss to Aaron Judge,” he said. Hates it!”

Last week, ESPN and ABC cut into games when Judge was sitting on 60 home runs. This week, he was sitting on 61. A 62nd home run would be the most in American League history.

Stugotz added that has to be part of McDonough’s frustration.

“In his defense, what are we cutting in for? I have no idea if [Aaron Judge] is breaking a record, what record he’s breaking, if he’s clean. I have no idea!”

Producer Mike Ryan Ruiz said the fact that Judge is yet to deliver is making the cut-ins more frustrating for fans.

“I think what hurts the whole thing is that Aaron Judge has been terrible during these cut-ins,” Ruiz said. “He’s been God awful during these cut-ins. I haven’t seen a single home runs during one of these cut-ins. There was genuine fury at a watch party I was at. Fury! At Aaron Judge.”

A popular criticism of ESPN has been that this kind of attention would not be paid to Aaron Judge if he was chasing a mark that wasn’t the home run record if he played anywhere other than New York. According to Ryan, the mistake is bigger than that. Why would regular season baseball ever interrupt college football?

“If you look at the numbers, if you look at the interest, if you look at the revenue that it generates for the networks, it makes more sense to have an Aaron Judge at-bat interrupted by an Iowa State field goal attempt than it does the other way around.”

There are four games left in Major League Baseball’s regular season. You can bet college football fans will make plenty of signs for College GameDay if Judge cannot hit number 62 before the playoffs start.

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