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Stephen A. Smith Alternate NBA Broadcast Coming To ESPN October 26

“Four editions of The NBA in Stephen A’s World are on the schedule for 2022.”

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Alternative broadcasts are all the rage in sports, particularly at ESPN, which has launched several in the wake of the Manningcast’s success. The latest will focus on the NBA and feature the network’s brightest star, Stephen A. Smith.

Four editions of The NBA in Stephen A’s World are on the schedule for 2022. The first one is set for October 26 when the Milwaukee Bucks host the Brooklyn Nets on both ESPN2 and ESPN+. Other episodes will air November 2, December 2, and Christmas Day.

Like other ESPN alternate broadcasts, Stephen A. Smith will welcome celebrity guests to watch and talk about the game with him. He told Variety that fans should expect a very loose atmosphere and conversation.

The NBA in Stephen A’s World is co-produced by SAS Productions (owned by Smith) and Omaha Productions, Peyton Manning’s company, which has produced alternate broadcasts of the US Open and college football as well as the Manningcast for ESPN. Smith says that doesn’t mean his show will follow the format of previous Omaha ventures.

“I don’t think that anybody who has watched those shows should anticipate that they will see me doing anything remotely like them when it comes to how I watch a game,” he said.

One key difference is that Smith doesn’t want to stray too far from basketball. The NBA wasn’t on Omaha’s radar when the company and ESPN reached a deal to produce the variety of megacast content they will offer. ESPN brass went to Smith and Omaha with the idea. Stephen A. Smith says that gave him the power to shape what the broadcast will be.

“You’ll see people who are fans of the sport who are relatively popular coming in to talk about the sport. That’s what it will be about.”

The future of the The NBA in Stephen A’s World is up in the air after Christmas. ESPN and Omaha will evaluate the 2023 calendar to see if and when it could commit to future editions of the alternate broadcast.

Sports TV News

Al Michaels: Condensed Prep Time For Thursday Night Football ‘A Downside’

“It’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us.”

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There were bound to be unexpected hiccups and unintended consequences as Al Michaels moved to Thursday Night Football with Amazon Prime Video.

He told The Boston Globe Thursday that one of the downsides of the week’s schedule is less prep time with the teams playing in the game.

“When we go to see the teams, it’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us,” Michaels said. “And all the time I’ve been doing this, I’ve built some great relationships with coaches and players and GMs and owners and you name it, and I don’t get that much time to spend with them anymore. That’s a downside part of it for me. Some of the best stories you get come from those relationships.”

Michaels has raised eyebrows this season while not being shy about his disdain for some poor matchups early in the schedule. However, he now understands that there are quality games as the season approaches its close.

“The schedule was a little leaky with the Carolina-Atlanta game and a couple of other games that we’ve had, but now we’re positioned for a nice run down the stretch,” said Michaels.

The 78-year-old was also asked how he remains energetic and passionate for the job he’s held for so long.

The games are exciting. I love sports. You don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s no script. And unscripted television is the greatest.”

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Sports TV News

Jimmy Pitaro: Reaching Younger Audience A Priority for ESPN

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience. As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

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Many in the media industry have voice concern that millennials and Gen Z aren’t consuming traditional media outlets like previous generations. ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said it’s a priority for the network.

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience,” Pitaro said, quoted by Morning Consult sports business reporter Mark J. Burns. “As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

Pitaro made the comments at Sports Business Journal’s Media Innovators conference Wednesday. It is a continuation of comments he has made in recent years.

In 2018, Pitaro said at ESPN’s upfront “I think we are doing a fantastic job serving the sports fanatic,” said Pitaro. “What about the casual sports customer? Are we doing all we can to serve him or her?”.

In 2019, Pitaro said it was “all hands on deck” to reach a younger audience and women. “We have to be open and go to where our customers are,” he said in regards to reaching younger viewers on social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

Earlier this year, Pitaro added that ESPN won’t be leaving linear television anytime soon.

“What I will tell you is that as I sit here right now, that business is still incredible,” Pitaro said. “We serve the sports fan anyway and at any time. I know there are a lot of people that still want ESPN in that traditional ecosystem.”

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Sports TV News

Don Mattingly Joining Blue Jays Staff After YES Network Courtship

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

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The New York Yankees regional sports network can take Don Mattingly off its talent wish list. Mattingly was announced Wednesday as a bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays starting in 2023.

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

But Mattingly told Andrew Marchand of The New York Post this week that he had another opportunity in the works but wouldn’t elaborate.

YES also has been considering luring Yankees legend and Hall of Famer Derek Jeter into broadcasting. But no formal talks have taken place.

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