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ESPN, FOX Executives Floated As Next Big Ten Commissioner

“Here’s the problem with getting a TV executive right now is that their media deal is done for long-term.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Last week it was announced that Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren would be departing for a job with the Chicago Bears, and the speculation on a replacement has started.

With the conference last year inking a multi-billion dollar media rights deal with CBS, NBC and FOX, it’s believed that a TV executive could be considered one of the top candidates.

But on The Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast, Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand thought that might not be the play even though some names in various leadership positions have been floated around.

“Here’s the problem with getting a TV executive right now is that their media deal is done for long-term,” Ourand said. “So the names that consistently come up – Burke Magnus who has a big job at ESPN now, but he’s also the guy who launched the ACC Network, the SEC Network, he cut his teeth on ESPNU. He’s someone that knows, understands and loves the college game and somebody who would be great in that position I think.”

Ourand also wondered if FOX Sports president Mark Silverman would also be considered. But Ourand then thought about some of the other conference commissioners out there who could potentially throw their names in the running.

ACC commissioner Jim Phillips came to mind for Ourand.

“He’s cut his teeth as commissioner a the ACC,” he said. “Is this something that he could be interested in? I think that’s worthy of taking a look at.”

But Ourand did say when you look at conferences like the Pac-12, Big 12 and the Big Ten, often the name that emerges is someone that wasn’t necessarily grown in college sports.

“George Kliavkoff wasn’t on anybody’s list. He just sort of came out from nowhere,” Ourand said. “Brett Yormark at the Big 12. Nobody would’ve predicted that he would’ve gone in there. So the traditional route of you need to be an AD or you need to be in sort of college sports to rise up to commissioner, that’s been thrown on its head by the Pac-12 and the Big 12.”

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Sports TV News

3.72 Million Tune In To See LeBron James Break Scoring Record

Jordan Bondurant

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Lakers star LeBron James surpassed the NBA’s all-time scoring record on Tuesday night, and TNT benefitted from the milestone ratings wise.

According to Sports Media Watch, Tuesday night’s game averaged 2.98 million viewers. That figure made it TNT’s biggest regular season audience in over two years.

The broadcast peaked at 3.72 million around 11:45 p.m. when James passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the record.

Reporting also indicated that the game was the number one single-network program on TV in key demographics.

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Sports TV News

Disney Makes ESPN Independent Division In Corporate Restructuring

Jordan Bondurant

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ESPN

Disney is in the process of reorganizing and restructuring the company, and details have emerged about the company’s plans for ESPN.

Deadline reported on Wednesday that ESPN will be one of three standalone segments comprising Disney. Entertainment and Parks, Experiences & Products are the other two segments.

The reorganization comes amid the exit of former CEO Bob Chapek and the re-entry of CEO Bob Iger. As one of Iger’s first moves back running Disney, he announced a restructuring of Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution.

It was also reported that Jimmy Pitaro will continue as the president of ESPN.

In total, more than 7,000 jobs will be eliminated after the restructuring.

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Sports TV News

Roger Goodell: ‘Wouldn’t Surprise Me’ To See Thursday Night Football Move to Flex Scheduling

“Not today, but it’ll certainly be something that’s on our horizon.”

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Thursday Night Football

In 2023, Monday Night Football will join Sunday Night Football in having the ability to flex NFL games into its window. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday Night Football could someday join that elite club.

During his “State of the League” speech Wednesday, Goodell said Thursday Night Football having the ability to flex matchups “wouldn’t at all surprise me”.

“Not today, but it’ll certainly be something that’s on our horizon,” the NFL Commissioner said.

ESPN bargained for the ability to move higher profile games into Monday Night Football during its negotiations with the league for the next television contract that begins this upcoming season.

NBC has long held the ability to shift a select number of games from earlier windows into the Sunday Night Football primetime slot.

Amazon Prime Video just completed the first of an 11-year contract that sees the streaming platform spend nearly $1 billion per year on the Thursday Night Football package.

One of the largest storylines of Amazon’s debut season with the NFL was the near-constant ridicule from play-by-play announcer Al Michaels over the lackluster TNF schedule. Michaels made headlines over several weeks for his candor on the lack of interesting matchups, going as far as to joke that if the schedule didn’t improve he would retire.

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