Sports TV News
Scott Van Pelt: No Bullet Points For The Masters, You Just ‘Let It Rip’
“We just get along, everyone knows the assignment, and we are genuinely enjoying the company of people we are with.”
Scott Van Pelt has been hosting his nightly SportsCenter with Stanford Steve for each of the last eight years on ESPN. Even though he has done it for a long time, he still feels like it is not hard work for him because of the joy that sports can bring.
Van Pelt was a guest on the Get A Grip With Shane Bacon podcast this week and he said that watching sports daily is still interesting to him because you never know what can happen on any given night.
“It’s still interesting to me on a daily basis. Basically every night, the show I have done by myself with Stanford Steve, this is our 8th year and it’s a lot of being sort of a one-man band out there blowing on the kazoo and banging on the drum, but it doesn’t feel like a chore to do it. It doesn’t feel like hard work to do it because there’s some event, some result, some individual accomplishment on a daily basis that feels worthy of elevation, of celebration. That’s the only thing I think that keeps me not going, but at some point, you start thinking ‘Where are we on the back 9 here?’…I just want the sun to stay up and I just want to keep playing. I still enjoy that.”
While it is still interesting to Van Pelt, he does need days where he can unwind, which usually happens after the NBA Finals ends when he signs off from doing the nightly SportsCenter until around when college football starts.
“We get to the point on the back end of the NBA Finals where it’s sort of like being a teacher, you kind of have that summer schedule where after the NBA Finals, we sort of give everybody a wave and say ‘We’ll see you for football’ and I’m gone. It’s necessary just because I’m not a laborer, I don’t work hard like others work hard so I’m not asking anyone to pity me. But, there’s only so much mental energy you have and at some point, you just need to unplug from producing an hour or more of a show every day…By the time the drums and fight songs and college football gears up in August, you’re like ‘Giddy up, let’s go’.”
Outside of The Masters coverage, Van Pelt and ESPN only get to broadcast one other event during the year (The PGA Championship). During that broadcast, Van Pelt and the ESPN team try to have as much fun as they can because they enjoy the company they get to keep during that week:
“We do one event a year. That’s the thing that blows my mind about all of it. You look up and Bob Wischusen’s been doing hockey after doing college basketball. Sean McDonough has been all over being a great broadcaster in anything that he does. Dave Flemming is doing basketball, then doing the Giants. David Duval, I see once a year, then Andy North, and Curtis Strange. You go on down the line. There’s no ego. Everyone just kind of gets along. We get a kick out of what we do.
“We get a lot of praise for not showing a lot of ads. We are on ESPN+, we can just kind of let it rip, man, and we do. We do our level best to show as much as we can.
“It’s a TV show. You are trying to make it fun, but it’s not like we have some bullet points ‘Make sure you do this’. We just get along, everyone knows the assignment, and we are genuinely enjoying the company of people we are with.”
Ricky Keeler is a reporter for BSM with a primary focus on sports media podcasts and national personalities. He is also an active podcaster with an interest in pursuing a career in sports media. You can find him on Twitter @Rickinator555 or reach him by email at RickJKeeler@gmail.com.
Sports TV News
Charles Barkley ‘Was so Mad’ at ESPN Coverage of LeBron James
“We all love LeBron, [but] he didn’t say he was retired yet. It should’ve been all about the Denver Nuggets.”
When the Denver Nuggets advanced to the NBA Finals for the first time in the 47-year history of the franchise, ESPN showed the team’s celebration for all of four seconds. It then quickly switched to a shot of LeBron James, stoic but obviously disappointed, walking through the tunnel back to the Los Angeles Lakers locker room.
Tuesday on ESPN’s First Take, JJ Redick criticized the network’s NBA coverage for highlighting larger markets and a small faction of players considered to be “superstars.” There’s no way to tell if Charles Barkley was watching, but Redick’s point is one he agreed with.
That night on Inside the NBA, Barkley said he was annoyed with the amount of attention put on LeBron James after the game. He wanted to see the reactions of Nuggets stars Nikola Jokić, Jamal Murray and head coach Michael Malone to making the NBA Finals. Instead, he and other viewers were inundated with more content centered around the Los Angeles Lakers.
“I was so mad this morning I actually turned the TV off,” Barkley said last night on Inside the NBA, “because the Denver Nuggets sweep and get to the Finals for the first time. We all love LeBron, [but] he didn’t say he was retired yet. It should’ve been all about the Denver Nuggets.”
James, for the record, did not even say that he was seriously considering retiring. In a post-game press conference following the Lakers’ elimination, he said he “had a lot to think about” in the offseason.
The Walt Disney Company has reported its most-watched NBA playoffs on ESPN platforms in the last 11 years, according to data provided by Nielsen Media Research. The games have averaged approximately 5.6 million viewers, a 9% increase from the year prior. Moreover, Game 4 between the Nuggets and Lakers peaked at around 11.5 million viewers from the 11 to 11:15 p.m. EST quarter hour window, and averaged 8.2 million over the duration of the contest.
Sports TV News
ESPN Layoffs Resume, NFL & NBA Talent Likely To See Biggest Cuts
“The company is beginning its latest phase of layoffs this week with Vice President of Research, Insights and Analytics Barry Blyn receiving a pink slip Wednesday morning.”
ESPN will look to slash $30 million in salary as The Walt Disney Company’s layoffs continue, with a majority of it coming from talent covering the NFL and NBA. The network’s goal is to have the layoffs completed by the end of June according to a report by Front Office Sports.
Through it all, Max Kellerman’s afternoon television show This Just In could be canceled in order to slot Pat McAfee’s show into the daily programming lineup. Kellerman’s show airs from 2 to 3 p.m. EST, meaning more moves could be on the way to hold McAfee’s statement that his show will air immediately following First Take, which concludes at noon.
Employee morale at ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol is reportedly quite low, with people questioning why the company chose to pay McAfee and lay off a litany of its dedicated and longtime staffers.
The company is beginning its latest phase of layoffs this week with Vice President of Research, Insights and Analytics Barry Blyn receiving a pink slip Wednesday morning. More names are surely to follow as The Worldwide Leader looks to do its part to contribute to Disney cutting $5.5 billion in costs. The final round is expected to impact 2,500 employees in different areas of the company.
The company expects to report its own earnings for the first time this November, and sources have stated that the numbers will be impressive. Conducting the layoffs in separate rounds and saving on-air talent for last, however, has certainly played a role in public perception of the moves, and this week’s round will largely impact executives and other personnel behind the scenes.
Sports TV News
Eli Manning: ‘People Enjoy’ When ManningCast Has to Apologize for Language
“We get a lot of curse words, some from Peyton, some from guests.”
The ManningCast on ESPN has become appointment viewing for select Monday Night Football games. Eli Manning loves the fun, laid-back nature of the show he and brother Peyton put on for fans.
But with live TV, sometimes unpredictable things happen, and sometimes people use profanity. Eli, speaking on Tuesday at the 4se sports and entertainment event in New York City, said viewers get a kick out of when the two let occasional profanities slip and have to scramble to say sorry.
“We get a lot of curse words, some from Peyton, some from guests,” he said. “I feel like we’re apologizing for a lot of things on the show, but I guess people enjoy that part.”
Manning has said previously that the goal is for viewers to get the sense that Peyton and Eli are right there with them on their couch watching the game. Eli said it’s been fun getting to show some authenticity now that he’s retired.
“When I was playing, there was a conscious effort; I didn’t want either my fans or coaches to think I had a life outside of football,” he said. “Once I retired, I realized I didn’t have to hold back.”
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He’s a multimedia journalist and communicator who works at the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond. Jordan also contributes occasional coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, WRIC-TV 8News and Audacy Richmond. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.