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Hard Work Pays Off For Conway

Jason Barrett

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The key to Curtis Conway’s rise in the broadcasting business is that he never assumed he knew everything.

Of course Conway knew the sport of football, having played it since he was 7 years old and then at the highest levels, at USC and in the NFL. He also knew he had a lot to learn about calling a game, or providing studio analysis, or even the parts of the sport in which he never was involved as a high school quarterback and college and pro receiver.

So Conway committed himself to learning, leaning on broadcast veterans and former teammates to further his education. He enters the 2015 football season with two plum gigs: studio analyst for Pac-12 Networks and radio analyst for the San Diego Chargers. He earned those jobs through hard work.

“Too often former athletes think because they played, or because they’re famous, listeners or viewers are interested in what they have to say,” said Matt “Money” Smith, who did games with Conway for Compass Media Networks. “Then they open their mouth, have nothing to offer and never think twice about it.

“From the first game we called together (USC vs. San Jose State in 2009), he was always looking to get better, to be better, knowing it wasn’t going to happen overnight. Years later, he’s still asking those same questions, and that’s why he continues to build an impressive résumé in his post-playing career.”

After his final NFL season in 2004, Conway got involved in real estate and other business ventures. He started doing part-time radio and TV work, and he discovered he liked it.

Conway initially resisted the idea of getting back into football because he wanted to show kids in his native Los Angeles that the sport isn’t the only way out. But the work drew him back in, and he set about becoming good at it. Conway sought advice from Charles Davis, James Brown and other pros.

“These are guys who gave me their number and told me to reach out anytime I wanted to,” Conway said while watching a recent USC practice. “They would sit there on the phone with me and break stuff down. The confidence came from those guys.”

Conway considers Davis his biggest mentor. Conway first approached Davis at a game, and they later worked together on NFL Network’s “Path to the Draft.” One day Conway told Davis and fellow NFLN analyst Daniel Jeremiah how much he admired their work. Davis stopped him mid-sentence. The compliments no longer were necessary; Conway had arrived.

Davis recalled the conversation in a phone call Monday.

“Dude, we’re done with that,” Davis remembered saying. “You’re out here for a reason. You’re a full partner.

“If it were a law firm, you’re no longer an associate, you’re fully invested with us.”

That was the moment Conway truly knew he could succeed in the business.

“Hearing praise from a guy like Charles Davis – oh my God,” Conway said. “It’s just like football. It’s just like when I got to the (Chicago) Bears, and Richard Dent and Steve McMichael basically gave me their stamp of approval … 12 weeks into the season.”

Although he is an established analyst now, Conway isn’t finished seeking advice and asking questions. He still quizzes former college teammate and current NFLN colleague Willie McGinest about defensive line play – and new Chargers colleague Nick Hardwick about the offensive line. Conway refuses to rely on his fame and past on-the-field accomplishments.

“Those people don’t last,” Davis said. “What Curtis did was build a base and foundation that would last. I admire him for that. He’s willing to put in the time.”

To read the rest of the article visit the OC Register where it was originally published

Sports TV News

FOX Sports Sees Record-Setting Ratings Weekend

The World Cup matchup between the U.S. and England on Black Friday and Michigan/Ohio State on Saturday saw tens of millions of viewers tuning in.

Jordan Bondurant

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FOX Sports has been home to a number of record-setting games in terms of viewership over the last several days.

In addition to FOX Sports setting a new mark for a Thanksgiving and regular season NFL audience, the World Cup matchup between the U.S. and England on Black Friday and Michigan/Ohio State on Saturday saw tens of millions of viewers tuning in.

The network reported the U.S./England match in the group stage of the 2022 World Cup averaged 15.377 million. It was the most-watched English-language soccer game in the U.S. ever, topping the 1994 World Cup final between Italy and Brazil.

Viewership of the match was up 11% compared to the second group stage contest for the U.S. team in 2014 against Portugal. The audience peaked at 19.646 million from 3:30-3:45 p.m.

FOX Sports also reported the Michigan/Ohio State game on Saturday drew in 17 million, which made it the most-watched regular season college game on the network ever. That figure was also the highest of any regular season contest since 2011. That game also saw the audience peak at 19.6 million.

Viewership for the game was up 3% compared to last year.

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Sports TV News

ESPN Bowl Plans Could Be Altered By NFL Flex Scheduling

“While this situation poses a challenge, we are accustomed to flexibility and having to maneuver our event schedules.”

Jordan Bondurant

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ESPN could be forced to adjust its upcoming bowl season schedule if the NFL decides to flex a Las Vegas Raiders game a week before Christmas.

ESPN announced its contingency plans for two bowl contests, the Las Vegas Bowl and the New Mexico Bowl. The Las Vegas Bowl is currently planned to kick off from Allegiant Stadium at 7:30 p.m. on December 17. The Raiders right now are still planning to play in the Sunday night game the next night against the Patriots.

Should the NFL decide to flex the Raiders out of the SNF window, ESPN will swap kickoff times between the Las Vegas Bowl and the New Mexico Bowl. That would mean the game in sin city will kick off at 11:30 a.m. local time, with the contest in Albuquerque starting at 5:20 p.m. local time that evening.

“The SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl and New Mexico Bowl are both owned and operated by ESPN Events, so this change is a solution that will work for all parties,” ESPN Events vice president Clint Overby said. “While this situation poses a challenge, we are accustomed to flexibility and having to maneuver our event schedules. We are more than prepared to move forward with this revised schedule if necessary.”

Kickoff times will be determined well enough ahead that the schools taking part in both games shouldn’t be adversely affected.

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Sports TV News

NFL Thanksgiving Games Set Ratings Records

FOX Sports added that viewership was up 49% compared to 2021.

Jordan Bondurant

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NFL

The Thanksgiving slate of NFL games last week brought in the largest audiences ever. Viewership across all three games averaged 33.5 million.

The game with the largest viewership was Giants/Cowboys in the 4:30 p.m. window. FOX Sports reported that 42 million watched Dallas beat New York 28-20. It is the largest regular season audience ever, surpassing the previous leader set 32 years ago.

The network added that viewership was up 49% compared to 2021. FOX carried the Detroit Lions traditional noon Thanksgiving game last year. Compared to the Cowboys turkey day contest on CBS in 2021, viewership was up 3%.

The Bills/Lions game in the early window on CBS averaged 31.627 million, with the audience peaking at 41.981 million. It was the most-watched early Thanksgiving game on record.

Patriots/Vikings on NBC in the nightcap averaged 25.9 million. That figure was up 24% compared to Bills/Saints a year ago, with NBC Sports claiming it’s the second most-watched primetime Thanksgiving game on record. The game was simulcast in Spanish on Telemundo, which averaged 565,000 viewers and made it the most-watched NFL game ever on the network.

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