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How Much Football Is Too Much?

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The old expression says you can’t get enough of a good thing. But that adage will be put to the test this fall when it comes to the amount of football on television. The football season is ready to explode on television screens with more games, more football spectacle and more yappy talk shows than ever before. The combination of football and television is a broad cultural force in America, perhaps now bordering on an unhealthy national obsession.

College football’s opening weekend will see 45 games broadcast on national television. Big television dictates starting times and even the days when games are played. Televised college football games will be played regularly this year on Thursdays, and even some Tuesdays and Wednesdays. This can’t be good for the student part of the student-athlete equation, or for the non-athlete students who attend games.

The college season has been lengthened to harvest additional revenue from television. The finalist teams in the college playoff this year will play 15 games with a season stretching from Labor Day weekend through the title game on Jan. 11. Conference playoff games and the new four-team national playoffs are designed mostly as revenue producers, the largest amount coming from broadcast rights. Notre Dame’s national title team in 1973 played only 11 games, the season beginning Sept. 22 and ending with a Dec. 31 Sugar Bowl win against Alabama. Only four Irish games were on live television that year. Now, all Irish games are national broadcasts.

When it comes to the power of television and media hype, however, the National Football League makes colleges look like pikers. The NFL generates an estimated $10 billion a year in revenue, with $6 billion coming from the sale of television rights to Fox, NBC, CBS and ESPN. The broadcasters then hype their NFL connections year-round to convince audiences that the NFL is, indeed, essential to their lives.

The NFL doesn’t really need a marketing department. Networks, sports talk radio, local newspapers and television outlets do the bandwagoning for the NFL, which is constantly in the news. In addition to the 16 games each team plays, there is endless coverage of preseason practice, off-season personnel moves, player drafts, stadium renovations, and of course, hysteria over deflated footballs or whatever distraction comes along.

The league is now looking to extend its product further into the national consciousness. It recently created an executive position, hiring a Hollywood television producer to push the brand into non-game content. That could include NFL quiz shows and reality shows. He will also oversee entertainment programs around the Super Bowl, including the halftime show. Of course, nothing says football like Katie Perry and dancing sharks.

To read the rest of the article visit the Indy Star where it was originally published

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ESPN, Omaha Productions Expands Places Franchise into Hockey, College Basketball, Tennis

“PK Subban will host PK’s Places focused on hockey, Sue Bird will host Sue’s Places focused on college basketball, and John McEnroe will host McEnroe’s Places focused on tennis.”

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Peyton’s Places has been one of the great successes in terms of original series on ESPN+. The franchise, which began with Peyton Manning visiting places and people integral to the history of the NFL, has expanded into new sports in recent years. Now, there are spinoffs starring Eli Manning, Abby Wombach, Ronda Rousey, Davíd Ortiz, and Vince Carter.

At Tuesday’s Disney Upfront presentation, the Manning Brothers announced three new additions to the Places family.

PK Subban will host PK’s Places focused on hockey, Sue Bird will host Sue’s Places focused on college basketball, and John McEnroe will host McEnroe’s Places focused on tennis.

“The Places franchise is all about giving fans an inside look at their favorite sport so we are excited to be adding such incredible teammates as the Places Universe continues to expand,” said Peyton. “Sue, P.K. and John will all bring a unique and colorful perspective to their sport’s history as they give viewers a look at some of their favorite places.”

In addition to the new shows, Peyton and Eli are coming back. Peyton’s Places will get a third season. Eli’s Places will get a second season.

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No Timetable For Big Ten To Get TV Deal Done

“Warren told The Athletic that he wasn’t married to a deadline of having a deal to announce by Memorial Day.”

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Negotiations are reportedly continuing between the Big Ten Conference and media partners to complete a new media rights deal, and conference commissioner Kevin Warren isn’t in a hurry to make an announcement.

Warren told The Athletic that he wasn’t married to a deadline of having a deal to announce by Memorial Day.

“I want to make sure we take the appropriate time to get this wrapped up, but we’re making really good progress; that’s the good thing about it,” Warren said. “It’s a great time to be in this space. And there are so many really talented people in this area. But we have a good team. We have a great conference, and so I just really look forward to making sure that these are done in a very thoughtful manner and keep our fans and our student-athletes at the center of our decisions.”

FOX Sports will remain the anchor partner for Big Ten football games, but the conference is working with its other partners like ESPN and CBS for basketball and listening to other potential suitors to add a streaming element.

“The media landscape has changed, and you think (of) the interplay between linear television and streaming,” Warren said. “We just have to really think through what fits for what the Big Ten stands for, what’s in the best interest of our fans, what’s in the best interests of our student-athletes, what’s in the best interest of our member institutions.”

The deal, when finalized, could be worth close to $1 billion and would see a modest increase in money paid out to member schools.

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Kevin Harlan Angry People Thought He Was Insulting Odell Beckham Jr.

“I was furious that I took heat over that, because I wasn’t given a chance to finish what I was going to say because of what the broadcast was doing at the time.”

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Broadcaster Kevin Harlan has a bone to pick with the social media mob. Harlan wants the record set straight after comments made about NFL wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. during a recent NBA Playoffs telecast.

Beckham was spotted by TNT cameras during a recent game in the Dallas Mavericks/Phoenix Suns series when Harlan pointed out that Beckham got injured during this year’s Super Bowl.

“He blew a knee in the Super Bowl on a crossing pattern,” Harlan said in response to his broadcast partner Reggie Miller, who said Harlan needed to give OBJ the correct title of Super Bowl champion.

Reaction on Twitter was outrage, as people believed Harlan was trying to take a swipe at the former Cleveland Browns/Los Angeles Rams wideout.

But Harlan, who called Super Bowl LVI on the radio for Westwood One, said that simply wasn’t the case.

“I know the NFL, I know what it meant to him,” Harlan told USA Today. “And I couldn’t finish it and I got attacked and that’s the kind of world we live in now. And I was furious that I took heat over that, because I wasn’t given a chance to finish what I was going to say because of what the broadcast was doing at the time.

“What I was going to finish saying, but I was unfortunately interrupted was, ‘And look at him walk after blowing that knee, knowing that he was a part of a Super Bowl championship performance,'” he added.

Harlan continued that the timing just didn’t work out. He thinks it’s ridiculous that people would take him out of context.

“I was going to tell a story. I know who he is. I’ve called every year of his career,” he said. “I was just going to try this thing – you just have to be so vigilant, so alert to everything that happens. I was left hanging. I took the brunt of it. I didn’t like it.”

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