Even though it had nothing to do with what happened on the field, it’s not an exaggeration to say that one of the biggest sports moments over Labor Day weekend was Dan Patrick’s return to SportsCenter and ESPN. It had been eight long years since Patrick last appeared on ESPN airwaves. And after an acrimonious exit and many years in feisty competition with Bristol, seeing DP on the network that made him a nationwide star was as much of a long shot as Kansas and Washington State playing in this year’s National Championship Game.
And yet, on the debut of Scott Van Pelt’s midnight edition, there was Dan Patrick back in the SportsCenter studio. With tongue firmly planted in cheek, Patrick even wore his ESPN visitor badge over his suit to make it clear that he was just stopping by for a moment to say hello.
Here’s the full interview between Van Pelt and Patrick. I’ve heard some say it was great television, I’ve heard others say it was a tad bit awkward. I think the best word to describe the interview is “surreal.” Dan Patrick back on ESPN?!? This is something we never thought we would see again!
Eight years doesn’t seem like it’s a long time, but so much has changed in that time – and I think that’s the major takeaway from this discussion. Patrick’s radio show is simulcast on NBCSN and he hosts Football Night in America and the Olympics on NBC. Van Pelt has his own edition of SportsCenter that eminates from ESPN’s trillion dollar futuristic studio and he’s now the face of the network. This wasn’t a traditional walk down memory lane filled with nostalgia. This wasn’t Patrick walking into the highlight desk, calling a Nats-Mets highlight package, getting in his signature lines, and then hitting the road.
This was something different. Something honest. Something perhaps unexpected, with several quotes that would probably make ESPN’s executives nervous. (Especially the impromptu discussion about SVP’s latest decision to re-sign with ESPN instead of going to NBC with Patrick.)
Given everything that’s transpired in the past eight years, maybe that’s just fine. Maybe we’re not supposed to go back and relive “The Big Show” and pretend that it’s 1997 again. Given Patrick’s post-ESPN success and how it’s SVP’s stage now, maybe this organic “passing of the visitor badge” was just right to mark Dan Patrick’s return to ESPN.
Credit to Awful Announcing who originally published this article
Greg Olsen To Partner With Kevin Burkhardt For Super Bowl LVII
“Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.”
The deal isn’t done yet, but Andrew Marchand of The New York Post reports that Greg Olsen is on his way to joining Kevin Burkhardt in the top NFL booth at FOX. Although Tom Brady will take over that role after he retires and leaves the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Olsen will spend at least this season on FOX’s A-Team.
Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.
Earlier this year, the former Panther told The Mac Attack on WFNZ in Charlotte that he was disappointed he didn’t get to call a postseason game. He will more than make up for that in 2023. As Burkhardt’s partner, Olsen is in line to be the analyst for Super Bowl LVII.
Marchand writes that we could get a taste of what is to come in February. He speculates that if the Buccaneers are not in the Super Bowl, it is possible Tom Brady could make his FOX debut, either in the booth alongside Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen or as part of the network’s studio show.
Now, FOX has to make a decision about it’s number 2 NFL booth. According to Marchand, Drew Brees is a candidate to be the analyst. Adam Amin and Joe Davis have emerged as candidates for the play-by-play role.
Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX
“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”
FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.
A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.
The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.
Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.
That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.
Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.
FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars
“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”
The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.
Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.
Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.
“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”
Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.
“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.
FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.