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ESPN Reveals NFL Coverage Plans

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ESPN’s commentator team of Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and sideline reporter Lisa Salters return for MNF’s 46th season (10th on ESPN). Schedule release. What to watch for:

  • MNF will introduce a new show open, as well as new graphics, animations, and a new shield logo.
  • After successful testing in the preseason, MNF will add Pylon Cam to its regular season game coverage. The system uses four custom-molded goal line pylons that house four cameras each to offer brand new perspectives around the goal line. It is the latest in the MNF history of innovative production enhancements and was first deployed and tested during the College Football Playoff Championship in January and then further developed for this season.
  • The MNF production will also feature a new booth backdrop; weekly telecasts will utilize four Dreamcatchers, six Sony 4300 cameras in high frame rate 1080p, one Sony 4300 in high frame rate UHD 4k at the high end zone, and two iMovix Phantom cameras in high frame rate UHD 4k on the goal lines.
  • In celebration of Frank Gifford’s life and longtime contributions to MNF, the No. 16 he wore as a Giants player will be placed on all of the MNF production trucks this season. Tirico and Gruden will also wear No. 16 lapel pins during games, and Gifford’s voice will be featured in the new MNF show open.

Sunday NFL Countdown – New two-hour, more fast-paced show; increased role for Matthew Berry
The 2015 season marks the 30th anniversary of Sunday NFL Countdown (11 a.m.-1 p.m. ET, ESPN), which debuted in 1985 as NFL GameDay. Host Chris Berman, analysts Cris Carter, Mike Ditka, Tom Jackson and Keyshawn Johnson, host/reporter Wendi Nix and NFL Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter kick off the show’s fourth decade with a more fast-paced, whip-around two-hour format. Details:

  • Senior fantasy sports analyst Matthew Berry will have a more prominent role on the show.
  • The new show open pairs remade music by Chase Holfelder with messages voiced by Kai Greene.
  • ESPN will have a camera at every NFL game on Sundays.

NFL Insiders: Sunday Edition – ESPN’s popular weekday show is added to Sunday lineup
Debuting September 13 and leading into Sunday NFL Countdown, the new one-hour NFL Insiders: Sunday Edition (10-11 a.m., ESPN) will provide fans with up-to-the-minute information on Sunday’s slate of NFL games. Trey Wingo will host with NFL Insiders Chris Mortensen and Adam Schefter and NFL Front Office Insider Louis Riddick.

ESPN Fantasy Field Yates joins Fantasy Football Now; New Fantasy Football Kickoff on Tuesdays

  • The two-hour Fantasy Football Now (Sundays, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on ESPN2) pregame show returns with NFL Insider/reporter Field Yates joining Robert Flores, Matthew Berry, Tim Hasselbeck, Sara Walsh and Stephania Bell.
  • The new 30-minute Fantasy Football Kickoff (Tuesdays, 3-3:30 p.m. on ESPN) show with Berry, Flores and Hasselbeck airs throughout the season.

More ESPN NFL Studio – Expanded NFL roles for Suzy Kolber and Josina Anderson

ESPN Radio

  • For the third year, ESPN Radio broadcasts out-of-market NFL games, beginning September 13. Commentators include play-by-play announcers Marc Kestecher, Bill Rosinski and Ryan Ruocco, and analysts Herm Edwards, Shaun O’Hara and Bill Polian.
  • A new fall football-themed weekend lineup kicked off September 5.
  • ESPN Audio podcasts ESPN Fantasy Focus Football, ESPN Fantasy Football Weekly andESPN DFS Podcast offer fans dedicated fantasy football coverage.
  • ESPN Radio shows travel to select NFL cities and Monday Night Football games as part of its annual Fall Football Tour, including Mike and Mike at the New York Jets facility on September 11.
  • Mike and Mike and other shows welcome weekly guests – Cris Carter, Trent Dilfer, Mike Ditka, Ron Jaworski, Steve Young and more – to discuss the NFL.

ESPN Digital and Print
ESPN.com’s NFL coverage starts with an industry-leading group of 32 NFL Nation team reporters, which provides a 365-day stream of news, analysis, game coverage, predictions, interviews, fantasy insight, as well photos, videos, and social elements surrounding each NFL club. Their work and faces are featured daily on shows like SportsCenter, NFL Live and NFL Insiders. Other NFL coverage staples:

  • 32 for 32: A new daily feature each morning featuring one must-read nugget for each team. This is the NFL fan’s daily cheatsheet on the biggest names and storylines throughout the league.
  • Football Power Index: Designed to be a predictive measure of power, the FPI makes its NFL debut this season. The addition of Brian Burke, founder of the popular website Advanced Football Analytics and a leading voice in NFL analytics, will allow ESPN Stats & Info to do even more with football analytics. Each week, FPI will be used to highlight the most overrated and underrated teams.
  • Top Names for News: A new joint column from Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen each Thursday, plus John Clayton’s Inside the Huddle both in column and video form throughout the week.
  • An NFL ‘Front Office:’ Hall-of-Famer Bill Polian, Louis Riddick, Mark Dominik, Herm Edwards, and more, debate key personnel issues during the season.
  • The Insiders: Mike Sando, Field Yates, Matt Williamson, Adam Caplan and others deliver deep breakdowns daily.
  • Power Rankings: Nothing is clicked on or argued over more. This drops every Tuesday in conjunction with SportsCenter. #ESPNRANK – a preseason countdown of the top 100 players in the NFL – is also a popular feature this season.
  • ‘This Guy’ for Monday Night Football: Jon Gruden calls the game, and he previews MNFevery week for ESPN Insiders.
  • The Hot Read: Elizabeth Merrill, Jim Trotter, Ashley Fox, Greg Garber, Kevin Van Valkenberg, Seth Wickersham and others offer weekly enterprise reporting throughout the season.
  • Kiper & McShay: Mel Kiper’s Big Board and Todd McShay’s Top 32 run throughout the season, and their mock drafts start in December and run through April. Kiper’s Grades and Todd’s Best Picks won’t only live online, but feed days of post-draft TV programming, including a signature show.
  • espnW: NFL coverage on espnW includes features from Kate Fagan, Jane McManus, Sarah Spain and others.
  • com: Senior writer Bill Barnwell and staff writer Jonathan Abrams regularly cover NFL topics for Grantland.com.

Sports TV News

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.”

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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.

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Sports TV News

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?”

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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.

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Sports TV News

NBA Draft To Get Simulcast From ESPN & ABC

“This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.”

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ESPN is set for the 2022 NBA Draft coming up on June 23 at 8 p.m. from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The network announced Wednesday the crews that will handle coverage on both ESPN and ABC.

ABC will broadcast the first round in primetime. Kevin Negandhi will host and will be joined by Stephen A. Smith, Chiney Ogwumike and Jalen Rose. Monica McNutt will be reporting and interviewing draftees.

This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.

Malika Andrews will host both rounds for ESPN. Jay Bilas, Kendrick Perkins and Adrian Wojnarowski will share the set. Analysts Bobby Marks and Mike Schmitz will contribute.

“We’re thrilled that Malika Andrews will host this year’s ESPN presentation as she brings her well-documented, widespread skillset to our main set,” said David Roberts, head of NBA and Studio Production for ESPN. “The event will showcase the scope and depth of our NBA and college basketball talent roster with accomplished journalists and high-profile personalities across ESPN, ABC and ESPN Radio.”

ESPN will air a pre-draft red carpet show hosted by Cassidy Hubbarth from 5-6 p.m. Perkins and Richard Jefferson will also make appearances.

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