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Mendoza Takes The High Road Handling Criticism

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Jessica Mendoza, whose history-making broadcast debut as Major League Baseball’s first female analyst in a post-season game prompted a sexist backlash, is taking the situation in stride.

“Any time there is a change, there’s normally a lot of resistance. I think the [thing I was most] excited about was the aftermath and how much support there really was,” she said today on “Good Morning America.”

“Yes, I am a female, but I want it to get to the point where, let’s think about what I am saying, what I am doing, and not so much the sex that I am. I want to get to a point when we hear a female voice on NBA, NFL, or just anything in men’s sports, and it is like, ‘Sweet. She’s doing a good job.’”

Support poured in from both men and women for the analyst after Atlanta sports radio host Mike Bell called out Mendoza, an analyst and 34-year-old Olympic softball gold medalist, on Twitter, using a derogatory insult from the movie “Anchorman.”

“Really? A women’s softball slugger as guest analyst on MLB Wildcard Game? Once again ESPN too frigging cute for their own good,” he wrote.

“You guys are telling me there isn’t a more qualified Baseball player ESPN can use than a softball player? Gimme a break!” he wrote in another tweet.

Mendoza said she saw Bells’ incendiary tweet and decided not to read it.

“Just before I was going to click on it, I thought, ‘You know, Why?’ Why even give it the attention? I didn’t even want to open it, so I have actually yet to read it,” she explained.

Due to the comments, Bell was suspended from his daily radio show on 92.9 The Game for two weeks. He offered a recorded apology Wednesday.

“What I said was hurtful and I wanna take this opportunity to say to Jessica that what I said was dumb, and there’s just no place for it, and I apologize for putting that garbage on Twitter,” he said.

Mendoza became the first female analyst to call a nationally televised Major League Baseball post-season game this past Tuesday — the American League Wild Card matchup between the Houston Astros and New York Yankees. Mendoza began appearing on Major League Baseball broadcasts after fellow sportscaster and former MLB pitcher Curt Schilling was suspended for an anti-Muslim tweet.

Mendoza said she accepts Bell’s apology and wants to move forward.

“I accept his apology,” she said. “To me, it really was about the fact that he came after me because I was a woman.” “I feel very confident…. I’m looking forward to the future,” she continued.

Mendoza works for ESPN, which shares the same parent company, the Walt Disney Company, as ABC News.

Credit to ABC News who originally published this article

Sports TV News

NFL Considers Ending Pro Bowl Amidst Low Ratings

“Mark Maske of The Washington Post reports the future of the Pro Bowl was discussed on Tuesday during the owners’ meetings in Atlanta.”

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The NFL is obsessed with TV ratings. It isn’t a surprise that the league may not be willing to tolerate the Pro Bowl underperforming for much longer. 

In 2022, the NFL’s all-star game produced it’s lowest ratings in 16 years. Fewer that 7 million people tuned in to watch the game across ABC, ESPN and DisneyXD. 

“The (Pro Bowl) game doesn’t work,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday after the owners’ meeting in Atlanta. “We need to find another way to celebrate the players.”

There are two proposed alternatives that have been reported. The Washington Post says the league is considering launching a seven-on-seven competition. It would not include tackling or full clocks. The other report comes from Ian Rapport of the NFL Network. He says the league is considering hosting a series of skills competitions over the course of what would be branded an all-star week. The NFL has partnered with DirecTV in the past to present similar events during Super Bowl Week. 

No details have emerged or final decisions made. Mark Maske of The Washington Post reports the future of the Pro Bowl was discussed on Tuesday during the owners’ meetings in Atlanta.

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Former Hulu Exec Michael Schneider Hired To Run Bally Sports+

“Schneider previously was VP of brand and content marketing at Hulu, where he had involvement in various marketing efforts for Hulu + Live TV.”

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Sinclair Broadcast Group and Diamond Sports Group have tapped Michael Schneider as the chief operating officer and general manager of Bally Sports+ when it launches this year.

Schneider will oversee the direct-to-consumer platform that will also be the hub for Bally Sports live programming.

Schneider previously was VP of brand and content marketing at Hulu, where he had involvement in various marketing efforts for Hulu + Live TV.

“Throughout his career, Michael has successfully launched and developed DTC streaming and service platforms and created immersive engagement experiences,” said Sinclair COO and president of broadcast Rob Weisbord. “He is a terrific addition to the team as we build out the Bally Sports+ offering, its exclusive content and passionate fan community.”

Even before Hulu, Schneider had a hand in streaming. He was a founding member of the PlayStation Vue launch team.

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Marquee Sports Network Weighs Streaming Options Outside of Bally Sports+

“Marquee GM Mike McCarthy said to Sports Business Journal there’s no rush, but the network is hopeful they can have something in time for the 2023 season.”

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As Sinclair Broadcast Group prepares to launch Bally Sports+, its direct-to-consumer platform that will be home to Bally Sports live events, the Chicago Cubs are weighing their options for Marquee Sports Network, which the team co-owns with Sinclair.

Despite being under the Sinclair umbrella, Marquee is its own free-standing RSN from the rest of the Bally Sports networks across the country.

Marquee is readily available on a number of cable providers, but the only thing that’s really missing is its own standalone streaming platform for games. Marquee GM Mike McCarthy said to Sports Business Journal there’s no rush, but the network is hopeful they can have something in time for the 2023 season.

“We’re always interested in being on the cutting edge with the ultimate deliverable to our consumer,” McCarthy said. “But there isn’t any contractual clock ticking to make us feel that way. It’s how we’ve approached things from the beginning. Between our two ownership groups, there’s a lot of aggression to get it right. And I think you’ll see something along those lines shortly.”

The TV ratings will always be of top interest for MLB, especially regional ratings. But as the league has worked to embrace more streaming options for games, striking deals with Apple and Peacock for rights this season, it’s all about providing what the fans and viewers want.

“We now have the ability to do so much more, to properly tell the story of a 162-game season,” said Crane Kenney, Chicago Cubs president of business operations. Kenney was instrumental in the launch of Marquee. “We love baseball, we love the game, and we love the opportunity we have to share it with our fans in really deep ways.”

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