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NFL Expected To Land Huge Thursday Night Deal

Jason Barrett

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One of the last big sports rights opportunities for several years is about to become available to TV networks. The NFL’s Thursday Night Football — which for the past two seasons has aired on CBS via one-year deals — is generating intense interest as the league is likely to extend the length of the package significantly to bring it in line with other TV rights pacts, most of which run through the 2022 season.

Analysts predict a long-term Thursday Night Football arrangement could go for $600 million annually and potentially much higher when deal making begins in earnest in January.

CBS, Fox, NBC and Turner have signaled interest in the Thursday package. As the incumbent, CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus would seem to have an advantage. (The net paid $275 million for the eight-game Thursday package last season and re-upped this season for about $300 million.)

But the games are said to be a top priority for NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke. Certainly, NBC Sports under Mark Lazarus has been aggressive in acquiring and keeping live contests. Last year, the company agreed to pay $7.75 billion for six Olympics, locking up the Games through 2032. Turner Sports also has indicated a strong desire for Thursday Night Football.

Last year, TNF averaged a little more than 12 million viewers a game on CBS and NFL Network, where they are simulcast. This season, the Sept. 17 TNF opener set a record for the franchise, with more than 21 million viewers watching the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs. But critics say the Thursday games often feature inferior matchups, and the fluctuating ratings reflect those hit-and-miss contests.

Plus, the Thursday package may not be the only rights deal for the NFL: The league also might look to package global digital rights for its international series. The NFL pulled in $20 million from Yahoo for the rights to the Oct. 25 Buffalo Bills-Jacksonville Jaguars game from London’s Wembley Stadium. Yahoo’s first free global live stream of an NFL game notched 15.2 million unique viewers. The league may expand its international series from three games next season, possibly adding a fourth game in Mexico. It is expected to announce its 2016 international series Nov. 25.

Credit to the Hollywood Reporter who originally published this article

Sports TV News

Tom Crean Returns to ESPN As College Basketball Analyst

“You look around, you realize everybody is working at an extremely rapid pace. I might get emails for the next morning’s ‘SportsCenter’ at 2:30 in the morning.”

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Tom Crean is returning to ESPN as a college basketball analyst.

A report from Front Office Sports details Crean returning to the worldwide leader after previously working for the network during the 2017-2018.

“The game has changed completely,” Crean said. “There’s a 1,000-foot level of what people want you to think this is all about. But here’s the 10,000-30,000-foot level of what it really is. I don’t think I will have any fear of talking like that. There’s so many things changing around the game with how you recruit. And I had to live it.”

Crean was fired as the head coach of Georgia after four seasons on the job. He added that the work ethic shown by ESPN employees is a motivator for working for the network.

“You look around, you realize everybody is working at an extremely rapid pace. I might get emails for the next morning’s ‘SportsCenter’ at 2:30 in the morning.”

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Sports TV News

ESPN Plans 20 Hours of College Football Playoff Selection Coverage

The College Football Playoff teams will be unveiled at 12:15 PM ET, with the rest of the New Year’s Six matchup being revealed at 2:30 PM.

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ESPN has more than 20 hours of studio coverage planned for the selection of the College Football Playoff.

The College Football Playoff teams will be unveiled at 12:15 PM ET, with the rest of the New Year’s Six matchup being revealed at 2:30 PM. Rece Davis, Kirk Herbstreit, Joey Galloway, Jesse Palmer, and David Pollack will be on the main set as the selections are revealed.

Several other personalities will join the show including analysts Greg McElroy, Robert Griffin III, and Dan Mullen, in addition to Paul Finebaum, Matt Barrie, and Chris Fowler.

ACC Network and SEC Network will also separately produce shows discussing the bowl selections.

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Sports TV News

Chris Fallica Leaving ESPN for FOX

Neither FOX or ESPN would comment on the situation, but in the Awful Announcing report it’s believed that there will be a send-off of some sort for Fallica on Saturday.

Jordan Bondurant

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A prominent sports betting voice featured on ESPN’s College GameDay will be heading to rival FOX and their Big Noon Kickoff show starting in 2023. According to Awful Announcing, Chris Fallica, affectionately known as “The Bear”, will make his last appearance on GameDay will be this weekend.

Fallica has been with ESPN since 1995. Since 2013, Fallica had been featured on GameDay making betting picks with his patented “Bear’s Board”.

Neither FOX or ESPN would comment on the situation, but in the Awful Announcing report it’s believed that there will be a send-off of some sort for Fallica on Saturday.

Fallica joins Tom Rinaldi as the second former GameDay voice to jump over to FOX and be featured on Big Noon Kickoff.

Both shows have experienced incredible viewership growth this season. For GameDay, there have been several weeks this season that have seen some of the largest audiences in the show’s history.

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