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Kenny Mayne Inks New Deal With ESPN

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Kenny Mayne, an iconic face and voice of ESPN for two decades, has reached a new, multi-year agreement to remain with the company in the role he’s most closely associated with:SportsCenter anchor.

“I did what?” Mayne asked.

Mayne, who returned to the SportsCenter anchor desk in 2013 after a five-year absence and is well known for his offbeat style, dry humor and unique sayings, will continue as a guest anchor of the 1 a.m. ET edition of the program, which airs from ESPN’s Los Angeles studio and is hosted by Neil Everett and Stan Verrett. He also will continue to be part of SportsCenter on the Road at select events and will produce features for SportsCenter.

“Happy to be back for more. It beats real work,” Mayne said. “I fly to LA for a week, watch sports and make up words. Sometimes I literally make up the words. Pure gibberish. But Stan and Neil seem to get me.”

In his new deal, he will expand his presence on SportsCenter as a featured contributor to the midnight ET edition of the program hosted by Scott Van Pelt from ESPN’s Bristol, Ct., studios.

“For 20 years, Kenny Mayne has placed his own indelible, if somewhat askew, stamp onSportsCenter,” said Rob King, ESPN senior vice president, SportsCenter and News. “We are truly delighted that he’ll continue entertaining fans, both from the SportsCenter set and from all corners of the sporting world.”

Mayne joined ESPN in May, 1994, as an anchor on ESPN2, providing five-minute score and news reports, and as a feature reporter. He also served as the original host of ESPN2’s former auto racing programs rpm2day and rpm2night. He occasionally anchored SportsCenter until assuming that role fulltime in August 1997, and he remained in the position until 2008.

From 2008–2011, he produced and starred in an original scripted series on ESPN.com titledMayne Street, then in 2011, he shifted gears and debuted Kenny Mayne’s Wider World of Sports on ESPN.com. He also previously hosted ESPN’s horse racing coverage.

Mayne has been a staple of ESPN’s “This is SportsCenter” commercials during the campaign’s 20-year run, appearing in more than 50 spots. He also was a contestant on the second season of ABC’s Dancing With the Stars in 2006 and since then has occasionally appeared on the show with NFL Hall of Famer Jerry Rice in “DanceCenter,” a SportsCenter-themed segment.

Prior to joining ESPN, Mayne had served as a freelance reporter and field producer for the network from 1990-1994.

Sports TV News

JJ Redick Suggests He & Draymond Green Host NBA Manningcast

“I would be honored to sit in a room with a GOAT like yourself and talk basketball.”

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With the overwhelming success that the Manningcast has been for Monday Night Football, other leagues and networks are looking to replicate ESPN’s and the Manning Brothers’ formula.

There may be some willing hosts for an NBA version of the show in JJ Redick and Draymond Green. Redick joined Green’s new podcast The Draymond Green Show on The Volume to talk about a potential partnership between the two in the future.

“I know you got a lot of basketball left in you, but a lot of people have said to me you and Draymond need to do a version of the Manning brothers Monday Night Football when Draymond is retired. Just keep that in mind when you retire in 5 or 6 years,” said Redick to Green.

Before answering, Draymond Green noted that he had recently been a guest on the Manningcast. Not only did he like the experience, he said it is now his favorite way to watch Monday Night Football.

Green liked the idea of teaming with Redick. He said that the duo play very different styles of basketball. That would give the listeners two very different perspectives on the game.

“I would be honored to sit in a room with a GOAT like yourself and talk basketball,” Green added. Redick ended the conversation about a potential alternate NBA feed by saying “We’ll make it happen.”

This would not be something new for the NBA to do. They are already trying out the idea of an alternate cast of NBA broadcasts with Jamal Crawford and Quentin Richardson on NBA League Pass.

As Redick stated, it may be a while until we see Draymond Green retire from his playing career in the NBA, but when he does I am sure that he will be a hot commodity in the sports media world.

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Sports TV News

All 3 Thanksgiving Games Pull Big Audiences For NFL

CBS’s production of the overtime thriller between the Dallas Cowboys and the Las Vegas Raiders brought in a whopping 38.5 million average viewers.

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The numbers are in for the NFL Thanksgiving day games, and the results are overall a positive for the league. CBS received the highest viewership of all the networks this Thanksgiving, and put up some record numbers in the process.

CBS’s production of the overtime thriller between the Dallas Cowboys and the Las Vegas Raiders brought in a whopping 38.5 million average viewers. This is a 26% increase from last year’s comparable window and the highest viewership for a regular-season game on any network since 1990.

The game is also the most-watched television program on any network since last year’s Super Bowl on CBS.

Paramount+, featuring live NFL ON CBS local market games, scored an NFL regular-season viewership record for total streams, streaming minutes and unique viewers while registering triple-digit year-over-year growth in streaming minutes and unique viewers from Thanksgiving Day 2020 in a huge success for CBS on the day.

FOX also faired well, as their viewership for the first game of the day between the Detroit Lions and the Chicago Bears was up 14% over last years window, sitting at 26.7 million average viewers.

Despite the game itself not being super exciting, the game set a record for the most-streamed Thanksgiving day game across FOX Sports properties in their history.

The primetime game on NBC did not fair as well, as they came in at an average of 19.3 million viewers, a 7% decrease from 2019, as 2020’s game was postponed due to COVID protocols. NBC was not aided by what was mostly a one-sided game most of the night.

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Sports TV News

Disney Investing In Content To Combat ESPN Subscriber Decline

Disney revealed that they have seen a 10% drop in pay-TV subscribers with access to ESPN.

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Disney has decided to ramp up spending while ESPN faces a tricky situation of losing subscribers for their traditional audience of cable subscribers, but an increase in streaming numbers.

Disney has said that it would spend $33 billion on content in fiscal 2022, which began on October 1st. The company’s annual reports shows that this number is up 32% from last fiscal year, where the company spent $25 billion.

Of the $33 billion, which spans all Disney networks and studios, with a target of 140 scripted and unscripted series, $10.3 billion is earmarked for sports programming, per the filing.

Disney revealed that they have seen a 10% drop in pay-TV subscribers with access to ESPN. This number fell to 76 million, from 84 million at the end of fiscal 2020.

These numbers show the steady decline coming from not only traditional TV but ESPN in particular. The tally is well below ESPN’s peak of just north of 100 million homes nearly a decade ago.

ESPN News and ESPNU, which each had 62 million pay-TV subscribers a year ago, dropped to a respective 59 million and 51 million in fiscal 2021.

All is not gloom for ESPN however, as they have been putting up impressive numbers for their streaming service ESPN+. ESPN+, which costs $6.99 per month, ended the fiscal year with 17 million subscribers, up 66% year-over-year.

Disney has denied that they would spin off ESPN but indicated that it may consider bundling ESPN+, Disney+, and Hulu into a single service at a later date.

For the time being, they have added ESPN+ and Disney + to their Hulu Live TV package, a move set to affect Hulu customers in December with a $5 increase to $64.99 per month.

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