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ESPN Could Overhaul Monday Night Football Broadcast

Jason Barrett



ESPN wants Peyton Manning and is open to making wholesale changes in the Monday Night Football booth according to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post.

After losing high profile color analyst Jon Gruden to the Oakland Raiders, the network is seeking star power in the analyst role. Peyton Manning would provide that and more which is why he’s said to be the network’s preferred choice. FOX Sports has also expressed an interest in Manning, but he has yet to commit to making a move into the booth. Insiders say the former quarterback would like to gain an ownership stake in a team, and run a franchise’s football operations like John Elway has with the Denver Broncos.

Although Manning hasn’t shown a burning desire to move into sports television, that isn’t stopping ESPN from making an aggressive play to try and change his mind. The network is said to be willing to make a huge investment to make a splash in the Monday Night booth as it attempts to replace Gruden, the network’s previously highest-paid employee at over $6.5 million per year.

The other situation that ESPN has to resolve is who will call the action going forward. Sean McDonough has spent the past two seasons calling Monday Night Football games, but sources say network executives felt he lacked chemistry with Gruden, and his remarks about NFL officiating have not been well received.

Should ESPN elect to change play by play announcers, three internal options are considered high atop the list – Joe Tessitore, Steve Levy and Dave Pasch. Bob Wischusen is another internal candidate who could receive consideration. External options include CBS’ Ian Eagle and Fox’s Kevin Burkhardt, although both men recently signed new deals with their respective networks.

If Manning chooses to stay away from the bright lights of Monday Night, ESPN will consider holding auditions for internal candidates. Matt Hasselbeck, Randy Moss and Charles Woodson are all expected to receive a look under that scenario, although none reportedly have the inside track on landing the position. The one external option listed in Marchand’s report is Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner who works for the NFL Network and Westwood One.

One interesting issue could be whether Manning views FOX’s new Thursday Night package more favorable than ESPN’s Monday Night deal. Although both games air on weeknights, the Monday Night game would likely require Manning’s time on weekends for preparation. That said, Monday Night is still considered the bigger attraction than Thursday Night.

Sports TV News

Curt Menefee to Call Two Seahawks Preseason Games

FOX NFL studio host Curt Menefee will be on the TV play-by-play for the preseason opener on August 13 and the finale on August 26.

Jordan Bondurant



Curt Menefee

The 2022 NFL preseason is going to kick off in earnest later this week, and the Seattle Seahawks have revealed their broadcast crews for two of the team’s three preseason contests.

FOX NFL studio host Curt Menefee will be on the TV play-by-play for the preseason opener on August 13 and the finale on August 26. He’ll be joined in the booth by former Seahawk Michael Robinson. The games will air locally on KING 5, the city’s NBC affiliate.

Additionally for the TV broadcasts, Paul Silvi and Ray Roberts will host the pre and postgame shows, with former Seahawk Michael Bennett working as an analyst.

On the radio, Steve Raible and Dave Wyman will call all three games. Jen Mueller will be the sideline reporter. Michael Bumpus will be the studio host and will be joined by former players Jordan Babineaux, Paul Moyer, Roberts, Marcus Trufant and Robert Turbin.

Radio broadcasts air on Seattle Sports 710 AM and KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM and are distributed across Washington on the Seahawks Radio Network.

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Sports TV News

After Losing Out On Big Ten Rights, ESPN Turns Focus to NCAA Championships

According to Front Office Sports, ESPN’s contract for 29 NCAA Championships ends in 2024.



After reportedly losing out on the Big Ten’s television rights, ESPN is reportedly turning to securing the NCAA Championship rights from hitting the open market.

According to Front Office Sports, ESPN’s contract for 29 NCAA Championships ends in 2024. Those 29 championships include everything from Women’s basketball to ice hockey, wrestling, softball, and baseball. The network pays a reported $34 million for the rights to broadcast those championship events.

However, according to a study commissioned by the NCAA reveals that the women’s basketball tournament could be worth anywhere from $81 million to $112 million per year by its lonesome. The NCAA is reportedly considering selling the women’s basketball tournament rights as a standalone product in the next negotiation.

Sources told Front Office Sports ESPN remains interested in striking deals with the Pac-12 and Big 12 media rights, as well as renewing a deal for the College Football Playoff.

The news comes after Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand reported ESPN declined a final offer from the Big Ten for a portion of the conference’s media rights. The reported deal was seven years and $380 million per year.

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Sports TV News

ESPN Announces The Return of Stephen A. Smith to First Take

ESPN announced Smith will be returning to First Take on Monday, August 15th.



Stephen A. Smith

First Take has been without it’s anchor since the day after the NBA Draft in June. That’s when the ESPN personality took some time off to undergo shoulder surgery and to rehabilitate. However, it appears the wait for his return is almost over.

ESPN announced with a tweet that Smith will be returning to First Take on Monday, August 15th. They also teased a guest appearance from Michael Irvin.

This comes a day after Smith tweeted that the countdown was on for his return and we are one week away from the event.

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