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ESPN Announces a Few Programming Changes

Brandon Contes

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In November, it was reported ESPN’s Cari Champion could replace Michelle Beadle on SportsNation once Beadle joins Jalen Rose and Mike Greenberg as co-host of the network’s new morning show Get Up. This week, ESPN confirmed Champion’s new role will be on SportsNation.

Champion will debut on SportsNation beginning March 12th, with her co-hosts Marcellus Wiley and LZ Granderson. Labeled as a fun, energetic show discussing unique sports topics, the program will continue to broadcast 30 minute episodes, weekdays at 4pm ET from the Los Angeles Production Center.

Champion originally joined ESPN in 2012 as host of First Take with Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith. In July 2015, Champion became a SportsCenter anchor and began on SportsCenter Coast-to-Coast in February 2016. After shuffling their weekday television lineup at the start of 2018, ESPN decided not to retain SportsCenter Coast-to-Coast.

SportsNation is a brand the company cares for deeply, and I’m excited to join a well-regarded show and also show another side of me,” said Champion. “As the only woman on the show, I’ve already let the guys know I’m going to bring the heat. This is an exciting time and I’m looking forward to the support from all involved! Teamwork makes the…you get the point.  Cheers!”

The former SportsNation host, Michelle Beadle, will debut with co-hosts Jalen Rose and Mike Greenberg on their ESPN morning show, Get Up, from the network’s new studio in New York on April 2nd. Beadle and Rose will remain on NBA Countdown, which The Big Lead reports will move from Los Angeles to Bristol immediately.

With Rose and Beadle needing to be in New York for Get UpCountdown naturally could not remain in Los Angeles. Countdown will broadcast from Bristol and be moved to New York as soon as the new studio is ready within the next few weeks.

The Big Lead reported further changes for ESPN, with The Jump expanding to a one hour show weekdays at 3pm ET. Hosted by Rachel Nichols, The Jump follows the NBA with a rotating cast of analysts and insiders.

According to the Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand and John Lombardo, the NBA is experiencing large rating’s increases locally and nationally. That information, paired with The Jump drawing 603,000 viewers during its three-hour trade deadline special, up 31% from last year’s show, makes it a wise decision to expand the program to a full hour.

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.

Sports TV News

FOX Sued for Patent Infringement Over NFL Scheduling

“Recentive Analytics filed suit against FOX in a Delaware federal court on November 29 according to Yahoo Sports.”

Jordan Bondurant

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An analytics company is suing FOX over claims that the network developed a mapping tool using their patented technology to create a season slate of NFL games.

Recentive Analytics filed suit against FOX in a Delaware federal court on November 29 according to Yahoo Sports.

The lawsuit claims FOX used access to Recentive’s predictive analytics tools to develop a resource of their own that would create optimal schedules for its 1 and 4 p.m. NFLwindows.

The company is seeking a declaration that FOX infringed on two of its patents. Recentive is also suing for damages and wants an injunction keeping FOX from using Recentive tech and preventing the network from “selling, offering for sale, marketing or using any internal network and mapping analytics tool for the scheduling and regionalization of events covered by the patents.”

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Sports TV News

FOX Will Use Chris Fallica On Belmont Stakes Coverage

“While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.”

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The Bear will be more than just a college football presence when he moves to FOX. Chris Fallica wrapped his final duties for ESPN last week and is now headed to a new network and will tackle some new responsibilities.

Fallica’s new role at FOX will involve plenty of sports gambling content. Richard Deitsch of The Athletic reports that content will include horse racing.

“One Fox Sports source said look for him to appear on the Belmont Stakes coverage,” Deitsch wrote in his weekly media column.

Starting in 2023, horse racing’s Triple Crown will not be seen all in one place. While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.

How the network intends to use Chris Fallica on the broadcast is not clear. Given that he is coming to the network to contribute to gambling conversations, it is likely he would either be making picks or at least reviewing odds right up to the start of the race.

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Sports TV News

NBCUniversal CEO Expects Disney To Buy Company’s Hulu Stake

“Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal.”

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The Walt Disney Company owns 67% of Hulu. The other 33% is owned by NBCUniversal. The latter company doesn’t expect that to be the case forever.

“It’s worth a lot of money,” NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said at an investor conference earlier this week, “and I think there’s no indication that anything else is going to happen than Disney writing us a big check.”

Hulu is primarily a platform for movies and television shows. It is a major part of Disney’s deal with the NHL though. The streaming giant is part of the package of 103 games that are exclusive to ESPN and ABC. Hulu is also a live TV provider for many. The company’s Hulu Plus Live TV package had over 4 million subscribers as of the summer of 2022.

Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal. He credits sports and content migrated from Hulu as the reason Peacock has grown to 18 million paid subscriptions since September.

Deadline reports that if Disney does want to acquire NBCUniversal’s stake in Hulu, “the price could fluctuate but will be in the tens of billions of dollars.”

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