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Mike Patrick Has Signed Off at ESPN

Brandon Contes

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Legendary broadcaster Mike Patrick made his final appearance on ESPN last night, joining Dan Shulman, Jay Bilas and Maria Taylor for a segment during the Duke-Louisville broadcast.

During the postgame press conference Coach K paid homage to Patrick who was standing in the room. Krzyzewski thanked the broadcaster for his contributions to college sports and stated he never turned off the sound when showing his team tape of a game called by Patrick.

“It’s wonderful to reflect on how I’ve done exactly what I wanted to do with my life,” Patrick told ESPN Front Row. “At the same time, I’ve had the great pleasure of working with some of the very best people I’ve ever known, both on the air and behind the scenes. While I’m not sure exactly what’s next for me, I’m looking forward to continuing my journey with new life experiences.”

Patrick’s final call for ESPN was the 2017 Autozone Liberty Bowl on December 30th, between Iowa State and Memphis. He joined ESPN three years after its launch. During his 36 year tenure with the network, Patrick was a versatile broadcaster providing play-by-play for the NFL, college football, college basketball and others.

From 1986-2005 Patrick was the voice of Sunday Night Football on ESPN. Patrick was also a staple in college football, as part of ESPN’s Thursday Night Football and Saturday Night Football broadcasts.

From 1996-2009 Patrick provided play-by-play for Women’s Final Four games on ESPN. His men’s college basketball coverage for the network began in 1982 and continued to see Patrick call more than 30 ACC Men’s Basketball Championships.

“No play-by-play commentator in ESPN history has accomplished more than Mike Patrick,” said Lee Fitting, ESPN VP of Production. “He is not only a gifted professional who skillfully captures the moments and makes others around him better; he brings a genuine sports fan’s excitement to the telecasts. It was a truly incredible run.”

It’s not unreasonable to think we could hear Patrick resurface on another network or platform. At the age of 73, there was no mention of retirement for Patrick in the ESPN Front Row story, only that the announcer’s ESPN tenure is coming to an end.

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 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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Sports TV News

Greg Olsen Believes He and Kevin Burkhardt Can Handle Games ‘On Any Stage’

“Obviously, the bosses get paid a lot to make hard decisions. You have to obviously do what your bosses decide. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”

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Greg Olsen

Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen are on tap to call Super Bowl LVII in February, and Olsen told Front Office Sports he has the confidence to announce the game with no hesitations.

“If you’re asking me, I think Kevin and I have shown that we can handle a game on any stage – on any day. We just did it on Thanksgiving. We’ll do it again around Christmas. And obviously throughout the [NFL] Playoffs,” said Olsen. “So whatever decision they make. Obviously, the bosses get paid a lot to make hard decisions. You have to obviously do what your bosses decide. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

“But as of now, I anticipate Kevin and I, the two of us, with Erin and Tom down on the sidelines, the four of us, broadcasting the Super Bowl in February in Arizona. Until I’m told otherwise, that’s how we’re proceeding.”

Olsen also told FOS he has negotiated a new contract with FOX Sports, but declined to share details. He is slated to be replaced on the top broadcast crew once Tom Brady ends his playing career. Brady will then begin a 10-year, $375 million contract to serve as the network’s top NFL game analyst and brand ambassador.

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