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6pm SportsCenter Finds Permanent Anchors

Brandon Contes

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After rotating through a group of anchors for the 6 p.m. edition of SportsCenter, following the removal of SC6, ESPN will name Sage Steele and Kevin Negandhi as permanent hosts of the show, according to Richard Deitsch of The Athletic.

A report from Andrew Marchand of The New York Post states the show will not return to being called SC6 and will instead remain as SportsCenter. Steele and Negandhi are expected to begin hosting the 6 p.m. SportsCenter beginning Monday, May 14.

The move means the SC6 era, which debuted February of 2017, officially comes to an end on ESPN. Fair or unfair, the show hosted by Jemele Hill and Michael Smith, spent a lot of time under fire due to opinions that entered topics beyond sports. Hill left the program in January of 2018, with Smith departing in March after anchoring the show solo for a little over one month.

Steele and Negandhi are stepping in at a time where the 6 p.m. SportsCenter has enjoyed a recent ratings increase, according to ESPN. During a press release regarding Stephen A Smith’s increased role with SportsCenter during the NBA Finals, the network also mentioned the 6 p.m. edition’s ratings increased by four percent in March and nine percent in April when compared to the corresponding months from one year ago. The ratings increase, promoted by ESPN, directly followed the departure of Jemele Hill and Michael Smith from the program.

The recent ratings success could put additional pressure on Steele and Negandhi to continue the trend as they step in as permanent co-anchors. It remains to be seen whether or not the new 6 p.m. edition of SportsCenter will be pressed to “stick to sports,” but in a differing of opinion from SC6, Steele has shared conservative viewpoints including her disagreement with NFL players kneeling during the anthem.

Steele was also one of the few colleagues that did not support Jemele Hill during her criticisms of President Trump. “I think Jemele is a completely different story in that she put that onto herself of her own volition. Sam had been attacked,” Steele said regarding ESPN personalities being attacked for their opinions during a January interview with Refinery29. “I think that’s an important distinction.”

Steele who joined ESPN in 2007, and Negandhi who was hired in 2006 , have both worked together on SportsCenter:AM since Steele joined the program in August 2017.

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

Pat McAfee Says Deals With Amazon/ESPN Fell Short Because His Show Comes First

“Energy, time, anything away from this show… we got a lot going on. This is my number one focus and it should remain as such…”

Jordan Bondurant

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Last week, it was announced that Pat McAfee would be hosting his own version of the popular Manning Cast only for college football games.

McAfee, co-host AJ Hawk, and the rest of his cast and crew from The Pat McAfee Show will host an alternate feed for six college football games this season.

McAfee was rumored to be in talks with Amazon about potentially hosting an alternate broadcast for its Thursday NFL games, and the former Colts punter had also reportedly talking with ESPN about potentially being featured on College GameDay.

McAfee said to Andrew Marchand of The New York Post that ultimately the Amazon and GameDay deals didn’t come to fruition because it just didn’t make sense.

“I’ve had great conversations with both companies, we just weren’t able to get to a point where ‘the ask’ and ‘the business’ were where it needed to be to get a deal done on both fronts,” McAfee said.

McAfee on his show on Monday elaborated a bit further, trying to put to bed that he was being courted for Thursday Night Football.

“I’m not 100 percent sure if that’s what we were talking about, by the way,” he said. “I was never really approached for anything for Thursday Night Football. That was never really anything.”

Pat read from the full response to Marchand’s questions, posted under the Post story which appeared on the paper’s site Monday. He reiterated that his daily show and the small business he built around his show, take precedent over anything else.

“Energy, time, anything away from this show, this operation, this crew; we got families being built, we got houses being bought, we got 12 employees, we got a lot going on,” he said. “So this is my number one focus and it should remain as such because I have a brain, and also I care a lot about this operation. I love it, actually.”

Still, McAfee made it clear that just because no deal was signed with ESPN and Amazon for 2022 means the ship has sailed permanently. He’s keeping his doors open.

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Sports TV News

ESPN Reportedly To Lose Big Ten Media Rights For the First Time in 40 Years

The idea is that FOX would have its marquee game kick off at noon, with CBS airing a game at 3:30. NBC reportedly will air games in primetime.

Jordan Bondurant

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BIG TEN, CBS, NBC, FOX SPORTS

After several months, it appears the Big Ten is nearing the finish line on a new media rights deal. And despite still reportedly being in negotiations with the conference, ESPN is looking set to lose out on media rights.

According to John Ourand of Sports Business Journal, CBS and NBC are the frontrunners to join with FOX.

The idea is that FOX would have its marquee game kick off at noon, with CBS airing a game at 3:30. NBC reportedly will air games in primetime.

Ourand reported his sources told him ESPN’s deal to keep the Big Ten was not as strong as the one offered by the other two networks.

It would mark the first time in four decades that ESPN didn’t have some involvement in Big Ten sports. But Ourand indicates the worldwide leader could pivot into bundling Big 12 and Pac-12 rights as an alternative. Additionally the network would then pursue keeping its deals with NCAA for championship coverage as well as being the home for the College Football Playoff.

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Fox Officially Unveils NFL Broadcast Teams

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In what has been considered a formality for some time, Fox today officially unveiled Kevin Burkhardt, Greg Olsen, Erin Andrews, and Tom Rinaldi as their number one NFL broadcast team Monday. Burkhardt and Olsen were elevated to Fox’s top booth after the departure of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman to ESPN’s Monday Night Football earlier this year.

There were some reports that Drew Brees could have been a possibility to join the network, but those discussions fell apart.

The network’s other teams include several familiar faces to football fans:

#2 team: Joe Davis, Daryl “Moose” Johnston, Pam Oliver
#3 team: Adam Amin, Mark Schlereth, Kristina Pink
#4 team: Kenny Albert, Jonathan Vilma, Shannon Spake
#5 team: Kevin Kugler, Mark Sanchez, Laura Okmin
#6 team: Chris Myers, Robert Smith, Jen Hale

Olsen’s jump to the number one team with Burkhardt is a formality until the retirement of Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady. The seven-time Super Bowl winner will ascend to Fox’s number one booth upon his retirement, whenever that may be.

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