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Yankees Threaten ESPN Boycott Over Sunday Night Schedule

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The New York Yankees are Major League Baseball’s most popular team. Fans watch their games regardless of whether they love or hate the Bronx Bombers. So then, it makes sense that ESPN would want to feature the Yankees in as many of its Sunday Night Baseball Broadcasts as possible.

Last winter, ESPN announced a fixed schedule of select dates that had the Yankees playing on Sunday night four times during the regular season. The number of “flex dates” built into the broadcast schedule though has had the Yankees playing in that slot way more often. It is something the team’s fan base outside of the Northeast might enjoy, but manager Aaron Boone absolutely hates it. In particular, Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reports that Boone is upset about a July 8th game against the Toronto Blue Jays that ESPN has moved to Sunday night, as the Yankees were already scheduled to play a double header in Baltimore the following day.

Boone wants the game moved back to its original 1pm start time and according to Marchand’s reporting, the team may shut any ESPN personalities out of interviews in order to get its way.

In an effort to change the time of the July 8 “Sunday Night Baseball” telecast, the Yankees are threatening to boycott ESPN personnel all year, according to sources with knowledge of the team’s thinking.

“It is a tool in the toolbox,” one source said.

In an interview with Sports Illustrated’s Jimmy Traina, Boone said he was concerned for player safety.

…that is not good for the product on the field or the safety of our guys having [to] go from [a] night game, flight, and right into a doubleheader. Anyone who would argue that is not being truthful.

ESPN says that both teams were aware the Sunday Night Baseball game between the Yankees and the Blue Jays was on the schedule since well before it became public knowledge.

Major League Baseball can step in if they feel it is what is best for the sport. So far, no one in the league office has indicated any intention of doing so.

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Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX

“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”

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FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.

A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.

The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.

Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.

That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.

Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.

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FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”

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The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.

Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.

Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”

Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.

“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.

FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.

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NBA Draft To Get Simulcast From ESPN & ABC

“This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.”

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ESPN is set for the 2022 NBA Draft coming up on June 23 at 8 p.m. from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The network announced Wednesday the crews that will handle coverage on both ESPN and ABC.

ABC will broadcast the first round in primetime. Kevin Negandhi will host and will be joined by Stephen A. Smith, Chiney Ogwumike and Jalen Rose. Monica McNutt will be reporting and interviewing draftees.

This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.

Malika Andrews will host both rounds for ESPN. Jay Bilas, Kendrick Perkins and Adrian Wojnarowski will share the set. Analysts Bobby Marks and Mike Schmitz will contribute.

“We’re thrilled that Malika Andrews will host this year’s ESPN presentation as she brings her well-documented, widespread skillset to our main set,” said David Roberts, head of NBA and Studio Production for ESPN. “The event will showcase the scope and depth of our NBA and college basketball talent roster with accomplished journalists and high-profile personalities across ESPN, ABC and ESPN Radio.”

ESPN will air a pre-draft red carpet show hosted by Cassidy Hubbarth from 5-6 p.m. Perkins and Richard Jefferson will also make appearances.

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