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Disney Aims To Keep Its Two Draft Telecasts Separate

“The only person who will appear on both the ABC and ESPN productions is draft analyst Todd McShay.”

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With ABC joining in the proceedings this year, the NFL Draft will be an even bigger undertaking than it already was for the Walt Disney Company. In an interview with The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch, ESPN VP of event and studio production, Seth Markman says that the comapny’s focus will be on ensuring that ABC and ESPN offer viewers two very different products.

In order to do that, the largest production staff ever dedicated to the event will be in Nashville. The production staff of 600 is twice the size of the staff that covered the 2018 NFL. It is also larger than the production staff ESPN had on hand for Clemson’s win over Alabama at college football’s National Championship Game this year. “I think this shows how important we think this is and how much this is part of the DNA of our company,” Markham says.

As previously reported by multiple outlets, ESPN’s telecast will be anchored by its NFL analysts, while ABC’s coverage will feature Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts and American Idol’s Luke Bryan focusing on the human interest stories and ESPN’s College GameDay crew handling the football analysis.

Markman told Deitsch that he had a hard time deciding which network Kirk Herbstriet should appear on. Last year the College GameDay analyst was a part of ESPN’s NFL Draft coverage. This year though he will stay with the rest of his usual crew and appear on ABC. The only person who will appear on both the ABC and ESPN productions is draft analyst Todd McShay.

Both telecasts will feature the same reporters including Josina Anderson in Arizona, Dan Graziano in Oakland, Sal Paolantonio in New York with the Giants, Jeff Darlington in Miami, Dianna Russini in Washington, DC, and Jen Lada who will be in Gaithersburg, MD at a draft night party for Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins’s friends and family.

Behind the scenes, Disney has put in a lot of work as well. Markman says his staff has put together more than 600 highlight packages and more than 100 player personality bumps to go into and out of commercials. ESPN’s production alone will utilize 57 cameras and 70 microphones.

As for viewership, Markman told Deitsch that he doesn’t care how the audience is split between the two networks. “If a viewer is watching it on ESPN or ABC, we don’t care. As long as we are giving them the experience they want and they chose to watch it or one or the other, we will be happy.”

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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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