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Study Shows Soccer Fans Prefer Full Game Coverage

“In recent years, outside of streaming, a real concern has been the attention span on younger fans.”

Jack Ferris

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It doesn’t matter what network you look at – every player in the linear sports game invests a lot in highlight shows.  Every player in the linear sports broadcasting game gives their viewer pregame, halftime and post game options surrounding a big game – not unlike hors d’oeuvres and dessert complimenting a fine meal.  That’s been the formula for years, with FOX, CBS, NBC, Turner and ESPN understanding their real meal ticket lies with the rights to the actual game.  

In recent years, outside of streaming, a real concern has been the attention span on younger fans.  Fans who seem much more interested in watching scoring plays on Red Zone than actual football games on CBS or FOX. 

Highlights have become so easily accessible, all you have to do is follow your favorite team or player on social media, and you get all the action on your phone without committing to a whole game on your couch.  One outlet that has understood the transition of the sports world into social media better than anyone is Bleacher Report – and a new study they composed presents good news for their older network counterparts.  

According to their data – 63% of soccer fans prefer watching a full game over highlights.  One might overlook this number, as soccer is hardly a top priority for the main linear players, but the MLS fan base is the youngest in the nation with an average age of 40.  Soccer culture is centered around the actual matches themselves.  Getting together with other fans in a living room, garage or local watering hole is a must in the soccer experience.  

A “we’re in this together” attitude already exists with hardcore NFL and college fan bases – but hardly at all with regular season NBA games.  The difference could boil down to the length of the regular season and the marketing the league supports of it’s individual stars; 1) It’s hard to get excited for 1 of 82 regular season games when over half the league makes the playoffs in the Spring, and 2) a Kevin Durant fan in Atlanta can catch all of his guy’s plays on Instagram or YouTube right after the game.  

So, while there will always be casual fans who prefer their sports concentrated into a 2-3 minute highlight package, there’s still real value in live event rights.  This, of course, is good news to the networks who invest heavily in their partnerships with the major leagues in the world.  

Sports TV News

Greg Olsen Believes He and Kevin Burkhardt Can Handles 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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Sports TV News

St. Louis Cardinals Announcer Dan McLaughlin Charged With Third DWI

It is the third time McLaughlin has been charged with DWI. He was charged with the offense twice within 13 months in 2010 and 2011.

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Dan McLaughlin

St. Louis Cardinals television play-by-play announcer Dan McLaughlin has been charged with DWI after being arrested on Sunday in Creve Coeur, Missouri.

According to a report from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, police received at least two phone calls from concerned drivers that a white BMW was driving erratically, with one caller saying it was driving into oncoming traffic.

It is the third time McLaughlin has been charged with DWI. He was charged with the offense twice within 13 months in 2010 and 2011.

Bally Sports Midwest and the released a joint statement Monday.

“We have been made aware that Dan McLaughlin was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated on Sunday night.. We are very disappointed to hear this, and are working to gather additional information before offering further comment.”

McLaughlin, 48, has served as the voice of the Cardinals for 24 years.

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Sports TV News

NFL Flex Scheduling Forces ESPN To Change Bowl Schedule

Jordan Bondurant

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The NFL flex scheduling an upcoming Las Vegas Radiers game out of Sunday Night Football on December 18 has forced ESPN to make a slight adjustment with its college bowl season schedule. But the change was something the worldwide leader was prepared to make.

The Raiders were originally scheduled to play the New England Patriots in the primetime window a week before Christmas, but with both teams losing ground in terms of the AFC playoff picture, NBC opted to go with a different game that night instead. Now fans will be tuning in to see the rematch between the New York Giants and the Washington Commanders.

The shift out of the Sunday night window for the Raiders forced ESPN to swap kickoff times for the Las Vegas Bowl and the New Mexico Bowl the day before on December 17. Florida and Oregon State will play in Vegas at 2:30 p.m. eastern, with BYU and SMU facing off in Albuquerque at 7:30 p.m.

The switch allows workers at Allegiant Stadium in Vegas enough time to switch the venue over from college bowl game to Raiders home game.

“We are accustomed to flexibility and we anticipated having to maneuver our event schedules based on the possibility of the Raiders game being flexed,” said ESPN Events vice president Clint Overby.

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