Dick Vitale is the face of college basketball at ESPN and thanks to a new deal, it looks like that is a role he will continue to fill into the foreseeable future. Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports reports that the boisterous analyst has been offered a contract extension that will keep him in Bristol through the 2021-22 college basketball season.
Vitale has been on the air with ESPN since the network started broadcasting college basketball games in December of 1979. This new contract ensures that he will be at the network for at least 42 seasons.
The former coach has plenty of value to ESPN beyond just his analyst work. He has become one of the faces of ESPN’s annual Jimmy V Foundation fundraising events. He is also one of the few remaining links to the network’s beginnings that is still on air with regularity.
Not long ago, Vitale joked that he would like to still be calling basketball games when he is 100 years old. He told McCarthy that doesn’t mean he plans on hanging around even if he is no longer an asset to ESPN.
“I’ll be able to tell when the time comes. If I feel like it’s not there, I will just tell them. I would not try to embarrass them, I would not try to embarrass my family and most of all I would not embarrass myself,” Vitale said. “But I feel as young as ever. I feel like 20, I act about 12. Then reality sets in when I look at the mirror. At my age, it can happen overnight. Bottom line? I feel really great. I don’t feel any different than when I was 45 or 50. I really don’t.”
Vitale turned 80 earlier this month and will be on the verge of 83 when the new deal expires. His age is brought up a lot on social media when fans and critics want to point out that Vitale is slipping. He told McCarthy that ageism has motivated him in recent years.
“I probably work harder now than I’ve ever worked in my life — because I want to make certain I don’t make mistakes on names or not knowing about a player’s life. I really pride myself on that. The bottom line is if I make a mistake, or Hubie [Brown, ESPN NBA analyst] makes a mistake, we’re senile, we’re old, we’re washed up,” Vitale said. “Does a young guy make a mistake? Oh, he made a slip. When you get into our numbers, there are cruel people out there. 99% aren’t like that. But there is that percentage that really can’t wait to knock you off.”
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.”
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.
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?”
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.
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.”
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.