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Olsen & Brees Decide To Play Instead Of Broadcast In 2020

“With Olsen and Brees heading back to the NFL, if Romo returns to CBS the trio will have passed on shaking up the broadcast industry despite swirling rumors this offseason.”

Brandon Contes

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The NFL’s free agent crop of broadcasters got a little smaller after two potential candidates removed their names from the ring. Instead of joining a network for the 2020 season, Drew Brees and Greg Olsen will be on the field for at least one more year.

NFL tight end Greg Olsen has called games for FOX during his bye week in recent seasons. Currently, Olsen is in the midst of working a five-game slate of XFL telecasts on FOX, with the network reportedly interested in signing him to a full-time contract. A full-time offer will have to wait for at least one season, however, as the 34-year old tight end agreed to a one-year deal with the Seattle Seahawks.

Brees doesn’t have one foot in the broadcast booth the way Olsen does, but the 41-year old quarterback did supposedly have his reps meet with network executives during Super Bowl week to discuss their mutual interest. Brees announced he’s returning to the Saints in 2020, but he will again receive plenty of interest about a second career in broadcasting once he’s done playing.

While the hottest broadcasting free-agent hasn’t yet announced what booth he’ll be sitting in next season, Tony Romo does sound like he knows what network he’ll be with.

“I think I’m already there a little bit, but we’ll see how it plays out, even though I think I already know, but I’m just not telling you guys,” Romo said with a laugh during an interview with Ben and Skin of 97.1 The Eagle in Dallas.

With ESPN heavily interested in landing Romo, the former quarterback is expected to land a deal that will pay him more than $15 million annually. CBS has the first right of refusal to match any offer he gets, keeping them as the favorite to retain Romo.

With Olsen and Brees heading back to the NFL, if Romo returns to CBS the trio will have passed on shaking up the broadcast industry despite swirling rumors this offseason. 

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Notre Dame Expects Next Media Rights Deal to be Worth $60 Million Annually

Notre Dame is reportedly seeking $75 million per year, while Sports Business Journal figures the school would get closer to $60 million.

Jordan Bondurant

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Chris Coduto

There are still a few more seasons until Notre Dame starts the process of hammering out a new media rights deal, but it’s believed the FBS independent could have its next partner shelling out more than double what NBC is currently paying.

NBC, which appears to be a front-runner alongside CBS to be one of the key rights partners in the Big Ten’s new contract, currently pays $25 million each year for rights to Fighting Irish football according to Front Office Sports.

Notre Dame is reportedly seeking $75 million per year, while Sports Business Journal figures the school would get closer to $60 million.

Viewership for Fighting Irish games was reportedly down 48% year-over-year for the 2021 season, averaging 2.5 million viewers. The year before that, the pandemic season in 2020, viewership for Notre Dame was its best since 2005.

Notre Dame remains an independent in football, but is in the ACC for its other programs. The Fighting Irish do play some ACC schools in football. With NBC and the Big Ten apparently becoming new partners, it’s believed that Notre Dame would then have more Big Ten opponents in football.

The current contract between the school and NBC ends in 2025.

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Robert Griffin III Replaces Randy Moss on Monday Night Countdown

The network announced the addition of Robert Griffin III to the pre-game program.

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Robert Griffin III
David Becker, Getty Images

With Monday Night Countdown set to lead into Thursday’s preseason matchup with the Chicago Bears and Seattle Seahawks, ESPN announced their lineup for the show.

The network announced the addition of Robert Griffin III to the pre-game program. Robert Griffin III will join Booger McFarland and Steve Young as the show’s main analysts.

They will be partnered with Suzy Kolber who returns for her sixth year as the show’s host and news breaker Adam Schefter.

It was reported in July that analyst Randy Moss would not be returning to the show, opting instead to focus solely on Sunday Night Countdown.

The first regular season action featuring Monday Night Countdown will be on Monday, September 12 when the Seahawks play the Denver Broncos.

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Leafs Nation Network, the Toronto Maple Leafs Channel, Is Going Off the Air

“Thank you for your viewership. As of Sept. 1, Leafs Nation Network TV services will no longer be on air.”

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The Toronto Maple Leafs launched Leafs TV, a team-specific specialty channel in 2001 and rebranded it as Leafs Nation Network in 2017. However, after nearly twenty-one years on the air, it will fade to black at the end of August.

“Thank you for your viewership,” the channel told viewers who have tuned in recently. “As of Sept. 1, Leafs Nation Network TV services will no longer be on air.”

The news was confirmed to the Sun. Staff said they had been informed of the news a few weeks ago however few jobs are expected to be lost, of any, as many of the LNN duties will be moved to the digital format.

Leafs TV was part of the sale of the Toronto Maple Leafs franchise sale in 2011 to Bell-Rogers communications (worth $1.32 billion). With that sale, Leafs TV began to become a “redundant” channel focusing mainly on classic games and interviews once Rogers made a 2014 deal to become the dominant NHL network, grabbing the majority of live programming.

“Leafs TV was a big bargaining chip at the time of the (Rogers-Bell sale), but they’ve come to see that (lack of game broadcast presence) doesn’t work,” a source told the Sun.

A statement from MLSE on Tuesday read in part: “With new and increasing opportunities to share content on its digital platforms, subscribers to the Leafs Nation Network were informed earlier this month that the channel would cease being broadcast on Sept. 1. Maple Leafs game day and practice coverage will continue to be shared across the team’s digital platforms, combined with exciting new content on the team’s social and digital channels. The team will continue to produce live Marlies home games with details being shared in the weeks ahead about where those broadcasts will be made available.”

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