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Sal Pal: NFL Draft Not ‘Welcome Distraction’ For All

“In a recent interview with Front Office Sports, Paolantonio noted that he is happy to be a part of the evening and doesn’t fault the NFL for staging the event during a global pandemic.”

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ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio will participate in the 2020 NFL Draft simulcast with NFL Network just like everyone else. He will be at his home and join hosts remotely via video link.

In a recent interview with Front Office Sports, Paolantonio noted that he is happy to be a part of the evening and doesn’t fault the NFL for staging the event during a global pandemic.

“I want to do my job. You want to do your job. People want to go back to work in this country,” Sal Pal told Michael McCarthy. “We want to do it, however, in a safe and healthy way. I don’t begrudge the NFL wants to do its job as long as they can do it in a safe manner.”

Paolantonio pushes back on the idea that the draft is something America needs right now. He noted that while it will be a “welcomed distraction” for sports fans stuck at home, plenty of others around the country don’t have the time to follow the event.

“I don’t buy that it’s going to be a ‘welcome distraction.’ It’s not going to be a welcome distraction for the doctors and the nurses on the front line. So let’s be careful how we use that,” he says.

As for his thoughts on a virtual draft, Paolantonio said the concerns about the potential for hacking feels familiar. He compared the paranoia of people like Ravens coach John Harbaugh to what he saw while he was in the Navy.

“By our very nature, we were suspicious of leaks. That’s why they say “loose lips sink ships.” So I lived with, met with, talked to, was at sea with, many paranoid people. I know suspicious minds, how they work. You don’t want the enemy to have your secrets. You just don’t.”

Sal Paolantonio will be a part of the NFL Draft coverage that will be simulcast across ESPN and the NFL Network on Thursday and Friday. ABC will carry its own draft coverage on those two days. All three networks will simulcast the same coverage on Saturday for rounds 4-7.

Sports TV News

Miami Marlins Continue Broadcast Changes, Drop J.P. Arencibia

The former big league catcher worked the club’s opening road series and more than 60 games for Bally Sports Florida.

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After announcing last week that Miami Marlins play-by-play announcer Glenn Geffner wouldn’t return to the booth next year, the club continues to make changes. J.P. Arencibia won’t return as an analyst for the club in 2023.

According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Arencibia was informed he will no longer work on either the team’s television or radio broadcasts next season. The former big league catcher worked the club’s opening road series and more than 60 games for Bally Sports Florida. It was his first season as a television analyst. According to Jackson, the reason for Arencibia’s departure is “unclear”, adding a reason “was not offered”.

The club will continue to use a rotation of analysts in 2023, with Jeff Nelson, Gaby Sanchez, Rod Allen, and Tommy Hutton working in the booth.

Arencibia was brought on for the 2022 season after the Marlins dropped former Rookie of the Year Todd Hollandsworth from the clubs televisions broadcasts after the previous season concluded.

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Sports TV News

Rebecca Lobo Signs Extension With ESPN

She has served as the analyst for the network’s coverage of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament and the National Championship Game.

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ESPN and Rebecca Lobo have signed an extension to keep the women’s basketball legend with the network.

Lobo joined ESPN in 2004 as a WNBA and women’s college basketball analyst. She has served as the analyst for the network’s coverage of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament and the National Championship Game.

“I am thrilled to continue doing what I love, calling women’s basketball games,” said Lobo. “It is an honor to be a part of the soundtrack for the games played by these incredible female athletes.”

Lobo had a storied career at UConn before winning an Olympic Gold Medal. She was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2017.

“Rebecca is one of the best in the business. She excels on both game coverage and studio coverage,” said Patricia Lowry, ESPN Vice President, Production. “Her knowledge, history, and passion for the game and its growth continue to make us better.  She is a true asset and a highly valued member of our team.”

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Sports TV News

ESPN Reaches Extension To Remain Home of Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest

“It’s a sports calendar and Fourth of July staple, one of those classic, timeless events we know fans look forward to every year.”

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ESPN and the International Federation of Competitive Eating have agreed to a deal that will see the network remain the home of the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest on the 4th of July.

The Major League Eating contest has aired on the network since 2004. The new contract will see the event take place on ESPN through the 2029 event.

“You can’t beat the spectacle that is the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest,” said ESPN Director of Programming & Acquisitions John Suchenski. “It’s a sports calendar and Fourth of July staple, one of those classic, timeless events we know fans look forward to every year. It has had memorable moments over the years, and we’re ecstatic that many more will be on our platforms for the foreseeable future.”

The event has risen to prominence during its tenure with the Disney-owned network, seeing the rivalry between Takeru Kobayashi and Joey Chestnut grow into one of national prominence. The rivalry even sparked an ESPN documentary on the subject. Chestnut has grown into an American celebrity for his performance during the contest, winning his 15th mustard-yellow belt in 2022.

“We’re thrilled to extend our agreement with ESPN and ensure that viewers will continue to join in this great July Fourth tradition. ESPN is a fantastic broadcast partner and they capture the spirit of the event perfectly.”

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