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ESPN & ESPN2 To Televise MLB Draft Starting June 10

“This may be the only live Major League Baseball content ESPN has to offer in 2020 as the players and owners remain far apart on a financial agreement that would clear a path for a shortened 2020 season.”

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ESPN had a certified hit with The Last Dance. The network hoped that meant that there was an interest in sports documentaries during the Covid-19 pandemic, but the ratings for the first part of Lance proved that isn’t the case.

Now, ESPN is reaching a little further back in hopes of generating some ratings success. The last live event that ESPN aired that generated major ratings was the NFL Draft. The World Wide Leader is hoping that there is enough interest in Major League Baseball that its draft can produce similar success.

Starting June 10, ESPN will carry the first five rounds of Major League Baseball’s entry draft over the course of two nights. Round one will air on ESPN. Rounds 2-5 will air on ESPN2 on June 11. Just like the NFL Draft, MLB’s will be a mostly virtual affair, with all 30 MLB GMs connected via a video link in their home.

Karl Ravech will anchor the coverage from Bristol alongside MLB Draft expert Kiley McDaniel. Chris Burke, Jessica Mendoza, Jeff Passan, Eduardo Perez and Kyle Peterson will all provide analysis remotely.

This may be the only live Major League Baseball content ESPN has to offer in 2020 as the players and owners remain far apart on a financial agreement that would clear a path for a shortened 2020 season. Otherwise, it is hard to imagine the network would have interest in televising the draft.

Major League Baseball’s Entry Draft has been televised in the past by both ESPN and the MLB Network, but has never drawn strong ratings. College baseball doesn’t enjoy the national profile college football and college basketball though. That, combined with the number of prospects drafted right out of high school results in little interest in the event from anyone but hardcore baseball fans.

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Mike Tirico, Tom Brady, Manningcast Win Sports Emmys

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The annual Sports Emmys were handed out on Tuesday night, and some usual names and new names ended up taking home hardware.

Among the usual names were NBC’s Mike Tirico, who won for Outstanding Personality/Studio Host, and soon-to-be Sunday Night Football broadcast colleague Cris Collinsworth, who was named Outstanding Personality/Sports Event Analyst.

But among the new names as Sports Emmy winners include Tom Brady and both Eli and Peyton Manning.

Brady’s Man in the Arena saga won Outstanding Documentary Series, while the Mannings were rewarded for their work on the Monday Night Football Manningcast, which won Outstanding Live Series.

Here’s a rundown of some of the key Sports Emmy winners:

Here is a full list of winners and nominees for the 2022 ceremony.

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Joe Buck Says He Won’t Miss World Series

“This is the first time since I was 18-years-old, and I’m 53, that I’m not doing a baseball game.”

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USA Today

Among the bigger chain reactions set off by Joe Buck leaving FOX for ESPN was the sudden vacancy in FOX’s main MLB broadcast booth.

The 2022 World Series will mark the first time since 1995 that Buck will not be on the microphone.

Speaking to Chris Long on his podcast Green Light, Buck hopes to be in a more exotic location watching World Series games this fall.

“I would like to be in Cabo San Lucas with a margarita in my hand and a half-smoked cigar watching Game 7 of the World Series,” Buck said. “Cheering on Joe Davis and John Smoltz, and Ken Rosenthal, and Tom Verducci, and Pete Macheska and Matt Gangl and right on down the line.”

Buck added he’ll take pleasure in turning the broadcast off if it’s Game 7 and there’s an insurmountable lead. But the broadcasting legend said even on a bigger scale, not calling any baseball games at all this season, let alone the World Series, is a bit surreal after covering the sport for so long.

“This is the first time since I was 18-years-old, and I’m 53, that I’m not doing a baseball game,” he said. “And that’s really weird to me, but I walk away really proud of what I and we did.”

He added that he will not miss the opportunity, because he does not feel like he will “leave any unfinished business” in FOX’s MLB booth.

Buck further praised his FOX colleagues and said it was time for a change. He knows Joe Davis will thrive in the opportunity.

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NFL Likely To Launch NFL+ Streaming Service This Summer

“A source tells Fischer that a $5 per month price has been discussed for NFL+.”

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According to the Sports Business Journal, consumers could be downloading NFL+ by July. Now, just what NFL+ will be is still yet to be finalized.

Ben Fischer of Sports Business Journal reported in the site’s newsletter that live games will certainly be at the center of the league-owned streaming service. It is likely to only be available on phones and tablets with no option to stream to a larger monitor.

The viewing options would be limited. No out of market games would be available on the app. It is meant to replace the deals that recently expired with Yahoo and mobile phone carriers that recently expired.

The app could also include other content. Radio calls, team-created digital content, and league-owned podcasts are all options. 

NFL+ would make NFL Media more valuable. The league is trying to sell an equity stake in its linear TV and digital media properties. Amazon and Apple are considered the most likely to make a deal. 

A source tells Fischer that a $5 per month price has been discussed for NFL+. The pricing structure can and likely will change before the app hits the market.

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