As the NHL Playoffs get set to start next month, one team’s television broadcasts will have a different sound. Earlier this month it was reported that the Carolina Hurricanes had not come to terms on a new deal with TV play-by-play man John Forslund. On Thursday, the team announced that on-ice reporter Mike Maniscalco would take over play-by-play duties for the team’s games on FOX Sports Carolinas.
“It’s bittersweet,” Maniscalco told Luke DeCock of the News Observer. “That’s the only word I can use.”
Maniscalco joined the Canes’ television crew at the start of the 2016-2017 season after exiting Buzz Sports Radio and 99.9 the Fan in Raleigh, where he hosted pre and postgame coverage of the team. In addition to serving as on-ice reporter, Maniscalco hosted intermission reports and pre-game coverage on FOX Sports Carolinas.
He gives a lot of credit to his predecessor. Maniscalco told Barrett Sports Media that John Forslund was integral in helping him make the transition from radio to TV.
“John taught me to be myself and not to change because there is a camera,” Maniscalco said. “He told me be the guy on the radio that I had always been and everything else takes care of itself.”
Forslund will still be calling hockey when games restart. He will be in Toronto, inside of the NHL’s Eastern Conference bubble, calling games for NBC.
Hurricanes management offered Forslund a new contract when his expired on July 1. Under the new deal, he would become an independent contractor and offer a bonus structure tied to attendance. Although Forslund chose not to sign, team GM Don Waddell said that the team would “keep the door open” for Forslund to return.
“That’s nice of him to say. But what does that really mean, though?” Forslund asked in an interview with The Athletic’s Sara Civian. “There’s no dialogue. I would never look at a statement like that and scoff at it, but I want the reality to be there too, of, there isn’t anything happening. I don’t want any false pretense or anything like that with the fans. There’s nothing happening between myself and the team. And until that happens — or if it never happens that’s understandable — then I have to deal with the reality of being free for the first time in my career. It’s the first time in my career I’ve been in a position like this. I’m not really good at it.”
Waddell said that he likes the crew in place and “we’ll get through this and see where we go.”
The team has not committed to Maniscalco remaining in the play-by-play seat beyond the end of this season. Still, he says the opportunity to call NHL playoff hockey for this club “means everything” to him.
“Rod Brind’Amour, the rest of the coaching staff, the players, the training staff and doctors, the front office, everyone there has always treated me so well,” he told BSM via text. “It’s an honor to have this opportunity. I want to carry on the tradition of excellent broadcasters the club have had and do the best job possible for as long as they let me.”
The Carolina Hurricanes open the qualifying round with a best of five series against the New York Rangers on August 1. Maniscalco will work with Tripp Tracey, who remains as the color commentator for Hurricanes games on FOX Sports Carolinas.
The NFL Still Considering Multiple Offers For Sunday Ticket
The NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has not bid for the package but has stated it is willing to partner with the new rightsholder for a potential deal.
DirecTV currently has the rights to Sunday Ticket. That deal expires at the end of this upcoming football season. The NFL is expected to make a boatload of cash when they decide which media organization gets the next rights to the package. The only question is… who will that be?
Alex Sherman of CNBC reports that the NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has decided not bid for the package. However, they are interested in partnering with the new rightsholder for a potential deal. DirecTV knows that Sunday Ticket is a staple in bars and restaurants and is interested in maintaining those relationships.
Outside of the bar/restaurant industry, success has been limited for the satellite provider with the football package. Fewer than two million subscribers signed up for Sunday Ticket each year which made the package a money-loser for the satellite TV provider.
According to the report, the NFL wants more than $2 billion for the rights and a stake in NFL Media, which is being packaged with Sunday Ticket. Also on the table is the NFL’s mobile rights. The league’s previous mobile agreement with Verizon has ended.
An interesting piece of the negotiations is Sunday Ticket price. According to the report, a buyer would have limited flexibility on pricing. The NFL signed contracts with CBS and Fox and within the framework of those deals, language mandates Sunday Ticket have a premium price. That’s to prevent loss of viewers from the networks that feature local market Sunday afternoon games. So essentially, the price is the price for the consumer.
F1 Renews With ESPN For U.S. Media Rights
ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.
The reported value of the three-year contract is set to pay F1 $75-90M per year for the U.S. media rights. Amazon had offered to pay roughly $100M per year, with the right to sublicense to a linear broadcast network. Comcast’s offer was similar to ESPN’s in terms of value and the structure. They also wanted to put select races on it’s streaming service, Peacock.
Netflix was in on the negotiations, as well. The makers of Drive to Survive, the streaming series that many credit with the sport’s explosion in popularity in recent years, wasn’t close on on their financial offer. Also, it seems F1 executives were not ready to put all of its races on a streaming service just yet.
Currently, F1 receives $5M per year for ESPN to broadcast it’s races. ESPN has grabbed about 1.0 million viewers per race. That makes F1 a more than viable option for the network to invest into again. ESPN will be able to put a small number of races on its ESPN+ streaming service exclusively. The vast majority being on ABC or ESPN.
Skip Bayless Says He And Stephen A. Smith ‘Sorted Out’ Their Disagreement
“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”
Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless were locked in a war of words last week following the First Take host’s appearance on JJ Redick’s Old Man and the Three podcast.
The origins of their partnership were discussed and Bayless admitted he did not like the way Smith characterized the state of First Take before he arrived on set. Smith insisted that Bayless simply misunderstood what he meant by saying that he was told the show needed him.
Over the weekend, Skip Bayless says he and Stephen A. Smith got together at the Bayless home in California to talk things out in private.
“He was in LA, he came over, we sat by the pool,” he said on the latest episode of The Skip Bayless Show. “It wasn’t the easiest conversation for a while, but we slowly but surely sorted it out. We got through it, and we have been through so much together.”
Bayless reiterated that he considers Smith a brother. They love each other. That doesn’t mean they are always going to remember events the same way or see eye-to-eye all the time.
“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”
Fighting doesn’t mean the relationship is fractured. In fact, Skip Bayless was adamant that he remains closer to Smith than he is to most people in his life.
“I don’t trust easily because of the way I was raised, but I do trust Stephen Anthony Smith. Trust him with my life. Always have and always will. I trust he will always be there for me, and you better believe I will always be there for him.”