Americans were starving for sports after the Covid-19 Pandemic brought all action to a halt earlier this year. That was clear in the buys for UFC buys on ESPN+ and ratings for NASCAR and golf.
What has been even more clear is that what Americans were really missing were the big four team sports. The NHL, Major League Baseball, and the NBA all returned to some of their best viewership numbers of the season. One network really cashing in is TNT.
Inside the NBA, widely regarded as the league’s best pregame show, pulled in monster numbers on the night the NBA came back. The July 30 edition of the show drew 1.3 million viewers according to Richard Deitsch of The Athletic.
The audience number represents a major victory for TNT. First, that is the largest audience that has watched Inside the NBA since the opening week of the 2018-2019 season. More importantly, 1.3 million people represents an audience increase of 101% compared to what the network was averaging for its pregame show before the pandemic.
Austin Karp of Sports Business Journal reports that plenty of people stuck around to watch the games on Thursday as well. TNT drew 2.1 million pairs of eyeballs for the Pelicans and Jazz. The audience for the battle of the two LA teams later that night was somewhere closer to 3.4 million.
Stephen A. Smith: ‘I Had To Wait Until My Mother Passed to Write My Book’
“I’ve never ran before, so there was no way I was going to start with this book.”
An autobiography from Stephen A. Smith is due in stores early next year. Straight Shooter: A Memoir of Second Chances and First Takes is an all-encompassing look at the First Take star’s life from his childhood to today.
Smith appreciates privacy and has been hesitant to talk about his personal life in the past. Occasionally he has made exceptions for shows hosted by friends and people in the business that he respects.
On Wednesday’s episode of First Take, Stephen A. Smith said that was largely due to a promise he made to his mother.
“She told me never to write a book until she passed away, because she knows I’m gonna say what I need to say,” he told Molly Qerim and Chris Russo. “I’m gonna speak my mind and I’m gonna speak my truth. There are things in there that she would not have wanted me to reveal while she was alive.”
He added that writing it made him more uncomfortable than he anticipated.
“There’s a lot in there that I didn’t want to tell, but if you gonna write a book, you gotta tell it.”
Russo joked that clearly Smith is excited. He had texted the New York radio legend the cover and some information about the book earlier in the summer.
Qerim has received some of that material too. She told Smith that what she has seen and read is very impressive.
“This is huge, and I’m proud of you. It’s hard to tell. I know you’ve kept your personal life close to the vest. For you to open up, I think people are going to respect you even more when they learn more about you.”
Stephen A. Smith noted that in addition to his childhood and his professional triumphs, the book will also revisit the controversies that surrounded him at points in his career. He noted the goal of the book was not necessarily to make him look good, but to help people better understand the man they see on TV each morning.
“I’ve never ran before, so there was no way I was going to start with this book,” Smith said.
Golf Channel, Brandel Chamblee Facing Defamation Lawsuit From Patrick Reed
During a Golf Channel broadcast, Chamblee had reportedly accused Reed of cheating during the Hero World Challenge after being assessed a two-stroke penalty for improving his ball placement in a bunker.
Golf Channel and analyst Brandel Chamblee are being sued by golfer Patrick Reed after Reed alleged “misreporting information with falsity and/or reckless disregard of the truth” by the network and Chamblee.
In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, Reed claims Golf Channel, Chamblee, and PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan have conspired against him since he joined the PGA Tour while trying to “destroy his reputation, create hate and a hostile work environment for him”.
Reed, who has faced cheating allegations dating back to his college golf days, had his legal representation send a cease-and-desist letter to Chamblee in 2020. During a Golf Channel broadcast, Chamblee had reportedly accused Reed of cheating during the Hero World Challenge after being assessed a two-stroke penalty for improving his ball placement in a bunker. Reed claimed he did not intend to improve his lie.
Reed, 2018 winner of The Masters, alleges that Chamblee’s allegations have caused fans to heckle him and label him a cheater at events.
Patrick Reed defected from the PGA Tour in June to join the Saudi-backed LIV Golf organization. He is seeking $750 million in damages.
Joe Girardi Joining Marquee Sports Network
“I’m excited to join Marquee and look forward to working alongside Boog, JD, and Taylor this weekend at Wrigley Field,” said Girardi.
Marquee Sports Network has announced that former Chicago Cubs catcher, and Marlins, Yankees, and Phillies manager Joe Girardi is joining the network as a game analyst. Girardi will work this weekends series between the Cubs and Brewers, as well as a series against the Marlins in September.
Girardi has previously worked as an analyst for YES Network, MLB Network, and Fox Sports.
“I’m excited to join Marquee and look forward to working alongside Boog, JD, and Taylor this weekend at Wrigley Field,” said Girardi. “Growing up a Cubs fan and then having the chance to play for the team for a number of years, I’m honored to now have the opportunity to broadcast from the historic television broadcast booth.”
After a three-time World Series winner as a player, Girardi spent 15 seasons in the big leagues, seven of which came with the Cubs. The former catcher has spent parts of 14 seasons as a manager with the Marlins, Yankees, and Phillies. Girardi was fired as the manager of the Phillies on June 3rd.
“We’re pleased to welcome Joe Girardi to the Marquee Sports Network team,” said Marquee Sports Network General Manager, Mike McCarthy. “His insights as a long-time Cubs player and big league manager will be a valuable addition to the broadcasts. Welcome Joe!”