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Hall of Famer Joe Morgan Dies At 77

“Morgan’s on-field career saw him play with five different teams. He most notably was a member of the Big Red Machine teams of the 1970s in Cincinnati.”

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Joe Morgan has died according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. The two-time NL MVP not only spent 22 seasons in Major League Baseball, he also spent 25 years in broadcast booths. Morgan was 77 years old.

Morgan’s on-field career saw him play with five different teams. He most notably was a member of the Big Red Machine teams of the 1970s in Cincinnati. That is where he experienced the bulk of his success, being voted an All-Star every year he was with the Reds and winning his only two World Series and MVP awards.

He also played for the Houston Colt .45s-turned-Astros, San Francisco Giants, Philadelphia Phillies, and Oakland A’s. Morgan is a member of the team Halls of Fame for both the Reds and Astros.

When he baseball career ended in 1984, Morgan made his way upstairs. He served as an analyst on both Major League and college baseball broadcasts. As a broadcaster, he moved to a national stage for the Majors in 1988, teaming with Al Michaels on ABC. He would go on to work for NBC in 1994, and most famously, joined ESPN in 1999. Morgan also called local broadcasts for the Reds, Giants, and A’s.

For baseball fans, Morgan was something of a divisive figure in the broadcast booth. Many that grew up with Morgan calling Sunday Night Baseball alongside John Miller consider him one of the premier voices of the game from their youth. Others criticized his many references to the Reds teams of the 70s and being over-critical of the modern game.

Constant criticism of Morgan even inspired the creation of one of the first popular sports blogs on the Internet. Fire Joe Morgan was started by Michael Schur, who would go on to create shows like Parks & Rec and The Good Place for NBC. The blog received recognition from the likes of ESPN and Sports Illustrated.

After leaving game analysis behind in 2010, Morgan returned to the Reds organization, but did not give up broadcasting entirely. He had a hour-long show syndicated by Sports USA while serving as a special advisor to the organization.

Morgan’s death is just the latest in what has been a brutal stretch for baseball fans. Since the end of August, he is the fifth Hall of Famer to die. The others include Tom Seaver (August 31), Lou Brock (September 2), Bob Gibson (October 2), and Whitey Ford on Friday.

Sports TV News

FOX Will Use Chris Fallica On Belmont Stakes Coverage

“While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.”

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The Bear will be more than just a college football presence when he moves to FOX. Chris Fallica wrapped his final duties for ESPN last week and is now headed to a new network and will tackle some new responsibilities.

Fallica’s new role at FOX will involve plenty of sports gambling content. Richard Deitsch of The Athletic reports that content will include horse racing.

“One Fox Sports source said look for him to appear on the Belmont Stakes coverage,” Deitsch wrote in his weekly media column.

Starting in 2023, horse racing’s Triple Crown will not be seen all in one place. While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.

How the network intends to use Chris Fallica on the broadcast is not clear. Given that he is coming to the network to contribute to gambling conversations, it is likely he would either be making picks or at least reviewing odds right up to the start of the race.

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Sports TV News

NBCUniversal CEO Expects Disney To Buy Company’s Hulu Stake

“Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal.”

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The Walt Disney Company owns 67% of Hulu. The other 33% is owned by NBCUniversal. The latter company doesn’t expect that to be the case forever.

“It’s worth a lot of money,” NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said at an investor conference earlier this week, “and I think there’s no indication that anything else is going to happen than Disney writing us a big check.”

Hulu is primarily a platform for movies and television shows. It is a major part of Disney’s deal with the NHL though. The streaming giant is part of the package of 103 games that are exclusive to ESPN and ABC. Hulu is also a live TV provider for many. The company’s Hulu Plus Live TV package had over 4 million subscribers as of the summer of 2022.

Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal. He credits sports and content migrated from Hulu as the reason Peacock has grown to 18 million paid subscriptions since September.

Deadline reports that if Disney does want to acquire NBCUniversal’s stake in Hulu, “the price could fluctuate but will be in the tens of billions of dollars.”

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Sports TV News

Greg Olsen Believes He and Kevin Burkhardt Can Handle Games ‘On Any Stage’

“Obviously, the bosses get paid a lot to make hard decisions. You have to obviously do what your bosses decide. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”

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Greg Olsen

Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen are on tap to call Super Bowl LVII in February, and Olsen told Front Office Sports he has the confidence to announce the game with no hesitations.

“If you’re asking me, I think Kevin and I have shown that we can handle a game on any stage – on any day. We just did it on Thanksgiving. We’ll do it again around Christmas. And obviously throughout the [NFL] Playoffs,” said Olsen. “So whatever decision they make. Obviously, the bosses get paid a lot to make hard decisions. You have to obviously do what your bosses decide. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

“But as of now, I anticipate Kevin and I, the two of us, with Erin and Tom down on the sidelines, the four of us, broadcasting the Super Bowl in February in Arizona. Until I’m told otherwise, that’s how we’re proceeding.”

Olsen also told FOS he has negotiated a new contract with FOX Sports, but declined to share details. He is slated to be replaced on the top broadcast crew once Tom Brady ends his playing career. Brady will then begin a 10-year, $375 million contract to serve as the network’s top NFL game analyst and brand ambassador.

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