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NBC Turns Conference Call Into Doc Emrick Tribute

“Among those that participated were NBC Sports executive producer Sam Flood, NHL Comissioner Gary Bettman, and NBC colleagues Al Michaels and Eddie Olczyk.”

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NBC hosted a conference call on Monday to give the media a chance to speak to Mike “Doc” Emrick in the wake of announcing his retirement. While plenty of reporters and hosts got to ask questions, the call took an unexpected turn for some.

The network invited NBC and NHL colleagues to join the call. They were introduced as special guests before offering words of praise and congratulations to Emrick. Among those that participated were NBC Sports executive producer Sam Flood, NHL Comissioner Gary Bettman, and NBC colleagues Al Michaels and Eddie Olczyk.

Bettman told Emrick that he was “just a treasure,” noting that hockey is not going to be the same without his passion.

“There’s nobody who does a play-by-play as well as you do,” the Commissioner said. “And I just want to thank you for all of the incredible energy and effort you’ve given us and our fans, in particular the insights you give them to the game. The experience you give them watching hockey is just outstanding, and both personally and professionally we’re going to miss you. I’m going to miss you.”

Eddie Olczyk started by thanking Emrick for welcoming him as a teammate 14 years ago when the duo was first put together by NBC brass. He went on to say that even if the messages have not gone directly to Emrick, he has heard from plenty of people in the league that want to pass well wishes onto the legendary play-by-play man.

“My phone, my email has been swamped since late last night. Been hard conversations with a lot of people, communicating with our teammate Brian Boucher, Jonesy, and hearing from legendary hockey players like Ron Francis, Denis Savard, sending their well wishes, players like Ulf Samuelsson and Luke Richardson, Todd Marchant. The appreciation for everything you have given to our game is that we’re all much better for having you in our lives and we will miss you.”

Al Michaels was the final “special guest” to participate in the call. He compared Doc Emrick to his former partner John Madden. He noted that while Madden won a Super Bowl and is remembered as a great coach, it was his contributions as a broadcaster that made the biggest impact on the NFL. Michaels said he hopes fans know that Emrick had the same kind of impact on hockey.

“So in your retirement I would like you to create a video game,” Michaels said. “Because I think of you much as I think of John Madden, as a man who has been as important to the National Hockey League as anybody, and I say that because you have made the game so much more relevant, interesting, relatable, exciting, and I think just in listening to you, people who love hockey and are in that cult, but we love you, and you’ve also brought a lot of people into the game who might not otherwise have paid attention to hockey.”

Emrick was a little sheepish about all of the love. In fact, was the call ended, he was more concerned about what wasn’t said than what was. He asked the call moderator to please offer any reporters that wanted to ask a question but did not get the chance to an email address. Emrick said he would be happy to respond to questions there to make sure everyone got what they needed.

Sports TV News

After Losing Out On Big Ten Rights, ESPN Turns Focus to NCAA Championships

According to Front Office Sports, ESPN’s contract for 29 NCAA Championships ends in 2024.

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After reportedly losing out on the Big Ten’s television rights, ESPN is reportedly turning to securing the NCAA Championship rights from hitting the open market.

According to Front Office Sports, ESPN’s contract for 29 NCAA Championships ends in 2024. Those 29 championships include everything from Women’s basketball to ice hockey, wrestling, softball, and baseball. The network pays a reported $34 million for the rights to broadcast those championship events.

However, according to a study commissioned by the NCAA reveals that the women’s basketball tournament could be worth anywhere from $81 million to $112 million per year by its lonesome. The NCAA is reportedly considering selling the women’s basketball tournament rights as a standalone product in the next negotiation.

Sources told Front Office Sports ESPN remains interested in striking deals with the Pac-12 and Big 12 media rights, as well as renewing a deal for the College Football Playoff.

The news comes after Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand reported ESPN declined a final offer from the Big Ten for a portion of the conference’s media rights. The reported deal was seven years and $380 million per year.

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ESPN Announces The Return of Stephen A. Smith to First Take

ESPN announced Smith will be returning to First Take on Monday, August 15th.

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Stephen A. Smith

First Take has been without it’s anchor since the day after the NBA Draft in June. That’s when the ESPN personality took some time off to undergo shoulder surgery and to rehabilitate. However, it appears the wait for his return is almost over.

ESPN announced with a tweet that Smith will be returning to First Take on Monday, August 15th. They also teased a guest appearance from Michael Irvin.

This comes a day after Smith tweeted that the countdown was on for his return and we are one week away from the event.

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Sports TV News

Field Yates Re-Ups With ESPN

After the departure of Matthew Berry to NBC, ESPN has locked down fantasy expert Field Yates with a new contract to remain in Bristol.

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Field Yates

After the departure of Matthew Berry to NBC, ESPN has locked down fantasy expert Field Yates with a new contract to remain in Bristol.

Yates, 35, would have been a valuable target for FanDuel or DraftKings, surmises Andrew Marchand of The New York Post — who first reported the news — due to his large following on Twitter.

Yates, who also works as a host of Fantasy Football Now and NFL Insider for the network, across multiple platforms including ESPN Radio, will continue in those roles in addition to an assumed expansion of fantasy football duties after Berry’s exit.

He has worked for ESPN since 2012.

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