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Jordan Kent Takes Over As TV Voice Of Trail Blazers

“Despite his five years with the Blazers, northwest sports fans might also remember Kent from his time as a wide receiver with the Seahawks and in the Pac-10 with the Ducks.”

Brandon Contes

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It’s not uncommon to see a retired athlete launch their second career as a sports broadcaster. What’s rare is to see that athlete become a play-by-play voice instead of an analyst, even more unprecedented is doing it for a sport other than the one they played.

Earlier this week the Portland Trail Blazers announced Jordan Kent as their TV play-by-play voice on NBC Sports Northwest for the rapidly approaching 2020-21 NBA season. It will mark the fifth season Kent has spent with the Trail Blazers, previously hosting their pregame, halftime and postgame shows. Despite his five years with the Blazers, northwest sports fans might also remember Kent from his time as a wide receiver with the Seahawks and in the Pac-10 with the Ducks. In addition to football, Kent also lettered in basketball for the University of Oregon.

Kent stepped in as the Blazers play-by-play voice during the NBA restart, taking over for Kevin Calabro, who announced he was stepping down in July. Calabro had a more than two-decade long tenure as the voice of the Supersonics, before joining the Blazers in 2016. Now Kent will get the opportunity to be the Blazers TV voice on a more permanent basis.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to step into the Television Play-by-Play role,” Kent said in the press release. “I have some pretty big shoes to fill, following in the footsteps of the great Kevin Calabro, but I’m up for the challenge and feel great support from the entire broadcast team and all of Rip City.”

Retired athletes working as play-by-play announcers or covering different sports isn’t completely without precedent. For sports fans my age, Ahmad Rashad is synonymous with basketball thanks to his long tenure hosting NBA Inside Stuff despite having a very successful career as an NFL running back. Pat Summerall was one of the best play-by-play voices in the history of football after he retired as a player. Steve Nash has covered soccer and former NBA center Brad Daugherty has long been a NASCAR analyst. But Kent is doing both, he’s a retired athlete turned play-by-play voice, in a different sport than the one he played professionally. 

Sports TV News

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.

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Sunday Ticket Negotiations

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.

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Sports TV News

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.

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F1 ESPN

The racing series F1 has decided to stick with ESPN through 2025.

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.

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Sports TV News

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.”

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Skip Bayless

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.”

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