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Rece Davis: GameDay Is Missing ‘Spontaneity’

“He and the rest of the cast are not doing a completely different show, but the on-site fans have become such an important part of College GameDay that it is hard not to notice they are missing.”

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ESPN’s flagship college football show is going golfing this week. College GameDay will broadcast live from Augusta National Golf Club this Saturday, which is also the second-to-last day of action at The Masters. Host Rece Davis was on a conference call with reporters earlier this week and was asked to reflect on the season for the show so far.

The obvious difference for College GameDay amidst the Covid-19 pandemic is there are no crowds. Davis says it makes for a big difference in the energy of the show.

“I think the number one thing that we’ve all noticed is that when you have normal situations in the crowd, you get instantaneous feedback, good and bad,” Davis said. “Whatever you say, if you say something good about your host rival or something they don’t like and you get booed, and if you say their teams good, then you get cheers. There’s a certain adrenaline and rush it goes along with it, and I think there’s a great energy that comes from having a show in a setting like that when you’re surrounded by, in some cases you know 25,000 people, you know, depending on the venue.”

Davis wanted to make it clear that he thinks the nuts and bolts of the show still work. He and the rest of the cast are not doing a completely different show, but the on-site fans have become such an important part of College GameDay that it is hard not to notice they are missing.

“You also don’t have the spontaneity of being able to you say something they boo and kind of react to and have a little fun with it and then move on. That part’s gone. But I think the discussion and the interaction. And the chemistry has been the same, you just miss that little bit of instantaneous energy.”

Davis said his first thought when the idea of doing College GameDay from Augusta National was presented to him was “that would be awesome”. He says The Masters and college football make for a good fit.

“It was very exciting to be able to do something different, especially this year and maybe be able to give people a little look at two great events. Obviously, the Masters stands alone, and then a college football Saturday, which we, you know, hold great reverence for as well and be able to connect those two things and do it from Augusta National is something that was very exciting.”

Kirk Herbstreit, who has been a part of College GameDay since before ESPN began taking the show around the country, says that he has never seen this kind of excitement for a broadcast before.

“I can tell you this, whenever we announced that GameDay was going to be at Augusta, I’ve never received more texts from people around the country than I did when we announced that location,” he told reporters.

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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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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