ESPN is widely considered to be a heavily left-leaning network, but they’ve still parted ways with some of their more political and socially driven personalities in recent years, headlined by Jemele Hill in 2018 and now Dan Le Batard.
One of the network’s more outspoken personalities is Jalen Rose, who used his platform with ESPN to call for the arrest of the police officers who shot and killed Breonna Taylor earlier this year. The former NBA player and current multimedia star recently joined Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports and was asked if he’s concerned about upsetting his relationship with network management based on his social ideals, the way some of his past colleagues have.
“One thing I will say about working here for as long as I’ve had, I’ve never been told what to wear or what to say,” Rose answered. “And that doesn’t take away from the memos that leak to the public about, making sure that we stay on message about delivering quality sports content.”
Rose also noted there are other factors that led to the departure of Hill and now Dan Le Batard, who’s TV and radio shows will part ways with ESPN next month.
“The perception is that Dan is raging against the machine and all of a sudden because he’s not willing to conform to the machine, he’s going to exit stage left and be a hero in the eyes of the public,” Rose said. “But being a professional in this business is also a stage of transactions and negotiations.”
Rose added that while being on ESPN is helpful to someone building their brand, working on multiple outlets can sometimes be better for their bottom line while maintaining their voice, enjoying different opportunities and flexibility.
As for Rose, he believes he has a duty to use his platform to inspire change, and athletes similarly share that responsibility. Citing his partnership with LeBron James and other celebrities for their More Than A Vote initiative, motivating NBA teams to use their facilities as polling locations is an example of substantial change at work.
“There are also more fair-minded people that don’t look like me, that are willing to stand for our cause,” Rose said, adding that those people are “willing to listen to our cause. And don’t just say ‘Shut up and Dribble.’”
Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX
“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”
FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.
A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.
The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.
Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.
That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.
Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.
FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars
“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”
The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.
Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.
Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.
“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”
Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.
“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.
FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.
NBA Draft To Get Simulcast From ESPN & ABC
“This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.”
ESPN is set for the 2022 NBA Draft coming up on June 23 at 8 p.m. from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The network announced Wednesday the crews that will handle coverage on both ESPN and ABC.
ABC will broadcast the first round in primetime. Kevin Negandhi will host and will be joined by Stephen A. Smith, Chiney Ogwumike and Jalen Rose. Monica McNutt will be reporting and interviewing draftees.
This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.
Malika Andrews will host both rounds for ESPN. Jay Bilas, Kendrick Perkins and Adrian Wojnarowski will share the set. Analysts Bobby Marks and Mike Schmitz will contribute.
“We’re thrilled that Malika Andrews will host this year’s ESPN presentation as she brings her well-documented, widespread skillset to our main set,” said David Roberts, head of NBA and Studio Production for ESPN. “The event will showcase the scope and depth of our NBA and college basketball talent roster with accomplished journalists and high-profile personalities across ESPN, ABC and ESPN Radio.”
ESPN will air a pre-draft red carpet show hosted by Cassidy Hubbarth from 5-6 p.m. Perkins and Richard Jefferson will also make appearances.