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ESPN’s Sarah Spain Joins Chicago Red Stars Ownership Group

She is part of a group of people with Chicago sports ties dedicated to raising the profile of both the team and the league.

Will Galvez

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Chicago native Sarah Spain has delivered big news on ESPN’s platform before. This morning, she took to Twitter to break some personal news..

She is officially a part owner of the Chicago Red Stars of the NWSL, the top of the United States women’s soccer pyramid. She is part of a group of people with Chicago sports ties dedicated to raising the profile of both the team and the league.

“As a lifelong athlete, avid supporter of women’s sports and die-hard Chicago sports fans, it’s a thrill to have the opportunity to represent my city in an ownership role and help grow and nurture the oldest and most successful franchise in the NWSL,” Spain said in a statement.

Spain has gone on record for being a strong proponent for women in sports media and ownership. In addition to her work on ESPN’s studio shows and ESPN Radio’s Spain & Fitz, she is also prominently featured on espnW and is the regular co-host of the espnW Women + Sports Summit.

Sports TV News

NFL Says It Did Not Tell Networks How To Cover Return of Deshaun Watson

“Watson was suspended 11 games by the NFL for violations of the league’s personal conduct policy.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Beleaguered quarterback Deshaun Watson made his 2022 season debut as a member of the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, taking on the team that drafted him – the Houston Texans.

Watson was suspended 11 games by the NFL for violations of the league’s personal conduct policy. Deshaun had faced multiple allegations of sexual misconduct and was subject to a grand jury which never pressed criminal charges against the former Clemson star.

But none of the NFL’s media partners, including the league-owned NFL Network, really went deep into the sexual misconduct allegations. A New York Times article on the media coverage indicated that for the most part Watson’s alleged predatory behavior being the reason for his suspension was glossed over.

ESPN dedicated eight minutes of Sunday NFL Countdown to the timeline of events that led to Watson’s suspension, and commentator Sam Ponder spoke about the situation describing it as “He said, they all said.”

The Times reported that NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told the paper that the league offered “no direction” on how to report on Watson’s return to the field.

Even though Watson is back playing, there are still terms and conditions that he must meet in order to remain active.

But it’s believed that the story has been played out, even though Watson currently faces additional civil lawsuits for misconduct by accusers. The assumption is that league media partners will continue to focus less on the past actions of Watson off the field and focus more on how he’s contributing to a Browns team that’s currently 5-7 and facing dwindling postseason chances.

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Sports TV News

Recruiting Analyst Paul Biancardi Gets New Contract At ESPN

“He arrived at The Worldwide Leader in 2006.”

Jordan Bondurant

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ESPN’s top college basketball recruiting insider has inked a new contract with the network.

ESPN PR reported on Twitter on Thursday that Paul Biancardi, whose formal title is national recruiting director and basketball analyst, has agreed to a new multi-year deal.

Biancardi has been ESPN’s go-to guy for recruiting news for quite some time. He arrived at The Worldwide Leader in 2006.

“I have been privileged to cover the game I love for ESPN for 15 year and I’m thrilled to continue sharing my passion and insights on basketball at all levels,” Biancardi said in a statement. “I’m grateful to ESPN for the opportunity to serve fans, players and coaches while working with so many gifted and genuine professionals.”

Before joining ESPN, Biancardi was most notably the head coach at Wright State. He was the Horizon League coach of the year in 2004.

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Sports TV News

PAC-12 Commissioner: Deion Sanders Adds Value In TV Rights Negotiations

“We knew some other information was coming, including the announcement of Coach Prime, and why would we do a media deal before that?”

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Even if you are not a fan of Coach Prime, his influence is hard to deny. Since accepting the head coaching job at Colorado, Deion Sanders has made the Buffaloes a hot topic in the sports media. That almost never happens.

Will that enthusiasm and curiosity translate into dollars and cents? George Kliavkoff thinks so.

The PAC-12’s Commissioner told The Athletic that he has seen Colorado already reap the benefits for itself. When the team opens the 2023 season with College Football Playoff participant TCU, he expects the conference and it media partners to see the value of Deion Sanders too.

“I can’t imagine what the ratings are going to be for that game,” he told Andy Staples.

Fans of the PAC-12 and media that cover the conference have been wary of the Big 12 raiding the West Coast for a number of the remaining top brands. The Big 12 has been seen has having a stronger position to emerge as the third mega-conference after solidifying deals with FOX and ESPN last month.

Kliavkoff also said that Sanders is a factor in the conference not having a new television deal lined up yet.

“We knew some other information was coming, including the announcement of Coach Prime, and why would we do a media deal before that?” the commissioner said adding that Deion Sanders “absolutely adds value” for the conference and its media partners.

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