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Brian Custer: ESPN Knows I’m Not Giving Up Showtime Boxing Gig

“I told them that’s non-negotiable. I’m under contract there and I plan to be there for as long as they want me.”

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Earlier this month, it was announced that former FS1 announcer and current Showtime Boxing host Brian Custer would be joining the ESPN family as an anchor on SportsCenter.  Custer will also be on the call for college basketball and football games on the network.

This week, Custer was on The Adam Schein Podcast to talk about his latest career news. Custer and Schein used to work together at SNY so they were able to look back at their days doing Jets Postgame Live together in 2006. 

Schein tells Custer during the interview that it has been “a real treat” hearing him do play-by-play on FS1. In the past, Schein usually associated Custer with doing studio shows because of how natural he was when he hosted The Wheelhouse, Jets Postgame Live, and SportsNite. For Custer, part of being seen only as a studio host led him to wanting to go to a different direction that gave him more of an opportunity to do other things.

“I’ve always prided myself with being a five-tool player,” Custer said. “I never wanted to be pigeon-holed into one thing.”

While Custer is heading over to ESPN, he is not leaving his job at Showtime and he never intended to.

“I told them that’s non-negotiable. I’m under contract there and I plan to be there for as long as they want me. I feel like we are the preeminent leader when it comes to the sport of boxing and there’s nobody better at what we do. There was no way I was going to give that up.

“I think ESPN realized how passionate I was about it. They understood me doing my podcast and that I will always interview fighters. They knew I was really passionate about it and there was no way I was going to give that up. 

Schein mentions that when the two of them met at SNY, he thought Custer would be a great SportsCenter anchor and Custer explained what the honor of eventually hosting the iconic show means to him.

“WAs a kid, I envisioned myself doing SportsCenter. They say timing is everything. When they called, the timing was right and there was no way I could pass it up. The offer was too good and the opportunity more than anything was too great.” 

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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.”

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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.

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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?”

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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