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Overtime Elite Adds Ex-Turner Digital Exec As Launch Nears

The league is launching September.

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: Overtime

Overtime Elite has added a heavy hitter from the TV executive side as they get set to launch their alternative to college basketball in less than three months. Former Turner Sports exec Mark Johnson is serving as OTE’s executive vice president of business operations. Johnson was Turner’s senior vice president of digital. He oversaw NBA and NCAA Digital platforms, like March Madness Live and NBA League Pass.

Johnson is now a key part in getting the elite high school prospect league off of the ground. He will play a role in budgeting, facility management, and strategy decisions for the league.

“We’re going to focus on: How do we grow quickly?” Johnson said in an interview. “We’ve got to get it up and launched, but then quickly move toward a growth plan. This will definitely evolve pretty quickly from year one to year two—maybe even from the first four-to-six months to the second four-to-six months. I think we’re going to learn a lot.”

The league has a groundbreaking plan to not only have high school graduates get paid like professionals, but kids still in high school are welcome to join as well. According to an Overtime press release, OTE consists of 30 players who earn a floor of $100,000 per year, plus bonuses and shares of equity in Overtime. 

Players profit off their name, image, and likeness through custom jersey sales, trading cards, video games, and sneaker deals. Overtime Elite provides health care for players, and those who don’t pursue professional opportunities after playing in the league get up to $100,000 of college tuition covered. The third-ranked prospect in the Class of 2023, Matt Bewley, is one of many “elite” prospects to sign with the league.

One of Johnson’s roles is to make sure these athletes transition into the new environment as seamlessly as possible

“I don’t think any of us are going to figure it all out for years to come,” Johnson said of the NIL opportunities players now have. “We want to make sure we do it right.”

Sports TV News

Curt Menefee to Call Two Seahawks Preseason Games

FOX NFL studio host Curt Menefee will be on the TV play-by-play for the preseason opener on August 13 and the finale on August 26.

Jordan Bondurant

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Curt Menefee

The 2022 NFL preseason is going to kick off in earnest later this week, and the Seattle Seahawks have revealed their broadcast crews for two of the team’s three preseason contests.

FOX NFL studio host Curt Menefee will be on the TV play-by-play for the preseason opener on August 13 and the finale on August 26. He’ll be joined in the booth by former Seahawk Michael Robinson. The games will air locally on KING 5, the city’s NBC affiliate.

Additionally for the TV broadcasts, Paul Silvi and Ray Roberts will host the pre and postgame shows, with former Seahawk Michael Bennett working as an analyst.

On the radio, Steve Raible and Dave Wyman will call all three games. Jen Mueller will be the sideline reporter. Michael Bumpus will be the studio host and will be joined by former players Jordan Babineaux, Paul Moyer, Roberts, Marcus Trufant and Robert Turbin.

Radio broadcasts air on Seattle Sports 710 AM and KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM and are distributed across Washington on the Seahawks Radio Network.

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Sports TV News

After Losing Out On Big Ten Rights, ESPN Turns Focus to NCAA Championships

According to Front Office Sports, ESPN’s contract for 29 NCAA Championships ends in 2024.

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After reportedly losing out on the Big Ten’s television rights, ESPN is reportedly turning to securing the NCAA Championship rights from hitting the open market.

According to Front Office Sports, ESPN’s contract for 29 NCAA Championships ends in 2024. Those 29 championships include everything from Women’s basketball to ice hockey, wrestling, softball, and baseball. The network pays a reported $34 million for the rights to broadcast those championship events.

However, according to a study commissioned by the NCAA reveals that the women’s basketball tournament could be worth anywhere from $81 million to $112 million per year by its lonesome. The NCAA is reportedly considering selling the women’s basketball tournament rights as a standalone product in the next negotiation.

Sources told Front Office Sports ESPN remains interested in striking deals with the Pac-12 and Big 12 media rights, as well as renewing a deal for the College Football Playoff.

The news comes after Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand reported ESPN declined a final offer from the Big Ten for a portion of the conference’s media rights. The reported deal was seven years and $380 million per year.

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Sports TV News

ESPN Announces The Return of Stephen A. Smith to First Take

ESPN announced Smith will be returning to First Take on Monday, August 15th.

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Stephen A. Smith

First Take has been without it’s anchor since the day after the NBA Draft in June. That’s when the ESPN personality took some time off to undergo shoulder surgery and to rehabilitate. However, it appears the wait for his return is almost over.

ESPN announced with a tweet that Smith will be returning to First Take on Monday, August 15th. They also teased a guest appearance from Michael Irvin.

This comes a day after Smith tweeted that the countdown was on for his return and we are one week away from the event.

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