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Thomas Dimitroff Producing Behind-The-Scenes Show On NFL GMs

The executive held the Falcons GM title from 2008-2020.

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: Atlanta Falcons

Thomas Dimitroff’s Atlanta Falcons GM tenure didn’t end with a title, but he’s bringing a championship idea to television. Michael Holley guest-wrote Peter King’s weekly “FMIA” column and had this nugget on a new project from the former head football mind in Atlanta.

“Thomas Dimitroff is on to something big,” Holley wrote in the article. “The former Falcons general manager has now interviewed 15 GMs for an unfiltered TV show that he’s producing. The idea is to show aspects of the job—and the personalities behind it—that often go unseen/unexplained. Among the 15: Howie Roseman, Jason Licht, Mickey Loomis, and Brett Veach.”

There weren’t any details on a home for the project or release date, but the idea is fascinating. Dimitroff built strong relationships in the league during his run in Atlanta, which began in 2008. The Falcons let Dimitroff and head coach Dan Quinn go after the team’s 0-5 start last season.

That cache is going to be a big factor in making this entertaining content. GMs are famously fickle in the amount of information they let get out to the public, but with the success of HBO’s Hard Knocks cemented, it was a matter of time before spin-offs popped up.

Maybe HBO would be interested in the program since it’s widely expected to follow a similar format to the training camp documentary aired each August. With nearly half the league on board, it’s clear there is interest in the project within league circles.

Filming may have already begun. Bar Bill Tavern in Buffalo, New York, snapped a photo of Dimitroff and Bills GM Brandon Beane going through an on-camera interview at the restaurant last month.

More news around the project should start trickling out as we approach Week One of the NFL season, the Falcons first without Dimitroff since George W. Bush was in office.

Sports TV News

Al Michaels: Condensed Prep Time For Thursday Night Football ‘A Downside’

“It’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us.”

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There were bound to be unexpected hiccups and unintended consequences as Al Michaels moved to Thursday Night Football with Amazon Prime Video.

He told The Boston Globe Thursday that one of the downsides of the week’s schedule is less prep time with the teams playing in the game.

“When we go to see the teams, it’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us,” Michaels said. “And all the time I’ve been doing this, I’ve built some great relationships with coaches and players and GMs and owners and you name it, and I don’t get that much time to spend with them anymore. That’s a downside part of it for me. Some of the best stories you get come from those relationships.”

Michaels has raised eyebrows this season while not being shy about his disdain for some poor matchups early in the schedule. However, he now understands that there are quality games as the season approaches its close.

“The schedule was a little leaky with the Carolina-Atlanta game and a couple of other games that we’ve had, but now we’re positioned for a nice run down the stretch,” said Michaels.

The 78-year-old was also asked how he remains energetic and passionate for the job he’s held for so long.

The games are exciting. I love sports. You don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s no script. And unscripted television is the greatest.”

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Sports TV News

Jimmy Pitaro: Reaching Younger Audience A Priority for ESPN

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience. As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

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Many in the media industry have voice concern that millennials and Gen Z aren’t consuming traditional media outlets like previous generations. ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said it’s a priority for the network.

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience,” Pitaro said, quoted by Morning Consult sports business reporter Mark J. Burns. “As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

Pitaro made the comments at Sports Business Journal’s Media Innovators conference Wednesday. It is a continuation of comments he has made in recent years.

In 2018, Pitaro said at ESPN’s upfront “I think we are doing a fantastic job serving the sports fanatic,” said Pitaro. “What about the casual sports customer? Are we doing all we can to serve him or her?”.

In 2019, Pitaro said it was “all hands on deck” to reach a younger audience and women. “We have to be open and go to where our customers are,” he said in regards to reaching younger viewers on social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

Earlier this year, Pitaro added that ESPN won’t be leaving linear television anytime soon.

“What I will tell you is that as I sit here right now, that business is still incredible,” Pitaro said. “We serve the sports fan anyway and at any time. I know there are a lot of people that still want ESPN in that traditional ecosystem.”

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Sports TV News

Don Mattingly Joining Blue Jays Staff After YES Network Courtship

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

Jordan Bondurant

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YES Network

The New York Yankees regional sports network can take Don Mattingly off its talent wish list. Mattingly was announced Wednesday as a bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays starting in 2023.

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

But Mattingly told Andrew Marchand of The New York Post this week that he had another opportunity in the works but wouldn’t elaborate.

YES also has been considering luring Yankees legend and Hall of Famer Derek Jeter into broadcasting. But no formal talks have taken place.

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