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NBC To Join Amazon In Producing Thursday Night Football

The two sides are working together to produce “Thursday Night Football” starting in 2022.

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: NFL Network

Amazon is taking over prime real estate on Thursday night’s next NFL season, but it’s been a mystery how they will produce Thursday Night FootballAccording to the New York Post‘s Andrew Marchand, the company is working on a deal with NBC to join forces and produce its Thursday Night Football package.

Sources told Marchand that the Amazon-NBC contract is likely to be a three-year deal, with Amazon having the option to extend it to five. In doing so, NBC would lend the services of famed Sunday Night Football producer Fred Gaudelli.

With Gaudelli, Amazon is hoping that entices Al Michaels to be their number one play-by-play man. Michaels is in the final year of his NBC deal, but it’s not out of the question that he could work for both companies. 

Marchand previously reported the legendary broadcaster is Amazon’s top choice to lead their exclusive coverage of Thursday NFL action. CBS’s Ian Eagle and Fox’s Joe Buck have also emerged as top targets if the streaming giant can’t land Michaels. The two sides have discussed sharing Michaels, with the broadcaster calling 15 games for Amazon and then shifting over to NBC for the Wild Card Round.

The dominoes could continue falling if Amazon can bring in Michaels. The company has been quiet on the color commentator front, but Marchand noted they could take a run at Peyton Manning. 

Amazon plans to have Michaels and Manning in the booth with Maria Taylor on the sidelines, pending her current contract negotiations with ESPN. 

Taylor’s ESPN deal expires on July 20, and NBC is currently trying to woo her away quickly in time for Tokyo Olympics coverage on July 23. The production deal between NBC and Amazon means fans could be in store for a weekly double-dip of the top football talents at NBC. A lot of things hang in the balance as Amazon prepares to dive into NFL coverage.

Sports TV News

FOX Will Use Chris Fallica On Belmont Stakes Coverage

“While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.”

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The Bear will be more than just a college football presence when he moves to FOX. Chris Fallica wrapped his final duties for ESPN last week and is now headed to a new network and will tackle some new responsibilities.

Fallica’s new role at FOX will involve plenty of sports gambling content. Richard Deitsch of The Athletic reports that content will include horse racing.

“One Fox Sports source said look for him to appear on the Belmont Stakes coverage,” Deitsch wrote in his weekly media column.

Starting in 2023, horse racing’s Triple Crown will not be seen all in one place. While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.

How the network intends to use Chris Fallica on the broadcast is not clear. Given that he is coming to the network to contribute to gambling conversations, it is likely he would either be making picks or at least reviewing odds right up to the start of the race.

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Sports TV News

NBCUniversal CEO Expects Disney To Buy Company’s Hulu Stake

“Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal.”

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The Walt Disney Company owns 67% of Hulu. The other 33% is owned by NBCUniversal. The latter company doesn’t expect that to be the case forever.

“It’s worth a lot of money,” NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said at an investor conference earlier this week, “and I think there’s no indication that anything else is going to happen than Disney writing us a big check.”

Hulu is primarily a platform for movies and television shows. It is a major part of Disney’s deal with the NHL though. The streaming giant is part of the package of 103 games that are exclusive to ESPN and ABC. Hulu is also a live TV provider for many. The company’s Hulu Plus Live TV package had over 4 million subscribers as of the summer of 2022.

Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal. He credits sports and content migrated from Hulu as the reason Peacock has grown to 18 million paid subscriptions since September.

Deadline reports that if Disney does want to acquire NBCUniversal’s stake in Hulu, “the price could fluctuate but will be in the tens of billions of dollars.”

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Sports TV News

Greg Olsen Believes He and Kevin Burkhardt Can Handle Games ‘On Any Stage’

“Obviously, the bosses get paid a lot to make hard decisions. You have to obviously do what your bosses decide. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”

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Greg Olsen

Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen are on tap to call Super Bowl LVII in February, and Olsen told Front Office Sports he has the confidence to announce the game with no hesitations.

“If you’re asking me, I think Kevin and I have shown that we can handle a game on any stage – on any day. We just did it on Thanksgiving. We’ll do it again around Christmas. And obviously throughout the [NFL] Playoffs,” said Olsen. “So whatever decision they make. Obviously, the bosses get paid a lot to make hard decisions. You have to obviously do what your bosses decide. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

“But as of now, I anticipate Kevin and I, the two of us, with Erin and Tom down on the sidelines, the four of us, broadcasting the Super Bowl in February in Arizona. Until I’m told otherwise, that’s how we’re proceeding.”

Olsen also told FOS he has negotiated a new contract with FOX Sports, but declined to share details. He is slated to be replaced on the top broadcast crew once Tom Brady ends his playing career. Brady will then begin a 10-year, $375 million contract to serve as the network’s top NFL game analyst and brand ambassador.

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