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Jackie MacMullan: How Many More Times Do I Need To Be On Around The Horn?

“MacMullan wrapped up a writing career that spans nearly forty years since she first started with the Boston Globe in 1982.”

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Courtesy: ESPN

Jackie MacMullan retired from ESPN last week, but she’s not done with media entirely. She is still doing work for The Ringer over the coming months and appeared on The Bill Simmons Podcast to discuss why she left ESPN. MacMullan wrapped up a writing career that spans nearly forty years since she first started with the Boston Globe in 1982.

The two discussed what’s next for MacMullan, why she chose to leave a year into her ESPN extension, and how to operate as a journalist in today’s media world.

“You have to be really all-in on this job…if you’re going to do it properly, you have to be all-in,” MacMullan said about leaving right now. “I was having a hard time doing that. I was having a hard time generating the enthusiasm.”

Simmons joked with her about his “fingers not working anymore,” and MacMullan acknowledged she’s ready to spend more time with her family. The departure also opens the door for a wide range of talented women to take her place on different platforms.

“Around the Horn has been my family for the eighteen-something years, but how many more times do I need to be on Around the Horn? We’ve got all these great young women, new voices on that show. I was the only woman on that show for a really long time, for way too long in my opinion.” 

MacMullan’s made nearly 900 appearances on the program and her final show on Aug. 30 marks the last time ESPN audiences will watch her as an employee.

“Now we have all these great young female voices: Mina Kimes, Monica McNutt, Sarah Spain, my girl Ramona [Shelburne] who breaks news all over, I’m gonna leave people out…Emily Kaplan, she’s just a star…Elle Duncan is another one. And it’s just their turn. It’s their turn.”

MacMullan dove into a few more topics with Simmons, including an upcoming project she is working on for The Ringer. She also discussed a potential podcast appearance with her, Simmons, and legendary sportswriter Bob Ryan.

Sports TV News

Former Hulu Exec Michael Schneider Hired To Run Bally Sports+

“Schneider previously was VP of brand and content marketing at Hulu, where he had involvement in various marketing efforts for Hulu + Live TV.”

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Sinclair Broadcast Group and Diamond Sports Group have tapped Michael Schneider as the chief operating officer and general manager of Bally Sports+ when it launches this year.

Schneider will oversee the direct-to-consumer platform that will also be the hub for Bally Sports live programming.

Schneider previously was VP of brand and content marketing at Hulu, where he had involvement in various marketing efforts for Hulu + Live TV.

“Throughout his career, Michael has successfully launched and developed DTC streaming and service platforms and created immersive engagement experiences,” said Sinclair COO and president of broadcast Rob Weisbord. “He is a terrific addition to the team as we build out the Bally Sports+ offering, its exclusive content and passionate fan community.”

Even before Hulu, Schneider had a hand in streaming. He was a founding member of the PlayStation Vue launch team.

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Sports TV News

Marquee Sports Network Weighs Streaming Options Outside of Bally Sports+

“Marquee GM Mike McCarthy said to Sports Business Journal there’s no rush, but the network is hopeful they can have something in time for the 2023 season.”

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As Sinclair Broadcast Group prepares to launch Bally Sports+, its direct-to-consumer platform that will be home to Bally Sports live events, the Chicago Cubs are weighing their options for Marquee Sports Network, which the team co-owns with Sinclair.

Despite being under the Sinclair umbrella, Marquee is its own free-standing RSN from the rest of the Bally Sports networks across the country.

Marquee is readily available on a number of cable providers, but the only thing that’s really missing is its own standalone streaming platform for games. Marquee GM Mike McCarthy said to Sports Business Journal there’s no rush, but the network is hopeful they can have something in time for the 2023 season.

“We’re always interested in being on the cutting edge with the ultimate deliverable to our consumer,” McCarthy said. “But there isn’t any contractual clock ticking to make us feel that way. It’s how we’ve approached things from the beginning. Between our two ownership groups, there’s a lot of aggression to get it right. And I think you’ll see something along those lines shortly.”

The TV ratings will always be of top interest for MLB, especially regional ratings. But as the league has worked to embrace more streaming options for games, striking deals with Apple and Peacock for rights this season, it’s all about providing what the fans and viewers want.

“We now have the ability to do so much more, to properly tell the story of a 162-game season,” said Crane Kenney, Chicago Cubs president of business operations. Kenney was instrumental in the launch of Marquee. “We love baseball, we love the game, and we love the opportunity we have to share it with our fans in really deep ways.”

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Sports TV News

Laura Rutledge Celebrates Chemistry Of NFL Live

“It is truly the absolute joy of my life to get their opinions and to sit with them every single day and hear what they have to say.”

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Laura Rutledge is very happy with where NFL Live is as the current lineup gets set to enter its third season together. She told The Big Lead that there is genuine chemistry between herself, Marcus Spears, Mina Kimes, and Dan Orlovsky and that is why she doesn’t feel the need to emulate any of sports television’s many debate shows.

“You don’t want to see people yelling at each other all the time and I’m really proud of the chemistry that we have struck and just letting that breathe on air and having so much fun. It is truly the absolute joy of my life to get their opinions and to sit with them every single day and hear what they have to say.”

The 2022 NFL season will have a very different feel for ESPN. The addition of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman for Monday Night Football adds new expectations to the network.

Rutledge said that the attention on the network means that she and her colleagues have to raise their respective games, but that shouldn’t be hard. There is always material to work with in this league.

“We’ve seen this offseason, we saw the previous offseason, how the NFL news cycle never stops. It’s funny because the news cycle becomes such a big piece of the story, but we’re like, we can’t wait for the games,” she said.

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