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John Smoltz, Al Leiter Refuse Vaccine, Won’t Work In MLB Network Studio

“Two of the network’s high-profile analysts refused. Rather than turning in their resignation letters or the network firing them, an agreement has been reached. Both John Smoltz and Al Leiter will continue breaking down baseball for MLB Network, but they will not be allowed inside the studio. Andrew Marchand of The New York Post reports that the two former pitchers will each be appearing remotely.”

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MLB Network has mandated their employees receive the Covid-19 vaccine. The deadline to get the shot was today.

Two of the network’s high-profile analysts refused. Rather than turning in their resignation letters or the network firing them, an agreement has been reached. Both John Smoltz and Al Leiter will continue breaking down baseball for MLB Network, but they will not be allowed inside the studio. Andrew Marchand of The New York Post reports that the two former pitchers will each be appearing remotely.

Smoltz, who has always been an outspoken conservative, is still set to call games on-site. That includes a playoff game for MLB Network in October and all of FOX’s postseason slate, including the World Series.

Marchand asked for comment from the network, Leiter and Smoltz. MLB Network declined. Leiter and Smoltz did not return the reporter’s phone call.

Sports TV News

ESPN Asked NHL For More Games on Linear TV

“It’s something that ESPN pushed for. But to the extent that ESPN was looking to make an adjustment for Year 2, we’re pleased to have the ongoing exposure.”

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The 2021-2022 NHL season was the first of a new media rights deal that saw the league’s games air nationally on ESPN and TNT.

The 2022-2023 season will see more games on linear television, and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman says that’s from ESPN’s insistence.

When asked by Sports Business Journal‘s Alex Silverman about a noticeably larger linear television schedule for the upcoming season, Bettman said “We’re happy to have it, but it’s something that ESPN pushed for. But to the extent that ESPN was looking to make an adjustment for Year 2, we’re pleased to have the ongoing exposure. Although, last year and the way things were balanced was a terrific year for us. Ratings were up, viewership was up, connectivity on all platforms for our fans was up. And ESPN and Turner have done an incredible job, and we’re grateful to be with them.”

Last season, ESPN and ABC only aired 28 games on linear television, 18 airing on ESPN or ESPN2 and 10 on ABC. 75 regular season games were exclusive to ESPN+ and Hulu.

This year, 52 games will air between the two networks with 37 games on ESPN or ESPN2 and 15 games on ABC. The Walt Disney Company has exclusive rights to 103 NHL broadcasts during the 2022-2023 season, including the opening night double header, the All-Star Skills Competition and All-Star Game, and the NHL Stadium Series.

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Sports TV News

FOX Ends MLB Regular Season Coverage With Highest Audience of Season

FOX reeled in 2,657,000 viewers for its two game slate (Rays-Astros or Mets-Braves).

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MLB on FOX

FOX’s regular season coverage of MLB ended so strongly that it featured the best Saturday night baseball telecast on the network all season.

FOX reeled in 2,657,000 viewers for its two game slate (Rays-Astros or Mets-Braves). The Mets-Braves series was a battle of two teams trying to win the National League East division.

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Sports TV News

ESPN Unveils New NBA Graphics Package, Theme Song

The network unveiled a new scorebug, with colors for each team corresponding to what uniform they are wearing.

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As ESPN prepares for the upcoming NBA season, the network unveiled a new graphics package and theme song Tuesday.

The network unveiled a new scorebug, with colors for each team corresponding to what uniform they are wearing.

“Leading creative initiatives like this one are exactly what we envisioned when we created ESPN’s groundbreaking in-house Creative Studio almost two years ago,” said Carrie Brzezinski-Hsu, Vice President, ESPN Creative Studio. “We take sports from game to experience. It takes a dynamic collective of creative capabilities and storytellers to make fans feel like they are part of the game.”

“Like everything involving the NBA on ESPN, this has been a total team effort,” said Tim Corrigan, Vice President, Production. “We were thrilled to collaborate with our ESPN Creative Studio group to bring this new look and feel to life. It’s big, bold and contemporary and we can’t wait for fans to see it.”

The network has also unveiled new theme music for the upcoming season.

ESPN partnered with Made Music Studios for “the next evolution” of the NBA on ESPN’s sound.  The network says “Made Music created a hip hop-based concept with the power and energy synonymous with ESPN’s NBA Productions”.

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