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Nick Saban Joins Manningcast In Week 3

“The brothers are aiming to keep their strong Week 2 momentum rolling after averaging 1.9 million viewers last Monday.”

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: ESPN

The Manning brothers have brought on some heavy-hitting guests over the first two weeks of their ESPN Monday Night Football alternate broadcast. That theme isn’t changing anytime soon as the duo gets set to welcome Alabama Football head coach Nick Saban to their Week 3 show.

The appearance is aptly timed with Nick Saban and Alabama facing another SEC test this weekend when they match up with Ole Miss. Former Rebels quarterback Eli Manning and Peyton are having Saban on for the majority of a full quarter during Monday night’s game.

The Cowboys-Eagles matchup features plenty of Saban’s NFL connections. Five former Crimson Tide standouts are starting in the game, including, quarterback Jalen Hurts, who started at Alabama for 2 years before moving to Oklahoma, wide receiver DeVonta Smith, offensive lineman Landon Dickerson, wide receiver Amari Cooper, and cornerback Trevon Diggs. 

Former assistants from Saban’s tenure with Alabama are on display as well. Doug Nussmeier (Cowboys quarterbacks coach), Jeff Stoutland (Eagles offensive line coach), and Joe Pannunzio (Eagles assistant special teams coordinator) all worked with Saban at one point or another.

In the alternate broadcasts’ first two weeks, Charles Barkley, Russell Wilson, and Brett Favre made up a few of the names to pop in to talk football with the Manning brothers. Fans and critics alike are praising the conversations as a whole new way to get these athletes into a relaxed environment.

Eli Manning and Nick Saban have some established history with each other already. The younger Manning followed in his older brother’s footsteps with Eli’s Places, a spin-off of Peyton’s Places. Eli spent one of the episodes hanging out with Saban for a lake day tubing on his boat.

The brothers are aiming to keep their strong Week 2 momentum rolling after averaging 1.9 million viewers last Monday. The figure made their second go-round the highest-watched alternate broadcast ever aired on an ESPN platform. 

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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