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Jeff Van Gundy: I Am Trying To Be Gentler On Referees

“As an analyst, the most important thing Van Gundy tries to do is call the action how he sees it.”

Ricky Keeler

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ESPN

On October 20, Jeff Van Gundy will be back in the booth with Mike Breen and Mark Jackson for another NBA season at ESPN. Van Gundy has been one of the lead analysts at ESPN since 2007 after being a head coach in the NBA from 1996-2007 with the New York Knicks and Houston Rockets. 

Van Gundy was a guest on the most recent episode of the Sports Media With Richard Deitsch Podcast and he was asked by Deitsch why he feels he has lasted as long as he has in the broadcasting business. Van Gundy pointed to Tim Corrigan (senior coordinating producer for ESPN). 

“It comes back to the people you work for. Upper management has changed a lot over time in my time at ESPN. The direct bosses have changed a lot. Tim Corrigan has been my boss ever since I’ve been there. His trust in what Mike, Mark, and I are doing has been appreciated. That doesn’t mean he never comes back at me and goes that was stupid or you can’t stay that. I like it. He’s both a friend and a boss and that’s a hard line to walk.” 

As Jeff Van Gundy has done more games over the last 10+ years, he has tried to be more considerate of criticizing officials when he is on the air because he isn’t trying to be controversial on purpose.

“I think for a while when I first started maybe from my coaching background, whatever I saw from them, I would never let it go. Some in the NBA would say I need to do it a lot more. I was always astounded how personal people take it when you talk about officiating, but playing, they expect you to critique what’s going on and coaching moves.”

As an analyst, the most important thing Jeff Van Gundy tries to do is call the action how he sees it. When he does prep for upcoming broadcasts, he told Deitsch that he doesn’t try to focus on specific stats. Instead, he keeps his prep simple and looks for trends that stand out. 

“I don’t really do a whole lot other than watch. I just like to watch. Like to watch games. I have a few friends I talk to in the NBA, but it’s not like I’m sitting there calling a lot of people….I would say it’s as simple as I think this is where a color guy has it really good. I’m not a stats guy. I don’t throw out a lot of stats. You have to find what you feel is best broadcasting-wise. I know the stats on the teams, but it’s not like I’m ever going to say this guy’s shooting 44% from three unless it’s something that stands out.”

Van Gundy’s first regular season game with fellow color-commentator Mark Jackson, play-by-play man Mike Breen, and sideline reporter Lisa Salters for the 2021-22 season will be on October 20 when the Knicks host the Boston Celtics at Madison Square Garden (7:30 pm ET, ESPN). 

Sports TV News

FOX Sued for Patent Infringement Over NFL Scheduling

“Recentive Analytics filed suit against FOX in a Delaware federal court on November 29 according to Yahoo Sports.”

Jordan Bondurant

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An analytics company is suing FOX over claims that the network developed a mapping tool using their patented technology to create a season slate of NFL games.

Recentive Analytics filed suit against FOX in a Delaware federal court on November 29 according to Yahoo Sports.

The lawsuit claims FOX used access to Recentive’s predictive analytics tools to develop a resource of their own that would create optimal schedules for its 1 and 4 p.m. NFLwindows.

The company is seeking a declaration that FOX infringed on two of its patents. Recentive is also suing for damages and wants an injunction keeping FOX from using Recentive tech and preventing the network from “selling, offering for sale, marketing or using any internal network and mapping analytics tool for the scheduling and regionalization of events covered by the patents.”

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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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