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Neil Everett: ‘I Was Not Ready For First ESPN Audition’

“I didn’t know the Chicago White Sox. I couldn’t name a player on their team. I hadn’t done the homework. I was horrible.”

Ricky Keeler

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Geoff Thurner

When ESPN opened up a production facility in Los Angeles in 2009 for SportsCenter, Neil Everett became one of the facility’s main anchors along with Stan Verrett on the 1 a.m ET edition of the show. Over the last 10+ years, those two have become one of the more prominent duos for SportsCenter.

Everett was a guest this week on the Bleav in CollegeFootball Legends Podcast with Chris Smith to talk about his favorite interviews among other topics. He said on the show that he never really worked with Verrett that often in Bristol, but the two are similar people that have forged their own path at the network: 

“We both come from similar stock. We both believe in hard work. We both are two guys that I don’t think ESPN has expected as much out of us than we’ve produced. We determined our trajectory once ESPN let the reins off us and let us go a little bit. I love Stan to death.”

When Everett had his first audition with ESPN in 1999, he admitted that he wasn’t exactly prepared for the interview and the local sportscasts that he did in Hawaii were completely different than the role he was trying to apply for.

“I hadn’t done my homework. I wasn’t familiar with half the things they were talking about on SportsCenter because when I did the sports in Hawaii, we weren’t talking about half the stuff they were talking about. There were two different worlds of sports. Our local sportscast was mostly local sports. I didn’t know the Chicago White Sox. I couldn’t name a player on their team. I hadn’t done the homework. I was horrible. I knew I had nobody to blame but me, but fortunately, a year later, they called me back to do another audition.”

The second audition worked out for Everett has he has been at ESPN for over 20 years (July 2000) and he has become known for some of his catchphrases such as “Bartender, how about a Jack?” Everett mentioned that all of his catchphrases are not pre-planned.

“’How’s it’ is just a common thing in Hawaii. ‘Bartender, Jack’ just seemed like a natural. Probably just came to me. They come to you organic. Sometimes somebody will give you one and you go that’s pretty good, I’m going to use that…I got to write them down because my brain gets so fried.”

Even though Everett did not have a great first audition with ESPN, he learned from it and now is one of the faces most recognizable with SportsCenter, particularly the west coast edition out in Los Angeles. In addition to SportsCenter, Everett will be hosting pregame, halftime, and postgame shows for most of the Portland Trail Blazers road games for ROOT SPORTS this season.  

Sports TV News

The NFL Still Considering Multiple Offers For Sunday Ticket

The NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has not bid for the package but has stated it is willing to partner with the new rightsholder for a potential deal.

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Sunday Ticket Negotiations

DirecTV currently has the rights to Sunday Ticket. That deal expires at the end of this upcoming football season. The NFL is expected to make a boatload of cash when they decide which media organization gets the next rights to the package. The only question is… who will that be?

Alex Sherman of CNBC reports that the NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has decided not bid for the package. However, they are interested in partnering with the new rightsholder for a potential deal. DirecTV knows that Sunday Ticket is a staple in bars and restaurants and is interested in maintaining those relationships.

Outside of the bar/restaurant industry, success has been limited for the satellite provider with the football package. Fewer than two million subscribers signed up for Sunday Ticket each year which made the package a money-loser for the satellite TV provider.

According to the report, the NFL wants more than $2 billion for the rights and a stake in NFL Media, which is being packaged with Sunday Ticket. Also on the table is the NFL’s mobile rights. The league’s previous mobile agreement with Verizon has ended.

An interesting piece of the negotiations is Sunday Ticket price. According to the report, a buyer would have limited flexibility on pricing. The NFL signed contracts with CBS and Fox and within the framework of those deals, language mandates Sunday Ticket have a premium price. That’s to prevent loss of viewers from the networks that feature local market Sunday afternoon games. So essentially, the price is the price for the consumer.

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Sports TV News

F1 Renews With ESPN For U.S. Media Rights

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

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F1 ESPN

The racing series F1 has decided to stick with ESPN through 2025.

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

The reported value of the three-year contract is set to pay F1 $75-90M per year for the U.S. media rights. Amazon had offered to pay roughly $100M per year, with the right to sublicense to a linear broadcast network. Comcast’s offer was similar to ESPN’s in terms of value and the structure. They also wanted to put select races on it’s streaming service, Peacock.

Netflix was in on the negotiations, as well. The makers of Drive to Survive, the streaming series that many credit with the sport’s explosion in popularity in recent years, wasn’t close on on their financial offer. Also, it seems F1 executives were not ready to put all of its races on a streaming service just yet.

Currently, F1 receives $5M per year for ESPN to broadcast it’s races. ESPN has grabbed about 1.0 million viewers per race. That makes F1 a more than viable option for the network to invest into again. ESPN will be able to put a small number of races on its ESPN+ streaming service exclusively. The vast majority being on ABC or ESPN.

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Sports TV News

Skip Bayless Says He And Stephen A. Smith ‘Sorted Out’ Their Disagreement

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

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Skip Bayless

Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless were locked in a war of words last week following the First Take host’s appearance on JJ Redick’s Old Man and the Three podcast.

The origins of their partnership were discussed and Bayless admitted he did not like the way Smith characterized the state of First Take before he arrived on set. Smith insisted that Bayless simply misunderstood what he meant by saying that he was told the show needed him.

Over the weekend, Skip Bayless says he and Stephen A. Smith got together at the Bayless home in California to talk things out in private.

“He was in LA, he came over, we sat by the pool,” he said on the latest episode of The Skip Bayless Show. “It wasn’t the easiest conversation for a while, but we slowly but surely sorted it out. We got through it, and we have been through so much together.”

Bayless reiterated that he considers Smith a brother. They love each other. That doesn’t mean they are always going to remember events the same way or see eye-to-eye all the time.

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

Fighting doesn’t mean the relationship is fractured. In fact, Skip Bayless was adamant that he remains closer to Smith than he is to most people in his life.

“I don’t trust easily because of the way I was raised, but I do trust Stephen Anthony Smith. Trust him with my life. Always have and always will. I trust he will always be there for me, and you better believe I will always be there for him.”

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