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Tony Kornheiser: Obama PTI Tribute Is ‘Greatest Honor’

“I get tears in my eyes. I’m not kidding. I am stunned by this. I had no idea this was happening.”

Ricky Keeler

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The 20th anniversary of Pardon The Interruption took place on Friday and many people have given their thoughts on what the show means to them. During Friday’s show, one person sent in a video message to Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon that they were completely surprised by. That was the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama. 

On Monday’s edition of The Tony Kornheiser Show, Kornheiser spent time at the beginning of the show to talk about what the segment from Obama meant to him and how surprised he was to receive it. He was told by Matthew Kelliher, the coordinating producer of PTI, to not have any happy’s planned for the end of Friday’s show and that it would be a taped piece instead.

I’ll write an introduction for it thinking all along that it would be a dopey montage of junk Wilbon and I had done over 20 years. I wouldn’t watch it because it would depress me how old I am,” said Kornheiser. 

As Kornheiser starts to read the introduction, the crew at PTI did something that never happens on the show before Obama appeared on the screen and it eventually left Kornheiser stunned.

“I read the introduction and then on the screen. They enable me to see the screen and that doesn’t usually happen. I’m usually staring into prompter or staring into Wilbon, but not what’s on television. Barack Obama starts to talk and I am stunned.

“He doesn’t just say congratulations. He goes on for about 3 minutes. He says some funny stories about us with the added benefit of being true and then he says the nicest things about the show and what the show means and how the show fits into the fabric of the United States of America and why he likes it and why he thinks it’s important. I get tears in my eyes. I’m not kidding. I am stunned by this. I had no idea this was happening.”

In fact, Kornheiser said he had nothing planned to say after what he thought was just going to be a taped montage of the show.

“At the end, what I had said to Mike [Wilbon] before we got to the segment. Look, it is some sort of taped deal, why don’t you come out of it, you say what you want to say and I’ll just take us to Big Finish. Mike’s speechless. Now I have to say something. I just said, he looks better than we do.”

Kornheiser has been honored for a lot of different things, but he says that this is the greatest honor he has ever received.

“It’s the greatest honor to me. I can tell you that getting a doctorate from my school or being in the Hall of Fame at my high school.  Those are great honors, but to have the former President of the United States of America tell you and tell everyone watching how much he likes the show and what the show means. That was thrilling and so generous. You can tell I was affected by this.” 

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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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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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FOX Sports VP: ‘USFL Proves Spring Football As Valuable As Rising Properties’

“We want to show we belong in that category, and I think that happened.”

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Michael Mulvihill says the USFL accomplished exactly what FOX needed it to. It proved there is a large enough audience for spring football that it has a value on par with some of the hottest properties in sports media right now.

 “All we wanted to do is demonstrate that spring football can do viewership at the levels of Premier League, NHL regular season, Formula One or MLS,” the FOX Sports Executive VP said according to Sports Business Journal. “We want to show we belong in that category, and I think that happened.”

While none of those properties are pulling in the kind of media rights money the NFL or major college football is, Mulvihill pointed out that all of them have been in the news for the right reasons.

“You’re talking about properties that have all recently negotiated deals at substantial increases, or with F1, people know it’s about to.”

The USFL had a solid broadcasting footprint with games airing on FOX, NBC, FS1 and USA. Regular season games for the first year of the revived league averaged just under 700,000 viewers.

Mulvihill said fans behaved exactly how he expected them to in the first season of the USFL. Without any team loyalties, he isn’t surprised that people watched less of an average USFL game than they did the NFL or college football.

The USFL Playoffs begin this weekend. Canton, OH will host the league’s first championship game on July 3.

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