ESPN is releasing BONDS on Sunday. An E:60 special feature on the life, career, and controversy that surrounds Barry Bonds to this day. Bonds has failed to crack the Baseball Hall of Fame every year of his eligibility so far and he’s running out of chances.
Bonds is entering his final year of eligibility and will be left to sands of baseball time should he not get 75% of the vote this winter.
The slugger was a famously prickly personality who rubbed a lot of his teammates and the media the wrong way. Bonds didn’t do his quest for the Hall of Fame any favors by acting like a heel to the media—especially at the end of his career.
One of the media members synonymous with Bonds during that time was Pedro Gomez, who unfortunately passed away in February at the age of 58.
ESPN did not list Gomez among the 18 names released as interviewees for the special, but he had plenty of first-hand interactions with Bonds throughout the years.
“This was inevitable,” Gomez said when Bonds returned to San Francisco Giants Spring Training in 2014 as a hitting instructor. “The Giants and Barry Bonds will be linked forever. There’s no denying that. Bonds accomplished his greatest feats in a Giants uniform, so having him be a guest instructor is a no-brainer.”
Gomez was on the “Bonds Beat” in 2005 and 2007 as the star winded down his career.
“He was warm towards me today, reaching out to say hello and shake my hand,” said Gomez. “That was, to say the least, not always the case during my seasons of covering Bonds. He admitted [in Monday’s news conference] that was a ‘character’ that he may have needed [to portray] to play at such a high level.”
Gomez later joked that he wouldn’t be surprised if ESPN sent him back out to the Bay Area for another extended stint covering the all-time home run leader. We’ll see if the “Bonds Beat” sparks up again—from a hall of fame induction speech this time.
Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX
“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”
FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.
A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.
The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.
Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.
That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.
Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.
FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars
“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”
The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.
Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.
Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.
“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”
Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.
“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.
FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.
NBA Draft To Get Simulcast From ESPN & ABC
“This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.”
ESPN is set for the 2022 NBA Draft coming up on June 23 at 8 p.m. from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The network announced Wednesday the crews that will handle coverage on both ESPN and ABC.
ABC will broadcast the first round in primetime. Kevin Negandhi will host and will be joined by Stephen A. Smith, Chiney Ogwumike and Jalen Rose. Monica McNutt will be reporting and interviewing draftees.
This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.
Malika Andrews will host both rounds for ESPN. Jay Bilas, Kendrick Perkins and Adrian Wojnarowski will share the set. Analysts Bobby Marks and Mike Schmitz will contribute.
“We’re thrilled that Malika Andrews will host this year’s ESPN presentation as she brings her well-documented, widespread skillset to our main set,” said David Roberts, head of NBA and Studio Production for ESPN. “The event will showcase the scope and depth of our NBA and college basketball talent roster with accomplished journalists and high-profile personalities across ESPN, ABC and ESPN Radio.”
ESPN will air a pre-draft red carpet show hosted by Cassidy Hubbarth from 5-6 p.m. Perkins and Richard Jefferson will also make appearances.