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Jeff Passan Signs Extension With ESPN

“Passan’s duties will largely remain unchanged as he retains his lead role on ESPN’s MLB coverage.”

ESPN’s lead MLB reporter, Jeff Passan, is staying with the network on a new multi-year deal.

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN is keeping Jeff Passan for the foreseeable future. The network’s lead baseball reporter just signed a new multi-year deal with the worldwide leader.

Passan’s duties will largely remain unchanged as he retains his lead role on ESPN’s MLB coverage.

“There’s no better place to cover the incredible breadth of stories the sports world has to offer than ESPN, and I’m giddy to know I’ll be here for several years to come,” said Passan. “Our baseball team is filled with bright and talented reporters, analysts, editors and producers, and it’s our goal on a daily basis to make the readers and viewers of ESPN think, learn and emerge more informed.”

The reporter joined ESPN in January 2019 and shows up all over the network’s platforms. His duties include SportsCenterBaseball Tonight, ESPN podcasts, and ESPN social media platforms.

“Jeff is a fantastic journalist and as versatile as they come,” said Nate Ravitz, ESPN vice president, digital content. “As an insider, he breaks news and provides authoritative analysis, but he also distinguishes our coverage with vivid storytelling and bold, incisive commentary. We are thrilled that he will continue to enrich ESPN’s coverage of baseball.”

Passan is reporting on the upcoming labor dispute between the MLB Player’s Association and the league’s owners, along with MLB Free Agency. According to The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand, Passan is receiving a significant raise.

“While ESPN has been in cost-cutting mode,” Marchand wrote. “It has made exceptions. The hard-working Passan, who has the rare combination of being a news breaker and a TV personality, fits the mold. He is believed to have received a substantial raise. 

“ESPN chairman Jimmy Pitaro has a long history with Passan, having first hired him for a national spot when Pitaro ran Yahoo Sports. Passan, 41, left Yahoo for ESPN three years ago.”

Sports TV News

FanDuel TV Strikes Deal With ONE Championship Martial Arts

“We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”

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FanDuel TV and ONE Championship Martial Arts have struck a deal that will see the MMA, Muay Thai, kickboxing, and submission grappling series air weekly events on the newly launched channel.

“We’re eager to continue expanding the variety of content we’re offering at FanDuel TV to introduce our audience to emerging sports,” said FanDuel Chief Commercial Officer Mike Raffensperger. “We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”

ONE Championship is a top-five global sports property for digital viewership and engagement according to Nielsen measurements.

“We are thrilled to join the FanDuel TV lineup and give our passionate U.S. audience yet another way to engage with ONE Championship,” said ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong. “Having a quality partner in FanDuel will help raise the profile of our company in the region and provide their viewers with action-packed martial arts events like they have never seen before.”

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Sports TV News

Bob Costas Re-Lives First Announcing Assignment For NBC

“My biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979.”

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Legendary sports broadcaster Bob Costas appeared on KNBR’s Tolbert & Copes Thursday to discuss the death of Baseball Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry. But before the conversation turned to the recently departed pitcher, the show asked Costas about what he has announced that would surprise someone. He reminisced about his first time on the air for NBC.

“My very first assignment for NBC, my biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979,” Costas recounted. “There was a program on NBC then called Sports World. It was an anthology series that was their answer to the gold standard, ABC’s Wide World of Sports.

“So they traveled the globe, like Wide World of Sports did. So they sent me, wearing a red NBC jacket, to Tokyo to cover a sumo wrestling tournament with seven-time world power-lifting champion Larry Pacifico as my color man. Now, this is all the Japanese I learned as we came on the air: ‘Minasan kon’nichwa watashinoamaeha Bob Costas’, which means ‘Hello everyone, my name is Bob Costas’. If ever there was typecasting, when they sat and looked at their roster of announcers and went ‘Who should we send to the sumo wrestling? It’s gotta be Costas, who’s entire body weight would constitute one meal for the sumo wrestling champion.”

Costas departed NBC Sports in 2019 after 40 years with the network, announcing MLB, NBA, and the Olympics, in addition to his work with the network’s sumo wrestling coverage.

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Sports TV News

Matt Leinart, Alex Smith Make Wager Over Pac-12 Championship Game

“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous. I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.”

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FOX Sports analyst Matt Leinart and ESPN analyst Alex Smith have made a friendly wager over the upcoming Pac-12 Championship Game.

USC, Leinart’s alma mater, is slated to play Utah, where Smith attended, in the game Friday evening on FOX from Las Vegas.

The two agreed to don the other player’s jersey. “At least it will be 11,” Smith said, noting he and Leinart both wore the number during their playing days.

“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous,” Leinart said when presented with the offer. “I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.” Smith jokingly responded by calling USC “Free Agent University”. He added he would overnight Leinart a jersey to ensure he had one if the Utes were victorious.

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