When you think about Mike Breen and Ian Eagle outside of the New York Tri-State area, you know them as NBA broadcasters for ESPN/ABC and TNT respectively. However, the people in the Tri-State have a connection to them as broadcasters for their local NBA teams, the Knicks (Breen on MSG) and the Nets (Eagle on YES).
On the latest episode of the Sports Media With Richard Deitsch podcast, Deitsch asked them why they still call games for teams instead of being solely national.
“I feel a kinship with the organization, the production team,” replied Eagle. “That’s what keeps you going. In addition, I’d love to see the Nets win a championship and feel like you are part of that in some way…. There is this sense of commonality and sense of teamwork and feeling good for people that you have got to know.”
Breen grew up a Knicks fan, so he enjoys calling games at Madison Square Garden. He mentioned that he calls a local and national game the same way and that the MSG broadcast actually helps him with his games for ESPN/ABC. Regular work with the Knicks means more exposure to the league as a whole.
While some broadcasters could view each other as competition, both Breen and Eagle feel that all of the NBA broadcasters have a great friendship and they end up rooting for each other to do well.
“I just know with Kevin Harlan, Brian Anderson, Dave Pasch, Mark Jones, Ryan Ruocco, Spero Dedes, whoever is doing this at the national level, I root for all of them. I want them all to do well. There’s enough to go around in this business,” said Eagle.
“For some reason, our generation has become this close-knit bunch where we are always texting each other, trying to arrange dinners together,” Breen added. “Ian calls a game and I am texting him telling him that was a fantastic call. We go back-and-forth with everybody. I don’t know if the previous generation felt the same way, but there’s enough great jobs to go around that we are all living a dream…It’s like this amazing brotherhood. It’s one of my favorite things about the business.”
While it feels like many people try to compete in different businesses to try to reach the top of their profession, it is refreshing to hear that NBA broadcasters are rooting for each other. Breen and Eagle could always choose to go solely national, but the local connection they like with calling the Knicks and Nets puts them on another level with those fanbases.
Greg Olsen To Partner With Kevin Burkhardt For Super Bowl LVII
“Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.”
The deal isn’t done yet, but Andrew Marchand of The New York Post reports that Greg Olsen is on his way to joining Kevin Burkhardt in the top NFL booth at FOX. Although Tom Brady will take over that role after he retires and leaves the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Olsen will spend at least this season on FOX’s A-Team.
Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.
Earlier this year, the former Panther told The Mac Attack on WFNZ in Charlotte that he was disappointed he didn’t get to call a postseason game. He will more than make up for that in 2023. As Burkhardt’s partner, Olsen is in line to be the analyst for Super Bowl LVII.
Marchand writes that we could get a taste of what is to come in February. He speculates that if the Buccaneers are not in the Super Bowl, it is possible Tom Brady could make his FOX debut, either in the booth alongside Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen or as part of the network’s studio show.
Now, FOX has to make a decision about it’s number 2 NFL booth. According to Marchand, Drew Brees is a candidate to be the analyst. Adam Amin and Joe Davis have emerged as candidates for the play-by-play role.
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.