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MLB Network President Rob McGlarry To Exit Next Month

“McGlarry has been an executive at MLB Network since the channel launched in 2009.”

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: MLB Network

MLB Network President Rob McGlarry informed staff via email that he is stepping down in December. Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand first reported the news on Tuesday morning.

McGlarry has been an executive at MLB Network since the channel launched in 2009. He was named president of the network in 2014.

“After a lot of thought, I believe it is the right time for me to move on to the next chapter in my career after 19 years of working with Major League Baseball,” McGlarry wrote. Ourand mentioned that McGlarry didn’t reveal a succession plan in the email.

“From his time at the Office of the Commissioner to his role on the team that prepared MLB Network for its groundbreaking launch in 2009, Rob McGlarry has been uniquely positioned to lead the award-winning team at MLB Network for the last seven years,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said to SBJ.

Gauging from the emails Ourand obtained, the pandemic is weighing heavily into McGlarry’s decision.

“I understand how hard the last 20 months have been for all of us in many ways, and I appreciate the dedication and professionalism that everyone has displayed to get both networks to this point,” McGlarry wrote. “With that said, as difficult and challenging as this time has been, it has offered many opportunities for reflection.”

McGlarry is proud of the innovations he brought to MLB Network over the past seven years. One notable addition is Bettor’s Eye, the network’s first attempt at a baseball betting show.

“We’ve also continued to innovate our coverage of baseball every year, becoming a one-stop production facility for MLB and its digital partners, including game telecasts for Facebook and YouTube, and—just this year—game telecasts in five different formats, plus baseball’s first sports betting show, Bettor’s Eye.

McGlarry was the senior VP/programming and business affairs before becoming network President in 2014.

Sports TV News

FOX Will Use Chris Fallica On Belmont Stakes Coverage

“While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.”

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The Bear will be more than just a college football presence when he moves to FOX. Chris Fallica wrapped his final duties for ESPN last week and is now headed to a new network and will tackle some new responsibilities.

Fallica’s new role at FOX will involve plenty of sports gambling content. Richard Deitsch of The Athletic reports that content will include horse racing.

“One Fox Sports source said look for him to appear on the Belmont Stakes coverage,” Deitsch wrote in his weekly media column.

Starting in 2023, horse racing’s Triple Crown will not be seen all in one place. While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.

How the network intends to use Chris Fallica on the broadcast is not clear. Given that he is coming to the network to contribute to gambling conversations, it is likely he would either be making picks or at least reviewing odds right up to the start of the race.

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Sports TV News

NBCUniversal CEO Expects Disney To Buy Company’s Hulu Stake

“Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal.”

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The Walt Disney Company owns 67% of Hulu. The other 33% is owned by NBCUniversal. The latter company doesn’t expect that to be the case forever.

“It’s worth a lot of money,” NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said at an investor conference earlier this week, “and I think there’s no indication that anything else is going to happen than Disney writing us a big check.”

Hulu is primarily a platform for movies and television shows. It is a major part of Disney’s deal with the NHL though. The streaming giant is part of the package of 103 games that are exclusive to ESPN and ABC. Hulu is also a live TV provider for many. The company’s Hulu Plus Live TV package had over 4 million subscribers as of the summer of 2022.

Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal. He credits sports and content migrated from Hulu as the reason Peacock has grown to 18 million paid subscriptions since September.

Deadline reports that if Disney does want to acquire NBCUniversal’s stake in Hulu, “the price could fluctuate but will be in the tens of billions of dollars.”

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Sports TV News

Greg Olsen Believes He and Kevin Burkhardt Can Handle Games ‘On Any Stage’

“Obviously, the bosses get paid a lot to make hard decisions. You have to obviously do what your bosses decide. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”

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Greg Olsen

Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen are on tap to call Super Bowl LVII in February, and Olsen told Front Office Sports he has the confidence to announce the game with no hesitations.

“If you’re asking me, I think Kevin and I have shown that we can handle a game on any stage – on any day. We just did it on Thanksgiving. We’ll do it again around Christmas. And obviously throughout the [NFL] Playoffs,” said Olsen. “So whatever decision they make. Obviously, the bosses get paid a lot to make hard decisions. You have to obviously do what your bosses decide. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

“But as of now, I anticipate Kevin and I, the two of us, with Erin and Tom down on the sidelines, the four of us, broadcasting the Super Bowl in February in Arizona. Until I’m told otherwise, that’s how we’re proceeding.”

Olsen also told FOS he has negotiated a new contract with FOX Sports, but declined to share details. He is slated to be replaced on the top broadcast crew once Tom Brady ends his playing career. Brady will then begin a 10-year, $375 million contract to serve as the network’s top NFL game analyst and brand ambassador.

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