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Marv Albert Launched Jeff Van Gundy’s Broadcast Career

“I think every broadcaster should have to try to coach and/or play, and every coach should have to try to broadcast.”

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Many NBA fans nowadays may forget that ESPN’s Jeff Van Gundy had many stops before getting to ESPN. Van Gundy was a longtime coach for the New York Knicks and Houston Rockets before moving to the booth.

It was his time coaching for the Knicks that actually propelled his broadcasting career in a way. Marv Albert was apart of the broadcasting team at MSG from 1967-2004, and helped push for Van Gundy’s first broadcasting job alongside him at TNT when Van Gundy’s time with the Knicks was over.

Van Gundy talked about his time with Albert on the Marchand and Ourand Podcast yesterday and discussed how it helped his career.

“I did [NBA broadcasting] once between when I ended with the Knicks and started with the Rockets, I went on TNT for a year and Marv Albert really pushed for that,” said Van Gundy.“And so I worked with he and Mike Fratello. The crazy thing, even though Marv did our games [with the Knicks], it wasn’t like we spoke often. He was one of the old-school guys who wanted to keep a healthy distance between team and broadcaster so that he could remain objective.

“When we did [speak], it was a little contentious. And then to find out that he actually pushed for me when we really didn’t have any great relationship or anything, it really meant a lot to me. And I learned so much with him and Mike Fratello.”

Van Gundy said that while he was the Knicks coach, he didn’t appreciate Albert’s objectivity and wanted more of a homer.

“The thing I didn’t understand is, and now I do, is that you just have to say what you think in those jobs, and you can’t be worried about how it’s gonna be received. You have to try to be fair and direct and that’s what he was as a Knicks broadcaster. And I thought there was an anti-Knicks bias at times, and an anti-Ewing bias, and a pro-Jordan, pro-Bulls bias.”

Sports TV News

Al Michaels: Condensed Prep Time For Thursday Night Football ‘A Downside’

“It’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us.”

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There were bound to be unexpected hiccups and unintended consequences as Al Michaels moved to Thursday Night Football with Amazon Prime Video.

He told The Boston Globe Thursday that one of the downsides of the week’s schedule is less prep time with the teams playing in the game.

“When we go to see the teams, it’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us,” Michaels said. “And all the time I’ve been doing this, I’ve built some great relationships with coaches and players and GMs and owners and you name it, and I don’t get that much time to spend with them anymore. That’s a downside part of it for me. Some of the best stories you get come from those relationships.”

Michaels has raised eyebrows this season while not being shy about his disdain for some poor matchups early in the schedule. However, he now understands that there are quality games as the season approaches its close.

“The schedule was a little leaky with the Carolina-Atlanta game and a couple of other games that we’ve had, but now we’re positioned for a nice run down the stretch,” said Michaels.

The 78-year-old was also asked how he remains energetic and passionate for the job he’s held for so long.

The games are exciting. I love sports. You don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s no script. And unscripted television is the greatest.”

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Sports TV News

Jimmy Pitaro: Reaching Younger Audience A Priority for ESPN

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience. As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

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Many in the media industry have voice concern that millennials and Gen Z aren’t consuming traditional media outlets like previous generations. ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said it’s a priority for the network.

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience,” Pitaro said, quoted by Morning Consult sports business reporter Mark J. Burns. “As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

Pitaro made the comments at Sports Business Journal’s Media Innovators conference Wednesday. It is a continuation of comments he has made in recent years.

In 2018, Pitaro said at ESPN’s upfront “I think we are doing a fantastic job serving the sports fanatic,” said Pitaro. “What about the casual sports customer? Are we doing all we can to serve him or her?”.

In 2019, Pitaro said it was “all hands on deck” to reach a younger audience and women. “We have to be open and go to where our customers are,” he said in regards to reaching younger viewers on social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

Earlier this year, Pitaro added that ESPN won’t be leaving linear television anytime soon.

“What I will tell you is that as I sit here right now, that business is still incredible,” Pitaro said. “We serve the sports fan anyway and at any time. I know there are a lot of people that still want ESPN in that traditional ecosystem.”

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Sports TV News

Don Mattingly Joining Blue Jays Staff After YES Network Courtship

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

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The New York Yankees regional sports network can take Don Mattingly off its talent wish list. Mattingly was announced Wednesday as a bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays starting in 2023.

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

But Mattingly told Andrew Marchand of The New York Post this week that he had another opportunity in the works but wouldn’t elaborate.

YES also has been considering luring Yankees legend and Hall of Famer Derek Jeter into broadcasting. But no formal talks have taken place.

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