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Michael Kay Reportedly Joining ARod On ESPN’s Baseball Manningcast

“What exactly will the baseball version be if ESPN is setting it up to include a play-by-play man and an analyst?”

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Plans sure seem to be coming together quickly for ESPN’s alternate broadcast of Sunday Night Baseball. On Wednesday, Andrew Marchand of The New York Post reported that the baseball-centric Manningcast knock-off was merely a consideration. On Thursday, he reported that ESPN has already picked a partner to join Alex Rodriguez on the show.

Yankees play-by-play man Michael Kay is reportedly the choice. The name isn’t surprising, because Marchand had previously reported that part of the motivation for moving ARod out of the traditional Sunday Night Baseball booth was the former Yankee slugger’s desire to work with Kay and not Karl Ravech, who will be the new play-by-play man.

One of the things that made the Manningcast a unique presentation of Monday Night Football was that there was no experienced broadcaster leading the proceedings. It was just two brothers, who both won multiple Super Bowls, watching the game and talking about it with their friends and peers. What exactly will the baseball version be if ESPN is setting it up to include a play-by-play man and an analyst?

The argument could be that Rodriguez doesn’t have the charisma and natural comedic skills that Peyton and Eli do. That means the alternate baseball broadcast can feel similar to the Manningcast, but trying to be too similar would set ESPN up for failure.

Marchand writes that he expects there will be guests. Just how many of these alternate broadcasts we get is still up in the air. ESPN is set to carry 25 Sunday Night Baseball games in 2022. He speculates we could see somewhere between ten and twelve shows hosted by Kay and Rodriguez.

This would not replace Michael Kay’s other job. Assuming there is baseball in 2022, he will stay with YES calling Yankee games.

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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