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Kendra Andrews Made ESPN Debut Tuesday, Joined Sister Malika on ‘NBA Today’

Malika Andrews later acknowledged on Twitter that it was special to share the screen with her sister.

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@malika_andrews on Twitter

On Tuesday, ESPN officially announced what had been reported last month: Kendra Andrews is joining the network to cover the Golden State Warriors.

Andrews’ hiring was especially notable because her older sister already works at ESPN. Malika Andrews is currently the host of daily studio show NBA Today, originally joining the network as a reporter who earned acclaim for her coverage of the 2020-21 season finishing in the Orlando bubble.

It was surely only a matter of time before the sisters appeared together on NBA Today. But ESPN took care of that with Kendra’s first day on the job.

Bringing the network’s Warriors reporter on the show wasn’t just ESPN creating a cute story, though Malika later acknowledged on Twitter that it was special to share the screen with her sister.

But the NBA Today host got right to the business at hand. Golden State has been one of the NBA’s best teams this season. Going into Tuesday’s play, the Warriors have the second-best record in the league at 31-12. Kendra figures to be a prominent part of ESPN’s coverage, following the Warriors on another possible championship run.

Yet the team had struggled a bit in its past seven games, compiling a 2-5 record amid injuries to Draymond Green, Steph Curry, and Gary Payton II, while also working Klay Thompson back into their lineup. But everything looked fine in a 102-86 victory over the Detroit Pistons (10-33) Tuesday night, which began a seven-game homestand.

Andrews joins ESPN after covering Golden State for NBC Sports Bay Area. Prior to that, she covered the Denver Nuggets for The Athletic. With her hire, the network’s previous Warriors reporter, Nick Friedell, moves to the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks beat.

“I’m excited and so grateful to be joining ESPN and this talented team of journalists,” said Andrews in ESPN’s official announcement. “Growing up in Oakland, I understand how important the Warriors and the NBA are to the Bay Area. I’m looking forward to sharing their stories as they continue an already thrilling season.”

As a profile in the San Jose Mercury News by Shayna Rubin mentions, both Andrews sisters grew up watching the Warriors.

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NFL Considers Ending Pro Bowl Amidst Low Ratings

“Mark Maske of The Washington Post reports the future of the Pro Bowl was discussed on Tuesday during the owners’ meetings in Atlanta.”

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The NFL is obsessed with TV ratings. It isn’t a surprise that the league may not be willing to tolerate the Pro Bowl underperforming for much longer. 

In 2022, the NFL’s all-star game produced it’s lowest ratings in 16 years. Fewer that 7 million people tuned in to watch the game across ABC, ESPN and DisneyXD. 

“The (Pro Bowl) game doesn’t work,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday after the owners’ meeting in Atlanta. “We need to find another way to celebrate the players.”

There are two proposed alternatives that have been reported. The Washington Post says the league is considering launching a seven-on-seven competition. It would not include tackling or full clocks. The other report comes from Ian Rapport of the NFL Network. He says the league is considering hosting a series of skills competitions over the course of what would be branded an all-star week. The NFL has partnered with DirecTV in the past to present similar events during Super Bowl Week. 

No details have emerged or final decisions made. Mark Maske of The Washington Post reports the future of the Pro Bowl was discussed on Tuesday during the owners’ meetings in Atlanta.

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Former Hulu Exec Michael Schneider Hired To Run Bally Sports+

“Schneider previously was VP of brand and content marketing at Hulu, where he had involvement in various marketing efforts for Hulu + Live TV.”

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Sinclair Broadcast Group and Diamond Sports Group have tapped Michael Schneider as the chief operating officer and general manager of Bally Sports+ when it launches this year.

Schneider will oversee the direct-to-consumer platform that will also be the hub for Bally Sports live programming.

Schneider previously was VP of brand and content marketing at Hulu, where he had involvement in various marketing efforts for Hulu + Live TV.

“Throughout his career, Michael has successfully launched and developed DTC streaming and service platforms and created immersive engagement experiences,” said Sinclair COO and president of broadcast Rob Weisbord. “He is a terrific addition to the team as we build out the Bally Sports+ offering, its exclusive content and passionate fan community.”

Even before Hulu, Schneider had a hand in streaming. He was a founding member of the PlayStation Vue launch team.

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Marquee Sports Network Weighs Streaming Options Outside of Bally Sports+

“Marquee GM Mike McCarthy said to Sports Business Journal there’s no rush, but the network is hopeful they can have something in time for the 2023 season.”

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As Sinclair Broadcast Group prepares to launch Bally Sports+, its direct-to-consumer platform that will be home to Bally Sports live events, the Chicago Cubs are weighing their options for Marquee Sports Network, which the team co-owns with Sinclair.

Despite being under the Sinclair umbrella, Marquee is its own free-standing RSN from the rest of the Bally Sports networks across the country.

Marquee is readily available on a number of cable providers, but the only thing that’s really missing is its own standalone streaming platform for games. Marquee GM Mike McCarthy said to Sports Business Journal there’s no rush, but the network is hopeful they can have something in time for the 2023 season.

“We’re always interested in being on the cutting edge with the ultimate deliverable to our consumer,” McCarthy said. “But there isn’t any contractual clock ticking to make us feel that way. It’s how we’ve approached things from the beginning. Between our two ownership groups, there’s a lot of aggression to get it right. And I think you’ll see something along those lines shortly.”

The TV ratings will always be of top interest for MLB, especially regional ratings. But as the league has worked to embrace more streaming options for games, striking deals with Apple and Peacock for rights this season, it’s all about providing what the fans and viewers want.

“We now have the ability to do so much more, to properly tell the story of a 162-game season,” said Crane Kenney, Chicago Cubs president of business operations. Kenney was instrumental in the launch of Marquee. “We love baseball, we love the game, and we love the opportunity we have to share it with our fans in really deep ways.”

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