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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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FOX Sports Sees Record-Setting Ratings Weekend

The World Cup matchup between the U.S. and England on Black Friday and Michigan/Ohio State on Saturday saw tens of millions of viewers tuning in.

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FOX Sports has been home to a number of record-setting games in terms of viewership over the last several days.

In addition to FOX Sports setting a new mark for a Thanksgiving and regular season NFL audience, the World Cup matchup between the U.S. and England on Black Friday and Michigan/Ohio State on Saturday saw tens of millions of viewers tuning in.

The network reported the U.S./England match in the group stage of the 2022 World Cup averaged 15.377 million. It was the most-watched English-language soccer game in the U.S. ever, topping the 1994 World Cup final between Italy and Brazil.

Viewership of the match was up 11% compared to the second group stage contest for the U.S. team in 2014 against Portugal. The audience peaked at 19.646 million from 3:30-3:45 p.m.

FOX Sports also reported the Michigan/Ohio State game on Saturday drew in 17 million, which made it the most-watched regular season college game on the network ever. That figure was also the highest of any regular season contest since 2011. That game also saw the audience peak at 19.6 million.

Viewership for the game was up 3% compared to last year.

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ESPN Bowl Plans Could Be Altered By NFL Flex Scheduling

“While this situation poses a challenge, we are accustomed to flexibility and having to maneuver our event schedules.”

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ESPN could be forced to adjust its upcoming bowl season schedule if the NFL decides to flex a Las Vegas Raiders game a week before Christmas.

ESPN announced its contingency plans for two bowl contests, the Las Vegas Bowl and the New Mexico Bowl. The Las Vegas Bowl is currently planned to kick off from Allegiant Stadium at 7:30 p.m. on December 17. The Raiders right now are still planning to play in the Sunday night game the next night against the Patriots.

Should the NFL decide to flex the Raiders out of the SNF window, ESPN will swap kickoff times between the Las Vegas Bowl and the New Mexico Bowl. That would mean the game in sin city will kick off at 11:30 a.m. local time, with the contest in Albuquerque starting at 5:20 p.m. local time that evening.

“The SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl and New Mexico Bowl are both owned and operated by ESPN Events, so this change is a solution that will work for all parties,” ESPN Events vice president Clint Overby said. “While this situation poses a challenge, we are accustomed to flexibility and having to maneuver our event schedules. We are more than prepared to move forward with this revised schedule if necessary.”

Kickoff times will be determined well enough ahead that the schools taking part in both games shouldn’t be adversely affected.

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NFL Thanksgiving Games Set Ratings Records

FOX Sports added that viewership was up 49% compared to 2021.

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The Thanksgiving slate of NFL games last week brought in the largest audiences ever. Viewership across all three games averaged 33.5 million.

The game with the largest viewership was Giants/Cowboys in the 4:30 p.m. window. FOX Sports reported that 42 million watched Dallas beat New York 28-20. It is the largest regular season audience ever, surpassing the previous leader set 32 years ago.

The network added that viewership was up 49% compared to 2021. FOX carried the Detroit Lions traditional noon Thanksgiving game last year. Compared to the Cowboys turkey day contest on CBS in 2021, viewership was up 3%.

The Bills/Lions game in the early window on CBS averaged 31.627 million, with the audience peaking at 41.981 million. It was the most-watched early Thanksgiving game on record.

Patriots/Vikings on NBC in the nightcap averaged 25.9 million. That figure was up 24% compared to Bills/Saints a year ago, with NBC Sports claiming it’s the second most-watched primetime Thanksgiving game on record. The game was simulcast in Spanish on Telemundo, which averaged 565,000 viewers and made it the most-watched NFL game ever on the network.

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