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Mark Schwarz Retiring After 32 Years at ESPN

“He was versatile, and in many ways, set a very high standard for reporters at ESPN.”

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ESPN Press Room

Monday (Jan. 31) will be Mark Schwarz’s last day with ESPN. The network’s longest-tenured reporter is retiring after 32 years on the job.

Schwarz’s career with ESPN began in 1990 and he has covered just about everything in the wide world of sports.

Most recently, he has been seen doing the “SC Report” segment on the 6 p.m. ET edition of SportsCenter. Topics have included Novak Djokovic’s bid to play in the Australian Open and the activism of Boston Celtics player Enes Freedom.

Schwarz seems to still be at the top of his game, so why call it a career now?

“I very much knew when I signed my last deal back in December of 2018 it would be my final deal,” Schwarz told ESPN’s Andy Hall. “And I have thoroughly enjoyed all 32 years that I’ve had.

“Using a sports cliché – I’ve put it all out on the field. I have plenty more to give, and I’m a young guy in good health, but there’s a lot more in my life that I’m looking to do right now, and I just want to enjoy the freedom that retirement offers.”

Throughout his entire career, Schwarz has been one of the best reporters in sports media.

“Schwarz brought a sense of storytelling and hard news reporting,” said Norby Williamson, ESPN Executive Vice President, Event and Studio Production & Executive Editor. “He was versatile, and in many ways, set a very high standard for reporters at ESPN.”

In a profession that can include tough questions and awkward situations, Schwarz never backed down to get the story.

“One of the things that I think has characterized my run is that I have been a bit of an outlier in terms of my willingness to get the story even if it creates friction with players, organizations, media relations people,” he said. “I’m not as worried about their feelings as getting the viewer the actual truth of what’s going on.”

In an era that seems to be run by social media, Schwarz has somehow avoided using Twitter and other digital outlets.

“I realize that most people are on Twitter because they’re trying to extend their brand, and I feel that my brand kind of stood for itself,” he said. “I didn’t need to explain it. If you saw my work, you got it. Me being on Twitter doesn’t really serve me at all.”

After all these years, Schwarz rides into the sunset with nothing but good feelings towards his longtime company.

“It’s just so great in a business like this where there’s so much turmoil and so much turnover, to have been given the opportunity to put together this type of run with this company is extraordinary,” he said. “And I’m grateful and honored to have done it.”

Sports TV News

AT&T Sportsnet’s Kelsey Wingert Shows Off Stitches After Being Drilled Line Drive

“The veteran reporter is expected to get married in June. Doctors are “hoping” the scar doesn’t effect her big day.”

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Baseball reporters at the regional level have some of the toughest jobs in all of sports. Not only do they cover each for all 162 games, but there’s always the potential for getting drilled by a foul ball.

While all MLB ball clubs have expanded their netting this season to protect fans sitting close to the field, Rockies sideline reporter Kelsey Wingert suffered a nasty injury via a foul ball earlier this week.

A scary incident took place on Monday’s outing against the Rockies and San Francisco Giants at Coors Field in Denver. In the ninth inning, Giants outfielder Austin Slater hit a foul ball off Daniel Bard, with the ball heading straight to the dugout, right where Wingert was standing while reporting for AT&T Sportsnet.

After getting attended to by the Rockies medical staff and walking it off, giving fans a “thumbs up,” Wingert ended up having to go to the hospital where she received multiple stitches to her forehead.

The 29-year-old reporter took to Twitter on Wednesday to express her gratitude towards the Rockies organization and AT&T Sportsnet general manager David Woodman, who along with his wife Paula, stayed by her side at the hospital.

“I had a CT scan to make sure there was no internal bleeding or fractures and all came back clear. Thank God,” Wingert said on Twitter Wednesday. “The stitches will have to come out in a week. I’m very lucky it wasn’t worse. It was just really scary and bummed me out given the circumstances.”

You would think this was the first time Wingert got hit by a ball but back in 2018 while working for Fox Sports and the Atlanta Braves she was struck by a foul ball while standing near a camera past the Braves dugout, resulting in a fractured eye socket. 

Wingert retweeted a photo taken of her black eye after returning home where she made light of what could’ve been an awful occurrence.

While recovering from her wound, Wingert will be taking a few games off. The veteran reporter is expected to get married in June. Doctors are “hoping” the scar doesn’t effect her big day.

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Sports TV News

Greg Olsen To Partner With Kevin Burkhardt For Super Bowl LVII

“Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.”

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The deal isn’t done yet, but Andrew Marchand of The New York Post reports that Greg Olsen is on his way to joining Kevin Burkhardt in the top NFL booth at FOX. Although Tom Brady will take over that role after he retires and leaves the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Olsen will spend at least this season on FOX’s A-Team.

Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.

Earlier this year, the former Panther told The Mac Attack on WFNZ in Charlotte that he was disappointed he didn’t get to call a postseason game. He will more than make up for that in 2023. As Burkhardt’s partner, Olsen is in line to be the analyst for Super Bowl LVII.

Marchand writes that we could get a taste of what is to come in February. He speculates that if the Buccaneers are not in the Super Bowl, it is possible Tom Brady could make his FOX debut, either in the booth alongside Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen or as part of the network’s studio show.

Now, FOX has to make a decision about it’s number 2 NFL booth. According to Marchand, Drew Brees is a candidate to be the analyst. Adam Amin and Joe Davis have emerged as candidates for the play-by-play role.

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Sports TV News

Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX

“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”

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FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.

A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.

The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.

Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.

That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.

Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.

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