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Sports TV News

Reporter Kim Jones Leaving NFL Network, Fellow Media Tweet Support

“I’m healthy, happy, grateful, and – as always, optimistic.”

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Reporter Kim Jones announced on Friday that she is leaving NFL Network after a 10-year stint. Further details haven’t yet been announced or revealed, but this news coming in the final Friday of January would appear to indicate that this is a contractual matter.

Jones joined NFL Network in 2012 after seven years as a reporter for YES Network (and reserve commentator for New York Yankees radio broadcasts on WCBS). Prior to that, she covered the New York Giants and was a national NFL columnist for the Star-Ledger. She’s also a fill-in host at WFAN.

The reporter made her own headlines in November 2018 when she suffered a significant heart injury while covering a Washington Football Team practice. Shortly before she was to go on the air, Jones tripped and felt a burning sensation in her neck.

“I walked outside and I tripped,” Jones told NBC’s TODAY show in Feb. 2019. “Immediately, I knew something was wrong, but then I knew it was something serious because this is something I’d never experienced before. So I went back into the room, I sat down, and from that point on I was in and out of consciousness.”

Washington employees called an ambulance and Jones was rushed to a hospital where she underwent emergency surgery to repair an aortic dissection. (More specifically, Jones suffered a tear in an artery that carries blood from the heart.)

“The layers of the aorta in my body had split,” Jones explained. “That leaves the aorta in danger of rupturing. If that happens, I’m not here.”

No word yet on what’s next for the longtime reporter. In response to her tweet announcing her departure from NFL Network, many of Jones’s colleagues at NFL Media and elsewhere expressed their support and encouragement.

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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