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ESPN Adds Commentator Angela Rye as Special Correspondent

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to give culturally relevant stories a voice on this iconic platform.”

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As Black History Month begins, ESPN is adding award-winning commentator Angela Rye to its roster of special correspondents. (Her work will not be limited to the month of February.)

Rye, who was previously a political commentator for CNN, will contribute essays, topical features, and commentaries on sports-related matters of race, culture, and social justice issues across the network’s shows and digital platforms, according to an official announcement. Additionally, she will appear in-studio and produce stories under the ESPN Black History Always banner, which was launched last year.

“Sports plays a critical role in our culture, bringing joy to us all in the midst of unprecedented challenges,” Rye said in ESPN’s announcement. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to give culturally relevant stories a voice on this iconic platform.”

Among the subjects will Rye will cover for ESPN are the impact of Jackie Robinson 75 years after breaking baseball’s color barrier, the 50th anniversary of Title IX, athletes’ role in social justice movements, and those making a difference at HBCUs.

Some of Rye’s features will include topics such as Jackie Robinson’s impact 75 years after he broke the color barrier; a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Title IX; the role athletes play in social justice movements; and difference makers at HBCUs.

In addition to her work for ESPN, Rye will continue appearing on The Breakfast Club syndicated radio show and her podcast On One with Angela Rye. She has provided analysis and commentary for a variety of outlets, including NPR, HBO, NBC, ABC, and CNN. Her production company, 206 Productions, has made several award-winning documentary specials for BET.

“Angela is one of the most talented and distinctive commentators of race and culture working today,” said ESPN senior vice president for NBA and studio production David Roberts.

“Her strong connection and commitment to the Black community will serve this series of vitally important stories on African American athletes making history and a positive difference throughout the year. We are thrilled she decided to join the ESPN family and look forward to collaborating.”

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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Sports TV News

FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”

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The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.

Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.

Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”

Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.

“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.

FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.

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Sports TV News

NBA Draft To Get Simulcast From ESPN & ABC

“This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.”

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ESPN is set for the 2022 NBA Draft coming up on June 23 at 8 p.m. from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The network announced Wednesday the crews that will handle coverage on both ESPN and ABC.

ABC will broadcast the first round in primetime. Kevin Negandhi will host and will be joined by Stephen A. Smith, Chiney Ogwumike and Jalen Rose. Monica McNutt will be reporting and interviewing draftees.

This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.

Malika Andrews will host both rounds for ESPN. Jay Bilas, Kendrick Perkins and Adrian Wojnarowski will share the set. Analysts Bobby Marks and Mike Schmitz will contribute.

“We’re thrilled that Malika Andrews will host this year’s ESPN presentation as she brings her well-documented, widespread skillset to our main set,” said David Roberts, head of NBA and Studio Production for ESPN. “The event will showcase the scope and depth of our NBA and college basketball talent roster with accomplished journalists and high-profile personalities across ESPN, ABC and ESPN Radio.”

ESPN will air a pre-draft red carpet show hosted by Cassidy Hubbarth from 5-6 p.m. Perkins and Richard Jefferson will also make appearances.

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