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Bob Costas Opens Up On Conflicts With NBC Over Commentaries

“On HBO, I pretty much was in control of what I said. On NBC, I had to insert a lot of it parenthetically where you pick your spots.”

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Bob Costas

Bob Costas spent the vast majority of his broadcasting career at NBC and a few years after his departure from the network, Costas has reflected on the relationship that soured.

Speaking with Graham Bensinger as part of In Depth with Graham Bensinger, Costas talked about his relationship with NBC Sports boss Dick Ebersol.

“I didn’t always in any given moment like Dick Ebersol because he’s a strong-willed person, and I have some thoughts of my own and I’m not a cookie-cutter broadcaster,” Costas said. “But there was never a time that I didn’t admire, respect and, in some sense, love him.”

Costas added he had a different relationship with Ebersol than a lot of his other NBC colleagues because of the fact that he was one of the only few that would really challenge Ebersol.

Eventually, Costas began doing work for HBO in addition to his NBC duties. Costas talked about the differences in the freedom he had to express himself.

“On HBO, I pretty much was in control of what I said. On NBC, I had to insert a lot of it parenthetically where you pick your spots,” he said. “HBO is a performer’s paradise. Always has been completely supportive.”

A 2012 NBC Sports Network panel that Costas hosted focused heavily on the link between football players and CTE. That started putting Costas at odds with the network, which remains a big broadcast partner with the league. Costas said eventually the writing on the wall became clear.

“It got to a passive aggressive place, where I think maybe both parties couldn’t see the forest through the trees. And I think that they began to view me as much more of an annoyance than an asset,” he said. “I knew that if I left, that I could go to places where I would be able to do what I wanted to do at that point.”

Later, an ESPN piece originally meant to be a retrospective on Costas’s long career behind the microphone turned into a showdown between Costas and NBC, ultimately leading to Costas quietly departing the network.

“The way that it was presented, at least from their perspective, was I was the hero in the story and they were the villains,” he said. “I never felt that way.”

Costas admitted he wished there would have been some sort of formal goodbye on the air and that things would’ve ended a bit differently with NBC. But he did say he remains open to doing business with the network again in the future and isn’t ruling anything out.

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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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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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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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