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Fox’s Top NFL Broadcast Team Also Faces Losing Erin Andrews, Near End of Contract

Fox wants to re-sign Andrews and that appears to be the most likely move. (But wouldn’t the same have been said for Aikman and Buck a couple of weeks ago?)

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The mad 2022 NFL broadcasting carousel is extending beyond the booth to the sidelines as well. Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reports that Fox’s top NFL sideline reporter Erin Andrews is nearing the end of her contract and could move elsewhere.

However, Fox would like to keep Andrews on its No. 1 NFL broadcast team, where she’s been for the past 10 years. (That might surprise longtime viewers and fans who remember Andrews from her days on ESPN’s college football coverage.)

Fox has already lost analyst Troy Aikman to ESPN and faces play-by-play announcer Joe Buck possibly joining him on Monday Night Football if the network decides to let him out of the final year of his contract. Fellow sideline reporter Tom Rinaldi could very well be the last broadcaster standing on that top NFL broadcast crew, which will cover two of the next three Super Bowls.

As Marchand points out in his report, Andrews has established a reputation as a top interviewer for Fox in addition to her sideline reporting. In recent years, she’s nabbed off-field, sit-down conversations with some of the NFL’s top newsmakers including Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. With that, she’s arguably a bigger part of her network’s NFL coverage than ESPN’s Lisa Salters and NBC’s Michele Tafoya.

(If we’re talking about sideline reporters, Tafoya probably began the NFL broadcasting shuffle when Marchand reported that she was leaving NBC and Sunday Night Football last December. Following NBC’s broadcast of Super Bowl LVI, Tafoya announced that she was joining Kendall Qualls’s Minnesota gubernatorial campaign.)

As mentioned, Fox wants to re-sign Andrews and that appears to be the most likely move. (Wouldn’t the same have been said for Aikman and Buck a couple of weeks ago?) But if Amazon wants another established name and familiar personality for Thursday Night Football, the streaming outlet could pursue her. (Could she have a role in a pregame show there as well?) Replacing Tafoya at NBC could also be an option, though Kathryn Tappen appears to be the choice there.

Marchand also said ESPN is interested in bringing her back, but Salters is already on the sideline for Monday Night Football. Going back to College GameDay would seem like a step backward. But what about Andrews hosting Sunday NFL Countdown? Samantha Ponder’s contract is up, and ESPN might try to seize an opportunity to bring back a popular name as it tries to add some sizzle to its studio pregame show.

Sports TV News

Netflix CEO: ‘We’re Not Anti-Sports, We’re Just Pro-Profit’

“He characterized expensive media rights as a “loss leader” in the streaming world and noted that Netflix doesn’t view sports as a necessity to grow.”

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Netflix will not join Apple and Amazon in the rush to gobble up live sports rights. Co-CEO Ted Sarandos addressed the streaming giant’s disinterest at the UBS Global Technology, Media & Telecom Conference on Wednesday.

He characterized expensive media rights as a “loss leader” in the streaming world and noted that Netflix doesn’t view sports as a necessity to grow.

“We’re not anti-sports,” Sarandos said according to Deadline. “We’re just pro-profit. We have yet to figure out how to do it. But I’m very confident we can get twice as big as we are without sports.” 

Questions about the interest the company has in carrying live sports have come up several times in the past. Sarandon made similar comments last year when asked about it.

Reed Hastings, Sarandos’s co-CEO at Netflix, has a slightly different view. In 2021, he indicated that Netflix could be interested in F1 rights someday thanks to the success of its documentary series Drive to Survive, but that would be a special case. Any league interested in doing business with Netflix, he said, would have to allow Netflix to control all of its content.

Ted Sarandos echoed that sentiment in his most recent comments. He said that the company does not see a way to profit by “renting big-league sports.”

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Sports TV News

FOX Sued for Patent Infringement Over NFL Scheduling

“Recentive Analytics filed suit against FOX in a Delaware federal court on November 29 according to Yahoo Sports.”

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An analytics company is suing FOX over claims that the network developed a mapping tool using their patented technology to create a season slate of NFL games.

Recentive Analytics filed suit against FOX in a Delaware federal court on November 29 according to Yahoo Sports.

The lawsuit claims FOX used access to Recentive’s predictive analytics tools to develop a resource of their own that would create optimal schedules for its 1 and 4 p.m. NFLwindows.

The company is seeking a declaration that FOX infringed on two of its patents. Recentive is also suing for damages and wants an injunction keeping FOX from using Recentive tech and preventing the network from “selling, offering for sale, marketing or using any internal network and mapping analytics tool for the scheduling and regionalization of events covered by the patents.”

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Sports TV News

FOX Will Use Chris Fallica On Belmont Stakes Coverage

“While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.”

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The Bear will be more than just a college football presence when he moves to FOX. Chris Fallica wrapped his final duties for ESPN last week and is now headed to a new network and will tackle some new responsibilities.

Fallica’s new role at FOX will involve plenty of sports gambling content. Richard Deitsch of The Athletic reports that content will include horse racing.

“One Fox Sports source said look for him to appear on the Belmont Stakes coverage,” Deitsch wrote in his weekly media column.

Starting in 2023, horse racing’s Triple Crown will not be seen all in one place. While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.

How the network intends to use Chris Fallica on the broadcast is not clear. Given that he is coming to the network to contribute to gambling conversations, it is likely he would either be making picks or at least reviewing odds right up to the start of the race.

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