Michael McCarthy

ESPN Going All-In for Zion Williamson’s NBA Debut

  • ESPN has launched three-day programming and promotional effort to get the word out on Zion Williamson's NBA debut.
  • ESPN knows from Williamson's Duke days that 'fans have a great appetite for Zion content,' says producer Mike Shiffman.

Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans is expected to make his NBA regular-season debut against the San Antonio Spurs on January 22. If viewers don’t tune in to ESPN to watch the No. 1 overall pick out of Duke, it won’t be because of a lack of trying by the network. Once ESPN learned the 6’6,” 285-pound Williamson had recovered from right knee meniscus surgery, swapping out the previously scheduled Denver Nuggets-Houston Rockets telecast for Pelicans-Spurs was an easy […]

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FOS Exclusive

Sources: Bill Simmons Wants $200 Million For The Ringer

  • $200 million would be a 'whopping multiple for Bill Simmons' The Ringer in current environment, says tech investor Eric Jackson.
  • Simmons could try to re-establish his relationship with ESPN following the departure of former boss John Skipper to DAZN.

Subscribe to the Front Office Sports Newsletter here. Bill Simmons wants roughly $200 million from Spotify Technology or other bidders looking to purchase The Ringer, sources told Front Office Sports.  However, given the current media environment, sources said a more accurate valuation for the sport and pop culture website and podcast network is more like $90 million to $100 million. The gap between Simmons’ desired price and the true market value for The Ringer could make any deal problematic, said […]

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ESPN Being More ‘Strategic’ With New Podcasts

  • Most stars at ESPN either have a podcast - or want one. When it comes to new pods, executive Tom Ricks is the man to see.
  • ESPN is being more 'strategic' with new podcasts like Mina Kimes' 'ESPN Daily,' said Ricks. ESPN is only launching pods it can monetize.

At ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut, Tom Ricks has quickly become one of the network’s most in-demand executives. Ricks, vice president of audio digital strategy and marketing, is the ESPN executive to see when someone at the network wants to host or launch their own podcast. While podcasts have become a bigger part of the network’s strategy – In December, ESPN podcasts had 40 million downloads, up 36% from December 2018 and the third straight month with 40 million or […]

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House of Highlights Moving On Without Founder Omar Raja

  • There won't be a 'like for like' replacement for founder Omar Raja after his departure to ESPN, says House of Highlights GM Doug Bernstein.
  • HoH still has 25-person team within Bleacher Report. Bernstein has high hopes for young talent like Kenny Beecham, aka KOT4Q

It’s not the beginning of the end for House of Highlights. Instead, it’s the end of the beginning. That’s the attitude of HoH General Manager Doug Bernstein following the departure of founder Omar Raja to ESPN. Bernstein said that there won’t be a “like for like” replacement for Raja, and it instead will be leadership by committee. But HoH is no longer a one-man-band. It has a 25-person team with the umbrella of Bleacher Report, and the brand and the […]

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House of Highlights Looks To Score With Neymar, Soccer

  • As Bleacher Report's House of Highlights goes global, it's creating content with soccer icon Neymar and his trendy Paris Saint-German F.C.
  • There’s a growing 'cross-pollination' between global sports of soccer and basketball as superstars like LeBron James invest in soccer clubs and NBA stars like Jimmy Butler wear their club fandom on their sleeves, says House of Highlights' Doug Bernstein.

Leaning into the personalities and viral nature of basketball, House of Highlights has risen to multiple millions of followers across its various accounts. Now, the Bleacher Report-owned property is looking to do the same in soccer. “Within the sports themselves, you have these incredible moments of individual brilliance and incredible moments of individual highlights that just perform super well on social media,” said Doug Bernstein, general manager of Bleacher Report’s House of Highlights. “We’ve obviously seen that with the NBA […]

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Get Ready For ‘Crazy’ Bidding War For Tony Romo of CBS Sports

  • ESPN author James Andrew Miller predicts 'a lot of money thrown around' for CBS' coveted NFL analyst.
  • But another top TV executive says Romo should stick with CBS play-by-play partner Jim Nantz: 'He sets up Romo so well.'

Subscribe to the Front Office Sports Newsletter here. Get ready for a battle royale over Tony Romo between ESPN and CBS Sports. The TV sports bidding war for Romo could reach heights not seen since the heyday of John Madden, said sources. CBS is going to be very aggressive in trying to retain the free agent, who has emerged as one of the best NFL game analysts on TV, said sources. CBS “would be crazy” not to try to keep […]

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Why ESPN Bets The House on College Football ‘MegaCast’

  • For sixth straight year, ESPN will 'MegaCast' College Football National Championship across all its TV networks as well as ESPN app.
  • There will be 15 presentations Monday, including the return of the 'Coaches Film Room'. MegaCasts are future of sports broadcasting, predicts John Kosner.

Viewers who tune into ESPN’s coverage of the College Football Playoff National Championship between LSU and Clemson on January 13 will have a lot of choices. Fifteen to be exact, as the network will nationally “MegaCast” its coverage of the game across its television networks and ESPN app.  ESPN calls it a MegaCast because it’s the only time all year the sports media giant clears all of its networks to cover a single sporting event.  ESPN derives several major benefits […]

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FOS Exclusive

ESPN Prepared To Make Tony Romo Highest-Paid Sportscaster In History

  • The multi-year deal could pay Tony Romo between $10 million-$14 million annually, said sources.
  • Romo could take over as analyst on Monday Night Football, or possibly another NFL TV package.

Subscribe to the Front Office Sports Newsletter here. ESPN is preparing an offer that would make Tony Romo the highest-paid sportscaster in TV history, with a multi-year deal that would pay him between $10 million to $14 million annually, said sources. ESPN declined to comment. A representative for Romo could not be reached for comment. If signed by ESPN, Romo could succeed Booger McFarland as the analyst on “Monday Night Football,” said sources. Romo could also potentially quarterback ESPN’s NFL game […]

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NFL Teams Hit The Gym To Engage Fans

  • The NFL's 49ers, Bears, Browns and Cowboys are partnering with 24-Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov to open team-themed fitness centers.
  • The new 49ers Fit allows members to study film of how he trained for the NFL season, says three-time Super Bowl champion Roger Craig.

As NFL teams look to maximize their non-football related revenue while also engaging fans away from games, they’re looking to a place where more Americans are showing up each year – the gym. In the last few years, the San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, and Dallas Cowboys have all teamed with 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov to open team-branded gyms.  “If you think about NFL revenue streams, we have our broadcast, we have our ticket sales, we […]

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FOS Exclusive

Jorge Sedano Signs Long-Term Contract Extension At ESPN

  • TV/Radio talent Jorge Sedano has signed a three-year contract extension that will keep him at ESPN through the end of 2022.
  • The Cuban-American Sedano wants to inspire young Latino broadcasters the way the late Stuart Scott inspired African-Americans and other people of color.

With LeBron James’ Lakers and Kawhi Leonard’s Clippers vying for supremacy, Los Angeles is the epicenter for today’s NBA. ESPN TV/radio talent Jorge Sedano will continue to be in the middle of the action. Sedano has signed a three-year contract extension that will keep him at ESPN through the end of 2022. Sedano will continue to serve as an NBA sideline TV reporter while appearing on shows such as Rachel Nichols’ “The Jump,” Tony Reali’s “Around the Horn” and “SportsCenter.” […]

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