Michael McCarthy

ESPN’s Embrace Of User-Generated Content Is Here To Stay

  • Omar Raja’s arrival spurred ESPN toward more UGC - But with no sports, it has become vital.
  • ESPN’s average engagement per post is up 75% this March compared to a year ago

Like he has thousands of times in his ESPN career, Mike Greenberg was narrating a sports highlight on TV. But this no-look, behind-the-back pass was not made by the NBA’s LeBron James or Steph Curry. Instead, it was an average Joe deftly flipping his Eggo waffle into his toaster. “Nothing but the bottom of the toaster,” declared the host of ESPN’s “Get Up” morning show Thursday. “I don’t care how many takes that took. I like it.” With no real […]

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Big Ten Network Invites TV Viewers To Pick Games They Want To Watch

  • Fans can vote to watch either Magic Johnson-Larry Bird NCAA Final from ’79 or Maryland-Indiana from ’02.
  • BTN’s Michael Calderon says an interactive approach gives fans something to "root for."

Ever since the coronavirus pandemic shut down live sports, TV networks have looked to give fans a steady diet of archival footage and games. But rather than guessing which games fans would be most interested in watching, the Big Ten Network instead gave them that choice directly. The sports network is asking viewers to vote on social media about which classic Big Ten/NCAA tournament basketball games they want to watch on TV over the next week. FOS REPORT: 54.5% of […]

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With No Sports To Cover, Newspapers Either Retrench Or Get Creative

  • Washington Post redeploying some sports reporters to Coronavirus coverage, while Boston Globe goes to the well for story ideas.
  • Online-only outlets like The Athletic have lowered subscription paywalls to attract and retain readers.

When Boston Globe sports editor Matt Pepin first heard that NBA player Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus, he sensed in his gut the sports business was headed for a long, painful shutdown. Pepin immediately asked his staff for “creative” ways to cover a sports world with virtually no live sports. His team responded with ten pages of story ideas, ranging from personal recollections of covering Boston’s biggest events to in-depth features on the inner workings of teams and leagues […]

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Classic Game Replays on Tap As Networks Dig Deep Into Sport Archives

  • Most rights to archived games are controlled by leagues themselves, setting up opportunities for MLB and NHL Network
  • Theme nights and famous games from more than 40 years ago are among new TV offerings from MLB and NHL Networks

Sports-starved TV viewers have been screaming for networks to replay classic games to fill the void left by the cancellation of virtually all live sports.  Giving those fans their wish, MLB Network and NHL Network are rolling out revamped programming schedules that will heavily feature “All-Time” baseball games and classic Stanley Cup Finals, sources said. In a sports world decimated by the coronavirus pandemic, these classic telecasts will feature famous players of the past, including MLB’s Ken Griffey Jr. and […]

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New NFL Wild Card Games Positioned To Be Ad Sales Boon

  • NFL playoffs set to expand to 14 teams in the 2020 season, meaning two new games
  • It has not yet been announced who will broadcast those games

The NFL’s addition of two new Wild Card games could prove to be an advertising windfall for broadcasters. Under the new collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players union, the NFL’s Wild Card Weekend will feature triple-headers on Saturday and Sunday rather than the previous doubleheaders. The new Wild Card game telecasts could generate anywhere from $40 million to $60 million each in ad revenue for the networks showing the games, according to media experts. That should help […]

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Coronavirus Could Cost NBA Players $654 Million in Salary

  • Under current CBA, players could lose 1/92.6th of their salary for every game canceled due to Force Majeure events, including ‘epidemics’
  • CJ McCollum of Trail Blazers tweets: ‘No games, no pay'

NBA players could potentially lose $654 million in pay if the global coronavirus pandemic wipes out what’s left of the 2019/2020 season, according to an estimate by Spotrac. The NBA’s roughly 450 players across 30 teams usually get paid twice a month, though individual contracts vary. However, if there are no games, there are no paychecks.  NBA Commissioner Adam Silver suspended the 2019-2020 regular season as of March 11, and expects operations to be shut down for at least 30 […]

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Suspended Seasons Leave Networks Scrambling To Fill Programming Hours

  • Disney will have to potentially fill 16 NBA regular-season game windows across its ESPN and ABC networks. Plus, up to 44 NBA Playoff game windows, including the NBA Finals on ABC.
  • ESPN likely to call on SportsCenter, plus library of classic games and 30 for 30 documentaries.

Alarm. Confusion. Disbelief. Despair. Those were the feelings of TV sports executives Thursday as they scrambled to fill the gaping holes in their programming schedules wrought by the coronavirus on Thursday. During one unprecedented day, the NBA, NHL, and MLS suspended their regular seasons while Major League Baseball canceled spring training games and pushed Opening Day back by two weeks. Not to mention March Madness and college sports essentially shutting down for the spring. Those decisions didn’t just impact leagues, teams, […]

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NBA Cuts In-Game Interviews Due To Coronavirus

  • League is prohibiting reporters from sharing mics with players; must keep a "reasonable" distance.
  • NBA, MLB, NHL and MLS have banned media from player locker rooms over coronavirus concerns.

The NBA is temporarily discontinuing in-game coaching interviews with TV networks to limit the potential spread of the coronavirus, according to sources. It’s also putting new restrictions on where, and how, TV sideline reporters can interview NBA players and coaches. Under the NBA’s new temporary guidelines, sources said, there will no longer be coaching interviews during games. The league is also putting temporary restrictions on player interviews. Sideline reporters will no longer be able to hand a player their microphone. […]

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ESPN’s Manfred Interview Highlights Network’s Content Strategy for Platforms

  • Full 45-minute interview released to YouTube generates more than 114k views, profits.
  • ESPN is tailoring different audience strategies for Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

A couple of weeks ago, ESPN landed one of the biggest “gets” of the year when it scored an exclusive interview with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred about the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal.  To maximize exposure, the network spread Karl Ravech’s one-on-one interview across many of its properties, from linear TV networks to the ESPN.com web site. But it did a curious thing on Feb. 16 – ESPN put the entire 45 minute-long Manfred interview on YouTube. It would seem counterintuitive […]

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FOS Exclusive

ESPN Considering $20 Million Offer To Peyton Manning For Monday Night Football

  • The amount would eclipse Tony Romo’s record-setting $17 million annual salary at CBS.
  • ESPN pays the NFL $1.9 billion a year for the rights to air Monday Night Football.

Tony Romo could have the shortest reign ever as the highest-paid sports TV analyst in history.  ESPN is preparing to offer Peyton Manning a record $18 million to $20 million a year to serve as lead analyst for “Monday Night Football,” sources tell Front Office Sports.  If so, that would eclipse Romo’s new multi-year contract from CBS Sports that will pay him $17 million annually. The 43-year old Manning met with ESPN executives over the last few days, sources said. […]

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