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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Tokyo Olympics Kicking Off NBC’s Peacock Streaming Service Sports Strategy

  • NBCUniversal is banking on an ad-supported streaming model to lure consumers to its service, including sports fans, beginning with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics this summer.
  • After the Tokyo Olympics come to a close, Peacock will delve into other sports to keep sports fans entertained - namely golf and Premier League soccer.

NBCUniveral’s over-the-top streaming service, Peacock, is getting set to launch in April to take on the likes of Netflix, HBO, and ESPN’s parent company Disney in the highly-contested streaming wars with a slate of original series, movies, and content from popular NBC titles like 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live. But sports fans have plenty to look forward to as well, beginning with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the company disclosed during an investor presentation at its New York headquarters, Thursday. […]

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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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Clemson-LSU Caps Off Successful CFB Season For ESPN, FOX Sports

  • The CFB National Championship officially marks the end of the 2019 season for ESPN and Fox Sports.
  • ESPN's College GameDay had its most-watched season since 2015, and Fox Sports' Big Noon Kickoff saw a 22% bump in average viewership.

Thanks to new tweaks and an exciting 2019 college football season, both ESPN and FOX Sports saw significant viewership upticks in the coverage of the sport. ESPN’s College GameDay wrapped up 2019 with its most-watched season since 2015 and its second-best since the show expanded to three hours in 2013. It was also only 5,000 viewers shy of its 2015 viewership average of 1,961,000, the best on record since 2013. College GameDay averaged 1,956,000 viewers per show on both ESPN […]

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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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