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ESPN Announces a Few Programming Changes

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In November, it was reported ESPN’s Cari Champion could replace Michelle Beadle on SportsNation once Beadle joins Jalen Rose and Mike Greenberg as co-host of the network’s new morning show Get Up. This week, ESPN confirmed Champion’s new role will be on SportsNation.

Champion will debut on SportsNation beginning March 12th, with her co-hosts Marcellus Wiley and LZ Granderson. Labeled as a fun, energetic show discussing unique sports topics, the program will continue to broadcast 30 minute episodes, weekdays at 4pm ET from the Los Angeles Production Center.

Champion originally joined ESPN in 2012 as host of First Take with Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith. In July 2015, Champion became a SportsCenter anchor and began on SportsCenter Coast-to-Coast in February 2016. After shuffling their weekday television lineup at the start of 2018, ESPN decided not to retain SportsCenter Coast-to-Coast.

SportsNation is a brand the company cares for deeply, and I’m excited to join a well-regarded show and also show another side of me,” said Champion. “As the only woman on the show, I’ve already let the guys know I’m going to bring the heat. This is an exciting time and I’m looking forward to the support from all involved! Teamwork makes the…you get the point.  Cheers!”

The former SportsNation host, Michelle Beadle, will debut with co-hosts Jalen Rose and Mike Greenberg on their ESPN morning show, Get Up, from the network’s new studio in New York on April 2nd. Beadle and Rose will remain on NBA Countdown, which The Big Lead reports will move from Los Angeles to Bristol immediately.

With Rose and Beadle needing to be in New York for Get UpCountdown naturally could not remain in Los Angeles. Countdown will broadcast from Bristol and be moved to New York as soon as the new studio is ready within the next few weeks.

The Big Lead reported further changes for ESPN, with The Jump expanding to a one hour show weekdays at 3pm ET. Hosted by Rachel Nichols, The Jump follows the NBA with a rotating cast of analysts and insiders.

According to the Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand and John Lombardo, the NBA is experiencing large rating’s increases locally and nationally. That information, paired with The Jump drawing 603,000 viewers during its three-hour trade deadline special, up 31% from last year’s show, makes it a wise decision to expand the program to a full hour.

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.

Sports TV News

NBC Retains Premier League Rights Through 2028

“NBC keeps full distribution control of all 380 matches, and that includes Spanish-language broadcasting.”

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Courtesy: NBC, Premier League

The bids are in, and after all of the fuss, NBC Sports is retaining the Premier League. According to The Athletic, the deal is worth “well over” $2 billion and keeps NBC Sports as the league’s U.S. affiliate until 2028.

“We are delighted to announce our new US broadcast deal with NBC Sports,” Richard Masters, the Premier League Chief Executive, told The Athletic. “Who have been brilliant partners for the Premier League over the last nine seasons. NBC Sports has significantly strengthened the popularity of the League in the United States in that time through its fantastic coverage and promotion.”

NBC Sports keeps full distribution control of all 380 matches, and that includes Spanish-language broadcasting. The Premier League clearly values its relationship with the network that the two sides established in their initial deal back in 2013.

“NBC Sports’ Premier League Mornings programming is now a real institution among supporters in America,” Masters added. “With fans getting up early to come together and cheer on their favourite club, week in, week out. It’s an exciting time for football in the US and we look forward to continuing to work with NBC Sports to bring our competition to even more fans over the next six years.”

The bidding on this deal was hot and heavy. ESPN, CBS, and NBC Sports all went after the property. The popularity helped drive up the projected $1.5 billion price tag to over $2 billion.

“We are excited to come to this long-term extension with the Premier League,” Pete Bevacqua, NBC Sports Chairman, said. “Our Premier League team, led by Jon Miller, has been incredibly dedicated to growing the Premier League in the United States over the last nine years. This new agreement is also a testament to the hard work of production, marketing, and other areas of our company, as well as the tremendous partnership that has been established with the leadership and club owners of the Premier League.”

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Sports TV News

Dianna Russini Returns To Get Up

“The ‘Get Up’ producers made sure to have pictures of Russini’s little guy ready to roll.”

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Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN’s Dianna Russini made her return to Get Up this morning, and the crew welcomed her back with open arms.

Russini and her husband had their first child earlier this year, and she has been on the sidelines for maternity leave during the first ten weeks of the NFL season. The producers made sure to have pictures of her little guy ready to roll.

“Look who is back! Dianna Russini!” Host Ryan Smith said to introduce the NFL reporter.

“I’m back!” Russini responded. “I’m back, I had a baby! I had a baby, and I’m back. Yeah, that’s little Michael. It’s been awesome. The three of us got to stay home with him. Watch you guys every morning, so he’s a big fan of the show. He sleeps the entire time.”

It’s been a whirlwind few months for Russini as she became a new mom and signed a fresh deal to continue with ESPN for the foreseeable future. Last month, the reporter covered what the journey of pregnancy and being a new mother has been like in her return announcement blog post.

“It was December, and I was in the thick of it at work,” Russini wrote. “I spent my time traveling, writing, texting, hosting a digital show, reporting on live television almost daily — all while worrying if I would miscarry. Nobody told me it’s a fear that never leaves your brain for almost every second you are pregnant. How could I not worry? On my medical chart at my OBGYN, next to my name and weight, it says ‘geriatric.’ I’m not kidding.”

Russini later said that the only person who knew she was pregnant at that point was her photographer, Jimmy. Now, the NFL reporter can’t hide her excitement to keep covering the league, and it showed through on Thursday’s Get Up.

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Sports TV News

Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka To Take Fan Questions On Bleacher Report

This press conference certainly has potential to be very interesting for a number of reasons.

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With the fifth edition of The Match set to take place next Friday, Bleacher Report will be hosting a press conference ahead of the event on the same day.

Bleacher Report announced today that they’ll provide a streaming pre-event show on their app, beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET. A Pre-event show is not unusual for the event, as they did one in July for the last edition of The Match.

This time is set to be a little different, as this will be a press conference with questions from fans and special guests to ask both Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka whatever they’d like.

Here is some information about the format of the press conference from a press release coming from Bleacher Report:

In the days leading up to the event, B/R will prompt fans across its social channels to submit questions for the chance to have them read live during the press conference. Real-time questions submitted in the B/R app will also be raised during the livestream to take advantage of unexpected moments and answers. Fans whose questions are chosen will win exclusive custom hoodies and the chance for cash prizes.

This press conference certainly has the potential to be very interesting for a number of reasons. First, it is clear that these two golfers really don’t like each other, it doesn’t seem forced to me at all. Secondly is with the fans’ interaction with asking questions, it could be very funny and has the potential to go off the rails.

Fans have been notorious in trolling both Bryson and Brooks during tournaments, so an actual press conference where they are in a setting to answer questions could be pure comedy.

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