10/26/20: Mike “Doc” Emrick breaks down the season and his decision to retire

 

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Medias First Morning Read
Monday October 26, 2020

Last week’s announcement that Mike “Doc” Emrick was retiring from his 47-year career broadcasting professional hockey marked the end of an era for the sport, which saw him call 22 Stanley Cup Finals, 45 Game 7s, six Olympics and estimates more than 3,700 games in all. He’s a member of seven halls of fame, including being the first broadcaster elected to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, and win eight sports Emmy Awards for outstanding play-by-play. Following his announcement, Emrick spoke with press about his decision, memories and more.

Emrick on the past season: Partway through the Playoffs, which NBC graciously allowed me to do from home, I became very aware not only of how fortunate I was to continue to be safe here at home, but aside from my cancer scare in 1991, to have been healthy these past 50 years since reporting on the NHL for the first time.

On the decision to retire: But this seemed like the right time for me in my life to be taking a step aside and watching other people work and also enjoying this time in my life. I treasure the time that I spent with Bob and those were spread out over several decades, from the time that I first met him in 1967 while I was a college senior at Manchester, until the last time that we spent any time together shortly before his death.
And I should add, too, that there’s a rather extensive writing in chapter 2 of the book about my time in Fort Wayne, and again, I don’t want to lean on the book, but the book does describe a lot of that time in my life around Fort Wayne and learning the sport.”

On what makes a great play-by-player: I don’t know the answer to that. If I could put it in a recipe form, which I’m sure if it could be put in a good paragraph, I’d — because there are so many different personality types, aren’t there, of people who are out there.
I will only quote what my mentor Bob Chase used to say to me: Be yourself. And I think that that’s what I’ve tried to be, and because there are as many personalities of us as there are people in the world, being yourself means a lot of different types of people that are doing this sort of work. So I don’t know if there’s a convenient, easy answer for you.

On how he would you like people to remember his career: I hope there’s a smile on their faces and with an appreciation for the sport as a result of that. You certainly have that. We have — during a period of the middle ’80s we served a couple of years together when I was doing radio with the Rangers and Sal Messina, and we were on a lot of aircrafts together and I remember one flight that you and Sal and I and a couple of other writers had with coaches who when they landed were fired. I don’t know if you remember that trip or not, but it was — of course you do. You remember those experiences as well as the good ones, but yes, I recall that everything was sort of normal on the flight and then all of a sudden you had — you and the other writers had a story to cover because as soon as the coaches got off the plane, all of a sudden their jobs were over.

On calling games from home: How different was it? It was different. But hopefully it wasn’t radically sub-par viewed by people at home because I had the help of people not only in our production truck but also by my partners who were actually in the building.”

PROGRAMMING

The NBA is mulling a return for a new season starting Dec. 22, according to an AP report, which writes that the league’s board of governors is targeting a Dec. 22 start to what would be a season of 70 to 72 games, with the NBA Finals returning to June. The report adds that the possibility of fans being at games “would hinge on how a particular market is faring against the coronavirus at that time.” Other options being considered include waiting until later in the season to begin play with the hope that more arenas would be able to have fans.

The return of the Big Ten to college football action helped propel FOX Sports’ Big Noon Saturday game pitting Ohio State and Nebraska as the day’s highest-rated college football game across networks. The Buckeyes’ win generated an average metered market rating of 3.7, led by Columbus at a 36.7 and followed by Cleveland, Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Detroit, according to Nielsen.

The National Women’s Soccer League broke out historic numbers with the completion of its 2020 competition schedule with NWSL fall series games on CBS averaging 383,000 viewers. Year-over-year, NWSL domestic television audiences were up nearly 500% and included a record 653,000 viewers for the championship of the NWSL Challenge Cup presented by P&G and Secret. The league added that record-breaking audience numbers are also reflected elsewhere with NWSL mentions on social platforms up 152% year-over-year, and NWSL coverage in news media up 55%. “Our players are the best in the world, adapted to the challenges of 2020 like you would expect, and delivered a product on the field that audiences flocked to. I’m so incredibly proud to be associated with our players,” said NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird. “At the league level, we had to innovate to make it work this year and I’m truly grateful for the support of our owners and the staff at each club for contributing to an unqualified success in unprecedented times.”

Executive producers Michael Strahan and Constance Schwartz-Morini are bringing four-part documentary series The Cost of Winning to HBO. The story tells of the St. Frances Academy Panthers football program in Baltimore, with the first two episodes debuting Nov. 10 at 9p.

Last chance! Do not miss the 2020 virtual Esports Business Summit and learn how this thriving industry can help your broadcast plans, activation needs, investment portfolio, content strategy, and far more. Conference starts tomorrow with deep dives into Collegiate/amateur esports business, Women of Esports, Leveraging Your Brand on Twitch, and Licensing & Merchandising, followed by keynotes from Twitch, PepsiCo and HyperX. Do not miss! Click here now to get your ticket.

FITE landed the exclusive US and Canadian digital rights to carry the Tyson vs. Jones Pay Per View event on November 28 at 9p. As part of the deal, FITE’s PPV platform is powering TysonOnTriller.com. Fans can buy the digital event via FITE.tv, any of the FITE mobile/OTT/Smart TV platforms, or directly from the website.

The Orioles lost their appeal of a decision ordering the team’s regional television network to pay the Washington Nationals around $100 million more in broadcast rights fees. A rep for the Orioles stated that the decision will be appealed to New York’s highest court.

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SPONSORSHIP & PROMOTION

Jimmie Johnson’s trip to IndyCar will see online auto retailer Carvana serve as a sponsor next season. Johnson and Chip Ganassi Racing announced the brand as the sponsor Saturday for the No. 48 Honda that Johnson will drive in road and street course IndyCar races. Johnson will retire from full-time NASCAR competition following next month’s season finale.

Matchroom Boxing announced Betfred as the official title partner for Oleksandr Usyk’s Heavyweight battle with Derek Chisora on Oct. 31, running on DAZN in the US. “We enjoy a fantastic relationship with Barry Hearn’s Matchroom Sport through our sponsorship of snooker and darts, so I am delighted to be joining up with Matchroom Boxing for what should be a superb Heavyweight clash,’ said Fred Done, Owner of Betfred.

The Big Ten Network unveiled a new logo and brand identity with the kickoff of the 2020 Big Ten football season, designed to “provide brand consistency and highlight the network’s position as the home for Big Ten Conference events, news and storytelling.” The new network logo, as well as numerous school and sport-specific variations, will be implemented across all linear and digital platforms, including game broadcasts, studio shows, social media platforms, original programming and marketing applications. The logo was created by Pentagram, which also developed the Big Ten Conference logo and developed in conjunction with both the Big Ten and FOX Sports.

Derrick Henry was named as the latest NFL brand ambassador for Old Spice, becoming the new “Old Spice Guy” in a new deal endorsement deal.

DIGITAL, DATA & TECH

The National Hockey League and the American Gaming Association entered into a partnership designed to promote responsible gaming activity through the Have A Game Plan. Bet Responsibly. public service campaign. Through the partnership, the NHL will use league-owned, in-arena, and digital marketing inventory for co-branded videoboard images, public address announcements, and animations of hockey-specific marketing materials that encourage responsible sports betting. The league will provide unique assets for each club in legal sports betting markets, including arena, desktop and mobile, and email applications.

UFC and Snapchat agreed to a multi-year extension of their partnership that will add at least 200 more episodes to Snapchat’s Discover page, including video programming from UFC Fight Pass. Snapchat will showcase highlights from top fights, fight preview shows, and new episodes from Embedded, a behind-the-scenes show about how UFC athletes prepare for fights.

ESPORTS

MLS’ EA Sports FIFA League will see two more new teams in the 2021 season, with Inter Miami and St. Louis City SC joining the league. The additions bring the total number of players up to 27. Details on when the 2021 eMLS season, including its start date, will come in the near future.

Following the launch of its new Marvel Retro collection, Team Liquid has announced the renewal of its partnership with Marvel Entertainment until 2022. The deal includes the launch of new exclusive merchandise and collaborative content, with plans in place to drop one more piece of Marvel apparel before the end of the year.

Riot announced that Jason Bunge is joining its executive leadership team, where he’ll oversee game marketing, product publishing, and global channel strategy teams as CMO Bunge joins from Electronic Arts, where he served as the SVP of brand management and marketing, working on games like Apex Legends.

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