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WFT MAKING A SPLASH IN FREE AGENCY

The Washington Football Team won their division in 2020, but nobody will disagree that they’ve got some big holes to fill and can only go up from last season.

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WFT Making a Splash in Free Agency
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The Washington Football Team won their division in 2020, but nobody will disagree that they’ve got some big holes to fill and can only go up from last season.

After cutting their 2019 first-round draft pick Dwayne Haskins and politely telling Comeback Player of the Year Alex Smith to take a hike, the quarterback position was definitely a spot that was highlighted as a must-fill spot.

Even with the final-game emergence of cult sensation Tayler Heinicke, Washington still needs some reassurance at the position. Washington made the smart decision to lock Heinicke up, but with their first major signing they scooped up another cult hero in Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick, as anyone who follows football knows, is a gun slinger and a guy that puts it all on the line. He might throw 300 interceptions, but he’ll also through 300 touchdowns. He is who he is.

If anything, Fitzpatrick provides some good mentoring for the younger guys like Heinicke and he’s got a track record of being ready to jump into games and win with little notice.

Wide Receiver

Perhaps an even bigger gap for the Washington Football Team in 2020 was finding a certified No. 2 wide receiver to pair with the young stud, Terry McLaurin.

WFT fans have been clamoring for the team to go after a big free agent wide receiver, and the one that made most sense was Carolina Panthers speedster, Curtis Samuel.

Not only is Samuel a former No. 2 draft pick of Ron Rivera’s in Carolina, but he’s also a former teammate of McLaurin’s from their days at Ohio State.

As is the [new] case in DC, Rivera and company got it right and snatched Samuel up to the tune of $34.5 million.

McLaurin could not hold back his excitement on social media, and to be honest, Washington fans should be ecstatic as well.

With the draft right around the corner, Washington is starting to put some big pieces of the puzzle together and can only get better with their plethora of draft picks.

ESPN

ESPN Celebrates the 2021 NFL Schedule Unveiling with Three Primetime Specials on Wednesday Night; ABC’s Good Morning America Begins the Day with Monday Night Football News

ESPN will usher in the 2021 NFL Schedule and the NFL’s ‘Biggest Season Ever’ with three primetime specials, all beginning at 8 p.m. ET, across six platforms on Wednesday, May 12.

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NFL Schedule 2021
  • ESPN2, ESPN+, ESPN App and Social Platforms with Simultaneous Productions
    • ESPN2: Examines Weekly Signature Matchups and Key Storylines with Monday Night Football Booth — Steve Levy, Brian Griese and Louis Riddick – along with Adam Schefter
    • ESPN+: Delves Into Weekly and Season-Long Team and Player Projections, including Odds and Fantasy Football Implications with Daily Wager and Fantasy Football Now Commentators
    • ESPN App, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube: SportsNation Provides Instant Reaction with Insight from NFL Nation Reporters
  • Good Morning America Exclusively Announces Monday Night Football’s Week 1 Matchup Wednesday Morning

ESPN will usher in the 2021 NFL Schedule and the NFL’s ‘Biggest Season Ever’ with three primetime specials, all beginning at 8 p.m. ET, across six platforms on Wednesday, May 12, as the organization celebrates the unveiling of the Monday Night Football and entire NFL season slate and delves into the signature matchups and storylines of the upcoming season. The primetime programming will provide a bookend to the day, which will begin with Good Morning America announcing Monday Night Football’s week 1 matchup exclusively (likely in the 8 a.m. hour).

The primetime specials will be available on ESPN2, ESPN+, the ESPN App and digital/social channels — Facebook Twitter, YouTube:

  • ESPN2’s SportsCenter Special: 2021 NFL Schedule Releaseexamines the key pressure points for teams throughout the season, as well as can’t-miss games in every week of the 2021 campaign. The SportsCenter Special will also be available simultaneously on ESPN+.
  • ESPN+’s Between the Lines: NFL Schedule Release will explore weekly and season-long team and player projections, from both an odds and fantasy football angle, and the impact the 2021 schedule has on potential team and player results.
  • ESPN App and digital/social channels: SportsNation provides an instant reaction to the NFL schedule from multiple personalities. Fans will also hear from ESPN’s NFL Nation reporters about specific schedules for the team each covers.

The SportsCenter Special production will be three hours (8-11 p.m.), while Between the Lines is two (8-10 p.m.) and SportsNation is one hour (8-9 p.m.). Wednesday evening, ESPN.com will also provide a deep dive into the schedule, offering analysis on all 32 teams’ slate, individual team record predictions and a roundtable on the best games of the season.

Steve Levy, Brian Griese and Louis Riddick, the Monday Night Football Broadcast Booth, Headline SportsCenter Special on ESPN2 and ESPN+
Monday Night Football play-by-play commentator Steve Levy will host the three-hour SportsCenter Special and be joined by his broadcast booth analysts Brian Griese and Louis Riddick, as the team will react and provide immediate thoughts on the 2021 MNF schedule, the weekly franchise’s 52nd season. The trio will also explore key matchups throughout the season for a variety of teams, as they speculate on what could be ‘Games of the Year’ and contests that could define teams’ seasons. Senior NFL Insider Adam Schefter is also part of the special and guests are likely to join, including Los Angeles Rams’ Sean McVay.

Daily Wager Crew and ESPN’s Leading Fantasy Football Voice Matthew Berry Featured in the Vegas and Bristol Split Production on ESPN+
The ESPN+ Between the Lines: NFL Schedule Release show will include the cast of Daily Wager — Doug Kezirian, Joe Fortenbaugh, Tyler Fulghum, Steve Coughlin, and Anita Marks – and Fantasy Football Now including senior fantasy sports analyst Matthew Berry, host Field Yates, and insiders Stephania Bell and Mike Clay. The split Bristol-Las Vegas production will examine a variety of projections, including team wins, player’s statistics, and who may have award-winning seasons as the show focuses both on the odds and fantasy football angles of the upcoming season.

SportsNation Provides Instant Reaction, ESPN NFL Nation Insights on ESPN App, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube
SportsNation, showcased on the ESPN App, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, will be fronted by Treavor Scales, Gary Striewski, and Christine Williamson, as the three personalities will give their instant reaction, favorite matchups and other immediate thoughts to the schedule release. The hour-long special will also feature multiple ESPN NFL Nation reporters who will delve specifically into specific teams’ schedules.

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ESPN

Iconic Commentator Chris Berman Signs Multi-Year ESPN Extension

Legendary sports commentator and industry innovator Chris Berman has reached a new multi-year agreement with ESPN.

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Industry-Leading Voice To Build Upon Historic Career; Signature NFL PrimeTime on ESPN+ Among Assignments

Legendary sports commentator and industry innovator Chris Berman has reached a new multi-year agreement with ESPN, it was announced today, on the occasion of Berman’s 66th birthday, by Norby Williamson, ESPN executive vice president and executive editor. Berman, who joined ESPN a month after its September 7, 1979 launch, will continue to bring his uniquely energetic and passionate style to various high-profile assignments.

Among the continuing roles for Berman will be hosting NFL PrimeTime on ESPN+, a signature weekly series that showcases his exceptional ability to anchor comprehensive game highlights in a one-of-a-kind format. Additionally, he will host NFL PrimeTime on ESPN after the Super Bowl and NFL Conference Championship games. He will also continue to contribute commentary, features, interviews and perspective across ESPN shows and platforms, including SportsCenter and beyond.

“Quite simply, Chris Berman has personified ESPN’s success for more than four decades,” Williamson said. “Fans respond to his authentic love of sports, his ability to savor and capture the big moments, and his on-air style that reminds us how live games can truly be equal parts essential and fun. We are delighted Boomer’s magical ride at ESPN will continue for years to come.”

Berman added, “Working at ESPN has been nothing short of a fairytale for me. We all love sports and the excitement they bring us on a daily basis. I’m thrilled to be able to continue this journey and share it with so many talented folks ‘in the building,’ and best of all, countless viewers who share the very same passion. I’d like to say it’s put me over the moon, but I’d better bring it up to date. It’s put me over Mars.”

Berman arrived at ESPN in October 1979 as a 24-year-old sportscaster and became one of the industry’s most popular voices during his more than 41-year career at the company. A six-time National Sportscaster of the Year, Berman has been recognized with numerous honors for his long and growing list of accomplishments. He was the first sportscaster to receive the Newseum Institute’s Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in Media in Washington, D.C., and he was inducted into the National Sports Media Association Hall of Fame in Salisbury, N.C. In 2015, Berman was just the fifth on-air personality to be inducted into the Cable Hall of Fame.

An original SportsCenter anchor, Berman hosted countless editions of ESPN’s signature program over the years. His NFL studio contributions have been particularly significant. From 1987-2005, he and longtime partner Tom Jackson teamed together for NFL PrimeTime, the first show of its kind and cable television’s all-time highest-rated sports studio show. The show returned in 2019 to its current ESPN+ home. He was the face of ESPN’s NFL Countdown for 31 years (through the 2016 season), an industry record for a weekly pro football studio show host.

His “Fastest Three Minutes in Television” halftime highlights has also been a staple during ESPN’s weekly NFL primetime game through the years, and his “Swami” segment on SportsCenter, dubbed “The Two Minute Drill,” has been a fixture throughout his ESPN tenure.  The 2010 recipient of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award for longtime exceptional contributions to radio and television in professional football, Berman has covered 39 Super Bowls, hosted the NFL Draft for 30 years (through 2016), and has served as Master of Ceremony for the prestigious Pro Football Hall of Fame Induction since 1999.

Berman’s impact on the sports world goes well beyond football. He has called Major League Baseball games on TV and radio and hosted Baseball Tonight studio shows for many years. Most notably, Berman called ESPN’s Emmy Award-winning telecast of Cal Ripken’s 2,131st consecutive game on September 6, 1995, and he became a fan favorite nationally for the nicknames he created in his sports highlights. In all, he has covered 31 MLB All Star games, including calling Home Run Derbys in each of those years, and 30 World Series. Berman also covered the U.S. Open golf tournament from 1986-2014, and he co-hosted ESPN and ABC’s Stanley Cup Playoff telecasts in 2003 and 2004.

Berman graduated from Brown University in 1977 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history. His first broadcasting position came while he was a student at Brown as sports director for WBRU Radio and commentator for basketball, football, ice hockey and baseball games. He also assisted with NBC Sports telecasts in New England – including the memorable Game 6 of the 1975 World Series – and served as a correspondent for WEAN, a Providence, R.I. news radio station.

Berman began his career as a disc jockey at WERI in Westerly, RI, hosting a news-oriented talk show and covering high school football and basketball games. One year later, he joined WNVR Radio in Waterbury, Conn., broadcasting high school football games, co-hosting a sports talk show and doing traffic reports. His first television exposure came in 1979 when he joined WVIT-TV, an NBC affiliate in Hartford, Conn., as a weekend sports anchor.

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CBS

VIACOMCBS AND NFL REACH NEW LONG-TERM MULTIPLATFORM RIGHTS AGREEMENT THROUGH THE 2033 SEASON

The National Football League (NFL) and ViacomCBS announced today a new 11-year multiplatform rights agreement that extends CBS’ long-standing relationship with the NFL through the 2033 season.

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All Games in Package to Be Broadcast on the CBS Television Network and Streamed on Paramount+

CBS Continues as Home of the AFC, Allowing for More Sunday Afternoon Games Than Ever, The AFC Championship Game Each Year and Three Super Bowls Beginning the First Season of the New Deal

Expanded and Flexible NFL Distribution Rights for Paramount+ Beginning with 2021 Season

Historic Agreement Grants Vast Array of Rights Across ViacomCBS Networks, Properties and Platforms

The National Football League (NFL) and ViacomCBS announced today a new 11-year multiplatform rights agreement that extends CBS’ long-standing relationship with the NFL through the 2033 season. CBS Sports continues as the home of the NFL’s American Football Conference (AFC), featuring many of the game’s brightest young stars, with all games broadcast on the CBS Television Network and streamed live on Paramount+, ViacomCBS’ flagship streaming service. This historic agreement also grants an expansive list of NFL rights across ViacomCBS networks and platforms, enabling the company to maximize its content creation, distribution and reach throughout the length of the deal.

The new agreement, which begins with the 2023 season, allows for CBS Sports to broadcast and stream more Sunday afternoon games than ever before and also includes an expanded schedule of games featuring teams from the National Football Conference (NFC). In addition, the schedule is highlighted by 10 CBS doubleheaders, including the NFL’s most-watched window Sundays at 4:25 PM ET, eight singleheaders and the annual Thanksgiving Day game. CBS Sports will broadcast three Super Bowls over the length of the deal, including the first in the new agreement, Super Bowl LVIII in 2024, as well as Super Bowl LXII in 2028 and Super Bowl LXVI in 2032.

The CBS Television Network and Paramount+ will also present a full slate of playoff games each season, featuring the AFC Championship game, one Divisional game and one Wild Card game. A second Wild Card game will be added to the CBS Sports lineup during the 2024, 2029 and 2033 seasons. 

ViacomCBS will retain its extensive in-market exclusivity, ensuring that the CBS-affiliated stations and ViacomCBS platforms will continue to be the source for local availability of THE NFL ON CBS. CBS will also gain increased rights to protect games from being flexed to other networks and time slots.  

Paramount+ has been granted new and expanded rights for the streaming service, allowing for the flexibility to distribute NFL games on both the premium tier at $9.99 and the new $4.99 ad-supported tier that will debut in June. The rights begin with the 2021 season and extend throughout the length of the new deal to 2033. 

“We are thrilled to extend and expand our long-term partnership with the NFL to create even more value for ViacomCBS and for NFL fans,” said Bob Bakish, President and CEO, ViacomCBS. “Today’s groundbreaking deal ensures that more big games will be available on CBS and Paramount+, with greater NFL programming opportunities featured across all ViacomCBS platforms including Pluto TV, vastly expanding the NFL’s reach among younger audiences in a rapidly evolving media landscape. NFL football is both a pillar of CBS Sports and huge differentiator for our streaming strategy, and our extensive partnership with the NFL will be fundamental to further driving growth and engagement on Paramount+ for years to come.”

“CBS’ NFL programming creates value for every one of our key constituents – our audience, advertisers, owned stations and affiliates, as well as our pay-tv distribution partners. It is must-have content that stands above the crowd in a fragmented television universe,” said George Cheeks, President and Chief Executive Officer of CBS Entertainment Group. “The NFL ON CBS has been a vital part of our broadcasting business for decades and it will be a powerful driver of our streaming success in the decade ahead. Our brands share a great history and a very exciting future together.”

“The NFL has been a cornerstone of CBS Sports programming for more than 60 years. We are extremely pleased to extend our long-standing partnership with the NFL for the next decade,” said Sean McManus, Chairman, CBS Sports. “The NFL is the most valuable content in all of media, and we are excited that the deal allows for more Sunday afternoon games than ever before and we retain the NFL’s most-watched time slot. This wide-ranging deal includes significantly expanded rights, and we look forward to continued growth and to maximizing the enormous value of the NFL across all of our CBS Sports platforms.” 

The landmark NFL/ViacomCBS agreement includes a wide array of expanded rights, ensuring that as the media landscape evolves, ViacomCBS has extensive rights to innovate its content creation and distribution, reaching a variety of audiences across its various networks, properties and platforms. The broad rights grant includes expanded rights across CBS’ digital and social platforms, and the ability to implement interactive features for consumers on Paramount+ and via ViacomCBS’ distribution partners. The company also has the capability to collaborate with the NFL to create alternate game telecasts, similar to the highly acclaimed, family-friendly Wild Card playoff game production on Nickelodeon this past January. Additionally, CBS has the opportunity to partner with the NFL for legalized sports betting applications. 

ViacomCBS and the NFL have also agreed to long-term rights extensions for CBS Sports HQ, Pluto TV and INSIDE THE NFL, which will stream exclusively on Paramount+ beginning with the 2021 season.

CBS Sports first began televising NFL regular-season games in 1956, and this season marks its 62nd season. CBS Sports had broadcast rights to the National Football Conference package from 1970 through 1993 and began televising the American Football Conference package in 1998.

The NFL has a one-time right to opt out of this long-term multiplatform rights agreement after the 2029 season. 

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