ESPN’s Tom Jackson Announces His Retirement

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ESPN personality Tom Jackson is retiring.

The long-time broadcaster announced this week that after 29 years with the worldwide leader in sports he is calling it a career.  He joined the network in 1987 as one of its first NFL analysts.  This was following a successful 14-year career as a member of the Denver Broncos.  His final assignment will be this weekend August 6th – 7th at the annual NFL Hall of Fame enshrinement in Canton, Ohio.

Jackson was has only praise for ESPN and all that supported him throughout his career on and off the field in a statement released this week.

“I have been blessed in my adult life to work for two companies, the Denver Broncos and ESPN, to do two things that I love—play football and talk about football.  Having joined in the early stages of ESPN and remained with the same company for 29 years is especially gratifying.  The friendships made are too numerous to mention but I know that many of them will last a lifetime.  I also want to thank all the fans who supported me over the years and made my job so enjoyable.  This move just comes at a time when the priority of my life is spending time with my family.”

Throughout his career, Jackson has worked on a number of its football-based programs beginning with the then NFL GameDay—now NFL Countdown.  Later that same year he and fellow ESPN veteran Chris Berman became partners on ESPN’s NFL Primetime.  Jackson would go on to spend the next 19 years (1987 – 2005) on Sunday nights.  During his time on the program it went on to become the leading NFL highlights show and highest-rated studio program on cable.

Berman was upbeat in recalling his memories working with Jackson.  “Every day working with Tom was a treasure,” he said.  I know every day he appeared on ESPN was a treasure for football fans. His knowledge, his passion, his insight, and his overall joie de vivre makes him special – in fact, makes him unique. I was lucky to spend 29 years of football weekends with him. In television that’s almost two lifetimes. Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon were together for 31 years – enough said.  “Tom long ago became almost a brother to me. We completed each other’s sentences, listened to the same music, laughed together and sometimes cried together. Oh yes, we enjoyed football together. What was a day with Tom Jackson like? Like the Temptations sang, ‘I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day’.”

Along with his time on ESPN’s Sunday night NFL programming he also spent some time as part of the network’s Monday Night Countdown NFL pre-game broadcast and the network’s other NFL programming throughout the year.  That other programming includes coverage of the Super Bowl, Pro Bowl, NFL Raft and Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement.  In 2006 he worked as part of ABC’s broadcast team for Super Bowl XL’s pre-game broadcast.

Similar praise has come from others at ESPN including ESPN President John Skipper.  “Tom has been an integral part of ESPN’s presentation of the NFL for three decades.  His partnership with Chris Berman has been a signature for us and a treasure for fans,” Skipper said.  “His influence as a trusted voice and mentor for the generation of players who followed him is an important part of his legacy.  Tom is as widely respected internally as anyone in our company, not to mention beloved.  He has been a pleasure to work with and he will always be an ESPN family member.”

There is currently no word on the search for Jackson’s replacement.  More information on that and all of the latest NFL headlines is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://espn.go.com/nfl

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ESPN, espnW Branching Out Nine For IX Series

Courtesy:  ESPN/espnW

Courtesy: ESPN/espnW

Fans of ESPN’s hugely popular and successful Nine for IX series have even more reason to be excited today.  ESPN President John Skipper announced today that espnW and ESPN Films will continue the collaboration that they started with this Summer’s Nine for IX series into the future.  The two organizations will continue their partnership with an annual digital short film series.  Skipper shared his thoughts on what led to the decision in a prepared statement.  “The Nine for IX brand has become a beacon for stories that matter to the modern sports fan,” said Skipper. “We are proud to continue this critically acclaimed series, providing fans a fresh, unique, and relevant point of view on the evolving landscape of women in sports.”

The first five films in the annual digital short film series will air during Summer 2014.  They and all shorts to follow will be made available on a variety of digital ESPN platforms.  They will also eventually be aired on the ESPN family of networks and on mobile devices and applications.  They will also be available online at espnW and ESPN.com.  It will continue to be executive produced by Robin Roberts of ABC’s Good Morning America and Jane Rosenthal, co-founder of Tribeca Productions. 

Along with the announcement of this new digital shorts series, the announcement was also made that espnW will now have a new annual power ranking list—the espnW Impact 10—that will recognize the ten female athletes who have made a significant impact on and off the field during the past year.  The annual power ranking list will highlight the stories and biggest moments from 2013 through videos, columns and articles, photo galleries and athlete profiles.  Each year’s list will be judged by an industry panel of judges.  Fans will also have the chance to debate and vote on the list online at http://www.espnW.com and via twitter.  The Impact 10 will debut on espnW and on ESPN’s SportsCenter.  More information on this and more is available online at http://www.espnW.com and http://www.facebook.com/espnW.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com

New Deal Brings USTA’s U.S. Open Beginning In 2015

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Tennis fans have some good news today.  ESPN has announced that it has acquired the broadcast rights to the U.S. Open.  The new deal means that the Sports Leader will broadcast the U.S. Open beginning in 2015.  It will be the exclusive home of the U.S. Open both in North and South America.  The deal will keep the tournament on ESPN for eleven years.  It also means that ESPN and the ESPN family of networks will now broadcast three of tennis’ four majors beginning in 2015.

ESPN President John Skipper shared his thoughts on the new deal.  “Certain sporting events become synonymous with when they are held, and there is no better – or bigger – way to celebrate the end of summer than at the US Open in New York,” he said.  We look forward to capturing every match, every star, every championship and all the drama on this grand stage.”

Expectations for the new deal are just as high among those with the United States Tennis Association (USTA).  Dave Haggerty, USTA Chairman of the Board and president commented on the announcement, saying “This wide-ranging and broad relationship with ESPN positions tennis at the forefront of American sports.  By teaming with the world-wide leader in sports, the USTA will continue to ensure that tennis at every level thrives in the United States.”

When the deal takes effect, all matches of the U.S. Open tournament will be available not just on ESPN and ESPN2, but also via WatchESPN and the WatchESPN app for those with mobile internet.  Every match of the tournament’s seventeen total courts will also be available on ESPN3.  Anyone that has ESPN’s linear networks as part of their video subscription through Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, Verizon FiOs, Comcast Xfinity TV, Midcontinent Communications, Cablevision, Cox, Charter or AT&T U-Verse.

Along with broadcasting the U.S. Open in the United States beginning in 2015, ESPN will continue to be the home of the entire U.S. Open in Latin America and the Caribbean, and on TSN in Canada, as it has done since 2002.  Fans in these countries will benefit from the new deal as it means expanded hours and broadcast rights, just as in the U.S.—both on multiple linear TV channels and on digital platforms throughout each region. 

The new broadcast deal has major implications in the U.S. and Latin and South America, as well as the Caribbean, as noted.  It will have a big impact in the Middle East, too.  Terms of the deal included making ESPN the home of the Emirates Airline U.S. Open Series.  Coverage of the series includes seventy-two hours of action in the five-week tournament leading up to the championship.  Terms also have given broadcast rights of the Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day.  The Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day is the family friendly music and tennis festival that serves as the unofficial start to the two-week tournament.  It takes place a week prior to the tournament’s official start. 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.