ESPN hoping to expand The Pat McAfee Show to radio

ESPN’s hope is to simulcast “The Pat McAfee Show” on national radio when it unveils its new schedule, sources told Ryan Glasspiegel and me.

It is not official and there are still some hoops to go through to make it happen, but it would mean more distribution for McAfee’s program.

ESPN declined comment.

Between being on ESPN, YouTube and potentially national radio, McAfee’s show will be available everywhere. He and his team also do a very nice job of getting their segments out on social media in a timely fashion.

Pat McAfee at The 2023 ESPYS held at Dolby Theatre on July 12, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.
Host at this year’s ESPYs, Pat McAfee has become an expanding presence across almost all of ESPN’s broadcast platforms.
Variety via Getty Images

The 12-3 p.m. time slot was Jason Fitz and Harry Douglas’. Fitz was cut during ESPN’s recent layoffs that saw  around 20 on-air people let go.

ESPN Radio is getting a total reboot this fall. While seemingly not a company priority these days, it is a place where the network, historically, likes to feature its stars and still does, as in the case of Mike Greenberg, who has a 10 a.m-to-noon show with his name on it, though he appears on it a bit irregularly.

Quick clicks

Scott Van Pelt broadcasts before the game between the Maryland Terrapins and the Georgetown Hoyas at Xfinity Center on November 17, 2015 in College Park, Maryland.
Whispers are growing increasingly louder that Scott Van Pelt will become the pregame host for ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” this fall.
Getty Images

Last week, we led the newsletter with a report that the new host of “Monday Night Football Countdown” would be either Scott Van Pelt or Laura Rutledge. On the podcast I co-host with John Ourand, I said that Van Pelt has the inside track. That is where it stands. It will likely be Van Pelt as ESPN wants to increase his association with big events and, in their view, the Monday night desk is a chance to do that. While it is heading that way, I would also add this: If I were ESPN, I would have a plan for Rutledge because she has shown to be a tremendous host and a hard worker. …

ESPN Analyst, Adrian Wojnarowski reports on the game between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics during Game 4 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals on May 23, 2022 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.
Adrian Wojnarowski’s reporting on a potential Damian Lillard trade irked Miami-based media personality Dan Le Batard, who claimed the ESPN newsbreaker was “bought and paid for” by the Trail Blazers.
NBAE via Getty Images

You know when something becomes a topic of conversation and you can’t figure out exactly why — that’s me with Dan Le Batard’s broadside of Adrian Wojnarowski. Le Batard said that Wojnarowski is “bought and paid for” by the Portland Trail Blazers, as he referred to Wojnarowski’s reporting on the potential Damian Lillard trade to Miami. The term is quite an insult, but what I couldn’t figure out was this: What did Wojnarowski have or do wrong? Yes, he seemingly has relayed Portland’s position, via sources. It is called reporting. Le Batard went on to give Miami’s position on the trade. I know from my own experience, it is not fair to guess sources. It’s done with my reporting on sports media news and around 90 percent of the time people are wrong. Presumably — and probably, hopefully — when Wojnarowski expresses what Portland is thinking it is from Trail Blazers sources. Now, it is not always perfect how some, not all, major sports insiders work. It is a very competitive beat, which gives subjects some power over reporters, because of supply and demand. Maybe we will tackle the insiders’ and perceived horse trading story at some point, but, in this case, I’m not exactly sure how Wojnarowski was “bought and paid for,” if he has the story correct in the moment.  …. NBC officially announced its pregame team for its new Big Ten prime time games. Lead host Maria Taylor will be joined by Matt Cassel, Joshua Perry, Michael Robinson and Ahmed Fareed. Of note, the show will be live at each game each week, which really works in the college game. While the initial NBC Big Ten schedule wasn’t overly impressive, this will help it feel a bit bigger. …

Lionel Messi #10 of Inter Miami CF celebrates after kicking the game winning goal during the second half of the Leagues Cup 2023 match between Cruz Azul and Inter Miami CF at DRV PNK Stadium on July 21, 2023 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Lionel Messi’s debut for Inter Miami was a memorable one that he started on the bench and ended with a game-winning free kick.
Getty Images

The arrival of Lionel Messi is an absolute home run for MLS. We wrote previously that whatever it ends up costing the league in total to bring in Messi, it will probably be worth it. He’s arguably the best player ever and just won a World Cup, so playing in the United States means a lot for the sport here. The one thing that makes it different than when Pelé was a sensation is the Apple-ization of the world, making the video portion of where someone’s feet are located not as important as they were in the late ’70s. Back then, when Pelé arrived, you had to be in the United States to see him live on TV. The beauty of watching Pelé belonged just to NASL fans. Now, anyone with a connection to the internet can view Messi. This is why Apple’s idea to sell sports subscriptions works so much better with Messi in the fold. It is also why he has the rare opportunity to be cut in on the money made from subscriptions. But this also ramps up the pressure on MLS. Since part of the goal with signing Messi was to become more of a world league, MLS must get better so when Messi goes, all those international and domestic fans that suddenly found MLS cool, don’t go with him. All the other top leagues, from the Premiership to La Liga have been digitized around the world, too. Messi can’t be just another show on Apple TV+, like “Ted Lasso,” it has to be a building block for it to have a lasting impact on the league. So Friday’s movie script was tremendous, the way it will work long-term is tied as much to the rest of teams as it is Messi.

Saturday return?

Interim head coach Jeff Saturday of the Indianapolis Colts speaks to media at a press conference at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center on January 09, 2023 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
While there is mutual interest between Jeff Saturday and ESPN for a reunion, the network’s belt-tightening layoffs may get in the way.
Getty Images

ESPN would like Jeff Saturday to return, and while Saturday would like to come back, sources say it is still up-in-the-air if it will happen or not. Last year, Saturday famously departed ESPN to become the interim coach of the Colts. After winning his initial game, he lost seven in a row. He was still considered for the full-time job, but did not receive it. Now, he could return to be an ESPN analyst; however, in light of recent layoffs and ESPN’s focus on watching the budget, it is in question if it will work out.

Clicker Book Club

New York Yankees' Aaron Judge gestures as he runs the bases after hitting a solo home run, his 62nd of the season, during the first inning in the second baseball game of a doubleheader against the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022. With the home run, Judge set the AL record for home runs in a season, passing Roger Maris.
Taking a trip down memory lane with Aaron Judge and his historic 2022 is a good way to forget what has been a frustrating 2023 for the Yankees.

Papa Clicker writes that Bryan Hoch’s “62: Aaron Judge, the New York Yankees and the Pursuit of Greatness” will help Yankees and baseball fans, in general, get through Judge currently being on the disabled list. Hoch describes Judge’s youth, his path to the Yankees and his famous 2022 season in which he set a new American League record (62 home runs) and what led him to being named the 16th Yankees captain. Papa Clicker, my dad, Herb Marchand, gives Hoch 4.2 out of 5 clickers.

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𝗖𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝘁𝘀, 𝗖𝗼𝗽𝘆𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 & 𝗖𝗼𝘂𝗿𝘁𝗲𝘀𝘆:
𝗙𝗼𝗿 𝗮𝗻𝘆 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗮𝗶𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝗿𝗲𝗴𝗮𝗿𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗗𝗠𝗖𝗔,
𝗣𝗹𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗲 𝘀𝗲𝗻𝗱 𝘂𝘀 𝗮𝗻 𝗲𝗺𝗮𝗶𝗹 𝗮𝘁

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