Interesting news surfacing tonight. The Big Lead and SportsbyBrooks are reporting that ESPN Original Chris Berman is being highly courted by two companies. Jason McIntyre of The Big Lead says Berman is being sought by the NFL Network. SportsbyBrooks says DirecTV is also actively seeking Berman’s services to be part of a new sports channel which would also include Dan Patrick whose radio show is currently being simulcast on the satellite service.
It’s a rather intriguing scenario. NFL Network hired Rich Eisen to be the face of its programming and he’s done tremendous work as the host of the NFL Draft, Super Bowl coverage and the channel’s live eight game schedule. If Berman comes over, there’s really no room for Eisen and that would mean Rich would probably be jettisoned from NFL Network.
However, the real intriguing scenario is DirecTV. According to SportsbyBrooks, Berman would be tapped to host a pre and post game show that would be the TV sandwich around NFL Sunday Ticket’s Red Zone Channel which is hosted by Andrew Siliano. In addition, DirecTV would start up a new sports channel which would involve Berman and Patrick.
The reason for this courtship? Berman’s contract with ESPN expires in three months and both the NFL Network and DirecTV would love to make a splash by bringing Boomer into the fold. Could either scenario happen? Anything’s possible. If it does, it makes the third high profile departure from the Worldwide Leader after Patrick and Peter Gammons. However, it all could be a negotiating ploy to get the maximum dollar for Berman from ESPN.
It’s a story that bears watching. Berman almost left ESPN in 1986 when NBC attempted to lure him to the network, but as we know by now, he stayed with the Mothership. If he chooses to go, it would leave a big hole with ESPN’s NFL coverage.
As usual, if anything happens, you’ll see it here.