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Hubie Brown back on broadcasts as ESPN finalizes NBA pandemic plan

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Hubie Brown back on broadcasts as ESPN finalizes NBA pandemic plan 1

Hall of Famer Hubie Brown will return to ESPN broadcasts this season, working remotely to begin the season, a network spokesman told The Post. 

Brown, 87, sat out the bubble last season as a safety precaution due to the pandemic.

While Brown understandably won’t travel to begin the season, ESPN plans to have its announcers at slightly more than half of the games in the first half of the season, the spokesman confirmed. If the pandemic worsens, it will adjust.

When the announcers are on site, they will be joined by producers. On the games that broadcasters work from home or studio, the producers will also be located at ESPN’s Bristol or Charlotte studios.

TNT is planning to not travel its broadcasters to games at this point. Like Brown, Marv Albert, 79, will return to calling action after sitting out the end of last season. Inside The NBA will be from its Atlanta’s studio.

Sirius match with Le Batard

We don’t know at this point where Dan Le Batard will end up after ESPN, but SiriusXM makes a lot of sense. Le Batard, Jon “Stugotz” Weiner and company are proven winners on podcasts. SiriusXM is making a bigger push into podcasting. Le Batard wasn’t a fit for national radio because his show was irregular, especially in the ESPN universe. However, he has a loyal, die-hard following that, let’s just say, using inexact numbers, brings over 20,000 to 40,000 subscribers or helps satisfy that many people paying $15 a month. You add those things together and Sirius feels like a right fit. We are not saying it will happen, it just is a good match. 

Damer at night

ESPN New York plans to further bolster its longer programming by having Gordon Damer join Larry Hardesty in the late evening, The Post has learned. It is a likable tandem that will follow Chris Carlin. 

ESPN New York is putting more attention on mornings starting next year with Rick DiPietro, Chris Canty and Dave Rothenberg moving to 5-8 a.m. ESPN New York also has the Knicks and Rangers on a night. Having strong programming in the evening can impact the overall ratings as people leave their radios on a station and many times don’t turn right away if they hear something they like. Hardesty and Damer can aid the new morning trio. Damer will essentially work a double shift as he will continue to do updates/commentaries from 8 a.m. to noon. He has been underutilized and now he won’t be.

Network football

You know when you know something is becoming mainstream? When things aren’t big deals. On Saturday, NBC will once again have Premier League’s Manchester Derby between Manchester City and Manchester United (Think Mets vs. Yankees for those who don’t know.) 

This is the first time it is on NBC in the fall as it usually blocked by golf and/or Notre Dame. The Derby has been on broadcast TV in the spring many times before. The Manchester Derby has on two occasions approached 2 million viewers, the highest ever for Premier games. Later, Saturday night, the MLS Cup will be on Fox in prime time. 

You see, no big deal, which is a big deal. 

Clicker books

Jim Gray’s “Talking to GOATs: The Moments You Remember and the Stories You Never Heard” is a summary of Gray’s years in sports broadcasting and his relationships with great athletes of recent eras. including Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Tiger Woods and Tom Brady, as well describing some of the period’s most historic events.  Papa Clicker gives it 4.3 clickers.

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