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Volume 26 No. 227
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Bob Costas Addresses Current State Of Network Sports TV

Costas said the NFL is the only business relationship where the buyer has to continually flatter the seller
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Costas said the NFL is the only business relationship where the buyer has to continually flatter the seller
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Costas said the NFL is the only business relationship where the buyer has to continually flatter the seller
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Bob Costas addressed the "state of sports media and other issues" during a conversation with Bob Ley at Seton Hall on Monday, and the former face of NBC Sports was "particularly blunt in discussing his industry and some polarizing issues," according to Barry Jackson of the MIAMI HERALD. Costas said that he told NBC he "would like to interview" NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during the net's coverage of Super Bowl LII in '18, and he believes NBC execs "asked Goodell casually but never pressed the issue with the reluctant commissioner." Costas said the NFL is the "only business relationship where the buyer has to continually flatter the seller." Costas: "And the commissioner of the NFL gets to say, no, I'm not doing an interview on The Super Bowl." He noted that cable outlets, and not broadcast networks, are the place for "thoughtful dialogue and analysis of important issues." Costas: "On the networks their feeling is people tune in to see the games, the action. The only thing the networks -- ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox -- do is acknowledge issues but they will not delve into them or run the risk of alienating one portion or another of their audience" (MIAMI HERALD, 11/14).

REFLECTING ON HIS CAREER: Costas this week also appeared on Dan Rather's AXS TV talk show, where he discussed the highs and lows of his broadcasting career. Rather called Costas America's "premiere sports broadcaster" and said Costas' longtime presence on TV "made him a household name and a cultural icon." Costas said he hopes it has been "evident for a long time" that he has a "passion for sports." He added, "I hope that I've been able to provide a textured presentation." Costas said he aimed to educate fans on issues like steroids in baseball, CTE in football and corruption within the IOC because "those things should be questioned, not to the detriment of presenting the events themselves." Costas: "I was able to make my points here and there and I give NBC credit for that, but there was some discomfort ultimately." Costas: "I hope that I was able to enhance people's enjoyment and understanding of the event, that they felt comfortable watching or listening to me, that I was always well-prepared and gave an honest effort. And that I maintained ... some sense of integrity -- that I wasn't just chirping a party line, I wasn't a shill -- that I tried as best as I could within the limitations of network TV sports, primarily, to be as independent as I could" ("The Big Interview With Dan Rather," AXS TV, 11/13).