News: Sunday Ticket, Gronkowski, Barkley and more

The NFL and Apple reportedly ran into a problem in negotiations over the NFL Sunday Ticket. More: Rob Gronkowski returns to his role as an NFL analyst on Fox Sports; Charles Barkley is apparently close to a new deal with TNT; and more, including a new role for TNT Candice Parker.

The NFL and Apple hit a snag in Sunday ticket negotiations

CNBC reported Friday that negotiations between the NFL and Apple for NFL Sunday Ticket rights have “slowed down” as Apple seeks broader rights than the Sunday Ticket package currently includes. Currently, Sunday Ticket is only offered in the United States, with local market play prohibited. In contrast, Apple’s new MLS deal includes global rights and no local outages.

Talks between the NFL and all of the Sunday Ticket contenders – Amazon, Disney and more recently Google have been mentioned as potential bidders – are ongoing.

Gronkowski returns to Fox as NFL analyst

NFL TE recently retired Rob Gronkowski joins Fox Sports as an NFL analyst effective Sunday. Gronkowski joined Fox after retiring in 2019, but returned to the NFL the following year. In his new role, he will contribute to the Fox NFL Sunday morning pregame shows Fox NFL Kickoff and Fox NFL Sunday. Earlier this year, Gronkowski hosted an alternate presentation of UFC 278 for ESPN.

Barkley close to new deal with Turner

NBA TNT analyst Charles Barkley is set to extend its contract with parent company Warner Bros. Discovery, based on comments made this week by the executive overseeing the network. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the executive in question – Kathleen Finch – said she recently had lunch with Barkley to “celebrate her new contract” and discuss potential on-air roles beyond basketball, a statement she is quickly returned after the publication of the interview. Although Finch admitted she “jumped the ball”, even her flashback seemed to take Barkley’s new contract for granted. Finch said she was “premature with what has been shared regarding her new contract…but we’re all excited about the future possibilities with Charles.”

More: Parker, Costas, Corso, Seahawks start time

NBA TNT analyst Candice Parker this season will serve as an occasional game analyst, starting with Thursday’s Clippers-Lakers game alongside Kevin Harlan and Reggie Miller. She will be the first woman to call an NBA game for TNT since Cheryl Miller in 2002. … TBS MLB play-by-play voice Bob Costas, which currently handles play-by-play for the Guardians-Yankees Division series, will host the network’s studio coverage of the League Championship Series for a second consecutive year. Between the Division Series and LCS, this year marks Costas’ longest playoff streak since 1999 (while he called up the ALCS in 2000, he skipped that year’s Division Series). … ESPN college football analyst Lee Corso returned to “College Gameday” after a two-week absence for health reasons on Saturday. … Sunday’s Cardinals-Seahawks NFL regular season game will remain in its 4:05 p.m. ET time slot after the Mariners were swept from the MLB Division Series on Saturday. Had the Mariners won and forced a Game 4 on Sunday, the Seahawks’ neighboring game would have been moved to 5:30 p.m.

Herman C. Harkins