As part of an ongoing effort to overhaul its NBA coverage, ESPN will launch a new daily NBA studio show this fall that will be hosted by Malika Andrews. The show will essentially replace Rachel Nichols’s “The Jump,” which was a staple of ESPN’s daily NBA coverage since 2016 before it was canceled amid controversy last month. Andrews, 26, is a former NBA reporter for the Chicago Tribune and an up-and-coming NBA personality at ESPN. She will also receive a contract extension, according to the people familiar with her new show. ESPN canceled “The Jump” last month, weeks after the New York Times published an audio recording in which Nichols, who did not realize she was being recorded, suggested in a phone call that her then-colleague Maria Taylor was replacing her as the host of NBA Finals coverage in 2020 because the network was feeling pressure about its record of diversity. Following the leak of the tape, Nichols was removed from her role as a sideline reporter for ABC’s coverage of last season’s NBA Finals and was replaced by Andrews. ESPN is in the process of reconstructing much of its NBA coverage ahead of the upcoming season. The network installed a new executive, Dave Roberts, to oversee that programming this summer and is also moving on from both Nichols and Taylor.
Coyotes put in $1.7 billion proposal to build arena in Tempe
The Arizona Coyotes have proposed a $1.7 billion development in Tempe that will include a hockey arena. Renderings released by the Coyotes include proposed restaurants, shops and apartments on a 46-acre tract of land near downtown. The team said the arena would be funded by private investors, but would seek city sales tax revenues to help pay for $200 million in additional costs, including infrastructure work. The Coyotes put in the only proposal for the land earlier this month. The city of Tempe said the evaluation process would take several months and will include extensive examinations, with opportunities for community feedback. The Coyotes had been leasing Gila River Arena on an annual basis since the Glendale City Council voted to opt out of a multimillion-dollar long-term deal in 2016. Glendale announced recently that it will not renew its agreement with the franchise beyond the 2021-22 season. The Coyotes have played at Gila River Arena since moving from America West Arena, which they shared with the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, in downtown Phoenix in 2003. Owner Alex Meruelo has said he plans to keep the Coyotes in Arizona. The franchise is searching for a temporary home to use following the 2021-22 season.
Coyotes’ rebranding brings back popular Kachina logo
The Arizona Coyotes are bringing back their popular Kachina logo. The franchise announced a rebranding Monday that will change its primary logo back to the Kachina logo and introduce white Kachina jerseys for away games. The Coyotes said the rebranding was part of the franchise’s commitment to inclusivity and innovation by reaching out to communities that have not typically been home to hockey fans. “Our rebrand will highlight that the Coyotes are a dynamic, energetic and a forward-looking organization and this campaign with demonstrate our commitment to be a leader in our community,” Coyotes President and CEO Xavier Gutierrez said in a news release. “The Valley and the entire state are a part of Our Pack.” The Coyotes will continue to wear black Kachina jerseys for home games, excluding eight games when the team will wear its red Coyotes head jerseys. The white Kachina jerseys haven’t been worn since the 2002-2003 season. The ice at Gila River Arena already has the Kachina logo.
Travis Zajac signs one-day deal to retire a New Jersey Devil
Longtime New Jersey Devils center Travis Zajac has retired. Zajac signed a one-day contract with the Devils so he could retire as a member of the organization where he spent all but 27 games of his 15-year career. The 36-year-old Zajac plans to remain with the Devils in a player development and consulting role. He also will help to develop the club’s youth hockey initiatives. “As a kid playing hockey on the outdoor rinks in Winnipeg, I dreamt about playing in the NHL,” Zajac said in a statement. “Growing up the oldest of four boys, it was the perfect hockey environment. Thanks to my parents’ unwavering support in our lives, that dream became a reality. Then, I got to live that childhood goal for 15 years with the Devils.” The 20th player taken in the 2004 draft, Zajac played in 1,037 career regular-season games and had 203 goals and 349 assists. He served as an assistant captain in seven of his last eight seasons.
Olympic swimming gold medalist Madison Wilson hospitalized for COVID
Olympic gold medal swimmer Madison Wilson of Australia has been hospitalized for treatment of COVID-19. Wilson, who is fully vaccinated, was forced to withdraw from the International Swim League competition in Naples, Italy because of the diagnosis. Wilson wrote on her Instagram account that she was “moved into hospital for further care and observation.” She said a full recovery is expected. “I’m taking some time to rest and I’m sure I’ll be ready to bounce back in no time,” Wilson said in a post Sunday, which included a picture from her hospital bed as well as a video from her ISL teammates. The 27-year-old swimmer was part of a powerhouse Australian women’s team that competed at the Tokyo Games. She won a gold medal in the 4x100-meter freestyle and picked up a bronze in the 4x200 free relay. At the 2016 Rio Olympics, Wilson collected a gold and a silver in the relays.
Judge gives UEFA five days to acknowledge Super League ruling
A Spanish judge gave UEFA five days on Monday to confirm it will abide by the court’s ruling and not punish Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Juventus for their involvement in the Super League. The three clubs are facing a ban from the Champions League for refusing to renounce the Super League project that was launched by 12 clubs in April then collapsed within 48 hours. UEFA put a hold on its disciplinary case against the rebel clubs after the Spanish court ruled in April that they could not be punished by Switzerland-based UEFA and FIFA. Their case was also notified by the judge in Madrid to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. A deadline for submissions to the court is next month. Spanish media said the judge wants UEFA to acknowledge on its website that it recognizes the ruling and that it will abide to it. The judge said putting the disciplinary case on hold is not enough. It was not immediately clear what jurisdiction the judge had to issue the order to UEFA and how enforceable it was.