OT: Sports Media Catch-All Thread

There will obviously be times when a larger sports media story will necessitate its own thread (such as the ESPN layoffs thread), but I thought it would be good to have an all-encompassing thread to share links to stories or podcasts that TKP'ers find interesting. I know there's a least a few others who share these interests, so feel free to contribute in the comments below.

For those who already follow these types of stories, Richard Deitsch is probably the best source for this information with weekly columns and his SI Media Podcast:

SI Media Podcast with Richard Deitsch

I plan on posting links to podcasts and articles I find newsworthy or fascinating, so please feel free to chime in and share as well!

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DISCLAIMER: Forum topics may not have been written or edited by The Key Play staff.

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A couple recent podcasts worth mentioning:

The Bill Simmons Podcast - The New Era of Sports Media and the End of 'The Sports Reporters'
https://soundcloud.com/the-bill-simmons-podcast/the-new-era-of-sports-me...

Channel 33 - The Myth of the Liberal ESPN, the Death of TrueHoop, and Baseball Activism
https://soundcloud.com/channel33/the-myth-of-the-liberal-espn-the-death-...

The Herd Saturday Special - Michael Mulvihill, Fox Sports Executive VP
http://www.theherdnow.com/fox-sports-executive-vp-michael-mulvihill-on-the-rapidly-changing-landscape-of-sports-television-broadcasting/

Just finished listening to all of these. The Cowherd one was my favorite. Some takeaways from all three:

  • I didn't realize people actually liked The Sports Reporters. I remember waking up as a kid on Sunday mornings, going to watch SportsCenter, and being so pissed that I had to sit through boring old Sports Reports. I had no idea it was held in such high regard, much less considered revolutionary.
  • While I largely agree with Jim Miller's comments about how 'being inclusive in the work place' should be not be something that is independant of ones' political leanings, I think think this is more the result of our current political climate. I do think the relationship between politics and sports can be interesting (side note - I've always wanted to see if there is a relationship between one's opinions on paying college athletes, and their political leanings, but I digress), but ESPN's coverage of Kaepernick was beyond irritating. I'm not sure why they covered it like it was the first game of a double header.
  • Also did not realize that ESPN is starting to televise coverage from the NFL network. This is surprising to me.

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Fox Sports laid off a bunch of people, including Stewart Mandell (which means no more episodes of the Audible Podcast, which frustrates me, but I digress).

LINK

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It's much worse than that. Go try to find an article on their website. Not a video, a text article.

Outspoken team cake advocate. Hates terrapins. Resident Macho Man Gif Poster. Distant cousin to Dork Magic. Frequently misspells words.

If interested in the Fox Layoffs, Awful Announcing has this. They are pretty horribly run. Went all in on the Embrace Debate culture and now are selling out to all video despite the best part of their business being their writers.

Quite shocking how they wanted their writers to ghost write for Cowherd and Bayless. It's insulting to actual journalists, who have more talent and creativity in the tip of their fingernails than all of Fox's on air personalities do combined. This goes with what MTV just did as well. Laying off their most, if not all, of their writers for video based content.

The move to move away from writing for all video is not a good decision. As someone who makes videos for a living, it's not how people completely consume their media. Look no further than this site. Majority is written, brilliant content. Video has it's place (television) and other places (YouTube, Vine (RIP), Snapchat), but give me a talented writer than talented producer any day.

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Got a link? Curious to read about the ghostwriting.

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The problem about Fox Sports is that nobody is actually watching FS1 outside of tuning in for the US Soccer games here and there. They can sell out as much as they want to be the echo chamber of Cowherd and Bayless, but if nobody is actually paying attention, it won't matter. This move isn't going to change the industry, and may in fact turn more people away from what they're doing than anything else. They may get people mocking their hot takes here and there, but they'll be mocking it on ESPN, Reddit, etc, keeping traffic away from the Fox sites.

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

I skip past any news story that doesn't have an article on any site. Sports, news, stupid stuff on internet.

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I do the same thing, but I'm very curious to see how this varies by age., education, etc. If every site is doing this, it must drive viewers.

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I do this too., but it mostly has to do with the fact that I refuse to consume video media on my work computer and usually don't care enough to find the mobile version of the video.

I'm not a huge Clay Travis fan, but he has some interesting commentary on the FoxSports situation (and, more broadly, online sportswriting) here:

https://www.outkickthecoverage.com/is-sportswriting-dead/

After working on (eh, surviving) the Virginia Tech football beat back in 2015, his point on everybody writing the same damn story certainly hits home.

Alludes (if tangentially) to one of the reasons I put my $ here, instead of the echo chamber that is typical VT beat reporting. Especially with the new VT FB staff...nobody's breaking anything, so you don't put your energy into that rat race. Here I get different analysis that has actual depth. (will email address separately so you can send the $0.50 check)

A) Here's an article about Prim Siripipat going back into her tennis career after getting caught in ESPN's layoffs.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2017/06/29/laid-off-fr...

B) Anyone know what's going on with Katie Nolan? FS1 has basically sidelined her since the Super Bowl. She's in no man's land right now. I thought ESPN was gonna go after her but with their situation, who knows?

C) The Mike And Mike breakup is weird. Seems like every day since before the NBA Finals, one's been out one day, the other one's out the next. It would make sense if both were on summertime breaks, but it seems like they've intentionally been avoiding each other. Are they gonna keep doing that through the fall?

B) According to my sauces, they wanted her to move to LA for a flagship show. She doesn't want to move. She's rightfully pissed about cancelling her highly successful (award winning) show.

She deserves better.

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C) Anyone else think it's weird that they're splitting Mike and Mike up to compete with each other? At least when they moved SVP, they put him at midnight, with absolutely no threat of overlap with Russillo.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo's The Vertical, inarguably the best at breaking NBA stories, is hired at ESPN beginning tomorrow.

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

For those who enjoy Richard Deitsch's podcast, I'd highly recommend checking out 'The World's Fastest-Growing Sports Media Podcast with @SportsTVRatings.'

The man behind the Twitter handle is Robert Seidman and he's an invaluable resource if you're interested in viewership numbers of major sports programming. His podcast is relatively new, but he's already interviewed notable names like Ourand & Deitsch. Definitely worth a listen!

Looks like Bruce Feldman finished off on top, getting the chance to write for SI and still be involved with Fox/FS1's TV coverage.

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Jamie Horowitz out at Fox Sports.

NJ Gov. Chris Christie is filling in for Mike Francesca on WFAN morning sports radio show as an audition to a potential role there replacing Francesca moving forward. Yes, he is our ACTIVE, SITTING governor.

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Can't say I understand that from WFAN's view. Objectively, Chris Christie is a pretty unpopular guy across the spectrum. Do they think hiring him would result in ratings? He doesn't appear to have a background in sports, either.

Chris Christie is a pretty unpopular guy across the spectrum. Do they think hiring him would result in ratings?

Works for Skip Bayless.

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1. he's definitely got name recognition and would be a draw
2. he's definitely good at arguing with people
3. he does monthly radio visits with a local NJ station here so has at least some background in radio
4. even though he's a cowboys fan (yuck) he's a Newark native so gets the relationship the people in the area have with the sports teams
5. he doesn't back down from people, arguably the most important trait anyone in sports radio can possess
6. he's good at yelling at people
7. he likes to argue.
8. he never backs down from people.

Having an embattled, single-digits approval rating former governor as a radio host is worth it for a little while just due to the spectacle of it all. Of course people are gonna call in and argue with him. To me, it's just a matter of whether or not he will be dedicated enough to watch/go to enough games to really have informed opinions of the sports and of the bigger franchise narratives etc.

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Mark Schlereth from ESPN to FS1. Can't say I'll particularly miss him.

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Fascinating discussion here surrounding ESPN on The Bill Simmons Podcast with James Miller & Bryan Curtis. There's a lot of "inside baseball" in this one, and they reveal (or hint at) a few things publicly that had been rumored for a while, such as Bill Simmons was planning to leave ESPN after his contract ended to start a new company with Connor Schell (who was just named Executive Vice President of Content for ESPN).

I don't necessarily agree with everything they said here, but it's engaging none the less.

A couple interesting links and tidbits from the sports media world:

Episode 11 of The World's Fastest-Growing Sports Media Podcast with @SportsTVRatings is linked HERE:

A sports media roundtable episode. It was great to have Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch back on the podcast joined by tech and media investor Eric Jackson. New York City was also a vibrant participant on this podcast thanks to Richard.

Topics covered:

β€” O.J. Simpson

β€” Heightened interest in the NBA including Summer League ratings, general interest in free agency and Lonzo & LaVar Ball

β€” Report that Fox Sports 1 is asking its personalities to talk more about sports they have rights for and less about sports they don't have

β€” Bonus on the above topic: Conspiracy theories! Richard wonders if someone close to Jamie Horowitz (or perhaps Jamie himself?) was the source. Eric wonders if it is UFC people leaking that info out to juice the next rounds of rights negotiations

β€” The pastime that's sweeping the nation: what sports rights won't ESPN bid on in the next round of rights?

β€” How to judge success for new studio shows being launched (like SC6 and the upcoming new Mike Greenberg show)?

β€” What will FS1 look like in 3 years?

You can find Richard's work on Sports Illustrated, Twitter and his podcast on whatever platform you use by searching for the "SI Media Podcast with Richard Deitsch". You can find Eric's work in a variety of places including CNBC and Twitter and you can find his Podcast by searching for "The Eric Jackson Podcast"

Additionally, some big news regarding the future of The Athletic... they will be bringing on Stewart Mandel and Seth Davis to respectively lead college football and basketball publications called "The All-American" and "The Fieldhouse."

http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Daily/Issues/2017/07/24/Media/Athletic.aspx

Given how quickly the sports journalism landscape is changing, the paid digital subscription model is now being tested with sports. The Athletic has already seen some levels of success given it's hyper-local focus on certain markets (Toronto especially), and their expansion to national coverage looks like a solid move on the surface. They've also announced plans to launch sites for the Bay Area, another in the works for Philadelphia, and also will expand NHL coverage by targeting the other six Canadian markets.

With the exception of Mac Brown, this is a pretty strong line up.

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I know I'm in the minority here, while he can be annoying I have found a lot of Mac's insight actually interesting.

I enjoy watching Mac. Its not good announcing, or enunciation, but every blow-out needs some comic relief, and his repetitive comments make for good drinking games.

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own

Maybe I am alone on this, but Booger McFarland is hands down my least favorite ESPN personality. He never brings anything to the table and he talks like a straight up moron.

So this is a story that's been coming, but is now official. ESPN will be launching a streaming service next year, as is Disney (it's parent company). Here's a couple links where you can read up on the news, with some select quote:

Disney's new ESPN streaming service is launching next year

It's unclear how Disney and ESPN plan to price it, but the service may notably exclude core ESPN programming like SportsCenter, which sounds as if it will remain exclusive to cable subscribers. In a statement, Disney describes the new product in broad terms, confirming that it will include a host of games from every major sports organization in the US and purchasable add-ons for those who closely follow individual sports like baseball, hockey, and soccer:

The ESPN-branded multi-sport service will offer a robust array of sports programming, featuring approximately 10,000 live regional, national, and international games and events a year, including Major League Baseball, National Hockey League, Major League Soccer, Grand Slam tennis, and college sports. Individual sport packages will also be available for purchase, including MLB.TV, NHL.TV and MLS Live.

Disney to offer two streaming services and end its movie distribution agreement with Netflix

As part of its effort to create the new services, Disney is paying $1.58 billion for a greater stake in Bamtech, a streaming video company that is developing both products. Disney previously disclosed it was working on the ESPN service when it acquired a 33% interest in the company, which was created by Major League Baseball, in August 2016. Disney will now own 75% of Bamtech.

Cable cutters will be paying as much as the rest of us soon.

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Not if they keep sharing subscriptions with their family and/or friends

Definitely not speaking from experience, nope

Yea that is about to end soon also, you think the largest provider of content, Disney, is going to be ok losing profits to people sharing their log in?

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I certainly haven't ever shared logins for ESPN3/WatchESPN/Whatever it's called for years and years.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

Nope Nope. certainly have never ever done that.

Old sigline: I've been cutting back on the drinking.

New Sigline: lol it's football season.

Unlikely, unless you consume content from a large variety of providers, which most cord cutters don't.

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So right now someone with Netflix can get Disney for their kids, well that's going to end, so you have to get Disneys service, but you like what's on Netflix so buying that. The list will keep growing.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

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Like I said, if you/your family watches a bunch of content, a bundle is better. But families typically aren't cord cutters. I watch 5 shows on HBO, College football, and a handful of netflix shows. HBOgo + netflix + Over the air antenna + friend's ESPN cable log in = $15/month. I don't watch anything on Amazon Prime, but I do have that available since I buy everything from amazon.

How many hours of TV per week are watched, on average, in your home? For me, it's probably 10-15 hours per week during CFB season, and less than 5 hours per week during the off season. If you have a wife and 2 kids, I imagine that number is closer 20-40 depending on your family's viewing habits? If that's the case, the bundle makes sense.

It's nice to have both options right now.

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How are you getting HBO and Netflix for $15/month? HBO is $15/month by itself (either through a cable provider or through HBO Now) and Netflix is $8/month for the cheapest option they have.

I'm willing to guess they may end up paying more, when you factor in all the different services that one may need to subscribe to get your programming. If each charges you $10 per month, getting Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, HBO, Disney alone will cost $50 per month on top of your internet bill, and you have to assume other networks like CBS, NBC, ABC, and FOX will roll out their own. Hell, CBS is already rolling one out, CBS All-Access, which you'll need to have to watch the new Star Trek Discovery, at $6/month. You could easily end up spending more money in the future to stream than you would if you just stayed with a cable box.

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

Are you taking into account the current up-charges from cable for HBO, the sports packages, etc?

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own

The ESPNs are what primarily keeps me with the cable package I have. But, it's bundled with phone and internet. I don't think I'll ever go completely away from cable, because it makes it a easier to keep the local channels.

The way I see it, the streaming ESPN option needs to be significantly cheaper than whatever the difference is for me to drop down to a smaller TV package. At least I just renewed my contract, so I have two years to see how all of this plays out.

Some might, but I have difficulty believing that the average household is going to subscribe to even 3 streaming services, much less that whole list. And Amazon Prime doesn't even count, at least for me, since there is so much other stuff that comes with it.

But yeah, if you're a heavy streamer that needs Netflix, Hulu, HBO, CBS, Disney, and ESPN, then yeah, sure, it'll cost $70/month or more. I just think that most people could get away with only having a handful of the services. Pick one of Hulu or Netflix (or Disney if you have kids) and keep it year-round, sign up for HBO for two months when your favorite show is on (and binge everything else they have during the rest of the week), and maybe pick up ESPN during the months when your favorite sport is in-season. There are definitely ways that a cord-cutter can save a good bit of money.

Sounds like I'll be able to get the content I want (live sports) while cable subscribers are stuck paying for the crap I don't want ("core ESPN programming", which I take to mean all the talk shows that I ignore whenever I'm in a sports bar for lunch on a weekday). Great!

Was listening to Tyler Zarzour and Greg McElroy on ESPNU Radio this morning and they had their four Playoff teams as of right now. One of their guys has his alma mater, undefeated ODU, in there as of now. Looks like the 2pm matchup next Saturday just got HUGE. (I know he was joking on a subject matter that at this point doesn't mean a hill of beans right now, but thought it was funny.) They host UNC this weekend...haven't seen a spread, but should be interesting.

Amateur superstar and idiot extraordinaire.

UNC by 7.5

Rip his freaking head off!

Anyone find it weird that Sirius/XM College Sports Radio went out and hired a bunch of the people that just were let go from ESPN (Danny Kannel comes to mind) and then announced that they are re-branding to become ESPNU radio? So those folks got fired by ESPN, found new jobs, and now work for ESPN again.

Run to Win. Pass To Score
Josh Jackson on Ricky Walker - β€œβ€œHe is the captain of this team, He’s the leader. He’s the bell cow, the Pail Holder.β€œ

Well...more like they're contractors now. I think it's more that Sirius XM is leasing the ESPNU name.

JSB joining Barstool in some capacity. I really only like PMT and the Pizza Reviews from there, but more reputable journalists, especially women, for that site is never a bad thing.

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GameDay is going to Times Square on 9/23.

Interesting choice. I guess there's no good matchups in week 4? But it says Corso is doing a headgear pick.

It also says that will be Corso's 299th headgear pick. Which means he could be making pick #300 in Blacksburg...

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

Another really good podcast from The Ringer's Bryan Curtis & Sean Fennessy discussing SC6 and Jemele Hill in particular:

It touches on Jemele's recent tweet & there's a fascinating discussion with some great points made about how difficult it is for ESPN (and really, any large media company) to avoid politics in this climate, even when people are screaming "stick to sports."

Bryan Curtis is really plugged in to the sports media world and his takes are always some of the sharpest that I've encountered.

Yeah the radio guys down here have been on a big soapbox about this recently. Its essentially impossible for them to only talk about sports because of how the participants in those sports have brought politics into it. Years and years ago, we thrust legitimate celebrity status on these athletes and hoisted them up to a level of publicity in this country that hadn't been seen before. With that celebrity comes interviews, and from those interviews will come unfiltered opinions from those athletes. Its all a part of the culture of sports that has been cultivated over the last 50+ years, so when athletes start realizing their celebrity status can now be used as a platform for social change, knowing the established culture has no choice but to debate upon it, you kind of have to take it as it comes as a natural progression of what we allowed to develop.

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

This separation is becoming increasingly more difficult as athletes bring the political stance onto the field on game day, especially if it's a possible cause for a financial shift. In the current environment, you can't discuss the recent short term decline in NFL viewership, without speculating whether or not the Kaepernick type protests are contributing. Those discussions and commentary are a veritable landmine, to negotiate, where 1 misspoken word can open a firestorm (let alone a literal approval of one side of the argument).

Well said.

And in this day & age where social media reigns, athletes don't even need access to journalists to be instruments of social change. Muhammad Ali needed the print & television media's platforms to make his voice heard - today, that's not even necessary with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.

In the same vein, some of the issues we continue to see in our country that have caused athletes to take stands (racism, police brutality, etc.) were still happening over the last 5 decades... we just see them far more frequently than we used to due to the prevalence of social media.

Check out his from a national reporter over at CBS.

ECU hosting a Power Five conference opponent is no small deal, let alone one from the ACC. It's East Carolina's second straight game against an ACC opponent. Last week, West Virginia ran East Carolina down 56-20,

Every day I can find wrong information such as this. It amazes me at how misleading and uninformed reporters have become.

"Hey Bud, you wont have to hold the opponent to 17 points anymore."

I feel like it's just being lazy more than anything. Takes two seconds to look up what conference teams play in and another two to learn that WVU has never been in the ACC.

From that same "article":

Stanford is seen as the primary competition for USC in the Pac-12

And later on:

The Cardinal ... have to play some catch-up after losing 42-24 to USC. ... Stanford may not have emerged as a true contender against USC...

So, which is it Kevin?

Ugh really.

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I wouldn't be surprised for a not so future announcement to say that ESPN is closing down their Charlotte studios.

This story is probably going to fly way under the radar, but it's an extremely important one at the collegiate level:

Learfield, IMG College Close To Merger, Reshaping College Space

The move will create the most dramatic consolidation of the fragmented collegiate industry by bringing the multimedia rights to 200 schools under one banner for the first time. Until now, a brand that wanted a truly national college sponsorship had to execute multiple contracts across different agencies because rights were splintered among six major rights holders, Learfield and IMG College being the two largest. Merging the two businesses will create the closest thing to a one-stop shop the college space has ever seen and, theoretically, make the unified company a much more effective sales engine for college sports.

...

While both sides are ready to move forward together, the merger does present several questions and potential obstacles. First and foremost, what does it mean to the college clients? Most industry analysts believe the schools will not be happy because a merger eliminates one of the top two bidders for college rights. How will schools such as Arkansas and UCLA react after recently signing long-term extensions with IMG College? Also, what kind of scrutiny will the merger attract from the Department of Justice regarding antitrust laws? The DOJ spent several months looking into IMG's '10 acquisition of ISP Sports before approving it. Any deal like this that combines two industry leaders with 86% of the market share in the Power Five is sure to draw attention, sources say.

On the other hand, sources note a competitive marketplace, with Fox Sports, JMI Sports, Outfront Media and Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment also owning college rights. Schools have the option of operating their multimedia rights in-house as well. Of the 65 schools in the Power Five, Auburn (Fox), USC (Fox), Michigan State (Fox), Clemson (JMI), Kentucky (JMI), LSU (Outfront), Maryland (Outfront), Virginia (Outfront) and Notre Dame (free agent) do not have their multimedia rights with Learfield or IMG College.

My immediate, off the top of my head thought is that this would be better for the viewer, but worse for the student athletes, and a lot of other unknowns.

  • For the viewer, this is a big win - It would be great to have all college football under a single umbrella. You could buy one service (ESPN, or 'Saturday ticket' or whatnot) and have access to ALL college football games. That's a service I would pay for.
  • For student athletes, it just means that it's more difficult to get more rights (whether it's pay for play, or healthcare, or rights to your likeness, etc)
  • Unknowns - will we lose the regional flavor that is so unique to College Football? If everyone is on the same page, will we get better schedules? What does this mean for non-P5 teams? Does this prevent bluebloods from splitting off into a league of their own? Does this create more parity? Do we want more parity?

Edit: looks like I don't know what IMG does....

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Do we want more parody?

More Weird Al can't be a bad thing.

For the viewer, this is a big win - It would be great to have all college football under a single umbrella. You could buy one service (ESPN, or 'Saturday ticket' or whatnot) and have access to ALL college football games. That's a service I would pay for.

I don't think that's what this is. Most of what I see IMG doing is radio, and those "Virginia Tech Sports Weekly" type shows. I don't think any of this has to do with the major TV rights, which are still being held by ESPN, FOX, CBS, and NBC.

- They have over 200 schools between them, a number that likely includes most or all of the P5 and G5 and a decent chunk of FCS, D2, and D3 schools.
- Players aren't going to gain those rights without some sort of collective bargaining implemented anyway, and the company that runs their radio broadcasts probably doesn't have too much bearing on that anyway.
- Both of these companies are fairly national in scope anyway. Learfield lists 9 P5 schools, including Texas, Cal, and NC State, as well as numerous schools all the way from G5 to D3 all over the country, as just looking at D1 (FBS and FCS) shows that they have licensing rights to schools in Maine, Washington, California, and Florida. IMG, on the other hand, lists 69 schools, all of whom play D1 basketball, including at least one school from each of the conferences that finished in the top 15 in RPI in basketball last season. That's a pretty good spread already, I'm not sure how combining these two nationwide entities is going to water it down any more.

ESPN is laying off another 150 people today, mostly producers and content and graphic designers.

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

The Ringer's Bryan Curtis on ESPN after yet another round of layoffs:

The Layoff Effect: What Is ESPN After the Carnage?

As usual, it's a smart take on the situation, if not a sobering one (especially for those who want to work in sports media).

I'd also recommend reading this article from The Atlantic, which deals more with the overall digital media landscape and not just sports media:

How to Survive the Media Apocalypse

I enjoyed the article from the Atlantic. I think there's two big things that they kind of touch on, but fail to fully recognize:

  1. Regarding point #1 - I think that, moving forward, the 'intensity' of your viewership/readership will be equally or more important to advertisers than the amount of viewership/readership. Compare a media outlet like Outkick The Coverage or The Ringer to something like Reddit - these blogs get significantly less views, but given their following and the relationship they have to their readers, advertisers probably get much more money per reader than a place like Reddit or even Facebook, where the advertisements are being optimized based on a variety of data. I'm not necessarily sure that their are too many publishers, I just think that most publishers failed to carve out a niche. This kind of relates to point #2, where the writer discusses how many outlets scaled just to impress investors. Outkick and the Ringer attract a certain type of reader that comes to them to get a certain type of analysis from a certain type of person. Not easily scalable, but they have a certain relationship with their readers, and are viewed as much more credible.
  2. Regarding point #3 - Donald Trump hasn't just been polarizing; he's been 'entertaining'. I don't have numbers/haven't done research to prove this, but I think election/trump coverage has pulled viewers away from unrelated media outlets (ESPN, NFL, etc), and towards media that covers him (WaPo, NYTimes, CNN, etc). After all, we can only consume so much media, since there's only so many hours in the day.

I'd love to get Bill Roth's take on this.

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There have been a lot of rumblings recently about Disney buying Fox. It's got all the comic fans happy, because the FF and X-Men movie rights will finally be back under the Marvel umbrella.

It's been somewhat on and off again, but the smoke has started bellowing again. The deal would not include the Fox tv network, Fox News, or Fox Sports. Most of that is due to monopoly rules. However, now it's being mentioned that the regional Fox sports channels would be part of the deal.

What that could mean for the ACC is that the RSN option would be completely under ESPN's control. (Except, of course, in the DC/MD/VA area where there is no Fox Sports Net, and all of the RSN games are carried by NBC Sports Washington, formerly CSN). That could also mean that the RSN games would be available for streaming on WatchESPN.

It also means those RSN might turn into OTT for ESPN. I would be surprised if those RSNs were a part of the standard ESPN cable package that you can stream on WatchESPN.

Always choose joy.

Russillo is gone at the end of this week.

Still think they laid off the wrong half of that show earlier this year.

IMO, Russillo & Kanell never worked together because it's blatantly obvious they're both better off focusing on one subject - Russillo on the NBA and Kanell on CFB.

A general sports show from those two just never seemed to click. Even when Russillo was with SVP he seemed more like "the basketball guy."

Kanell was way too full of himself.

Skipper's resignation could have pretty big ramifications for ESPN.

He's a guy that comes from a news background, so serious journalistic endeavors like Outside The Lines and sites like 538 and The Undefeated (and Grantland before them) have been passion projects for him.

If the next person in charge is money of a numbers cruncher and doesn't see the value in those types of projects (which may not be very profitable, if at all), then it's conceivable there's going to be a shift in the types of journalism you'll see under the ESPN umbrella.

I'm really hoping they hire someone from silicon valley, who can turn ESPN into a robust sports streaming network. I think there a huge opportunity to leverage improving technology to deliver content to users across platforms. The company can really become a driving force in not just the sports industry, but also help kill cable.

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I'd just like to see the games. PLEASE.

I doubt they hire someone from Silicon Valley, especially for the President position. I'm not sure it's even the smart play right now. ESPN is a huge company with many arms and you need someone who's going to be able to manage it all.

It's obviously part of the business strategy to expand into OTT (as Disney's acquisition of BAMTech suggests), but people seem to forget or overlook that the economics of cable are still profitable while the economics of OTT services haven't been fully realized.

Netflix is carrying billions of dollars in debt while operating with a negative cash flow, and they expect that to continue for the next few years. There's a reason why WWE is still shopping around the tv rights to networks, even while operating the WWE Network.

I don't disagree that there are challenges, and I very much agree that the potential of OTT is not yet realized. I just think that ESPN has the opportunity to really change broadcasting. Live sports are one of the few things that must be watched live, that people won't miss. Because the demand for this product is so high, I think they have room to experiment. Some cool things I think they could do:

  • Provide payment plans to watch live content based on sport, league or team
  • Provide commercials where you can actually buy something through the commercial (imagine watching a Papa John's commercial during the Superbowl, and being able to click a button during the commercial to order Pizza!)
  • Opportunities for fan interaction - You can key in an answer for the Allstate trivia challenge, and actually win something!
  • Watch specialized broadcasts by your preferred broadcast team. Note - ESPN already does this for the NCAA title game and it's super cool. I know we all hate UNC, but it's cool to see Brendan Haywood and bunch of other Tarholes calling the UNC Basketball National championship. How cool would it be to watch VT football in the national title game with broadcasters Mike Vick, Frank Beamer and Bruce Smith?
  • Analyze your viewing habits to build/recommend original content just for you

I don't think much of this will come in the next 5 years, but I do think that it will be here in 10 years. Nothing in media is as close to inelastic as live sports. Given that ESPN has the most sports rights, and because they (to a degree) control the 'supply chain' of the broadcast (they capture it on camera, air it on their channels with their broadcasters, etc) I think ESPN has the greatest opportunity to change the media industry (again). That said, this won't happen overnight. It's a major change. But it starts with an amazing hire.

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Damn just listened to the first 15 minutes of Russillo's show today, and I gotta give him respect. Espn wanted him to work more hours without raise and he said no. Mad respect. I feel like espn has never really given him good due and he's worked his ass off there. So props for looking out for #1 to him and trying to advance his career.

VB born, class of '14

I think the timeslot change was the final straw. He's been great, worked really hard, been a company guy for them, yet they never respected his show even when SVP was still with him. ESPN always promoted other shows over them despite numbers indicating the show was popular among fans. They kept jerking him around with constant co-host changes so I think he just got tired of it. The 3 to 6 timeslot is a bad one for national shows because most local channels switch to local shows (drive time is big for local radio) so his audience would be cut a significant amount.

When I first saw his timeslot getting moved I was pissed. After thinking about it I was thinking that maybe he was finally getting to move to L.A. and do the show from there which would keep him pretty much in the same timeslot. Now I just have the sads...

Time slot and channel lineup switches definitely showed that the writing was on the wall. Never made sense to me when they split his show across stations on XM.

Run to Win. Pass To Score
Josh Jackson on Ricky Walker - β€œβ€œHe is the captain of this team, He’s the leader. He’s the bell cow, the Pail Holder.β€œ

I wasn't sure exactly where to post this, so I figured I'd drop it here... About two weeks ago Andy Staples hosted Brett McMurphy on his podcast, and he asked Brett about his current employment situation - basically, Brett is still being paid by ESPN. If he accepts a job from one of ESPN's competitors, ESPN will stop paying him. He's basically doing his own thing as a resume booster, and to 'stay sharp' until he's eligible to be employed again.

So, next time someone says "I don't understand how that guy hasn't been hired yet" it's because ESPN is paying him to not have a job.

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I don't understand why ESPN is still paying out the remainder of so many contracts of the people that were laid off. I thought the point was to free up some money. If they're still paying folks, wouldn't the same thing be accomplished by simply not renewing the contracts?

Your last sentence is exactly what they are doing.
Renewal of each contract is negotiated well before it expires, so the employees being let go by ESPN know well in advance if they will still have a job when their current contract expires. So it looks like some people are given the opportunity to ride out their contracts at home (McMurphy) or in diminished roles (Russillo).

"Sooner or later, if man is ever to be worthy of his destiny, we must fill our heart with tolerance."
-Stan Lee

"Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing."
-Ron Swanson

"11-0, bro"
-Hunter Carpenter (probably)

I think there's a few factors at play. The general line of the thinking is that most of the people laid off by ESPN would find another job relatively quickly for one reason or another, taking them off ESPN's books.

For some, it's because another place finds value in them (like The Athletic hiring former ESPNers like Dana O'Neil). For others, some people just aren't wired to sit at home & collect a paycheck. Then there might be others who feel that by waiting until their ESPN contract expires, they are effectively reducing their value by taking their name out of the marketplace for 'X' number of months/years.

Every situation is different, but I would imagine that Brett McMurphy is one of the few individuals that can afford to wait out his contract and still has the sources to break news, even if he's not doing it for ESPN. On the plus side for him, it makes ESPN look foolish for having to credit his scoops.

If they're still paying folks, wouldn't the same thing be accomplished by simply not renewing the contracts?

Different people have different contracts - not everyone is likely getting the same payout as McMurphy. Additionally, I'm sure many people (especially McMurphy) have the potential to earn incentives and additional bonuses - that money is not paid out when the talent is fired.

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Damn, this actually surprises me. I didn't mind him by himself, but he definitely could have used a sidekick with a little more energy.

"What are you going to do, stab me? - Quote from Man Stabbed

Haven't listened to this one yet, but this should be of interest to TKP, since it features Virginia Tech's own Bill Roth!

Episode 53 of The World's Fastest-Growing Sports Media Podcast with @SportsTVRatings is linked HERE:

Bill Roth has a broadcasting career that spans 30 years including an impressive 27 of them consecutively calling Virginia Tech football. Bill has transitioned to calling some national games on ESPN & CBS Sports Network but Bill is back in Blacksburg helping Virginia Tech launch its academic curriculum that has a concentration on sports media and analytics.

It was a lot of fun talking to Bill about his career in broadcasting and what it's been like/some of the challenges launching a new sports media-related curriculum at Virginia Tech.

Really cool to see Bill Roth on this podcast, and have VT mentioned. Roth's recent comments about making VT's Sports Media degree the national equivilant of Northeastern's Journalism degree is really exciting. Very much looking forward to this episode!

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Did anybody get to listen to Fuente on the XM College station this morning? I was just getting back to the jobsite when they said he was coming on after the commercial.

Amateur superstar and idiot extraordinaire.

And you didn't make a u-turn?

If you're not sure if my comment warrants a "/s", it probably does.

Gotta pay for those season tickets somehow

Amateur superstar and idiot extraordinaire.

It's an interesting read, but I didn't see anything that really suggests that ESPN viewership is down (much) due to politics. It sounds like the political commentary is hurting company morale, but I don't think it has a large effect on viewers; I just think that people's viewing habits are changing. Between streaming platforms and DVR, you don't have to schedule your day/evening around when a television show airs. When I was in college, I felt like I 'had' to make it home by 5pm to catch PTI and Around the Horn. Now, if something interesting happens in sports, and I want an opinion piece on it, I have a handful of media members who will tweet/write/podcast/periscope about it, and I can consume that content at my leisure.

As far as live sports go, I think less people are watching just because there is a lot of better content out there. I used to put on random baseball games on a Wednesday night in the summer because there was literally NOTHING better to watch. Now, I can easily watch the previous Saturday's SNL, or Stranger Things, or Game of Thrones, or Billions, or Man in the High Castle, or something else I haven't discovered yet... 10 years ago, viewers just didn't have this content of this quality, or in this quantity, available to them. Shit, I'd rather watch GoT than the MNF game (which is usually one of the three worst match-ups of the weekend).

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It's an interesting read, but I didn't see anything that really suggests that ESPN viewership is down (much) due to politics. It sounds like the political commentary is hurting company morale, but I don't think it has a large effect on viewers

I agree. If anything, the most interesting aspect of the story to me is how ESPN (and without going into it too far, Disney) execs were so consumed by the perception that politics are hurting the brand.

I thought the piece made some logic leaps that hurt the premise that they were pursuing, but overall it's a decent look at ESPN in this moment in time.

Posted this in the thread about Big Ten revenue, but thought I'd add it here so it doesn't get lost...

Raycom got sold to Gray. The deal will finalize in 4th quarter 2018. While I don't think it really plays into anything, this is the last season for the Raycom version of the ACC Network (at least for football, I'm not as up on basketball deals).

Big news on the Disney/Fox merger:

Disney wins antitrust approval to acquire 21st Century Fox

Biggest piece of news on the sports front is this:

Disney has cleared a key hurdle in its bid to acquire 21st Century Fox: the company has won antitrust approval from the Justice Department, albeit with one condition. The Justice Department required that Disney divest Fox's regional sports networks, as they would create anti-competitive conflicts due to Disney's ownership of ESPN, according to Variety. Disney has agreed to the conditions.

So that means the Fox RSNs may end up with Comcast (as NBC Sports regional networks) or potentially AT&T if they decide to expand their holdings in sports rights.

I'm trying to wrap my head around why the RSNs could run afoul of antitrust. They fill a different niche than what ESPN currently has. If they get sold to Comcast, then Comcast would have a near monopoly on RSNs.

Unless it's more about the rights that the RSNs control. In that case, ESPN would probably have a near monopoly on MLB rights.

Anyway, to tie this into VT, the "RSN" games on the schedule are games that ESPN licenses out to Fox to produce for the RSNs. This could be a moot point in 2019, as ESPN probably won't be licensing as many out so they can fill the slots on the ACC Network. But, that license could change hands.

Spit balling here, but I think that the court doesn't want to have one company "owning" both the national and regional sports coverage since that would be a near monopoly in the sports tv market.

Not to get too political, but the way that antitrust issues are handled in the telecom industry has never made sense. Until AT&T, Verizon, or Google (among other, much smaller companies) expand their fiber network into an area, chances are a cable company holds an absolute monopoly on broadband internet in said area. Technically, yes, the cable companies have "competitors", but the only way to switch to a different company is to move.

Personally, I have lived in 9 different apartments in 4 different states over the past decade, and only once have I had the option of selecting my broadband provider instead of having my broadband provider selected for me. In this case, it was from summer 2011 to summer 2012, and my choices were Comcast and AT&T Uverse, and I was getting 75 Mbps download for under $40/month. The year before I was paying ~$60 for 20 Mbps, and the year after I was paying ~$50 for 25 Mbps. In 2018 we're paying Comcast $50 for 55 Mbps, but AT&T is supposedly extending their Uverse coverage to our complex (they hit our water line a month or two ago while laying their fiber, causing us to be without running water for about 24 hours) so I'm curious to see how much it improves.

Selecting a provider is frustrating. I was so happy when Google Fiber came to my area (best internet experience I've EVER had in my life, one of the many reasons I don't want to move for a while), but if I lived 2 blocks west, I wouldn't have that opportunity.

Lack of affordable, quality access to high speed internet is one of the major hurdles preventing major content providers from de-bundling and moving away from cable. The details are political, but it's very relevant to the conversation we're having in this thread. Would love to see satellite internet technology that could compete with the big dogs, but it's not gonna happen in the immediate future.

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Unless we can figure out a method for superluminal communication (faster than the speed of light) or a method for putting communications satellites in Low Earth Orbit (they are typically in Geosynchronous Orbit so satellite dishes can be aimed at a spot in the sky and never move from there), latency in communications (better known as "ping time" in gaming circles) is guaranteed to be greater than 477ms, and even then only if you're on the equator, communicating through a satellite directly overhead (well, 35,786 km directly overhead) with another receiver sitting directly next to you. Meaning if you're playing a game or holding a conversation with someone, you will essentially be seeing things on a half-second delay at best, and every time you click a link it'll take at least a half second to start loading whatever content is on the other side.

And if the person (or webserver) you're communicating with also has satellite internet, unless they are pointing at the same satellite it'll double the numbers I've listed here.

This is a fairly huge development for the future of the NHL. This effectively solidifies NBC's stranglehold stateside on the league, with all but the NY market (Buffalo, NYI, NYR, NJ) and Colorado on a Fox Sports Affiliate or on Regional NBC Sports

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

Michelle Beadle is leaving Get Up.

https://thebiglead.com/2018/08/24/michelle-beadle-get-up-maria-taylor-mi...

http://awfulannouncing.com/espn/michelle-beadle-is-leaving-get-up-which-...

What a boondoggle that show has turned out to be.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

What amuses me is literally everyone but ESPN (mostly the departed John Skipper) could easily see this being a failure. Massively expensive and unnecessary studio in NY when you have studios in CT and Los Angeles already? Check. Breaking up your one of your most popular pairings to make this happen? Check. Picking 3 hosts that have no chemistry at all with each other*? Check. Paying those 3 ridiculously large salaries despite not knowing how they'll fit? Check. And finally, never really bothering to settle on a format? Check. This show had FAIL written all over it

*FWIW, Beadle and Rose actually have some chemistry and do well together on NBA Countdown with Pierce and Billups imo.

Glad espn is realizing how many people enjoy Russillo (and Ceruti). He's always been extremely undervalued

VB born, class of '14

I just noticed that David Hale's twitter account doesn't mention ESPN anymore. Handle's different, no mention in the about section. I don't know how long that's been a thing, since he's changed his twitter name on a regular basis the past few months.

Fox Does Not Intend To Buy RSNs Back From Disney

https://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Daily/Issues/2019/01/11/Media/Fox-RSN.aspx

Pretty big news. Really interesting details in here for nerds like me.

First, without its 21st Century Fox entertainment assets, the new Fox is more focused on high growth businesses, and Fox execs see the RSN business as a slow-growth one, at best. Plus, Fox execs have been scared away, in part, by the sales process. They believe that Disney has overexposed the RSNs over the past several months by allowing too many entities to see the sales book -- including teams that negotiate rights deals and distributors that negotiate carriage deals, sources said. That means that many of the entities on the other side of the negotiating table will know the margins -- exactly to the dollar -- on the RSN deals in a way that they did not before, sources said. That will make negotiations tougher and increases the likelihood of slower growth than Fox had previously seen with the RSNs.

Bob Ley is retiring.

He's been there since the 1979 launch of the network!