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Simmons Regrets Not Editing Out Goodell Comments

Jason Barrett

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For the first time since Grantland was shuttered last Friday, the site’s founder and former editor-in-chief, Bill Simmons, talked extensively about its folding in an episode of The Bill Simmons Podcast posted Wednesday night.

Notably, Simmons admitted that he regrets not cutting inflammatory comments about NFL commissioner Roger Goodell from an episode of his “B.S. Report” podcast last September. The decision to call Goodell “a liar” during that podcast led ESPN to suspend Simmons for three weeks and caused a well-documented fallout between him and the company.

While mourning the passing of his sports and pop culture website, Simmons stated that he himself wasn’t entirely “blameless” in the matter, either. Specifically, he said that he should have thought more carefully about how his Goodell comments would negatively impact the 50 or so people working under him.

“The mistake I made, and the thing I feel really badly about is that I had all these people counting on me,” Simmons said. “If I’m going to push the envelope like I did [with those comments] … you gotta know where the line is, because the last thing I want to do is put all of those people in a bad spot … We should’ve [asked ourselves], ‘Hey, is [publishing these comments] worth it?’

Simmons went on to say that he didn’t play back that interview before it went live, as he was off taping another segment, and told his editors to just “go with it.” But, in hindsight, if he had listened to it, “I would’ve said, ‘You know what, I don’t think that’s worth it.’ I would have taken it out.”

Needless to say, he still stands by what he said about Goodell. He just regrets expressing it in such a public forum.

“I thought he was lying; I was borne out correct, the guy did lie,” he added. “[But] that really set the tone for a really bad next eight months.”

Later in Wednesday’s podcast, Simmons went on to condemn ESPN for the virtual radio silence Grantland’s staff received from its mother company about the site’s future after Simmons was kicked out last May — a silence that left the Grantland team always worried, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

“The staff was really scared for the future of the site. They were scared for where it was going; they didn’t know who the leader was in place of me,” Simmons said.

And that shoe did drop just last Friday. In ESPN’s short statement on Grantland’s closure, it explained that the company sought to “direct [its] time and energy going forward to projects [it] believe[s] will have a broader and more significant impact” — a phrasing that led many to assume that Grantland’s reportedly less-than-absurd profits were a central reason for its suspension.

To read the rest of the article visit the Huffington Post where it was originally published

Sports TV News

The NFL Still Considering Multiple Offers For Sunday Ticket

The NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has not bid for the package but has stated it is willing to partner with the new rightsholder for a potential deal.

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Sunday Ticket Negotiations

DirecTV currently has the rights to Sunday Ticket. That deal expires at the end of this upcoming football season. The NFL is expected to make a boatload of cash when they decide which media organization gets the next rights to the package. The only question is… who will that be?

Alex Sherman of CNBC reports that the NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has decided not bid for the package. However, they are interested in partnering with the new rightsholder for a potential deal. DirecTV knows that Sunday Ticket is a staple in bars and restaurants and is interested in maintaining those relationships.

Outside of the bar/restaurant industry, success has been limited for the satellite provider with the football package. Fewer than two million subscribers signed up for Sunday Ticket each year which made the package a money-loser for the satellite TV provider.

According to the report, the NFL wants more than $2 billion for the rights and a stake in NFL Media, which is being packaged with Sunday Ticket. Also on the table is the NFL’s mobile rights. The league’s previous mobile agreement with Verizon has ended.

An interesting piece of the negotiations is Sunday Ticket price. According to the report, a buyer would have limited flexibility on pricing. The NFL signed contracts with CBS and Fox and within the framework of those deals, language mandates Sunday Ticket have a premium price. That’s to prevent loss of viewers from the networks that feature local market Sunday afternoon games. So essentially, the price is the price for the consumer.

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Sports TV News

F1 Renews With ESPN For U.S. Media Rights

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

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F1 ESPN

The racing series F1 has decided to stick with ESPN through 2025.

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

The reported value of the three-year contract is set to pay F1 $75-90M per year for the U.S. media rights. Amazon had offered to pay roughly $100M per year, with the right to sublicense to a linear broadcast network. Comcast’s offer was similar to ESPN’s in terms of value and the structure. They also wanted to put select races on it’s streaming service, Peacock.

Netflix was in on the negotiations, as well. The makers of Drive to Survive, the streaming series that many credit with the sport’s explosion in popularity in recent years, wasn’t close on on their financial offer. Also, it seems F1 executives were not ready to put all of its races on a streaming service just yet.

Currently, F1 receives $5M per year for ESPN to broadcast it’s races. ESPN has grabbed about 1.0 million viewers per race. That makes F1 a more than viable option for the network to invest into again. ESPN will be able to put a small number of races on its ESPN+ streaming service exclusively. The vast majority being on ABC or ESPN.

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Skip Bayless Says He And Stephen A. Smith ‘Sorted Out’ Their Disagreement

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

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Skip Bayless

Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless were locked in a war of words last week following the First Take host’s appearance on JJ Redick’s Old Man and the Three podcast.

The origins of their partnership were discussed and Bayless admitted he did not like the way Smith characterized the state of First Take before he arrived on set. Smith insisted that Bayless simply misunderstood what he meant by saying that he was told the show needed him.

Over the weekend, Skip Bayless says he and Stephen A. Smith got together at the Bayless home in California to talk things out in private.

“He was in LA, he came over, we sat by the pool,” he said on the latest episode of The Skip Bayless Show. “It wasn’t the easiest conversation for a while, but we slowly but surely sorted it out. We got through it, and we have been through so much together.”

Bayless reiterated that he considers Smith a brother. They love each other. That doesn’t mean they are always going to remember events the same way or see eye-to-eye all the time.

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

Fighting doesn’t mean the relationship is fractured. In fact, Skip Bayless was adamant that he remains closer to Smith than he is to most people in his life.

“I don’t trust easily because of the way I was raised, but I do trust Stephen Anthony Smith. Trust him with my life. Always have and always will. I trust he will always be there for me, and you better believe I will always be there for him.”

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