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John Skipper Calls Out Traditional Sports Television

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Former ESPN President and Executive Chairman of the Perform Group, which owns streaming giant DAZN took the stage at the Web Summit in Lisbon on Tuesday to be interviewed by his former employee about his new venture. Jemele Hill did not touch on either her or Skipper’s exit from ESPN in their conversation. Instead, they focused on Skipper’s current employer and how it reflects a changing sports media.

Skipper said that streaming services like DAZN have more information about who is using their product and how it is being used than traditional television does. He said that allows the company to make more focused changes to their presentation when necessary. Broadcasting and cable rely on what he called an “anachronistic” ratings system.

If you’re watching on cable or broadcast television, it is so anachronistic that it still relies upon Nielsen ratings, which are done on a sampling technology so that it infers that X number of people watched. They don’t really know how many people watched, and they don’t have any idea who in the house is watching. They have no idea, really. They know when the television set was cut on. They know when it was cut off. And maybe someone’s watching, or maybe they’re in the back yard gardening while the TV set is on. We know when someone’s engaged. We can then do things to make that experience better.

He also promised that DAZN and other streaming services will change the way in-game advertising is done during live events.

We do not have advertising in our subscription service right now, but we will. And what we will do is just as we will disrupt the way that we acquire the ability to watch sports through an app, we will disrupt the way that advertising works. We really will follow the Facebook/Google model — we will understand things about you that will allow us to target ads.

We will not run 30-second ads in pods of 5-6 of those so they see the same car ad 14 times in a 3-hour game. We will not interrupt games in a way that are unnatural, the way they do on television. I know this because I negotiated it: We had the rights to run 78 commercials during the average American football game. That is a lot of commercials to watch. What we will do is figure out a way to integrate content into the production.

In the United States, DAZN is largely focused on combat sports, but it does have the streaming rights to a number of American sports leagues for international distribution. Skipper has a history of betting big on live events. You can cite the deal he made with the NBA while at ESPN or the nine-figure deal between DAZN and boxer Canelo Alvarez that he just shepherded.

It will be interesting to see how Skipper’s vision pays off for DAZN. Is a streaming service buoyed by combat sports capable of pulling off such a grand vision, or will we see DAZN put together more mega-deals in the future to acquire streaming rights to major professional leagues?

Sports Online

Mike Francesa Has ‘No Idea’ What He’ll Talk About on First Take

“They’ll tell me today or tomorrow, I guess. Maybe we’ll wing it, I don’t know. You know I have no problem winging it.”

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Mike Francesa

The much anticipated reunion between Mike Francesa and his former co-host Chris “Mad Dog” Russo is set to take place Wednesday on First Take, and the former WFAN host admitted he doesn’t know what topics will be bandied about.

“I am going to do an ESPN visit with Dog and Stephen A. tomorrow. Been planned for awhile. Really, we’ve been talking about this last year,” Francesa said on The Mike Francesa Podcast. “I don’t know what we’re gonna chat about yet. I have no idea. They’ll tell me today or tomorrow, I guess. Maybe we’ll wing it, I don’t know. You know I have no problem winging it.”

The topic came up after an email into the podcast asked Francesa if he stayed in contact with many of his former WFAN colleagues. He admitted he doesn’t chat with as many as he would like to as often as he would like, but there are still several he’ll converse with when topics arise.

“(John) Minko, obviously. I hear from certain guys at certain times, but everybody’s busy. You don’t keep in touch as much as you should, let’s put it that way…I hear from certain guys from time to time. (Marc) Malusis, (Sal) Licata, guys like that from time to time. Sid’s (Rosenberg) always texting me something or other. I do hear from some of them, and you try to keep in touch.”

Francesa’s reunion with Mad Dog will air on First Take on ESPN from 10:00 AM-12:00 PM Wednesday. Russo is a weekly contributor to the show on Wednesdays, with Stephen A. Smith putting a plan in motion to set February 1st as the reunion date during his recent book tour.

At the time of the revelation, Russo marveled at the idea of Francesa appearing on the show with him, pointing out “No other people. The three of us for two hours. Think about that. You talk about me being a fraud, Mike hated ESPN for 100 years!”

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Super Bowl LVII Expected To Set US Betting Records

“PlayUSA projects that legal sportsbooks will take in a record $1.1 billion in bets on Super Bowl LVII.”

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Even before sports betting was legal across the country, the Super Bowl would inspire even the most casual bettors to lay a little money down. This year, the game could help sportsbooks take in more money than ever before.

PlayUSA projects that legal sportsbooks will take in a record $1.1 billion in bets on Super Bowl LVII. That would make it the most bet on Super Bowl. It would also be the biggest handle any US sporting event has ever taken in.

The current record is held by last year’s Super Bowl. Bettors put just over $937 million down on the Rams and Bengals at legal books. The American Gaming Association projects that the total bet on the game is somewhere around $7.6 billion.

Nevada is still the king when it comes to legal sports gambling. That state is expected to take in the largest bets on the Eagles and Chiefs. Gamblers are expected to lay down $176.2 million in that state alone.

It is possible that projection is challenged. Both Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the epicenter of Eagles fandom, have legalized sports gambling. Could that affect where the most money is laid down?

Last year, more than 9 million bettors participated in the Super Bowl at legal books. In total, it is estimated that 31 million people made a bet online.

Super Bowl LVII will take place in Arizona on February 12. The Philadelphia Eagles are currently a two-point favorite.

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Big Cat: Consistency Has Been Key to Rise of Pardon My Take

“Having that consistency always being there for people I think makes you part of their routine and makes it anything than I could ever have imagined.”

Ricky Keeler

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With most people having a podcast in this day and age, it is very difficult to stand out when there are so many options for listeners to choose from. One of the keys to finding success is being reliable and having your audience know that you will be around consistently. Dan “Big Cat” Katz, one of the hosts of Pardon My Take, views consistency as a major key to the success of the Barstool Sports show.

Katz was a guest on The Old Man and the Three podcast with J.J. Redick and Tommy Alter and he mentioned that Pardon My Take never takes a break and always wants content out there for their listeners.

“Just being consistent with what you put out there is something that seems very easy but gets lost by a lot of people. Every single day you are going to wake up, you are going to see me produce this, this, and this. Started as blogging, moved to podcasting. PFT and I — outside of the holidays — we don’t miss shows. There’s never a show where ‘Hey, we aren’t feeling it’. No, no, we do the shows. Even when we go on vacation, what can we bank that we can put out while we are on vacation?

“Having that consistency always being there for people I think makes you part of their routine and makes it anything than I could ever have imagined.”

While Katz understands that not every episode or every interview is going to be the greatest, he told the guys that the key is putting everything you got into every episode.

“There’s shows that aren’t the best, there are interviews that aren’t the best. It all ebbs and flows. You can’t be the funniest, most insightful podcast every single time. But, just being consistent and saying here’s what we got, we are going to put our effort into it, we are going to enjoy what we do and it has helped us get where we are today.

“You have to be a part of people’s lives. Knowing that people view you as a friend even though you don’t know them. I take that very seriously and never try to take advantage of the fact that people are investing their time in listening to me talk. Making sure you are putting in the effort and always showing up for them.” 

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