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McCarthy: DAZN Paying Attention To Le Batard

“The difference between Hill and Le Betard is Hill spoke out on social media, not ESPN broadcasting. However, Hill wasn’t the host of two incredibly successful shows (not named SportsCenter) and a podcast network.”

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Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports speculates that DAZN could be a landing spot for Dan Le Betard should ESPN let him go for his Thursday political rant.

Le Betard is friendly with DAZN executives John Skipper and Jamie Horowitz according to the article. It wouldn’t be at all surprising for DAZN to target Le Betard considering how outspoken the streaming service has been about getting important rights deals and well respected personalities. 

Though DAZN hasn’t made a comment on the matter, the connection does make a lot of sense for both parties. Le Betard broke down crying on air after Skipper left ESPN in 2017 and, as his rant insinuated, he doesn’t feel that same passion for his current bosses.

ESPN has employed a strict no-politics rule since Jimmy Pitaro took over as ESPN president. Jamele Hill was let go from ESPN in 2018 for a similar rant against President Donald Trump, calling him a “white supremicist” and also for telling Cowboys fans to boycott the team after Jerry Jones said he’d bench players who knelt in protest for the National Anthem. Those comments were in 2017 when Skipper was still with ESPN. Skipper suspended Hill, whereas Pitaro was the one who bought out her contract.

The difference between Hill and Le Betard is Hill spoke out on social media, not ESPN broadcasting. However, Hill wasn’t the host of two incredibly successful shows (not named SportsCenter) and a podcast network. That said, it would be incredibly bold for ESPN to cut Le Betard loose. Though, ESPN would have no doubt created internal problems by not punishing him in some manner considering the rule set in place and how swiftly Hill was dealt her walking papers under Pitaro.

The first hour of Friday’s Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz featured no Le Batard. While the on air staff joked that it was because he was “eating a big breakfast,” it isn’t hard to jump to the conclusion that the eponymous host’s absence had something to do with his comments on Thursday’s show.

Le Betard signed a multi-year extension last year, and so a buy out would be quite expensive for ESPN. Neither he nor the company have commented on the rant, though ESPN has stood firm on the rule. “We are making it very clear to everyone internally, including Dan, that our policy hasn’t changed,” an ESPN source told Front Office Sports.

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Blue Wire Adding Podcasts Cut During SB Nation Downsizing

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Blue Wire

Blue Wire has announced it is adding three NBA podcasts that were cut during a downsizing by Vox Media that hit SB Nation earlier this year.

Lakers Lounge, hosted by Anthony Irwin, Green With Envy, hosted by Will Weir, Greg Maneikis, and Adam Taylor, and Pod Maverick with Kirk Henderson are all being revived with Blue Wire.

“We’ve built Blue Wire around being able to identify exceptional talent hitting the podcast free agency market,” said Blue Wire CEO Kevin Jones. “We were thrilled to act quickly and provide a new home for three standout local NBA podcasts.”

“I’ve known Kevin for years and we’ve often spoken about working together,” Irwin said. “I couldn’t possibly be more excited to add to all the great work Blue Wire has become known for as we finally see years of conversations become a fruitful partnership.” 

The former SB Nation programs that follow the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, and Dallas Mavericks, respectively, were able to negotiate the ownership of their podcasts with Vox, allowing them to bring their former feeds with them to Blue Wire.

The addition of the three podcasts adds to the company’s growing list of NBA shows. Currently, Blue Wire hosts Road Trippin’ with Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye, and No Chill with Gilbert Arenas, among others.

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Rob Parker Bringing MLBBro.com Podcast To iHeartRadio

“I’m thrilled to be a part of this groundbreaking project – this sound has never been heard before in connection with Major League Baseball.”

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Rob Parker loves Major League Baseball and he is expanding his reach in the sport. His site MLBBro.com is taking another step forward just weeks after announcing a partnership with the league to provide coverage of minority players from the past and present.

He will add a podcast to the brand’s portfolio. The MLBBro Show Podcast – The Mixtape will join the iHeartRadio podcast lineup. While Parker oversees the brand, the show will be led by MLBbro.com’s Vice President of Operations JR Gamble.

Gamble brings more than two decades of experience covering the league to the show. The first episode drops right after Opening Day on March 31.

“I’m thrilled to be a part of this groundbreaking project – this sound has never been heard before in connection with Major League Baseball,” said Parker, who has been a Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) member since 1990.

“It’s baseball coverage with hot sauce, loud and proud and in living color. Get on board from day one!”

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What Implications Would TikTok Ban Have on Sports Media & Business?

“Prominent Democrats have spoken out against banning TikTok in the United States, but the effort has bipartisan support.”

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If TikTok is banned in the United States, a very realistic possibility, the ad market around sports and sports media stands to take a significant hit. Front Office Sports took a look at the companies that used the social video platform to advertise to sports audiences in 2022 and 2023.

Among the advertisers making major investments in TikTok was Degree, whose March Madness advertising campaign includes an ad that is exclusive to TikTok and stars Giannis Antetokounmpo. For the Super Bowl, T-Mobile supplemented its FOX ad buy with a TikTok campaign, while State Farm chose to skip the network broadcast of the game and spend all of its advertising with the digital platform.

It’s not only advertisers. Leagues and networks factor TikTok prominently into reaching younger audiences. The WWE, FIFA and the NBA all saw significant growth in their audiences on the app last year. On top of that, FOX and ESPN both have taken advertising money from TikTok in the past for postseason baseball and college football broadcasts respectively.

Prominent Democrats have spoken out against banning TikTok in the United States, but the effort has bipartisan support. The Biden administration and other lawmakers have voiced concern about the security threat the Chinese government’s involvement with the app poses to Americans and their personal data.

The appeal of TikTok for networks and advertisers is easy to see. Between 2021 and 2022, no social media platform showed more growth for engagement from sports fans. TikTok’s sports audience jumped 65% in that timeframe. Facebook saw 22% growth and for Twitter, it was just 8%.

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