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Bill Simmons Explains Spotify’s Sports Vision

“The COVID-19 pandemic may have derailed the big picture a bit, but Simmons says The Ringer is in good position to succeed in the short term.”



Vulture interviewed Bill Simmons on Wednesday, just one day after Spotify reached a $100 million deal to obtain the exclusive rights to The Joe Rogan Experience podcast. Earlier this year, the company acquired Simmons’s The Ringer for a reported $250 million.

“It’s a nut they’ve been trying to crack for two years, but it’s hard to find the right team,” Simmons said of Spotify’s plan for sports content and why the company saw value in The Ringer. “I think they felt they had most of the right pieces in place, and the thing they were missing was that one person who had succeeded in this space and had gut instinct on what works.”

Simmons said that the opportunity to help crack said nut was part of what made joining Spotify so appealing to him.

“There were two big reasons I went to Spotify. One was that they were going to blow out The Ringer — make it bigger, all that stuff. But the second was, they wanted me to figure out their global sports strategy with [Spotify head of studios and video] Courtney Holt, who’s my boss and who reports to [Spotify chief content officer] Dawn Ostroff. That was one of the tasks that we had this first year, and that’s impossible to figure out when we don’t know when sports are coming back.”

The COVID-19 pandemic may have derailed the big picture a bit, but Simmons says The Ringer is in good position to succeed in the short term. He points to shows like The Rewatchables, Binge Mode, The Book of Basketball podcast, and The Watch as perfect shows for the moment – the type of content that doesn’t require an active sports calendar to thrive.

“That goes back to the Grantland days: We try to think outside of the box and get creative during dead spots on the calendar.”

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said that he felt like he was buying “the next ESPN” when the company closed on the deal with The Ringer. Simmons says that those expectations were what pushed Spotify over the top while he was also talking with AT&T and Bleacher Report.

He acknowledges that the path to the top is going to be an interesting one, because while pieces of many companies make up Spotify’s competition, Apple is the only one-to-one competitor in the podcasting space and Simmons is confident that Spotify is more focused on podcasting than Apple is.

When asked if he still has eyes for TV, Simmons notes that his first look deal is still in place at HBO. He is still open to new opportunities, but podcasting and the growth of The Ringer under the Spotify umbrella remain his priorities.

“I love doing my podcast. I love the creativity of it, the format. I don’t just mean that podcast. I love The Rewatchables. I love doing the Book of Basketball stuff. I love popping on other people’s pods.”

Sports Online

ESPN To Celebrate Dick Vitale During 2021 V Week

“Raising funds for cancer research is a long-standing tradition at ESPN.”



ESPN’s 15th annual V Week for cancer research and awareness begins today, and ESPN has a whole bunch of promotions in store for the special event.

ESPN is launching the Campaign for a Cause: ESPN and the V Foundation x StockX, which allows fans to have a chance to win celebrity sneakers and memorabilia during V Week through StockX’s Campaign for a Cause benefiting the V Foundation.

Celebrities involved in the campaign include Drake, Kevin Durant, Mike Krzyzewski, Nyjah Huston, Naomi Osaka, and more.

A new addition to V Week is is the development of #VStrongBaby to show support for ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale, who returned to call his first game of the men’s college basketball season last Tuesday after being diagnosed with lymphoma in October. The hashtag is accompanied by a customized heart emoji in honor of the legendary commentator, which ESPN will feature throughout V Week.

ESPN also continues on in funding the Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund, which continues to address health inequities that exist in cancer.

“The ongoing pandemic has continued to disrupt the critical need to fundraise for cancer research and address the health disparities impacting people of color in their fight against cancer,” said Kevin Martinez, vice president of ESPN Corporate Citizenship. “Raising funds for cancer research is a long-standing tradition at ESPN, and we are committed to continuing our work to close the gap in cancer disparities experienced by patients of minority populations and improve their outcomes.”

Along with these traditions, the Jimmy V Men’s and Women’s classics take place next week. The Men’s Classics begin Tuesday, December 7, followed by the Women’s Classics on Sunday, December 12, all airing live on ESPN.

Since the V Foundation’s inception in 1993, ESPN has helped raise more than $142 million in the fight to end cancer. Direct donations can be made at

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Sports Online

Outkick Planning Live Pregame Show For Georgia vs Alabama

Chad Withrow, Jonathan Hutton and Jill Savage will host the show, with Clay Travis joining in periodically throughout the show.



Alabama versus Georgia is sure to be the talk of the college football world this week. The game will have huge implications on the College Football Playoff selection the following day.

Outkick has announced that it will be covering the SEC Championship Game this Saturday with its own live show from Atlanta.

Kickoff for the actual game is scheduled for 4 p.m. Eastern. But you can get a head start with Clay Travis and OutKick the Tailgate pregame show long before that, with their broadcast starting at 1:30 EST.

Chad Withrow, Jonathan Hutton and Jill Savage will host the show, with Clay Travis joining in periodically throughout.

The Outkick the Tailgate pregame show will be taking place live in Atlanta, Georgia at STATS Brewpub not far from the game taking place at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Those who are in attendance for the live show can enter for a chance to win merchandise autographed by Alabama coach Nick Saban and receive other prizes as well.

Those who cannot be in attendance can watch via live stream either on the Outkick Youtube channel or on Twitter where full coverage of the pregame show will be aired. It will also be aired on the Outkick website.

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Sports Online

New York Sports Media Reacts To Mets’ Gigantic Max Scherzer Deal

Many notable names in New York Sports Radio have taken to social media to let the world know their feelings on the move by the Mets.



The New York Mets have agreed with pitcher Max Scherzer on a three-year deal that is worth an obscene amount of money. The excitement around the team feels to be at a new high in the city of New York.

Many notable names in New York sports radio have taken to social media to let the world know their feelings on the move by the Mets.

There is no understating the significance of this move by the New York Mets. Max Scherzer is a three-time Cy Young winner and one of the most prolific pitchers in the sport for the last decade, winning 190 games over his 13-year career.

It is worth noting however that the Mets have had a notorious history of giving out bad contracts to veteran players, with players like Pedro Martinez, Bobby Bonilla, and Mo Vaughn just to name a few as examples.

This is just one of many big signings that the Mets have already made this offseason. They have already added Starling Marte, Eduardo Escobar, and Mark Canha to the team as well.

Max Scherzer will be making $130 million over the duration of the three-year contract. The $43.33 million average annual salary sets a record, surpassing the $36 million New York Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole is averaging after signing a nine-year, $324 million contract in 2019.

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