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Will Cain Says Last 6 Months Influenced Decision To Leave ESPN

“As two hosts who have been at times criticized by their audience for not sticking to sports, Cowherd and Cain offered their beliefs on how to navigate the inclusion of political and social issues.”

Brandon Contes

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A news commentator, turned sports host, and back to news as the political conversation continues to become more prevalent, Will Cain has had an interesting media career. Cain joined FOX Sports Radio’s Colin Cowherd over the weekend to discuss a variety of topics including why he recently left ESPN for FOX News. 

Cain told Cowherd sports has always been a core part of his life and when he joined ESPN in 2015, he didn’t want to be part of the political conversation anymore. 

“It didn’t feel productive, it didn’t feel important, it didn’t feel like I had a place in that conversation,” Cain explained on The Herd-Saturday Special podcast. But five years later, at a time where there is so much heightened political division in the country, Cain now believes he has something important to contribute to the conversation. 

Cain said he was very happy at ESPN, hosting his daily show on their national radio network, while also regularly contributing to First Take. As ESPN’s primary conservative voice, Cain’s opinions were of the minority on the more leftist network, but he doesn’t believe his voice is the minority across the country.

“The direction of the country over the last six months…it really impacted my decision on what I want to be talking about every day,” Cain told Cowherd. And that decision was ultimately to leave ESPN and join FOX & Friends Weekend.

‘Stick to sports’ is a frequently debated theme in sports radio, but in recent months it’s becoming more difficult to separate sports from political or social issues. As two hosts who have been at times criticized by their audience for not sticking to sports, Cowherd and Cain offered their beliefs on how to navigate the inclusion of political and social issues. 

When organizing his show, Cowherd said he considers sports the freeway, but he occasionally takes the exit ramp to discuss political issues. If he exits, his goal is to always get back on the freeway as soon as possible. Cain acknowledged an understanding that his audience was tuning in for sports first, but when he did veer, he wasn’t going to aggressively return to the “freeway” as Cowherd described it. 

“Let me be honest with you about my biases, my beliefs,” Cain said of his approach to discussing political or social issues on sports radio. “I don’t want to hide them from you and in response I want to hear yours…the biggest mistake we can make is to box people out – tell them ‘you’re wrong, you’re racist, you don’t belong in the conversation.’ That’s not what I wanted to do, I want to be honest about who I was and invite everybody else to tell me how I was wrong.” 

The two media stars also had an interesting take on social media, which they agree is not real life, but it still has an outside influence on real life. Cain noted the majority of TV and radio shows organize their programming based on what’s trending on Twitter.

“Twitter has this outside influence on institutional media, and then it clearly can influence the radical fringes,” Cain said. “Now what we see is those radical fringes are influencing real life, by taking to the street and creating chaos.”

Cowherd added that a lot of the protesting in the streets was caused by the abnormally high unemployment rates, stemming from the global pandemic. But Cowherd painted a cheerier picture for our country’s outlook after calling it the strangest year of his life.

“I’m proud of my neighbors,” Cowherd said. “I think we’ve overcome a lot this year and I think brighter days ahead.” 

Sports Online

Barstool Sports CEO: Golf Likely Next Step For Company’s Live Broadcasts

“I think we‘ll start with the biggest sports that we know and love.”

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Barstool Sports CEO Erika Nardini recently did a wide-ranging interview with AdAge.com about the future of the digital sports outlet’s television aspirations, and she said sports they’re familiar with will take priority.

“”We want sports that appeal to a broad audience. We’re kind of tickled to be able to broadcast things in the first place. So I think we‘ll start with the biggest sports that we know and love, whether it’s basketball and football,” Nardini said. “You could definitely see that extended to golf, that would probably be the next place that we’ll play.”

The questions about Barstool’s future aspirations come after the company’s successful first broadcast of the Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl. Barstool says the broadcast received nearly 1 million views, peaking at 130,000 concurrent viewers. The outlet also broadcasted the Barstool Sports Invitational that featured Akron, Mississippi State, Toledo, and UAB in November.

Nardini added that the company is interested live televised sports for a few reasons.

“We’re owned by a sports betting company and the more we think about building our sports platform, there’s obviously a huge opportunity for us to convey a whole bunch of offerings to our audience, but certainly betting will be one of them…I think that live sports on television is the last man standing where it’s all anyone tunes in for.”

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Sports Online

Fanatics to Open First Sportsbook Inside FedEx Field

“The location at the home of the Washington Commanders will make it the first sportsbook to open inside an NFL stadium.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Sports licensing giant Fanatics will soon be launching its long-anticipated sportsbook.

The company will open up a physical sportsbook location in Maryland at FedEx Field on January 20. Fanatics has also been granted a license to operate in Massachusetts, tethered to Plainridge Park Casino.

The location at the home of the Washington Commanders will make it the first sportsbook to open inside an NFL stadium. Bettors in the DMV will now be able to place wagers at all their local teams’ venues, as William Hill has an on-site location at Capital One Arena – home of the Capitals and Wizards – and BetMGM has a space at Nationals Park in D.C.

Despite having a physical location at FedEx Field, bettors in Maryland will not be able to place mobile wagers through a Fanatics Sportsbook app.

According to Front Office Sports, Fanatics hopes to have the sportsbook up and running in some fashion in all states where legal by September.

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Sports Online

Pat McAfee Teases Major New Partnership

“We didn’t sleep much the last couple days so we haven’t really gotten to grasp this entire thing.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Up to something season has returned for Pat McAfee.

McAfee has routinely used that phrasing to tease viewers and listeners about major dealings in the works, and on Wednesday he said something big is coming down the pike.

“We’re up to something,” McAfee said. “We got a big partnership coming up. It’s big. We haven’t even chatted about this at all. That’s how much we’ve evolved.”

Pat continued about how the show has matured, saying he was proud they waited until this late in the game to even bring up the fact they’ve got a new deal to announce.

“If this conversation had taken place three years ago, the announcement we’re about to make, it would’ve been two weeks worth of the show,” he said. “Every single segment would’ve been brought back to oh something’s coming, something’s coming, something’s coming.”

“That is changing quickly in a big way,” he added.

McAfee noted that being on the road in Los Angeles for the college football national championship has made the reaction to the new partnership somewhat subdued.

“I should be more excited,” he said. “We didn’t sleep much the last couple days so we haven’t really gotten to grasp this entire thing. We’ve been working on this for a couple years now. Good for us, dude.”

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