Toucher & Rich on The Sports Hub 98.5 WBZ-FM in Boston spoke about a recent article published by Deadspin headlined “So here’s one of the worst tweets of all time.” The article, written by former Chicago sports writer Sam Fels, centers around a tweet written by co-host of NBC’s Men In Blazers Roger Bennett.
Fels opines within the article about how he does not “subscribe to the well-held belief that Twitter is the ultimate cesspool of our society,” defining the user experience as something that is unique to each person every time they log on.
“…Every so often,” says Fels in the article, “it provides something so wholly bewildering that you really do have to question if it’s art or a vision into a plane/dimension where the rules are completely different.”
Additionally, Fels calls Men In Blazers solely a celebration of hosts Michael Davies and Roger Bennett, the latter of who authored the referenced tweet, and how they are unique for being fervent soccer aficionados in the United States.
“It’s just a half-hour of two guys saying, ‘We’re awesome because we’re soccer fans and we live in the States and you have to think we’re awesome, too!’ It’s two Brits patting all us ignorant Yanks on the head for being fans and sticking a gold star on our nose.”
Fred Toucher, co-host of Toucher & Rich, shared his thoughts on the direction Deadspin has gone in ever since former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan won $115 million in an invasion of privacy lawsuit against Gawker Media Group, the owner of the popular sports blog.
“The site was a thousand times better when [A.J. Daulerio] was the editor of it,” said Toucher. “What Deadspin is now, which I have not looked at in years… [has] the general vibe [of] ‘You’re all evil, and you should be fired, and let someone who is poor have your job.’”
As the article continues, Fels divulges why he considers the tweet sent out by Bennett to be foolish, especially with the advancements the sports media world have made in giving leagues the opportunity to disseminate their events and related pieces of content.
“Just to review, Roger Bennett — who apparently loves to read his own written words as much as he loves to hear his spoken ones — is claiming a show that has been on less than a year-and-a-half has done more for the popularity of an entire sport than… anything that has happened in the entire sport,” writes Fels. “Not various World Cup runs from either the USWNT or the USMNT, not a generation or two or three of people who grew up playing it becoming adults and watching it, not NBC making every game viewable for the first time, not the FIFA video game, none of it. A fictional show that’s been on 17 months…”
Sports media has certainly expanded its reach over the last decade, giving fans from all around the world opportunities to consume live sporting events. Toucher, in an apparent critique of Fels’ style of journalism, expressed that he was just seemingly stating the obvious.
“There’s a thousand more outlets now,” emphasized Toucher. “We have to look at it from a macro point of view. Good media journalism there. It’s a little bit easier to have soccer games on TV now given that there’s a trillion more platforms.”
Toucher continued by mentioning how soccer, while it attracts many kids who are looking to try sports, is ultimately boring and retains very few people over a long period of time. Among impassioned, zealous soccer fans though, the game engenders a tribalism communicated en masse, similar to how a television show attracts a subset of the population that becomes a fanbase who constantly talk about the show. Sure, it’s great for social media engagement and the spread of information, but it ultimately limits the audience to which the topic can be effectively marketed.
“These people — the Deadspin people — not only do they want you fired because of things that you’ve said,” expressed Toucher. “They rally around soccer, which makes me hate soccer even more. You’re watching television. You are not part of a scene. You are wearing a scarf that is sold by a manufacturer that manufactures these things… and sells them by the billions for… a markup. Let’s get over the fact that we’re so precious for liking soccer.”
Moreover, the sport, according to co-host Rich Shertenlieb, does not seem to have many marketable, recognizable American stars that someone could name if they were suddenly asked to do so on the street.
“I could ask ten people on the street [to] name one character from Ted Lasso,” said Shertenlieb. “I guarantee I get more people who know that than know one player on the U.S. Men’s National Team.”
The morning drive radio show concluded the discussion by hearing the perspective of a caller. He compared the tribalism associated with soccer to an underground rock band suddenly going national on a major platform such as MTV, helping it quickly garner worldwide acclaim.
“It’s so punk rock to like soccer,” said Toucher. “My daughter still plays soccer, and there’s nothing that is harder to sit through than one of the games.”
New York Mobile Sports Bets Likely to Pass New Jersey for No. 1 in U.S.
“The data tell us that New Yorkers are dumping illegal sportsbooks for the new legal options, and operators are also excelling at attracting first-time bettors.”
New York looks well on its way to become the new No. 1 in mobile sports betting. Bets from the state blasted off in the first two weekends they were available.
This could put New York in position to overtake its neighbor, New Jersey, for the top spot.
According to the Associated Press, Vancouver, Canada-based tech company GeoComply Solutions recorded 17.9 million transactions last weekend in New York. That’s up from 17.2 million the weekend before, when betting went live in the state.
The transaction numbers are related to sports betting activity from a specific location of a customer. Bettors are required to make bets within state lines where it is legal.
The company says 1.2 million new accounts were created in New York since mobile sports betting began on Jan. 8. Nearly 88% of those customers are new to legal sports betting, never having been verified before by GeoComply.
“The momentum of New York’s sports betting launch has continued and it is mostly home-grown,” GeoComply managing director of gaming Lindsay Slader told the AP. “The data tell us that New Yorkers are dumping illegal sportsbooks for the new legal options, and operators are also excelling at attracting first-time bettors.”
These numbers imply that the New Jersey market might be hurting as a result of New York surging. However, while the transactions show New York probably took more bets, they also indicate that New Jersey hasn’t lost any business to New York so far.
New Jersey averaged 12.6 million geolocation transactions in the two weekends before New York’s mobile launch, and 13.1 million in the two weekends since.
About 9.3% of bettors have accounts in both states, the company said.
“The growth in New York has been explosive,” said Rush Street Interactive CEO Richard Schwartz, whose company runs the BetRivers online sportsbook. “It is, by far, off to the fastest start of any of our sportsbook markets in terms of handle. Along with having the largest population of any state with legalized sports gambling, New York is one of the few U.S. states with multiple teams across all four major sports. It’s simply a recipe for long term success.”
Sports gambling company FanDuel is “very pleased” with how New York customers have embraced betting.
“While all markets are critical, it was especially important for FanDuel to do well within our home state,” said spokesman Kevin Hennessy.
While New Jersey is still thriving, it should be interesting to keep an eye on the market as more and more business pops up in New York. New Jersey casinos and sports books say at least 20% of their business has come from New Yorkers crossing over into New Jersey to make bets before New York opened up the market.
NSMA Announces Award Winners, Hall Of Fame Inductees
“The NSMA’s annual awards weekend and national convention is scheduled for June 25-27 in Winston-Salem, N.C.”
The National Sports Media Association (NSMA) will induct four new members of its hall of fame and honor its three national award winners in June, and the NSMA announced the full list of honorees on Tuesday.
Basketball analyst Hubie Brown and the late Stuart Scott will be inducted as hall of fame sportscasters, while Jackie MacMullan and Curry Kirkpatrick will go in as hall of fame sportswriters.
Scott passed away after a bout with cancer in 2015, but he will always be fondly remembered as one of ESPN’s greatest SportsCenter anchors. His catchphrases “Booyah!” and “Cool as the other side of the pillow” were just some that captivated audiences during his time at ESPN.
Additionally, there was a tie for national sportscaster of the year, as Turner Sports’ Ernie Johnson and ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt will share the 2022 award. ESPN baseball insider Jeff Passan was named the national sportswriter of the year.
The NSMA’s annual awards weekend and national convention is scheduled for June 25-27 in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Dan O’Toole Returns To Broadcasting With New Podcast, ‘Boomsies!’
“Talking to some former co-workers — some former bosses — and one of them said, ‘Well, Dan, I think you’re done in the industry.'”
Since being fired by TSN last year, Dan O’Toole has kept a rather low profile. But not by choice.
As the former SportsCentre and Fox Sports Live anchor explained to The Athletic‘s Sean Fitz-Gerald, no other media outlet was offering work. The lack of interest moved O’Toole to the point where he began to consider a different career. And he wasn’t getting encouragement from former colleagues.
“Talking to some former co-workers — some former bosses,” O’Toole told Fitz-Gerald, “and one of them said, ‘Well, Dan, I think you’re done in the industry.'”
It’s a realization that plenty, far too many, in media have faced in recent years as outlets make budget cuts or shut down altogether. Yet for someone as accomplished and popular as O’Toole was in his on-air partnership with Jay Onrait, such a situation must have been even more difficult.
So like many other broadcasters, O’Toole, 46, decided to give himself a platform. He started a podcast. Titled Boomsies!, the show is available where most audio content is found these days, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify. The podcast is also available on YouTube, in partnership with BetRivers Sportsbook. New shows will be posted every Wednesday.
The “Boomsies!” name came from a producer he previously worked with at FS1. Behind the scenes, the producer would yell “Boomsies!” in response to a big play or notable mistake.
Later in The Athletic‘s article, O’Toole went onto explain that he believes it’s been difficult to find work in Canadian sports television because of his rather public episode in July 2020 when he believed that his infant daughter had been abducted. The child was later found safe with her mother.
“Having a very public — essentially — mental breakdown, with a situation in my life,” O’Toole told Fitz-Gerald. “That probably entered my brain, where people don’t want this guy around.”
Losing his job at TSN provided O’Toole with the opportunity to help himself, which included a month-long stay in a treatment center last year. He’d like to get back on television, but is content with the podcast for the work-life balance it allows. The show also provides a platform to demonstrate to anyone who might be struggling with mental health that it’s possible to put a life back together.
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