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Snapchat Creator: ‘ESPN Will Never Actually Talk To Young Sports Fans’

“ESPN won’t actually do anything about talking to kids and listening to what they want.”

Jordan Bondurant

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It’s often said that the vast majority of sports have the hardest time connecting with younger audiences.

Baseball is one of the prime examples, with many believing the sport has lost significant ground with kids, teenagers and young adults. But one Gen Z content creator believes the NFL and ESPN have a disconnect as well.

Jack Settleman, who is a digital host for MSG Networks and founder of the popular SnapBack Sports Snapchat show, told Morning Consult the biggest thing with ESPN is that there are likely good intentions in terms of wanting to reach and connect with folks his age (26) and younger but they won’t actually follow through.

“ESPN won’t actually do anything about talking to kids and listening to what they want,” Settleman told Morning Consult. “Maybe ESPN will run a couple of studies, but no one on the ESPN social media team is going to be tasked with DM’ing kids asking, What do you like about our content? Do you spend more time on YouTube or Twitch?”

Jack added that there’s a level of screen appeal with talent you see on TV that just misses the mark with younger people.

“No kid cares about some commentator in a suit anymore,” he said. “It’s lifestyle, it’s streetwear brand. No one is conscious of that because it’s older decision-makers. Actually talk to the 23-year-old social media manager or the marketer who understands what the heck kids are doing and what they want.”

In terms of the NFL, Settleman is on pace to take SnapBack Sports to every Monday Night Football game this season. But one of the things he’s learned in going to and working with various home teams is that the experience at the game is sorely lacking.

“A majority of people who don’t go to games, I think, don’t have any interest because they’re not going to get a great experience,” he said. “And it’s not viewed as any form of entertainment, when really that’s what the entire game experience should be.”

“You don’t get the commentary,” he added. He noted particularly that the price of admission poses a hindrance for younger folks to go, and even if you do shell out a couple hundred bucks to get in the gates, it’s likely going to have you seated in some of the worst seats in the stadium. “If a play happens and it’s being challenged, I don’t know if it’s a good call or not unless I go on Twitter,” he said.

Settleman hopes that he can utilize his platform and spotlight some of the great things that come with making it out to games.

“This is about the importance of getting out to live sports,” he said. “I’m a huge believer in the idea that the best content for social media is found at a live sporting event.”

Sports TV News

Ian Rapoport: I Have Never Thought It is Me vs Adam Schefter

“I don’t even think that, it’s just I report what I know, and he reports what he knows.”

Jordan Bondurant

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In terms of NFL insiders, Ian Rapoport and Adam Schefter are the two biggest names out there. And sometimes it can be a race between the two to get the biggest scoops first. Especially now with the NFL coaching carousel in full swing.

This week two teams hired new head coaches – the Broncos traded two first round picks to the Saints to acquire the rights to Sean Payton and the Texans signed DeMeco Ryans.

Rapoport tweeted that Denver had pursued Ryans up until the day they announced the trade for Payton.

Not even 15 minutes later, Schefter appeared to clarify the information out there with the two teams.

On The Pat McAfee Show on Thursday, Pat McAfee referred to the conflicting information as a “source off.”

Ian said he stood behind what he put out there.

“I know it’s fun to call it a source off or whatever, but for me I reported what I had based on the best information I can get – based on talking to many, many people throughout the course of the last month,” Rapoport said from the Senior Bowl. “And then whatever happens as a result of this I don’t really mind.”

In terms of any sort of rivalry between him and Schefter, Rapoport doesn’t view it as a head-to-head matchup.

“I don’t even think that, it’s just I report what I know, and he reports what he knows,” he said. “And everyone can sort of judge for themselves whichever way to go.”

McAfee gave kudos to Rapoport for his reporting on the Ryans situation. He also said it’s a good thing Rapoport doesn’t worry himself too much about what other insiders are doing.

“I think you should feel good about it, but I do like a good source off,” McAfee said. “And I appreciate the fact that you don’t view it as you versus Schefter. But you two are at the top of the game. So that’s a compliment more so than anything.”

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Sports TV News

AEW Considers Launching Streaming Service

“It’s possible an AEW streaming service could be independent, but many are hopeful AEW’s offerings would be available on HBO Max or Discovery+ akin to how WWE Network is now available on Peacock.”

Jordan Bondurant

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All Elite Wrestling is looking into launching its own streaming service.

According to reporting from Bloomberg, a source “familiar with management’s thinking” said AEW is looking to strike a deal with broadcast partner Warner Bros. Discovery.

Since launching in 2019, AEW now puts on two weekly shows on Warner channels TBS and TNT and airs two shows on YouTube.

Last year AEW acquired Ring of Honor from Sinclair Broadcast Group. As part of that deal, AEW took ownership of RoH’s extensive content library Honor Club. So much like WWE did with WWE Network when it launched in 2014, AEW could launch its streaming service and have all of Ring of Honor’s content in a one-stop shop.

It’s possible an AEW streaming service could be independent, but many are hopeful AEW’s offerings would be available on HBO Max or Discovery+ akin to how WWE Network is now available on Peacock.

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Sports TV News

NBC Officially Unveils Noah Eagle, Todd Blackledge as New Big Ten Booth

“With their collective college football experience and great enthusiasm for the game, Todd, Noah and Kathryn join a production team that can’t wait to kick off the Big Ten season.”

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It’s officially official: Noah Eagle, Todd Blackledge, and Kathryn Tappen will join the Big Ten on NBC booth when the network begins airing the conference’s football package in 2023.

NBC made the announcement Thursday, after weeks of speculation about the moves.

“We are excited to showcase Big Ten Saturday Night on the NBC Sports’ primetime marquee,” said NBC Sports Executive Producer Sam Flood. “When you hear Todd’s voice, you know it’s a big college football game. It has been that way for decades.

“Noah is one of the industry’s rising young play-by-play commentators, who has excelled calling numerous sports across multiple platforms for a wide range of audiences. We are thrilled to pair him in the booth with Todd.

“Kathryn has told the stories of so many memorable Notre Dame Football moments over the last decade in her on-field reporting and interviews,” Flood continued. “With their collective college football experience and great enthusiasm for the game, Todd, Noah and Kathryn join a production team that can’t wait to kick off the Big Ten season.”

Blackledge joins NBC after working as a college football analyst for the network for the past 17 seasons. Previously, he was the an analyst for CBS and ABC, making 2023 his 30th consecutive season covering college football as an analyst.

Eagle is the son of broadcasting legend Ian Eagle, and currently serves as the radio voice of the Los Angeles Clippers. He comes to NBC after calling college football games for FOX Sports in 2022.

Tappen has spent the past nine seasons working NBC’s college football coverage with Notre Dame. Eight of those nine seasons were spent as the network’s sideline reporter before anchoring the studio coverage from South Bend in 2022.

2023 will mark the beginning of a seven-year contract for NBC to air Big Ten football games in primetime. The move is one of the biggest notable expansions in the college football arena for the network since its partnership with Notre Dame began in 1991.

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