Connect with us
BSM Summit
blank

BSM Writers

Jay Glazer Created An Unbreakable Mindset

I’ve never felt worthy of praise or part of my mental health issues tells me I’m not worth being loved. I don’t know how to love myself from the inside out.”

Derek Futterman

Published

on

blank

As he steps in front of the camera on FOX NFL Sunday, Jay Glazer has always expected to suffer from a panic attack. Oftentimes, he finds his heart starting to beat quickly, his hands shaking and his eyes darting back and forth amid a feeling of the walls caving in. Yet he has found a way to wrestle with his condition, which he refers to as his “abuser” in order to “live in the gray,” a term he uses to indicate finding ways to succeed amid living with mental illness, including anxiety, depression, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

Glazer has sought to give a voice to the voiceless through his work, a critical reason he released his best-selling book “Unbreakable: How I Turned My Depression and Anxiety into Motivation and You Can Too” earlier this year. Shortly thereafter, he began a mental health podcast entitled Unbreakable with Jay Glazer in which he welcomes guests and discusses how to thrive when struggling with one’s mental health.

The show, which is an extension of the book and releases new episodes on Wednesdays, recently welcomed former competitive swimmer and Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps. The decorated athlete revealed his struggles with mental health over the years – including overdosing on medication following his second DUI – compelling Glazer to reveal a difficult moment he experienced in the past.

“I punched myself in the head when I [was] melting down,” Glazer said. “We put this out there and the next day, somebody reached out and DMed us saying that that saved their life…. Those messages are coming in by the week now.”

Discussing mental health is a difficult task for many who suffer from it, but is an important part of disseminating the message that no one is alone and that there are people to talk to. Since more openly talking about his struggles with mental health, Glazer has found himself experiencing fewer panic attacks when he goes on the air. When he does, he immediately tells his colleagues Curt Menafee and Howie Long in order to try to get over it, as he is unable to stop to drink water or do breath work while he is on the air.

“Every person I’ve ever talked to about [mental health] – it’s gotten me closer to them,” Glazer stated. “My people are The Rock, Michael Strahan, Randy Couture – these are the baddest dudes on the planet and none of them have ridiculed me for it. It’s gotten us closer. Open up to show you have more in common with people.”

Through his love for the game of football and success in sports media, Glazer has built a platform to spread his message regarding mental health and become a respected voice in the sports media. His relationships both as an NFL insider for FOX Sports and as a mental health advocate are built in trust and openness – and his career has helped establish his credibility and allowed him to be of service to those who yearn for assistance.

“Without the power of football, I wouldn’t have the forum to be able to do this,” Glazer said. “No one’s questioning my manhood because of that. I can be more vulnerable; I can cry openly; I can tell people when I’m struggling. No one’s going to call me a woosy; no one’s going to tell me to suck it up. You’re not questioning my manhood so I’m able to talk about it a lot more.”

Glazer matriculated at Pace University where he concentrated in speech communications and media studies. As a native of Manalapan, N.J., he wanted to remain in the New York metropolitan area so he could pursue internships and gain early professional experience in sports media. In the early 90s, he was one of the first interns at WFAN and affirms he only landed the internship because he had worked hard in his pursuit of a career – trying his hand at bartending, boxing, bouncing and performing as a standup comedian as an undergraduate student. He also worked at CBS Sports logging tape and was paid $50 per game, an early indication of his earnest determination to find a path to success.

“I was relentless,” he said. “I won’t get one internship; I’ll get four. I won’t get one job; I’ll get seven. I know what my limitations are. I didn’t go to a big school like everybody else and kind of get the experience…. I had to learn on the fly, but that’s what college did for me.”

Upon his graduation, he worked with the National Football League’s New York Giants’ official magazine called Giants Extra in which he covered the team and wrote stories about its players. From the start, he looked to be personable and professional in the locker room and was cognizant of not having the same experience as some of the other reporters. As a result, he possessed an indefatigable attitude regarding the way in which he would approach his job, seeking to outwork everyone else by a large degree.

Being able to put in 100 hours per week trying to break stories, however, would have been much more difficult if not for a friendship he cultivated from his early days in East Rutherford, N.J.

“My first friend I ever made in 1993 was this goofy guy from Germany in Michael Strahan,” he said. “He and I just grasped on to each other and I was so broke back then, I didn’t have enough money to take a Subway to the bus to Giants Stadium every day and back. Michael drove me into the city every single day from ‘93 to ‘99. It was like $28,000 in Lincoln Tunnel tolls.”

After the Giants Extra magazine ceased operations, Glazer began covering the New York Jets and New York Giants for NY1-TV, a local cable news channel, making $450 a year paid in three equal installments. When appearing on his On The Sidelines segment and on the network as a whole, he sought to build a rapport with both team personnel and viewers to gain their trust.

“I said, ‘You know what? I’m going to be a relationship guy,’” Glazer recalls thinking. “‘I’m going to start relationships.’ I kind of have more in common with the players than I did with my fellow media and I got killed for it for a while.”

At the same time, Glazer was desperately trying to land a full-time job but experienced immense amounts of rejection. Over the first seven years of his career, Glazer was not paid a salary but continued to persist through the difficult circumstances. He constantly had the gas in his apartment turned off and struggled to pay his rent and electricity bills; yet his approach was obstinate in that he would outwork all of those around him to break every story he could.

“When I walked in that Giants locker room early on, I was like, ‘I will be the last dude standing in here. I don’t care what it takes,’” Glazer expressed. “Whoever says ‘Quitting is not an option’ is a moron because it’s the easiest option in the world; you could do it every day.”

Glazer began covering the NFL on a part-time basis for The New York Post in a career move that perturbed several of his other sports reporting colleagues. At the time, reporters did not generally cross over and work in multiple mediums, but Glazer was adamant that other people would not tell him how to best provide for himself.

Glazer was not only responsible for reporting and writing the piece, but also selling it. If he was unable to do so, the story would not be posted by his editor Greg Gallo, and Glazer would lose out on the $250 he was paid per piece. The most he recalls being paid in a year working both of those jobs was approximately $9,000. In 1996, Glazer spent a summer in Albany, N.Y. working on a weekly three-hour radio show WQBK with Sandy Penner and was compensated in gift certificates to local restaurants.

“When I was at The New York Post, I had a big story that the Jets were trading Keyshawn Johnson,” Glazer said. “That came out of left field and I got no sleep that night; I couldn’t wait for it to hit the back pages…. I’m riding the Subway a lot [and] your stories on the back page of the newspapers. [That was] pretty damn cool, but that was it.”

Over the years, Glazer began gaining more experience on television, hosting both Inside the Red Zone and Unnecessary Roughness on MSG Network and appearing as a studio analyst on the New York Giants pregame show on Fox 5 New York. Additionally, he began to break a large plethora of news stories, leading him to get noticed by CBS Sports and ultimately joined the network in 1999 in his first full-time job making $50,000 a year. It was very much a validation for the hard work he put in early in his career and led to his making appearances on The NFL Today and across network programming.

While working at CBS Sports, Glazer trained and competed in mixed martial arts, sometimes fighting on a Saturday night and appearing with little to no blemishes on television the next day. When Glazer officially joined FOX Sports in 2004 though, he showed up to his first day of work with a broken rib and cuts on his face, leading network boss David Hill to tell him to cease competition in mixed martial arts.

He abided by the decision, but the thought of losing his fight team was quite difficult for him. Glazer’s passion and expertise of the sport led him, along with Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell, to begin a training program for professional athletes. NFL teams, including the Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Browns and New Orleans Saints, began calling on Glazer to train their players in the combat sport, and the program has since trained thousands with their methodology.

The success of his training program, along with the difficulty he faced in working out in public gyms and subsequently being videotaped and judged on social media, inspired Glazer to open the Unbreakable Performance Gym in West Hollywood, Calif. The facility has attracted the likes of celebrities including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Wiz Khalifa, Demi Lovato, Snoop Dogg and Sylvester Stallone, along with a countless number of athletes who have all sought to gain something through being immersed in the Unbreakable Mindset.

The gym was intentionally built without mirrors to encourage trainees to leave their egos at the door and work together as a team, prioritizing congeniality and healthy maintenance of both physical and mental health.

“If you have a team and a community that are all training there with you, our whole thing is like, ‘We’re going to train together in here, but we’re going to walk this walk together out there and you’re going to have a team out there.’”

Glazer’s deal to join FOX in 2004 was to cover both the NFL and UFC mixed martial arts, but the network lost the UFC media rights during his second week. As a result, the network created a national mixed martial arts show and tabbed Glazer to host the Pride Fighting Championships from Saitama, Japan.

When the UFC media rights were re-acquired by FOX Sports in 2011, Glazer contributed to the network’s coverage hosting pre-fight and post-fight coverage on the network. In 2018, he signed on with Bellator MMA where he continued covering the combat sport both in the broadcast booth on Paramount Network and on the promotion’s digital platforms.

Breaking news is very much a 24-hour, seven day a week ordeal – and with the advent of social media, its dissemination occurs more rapidly than ever before. During his early days on the network, he appeared across FOX Sports Net’s regional sports networks and original programming including Totally Football, the Ultimate Fantasy Football Show and The Best Damn Sports Show Period.

Additionally, he provided breaking news to FOX NFL Sunday, the network’s pregame show which, at the time, featured Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long and Jimmy Johnson, along with host James Brown. Some of the breaking news included the disappearance and resulting suspension given to former Oakland Raiders center Barrett Robbins after he was not able to be found the day before Super Bowl XXXVIII; the subpoena of 10 NFL players as part of the BALCO investigation; and the return of Joe Gibbs to return to coach Washington for a second time in 2004.

In 2007, Glazer was moved to FOX NFL Sunday permanently as its NFL insider and just two weeks into the new job, he broke one of the most impactful stories of his career. He had obtained exclusive video footage of the New England Patriots illicit recording of the New York Jets’ defensive signals and aired it on the show, resulting in the commencement of a league investigation and hefty penalties levied on Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and the team.

Since then, he has continued to bring viewers stories and interviews, including Plaxico Burress shooting himself in the leg in 2008; Jay Cutler discussing why he wanted to be traded from the Denver Broncos; and the resolution of collective bargaining negotiations that nearly canceled the 2011 NFL season. These large news stories do not represent all of the information he has obtained though since some of it is off-the-record or on deep background.

“As an insider – at least for me – I put out a very, very, very, very small percentage of what I’m told because if somebody tells me it’s off-the-record, I honor that,” he said. “If somebody says, ‘Hey, you can’t use this but…,’ you can’t use that. It’s also information you have [so] as I’m telling a story I know what’s true and what’s not.”

Glazer ensures his stories are correct, as he is focused on being accurate in the information he obtains and presents by triangulating sources. When FOX Sports broke the story of the jersey then-New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had donned when he won Super Bowl LI, it had been held for a few additional weeks to confirm the information was correct.

“I have missed out on way more stories than I’ve broken because I’ve waited for the third source,” Glazer said. “The reason why I do three sources is if I just talk to two guys, one of them may have told the other one [and] then it’s really just one source…. I get really, really, really conservative making sure I have three independent sources on everything. That’s me. Other people may not have that same penchant for accuracy; I always have.”

A large majority of sports news is initially reported on Twitter by top industry insiders, such as Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Adam Schefter of ESPN and, for several years, Glazer. He does not run his own Twitter account because of the detrimental effects he has seen it have on his own temperament and those around him.

“When we got bullied on the playground growing up, it sucked for a month,” Glazer explained. “Now we’re seeing hate a thousand times a second and I don’t think the human condition is meant for that. When you used to break a story, you used to tweet it and eventually I said, ‘I don’t work for Twitter; I work for FOX. So I’m going to break my stuff on FOX; not on Twitter.’”

The platform, which is now owned and operated by Elon Musk, has inexplicably altered the way people communicate with one another. In fact, one time after a Conor McGregor fight, a fan approached Glazer and told him that he hated UFC, only to later reveal he was lying just so he could have a conversation with Glazer – acting like the conversation was taking place through a computer screen instead of being face-to-face.

“People talk to you now the way they tweet at you, and it’s not culture; it’s not okay,” Glazer said. “Where I used to kind of bask in breaking stories on Twitter, I now tend to hardly look at it because it’s more important that I take care of what’s between my ears.”

Glazer considers himself as being part of a family on FOX NFL Sunday and spends time with the cast of the show outside of the studio both during the season and during the offseason. On the show, Glazer brings fans original reporting and stories informing them about the latest around the world of professional football.

“We’re so different,” Glazer said. “We’re kind of like the first family of football. People are now watching it with grandkids and introducing their grandkids to us. It’s pretty damn cool and our ratings have never been higher.”

Some of the stories he has broken on FOX NFL Sunday include the New England Patriots violating league rules in filming the Cincinnati Bengals sideline 2019, the trade of Odell Beckham Jr. from the New York Giants and the inevitable exit of Jim Harbaugh as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. He has a stellar track record in getting stories factually accurate and effectively reporting them to his audience and was named “Media Person of the Year” by Sports Illustrated in 2007.

In addition to his television work, which has also included contributions to NFL Network, Spike TV and regular appearances on HBO’s Ballers series along with his stint writing for The Athletic, he and Nate Boyer founded the Merging Vets and Players Foundation (MVP): a non-profit organization that looks to match combat veterans with former professional athletes.

Its goal is to ease their transition into everyday life, giving them a direct teammate and a network of people going through the same transition for which they can reach out for assistance. The charity and building his mental health awareness brand, along with his work as an NFL insider, are Glazer’s genuine passions in life, and it helps him combat his own hardships as he tries to destigmatize mental health and spark an ongoing conversation.

“My levels of depression and anxiety are so bad,” Glazer said. “I’m feeling some of it but I’m working with my therapist to be able to really feel it even more because I’ve never felt worthy of praise or part of my mental health issues tells me I’m not worth being loved. I don’t know how to love myself from the inside out and I always feel like the universe hates me and it’s crashing down around me. It’s an everyday thing in my life.”

FOX has been supportive towards Glazer’s outside endeavors, inviting him to speak to the company about mental health and purchasing 1,500 copies of his book to distribute to employees. Glazer knows he has a significant contribution to make to the world that far exceeds the bounds of professional football and encourages those struggling with mental health to be open about it and find ways to withstand its associated burdens.

“Now I’m doing a lot of speaking engagements around this and traveling the country and speaking to different businesses and groups,” Glazer said. “I had a 16-year-old girl come to one of the events recently to tell me she started attempting suicide at 14. She’s now 16, and my book has changed her life and she won’t try it again. That’s way bigger than any story I could ever break, and it’s pretty damn cool.”

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts or mental health matters, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 (or 800-273-8255) to connect with a trained counselor, or visit the NSPL website.

BSM Writers

Beyond The Mask: Henrik Lundqvist Embraced 2nd Career in Sports Media

“It’s not a coincidence you see a lot of goalies working [on] panels and analyzing the game because that’s a huge part of playing in goal.”

Derek Futterman

Published

on

blank

Plucking the strings of an acoustic guitar, Henrik Lundqvist found himself beneath the bright lights once again, poised to put on a worthy performance. Just as he aimed to stop pucks from going in the net as the star goaltender of the New York Rangers for 15 seasons, Lundqvist sought to captivate viewers as half of a musical duo featuring former NHL forward Paul Bissonnette.

Their performance of “Good Riddance” by Green Day was in tribute to Rick Tocchet, a former NHL on TNT studio analyst who recently departed the network to serve as head coach of the Vancouver Canucks.

Lundqvist serves as a studio analyst for TNT’s coverage of the NHL, breaking down players and teams throughout the broadcast and bringing his own unique style to the set. His pursuit of a post-playing career in sports media was no guarantee from the moment he retired in August 2021; in fact, he never intended to stop playing the game and competing for a Stanley Cup championship at that time.

During the 2019-20 season, Lundqvist had lost playing time to young goaltenders Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev, and by the year’s end, his deal was bought out by the team. In an effort to continue playing, Lundqvist signed a contract with the Washington Capitals – marking the first time in his NHL career that he would not step between the pipes for the Rangers.

Lundqvist never played a game for the team though, as it was discovered in a medical exam that he would need open-heart surgery to replace his aortic valve while also having an aortic root and ascending aortic replacement. Less than two months after the successful five-hour operation, he was back on the ice rehabbing and attempting to make a full recovery – but a few months in, he began to feel unexpected chest pain. Following a medical checkup, Lundqvist was told he had inflammation around his heart. It was a significant setback that required him to step off the ice, take off his goaltender equipment and rest for several months.

After discussions with his family and friends, Lundqvist determined that the risk of taking the ice outweighed the rewards and officially stepped away from the game. Rather than conjuring hypothetical scenarios wherein he did not experience the misfortune and played for the Capitals, Lundqvist looked to the future amid the ongoing global pandemic and thought about how he could best enjoy his retirement.

“I was just mentally in a very good place,” Lundqvist said. “I didn’t have a choice; I guess that makes it easier sometimes when the decision is made because you can’t go back-and-forth – ‘Should I?’ ‘Should I not?’ Yeah, I wanted to play but it was just not meant to be for me.”

Before any definitive resolution on his future endeavors was made though, the Rangers announced that the team would retire Lundqvist’s No. 30 in a pregame ceremony during the 2021-22 season, making him just the 11th player bestowed that honor in franchise history. As a five-time NHL All-Star selection, 2011 Vezina Trophy winner, and holder of numerous franchise records, Lundqvist had the accolades to merit this profound distinction.

Moreover, he was an important component in growing the game of hockey and contributing to the greater community, serving as the official spokesperson for the Garden of Dreams Foundation and founder of the Henrik Lundqvist Foundation. He also was a two-time recipient of the organization’s prestigious Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award, honoring the player “who goes above and beyond the call of duty.”

Throughout the night, attendees regaled Lundqvist with chants of “Hen-rik!” and were treated to flashbacks of some of his memorable career moments. The night was of monumental importance for Lundqvist, during which he expressed his gratitude to the Rangers’ organization, former teammates and fans. Then, Lundqvist — referred to as “The King” — promptly took his place among team legends beneath the concave ceiling of “The World’s Most Famous Arena.”

“When I look back at my career, I know, to me, it was all about preparation; how I practiced and how I prepared for each game at practice,” Lundqvist said. “There’s no regrets, and I hope people, when they think about how I played, [know] that it was 100% heart and commitment to the game.”

Before this ceremony though, Lundqvist and Rangers owner James Dolan had held several meetings with one another. The purpose of these conversations was to determine the best way for Lundqvist to remain involved with the team, its fans, and the community. In the end, he was named as a lead studio analyst on MSG Networks’ broadcasts of New York Rangers hockey before the start of the 2021-22 season: the start of his foray in sports media.

This past summer, Lundqvist negotiated a new deal with Madison Square Garden Sports and Madison Square Garden Entertainment in which he maintained his in-studio responsibilities while increasing involvement in other areas of its sports and entertainment ventures. In this new role, Lundqvist supports the business operations for both companies, assisting in digital content development, alumni relations, and partner and sponsor activities.

When Lundqvist is not in the studio or the office, he can often be found at Madison Square Garden taking in New York Rangers hockey, New York Knicks basketball, or one of the arena’s renowned musical performances. Usually, when he is in attendance, he is shown on the arena’s center-hung video board as an “NYC Celebrity” and receives a thunderous ovation from the crowd.

“The network is just part of it, but it feels great to come there,” Lundqvist said of Madison Square Garden. “Every time I go there – to see the people that I’ve known for so long – but also I love that place; I love The Garden. I think the energy [and] the variety of things that happen there is something I really appreciate. It feels really good to be a part of that.”

Sitting alongside former teammate and studio analyst Steve Valiqutte and sportscaster John Giannone, Lundqvist appears in the MSG Networks studios, located across the street from the arena, for select New York Rangers games. From the onset, he brought his allure and expertise to the set and appealed to viewers – so much so that national networks quickly began to take notice.

“I enjoy watching hockey [and] talking hockey, but the main thing to me is the team; the people that you work with,” Lundqvist said. “The guys on the panel [and the] crew behind. I really enjoy that part of it and having a lot of fun off-camera.”

One month later, Lundqvist was on his first national broadcast for the NHL on TNT where he and Bissonnette famously performed a cover of “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica that went viral on social media. It had been known that Lundqvist was a musician, famously performing on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in his Rangers uniform to celebrate the end of the 2012-13 NHL lockout.

In fact, during his retirement ceremony, the Rangers gifted him with a custom-made guitar painted by David Gunnarsson, the same artist who used to paint Lundqvist’s goalie masks.

Aside from occasional music performances, Lundqvist brings an esoteric base of knowledge to the NHL on TNT panel as its only goaltender. Whether it be through player breakdowns, interviews, or dialogue with other analysts, Lundqvist has a perspective to which few professional hockey players can relate. There are various goaltenders among local studio panels surrounding live hockey game broadcasts, and Lundqvist is in a unique situation with MSG Networks in that he and Valiquette are both former goaltenders. Yet on Turner Sports’ national coverage, he is the only voice speaking to this different part of the game.

“It’s not a coincidence you see a lot of goalies working [on] panels and analyzing the game because that’s a huge part of playing in goal,” Lundqvist explained. “Yes, you need to stop the puck, but a huge part of being a goalie is analyzing what’s going on. We can never really dictate the play so you need to analyze what’s happening right in front of you.”

blank

In broadcasting at both the local and national level, Lundqvist is cognizant of the differences in each network’s studio programs. Lundqvist says appearing on the MSG Networks studio panel is more about being direct with the viewer, whereas the NHL on TNT views its panel as being conversational in nature. With Turner Sports, Lundqvist also asks his colleagues about the different teams around the league since he is most familiar with the Rangers both as a former player and studio analyst.

“I’m closer to the Rangers; I see more of what’s going on,” Lundqvist stated. “When you work [national] games, maybe you focus in on teams on the West Coast or [part] of the league you don’t see as often. You try to talk to the other guys on the panel and the crew and figure out things that are interesting about those teams.”

Hockey is a team sport, and Lundqvist felt grateful to play with his teammates and face his competitors over the years. Now as an analyst though, it is his job to analyze their games and critique them when necessary; however, he does not try to be excessively critical.

Lundqvist knows the trials and tribulations associated with the sport and can relate to scenarios many players face on a nightly basis. Therefore, he thinks about his own experience before giving an opinion, especially a critique, instantiating it with comprehensible, recondite knowledge and/or by recounting a similar situation.

“I’d much rather give them positive feedback obviously because I know it is a tough game,” Lundqvist said, “and sometimes it might look like an easy mistake, but if you can give the viewer a better explanation of why he did that, they might have a different view of that mistake.”

Now metaphorically being beyond the goalie mask, Lundqvist’s vision of the game has evidently shifted. He discerns just how intense the schedule is and the rapid pace of the game, axioms he was aware of while playing but inherently avoided thinking about. He has implemented his refined viewpoint of the game accordingly into his analysis, simultaneously utilizing the mindset and savvy he cultivated on the ice. It is, quite simply, a balancing act.

“I think people can be pretty quick to jump on guys and critique them,” Lundqvist said. “That’s where maybe you take an extra look and try to understand why it happened and give those reasons. I think that’s where it helps if you played the game [for] a long time and just love the game [because] you have a pretty good understanding of why guys react a certain way.”

The challenge tacitly embedded in the jobs of most studio analysts – Lundqvist’s included – is in presenting the information to the audience in a manner through which it learns without being confused. It is a delicate craft that takes time and genuine understanding to master, especially related to promulgating hockey analytics as Valiquette does on MSG Networks and within his company, Clear Sight Analytics.

“There’s a lot of educated viewers out there, but there’s also a lot of people that maybe don’t watch as much hockey,” Lundqvist said, “so you want to find that middle ground where you kind of educate both sides.”

blank

By broadcasting both locally and nationally in addition to working in a specially-designed business operations role, Lundqvist is staying around the rink in his retirement while facilitating the growth of hockey. Despite the profusion of young talent, dynamic action and jaw-dropping plays, viewership of the sport on ESPN and TNT’s linear channels has dropped 22% from last season, according to a report by Sports Business Journal.

For Lundqvist though, he does not feel much has changed from playing regarding his responsibility to advance the reach and appeal of the sport. He played professionally for 20 years, beginning his career in his home country of Sweden, primarily in the Swedish Elite League (SEL). In the 2004-05 season, his final campaign before arriving in New York City, Lundqvist had won the award for most valuable player. Furthermore, he was recognized as the best goalie and best player, leading Frölunda HC to its second Elitserien championship in three seasons.

His NHL debut came five years after he was selected in the seventh round of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Rangers but unlike many rookies over the years, he came polished and prepared to embrace the lights of Broadway. Following an injury to starting goaltender Kevin Weekes, Lundqvist was inserted into the starting lineup and, from that moment on, virtually never came out.

By the end of his first year, he had been named to the NHL All-Rookie Team and was a Vezina Trophy finalist for best goaltender. Additionally, he remains the only goaltender to begin his NHL career with seven consecutive 30-plus win seasons.

“I think the league is doing a great job of growing the game,” Lundqvist said. “In the end, it comes down to the product and right now, it’s a great product. I feel really good about, the best way I can, to promote the game [by] talking about it, but… it feels like I’ve been doing that for 20 years.”

One means through which Lundqvist attempts to grow the game is within the studio demos he performs with the NHL on TNT, displaying different facets of the game in a technical manner. The show also embraces the characteristics of their analysts and implements them in lighthearted segments, such as zamboni races, putting competitions, Swedish lessons and, of course, musical performances.

“I’m huge on mindset and the pressure,” Lundqvist said. “I love to talk about that type of stuff and give the viewer a better understanding of what goes through their heads. In terms of personality, I don’t know if I can say [that] I’m a serious guy because I love to have fun and laugh and do fun things.”

Lundqvist thoroughly enjoys what he is doing both locally and nationally, and he ensures he surrounds himself with people he wants to be around. There are plenty of other broadcast opportunities for former hockey players, such as moving into the booth as a color commentator or between the benches as a rinkside reporter. At this moment though, he is more focused on being immersed in his current roles, performing them to the best of his ability while ensuring he allocates time to spend with friends and family.

“I see myself more as an analyst in the studio more than traveling around and being in the rink,” he said. “I think that’s another thing with the schedule; it works really well with my schedule to have one or two commitments with the networks, but then I have other things going on in my life that I commit to.”

Plenty of comparisons can be drawn between playing professional hockey and covering the sport from the studio in terms of preparation and synergy. Yet the end result is not as clearly defined since “winning” in television is quantifiably defined as generating ratings and revenue. Undoubtedly, Lundqvist is focused on doing what he can to bolster hockey’s popularity; however, he also wants to enjoy this new phase of his career being around the game he loves.

blank

“In sports, you win or you lose,” Lundqvist explained. “With TV, you want to be yourself [and] you want to get your point out – but at the same time, if you do it at the same time you’re having a good time, I feel like that’s good TV.”

Once their careers conclude, many athletes think about pursuing a post-playing career and oftentimes end up taking on a role in sports broadcasting. On MSG Networks alone, there are plenty of former players who take part in studio coverage on live game broadcasts, such as Martin Biron of the Buffalo Sabres, Bryce Salvador of the New Jersey Devils, and Matt Martin of the New York Islanders. At the national level, Turner Sports employs Paul Bissonnette, Anson Carter, and Wayne Gretzky for its studio broadcasts, while ESPN’s top studio crew includes Mark Messier and Chris Chelios.

All of these former professional hockey players had an obligation to regularly speak with media members, answering questions about games and the season at large. Lundqvist maintained a professional relationship with journalists and beat reporters, and he most enjoyed taking questions when the team was doing well. Regardless of what the end result of a game was though, he had a responsibility to divulge his thoughts and, in turn, be subject to criticism and/or negative feedback.

His stellar career and persona all came from emanating a passion for the game – and it continues to manifest itself beyond the television screen. Listening to those passionate about the game discuss it usually engenders euphony and lucidity to viewers, analogous to the sound of the puck hitting the pads or entering the glove. It is a timbre Lundqvist created 27,076 times throughout his NHL career (regular season and playoffs) in preventing goals, and one he now aims to explain en masse.

“The reason why I kept going to the rink and put all the hours in was because I really enjoyed it,” Lundqvist said. “If you decide to go into media or whatever it might be, I think the bottom line is [that] you have to enjoy it and make sure you have good people around you.”

Continue Reading

BSM Writers

Should the NBA Nationalize Local TV Rights Like MLS?

The NBA’s upcoming rights negotiations will be this transformational idea’s first testing grounds.

Avatar photo

Published

on

blank

Diamond Sports has been anything but a diamond in the sports world. As subscribers leave cable and satellite for streaming services, companies are dropping RSNs nationwide because they are too expensive to carry. This has caused an impending bankruptcy for the company, which owns the local rights to dozens of sports teams nationwide. It is also putting the NBA, NHL, and MLB at major financial risk. 

In the short term, it is known that teams will still broadcast on their RSNs even if they aren’t getting the paychecks they were promised in previous rights deals. This will affect teams’ ability to pay players and could even create an unfair advantage among the haves of the sports world like the Yankees and Lakers and the have-nots. The NFL doesn’t face the same problems that the other leagues are facing because its rights have been nationalized.

With the NFL’s continued television dominance, college conferences also bundling up games together for more money, and the MLS guaranteeing themselves television revenue after packaging local and national rights together, could we see the other leagues follow suit? It is an option that is much easier said than done but it seems like we are moving closer to it becoming reality. 

The NBA’s upcoming rights negotiations will be this transformational idea’s first testing grounds.

The biggest problem the NBA and other leagues would face are that the local rights to all of its teams don’t expire at the same time. If the league were to sign a deal that included giving all local rights to a streamer, the amount which the league was getting paid would be very unique year after year. It would be crazy for a streamer to pay a huge chunk of money to the NBA all at once if the number of teams they have local rights to changes every year.

It would also be insane to pay an astronomical amount if the streamer is only getting the local rights to small-market teams like the Cavs and the Pistons. A major market team like the Lakers doesn’t renew their local rights until 2032. We’re still in 2023. How does that affect the league’s operating costs? 

The NBA would also have to figure out whether teams whose rights don’t expire yet deserve to be included in the pot of money garnered from selling local rights to a streamer. Whether they are or they aren’t, does it put each team at different competitive advantages and/or disadvantages when trying to acquire free agents or front-office personnel?

One of the most interesting puzzles to figure out is what influence a league owner like Washington’s Ted Leonsis has in this potential measure when all is said and done. Leonsis just acquired complete control of the regional sports network — currently named NBC Sports Washington — that broadcasts Wizards and Capitals games for millions of dollars, although the exact amount remains undisclosed.

What does Leonsis do with his network if his team’s games can no longer air there? Can his team opt out of participating in a potential league offering? Or if the games continue to air on his network but are simulcasted locally on the streamer that wins local rights on a national scale, does the streamer have the ability to pay less money for rights?

If so, does that make the deal as lucrative for the NBA? And what does that mean for retransmission fees that cable companies like Comcast pay to Leonsis and other RSNs they’re still carrying?

The league will face a similar problem with the Lakers, Bulls, Knicks and other franchises that either wholly own or partially own a part of the RSNs where they broadcast their games. 

I don’t have the answers to any of these questions which is why they are written here in this column. Unfortunately for the leagues, they don’t have the answers either. But if the NBA figures out a way to nationalize their product even more and make streaming games more appealing by ending local blackouts, it’ll benefit the game more than it hurts the game. 

NBA, NHL, and MLB games are still some of the highest-rated programs locally in many markets when you look at how they rate vs. other cable and broadcast offerings. But at this point, the ability to charge everyone for a program that only ten percent of subscribers are watching is a losing business proponent.

The leagues should start from scratch and sell a mass package of games for maximum profit. It gives fans a more centralized location to watch their favorite teams and puts the leagues on a much more steady path than where they could be headed sooner rather than later.

Diamond in the rough to sparkling jewel of light? Only time will tell.

Continue Reading

BSM Writers

Do You Have Affirmations Of Gratitude?

“We are told to be grateful for what we have and remember it could be worse. That feels like a really low bar, right?”

Jeff Caves

Published

on

blank

Having gratitude for your life is all the rage. If you, like me, have trouble starting your day with positive affirmations and maintaining a positive outlook about your job, read on! 

We are told to be grateful for what we have and remember it could be worse. That feels like a really low bar, right? Here is another version. Try a few affirmations of gratitude instead.

“I HAVE A JOB.”

With interest rates rising, inflation increasing, and spending down; corporations are laying people off. PayPal laid off 7% of its entire workforce. Amazon let 18,000 go. Alphabet (Google) said goodbye to 12,000 jobs. Radio sales managers need to hire people like you – experienced sellers with a track record of bringing home the bacon. 

I AM A PROBLEM SOLVER.”

You solve a problem for your company when it comes to revenue. You know people, and you sell advertising better than anything they can come up with…so far. 

Yes, they are trying to replace you, but Zoom Info reports iHeart’s self-serve spot buying service,  AdBuilder, is doing under 5 million in business. You have time to solidify your value. Be happy you are the rainmaker. 

I WORK IN THE PEOPLE BUSINESS.”

Sports talk radio is the ultimate companion to millions of listeners. They aren’t robots, and your stations improve their lives by talking about what they care about 24/7. Celebrate selling access to callers, Twitter followers and FANS who go to games. You also get to work with local celebrities that everybody knows but you know best. We all need a connection to other people and want to be seen and heard. 

“I GET TO CHANGE HOW I FEEL ABOUT MYSELF.”

In this job, you determine your value, feelings about your work, and who you work with. You get to set a strategy and talk to the businesspeople you want to help and do business with. It’s like running your own business with a tremendous support staff. Try to do it independently, and you will appreciate accounting, traffic, production, and sales assistance. Those wins produce deposits in your bank account.  

I HAVE COMPETITION!”

That format competitor across the street does things differently and sometimes better than you or tries to imitate you and looks terrible. They motivate you to beat them to a new account or put a moat around your best clients so they can’t be touched. They keep you sharp and willing to try new things. Good competition schemes to take money from your station, and your management needs you to protect them. And they also provide a place for you to work one day. The FTC wants to eliminate non-competes so you can walk across the street this year.  

Continue Reading
Advertisement

blank

Barrett Media Writers

Copyright © 2023 Barrett Media.