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Brandon Gaudin Is A Familiar Voice In a New Place

“Everybody on the outside that looks at this job… always says, ‘Man, that must be so cool. You’re getting to live out your dream.”

Derek Futterman




The Atlanta Braves are a storied organization and an epitome of sustained success, consistently fielding a championship team and creating a stellar sports and entertainment experience for fans. For the last 46 years, Braves fans watched games on television and heard a member of the Caray family broadcasting games – Skip from 1976 until his death in 2008; and Chip from 2005 until 2022. On March 30, Braves fans will notice a new commentary voice in Brandon Gaudin, living out his childhood dream amid the team’s quest for a championship.

Throughout one’s professional career, there are unforgettable moments where a person can vividly recall where they were and the details of what happened. Some people experience more of these moments than others which are firmly etched into the subconscious, the connotation thereof notwithstanding. For Gaudin, his latest moment came approximately two weeks ago when he received the job offer to serve as the television play-by-play voice of the Atlanta Braves.

Gaudin’s journey to reach this point took him across the United States, finding opportunities and adequately performing his role while always possessing a growth mindset. It all began with a trip to Atlanta, Ga. to visit his aunt and uncle to attend Game 5 of the 1991 World Series at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. Tom Glavine started the game for Atlanta and a triple by second baseman Mark Lemke ultimately put the contest out of reach – Braves 14, Twins 5.

“When I left the park that night with my foam tomahawk in my hand, I was head over heels,” Gaudin said. “That night, I didn’t know I was going to be a broadcaster for my career, but I knew that I wanted to be a part of Braves baseball.”

Cognizant that games were televised, Gaudin began fervently watching the team in the evenings on TBS featuring the broadcast crew of Chip Caray, Don Sutton, Joe Simpson and Pete Van Wieren. He learned an interminable amount of information about the franchise, including, of course, the 1995 squad that captured a World Series championship. In fact, Gaudin can still recite every starting lineup for the Atlanta Braves from 1991 to 1999.

At the age of 13, Gaudin penned a letter to Caray asking him for advice on how to become a broadcaster and to adequately stay composed during a big moment. He explained his fandom, divulged some of the games he had attended and mentioned how everyone in his family thought he should try working in sports media. A few months later, Gaudin received a reply from Caray where he recommended publications to read and subjects to study. Additionally, he implored him to learn how to manage his voice and expand his lexicon through reading.

“He was really the most influential person, even though I was so young, in my broadcasting career,” Gaudin said of Caray. “When I was calling baseball games to start out [at] college, everything that I knew I had learned from him really from just watching countless Braves games on TBS.”

With a vast portfolio, Gaudin attended the MLB Winter Meetings resolute in his quest to land a broadcasting job. For $500 a month, he became the new play-by-play announcer and media relations director for the Orem Owlz, a former Pioneer League-affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels. Even though the team played an abbreviated, 76-game season over an 80-day span, Gaudin and other broadcasters knew it would be a grind. By the end of the season, which consisted of bus rides through the intermountain west surrounding Orem, Utah and fast-food meals galore, Gaudin remained hungry to do more.

“I think that minor league season and getting a start there was fitting because baseball was my love and my passion,” Gaudin said. “….It opened my eyes that I was on the right track.”

Gaudin continued broadcasting baseball at the University of Evansville, along with serving as the voice of its basketball team and general manager of its student-run radio station WUEV-FM. Before that though, he remained home to help care for his father who had suffered a serious heart attack days after the conclusion of the Orem Owlz baseball season. “Thankfully, he’s still here; he didn’t pass, but it was very serious and there was about a five or six-month recovery,” Gaudin said.

In August 2010, Gaudin returned to his alma mater to become the new play-by-play voice of the Butler University Bulldogs men’s basketball team. Broadcasting a sport with a rapid tempo, Gaudin made sure to be concise and comprehensive in his storytelling. Moreover, he sought to pace himself and refrain from expounding on all of his ideas, leaving time for his analyst to chime in. Simultaneously, this shift provided him a chance to effectively call significant plays with proper verve and subsequent extolment.

“I think when you listen to the greats and the ones who really have had a lot of success in the industry, that’s a big key of just making it a comfortable listen and not over-talking for the viewers at home,” Gaudin said. “….Let the crowd and the game dictate the level of excitement in your voice, and I think that’s a key to success for any broadcaster.”

When he was named as the new radio voice of Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets football, men’s basketball and baseball, Gaudin officially made the move to Atlanta where he resides today.

During that time, he not only honed his craft but took a further liking to the city itself. One year later, he joined Westwood One to call select NFL games and part of the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament, sharpening his play-by-play skills on the aural medium.

Presently, he estimates his duties only account for about 3 to 5% of his total work, but nonetheless looks to remain involved in radio because of the unique aspects of the medium.

“There’s just something so pure, and it throws you back to the old days, about calling a game on the radio where the listener’s completely vulnerable to your words,” Gaudin explained. “On television, they’ve got the pictures. I always say on TV [that] you’re helping put the game in high-definition, but they can see what’s going on. On radio, they’re completely vulnerable to what you’re saying because they don’t have the pictures.”

The Madden NFL franchise has redefined sports video gaming since its advent in 1988, providing fans with a way to participate in the game with genuine plays and NFL rosters. Over its 35-year history, a select few broadcasters have had the opportunity to provide play-by-play commentary in the game, including Pat Summerall, Al Michaels, Tom Hammond, Gus Johnson and Jim Nantz.

For Madden NFL 17, those involved in the game’s development looked to change direction and bring in an up-and-coming broadcaster to fill the role. Much to his surprise, Gaudin was contacted on LinkedIn by a producer at EA Sports who had heard him call a Georgia Tech play featured on ESPN’s SportsCenter, and proceeded to invite him for an audition. After he auditioned, Gaudin was optimistic and considered himself a “dark-horse candidate” to be the voice of a video game he had played with his friends while growing up. One month later, he received the phone call of a lifetime shortly before playing pickup basketball with friends at a gym.

“It was one of the coolest feelings you could ever experience,” he said. “They asked, ‘Are you interested still?,’ and I said, ‘Yeah, I would love to do it.’ To continue to do that almost eight years later, it’s been a really, really neat journey.”

Joined by analyst Charles Davis, Gaudin records various lines each year that are programmed to be implemented in the video game. Oftentimes, courses of dialogue could span multiple years, requiring consistent intonation and prosody to achieve a smooth, consistent sound. Even though they do not call live NFL games together, Davis has become an important figure in Gaudin’s broadcasting career, guiding him and being there for advice.

“Over the last seven years, I’ve truly spent more time in-person and on the phone with Charles than anybody else outside of my family,” Gaudin said. “He’s become a close friend, and he’s just been such a good mentor and given me wisdom and advice on everything career-related [and] personal-related. He’s just been in my corner and a lifelong friend.”

Gaudin expects to continue his role with the Madden NFL franchise, along with balancing several other jobs. Since 2016, Gaudin has broadcast football, basketball and baseball on the Big Ten Network, demonstrating his adept versatility as a play-by-play announcer. Additionally, he broadcasts MLB, NFL and NCAA basketball and football games on FOX Sports, and is often asked by viewers whether or not he finds it difficult changing from one sport to the next.

“There are nuances to each that you have to be aware of that kind of change how you broadcast the game,” he explained, “but ultimately, the core of what you’re doing and how you’re conversing with your analyst and how you’re weaving in stories; that all stays the same. I didn’t realize that, I would say, as much 10 years ago than I do now that it is transferable sport-to-sport.”

Caray had served as a play-by-play voice of the Atlanta Braves for the last 20 seasons across various mediums, but he grew up around St. Louis and the Cardinals, making the opening in their television booth that much more appealing. Additionally, both his grandfather Harry and father Skip served as Cardinals broadcasters during their careers, giving him a chance to continue the family’s legacy with the franchise.

“Chip reminded me a lot of his dad who I grew up listening to for all those years,” Gaudin said. “He certainly inherited a lot of the same phrases and things his dad did. For me, it was always kind of nostalgic listening to Chip because I felt like I was kind of listening to Skip through him.”

In departing from the Braves, the play-by-play role Gaudin had coveted from the time he was young suddenly became open. Gaudin, though, had experienced a shift in his thinking over his career centered on remaining in the present rather than hypothesizing about the future. In spite of this, he understood it was a chance he could not pass up and visited Truist Park, the home of the Braves, to be interviewed.

In a one-hour meeting, Gaudin conversed with Bally Sports South/Southeast Executive Producer James Shapiro and Senior Vice President and General Manager Jeff Genthner to discuss his interest in the role and career path. He then proceeded to meet with Atlanta Braves President and CEO Derek Schiller and General Manager and President of Baseball Operations Alex Anthopoulos where he learned more about the direction and vision of the organization. Implicitly, their presence communicated a sentiment about the franchise seldom substantiated across professional sports.

“The fact that the president and general manager of this club want to talk to the candidates for an announcing position says a lot about where the franchise is and how they view their television crew because that wouldn’t happen everywhere,” Gaudin said. “I’ve been in some of those meetings and that’s pretty rare to get two of the top people in the organization that want to sit down and chat with you.”

As a local broadcaster, Gaudin knows it is incumbent on him to render the broadcast towards Braves fans. Over the last few years, the team has signed young players to long-term contracts including catcher Sean Murphy; infielders Matt Olson, Ozzie Albies and Austin Riley; outfielder Michael Harris; and starting pitcher Spencer Strider. These core players will suit up for the Braves for many years to come, giving fans the chance to learn about them over the next decade.

The differentiating factor will be in informing viewers about the opponent, an aspect of the broadcast Gaudin is used to from doing national games. He thoroughly enjoys researching and reporting on players, personnel and organizations, conveying that information to the fans – albeit at more of a “30,000-foot view.”

“Certainly the first year as I’m getting into this, even though I’ve done MLB [for] the last couple of years, you’ve got to get that groove of kind of learning who is where and the stories behind each player,” Gaudin said. “The prep will be more in year one than in subsequent years, and I know that and every broadcaster that has reached out to me has told me that.”

An ostensible advantage Gaudin may have in entering the position at this time will be adjusting to rule change, instituted with the intent to expedite pace of play and increase offense. A pitch clock, for example, will be implemented into games this season – 15 seconds with the bases empty; 20 seconds with runners on base – necessitating brevity in commentary. Additionally, the league has limited defensive shifts, requiring two infielders to play on either side of second base, along with introducing bigger bases to prevent injuries and encourage more steals.

“With the pitch clock being quicker and these pitchers having to deliver maybe 3-4 seconds faster in-between pitches than normal, you’re going to have to be more aware of your storytelling and pacing than before,” Gaudin said. “Three-to-four seconds may not sound like a lot, but if you’re trying to finish up a point before the next pitch… you’re going to have to tidy things up a little bit.”

From the moment he received the call with the life-altering news on Feb. 7, Gaudin has been working diligently to prepare for the upcoming season. Whether it is watching previous games, reading articles or compiling information on the team, he hopes to be as prepared as possible by his first broadcast on March 23 in North Port, Fla. in a spring training matchup against the rival New York Mets. In addition to his preparation, he will be broadcasting college basketball in both the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament, along with the first and second rounds of the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament, making him quite busy in the next few months.

What should make the upcoming season more facile for Gaudin is that the Braves are expected to compete for a World Series championship. In his meeting with Schiller and Anthopolous though, he stated that he would aim to bring passion and enthusiasm for the team regardless of their on-field play. The team has won the National League East division title for five consecutive seasons including a World Series championship in 2021, giving him flashbacks to his childhood.

“Certainly it is an exciting time to be taking over this job because of the success that the Braves have had,” Gaudin said. “It truly reminds me of a lot of what they had going in the ‘90s when I became a fan of the team when they were just rattling off title after title after title, and they had just this bevy of talent that was in the hopper and was going to be in the hopper for a long time.”

Gaudin recognizes that a combination of hard work, talent and luck has placed him in the positions he garners as a play-by-play announcer locally, nationally and digitally. With each broadcast, he tries to perform his job to the best of his ability and carries the intent of steadily improving. He is appreciative of every chance to step behind the microphone and deliver the action to fans by intuitively watching the game and collaborating with his analyst – an amalgamation of information and entertainment.

“It’s what I call a candy-store job,” Gaudin said. “Everybody on the outside that looks at this job… always says, ‘Man, that must be so cool. You’re getting to live out your dream. I would love to be able to do that.’ When you hear those comments, it just reminds you [that] yeah, you’re pretty fortunate to do this for a living.”

Most broadcasters have an avidity for the sports they call and keep a consistent pulse on its ceaseless news cycle. The motivating factor of being in sports media, however, differs between professionals; some want to ascend to national positions of eminence and prestige, while others are content with where they are.

Because of the scarcity of national broadcasting jobs, very few aspiring play-by-play announcers reach that point in their careers, let alone remain at it for an extended period of time. Gaudin is open to the idea of one day having a chance to call a Super Bowl or a World Series, but is not fixated on those goals and instead tries to live in the moment. For now, he looks forward to the first pitch of the Braves season and immerse himself in, as he put it, “the realization of a childhood dream.”

“If you get into it because you see the big dollars at the end possibly or being known and having your face on television, that will ultimately, likely, lead to you being upset because there’s so few that get to that spot,” Gaudin expressed. “The majority of us are just calling games because we really like the art of broadcasting and storytelling…. Just make sure that your heart is in it because if not, you might find out that you don’t like as much as you thought you did.”

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BSM Writers

Amanda Brown Has Embraced The Bright Lights of Hollywood

“My whole goal was that I didn’t need people to like me; I needed people to respect me.”

Derek Futterman




The tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and eight others aboard a helicopter, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, sent shockwaves around the world of sports, entertainment, and culture. People traveled to Los Angeles following the devastating news and left flowers outside the then-named STAPLES Center, the arena which Bryant called home for much of his career, demonstrating the magnitude of the loss. Just across the street from the arena, Amanda Brown and the staff at ESPN Los Angeles 710 had embarked in ongoing breaking news coverage, lamentation, and reflection.

It included coverage of a sellout celebration of life for Kobe and his daughter and teams around the NBA opting to take 8-second and 24-second violations to honor Bryant, who wore both numbers throughout his 20-year NBA career. They currently hang in the rafters at Arena, making Bryant the only player in franchise history to have two numbers retired.

During this tumultuous time, Bryant’s philosophy served as a viable guiding force, something that Brown quickly ascertained in her first month as the station’s new program director.

“I had people that were in Northern California hopping on planes to get here,” Brown said. “You didn’t even have to ask people [to] go to the station; people were like, ‘I’m on my way.’ It was the way that everybody really came together to do really great radio, and we did it that day and we did it the next day and we did it for several days.”

The 2023 BSM Summit is quickly approaching, and Brown will be attending the event for the first time since 2020. During her first experience at the BSM Summit in New York, Brown had just become a program director and was trying to assimilate into her role. Because of this, she prioritized networking, building contacts, and expressing her ideas to others in the space. This year, she looks forward to connecting with other program directors and media professionals around the country while also seeking to learn more about the nuances of the industry.

“The Summit is kind of like a meeting of the minds,” Brown said. “It’s people throughout the country and the business…. More than anything, [the first time] wasn’t so much about the panels as it was about the people.”

Growing up in Orange County, Brown had an interest in the Los Angeles Lakers from a young age, being drawn to play-by-play broadcaster Chick Hearn. Brown refers to Hearn as inspiration to explore a career in broadcasting. After studying communications at California State University in Fullerton, she was afforded an opportunity to work as a producer at ESPN Radio Dallas 103.3 FM by program director Scott Masteller, who she still speaks to on a regular basis. It was through Masteller’s confidence in her, in addition to support from operations manager Dave Schorr, that helped make Brown feel more comfortable working in sports media.

“I never felt like I was a woman in a male-dominated industry,” Brown said. “I always just felt like I was a part of the industry. For me, I’ve kind of always made it my goal to be like, ‘I deserve to be here; I deserve a seat at the table.’”

Brown quickly rose up the ranks when she began working on ESPN Radio in Bristol, Conn., working as a producer for a national radio show hosted by Mike Tirico and Scott Van Pelt, along with The Sports Bash with Erik Kuselias. Following five-and-a-half years in Bristol, Brown requested a move back to California and has worked at ESPN Los Angeles 710 ever since. She began her tenure at the station serving as a producer for shows such as Max and Marcellus and Mason and Ireland.

Through her persistence, work ethic and congeniality, Brown was promoted to assistant program director in July 2016. In this role, she helped oversee the station’s content while helping the entity maintain live game broadcast rights and explore new opportunities to augment its foothold, including becoming the flagship radio home of the Los Angeles Rams.

“Don’t sit back and wait for your managers or your bosses to come to you and ask what you want to do,” Brown advised. “Go after what you want, and that’s what I’ve always done. I always went to my managers and was like, ‘Hey, I want to do this. Give me a chance; let me do that.’ For the most part, my managers have been receptive and given me those opportunities.”

When executive producer Dan Zampillo left the station to join Spotify to work as a sports producer, Brown was subsequently promoted to program director where she has helped shape the future direction of the entity. From helping lead the brand amid its sale to Good Karma Brands in the first quarter of 2022; to revamping the daily lineup with compelling local programs, Brown has gained invaluable experience and remains keenly aware of the challenges the industry faces down the road. For sports media outlets in Los Angeles, some of the challenge is merely by virtue of its geography.

“We’re in sunny Southern California where there’s a lot of things happening,” Brown said. “We’re in the middle of Hollywood. People have a lot of opportunities – you can go to the mountains; you can go to the beach. I think [our market] is more about entertainment than it is about actual hard-core sports. Yes, obviously you have hard-core Lakers fans; you have hard-core Dodgers fans, but a majority of the fans are pretty average sports fans.”

Because of favorable weather conditions and an endless supply of distractions, Brown knows that the way to attract people to sports talk radio is through its entertainment value. With this principle in mind, she has advised her hosts not to worry so much about the specific topics they are discussing, but rather to ensure they are entertaining listeners throughout the process.

“People know the four letters E-S-P-N mean sports, but really our focus is more on entertainment more than anything,” Brown said. “I think the [talent] that stick out the most are the ones that are the most entertaining.”

Entertaining listeners, however, comes through determining what they are discussing and thinking about and providing relevant coverage about those topics. Even though it has not yet been legalized in the state of California, sports gambling content has been steadily on the rise since the Supreme Court made a decision that overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act established in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association (2018). Nonetheless, Brown and ESPN Los Angeles 710 have remained proactive, launching a sports gambling show on Thursday nights to try to adjust to the growing niche of the industry.

Even though she has worked in producing and programming for most of her career, Brown is eager to learn about the effect sports gambling has on audio sales departments. At the same time, she hopes to be able to more clearly determine how the station can effectuate its coverage if and when it becomes legal in their locale.

“I know that a lot of other markets have that,” Brown said regarding the legalization of sports gambling. “For me, I’m interested to hear from people who have that in their markets and how they’ve monetized that and the opportunity.”

No matter the content, though, dedicated sports radio listeners are genuinely consuming shows largely to hear certain talent. Brown recalls receiving a compliment on Twitter earlier this quarter where a listener commented that he listens to ESPN Los Angeles 710 specifically for Sedano and Kap. Evidently, it acted as a tangible sign that her philosophy centered around keeping people engrossed in the content is working, and that providing the audience what it wants to hear is conducive to success.

At this year’s BSM Summit, Brown will be participating on The Wheel of Content panel, presented by Core Image Studio, featuring ESPN analyst Mina Kimes and FOX Sports host Joy Taylor. Through their discussion, she intends to showcase a different perspective of what goes into content creation and the interaction that takes place between involved parties.

“A lot of times in the past, all the talent were on one panel; all the programmers were on one panel,” Brown said. “To put talent and a programmer together, I think it’s an opportunity for people to hear both sides on certain issues.”

According to the most recent Nielsen Total Audience Report, AM/FM (terrestrial) radio among persons 18-34 has a greater average audience than television. The statistical anomaly, which was forecast several years earlier, came to fruition most likely due to emerging technologies and concomitant shifts in usage patterns.

Simultaneously, good content is required to captivate consumers, and radio, through quantifiable and qualifiable metrics, has been able to tailor its content to the listening audience and integrate it across multiple platforms of dissemination. The panel will give Brown a chance to speak in front of her peers and other industry professionals about changes in audio consumption, effectuated by emerging technologies and concomitant shifts in usage patterns.

Yet when it comes to radio as a whole, the patterns clearly point towards the proliferation of digital content – whether those be traditional radio programs or modernized podcasts. Moreover, utilizing various elements of presentation provides consumers a greater opportunity of finding and potentially engaging with the content.

“We do YouTube streaming; obviously, we stream on our app,” Brown said. “We’ve even created, at times, stream-only shows whether it’s stream-only video or stream-only on our app. We all know that people want content on-demand when they want it. I think it’s about giving them what they want.”

As a woman in sports media, Brown is cognizant about having to combat misogyny from those inside and outside of the industry, and is grateful to have had the support of many colleagues. In holding a management position in the second-largest media market in the United States, she strives to set a positive example to aspiring broadcasters. Additionally, she aims to be a trusted and accessible voice to help empower and give other women chances to work in the industry – even if she is not universally lauded.

“I’ve kind of always made it my goal to be like, ‘I’m no different than anyone else – yes, I’m a female – but I’m no different than anyone else,’” Brown expressed. “My whole goal was that I didn’t need people to like me; I needed people to respect me.”

Through attending events such as the BSM Summit and remaining immersed in sports media and the conversation at large about the future of sports media, Brown can roughly delineate how she can perform her job at a high level.

Although the genuine future of this business is always subject to change, she and her team at ESPN Los Angeles 710 are trying to come up with new ideas to keep the content timely, accurate, informative, and entertaining. She is content in her role as program director with no aspirations to become a general manager; however, remaining in her current role requires consistent effort and a penchant for learning.

“Relationships are very important overall in this business whether you’re a programmer or not,” Brown said. “Relationships with your talent; relationships with your staff. If you invest in your people, then they’re going to be willing to work hard for you and do what you ask them to do.”

The 2023 BSM Summit is mere days away, and those from Los Angeles and numerous other marketplaces will make the trip to The Founder’s Club at the Galen Center at the University of Southern California (USC).

Aside from Brown, Kimes and Taylor, there will be other voices from across the industry sharing their thoughts on aspects of the industry and how to best shape it going forward, including Colin Cowherd, Rachel Nichols, Al Michaels and Eric Shanks. More details about the industry’s premiere media conference can be found at

“I’m excited to be a female program director amongst male program directors for the first time and get a seat at the table and represent that there can be diversity in this position,” Brown said. “We don’t see a lot of it, but… there is an opportunity, and I hope I can be an example for other people out there [to show] that it’s possible.”

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BSM Writers

Pat McAfee Has Thrown Our Business Into a Tailspin

Yet even with all the accomplishments he’s been able to achieve, McAfee is still anxious and unsatisfied with the state of his show and his career.

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When you have one of the hottest talk shows in America, you’re always up to something. That’s the case for the most popular sports talk show host in America – Pat McAfee. 

The former Pro Bowl punter was on top of the world on Wednesday. With over 496,000 concurrent viewers watching at one point, McAfee was able to garner an exclusive interview with frequent guest Aaron Rodgers who announced his intention to play for the Jets.

Yet even with all the accomplishments he’s been able to achieve — a new studio, consistent high viewership, a syndication deal with SportsGrid TV, a four-year, $120 million deal with FanDuel — McAfee is still anxious and unsatisfied with the state of his show and his career.

At the end of the day, he is human and he’s admitted that balancing his show, his ESPN gig with “College Gameday,” and his WWE obligations has taken a toll on him.

McAfee and his wife are expecting their first child soon and he recently told The New York Post he might step away from his deal with FanDuel. Operating his own company has come with the responsibility of making sure his studio is up and running, finding people to operate the technology that puts his show on the air, negotiating with huge behemoths like the NFL for game footage rights, booking guests, booking hotels, implementing marketing plans and other tasks that most on-air personalities rarely have to worry about.

McAfee says he’s looking for a network that would be able to take control of those duties while getting more rest and space to spend time with family while focusing strictly on hosting duties. FanDuel has its own network and has the money to fund such endeavors but is just getting started in the content game. McAfee needs a well-known entity to work with who can take his show to the next level while also honoring his wishes of keeping the show free on YouTube.

The question of how he’s going to be able to do it is something everyone in sports media will be watching. As The Post pointed out in their story, McAfee hasn’t frequently stayed with networks he’s been associated with in the past for too long. He’s worked with Westwood One, DAZN, and Barstool but hasn’t stayed for more than a year or two.

There’s an argument to be made that the latter two companies weren’t as experienced as a network when McAfee signed on with them compared to where they are today which could’ve pushed the host to leave. But at the end of the day, networks want to put money into long-term investments and it’s easy to see a network passing on working with McAfee for fear that he’ll leave them astray when he’s bored. 

It’ll also be difficult for McAfee to find a network that doesn’t put him behind a paywall. Amazon and Google are rumored to be potential new homes. But both are trying to increase subscribers for their respective streaming services.

It will be difficult to sell Amazon on investing money to build a channel on YouTube – a rival platform. For Google, they may have the tech infrastructure to create television-like programming but they aren’t an experienced producer, they’ve never produced its own live, daily talk show, and investing in McAfee’s show doesn’t necessarily help increase the number of subscribers watching YouTube TV.

Networks like ESPN, CBS, NBC, and Fox might make sense to partner with. But McAfee faces the possibility of being censored due to corporate interests. Each of these networks also operates its networks or streaming channels that air talk programming of their own. Investing in McAfee could cannibalize the programming they already own.

And if McAfee works with a traditional network that isn’t ESPN, it could jeopardize his ability to host game casts for Omaha or analyze games on Gameday. It’s not impossible but would definitely be awkward on days that McAfee does his show remotely from locations of ESPN games with ESPN banners and signage that is visible in the background.

If SportsGrid has the money to invest in McAfee, they might be his best bet. They have all the attributes McAfee needs and they already have a relationship with him. It is probably unlikely that he’ll be censored and he would even be able to maintain a relationship with FanDuel – a company SportsGrid also works alongside.  

Roku is another option — they already work with Rich Eisen — but they would move his show away from YouTube, something McAfee should resist since the majority of smart TV users use YT more than any other app.

If the NFL gave McAfee editorial independence, they would make the perfect partner but the likelihood of that happening is slim to none. NFL Media has independence but it was clear during the night of the Damar Hamlin incident that they will do whatever is necessary to stay away from serious topics that make the league look bad until it’s totally unavoidable. 

It’s hard to think of a partner that matches up perfectly with McAfee’s aspirations. But once again, at the moment, he’s on top of the world so anything is possible. The talk show host’s next move will be even more interesting to watch than the other fascinating moves he’s already made that have put the sports media industry in a swivel.

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BSM Writers

5 Tips For Networking At the BSM Summit

“Have a plan and don’t leave home without it.”

Jeff Caves




Bring your game plan if you attend the BSM Summit in LA next Tuesday and Wednesday. No matter your purpose for attending: to learn, get a job, speak, or sell an idea, you must be able to read the room. To do that, it helps to know who will be there and how you can cure their pain. 

Have a plan and don’t leave home without it. If you have time, buy How to Work a Room by Susan Roane. If you don’t, just follow these five tips:

  1. INTRODUCE YOURSELF: Before you arrive at The Summit, figure out what you want, who you want to meet, and what you will say. Once you get there, scout out the room and see if anyone of those people are available. Talk to speakers after they have spoken- don’t worry if you miss what the next speaker says. You are there to meet new people! Most speakers do not stick around for the entire schedule, and you don’t know if they will attend any after-parties, so don’t risk it. Refine your elevator pitch and break the ice with something you have in common. Make sure you introduce yourself to Stephanie, Demetri and Jason from BSM. They know everybody and will help you if they can.  
  2. GET A NAME TAG: Don’t assume that name tags will be provided. Bring your own if you and make your name clear to read. If you are looking to move to LA or want to sell a system to book better guests, put it briefly under your name. Study this to get better at remembering names.
  3. LOSE THE NOTEBOOK: When you meet folks, ensure your hands are free. Have a business card handy and ask for one of theirs. Remember to look people in the eye and notice what they are doing. If they are scanning the room, pause until they realize they are blowing you off. Do whatever it takes to sound upbeat and open. Don’t let their clothes, hair, or piercings distract from your message. You don’t need to wear a suit and tie but do bring your best business casual wear. A blazer isn’t a bad idea either. 
  4. SHUT UP FIRST! The art of knowing when to end the convo is something you will have to practice. You can tell when the other person’s eye starts darting or they are not using body language that tells you the convo will continue. You end it by telling them you appreciate meeting them and want to connect via email. Ask for a business card. Email is more challenging to ignore than a LinkedIn request, and you can be more detailed in what you want via email. 
  5. WORK THE SCHEDULE: Know who speaks when. That is when you will find the speakers hanging around. Plan your lunch outing to include a few fellow attendees. Be open and conversational with those around you. I am a huge USC fan, so I would walk to McKays– a good spot with plenty of USC football memorabilia on the walls. Sometimes you can find the next day’s speakers at the Day 1 after party. Need a bar? Hit the 901 Club for cheap beer, drinks, and food. 

You’re welcome. 

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