Pablo Torre: Dan Le Batard ‘Changed My Perspective’ on What Media Career Could Be
“I wanted to be a part of your family. That was fundamentally the decision that I made.”
Pablo Torre had worked with Dan Le Batard for many years at ESPN, but most recently made the move to join him at Meadowlark Media. While Torre is still doing some work for ESPN, he has also found a place where he enjoys working with the people that he works with.
Torre was a guest on Le Batard’s South Beach Sessions podcast and it was a powerful hour-plus conversation. Torre told Le Batard that he didn’t get what The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz was about until he became a part of the show.
“I didn’t listen to your show before I was on your radio show. I had heard it, I was a guest once or twice. I was shedding the exoskeleton of literary sportswriter. When I came in and realized what the f*** you guys were doing, it changed my perspective on what this job could be. The fact that this moved so quickly, that it’s light, easy, and fun, it literally was not dreamable for my parents that this would actually be more worthwhile than anything that was pain.
“The reason I went from full-time Disney employee who they wanted to do the shows that I was doing. I have nothing bad to say about ESPN on that front. They believed in me. The fact I went from that to working for and with you and giving up healthcare while I have a 3-year-old is nuts. Who could have ever thought that?”
Torre mentioned that one of the reasons he likes working with Le Batard is that he gets to work with people who he loves and that he wanted to be a part of their family.
“In an uncertain future in which we don’t know what icebergs will be remaining, I want to work with people that I love, that seem to have figured something out about how this could be. I wanted to be a part of your family. That was fundamentally the decision that I made. Yes, great, I can do some TV stuff, stay at ESPN, I don’t want to minimize that. That is so important to me. I’m here because I love sports, but that’s not why I’m staying. I’m staying because I love these people. Those feelings are in my naive brain, a better business model than let me serve you sports wherever you can get them with these takes.
“I want to be the neighbor to this house, I don’t want to be off across the country. I want to be a wing to this bizarre estate because so much of the engineering to this business comes from a place of attention, manipulation, and trying to engineer habits and it comes from the artificial and you start the other way. You start from what’s inside and people feel that. I feel that and that’s what drew me to this.”
During the interview, Le Batard did talk about how when he used to write stories, he would know if it was good enough if the story met his standards. He mentioned that when Torre asked him what he is most confident in being better than anyone in the industry.
“It is because if it meets my standard, I know it’s good enough. I give it to editors and I’m like this isn’t going to have to be changed. I’m not going to have to fight you on much. Whenever I was handing something in to one of these people who were at the top of the industry, if it met my standards, I knew it would meet theirs. Mine is a discerning taste when it comes to writing.
“When I know I have written well, that’s the most immune I am to any doubt…I’ve got a pretty good idea when we are speaking into microphones whether I’m giving the audience something that will be objectively interesting to the average person. Nowhere is it more honed than writing.”
Also, Le Batard revealed about Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser that there aren’t many people that the duo both agree to work with, but that Le Batard and Torre are two of the people that share that rare honor.
“People don’t know this about Kornheiser and Wilbon. They are between them beyond being very different, there are very few people that both of them are willing to work with. I am one and you are one and I just remember after you had written 5-6 articles, telling you because I saw you were on the same path, get out of writing without having to do the noble writing of pouring yourself into the most challenging thing and then judge all the TV and radio people for choosing the cotton candy instead of the crossword puzzle.”
Ricky Keeler is a reporter for BSM with a primary focus on sports media podcasts and national personalities. He is also an active podcaster with an interest in pursuing a career in sports media. You can find him on Twitter @Rickinator555 or reach him by email at RickJKeeler@gmail.com.
Dave Portnoy: I Trust Penn Entertainment as Much as Ever
“Dave Portnoy is still an employee of Penn Entertainment. However, he has said publicly that he is unsure if the arrangement will continue after his contract expires in 2025.”
Dave Portnoy may have had some public disagreements with Penn Entertainment, but he says that he still trusts the company to run Barstool. He took to Twitter earlier this week to dispel the myth that he is in a feud with the company.
“By the way everything I say or do nowadays is construed as me having beef with @PENNEntertain I 100% do not. Most of my net worth is still tied to $penn. The corporate woke overlord narrative is bullshit. They woulda never bought us in 1st place if that was true. I trust them now as much as when they bought us.”
Portnoy has not been shy about criticizing the company’s decision to fire Ben Mintz after Mintz said the n-word while reading rap lyrics. Several supporters, including Dana White, noted that it is the kind of decision that only happens when corporations take over creative enterprises.
Earlier this week, Dave Portnoy announced that he had hired Ben Mintz as the first employee of Brick Watch Company. Mintz was emotional in making the announcement. The decision was not made to stick it to Penn Entertainment according to Portnoy.
Penn first acquired a stake in Barstool in 2020. It invested $163 million at that time for a 36% stake. Earlier this year, it completed its acquisition, investing an addition $388 million for the remaining 62% of the company.
Dave Portnoy is still an employee of Penn Entertainment. However, he has said publicly that he is unsure if the arrangement will continue after his contract expires in 2025.
Multiple State Regulators Push Back on Effort to Legalize Gambling on WWE
“In March, Alex Sherman of CNBC reported that WWE had meetings with regulators in Colorado and Michigan.”
Despite speculation over allowing sports bettors to wager on WWE, there doesn’t appear to be much support at the state level to add it to sportsbook offerings.
Earlier this year, WWE officials had discussions with accounting firm Ernst and Young to secure pre-determined match outcomes in order to allow betting on events. But many states where sports betting is legal have restrictions on wagering on scripted events.
In March, Alex Sherman of CNBC reported that WWE had meetings with regulators in Colorado and Michigan.
“The Colorado Division of Gaming is not currently and has not considered allowing sports betting wagers on WWE matches. By statute, wagers on events with fixed or predicted outcomes or purely by chance are strictly prohibited in Colorado; this includes wagers on the Academy Awards,” Shannon Gray of the Colorado Division of Gaming told Sports Betting Dime.
In Ohio, the same rules apply. The Ohio Casino Control Commission has not fielded any requests to add WWE. Officials in Kansas haven’t received requests either by their residents.
Elsewhere, Maryland sees keeping WWE out of betting offerings as a way to keep the integrity of legal sports betting.
“Maryland’s sports wagering law and regulations prohibit forms of wagering that are contrary to public interest or unfair to bettors,” Seth Elkin of the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency added. “We’ve determined that it is unfair to bettors and therefore not in the public’s interest to accept wagers on sports entertainment events that have scripted or predetermined outcomes, like professional wrestling.”
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He’s a multimedia journalist and communicator who works at the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond. Jordan also contributes occasional coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, WRIC-TV 8News and Audacy Richmond. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.
Former Twitter Sports Boss TJ Adeshola Joins Arctos Partners
“We’ve been fortunate to have TJ as an Operating Advisor for the past three years, and we are thrilled to have him play a larger role as an Operating Partner.”
Less than two months after TJ Adeshola announced his exit from Twitter, he has resurfaced. Arctos Partners, a firm that he had been advising, named Adeshola an operating partner on Thursday.
In the new role, Adeshola will be much more hands-on with the firm, a private investment company that focuses its investments in the sports world. The firm says it focuses on unlocking “non-obvious opportunities long before others have noticed the market need or opportunity”.
TJ Adeshola’s digital sports marketing expertise will certainly come in handy with that.
“We believe TJ is an innovator in emerging digital and sports media trends, and his wealth of knowledge is a tremendous resource for our Arctos Operating Platform, the value-added capabilities we provide to our franchise partners,” Arctos’s Jordan Solomon said in a press release. “We’ve been fortunate to have TJ as an Operating Advisor for the past three years, and we are thrilled to have him play a larger role as an Operating Partner.”
During his decade with Twitter, Adeshola served as the Head of U.S. Sports Partnerships. His title was Head of Global Content Partnerships at the time of his exit.
He is credited with securing broad strategic partnerships with the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB and MLS as well as NASCAR, esports, college, and high school sports. He helped the platform grow the engagement and audience for those entities.
“I’m thrilled to expand my role with Arctos as an Operating Partner,” Adeshola added. “As the first investment firm to invest across multiple North American sports leagues, Arctos is an innovator and disruptor in the sports landscape. And true to form, the Arctos team recognizes the power of digital media as a tool for growth and an opportunity to drive value for its franchise partners.”