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ESPN Partners With FXFL

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The National Basketball Association has the NBA Developmental League (D-League). Major League Baseball has Minor League Baseball. The National Football League has no true “minor league” system where players not fortunate enough to find themselves on a 53-man roster or team’s practice squad can continue to perform in conditions similar to NFL-style game play. The Fall Experimental Football League (FXFL) hopes to become that “minor league” for the NFL and a broadcasting agreement with ESPN will help the FXFL achieve its goals.

The FXFL and ESPN have signed an agreement that will obligate ESPN to broadcast the FXFL’s inaugural season on the ESPN3 network. The deal will provide the FXFL national coverage on ESPN, which serves as ESPN’s live multi-screen sports network on the Internet.

FXFL Commissioner Brian Woods says that the arrangement with ESPN is a welcome addition to the existing relationships that the FXFL has cultivated with regional networks. He says that the FXFL’s current distribution with regional networks will put the FXFL in front of 80-90 million cable subscribers, including SportsNet New York (SNY), New England Sports Network (NESN) and Comcast CMCSA -1.43% Chicago. Woods adds that the FXFL seems to pick up another regional partner every three or four days and remains optimistic that the FXFL will land a few more partners before the inaugural season kicks off on October 8 at 8:00 p.m. EST when Boston plays at Omaha.

The FXFL wishes to become a true developmental platform for players, coaches and prospective NFL referees. Opportunities are few and far between for NFL franchises to develop young players that cannot make the cut onto a 53-man roster or practice squad. The NFL knows it needs a developmental league for those players as well as to test out proposed rules changes and additionally prepare prospective referees before throwing them into regular or preseason NFL match-ups.

“We have kept an open line of communications with the NFL and I definitely think there are interests on their end,” Woods said who has spoken to NFL executives throughout the formative process of the FXFL. ”The long-term goal of this league is to establish an official relationship or be recognized by the NFL as its official developmental league. ESPN has a very close tie-in with the NFL and I think many people including John Clayton, Mike Golic and others have really shown me their support on this. Having an affiliation with ESPN is something that is going to enhance us with our efforts to build that bridge into the NFL.”

Woods also referenced a recent segment on ESPN’s “Mike and Mike” show when Golic said, “There needs to be a minor league in football. Not a competing league, not one that plays a different kind of football, one that essentially is a feeder league to the NFL.”

Many start-up football leagues have been created and disbanded in the recent past. NFL Europe no longer exists. The All American Football League (AAFL), with prospective teams based on various college campuses was scrapped before a single game was played. The United Football League (UFL) was a failure, and many former players are still seeking pay for their performance on the field. Arena Football and the Canadian Football League remain as options for players who cannot make the cut in the NFL, but spots in Canada are sparse and talent in the Arena Football League has deteriorated over time. Woods says that FXFL teams will not even consider signing players from the Arena Football League. Instead, the FXFL is focusing on players who are no more than three years removed from college, many of whom have had short stints in the NFL.

“Most of the other leagues came into the existence with the mindset that they believed another league could exist and compete with the NFL,” Woods said. ”I believe the only league that can co-exist with the NFL is a league that has our developmental format. Importantly, it’s not the Spring. It should be the Fall.”

Whether the FXFL fills a major market void or follows in the footsteps of other floundering start-up football leagues remains to be seen. However, there is a true need for a platform to develop future NFL talent, and a broadcasting deal with ESPN is a good way to start enhancing the FXFL’s chances of survival. Taking a position that his league is not competing with, but instead complimenting, the NFL is a wise move by Woods. He has stated that his goal is to push 25-30% of the FXFL players back to the NFL by the end of the FXFL season. As always, timing may be a strong influencing factor as well.

This year, ninety-eight underclassmen declared for the NFL Draft (102 if those who were technically early-entrants who declared for the NFL Draft, but already graduated, are included in the equation). Thirty-six of the ninety-eight underclassmen (almost 40%) who declared were not selected in any of the seven rounds of the 2014 NFL Draft. Add the fact that the 2011-20 Collective Bargaining Agreement reduced the amount of practice time that teams have to work with young players in the off-season and today’s football player needs a developmental league more than ever.

The current FXFL membership is comprised of four teams playing a six-week schedule during the months of October and November. ESPN3 has agreed to carry six regular season games as well as the November 26 championship match-up.

Credit to Forbes.com who originally published this article

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David Feherty Launches Weekly SiriusXM Show

“David’s unique blend of wit and golf wisdom, and his experience from a lifetime in the game, really make him one of a kind.”

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Via NBC Sports Pressbox

SiriusXM announced today that David Feherty, who has been entertaining golf audiences with his witty perspective on the game for more than two decades, is joining SiriusXM to launch a new weekly show.

Feherty will team up with fellow former pro and SiriusXM host John Maginnes for Feherty and Maginnes. The show will be on Monday evenings on the SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio channel.

They will preview the new show this Wednesday at 5pm. The show officially starts in its new time slot on January 3rd, as the PGA TOUR season picks up steam with the Hawaii tournaments.

“I can’t wait to work with John Maginnes,” said Feherty.  “He is one of my favorite people and SiriusXM will be a really fun platform for us. The over/under on both of us getting canceled is about six weeks!”

The format will include long form interviews with personalities from the world of golf with storytelling to the listeners coming from the golf expertise of Feherty and Maginnes, who both had playing careers on the PGA Tour.

“David’s unique blend of wit and golf wisdom, and his experience from a lifetime in the game, really make him one of a kind,” said Scott Greenstein, SiriusXM’s President and Chief Content Officer. “SiriusXM is the perfect platform for his many great stories and the insightful and revealing conversations he’ll have with his guests.  We are thrilled to pair him up with John and bring together two terrific personalities who will deliver an entertaining, must-listen show for our listeners.”

Feherty spent time following his playing career at CBS and NBC as well as his own show on the Golf Channel.

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Industry Analyst Predicts Crypto Will Surpass Gambling In Sports World

Industry sources believe that crypto could grow into a $100 million dollar industry for sports television within the next year.

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Industry insiders have believed for quite a while that sports betting was the future for sponsorship and advertisement revenue, but it appears that there is a new venture on the rise that is quickly surpassing it.

Crypto.com made a huge statement in purchasing the Staples Center in what will be known as Crypto.com Arena come Christmas Day.

SponsorUnited Founder and President Bob Lynch believes that there is no doubt that Crypto and Blockchain will far exceed sports betting as the premiere revenue money maker for the sports industry over the next decade.

“They’re essentially buying equity,” which would be particularly valuable in an industry that is still widely doubted, Lynch said on Crypto.com’s purchase of the arena. “The Lakers and Clippers have global exposure, media value and mentions that give instant brand legitimacy with top-of-mind awareness through national/global TV exposure,”

Crypto has already started to push its way into major advertisements for key events in the world of sports. Cryptocurrency exchange FTX purchased an ad in this upcoming Super Bowl, and already has the backing of the biggest star in professional football. Tom Brady has an equity stake in the company.

Crypto.com is already the sponsor of FOX‘s college football studio show, Big Noon Kickoff, on top of running ads during broadcasts of the game as well.

Industry sources believe that crypto could grow into a $100 million dollar industry for sports television within the next year. It seems that the possibilities are endless for crypto within the sports landscape. While sports gambling certainly isn’t going away from the public eye, it could be overtaken by crypto in terms of ad spending and sponsorship visibility very soon.

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Colin Cowherd: Lincoln Riley At USC Is Good For Networks

“Colin Cowherd pointed out that when USC is a contender, LA watches.”

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FS1

Colin Cowherd is a self-professed college football fan. When the sport is interesting, he talks about it. The sport may never be more interesting than when the coaching carousel is spinning.

On Mondy’s edition of The Herd on FS1 and FOX Sports Radio, Cowherd dove in on USC’s hire of Lincoln Riley. He says that it is good for college football that Riley left Oklahoma for Los Angeles.

“My phone blew up yesterday, not only because people know I’m kind of a USC honk, but network people,” Cowherd said. “They’re like ‘do you understand how big this is for networks?’”.

Colin Cowherd pointed out that when USC is a contender, LA watches. He noted that when USC lost to Texas in the 2006 Rose Bowl, ABC scored a 22.5 rating in the city.

“The networks want USC to be good. You know why? Because New York, DC, and Boston have never watched college football. Chicago does and LA does. So the Big Ten being good is good for college football TV ratings. But LA doesn’t watch college football anymore. They will now.”

As for the hard times USC has fallen on and been stuck in mostly since Pete Carroll bolted for the NFL, Cowherd is not particularly worried. He pointed out that Georgia, Alabama, Ohio State, and Notre Dame were all down before they hired the right coach. Programs at the blue blood level in the sport have a way of bouncing back quickly.

Network executives are hoping Cowherd’s assessment is correct. USC is the only brand on the West Coast capable of resonating on a national level.

The Los Angeles sports landscape has changed though. When USC was a celebrity program under Pete Carroll, the city did not have an NFL team. Now it has two. The Dodgers were not annual contenders in Major League Baseball. The Lakers had stars, but the Clippers didn’t. Now both do.

Does LA love college football enough for the Trojans to turn some heads in the city with the most stars in the sports world?

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