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Bill Simmons Hints at Future Partnership with ESPN

Brandon Contes

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Some ESPN personalities venture away from the network and find expanded success, others make their way back to The Worldwide Leader after concluding there might not be a better opportunity available to them. ESPN has never been afraid to welcome back past employees, just look toward Keith Olbermann, Rachel Nichols and Stephen A. Smith for examples. Could Bill Simmons be next?

Simmons had an ugly divorce from ESPN in 2015, one that probably would have had him shocked if he was told he’d be pondering the idea of collaborating with the network three years later. While Simmons’ website and podcast network, The Ringer, is reportedly profitable, his partnership with HBO has been very disappointing.

Simmons welcomed former ESPN NBA Countdown co-host Jalen Rose to the latest Bill Simmons Podcast. At the end of the podcast, Simmons hinted at working with Rose again in the near future.

“I would say…I’m going to put the odds at maybe 4 to 1 that you and I are doing the Bill and Jalen NBA preview in October. I think I’m going to make it work,” Simmons told Rose.

It sounded as if Bill was en route to saying he thinks enough time has passed since he left ESPN, but Jalen jumped in before Simmons finished the statement. Rose was very surprised by Simmons’ prediction and asked if he was about to break news.

“You’re coming back home?” said Rose.

“No, I’m not coming home, but I think I can collaborate on certain projects down the road,” Simmons answered.  “Number one on the list is could we collaborate on a Ringer, ESPN, Bill and Jalen NBA preview that we put either on YouTube or the OTT app?”

It certainly wasn’t definitive, but the fact that Simmons floated the idea of launching an ESPN partnership within the next few month indicates the relationship must have improved since he departed in 2015. If elite ESPN personalities can return to the network, why not add Simmons to that group?

His show, Any Given Wednesday was canceled by HBO after just five months. HBO remains an investor in The Ringer and reportedly carries first pass rights on all of the website’s projects. Still, HBO can’t be satisfied with the return they’ve received on the reported $7-9 million per year paid to Simmons. Bill also can’t feel as if his departure from ESPN has been vindicated, but after three years, it sounds like a return to the network may not be far off.

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.

Sports Radio News

Cumulus Announces 790 The Score in Rhode Island is Officially On The Air

In addition to shows like Bet MGM’s The Daily Tip and others like Bet QL Daily, listeners can catch Jim Rome and Amy Lawrence.

Jordan Bondurant

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After reporting last week that Kevin McNamara would be the station’s only local host in the programming lineup, 790 The Score in Providence, Rhode Island is officially on the air.

The station, which was last on the air in the market in 2008, has been revived and will serve as the market’s first sports and sports betting station.

“The station features a lineup of expert personalities that deliver unique sports talk and sports betting insights that entertain, inform, and engage,” said Holly Paras, VP and market manager of Cumulus Providence. “We think Providence sports and sports betting fans will love 790 THE SCORE!”

In addition to shows like Bet MGM’s The Daily Tip and others like Bet QL Daily, listeners can catch some of the top national talent on the airwaves throughout the day and night. This includes hosts like Jim Rome and Amy Lawrence.

McNamara will host his show Kevin Mac Sports Hour daily from 5-7 p.m.

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Sports Radio News

Paul Finebaum Will Make $700K Advance Ahead of Nick Saban-Jimbo Fisher Book

Finebaum will make $700,000 plus royalties for the deep dive into the rivalry between the two SEC head coaches.

Jordan Bondurant

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Paul Finebaum

Though there’s still some time before a finished products reaches bookshelves, but ESPN’s Paul Finebaum is reportedly set to get a nice six-figure advance by Penguin Press.

According to John Ourand of Sports Business Journal, Finebaum will make $700,000 plus royalties for the deep dive into the rivalry between the two SEC head coaches.

Back in the spring things came to a head between Alabama’s Nick Saban and Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher, as the two engaged in a verbal spat in separate press conferences over name, image and likeness.

Saban said Fisher and his staff utilized NIL and “bought every player” in the Aggies’ spring 2022 recruiting class.

Things got so heated and drew so many headlines that SEC commissioner Greg Sankey had to step in and try to get the former colleagues to cool it.

Finebaum is teaming up with Alabama beat reporter John Talty to write the book.

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Sports Radio News

Sports Gambling Podcast Network To Stage 24-Hour Fantasy Football Draft

“The event begins at 3 pm on Tuesday and is dubbed Draft Day 2.0.”

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Sports Gambling Podcast

If you’re serious about Fantasy Football, the Sports Gambling Podcast Network is bringing back a tradition you’ll want to pay attention to. 

For the second year in a row, Ryan Kramer will draft 24 different teams over the course of a 24 hour marathon that will be streamed across multiple video platforms. 

“Fortunately, the analytics research is done so I can focus now on news coming out of the camps to sharpen my views and deliver the well-reasoned selections that people need to get an edge in their drafting,” Kramer said in a press release. “It’s a bit of an audacious undertaking, but the growing phenomenon of Fantasy Football deserves this level of commitment and our SGPN audiences always respond.” 

The event begins at 3 pm on Tuesday and is dubbed “Draft Day 2.0”. All of the content will originate from the Sports Gambling Podcast Network’s studios in Los Angeles. 

The marathon will also be a fundraiser. The network is using GoFundMe to raise funds for a colleague named Darryl injured in a motorcycle accident earlier this year. A portion of proceeds generated from the sale of Sports Gambling Podcast Network branded apperal will also go to the effort. 

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