Jemele Hill Doesn’t Plan to Cover Sports Forever
Jemele Hill was recently interviewed as part of OZYFest, a yearly gathering sponsored by OZY.com of personalities from across the media, culture, politics, and more. Hill appeared on the event’s main stage to talk about the past, present, and future directions of her career. She revealed to the crowd that while she doesn’t have any current plans to leave ESPN, she doesn’t see herself covering sports for her entire career.
Peter Bukowski wrote about the exchange for OZY.com using the headline “Jemele Hill Plans to Leave ESPN, Won’t Kiss Political Ass”. The super-clickbait-y headline doesn’t quite matchup with Hill’s actual quote in the article.
I haven’t made a bad career decision yet, and I’ll know when the right opportunity comes my way because it’ll really have to be special to really leave the sweet spot I’m at now at ESPN.
Hill herself took to Twitter to clarify that she isn’t looking to break her contract, which will keep her at ESPN for at least two more years.
Headline might be a little sexier than what I actually said. Plotting the next 10-to-15 years of my career is kind of the way you have to think in this business. There are other things I want to do besides sports, but plenty I still want to do/will do at ESPN https://t.co/jrQU0QjVLa
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) July 23, 2018
Jemele Hill was at the center of a firestorm after she called President Trump a white supremacist on Twitter earlier this year. She told the OZYFest crowd that she was already thinking about what her next 10-15 years would look like before the controversy and subsequent suspension, but those events, which lead to her leaving the 6pm SportsCenter to focus on writing for The Undefeated, did speed up the process.
As for what she might want to do outside of the sports realm, Hill says she doesn’t have a lot of experience to fall back on. “I’ve only had two jobs outside of sports media. I ran a snack counter for the YMCA … and I delivered phone books in college.” Bukowski’s article says that Hill could be laying the groundwork for a move into documentary filmmaking.
Hill and her college roommate recently started a production company last August. The next iteration of her career? Creating content behind the camera. “As much as I’d like to tell you about Golden State’s latest game or tell you about why Jacksonville can win the Super Bowl, some days I just didn’t give a shit because of everything else that was happening in this country.”
Hill says she has been asked about making a political run. She says that while she briefly considered it, she realized that running for office involves kissing “a little too much ass. That’s not my strong suit”
Blue Wire Adding Podcasts Cut During SB Nation Downsizing
Blue Wire has announced it is adding three NBA podcasts that were cut during a downsizing by Vox Media that hit SB Nation earlier this year.
Lakers Lounge, hosted by Anthony Irwin, Green With Envy, hosted by Will Weir, Greg Maneikis, and Adam Taylor, and Pod Maverick with Kirk Henderson are all being revived with Blue Wire.
“We’ve built Blue Wire around being able to identify exceptional talent hitting the podcast free agency market,” said Blue Wire CEO Kevin Jones. “We were thrilled to act quickly and provide a new home for three standout local NBA podcasts.”
“I’ve known Kevin for years and we’ve often spoken about working together,” Irwin said. “I couldn’t possibly be more excited to add to all the great work Blue Wire has become known for as we finally see years of conversations become a fruitful partnership.”
The former SB Nation programs that follow the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics, and Dallas Mavericks, respectively, were able to negotiate the ownership of their podcasts with Vox, allowing them to bring their former feeds with them to Blue Wire.
The addition of the three podcasts adds to the company’s growing list of NBA shows. Currently, Blue Wire hosts Road Trippin’ with Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye, and No Chill with Gilbert Arenas, among others.
Rob Parker Bringing MLBBro.com Podcast To iHeartRadio
“I’m thrilled to be a part of this groundbreaking project – this sound has never been heard before in connection with Major League Baseball.”
Rob Parker loves Major League Baseball and he is expanding his reach in the sport. His site MLBBro.com is taking another step forward just weeks after announcing a partnership with the league to provide coverage of minority players from the past and present.
He will add a podcast to the brand’s portfolio. The MLBBro Show Podcast – The Mixtape will join the iHeartRadio podcast lineup. While Parker oversees the brand, the show will be led by MLBbro.com’s Vice President of Operations JR Gamble.
Gamble brings more than two decades of experience covering the league to the show. The first episode drops right after Opening Day on March 31.
“I’m thrilled to be a part of this groundbreaking project – this sound has never been heard before in connection with Major League Baseball,” said Parker, who has been a Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) member since 1990.
“It’s baseball coverage with hot sauce, loud and proud and in living color. Get on board from day one!”
What Implications Would TikTok Ban Have on Sports Media & Business?
“Prominent Democrats have spoken out against banning TikTok in the United States, but the effort has bipartisan support.”
If TikTok is banned in the United States, a very realistic possibility, the ad market around sports and sports media stands to take a significant hit. Front Office Sports took a look at the companies that used the social video platform to advertise to sports audiences in 2022 and 2023.
Among the advertisers making major investments in TikTok was Degree, whose March Madness advertising campaign includes an ad that is exclusive to TikTok and stars Giannis Antetokounmpo. For the Super Bowl, T-Mobile supplemented its FOX ad buy with a TikTok campaign, while State Farm chose to skip the network broadcast of the game and spend all of its advertising with the digital platform.
It’s not only advertisers. Leagues and networks factor TikTok prominently into reaching younger audiences. The WWE, FIFA and the NBA all saw significant growth in their audiences on the app last year. On top of that, FOX and ESPN both have taken advertising money from TikTok in the past for postseason baseball and college football broadcasts respectively.
Prominent Democrats have spoken out against banning TikTok in the United States, but the effort has bipartisan support. The Biden administration and other lawmakers have voiced concern about the security threat the Chinese government’s involvement with the app poses to Americans and their personal data.
The appeal of TikTok for networks and advertisers is easy to see. Between 2021 and 2022, no social media platform showed more growth for engagement from sports fans. TikTok’s sports audience jumped 65% in that timeframe. Facebook saw 22% growth and for Twitter, it was just 8%.