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UConn President Doesn’t Want Hoops Teams On ESPN+

“ESPN and SNY are expected to come to some sort of agreement on the matter, though ESPN and the AAC have been mute on the subject so far.”

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While the American Athletic Conference’s new 12-year, $1 billion extension with ESPN is regarded as a good thing for the conference as a whole, the UConn Huskies program begs to differ.

The deal complicates a tradition of UConn basketball games broadcast on the SNY Network and so far it is unclear how much the ESPN contract will impact that partnership.

“We at UConn have been a dedicated and enthusiastic charter member of the AAC,” UConn president Susan Herbst said. “The level of play in the conference has been outstanding, and our university colleagues in the conference are a pleasure to work with. That said, I am deeply concerned about potential exposure for UConn men’s and women’s basketball.”

ESPN will broadcast a host of games including UConn men’s and women’s basketball not only on traditional, linear networks such as ESPN2 and ESPNU, but also digital streaming service ESPN+. The worry from UConn is this will force fans who traditionally watch the Huskies play on SNY, which has been the program’s TV partner for the past six seasons, to purchase an over-the-top service such as Roku or Chromecast to watch the team play.

“It’s not about technology,” Herbst said. “Our fan base is of course sophisticated in the ways of digital media. But exposure on ‘linear’ television is vitally important to us because many Husky fans gather to watch UConn basketball as a social event — when traveling, in restaurants or bars, or in the living room with family and friends. Right now, wherever I am, I can tune in easily and see our student-athletes in action.”

ESPN and SNY are expected to come to some sort of agreement on the matter, though ESPN and the AAC have been mute on the subject so far.

“It’s such a great relationship,” said Gary Morgenstern, SNY’s senior vice president of programming before the deal was finalized Wednesday. “I think it’s been really good for the university and we know it’s been really good for SNY. And it would be a shame if it weren’t able to continue.
SNY reaches about 12 million homes in the Northeast, while ESPN+ has around 2 million subscribers. 

Not only is this a risk for Husky fans, but the new deal isn’t expected to make enough of an impact financially for UConn to warrant such a shift in viewership. According to the Hartford Courant, UConn’s athletic department reported a $41 million deficit for the 2018 fiscal year, among the worst in Division I athletics. UConn, and the rest of the AAC, will receive $6.94 million a year, which significantly tops the $2.16 million number from the previous deal, but isn’t enough of a revenue boost to fix all of the program’s problems.

UConn and SNY are in a “wait and see” mode and will have to hope for the best as ESPN, the AAC and SNY come to an agreement. In the end, SNY doesn’t have much leverage in the matter and may be at the mercy of ESPN and the AAC.

“We’re just sitting on the sidelines waiting on the call to really understand what the next step would be,” Morgenstern said. “Clearly, if we’re left out of that, that’s not good for the fans. That’s what we strive to do, is put a service out there that satisfies what the fans want. But we just don’t know how it’s going to play out.”

Habst added this isn’t a change UConn or Husky fans want to take without SNY still in the mix. “We do not want our amazing Husky fan lifestyle disrupted. Period.”

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John Skipper: Media Has Not Treated Adam Silver Like He’s Teflon

“I don’t think anyone has hesitated to criticize him when he has done things that are controversial or difficult. Certainly, our friends at FOX News have not provided him with a Teflon coating.”

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Dan Le Batard hosted an interesting conversation on his Thursday show examining the performance of NBA commissioner Adam Silver during the press conference in which he announced the suspension of Suns owner Robert Sarver. David Samson and John Skipper joined Le Batard in the discussion.

Samson, former president of Major League Baseball’s Miami Marlins, said of Silver “it’s amazing the level of Teflon he’s had, and I don’t know that it’s deserved in any way.” He added that the NBA commissioner’s performance was “not very well workshopped” when addressing the media.

John Skipper, co-founder of Meadowlark Media, acknowledged that the performance was not strong. He said that it was clear that Adam Silver was frustrated by the limitations his job put on what he could do about someone behaving in a way that he did not think was appropriate for the NBA. He did pushback on the idea that Silver had been immune from criticism.

“I’m not sure that I accept that he’s Teflon-like,” Skipper said. “He’s actually made most of the right decisions and done most of the right things and he’s gotten credit for that. I don’t think anyone has hesitated to criticize him when he has done things that are controversial or difficult. Certainly, our friends at FOX News have not provided him with a Teflon coating.”

Samson smiled during the answer, which Skipper addressed by acknowledging that Samson knows that Skipper is friends with Adam Silver. The Meadowlark boss called himself an “apologist” for Silver, but added

“I mostly think he’s done a fabulous job. If you want to hold up what commissioner has done most of the right things in the last seven or eight years, he’s not Teflon-coated, but he has a tremendous track record, which I think deserves our support.”

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Chris Long Tells Jim Rome He’s Gambled on Games to Keep Him Interested For His Podcast

“So you’re like alright I need to do my job tonight, and I’m tired I want to go to bed, but maybe I’ll just throw a couple hundred bucks on the Jaguars,” Long said. “And now I’m invested…”

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Placing bets on NFL games adds a whole other layer to the NFL viewing experience, and Super Bowl champion Chris Long understands that.

Long, who is not that far removed from his playing days in the league, was a guest on The Jim Rome Podcast, and said he initially considered gambling on football as something to compete at after retiring.

But now that he’s had some time to better learn the ins and outs of wagering, he’s become wiser and better informed. It’s helped him when talking about gambling on his own podcast, Green Light with Chris Long.

“I want to be responsible and give out good picks,” Long said. “I don’t want to just throw stuff out there because I’m getting paid by a casino. I’m really interested in the artform of gambling if that makes any sense.”

Long added that having that wagering itch definitely keeps him enthralled in watching football all day like a lot of other NFL fans, even those games people generally think won’t be that good competitively ahead of time.

He said it’s definitely helped with his show.

“I’m not even gonna lie, dude, sometimes you get burned out by football, right? I played it for a long time, now I’m covering it. So you’re like alright I need to do my job tonight, and I’m tired I want to go to bed, but maybe I’ll just throw a couple hundred bucks on the Jaguars,” Long said. “And now I’m invested and I can do my job more effectively because I’m gonna be glued to the TV. So like in a weird way it’s held me a little bit more accountable when it comes to staying on my game.”

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Shams Charania Signs New Contracts to Remain with Stadium and The Athletic

Shams joined those outlets in 2018 and had agreed to two other deals with them in that span.

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After speculation over his future, NBA insider Shams Charania is not going somewhere new.

Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reported Wednesday night that Charania has signed new contracts to remain at Stadium/Bally Sports and The Athletic.

Shams joined those outlets in 2018 and had agreed to two other deals with them in that span.

Shams has been an integral piece in the growth and evolution of Stadium, elevating our content across both digital media and television experiences,” said Stadium CEO Jason Coyle. “He is one of the finest professionals and people in our industry, and we are truly excited to continue building upon our longstanding and trusted relationship.”

Charania, 28, is an integral part of Stadium/Bally Sports NBA coverage. He makes regular appearances on the Sinclair-owned networks on shows like Inside the Association and The Rally.

Shams has not yet addressed the news on his Twitter account, which has 1.8 million followers.

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