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Josh Pacheco Is Living In A Football State

“You get to the fall, that’s the ratings driver and if it’s not UH doing well, then we know Tua will, and we know the NFL will constantly have people dialed in.”

Tyler McComas




In 10 days, the legendary voice of Eli Gold, play-by-play voice of Alabama football, will echo through radio speakers all across the country. From Birmingham, to Nashville, even the beaches of Florida, whichever street corner in the south you’re on, you’re always in distance of hearing the Tide on the radio every Saturday. 

But what if I told you on August 31st you could be standing on the shores of Oahu with a radio in hand and hear Tua Tagovailoa throw a touchdown pass to Jerry Jeudy?

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You could do it. No, not because of some new radio transmission that can pick up a game that’s over 5,000 miles away, but because Hawaii has a deep passion for both its native sons and the game of football. 

Born in ‘Ewa Beach, Hawaii, Tua has become a favorite of the locals in the Aloha State. Ever since he led a magical comeback against Georgia to win the 2017 National Championship, there’s been fanfare around a local product that’s completely unmatched. So much so, that Josh Pacheco and the staff at ESPN Honolulu decided it would be beneficial to air every single one of his games. 

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“We started after the National Championship Game (his freshman year),” Pacheco said. “We saw how big of a conversation it was locally, but it was against the grain. It’s not something that I would’ve thought of initially, but the idea came up to get Tua for every game, so we tried it to see how it would go. We know there are people who like hearing about a local boy doing well and it does generate a little bit of revenue for us. It was a no-brainer to bring it back this year for a second season. The response was great.”

Though the locals love and attention was high enough for ESPN Honolulu to send a team to New York City last December to cover Tua’s run for a Heisman trophy, the appetite for football doesn’t stop there. In fact, if you think it’s all surf talk on the airwaves in Oahu, you’re dead wrong. There’s a deep fandom for both the University of Hawaii and the NFL that drives the market during this time of the calendar. Though it may seem in its own bubble, the island is just like every other state. It loves its football. 

“Hawaii football is always going to come first,” said Pacheco. “Obviously, breaking news may get in the way of things, but you’ll cover Hawaii football, you’ll cover Tua and then the NFL. But in terms of particular NFL teams, I wouldn’t go with any, we have the ones that we particular identify with, one being the Rams because we’re an affiliate. The 49ers are also an affiliate, throw in the Cowboys because they’re America’s Team, the Raiders etc. But I want our hosts to focus on storylines and things that everyone is talking about, because there are fans of Denver, Seattle and so many other teams here. But generally it’s football, football, football. You get to the fall, that’s the ratings driver and if it’s not UH doing well, then we know Tua will, and we know the NFL will constantly have people dialed in.”

Most people, especially ones that live in the continental United States, will always view Hawaii as a dreamland that resembles paradise. The vibe on the island seems to give off one that’s more relaxing than any other in the country. Though that’s the opinion of someone who lives 4,000 miles away, the beautiful sandy beaches of Oahu seem like a far cry from the hustle and bustle of major cities on the east coast such as New York City, Boston and Philadelphia. With that being said, it would seem as though the vibe of sports radio in Honolulu would be one that’s completely opposite of that than the major hubs on the eastern seaboard. 

“I’d say it’s probably pretty similar to the west coast,” said Pacheco. “But it’s hard for me because I believe there’s a ‘take it easy’ kind of vibe, but it all depends on the show. Our afternoon show is a little more fun, they do kind of take it easy, it’s a little bit more lighthearted, but then again, they still do bring the hot takes. I think overall, the tone of local radio here, when it comes to sports talk and the direction that I’m trying to drive it towards, yeah, it can be laid back and I’m all for it. It can be a little more fun but you still have to deliver the opinions in a way that engages people. But we’re not as vacation-y as it might sound.”

As stated earlier, Hawaii has a deep appreciation for its native sons that leave the island to become stars on the mainland. An example of this is how ESPN Honolulu covers Marcus Kemp of the Kansas City Chiefs. Though the former UH wide receiver went undrafted in 2017 and has just one catch for eight yards in his NFL career, he will make appearances on the station to update the locals how his career is progressing.

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Another example is the coverage UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton has gotten. The Mililani native was getting his fair share of run on ESPN Honolulu while he was healthy and racking up wins in Orlando. Not to the extent of Tua, but there was still plenty of conversation that surrounded the UCF star. No matter the athlete, there always seems to be time carved out to talk about the players with local ties who have accomplished great things. 

As Tua and the Crimson Tide gear up for a redemption tour, you can bet Hawaiians all across the state will be following every single pass this season. Luckily for them, no matter if the Tide are on TV or not, ESPN Honolulu has created an avenue so that all the locals can keep up with their favorite native son. But seeing as this is likely Tua’s last year in Tuscaloosa before he departs for the NFL, what then? Has Bama fandom become so profound on the island that the station can continue to air their games after he’s gone? 

“It’s a topic of conversation that I don’t think we’ve fully broached yet,” said Pacheco. “His brother, Taulia, is on the team and if he ends up being a starting quarterback it’s something we might talk about. We never aired Marcus Mariota‘s games when he was at Oregon, but now he’s with the Titans and there’s a rival station of ours that airs his games. Airing Tua’s games when he’s in the NFL is something we could possibly talk about.” 

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When you think of football in Hawaii, the first thing that may come to mind is Aloha Stadium in Honolulu. The venue has hosted a bowl game every December for many years, but is best known for hosting the Pro Bowl throughout the 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s. Recently, the game was moved away from the island in search of greener pastures and more exposure. Usually, removing a product from an area could mean it’s met with less attention in the future, but the love for the NFL is still strong enough in Hawaii to survive the game finding a new home. Last Saturday was a prime example of that. 

“I don’t think there was much of a drop,” Pacheco said. “I think everyone knew the Pro Bowl was on its way out for a little while. There were a lot of people that weren’t necessarily big on the product anyway, because it was less of a game and more of guys just coming here playing at half speed. You have people here who remember the old days of the Pro Bowl and we have a lot of people who follow their own teams.

“Last Saturday was big because we had the Rams and Cowboys for a preseason game. It was a big reminder of how much fans here love the NFL game. It was a preseason game and you had 49,000 tickets issued. It was announced as a sellout right out of the gate. Even with the really crummy second-half, just about everyone stayed in their seats or stood on the concourse watching the game. That was a reminder to how much the state loves the NFL and how much they love football in general. With the melting pot of teams that people love here, because of the military families that move here, and local fans just loving and watching what they see on TV, the Pro Bowl was a loss, revenue wise, but it was a big glimmer of hope to see the Cowboys and Rams do community things and put on a good show.”

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Hawaii will always be one of the crown jewels of our country. The beaches, the scenery, the vibe, it all makes for an enjoyable and relaxing visit that one will never forget. But don’t underestimate its love for football and sports radio. 

Hawaii is a football state. 

BSM Writers

The Future Is Now, Embrace Amazon Prime Video, AppleTV+

As annoying as streaming sports is and as much as I haven’t fully adapted to the habit yet, Amazon and Apple have done a magnificent job of trying to make the process as easy and simplified as possible.

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This week has been a reckoning for sports and its streaming future on Amazon Prime Video, AppleTV+, ESPN+, and more.

Amazon announced that Thursday Night Football, which averaged 13 million viewers, generated the highest number of U.S. sign ups over a three hour period in the app’s history. More people in the United States subscribed to Prime during the September 15th broadcast than they did during Black Friday, Prime Day, and Cyber Monday. It was also “the most watched night of primetime in Prime Video’s history,” according to Amazon executive Jay Marine. The NFL and sports in general have the power to move mountains even for some of the nation’s biggest and most successful brands.

This leads us to the conversation happening surrounding Aaron Judge’s chase for history. Judge has been in pursuit of former major leaguer Roger Maris’ record for the most home runs hit during one season in American League history.

The sports world has turned its attention to the Yankees causing national rights holders such as ESPN, Fox, and TBS to pick up extra games in hopes that they capture the moment history is made. Apple TV+ also happened to have a Yankees game scheduled for Friday night against the Red Sox right in the middle of this chase for glory.

Baseball fans have been wildin’ out at the prospects of missing the grand moment when Judge passes Maris or even the moments afterwards as Judge chases home run number 70 and tries to truly create monumental history of his own. The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand has even reported there were talks between YES, MLB, and Apple to bring Michael Kay into Apple’s broadcast to call the game, allow YES Network to air its own production of the game, or allow YES Network to simulcast Apple TV+’s broadcast. In my opinion, all of this hysteria is extremely bogus.

As annoying as streaming sports is and as much as I haven’t fully adapted to the habit yet, Amazon and Apple have done a magnificent job of trying to make the process as easy and simplified as possible. Amazon brought in NBC to help with production of TNF and if you watch the flow of the broadcast, the graphics of the broadcast, NBC personalities like Michael Smith, Al Michaels, and Terry McAuliffe make appearances on the telecast – it is very clear that the network’s imprint is all over the show.

NBC’s experience in conducting the broadcast has made the viewing experience much more seamless. Apple has also used MLB Network and its personalities for assistance in ensuring there’s no major difference between what you see on air vs. what you’re streaming.

Amazon and Apple have also decided to not hide their games behind a paywall. Since the beginning of the season, all of Apple’s games have been available free of charge. No subscription has ever been required. As long as you have an Apple device and can download Apple TV+, you can watch their MLB package this season.

Guess what? Friday’s game against the Red Sox is also available for free on your iPhone, your laptop, or your TV simply by downloading the AppleTV app. Amazon will also simulcast all Thursday Night Football games on Twitch for free. It may be a little harder or confusing to find the free options, but they are out there and they are legal and, once again, they are free.

Apple has invested $85 million into baseball, money that will go towards your team becoming better hypothetically. They’ve invested money towards creating a new kind of streaming experience. Why in the hell would they offer YES Network this game for free? There’s no better way for them to drive subscriptions to their product than by offering fans a chance at watching history on their platform.

A moment like this are the main reason Apple paid for rights in the first place. When Apple sees what the NFL has done for Amazon in just one week and coincidentally has the ability to broadcast one of the biggest moments in baseball history – it would be a terrible business decision to let viewers watch it outside of the Apple ecosystem and lose the ability to gain new fans.

It’s time for sports fans to grow up and face reality. Streaming is here to stay. 

MLB Network is another option

If you don’t feel like going through the hassle of watching the Yankees take on the Red Sox for free on Apple TV+, MLB Network will also air all of Judge’s at bats live as they are happening. In case the moment doesn’t happen on Apple TV+ on Friday night, Judge’s next games will air in full on MLB Network (Saturday), ESPN (Sunday), MLB Network again (Monday), TBS (Tuesday) and MLB Network for a third time on Wednesday. All of MLB Network’s games will be simulcast of YES Network’s local New York broadcast. It wouldn’t shock me to see Fox pick up another game next Thursday if the pursuit still maintains national interest.

Quick bites

  • One of the weirdest things about the experience of streaming sports is that you lose the desire to channel surf. Is that a good thing or bad thing? Brandon Ross of LightShed Ventures wonders if the difficulty that comes with going from app to app will help Amazon keep viewers on TNF the entire time no matter what the score of the game is. If it does, Amazon needs to work on developing programming to surround the games or start replaying the games, pre and post shows so that when you fall asleep and wake up you’re still on the same stream on Prime Video or so that coming to Prime Video for sports becomes just as much of a habit for fans as tuning in to ESPN is.
  • CNN has announced the launch of a new morning show with Don Lemon, Poppy Harlow and Kaitlin Collins. Variety reports, “Two people familiar with plans for the show say it is likely to use big Warner Bros. properties — a visit from the cast of HBO’s Succession or sports analysis from TNT’s NBA crew — to lure eyeballs.” It’ll be interesting to see if Turner Sports becomes a cornerstone of this broadcast. Will the NBA start doing schedule releases during the show? Will a big Taylor Rooks interview debut on this show before it appears on B/R? Will the Stanley Cup or Final Four MVP do an interview on CNN’s show the morning after winning the title? Does the show do remote broadcasts from Turner’s biggest sports events throughout the year?
  • The Clippers are back on over the air television. They announced a deal with Nexstar to broadcast games on KTLA and other Nexstar owned affiliates in California. The team hasn’t reached a deal to air games on Bally Sports SoCal or Bally Sports Plus for the upcoming season. Could the Clippers pursue a solo route and start their own OTT service in time for the season? Are they talking to Apple, Amazon, or ESPN about a local streaming deal? Is Spectrum a possible destination? I think these are all possibilities but its likely that the Clippers end up back on Bally Sports since its the status quo. I just find it interesting that it has taken so long to solidify an agreement and that it wasn’t announced in conjunction with the KTLA deal. The Clippers are finally healthy this season, moving into a new arena soon, have the technology via Second Spectrum to produce immersive game casts. Maybe something is brewing?
  • ESPN’s Monday Night Football double box was a great concept. The execution sucked. Kudos to ESPN for adjusting on the fly once complaints began to lodge across social media. I think the double box works as a separate feed. ESPN2 should’ve been the home to the double box. SVP and Stanford Steve could’ve held a watch party from ESPN’s DC studio with special guests. The double box watch party on ESPN2 could’ve been interrupted whenever SVP was giving an update on games for ESPN and ABC. It would give ESPN2 a bit of a behind the scenes look at how the magic happens similarly to what MLB Tonight did last week. Credit to ESPN and the NFL for experimenting and continuing to try and give fans unique experiences.

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BSM Writers

ESPN Shows Foresight With Monday Night Football Doubleheader Timing

ESPN is obviously testing something, and it’s worth poking around at why the network wouldn’t follow the schedule it has used for the last 16 years, scheduling kickoffs at 7 and then 10 on their primary channel.

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The Monday Night Football doubleheader was a little bit different this time around for ESPN.

First, it came in Week 2 instead of Week 1. And then, the games were staggered 75 minutes apart on two different channels, the Titans and Bills beginning on ESPN at 7:15 PM ET and the Vikings at the Eagles starting at 8:30 PM on ABC and ESPN+. This was a departure from the usual schedule in which the games kicked off at 7:00 PM ET and then 10:00 PM ET with the latter game on the West Coast.

ESPN is obviously testing something, and it’s worth poking around at why the network wouldn’t follow the schedule it has used for the last 16 years, scheduling kickoffs at 7:00 PM and then 10:00 PM ET on their primary channel. That’s the typical approach, right? The NFL is the most valuable offering in all of sports and ESPN would have at least six consecutive hours of live programming without any other game to switch to.

Instead, they staggered the starts so the second game kicked off just before the first game reached halftime. They placed the games on two different channels, which risked cannibalizing their audience. Why? Well, it’s the same reason that ESPN was so excited about the last year’s Manningcast that it’s bringing it back for 10 weeks this season. ESPN is not just recognizing the reality of how their customers behave, but they’re embracing it.

Instead of hoping with everything they have that the customer stays in one place for the duration of the game, they’re recognizing the reality that they will leave and providing another product within their portfolio to be a destination when they do.

It’s the kind of experiment everyone in broadcasting should be investigating because, for all the talk about meeting the customer where they are, we still tend to be a little bit stubborn about adapting to what they do. 

Customers have more choices than ever when it comes to media consumption. First, cable networks softened the distribution advantages of broadcast networks, and now digital offerings have eroded the distribution advantages of cable networks. It’s not quite a free-for-all, but the battle for viewership is more intense, more wide open than ever because that viewer has so many options of not just when and where but how they will consume media.

Programmers have a choice in how to react to this. On the one hand, they can hold on tighter to the existing model and try to squeeze as much out of it as they can. If ESPN was thinking this way it would stack those two Monday night games one after the other just like it always has and hope like hell for a couple of close games to juice the ratings. Why would you make it impossible for your customer to watch both of these products you’ve paid so much to televise?

I’ve heard radio programmers and hosts recite take this same approach for more than 10 years now when it comes to making shows available on-demand. Why would you give your customers the option of consuming the product in a way that’s not as remunerative or in a way that is not measured?

That thinking is outdated and it is dangerous from an economic perspective because it means you’re trying to make the customer behave in your best interest by restricting their choices. And maybe that will work. Maybe they like that program enough that they’ll consume it in the way you’d prefer or maybe they decide that’s inconvenient or annoying or they decide to try something else and now this customer who would have listened to your product in an on-demand format is choosing to listen to someone else’s product entirely.

After all, you’re the only one that is restricting that customer’s choices because you’re the only one with a desire to keep your customer where he is. Everyone else is more than happy to give your customer something else. 

There’s a danger in holding on too tightly to the existing model because the tighter you squeeze, the more customers will slip through your fingers, and if you need a physical demonstration to complete this metaphor go grab a handful of sand and squeeze it hard.

Your business model is only as good as its ability to predict the behavior of your customers, and as soon as it stops doing that, you need to adjust that business model. Don’t just recognize the reality that customers today will exercise the freedom that all these media choices provide, embrace it.

Offer more products. Experiment with more ways to deliver those products. The more you attempt to dictate the terms of your customer’s engagement with your product, the more customers you’ll lose, and by accepting this you’ll open yourself to the reality that if your customer is going to leave your main offering, it’s better to have them hopping to another one of your products as opposed to leaving your network entirely.

Think in terms of depth of engagement, and breadth of experience. That’s clearly what ESPN is doing because conventional thinking would see the Manningcast as a program that competes with the main Monday Night Football broadcast, that cannibalizes it. ESPN sees it as a complimentary experience. An addition to the main broadcast, but it also has the benefit that if the customer feels compelled to jump away from the main broadcast – for whatever reason – it has another ESPN offering that they may land on.

I’ll be watching to see what ESPN decides going forward. The network will have three Monday Night Football doubleheaders beginning next year, and the game times have not been set. Will they line them up back-to-back as they had up until this year? If they do it will be a vote of confidence that its traditional programming approach that evening is still viable. But if they overlap those games going forward, it’s another sign that less is not more when it comes to giving your customers a choice in products.

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BSM Writers

Media Noise: Sunday Ticket Has Problems, Marcellus Wiley Does Not

Demetri Ravanos




On this episode of Media Noise, Demetri is joined by Brian Noe to talk about the wild year FS1’s Marcellus Wiley has had and by Garrett Searight to discuss the tumultuous present and bright future of NFL Sunday Ticket.






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