Apple May Have Eye On Sports With VR Acquisition
“NexVR provides content to VR headsets and already has a deal in place with the NBA.”
Apple became a player in the content game and the streaming wars with the introduction of Apple+ last year. It has been no secret that in addition to scripted shows, the company would like to have control of live sports rights as well. It’s been previously reported that the company has already reached out to the PAC-12 about acquiring the conference’s primary media rights when current deals with ESPN and FOX expire in 2024.
What would Apple even do with sports rights? Well, according to Pat Evans of Front Office Sports, its recent acquisition of NextVR may provide some answers.
NextVR provides content to VR headsets and already has a deal in place with the NBA. If Apple was really thinking ahead to 2024 and wanting to make sure that it had a new, progressive plan for the PAC-12 or any other potential sports partner, the ability to present games in virtual reality would be quite a point of differentiation from traditional networks.
The closing price of the deal was not reported, although last month 9to5Mac reported that Apple had offered $100 million for NextVR. That is just a fraction of what the company has to build its sports empire. Evans reports that Apple could be willing to throw around as much as $250 billion over the next several years to become a player in the world of sports.
Apple has reportedly been very clear with the PAC-12 that it is not looking for a separate streaming rights deal. The company wants Apple+ to be the primary television rights holder for the league. With the acquisition of NextVR it is worth wondering if that might change or if Apple might be willing to do separate VR deals with pro leagues.
Pat McAfee: I Tried To Give NFL Insiders Chance To Break Adam Thielen Signing
“I gave eight minutes there to be like, this is not my game.”
Pat McAfee wishes NFL insiders like Ian Rapoport would break league news while appearing on his show. He never thought he would have the chance to break some free agency news himself.
Over the weekend, wide receiver Adam Thielen reached out to McAfee on Twitter asking if Pat wanted to break some news. McAfee hesitated initially before responding, but Thielen tipped McAfee off about his new deal with the Carolina Panthers.
On his show Monday, McAfee said part of the reason he waited was because he wanted to give the true insiders like Rapoport a chance to report it first.
“I am not an insider’s business person, and I assume every minute counts in this entire game,” McAfee said.
Pat added that he thought with time being of the essence, eight minutes was more than enough time for the insiders to do their part.
“I gave eight minutes there to be like, this is not my game,” McAfee said. “There’s people that work their f***ing asses off to get this type of thing.”
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He’s a multimedia journalist and communicator who works at the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond. Jordan also contributes occasional coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, WRIC-TV 8News and Audacy Richmond. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.
Peter King: Adam Schefter Shouldn’t Be Surprised Aaron Rodgers Told Him to ‘Pound Sand’
“Being a celebrity or a public figure in no way diminishes anyone’s right-to-privacy vs an unknown neighbor two blocks over.”
Colleague or not, Peter King is not running to defend Adam Schefter after the ESPN NFL insider was told “lose my number” by Aaron Rodgers last week. In this week’s Football Morning in America column, King writes that even though he is a celebrity at the center of the NFL’s biggest story, Rodgers still has the right to privacy if he wants it.
“Adam Schefter is free to pursue leads and stories and info/rumor confirmation in any legal manner he sees fit,” King wrote. “But if Aaron Rodgers did not personally provide a contact tel # to Adam Schefter and grant permission for Schefter to contact him, then Schefter should be neither chagrined nor surprised when Rodgers tells him to go pound sand.”
Schefter has not complained about the interaction, though some colleagues have called Aaron Rodgers out. It seemed he published the text exchange in good spirits after Rodgers talked about it on The Pat McAfee Show.
Peter King notes that there was a time when the NFL made sure reporters had every phone number they needed. That isn’t the case anymore and he understands why.
“I’ve witnessed the pendulum swing, from the days of everybody knowing (or having access to) everybody else’s phone number, to heightened privacy concerns a few decades later, now to google providing instant access to background checks and personal info on billions of people worldwide, with just a few clicks,” he wrote. “Being a celebrity or a public figure in no way diminishes anyone’s right-to-privacy vs an unknown neighbor two blocks over.”
King also acknowledges that it may be hard for the audience, particularly its younger members, to understand his position. We live in a world where so many put their lives on social media. If Aaron Rodgers isn’t one of those people though, King writes it is not unreasonable for him to be put off by someone having his contact information that he did not give it to.
Dan Le Batard: ‘Does Sports Media Care if Interviews Are Done Well?’
“An exclusive interview with Ja Morant, who hasn’t talked to anybody after his controversy, is going to get eyeballs, so it doesn’t matter how good it actually is.”
Mike Greenberg had praise for Jalen Rose this week. He said that no one but his ESPN colleague could have handled the interview with Ja Morant that has been airing on the network. Dan Le Batard has the exact opposite opinion of what he saw.
“What I saw was soft and didn’t seem to serve anybody except ESPN,” Le Batard said on his Thursday show. “This seems to be a lot of people around the economy of basketball and Ja Morant orchestrating an interview so Ja Morant can move onto the next stage of his branding.”
Whereas Greenberg thought the shared experience of an NBA career made Rose more likely to get answers from Morant, Le Batard said it created a problem. He accused Rose of letting Morant get away with using “talking points” in lieu of answering any actual questions about the string of erratic behavior and disturbing incidents the Memphis Grizzlies star has been involved with.
It wasn’t the only interview that Dan Le Batard pointed to. He noted that Pat McAfee’s interview with Aaron Rodgers may have drawn an audience of nearly half a million, but very little substance was offered.
“Does anybody in the audience, in sports fandom, or even, at this point, in sports media companies, care in a real and legitimate way whether the interview is done well or not?”
He added that the standard has changed for these interviews because the goal has changed. They are no longer about journalism as much as they are about branding, particularly in the case of ESPN’s exclusive interview with Ja Morant.
“An exclusive interview with Ja Morant, who hasn’t talked to anybody after his controversy, is going to get eyeballs, so it doesn’t matter how good it actually is,” Le Batard concluded. “All you need, if you’re the media partner, is please get me the famous guy to sit down.”