Vulture interviewed Bill Simmons on Wednesday, just one day after Spotify reached a $100 million deal to obtain the exclusive rights to The Joe Rogan Experience podcast. Earlier this year, the company acquired Simmons’s The Ringer for a reported $250 million.
“It’s a nut they’ve been trying to crack for two years, but it’s hard to find the right team,” Simmons said of Spotify’s plan for sports content and why the company saw value in The Ringer. “I think they felt they had most of the right pieces in place, and the thing they were missing was that one person who had succeeded in this space and had gut instinct on what works.”
Simmons said that the opportunity to help crack said nut was part of what made joining Spotify so appealing to him.
“There were two big reasons I went to Spotify. One was that they were going to blow out The Ringer — make it bigger, all that stuff. But the second was, they wanted me to figure out their global sports strategy with [Spotify head of studios and video] Courtney Holt, who’s my boss and who reports to [Spotify chief content officer] Dawn Ostroff. That was one of the tasks that we had this first year, and that’s impossible to figure out when we don’t know when sports are coming back.”
The COVID-19 pandemic may have derailed the big picture a bit, but Simmons says The Ringer is in good position to succeed in the short term. He points to shows like The Rewatchables, Binge Mode, The Book of Basketball podcast, and The Watch as perfect shows for the moment – the type of content that doesn’t require an active sports calendar to thrive.
“That goes back to the Grantland days: We try to think outside of the box and get creative during dead spots on the calendar.”
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said that he felt like he was buying “the next ESPN” when the company closed on the deal with The Ringer. Simmons says that those expectations were what pushed Spotify over the top while he was also talking with AT&T and Bleacher Report.
He acknowledges that the path to the top is going to be an interesting one, because while pieces of many companies make up Spotify’s competition, Apple is the only one-to-one competitor in the podcasting space and Simmons is confident that Spotify is more focused on podcasting than Apple is.
When asked if he still has eyes for TV, Simmons notes that his first look deal is still in place at HBO. He is still open to new opportunities, but podcasting and the growth of The Ringer under the Spotify umbrella remain his priorities.
“I love doing my podcast. I love the creativity of it, the format. I don’t just mean that podcast. I love The Rewatchables. I love doing the Book of Basketball stuff. I love popping on other people’s pods.”
Lachlan Murdoch: ‘FOX Bet Has Been Disappointing’
“In a recent interview, he told Axios that the app has around 6.5 million users since its launch.”
FOX is the only network to have a stake in the sports betting industry. The network partnered with FanDuel to launch FOX Bet in 2019. So far, FOX CEO Lachlan Murdoch has not been pleased with the results.
In a recent interview, he told Axios that the app has around 6.5 million users since its launch. He called the performance thus far “disappointing.”
Sports betting is a crowded marketplace. It is possible that players are watching games on FOX and seeing advertisements for the betting app, but are choosing to trust their experience to companies like FanDuel, DraftKings, Caesars, and other companies that are more commonly associated with gambling.
Murdoch believes that a dispute with FanDuel owner Flutter has set FOX Bet back. The two companies have been involved in a standoff over who owns which aspects of FOX Bet and what price FOX is obligated to pay in order to acquire an 18.6% stake in FanDuel. Murdoch says everything “should be resolved by the summer.”
In March, Bloomberg reported that the app is struggling to find new players. FOX Bet is one of the betting partners of the NFL and can advertise its services during games in the fall, but its potential is hindered by only being available to bettors in four states.
Online Sports Betting Not Happening In Maryland In 2022
“Some state regulators had expressed optimism at one point that online sports betting in Maryland would go live by the end of this year or in time for next year’s Super Bowl.”
Online sports betting in Maryland appears to have no shot of happening this year due mainly to the fact that the state’s oversight committee on sports wagering is hung up on how to bring women and minority-owned businesses into the fold.
The Maryland Sports Wagering Application Review Committee (SWARC) is currently awaiting results of a disparity study by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency.
Some state regulators had expressed optimism at one point that online sports betting in Maryland would go live by the end of this year or in time for next year’s Super Bowl. But given where SWARC is, the whole process is being held up to the point that it’ll likely be later in 2023 before residents can use their phones to place bets.
It’s been just over a year since Governor Larry Hogan signed legislation that legalized sports betting in the state. Since then, five casinos in the state have opened retail sportsbooks.
The casinos have handled more than $132 million in bets since December. $26.9 million in wagers were placed in April alone.
Media Reacts To Nick Saban’s Comments On Texas A&M, Jackson State
“Saban’s comments and the ensuing rebuttals will be used to fuel content on sports television and radio through the offseason and likely beyond.”
Nick Saban had some choice words about recruiting in the NIL era on Wednesday night. The Alabama head coach didn’t just voice frustrations with the process. He called out three schools specifically for using Name, Image and Likeness payments to create an advantage for themselves in recruiting.
He said that Texas A&M, which signed the top-ranked recruiting class in 2022 according to a number of outlets “bought every player on their team.”
He said that Jackson State gave a player $1 million to come to the school. “It was in the paper,” he said. “They bragged about it! Nobody did anything about it.”
It is likely that he was talking about defensive back Travis Hunter, widely regarded as one of the five best players in the class of 2022. It should be noted that Jackson State Coach Deion Sanders has been adamant that Hunter did not receive a dime from the school or anyone else.
The comments created plenty of content on sports radio on Thursday.
Jimbo Fischer, the head coach of Texas A&M took the story to a new level with a press conference of his own in which he cryptically encouraged people to “dig into” Saban’s career history.
The commentary in the sports media came in all kinds of forms. Plenty took to Twitter to express an opinion.
Others used the feud to create comedy.
Finally, others did actual reporting. they made phone calls to get context and further the story.
The coaches may be relatively quiet in public for a while. That doesn’t mean the stories and reactions are going away. Saban’s comments and the ensuing rebuttals will be used to fuel content on sports television and radio through the offseason and likely beyond.