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Layoffs Hit NBC Sports Digital Properties

“The layoffs from NBC also spread to some of their regional sports networks.”

Brandon Contes

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The return of Major League Baseball, the NBA and NHL has people hoping better days are on the horizon, but it’s yet to stop the bleeding for the sports media industry. On Monday, NBC Sports was in cost cutting mode with their digital department bearing the brunt of the layoffs.

The layoffs hit a few of their sport-specific “Talk” websites, which followed the format of Mike Florio’s Pro Football Talk platform. Impacted by Monday’s cost-cutting moves were NBC’s Hardball Talk, College Basketball Talk and College Football Talk.

Longtime writer and editor of Hardball Talk Craig Calcaterra announced the site was being erased by NBC Sports, and his time with the company was coming to an end after more than 11 years. Also impacted by the end of Hardball Talk were writers Bill Baer and Nick Stellini. Baer joined the site in 2013, becoming a full-time contributor three years later. Stellini began writing for the platform earlier this year. 

https://twitter.com/Baer_Bill/status/1290366518912573442

College Football Talk also appears to have been eliminated by NBC Sports, with a Monday post coming from John Taylor announcing his exit. 

“CFT is no more. At least, when it comes to NBC Sports,” Taylor wrote, adding he was informed his position as writer and editor was being eliminated after almost 12 years with the site. 

College Basketball Talk saw its last post from Rob Dauster Monday morning. Dauster, who was the managing editor and lead writer for College Basketball Talk, tweeted that he was laid off after a decade with the site. 

The layoffs from NBC also spread to some of their regional sports networks. Michael Jenkins was an anchor with NBC Sports Washington for 16 years, but unfortunately his tenure with the network came to an end Monday. 

Jenkins NBC Sports Washington colleague Sara Perlman also announced she was laid off. Perlman and Jenkins previously worked together on NBC Sports Radio’s The Daily Line, which was cancelled earlier this year when Westwood One decided to stop distributing the brand. 

UPDATE: Kelli Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area has confirmed on Twitter that she was laid off on Monday as well.

The Chicago Tribune reports that layoffs have hit NBC Sports Chicago as well and will also impact the amount of original programming on the network.

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Julian Edelman Considers Himself A Pioneer

“I’ve been a football player since I was 8 years old, but I did have other interests. Now that I am done, I get to explore that.”

Ricky Keeler

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Since his playing days with the New England Patriots ended after the 2020 season, Julian Edelman has kept himself busy with his role on Inside the NFL and now co-hosting the Games with Names podcast with comedian Sam Morril. So, what was Edelman looking for with his post-football endeavors?

Edelman was a guest on the most-recent episode of the Half-Forgotten History podcast with Trey Wingo and he said that the vibe that Inside The NFL has with Phil Simms, James Brown, Brandon Marshall, Michael Irvin, and Ray Lewis was something that he was looking for.

“With Inside the NFL, I have those guys and there’s a camaraderie. We get to have that breaking bread and just locker room kind of vibe. On the podcast, it’s the same thing.”

The MVP of Super Bowl XLIII mentioned that the key to doing the things he does now in his post-career came from the way him and his team were able to use social media to build his own brand and help ease the transition from a playing career to a member of the media.

“When I retired, I was fortunate enough to put a good team around me for all of my off-the-field things. We built a brand through social media. Kind of pioneers of this whole thing with social and e-commerce and millennial/Gen-Z things. It helped me land a role on Inside the NFL and go and have an ability to start a podcast, Games With Names. It’s been good and it honestly helps with the transition.”

Now that Edelman’s playing days are in the past, he said that he now has the opportunity to do things that he was always interested in since he was a kid, but did not have the time for and he is grateful for the opportunities that the NFL has allowed him to have.

“I’ve been a football player since I was 8 years old, but I did have other interests. Now that I am done, I get to explore that. I am so grateful for football and for the game just because it has given me the opportunity to do things that are fun and amazing.”

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LaVar Arrington, ‘Up On Game Presents’ Forges Multiplatform Deal With John Brenkus, Brinx.TV

The two entities have created a show called The NIL House, which will feature Brenkus and Rob Vaka discussing the latest news, biggest stories, athletes, collectives, and celebrities in the Name, Image, and Likeness space.

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Fox Sports Radio morning co-host LaVar Arrington has announced a multi-platform deal with creator and host of Sport Science John Brenkus and Brinx.TV.

The two entities have created a show called The NIL House, which will feature Brenkus and Rob Vaka discussing the latest news, biggest stories, athletes, collectives, and celebrities in the Name, Image, and Likeness space.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with a pioneer like John Brenkus and Brinx.TV,” said Arrington. “This relationship will dramatically expedite our slate of programming and positively impact the sports entertainment industry.”

“LaVar Arrington has dominated the world of sports on and off the field,” adds Brenkus. “By combining Up On Game and Brinx.TV’s distribution platforms, there really is no limit to our success.”

Up On Game Presents is the podcast platform Arrington curates, in conjunction with Fox Sports Radio. The Up On Game podcast features Arrington and former NFL Pro Bowl wide receivers T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Plaxico Burress.

Brinx.TV was created in February of 2021 and allows subscribers the ability to watch live programming while also make purchases, bid in auctions, buy NFTs, and answer trivia questions.

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Amazon Under Fire For TNF Halftime Show’s Handling of Tua Injury

There was plenty of reaction to how Amazon covered the situation and lacked the awareness to acknowledge what transpired last Sunday.

Jordan Bondurant

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Tua

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffered a head injury in the 2nd quarter of Thursday night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

The images of Tua’s injury and the reaction of his body to the injury shocked not only the other players and fans in the stadium, but also those watching the Thursday night game on Amazon Prime Video.

At halftime, Tony Gonzalez, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Richard Sherman all offered their reactions, with host Charissa Thompson providing an update from the team.

But noticeably absent in that discussion and reaction was the fact that Tua was playing in the game and suffered a head injury less than a week after he was believed to have suffered a concussion in Miami’s Week 3 game against the Buffalo Bills. Add in the fact that the NFL Players Association is also investigating whether league concussion protocols were followed, as Tua returned to that game and helped lead the Dolphins to a victory.

There was plenty of reaction to how Amazon covered the situation and lacked the awareness to acknowledge what transpired last Sunday.

The network did provide a deeper discussion during its postgame show and Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit addressed the issue in the 3rd quarter. Unfortunately it didn’t become a bigger discussion on the broadcast until social media became littered with negative reactions to the halftime show’s approach to discussing the various issues involving the Dolphins quarterback prior to his injury during Thursday night’s game.

With Amazon now in partnership with the NFL, it’ll be interesting to watch how the network handles future sensitive issues given what they experienced covering the Tua Tagovailoa story.

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