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Shannon Sharpe, Mike Florio & First Take Add Value To Deshaun Watson Discussion

“I immediately began to scour the national airwaves to gauge reaction, in preparation for our local afternoon drive show.”

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Although I did write weeks ago that sports media, out of necessity, would likely cling to the Quarterback Carousel up until the NFL Draft; no one could’ve anticipated the bombshell that has dropped regarding one of the league’s superstars. Three-time Pro Bowl signal caller, Deshaun Watson, is being sued by at least three different masseuses for alleged sexual assault. Yeah, all of this developing in the midst of a demand by Deshaun to be traded from the Houston Texans. I’ve never seen anything quite like this! The hard part? How are we “supposed” to address this publicly, without providing a disservice to our audience, nor the parties involved in this lawsuit, given its troubling nature?

Upon researching the limited amount of material originally made available on the matter; I immediately began to scour the national airwaves to gauge reaction, in preparation for our local afternoon drive show. After all, I do live and work in Charlotte, which happens to host a franchise that is hell-bent on getting D-Wat back to Carolinas. No tiptoeing around this one was going to be permitted by our listenership.

Deshaun Watson Trade Rumors: Panthers Intrigue Texans QB | Bleacher Report  | Latest News, Videos and Highlights

My first stop was to Undisputed to hear what Skip & Shannon had to say. I ultimately found the greatest value in Shannon speaking from his experience as a former pro athlete regarding regular interaction with masseuses. As is usually the case, I thought Unc did a masterful job highlighting best practices when engaging in activities of this nature as to protect the athlete, and the therapist, from any potential issues or misunderstandings. Shannon possess a rare talent to be authentic and insightful, while also being respectful, especially when it pertains to delicate circumstances such as this. You got skills Brotha Sharpe!

Next, I flipped over to peep the First Take crew. I needed to hear Stephen A. specifically articulate the gravity of the situation Deshaun has now found himself in. Different from Shannon’s perspective, I correctly anticipated Stephen A. would approach this from a seasoned journalistic point of view. That said, I definitely appreciated the sensitivity in tone and delivery he utilized in evaluating the information that had been presented involving the plaintiffs and Watson thus far. Real talk, I marvel at the man’s impeccable timing and ability to add just the right amount of entertainment value or humor to contrast the seriousness of certain topics. 

I also noted the fair and objective positions all three people at the desk maintained throughout the segment. Obviously, and rightfully so, topics involving the wellbeing or disrespect of women can impassion Molly. I genuinely value her input, especially on these kinds of topics, as to make sure I am considering all of the necessary vantage points for objective discussion. I love their show! It’s can’t miss for me.

Lastly, given the legal component of these sexual assault allegations surrounding D-Wat, I desired a unique insight from someone with legal experience, but also an understanding of NFL culture. Pro Football Talk’s, Mike Florio, did not disappoint! I appreciate the simplicity in which Mike navigated the intricacies of the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy, the precedent for civil law suits involving players, the uniqueness of this particular case, and ultimately what he’d do were he in Mr. Watson’s shoes. I doubt there is anywhere better to rival this caliber of content. Florio is the real deal!

Now that I had heard various qualified takes on the alarming matter, from people I respect in the industry, it was time for me to make a determination as to how I would address this with our audience. What would be my public stance here? I can’t be Shannon, Stephen A., nor Florio. It was necessary I offer up my own observations, though admittedly, moderately influenced by their expertise. How would my commentary land for our fan base? For a variety of reasons, I anticipated it would be received with mixed emotions, and thus needed to prepare accordingly. 

In the end, I came to the conclusion that in America, we all are afforded the presumption of innocence until proven guilty under the law. Knowing full-well that the NFL Personal Conduct Policy is not bound explicitly to that law. Although I too find the allegations against Deshaun Watson disturbing, now is not the time, and I am not the arbiter, to convict or exonerate him within the court of afternoon drive. As I routinely remind our listenership, my responsibility is not to tell them what to think. I simply share with them what I think, while providing an inviting climate for concurring or differing thought. I’ll leave that propaganda radio for somebody else. 

BSM Writers

Keeping Premier League Games Shouldn’t Be A Hard Call For NBC

“Beyond its massive global fanbase, the Premier League offers NBC/Peacock a unique modern 21st-century sport for the short attention span of fans.”

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NBC Sports is facing some tough, costly decisions that will define its sports brand for the rest of this decade.  A chance to connect with viewers in a changing climate and grow Peacock’s audience as well.  However, making the right choice is paramount to not losing to apps like Paramount+ (pun intended).

NBC is currently in the business of negotiating to continue airing the Premier League as their current deal ends after this 2021-2022 season.  NASCAR is contracted to NBC (and FOX) through the 2024 season.

NBC’s tentpole sports are the NFL and the Olympics.  

Negotiations for the EPL are expected to go down to the wire. Rather than re-up with NBC, the league is meeting with other networks to drive up the price. NBC has to then make a decision if the rights go north of $2 billion.

Should NBC spend that much on a sport that is not played in the United States? It’s not my money, but that sport continues to grow in the US.

If NBC re-ups with the Premier League, will that leave any coins in the cupboard to re-up with NASCAR? Comcast CEO Brian Roberts hinted that there might be some penny pinching as the prices continue to soar. This may have been one of the reasons that NBC did not fight to keep the National Hockey League, whose rights will be with Disney and WarnerMedia through ESPN and TNT, respectively.

“These are really hard calls,” Roberts said. “You don’t always want to prevail, and sometimes you’re right and sometimes you’re wrong, but I think the sustainability of sports is a critical part of what our company does well.”

Roberts was speaking virtually at the recent Goldman Sachs 30th Annual Communacopia Conference. He told the audience that between NBC and European network Sky, that Comcast has allocated approximately $20 billion towards these sports properties.

Comcast CFO Michael Cavanagh spoke virtually at the Bank of America Securities 2021 Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference and echoed that the company is in a good position to make some strong choices in the sports realm. 

“The bar is really high for us to pursue outright acquisitions of any material size,” Cavanagh added. “We got a great hand to play with what we have.”

While the European investments involve a partnership with American rival Viacom, the US market seems to have apparent limits.

Last Saturday’s NASCAR Cup Series at Bristol Motor Speedway was seen by around 2.19 million people. It was the most-watched motorsports event of the weekend. That same week eight different Premier League matches saw over 1 million viewers. More than half of those matches were on subscription-based Peacock. 

Beyond its massive global fanbase, the Premier League offers NBC/Peacock a unique modern 21st-century sport for the short attention span of fans. A game of typical soccer fan is used to a sport that is less than two hours long. The investment in a team is one or two games a week. 

My connection to the Premier League began before the pandemic.  When I cut the cord in late 2017, I purchase Apple TV.  Setting it up, it asks you to name your favorite teams.  After clicking on the Syracuse Orange and the New Jersey Devils, I recalled that my wife has family based in London, England.  They are season ticket holders for Arsenal, and that family redefined the word “die-hard” fans.

I’ve long been a believer that sports allegiances are best when handed down by family. I love hearing stories of people loving the New York Giants because their parents liked them, and they pass it down to their children.

I’ve successfully given my allegiance to the Devils to my young daughters. 

By telling Apple TV that I liked Arsenal, I get alerts from three different apps when the “Gunners” are playing. The $4.99 is totally worth it to see Arsenal.

Whenever I told this story, I was amazed to see how many other American sports fans had a Premier League team. Students of mine at Seton Hall University rooted for Tottenham Hotspurs, while an old colleague cheers on Chelsea.

Global Is Cool': The Growing Appeal of Premier League Soccer in America
Courtesy: Morning Consult

This is not meant to say that NBC should sign the EPL on my account. The key for any US-based soccer fan is that between Bundesliga, Serie A, and other leagues, there will be no shortage of soccer available on both linear television and streaming services.

Besides, Dani Rojas did say that “Football is life.”  NBC, originator of the Ted Lasso character, should make keeping its Premier League US connection a priority.

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BSM Writers

Media Noise – Episode 45

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Today, Demetri is joined by Tyler McComas and Russ Heltman. Tyler pops on to talk about the big start to the college football season on TV. Russ talks about Barstool’s upfront presentation and how the business community may not see any problems in working with the brand. Plus, Demetri is optimistic about FOX Sports Radio’s new morning show.

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BSM Writers

6 Ad Categories Hotter Than Gambling For Sports Radio

“Using sports radio as a back page service for gambling will have a limited shelf life.”

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For years sports radio stations pushed sports gambling advertisers to early Saturday and Sunday morning. The 1-800 ads, shouting, and false claims were seedy, and some stations wouldn’t even accept the business at 5 am on Sunday.

Now, with all but ten states ready to go all in on sports gambling, sports radio stations can’t get enough of that green. Demetri Ravanos wrote about the money cannon that sports gambling has become for stations. Well, what if you are in one of those ten states where it isn’t likely to ever be legal like California or Texas? Where is your pot of gold?

A Pot of Gold Articles - Analyzing Metals
Courtesy: iStockphoto

Or, let’s face it, the more gambling ads you run, the more risk you take on that the ads will not all work as you cannibalize the audience and chase other listeners away who ARE NOT online gambling service users and never will be. So, what about you? Where is your pot of gold?

Well, let’s go Digging for Gold. 

The RAB produces the MRI-Simmons Gold Digger PROSPECTING REPORT for several radio formats. In it, they index sports radio listeners’ habits against an average of 18+ Adult. The Gold Digger report looks at areas where the index is higher than the norm – meaning the sports radio audience is more likely to use the product or service than an average 18+ Adult who doesn’t listen to sports radio. The report, generated in 2020, indicates that sports radio listeners are 106% more likely to have used an online gambling site in the last thirty days. That’s impressive because the report only lists 32 activities or purchases a sports radio listener indexes higher than an average adult. I looked at those 32 higher indexes, and I think we can start looking for some gold.

Using sports radio as a back page service for gambling will have a limited shelf life. The gambling companies who commit significant money to get results will continue advertising and chase the others away. So, the future of sports radio needs to include other cash cows.

If it is evident to online sports gambling services that sports radio stations are a must-buy, who else should feel that way?  I looked at the Top 32 and eliminated the media companies. ESPN, MLB/NHL/NFL networks, and others aren’t spending cash on sports radio stations they don’t own in general. But Joseph A Bank clothing, Fidelity, and Hotwire should! Here’s your PICK-6 list I pulled together that’s hotter than sports gambling:

  • Sportscard collectors, Dapper Labs, Open Sea- read about Sports NFT $.
  • Online brokerage firms-Fidelity, Charles Schwab, Robinhood, Webull, TD Ameritrade
  • Golf courses, resorts, equipment, etc.- we play golf at home and vacation
  • Hotwire.com, Booking.com, TripAdvisor, Airbnb, Carnival Corporation, and Priceline.com- we’ve used Hotwire in the last year.
  • FedEx, UPS, U.S. Postal Service, Venmo, PayPal, Zelle-we wired or overnighted $ 
  • Jos. A. Bank, shein.com, macys.com, nordstroms.com- we went to Jos. A. Bank in last three months

The sports card/NFT market is 32% hotter than the sports betting market for sports radio listeners. Everything on the PICK-6 is at least 100% more likely to purchase than an average 18+ Adult who doesn’t listen to sports radio. All listed are at or above indexing strength compared to sports betting. The individual companies I added are industry leaders. Bet on it! Email me for details. 

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