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Amazon Considers Broadcaster-Free Version Of Thursday Night Football

“Without the need to generate ratings for one network, a streaming-only platform like Amazon has the flexibility to offer as many alternate viewing options as it wants.”

Brandon Contes

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While networks shell out big dollars for broadcasters, Amazon is considering a Thursday Night Football stream without announcers. 

Last year, when CBS and ESPN engaged in a bidding war for NFL analyst Tony Romo, it begged the question, how important are broadcasters to a sporting event? CBS is paying Romo $18 million per year to talk during a premium NFL matchup that most of us will watch regardless of who is in the booth. That’s not to say Romo’s analysis can’t be a net positive on a broadcast, but it’s fair to question if $18 million a year is an overall net positive investment. 

When Amazon takes over as the exclusive home of Thursday Night Football in 2023, they’ll have announcers, but according to Andrew Marchand of The New York Post, the tech giant is also considering a stream without broadcasters as a customized viewing option. Marchand notes Amazon executives are using the saying “Your game, your way,” to describe their plans for delivering sports to their consumers. 

If Amazon does offer an announcerless stream, it wouldn’t be without precedent in the NFL. In 1980, NBC attempted the experiment of broadcasting without announcers during a matchup between the Jets and Dolphins. 

It was a success in terms of generating enough intrigue to see a ratings boost, but was ultimately a one and done broadcast. More than four decades later, technology is vastly improved in a way that would allow mics and cameras to create a more authentic experience for viewers. 

Without the need to generate ratings for one network, a streaming-only platform like Amazon has the flexibility to offer as many alternate viewing options as it wants. It gives them the opportunity to be more creative than a traditional network whose most innovative ideas feature throwing money at the biggest names in broadcasting. 

Sports Online

Mike Francesa: George Steinbrenner’s Idea to Put Mike and The Mad Dog On YES Network

“It was George’s idea. So give him credit for it. He wanted Mike and The Mad Dog as part of the CBS Radio contract, and we were.”

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Mike and The Mad Dog is often cited as one of, if not the, best sports radio shows of all time. The show saw an expanded reach with its partnership with the YES Network beginning in 2002. During his podcast Tuesday, Mike Francesa gave all the credit to the simulcast hitting the air on YES Network to the late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.

“It was George Steinbrenner that came up with the idea of Mike and The Mad Dog being on the YES Network. No one else,” Francesa said.

“They came to us when they were negotiating a new radio deal with him and they said ‘Hey, we need a quick answer on this. Would you guys want to be on the YES Network every day, simulcasting? You know what Imus is doing with MSNBC? We wanna do it with you guys, but we need a very quick answer’.”

Francesa said the show airing on YES Network was a sticking point for the Yankees in negotiations with CBS Radio to continue airing the franchise’s broadcasts.

“Our first deal with them were not for a lot of money. Our later deals with them were for a very significant amount of money. But it was George’s idea. So give him credit for it. He wanted Mike and The Mad Dog as part of the CBS Radio contract, and we were. Our joining the YES Network was part of the CBS Radio contract.”

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Sports Online

Dave Portnoy Reveals Back-And-Forth With New York Times Reporter Who Claimed He ‘Did Not Provide Answers’

“You waited till (sic) your hit piece was done and now you just need to say you gave me a fair chance to speak even though you have no interest in the truth and your article is already written”.

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A story from The New York Times centered around “aging casino company” — Penn National Gaming — and its relationship with “degenerate gambler” — Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy — caught the eye of the face of the online outlet after the claim that he “didn’t provide answers”.

In the story, Steel claims “Penn and Barstool executives did not respond to repeated messages. Mr. Portnoy did not provide answers.” Portnoy brought the receipts to Twitter with a video of all of the correspondence he had with Times writer Emily Steel.

The alleged conversation takes place sporadically from May through November, with Portnoy offering to meet face-to-face with Steel for an interview that is mutually audio and video recorded, which Steel declines. She offered to meet Portnoy in New York for an audio recorded interview, which he declined, saying the interview needed to take place in Miami, because “I’m not running around to accommodate you at the 11th hour.”

He added “You waited till (sic) your hit piece was done and now you just need to say you gave me a fair chance to speak even though you have no interest in the truth and your article is already written”.

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Sports Online

Kareem Daniel Leaving Disney After Bob Iger Reassumes Role as Company CEO

“This is a time of enormous change and challenges in our industry, and our work will also focus on creating a more efficient and cost-effective structure.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Bob Iger is back as the CEO of Disney, and one of the first moves he made was to announce a company restructure. Part of that restructure includes the departure of Kareem Daniel, the chair of Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution (DMED).

DMED was formed under now-previous CEO Bob Chapek. The division manages Disney’s streaming services which includes ESPN+.

Daniel was considered one of those closest to Chapek. Iger announced Daniel’s departure in a memo to employees at DMED.

“It is my intention to restructure things in a way that honors and respects creativity as the heart and soul of who we are,” Iger said in the memo. “As you know, this is a time of enormous change and challenges in our industry, and our work will also focus on creating a more efficient and cost-effective structure.”

ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro will join other company leaders in coming up with a new company structure that Iger hopes “puts more decision-making back in the hands of our creative teams and rationalizes costs.”

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