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Sportico Obtains Financial Breakdowns From Learfield IMG

Sportico uncovered the financials in secret documents.

Russ Heltman

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The financial breakdown between Learfield IMG and their college affiliates has been a mystery for a long time, until now. Sportico obtained royalty reports from eight schools showing the financial breakdown with the universities and their athletics broadcast partner.

Georgia takes the top spot among the eight obtained reports as the most lucrative relationship for Learfield IMG. Georgia Athletics broadcasts made Learfield IMG $7.4 million in the 2019-20 season. Marshall slotted in as the least profitable relationship until the numbers from UCLA came in. 

Marshall made Learfield IMG $492,000 in 2019-20, but UCLA didn’t net them a profit. Bruins athletic broadcasts lost the company a combined $2.63 million from 2018 through 2020. Sportico attempted to secure information from more than eight schools, but received heavy pushback, especially when requesting University of Texas records. Learfield IMG petitioned the state Attorney General’s Open Records Division to deny the request. They cited the request as “profoundly detrimental” to its business.

“The trade-secret exemption is probably the single most abused and distorted of all freedom-of-information exemptions,” said Frank LoMonte, director of the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information at the University of Florida in the article. “If open records laws mean anything at all, they mean that the public gets to see how an agency’s money is being spent and where revenue is coming from. The public has an absolute right to know whether a university negotiated a good bargain, or whether a commercial partner like Learfield is getting a preferential sweetheart deal.”

Zooming in on the one school that hasn’t brought in profits, Learfield IMG told Sportico that their relationship with UCLA isn’t dire.

“It’s important to separate a ‘renegotiation’ from necessary adjustments, due to impairments, which are in keeping with the contracts we have in place with our partners,” the company said. “As with practically all of our discussions at the moment, conversations with UCLA are primarily about the latter and not the former.”

The pandemic-related impact reduced the money Learfield IMG owed to UCLA after last season by $305,294. Schools with strong baseball programs felt the financial pain on another level after canceling the entire 2020 spring season.

Sports Radio News

Jonathan Zaslow No Longer With WQAM

An attempt to reach out to Zaslow for comment went unanswered.

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WQAM midday host Jonathan Zaslow is no longer with WQAM in Miami.

The radio station has removed his show from the website and references to him and his normal 10a-2p ET midday timeslot program have been scrubbed from the station website.

Zaslow tweeted at 5:19p ET confirming the news.

Whether or not this has any effect on his involvement with the Miami Heat broadcasts is unknown as of now.

Zaslow had been with 790 the Ticket since 2004. He was transitioned from Audacy-owned 790 to sister station AM 560 Sports WQAM last October. During his tenure he has worked with a number of established local voices including Joy Taylor, Amber Wilson, Brett Romberg, and Brendan Tobin amongst others.

WQAM has gone thru a number of changes, including a rebranding effort to call the station “560 The Joe”. That ended last year with the station returning to the AM 560 Sports WQAM brand listeners were more familiar with. What they have planned next in Zaslow’s timeslot is unclear but local listeners will likely get some answers next week.

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Sports Radio News

Vanessa Richardson Named Houston Rockets Sideline Reporter, Paul Gallant to Host Solo on ESPN 97.5

Vanessa Richardson will be on the sidelines for the Houston Rockets and Paul Gallant will host solo show on ESPN 97.5.

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Vanessa and Gallant

Changes are taking place in Houston sports media. First, the Houston Rockets will have a new television sideline reporter this season, and she’s a familiar name to Houston sports fans.

Vanessa Richardson, the now former co-host of ESPN 97.5’s Vanessa and Gallant, revealed that she will be on the sidelines for the NBA franchise covering the team for AT&T SportsNet Southwest.

She tweeted the news saying, “Elated to be the new Houston Rockets sideline reporter! I can’t wait to travel the country & share the stories of this dynamic team during 80+ games on AT&T SportsNet Southwest. I’ll continue to fill-in as a host/reporter for Astros broadcasts as well.”

Richardson’s co-host, Paul Gallant, tweeted that with Richardson leaving the show for the Rockets sideline gig, Vanessa and Gallant will become the Paul Gallant Show. The solo show led by Gallant begins Monday September 26th.

“We’re excited to have Paul host his own show”, said Todd Farquharson, General Manager of ESPN 97.5 & 92.5.  “He’s super creative, energetic, and likeable.  He’ll get the audience involved and have fun.”

Paul commented, “You know what I’ve always loved about sports talk radio?  That it’s interactive.  Whether through a phone call, text message, tweet or on Twitch, it’s the best place for sports fans to come together and celebrate…or vent.  And that’s what The Paul Gallant Show is going to be…Houston’s platform to talk about its teams. THE most interactive sports talk show in Houston.”

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Sports Radio News

Ken Carman: Al Michaels ‘Feels Untethered’ On Amazon Prime Video

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

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The Cleveland Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers during Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime Video. 92.3 The Fan morning host Ken Carman applauded Al Michaels for his performance during the presentation.

“Al Michaels feels untethered for the first time. He’s not network television anymore and he can say whatever he wants. We interviewed him on the pregame show and I was nervous,” Carman said.

“He’s a legend,” co-host Anthony Lima added.

During the final play of the game, the Steelers fumbled a lateral into the endzone which the Browns recovered to make the final score 29-17. Michaels said “that may be meaningful to some of you. And you know who I mean”, alluding to people who had placed wagers on the game.

Carman, who hosts two-hours of pre-game coverage on the Browns Radio Network, continued to discuss how nervous he was interviewing Michaels. He also discussed how impressive Amazon’s behind-the-scenes production was, pointing out the only football broadcast with more cameras is the Super Bowl. More than 400 people work behind the scenes for Amazon Prime Video.

“The thing that stuck out was Kirk Herbstreit ripping the elf,” said Carman. “Don’t be ripping Brownie the Elf, man.”

Carman later said people angry that Michaels misspoke by saying the Pro Football Hall of Fame is “down I-71” instead of I-77 were unreasonable, and joked “Al Michaels hasn’t been on a highway in 20 years”.

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