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Jeff Goodman: Field Of 68 Can Be Go To Hub For College Hoops Fans

“We were in the middle of a pandemic and we thought of this on a whim. We threw out the idea of starting a podcast network and really centering it around former players hosting podcasts of their alum school.”

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Two solid sources had confirmed the story. But that wasn’t enough for news of this magnitude. Jeff Goodman needed at least one more solid source before he broke the biggest story college basketball had ever seen. 

He received the first tip on the same day Brad Stevens announced he was moving from the bench to the GM box with the Celtics. Living in Boston, Goodman was getting all kinds of requests for his analysis on the news that had just rocked the NBA. Just when the news was starting to hit its peak, that’s when it happened. Jeff Goodman was told Mike Mike Krzyzewski was going to announce his retirement from Duke in the very near future. 

Duke Michigan State
Courtesy: AP Photo/Neal Redmond

Around 30 minutes later, he got another tip from a source that confirmed Coach K’s impending retirement announcement. He had two strong sources. Most times, that would be good enough to run a story, but not in this situation

“I was 99.9 percent sure,” said Goodman. “But even 99.9 percent is hard to go with on a story like this. If you’re wrong on that story, you’re forever known, everything you’ve done up to that point is irrelevant.”

So he waited for another source to confirm, knowing too much was on the line to be wrong. After calling a third source, the person gave him the time and the date. That’s when he finally felt confident to run with it. 

“I typed up the tweet and my finger was literally shaking,” Jeff Goodman said. 

He hit send. The biggest story in college hoops had been broken. 

“It’s crazy when you say it like that, because you don’t think about it that way. There’s so many other stories that I’ve spent so much more time on than that one.”

Goodman covers basketball at every level, but he’s easily one of the best in the business when it comes to college hoops. If that’s not proven by his current work at Stadium or his previous stops at ESPN, Fox and CBS, he’s proving it with a new podcast venture that’s quickly taking the college basketball world by storm. 

The Field of 68 Media Network was founded almost totally by accident. Goodman’s friend, Rob Dauster, had been a Covid casualty and saw his position cut last year. Goodman didn’t want to just help Dasuter, he wanted to find something new and innovative they could do together. 

“At that point it was, ok, what can we do?” Goodman said. “We were in the middle of a pandemic and we thought of this on a whim. We threw out the idea of starting a podcast network and really centering it around former players hosting podcasts of their alum school.”

There were challenges behind this new venture, most notably the task of trying to find the right former players that would be a good fit. Luckily, with Goodman’s background covering recruiting, he had a strong connection with several former high-profile college basketball players. Those players also trusted him. 

“We wanted to find the right people that either, one, wanted to do it because they want to do a pod for their school, or, two, and I sold them on this, we’ll help you get a platform and your name out there, so people will see you and it will turn into something,” Goodman said. 

Jeff Goodman: Gregg Marshall Punched Shaq Morris as Wichita State Head  Coach - video Dailymotion
Courtesy: DailyMotion

The pitch was perfect. Soon after, former players were all over the Field of 68 hosting podcasts for their respective alma maters. Hosts such as Patrick Young with Florida, Dan Dickau of Gonzaga and Eric Devendorf of Syracuse, just to name a few, we’re headline shows across the network. 

The idea behind Field of 68 is heavily built on the opinions of former players. Much bigger plans are in the works though for the coming season. It’s those ideas that could vault the network into the go-to hub for college basketball fans in the future. 

“I absolutely think it can be the place to go,” Goodman said. “As we’re seeing, people are consuming their information through streaming. Fewer people are watching ESPN on their TV’s. We have a plan in place for this year and we’re going to add something big. Every night. That’s Rob’s brainchild and I think it could change the way people get their college basketball information this year.”

“Frankly, if you’re a big college basketball fan, other than the games, those halftime and postgame segments on ESPN, there’s nothing to them. What do they do? They look at the highlights, talk for 20 seconds but it’s never about the big topics. They don’t have time. We’re going to do something way different.”

Jeff Goodman is involved with podcasting on Field of 68, as he hosts the national show with Robbie Hummel. But he’s the first to admit his role is to come up with content. Everything else centers on the brains of the operation, which always falls to Dauster. 

“Rob has been the driver of this thing, not me,” Goodman said. “I’ve helped put it together, but he’s so talented. I know the content, but he knows everything. The fact someone hasn’t hired him and paid him a bunch of money is crazy to me. He’s done all that with two young kids.”

Other hosts under the Field of 68 umbrella include Wayne Turner with Kentucky, Jeff Hawkins with Kansas, Shammond Williams of North Carolina and Christy Winters-Scott who hosts podcasts on women’s hoops. Many more are with the network and others are still to come. 

That includes producers the network has incorporated that are either still in college or just freshly out. 

“We’re paying them a little bit of money,” Goodman said. “But a lot of it is about giving them experience and the opportunity to be involved. A lot of them are producers, they’re producing the podcast but we allow them to also be on the show. Austin Render is a terrific example. He just graduated from Indiana and he’s terrific. Like, phenomenal. He produces A.J Guyton’s podcast and he also goes on and throws questions at him about Indiana basketball.”

Regardless if Field of 68 works out (my bet is that it does) Goodman is going to be fine. He’s a great basketball mind with an incredible writing talent. But he’s going to do everything in his power to ensure the network becomes a success. Maybe it will never be his main gig, but that won’t stop him from trying to make this the main stop for college hoops fans. 

Reporter Jeff Goodman joins ESPN as a College Basketball Insider - ESPN  Front Row
Courtesy: ESPN Images

It all started because he wanted to have a friend’s back. That loyalty may get repaid in a big way. But if you ask Jeff Goodman, he’s only doing the things that others did for him when he was making his move in the business. 

“I had people like Greg Doyle, who was a big help for me when I broke through. I’ll never forget that. Ever. You just remember the people that helped you and the people that didn’t.”

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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