Ariel Helwani took note of some interesting promotions on this past weekend’s UFC 264 pay-per-view on ESPN+, and he joined The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz to discuss them. The MMA journalist recently wrapped a three-year stint at ESPN that ended after he was asked to take a pay cut.
Helwani now wears a multitude of hats for Vox, BT Sport, and Spotify with an added chip on his shoulder.
“What they did on Saturday, the two shows that I had, with Chael [Sonnen] and D.C. [Daniel Cormier],” Helwani said on the show. “That I helped build, that I was the one promoting more than anyone, I mean all day incessantly. I never got a single plug in my three years there. A single plug on any type of broadcast for three years. I stopped counting at the seventh plug on Saturday for their two new shows.”
The perennial “MMA Journalist of the Year” winner also noted the promotion digs on his first post-fight Greenroom for The Ringer and Spotify. The show aired right as the fight card festivities wrapped up.
“I love D.C. and Chael Sonnen like they’re my brothers,” Helwani continued. “I will literally go in front of a car for those guys; they are the most loyal friends. But the pettiness to try to raise those shows because now I’m out. To try to put me down because now I’m out. To try to continue to hurt me, to put roadblocks in front of me because I’m out is laughable to me.”
Lolo Jones Launches ‘Gold Medal Loser’ Podcast Through Blue Wire
“Jones is in a very small group of people who have competed in both the Summer and Winter Olympics.”
Podcasting company Blue Wire is continuing to expand. Summer and Winter Olympian Lolo Jones will be hosting the company’s latest podcast Gold Medal Loser. The podcast consists of interviews Jones recorded this summer while training for the 2022 Beijing Olympics, including Olympic skater Adam Rippon, Peleton instructor Jess Sims and former NBA player/current ESPN analyst Richard Jefferson walking Jones through the ups and downs of their careers.
“I’ve always been a huge fan of podcasts and have been interested in creating my own,” Lolo Jones told Awful Announcing via email. “As an athlete, I’m usually the interviewee and wanted to have some fun on the other side of the table. We thought it would be cool to interview folks from different walks of life—including a big focus on Olympians and Paralympians. I’m always fascinated about the different personal journeys all these talented people have taken to get to the top.”
Jones said Blue Wire proved to be a great fit for her to launch this podcast.
“They let me really control the creative direction and shape the show how I envisioned it—but I’m still new at this platform so I leaned on them for insight on how to make this a success.”
This isn’t Jones’ first rodeo when it comes to sports media either. She co-hosted a female-athlete-focused show with MJ Acosta and Lindsay Czarniak for Peacock called On Her Turf during the Tokyo Olympics. She also plans to work in media more frequently once her career ends. Roles like this while she’s still training offer more experience for her.
She said that can be tough to fit in while still competing though, especially in two different sports.
“I’ve tried to capitalize on any breaks I’ve had to get media experience…whether it be due to injury, competition seasons canceled from COVID, or any other extended windows where my training schedule is a little light.”
Jones is in a very small group of people who have competed in both the Summer and Winter Olympics. The list sits at 170 all-time. Elevn of them have represented the U.S.
Gold Medal Loser continues the long list of podcasts Blue Wire has done with professional athletes. It also continues the company’s approach of monetizing podcasts through cross-platform presenting sponsorships; this will be the fifth one they’ve done that way, and the second with Discover. Lolo Jones said she’s excited for people to get to listen to it and hopes it will be relevant to a wide range of listeners.
“Nobody has an easy or straight path to get to the top of our fields. Hopefully hearing about these life experiences will help the listener in some way. If you know me (or follow me on social), you know I’m always trying to do one of two things: inspire you or make you laugh. Hopefully this does both!”
The Athletic, NY Times Eye Woj, Adam Schefter
“Caesars Sportsbook could also make a play at those two, in addition to Shams Charania, who already writes for The Athletic and is an NBA insider and analyst for Stadium Sports.”
The New York Times recently announced its acquisition of The Athletic, and there are many questions surrounding the future of the ad-free online sports publication.
One of those questions surrounds the future of its staff. While it seems like cuts will be inevitable in the future, Front Office Sports reported the publication has stated an interest in some heavy-hitting insiders due to hit the free-agent market soon.
ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter and NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski are the two main talents that The Athletic/New York Times are reportedly targeting. Front Office Sports did cite sources saying ESPN has an exclusive negotiating window to keep the two, and the network reportedly has the right to match outside offers.
Caesars Sportsbook could also make a play at those two, in addition to Shams Charania, who already writes for The Athletic and is an NBA insider and analyst for Stadium Sports.
Caesars and other gambling platforms like FanDuel and DraftKings all have aspirations of becoming sports media entities themselves. Caesars already has Kenny Mayne and Trey Wingo, FanDuel has an exclusive partnership with Pat McAfee, and DraftKings picked up Dan Le Betard.
The Front Office Sports report did mention that The Athletic was operating at a loss, so perhaps targeting talent like Schefter and Wojnarowski, who already reportedly earn somewhere in the $2-3 million per year range, may not make the most sense.
Only time will tell. There’s just a lot of question marks right now.
Colin Cowherd: Could Aaron Rodgers Be Behind Boomer & Gio Prank?
“It was almost like somebody was trying to set me up to look bad. It was almost like somebody was setting up Boomer to look bad.”
Recently there were rumors and discussions of Aaron Rodgers possibly “boycotting” the Super Bowl. Rodgers quickly denied these claims and seemed annoyed with the ignorance behind the possibility.
Today, The Volume’s Twitter account posted a video with the caption “Is Aaron Rodgers behind the ‘Super Bowl Boycott’ text?” Along with the caption was a video of Colin Cowherd recalling texts he had received some time ago with insider information on the Packers.
“I’ll throw something out here that’s interesting, so the number had come from the Virginia area,” Colin Cowherd said in reference to Gregg Giannotti’s story of the text that came to Boomer Esiason saying that Rodgers would boycott the Super Bowl.
Cowherd went on to say that he too had received texts about Rodgers and the Packers from a mysterious number with a Virginia area code. They came in response to the FOX Sports Radio host criticizing Rodgers and offered information the average fan would not have.
“So, I looked up the number, I looked up the address of the number, and in no way did it appear to be somebody that worked for an NFL team,” he said. “But there was too much information not to be an insider, things that had not been published yet. And so when I hear the Aaron Rodgers story with Boomer and I go back to my story, it’s the only time in my career that’s happened, that I get a random anonymous text with lots of inside information, claiming that Aaron Rodgers, the claim was he’s leaving Green Bay. It was almost like somebody was trying to set me up to look bad. It was almost like somebody was setting up Boomer to look bad.”
It all seemed like too much of a coincidence for Colin Cowherd. That is when he unveiled his theory about the mysterious texts and how they play into Aaron Rodgers’s adversarial relationship with the media.
“Is it possible that somebody in Aaron Rodgers camp is trying to create, when the criticism gets hot, a little misinformation campaign which he can use to validate the inaccuracy of the media? I mean did anybody else notice how harsh the criticism of Boomer Esiason was from Aaron Rodgers? It’s all very suspicious to me.”
Esiason and Giannotti have been very clear that they never presented the information to their audience about Rodgers boycotting the Super Bowl as fact. From the get go, they were on a mission to figure out who was pranking them.
Cowherd’s theory, if it is correct, could explain why Rodgers was still so adamant that this was fake news in his appearance on Pat McAfee’s show earlier this week.
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