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Dave Portnoy: CBS Wouldn’t Work With Barstool On Arizona Bowl

Barstool is now the presenting sponsor and exclusive TV distributor of the Arizona Bowl.

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: Barstool Sports

Barstool Sports is now the broadcaster and presenting sponsor of the Arizona Bowl in a deal that almost didn’t include the former. Barstool founder Dave Portnoy discussed details of the negotiation on this week’s The Dave Portnoy Show with Eddie & Co.

Portnoy says Barstool originally wanted to just sponsor the game, while CBS handled the broadcast duties, but that didn’t sit well with everyone involved.

“CBS won’t work with us? Kick them the f*ck out, get those f*ckin white-haired…get them out, we’ll do the game ourselves,” Portnoy said on his show.

“Not because they didn’t like us,” Portnoy continued. “I think they know we’re gonna eat their lunch, and they view us as a competitor. Do you wanna give the hungry wolf fresh meat? Do you want to basically put steroids in your competitor?”

The bowl airs on New Year’s Eve in a matchup between the Mountain West and Mid-American Conference. Barstool has been a staunch supporter of #MACtion and all things MAC sports for years.

CEO Erika Nardini is the yin to Portnoy’s yang, and she discussed the milestone deal in an interview this week.

“We really believe that what we can do is take the best of traditional broadcast and take the best of traditional sponsorship and do both in a brand new way,” Barstool CEO Erika Nardini said in an interview with Sportico. “We think we’ll bring new fans. We know we will bring a level of energy, and we’ll cover the game in a way that is completely unique, and uniquely Barstool.”

For Nardini and Barstool, this is just another step towards growth in every possible entertainment space, including TV.

“There’s no reason we can’t play in the broadcast space, the sponsorship space, and the comedy or personality and opinion space,” she continued. “Obviously, we want to make sure we do it right and do it well, but this is a watershed moment for rethinking where and how games are broadcast.”

Sports TV News

Al Michaels: Condensed Prep Time For Thursday Night Football ‘A Downside’

“It’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us.”

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There were bound to be unexpected hiccups and unintended consequences as Al Michaels moved to Thursday Night Football with Amazon Prime Video.

He told The Boston Globe Thursday that one of the downsides of the week’s schedule is less prep time with the teams playing in the game.

“When we go to see the teams, it’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us,” Michaels said. “And all the time I’ve been doing this, I’ve built some great relationships with coaches and players and GMs and owners and you name it, and I don’t get that much time to spend with them anymore. That’s a downside part of it for me. Some of the best stories you get come from those relationships.”

Michaels has raised eyebrows this season while not being shy about his disdain for some poor matchups early in the schedule. However, he now understands that there are quality games as the season approaches its close.

“The schedule was a little leaky with the Carolina-Atlanta game and a couple of other games that we’ve had, but now we’re positioned for a nice run down the stretch,” said Michaels.

The 78-year-old was also asked how he remains energetic and passionate for the job he’s held for so long.

The games are exciting. I love sports. You don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s no script. And unscripted television is the greatest.”

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Sports TV News

Jimmy Pitaro: Reaching Younger Audience A Priority for ESPN

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience. As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

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Many in the media industry have voice concern that millennials and Gen Z aren’t consuming traditional media outlets like previous generations. ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said it’s a priority for the network.

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience,” Pitaro said, quoted by Morning Consult sports business reporter Mark J. Burns. “As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

Pitaro made the comments at Sports Business Journal’s Media Innovators conference Wednesday. It is a continuation of comments he has made in recent years.

In 2018, Pitaro said at ESPN’s upfront “I think we are doing a fantastic job serving the sports fanatic,” said Pitaro. “What about the casual sports customer? Are we doing all we can to serve him or her?”.

In 2019, Pitaro said it was “all hands on deck” to reach a younger audience and women. “We have to be open and go to where our customers are,” he said in regards to reaching younger viewers on social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

Earlier this year, Pitaro added that ESPN won’t be leaving linear television anytime soon.

“What I will tell you is that as I sit here right now, that business is still incredible,” Pitaro said. “We serve the sports fan anyway and at any time. I know there are a lot of people that still want ESPN in that traditional ecosystem.”

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Sports TV News

Don Mattingly Joining Blue Jays Staff After YES Network Courtship

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

Jordan Bondurant

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YES Network

The New York Yankees regional sports network can take Don Mattingly off its talent wish list. Mattingly was announced Wednesday as a bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays starting in 2023.

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

But Mattingly told Andrew Marchand of The New York Post this week that he had another opportunity in the works but wouldn’t elaborate.

YES also has been considering luring Yankees legend and Hall of Famer Derek Jeter into broadcasting. But no formal talks have taken place.

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