It was incontrovertibly an unparalleled four-and-a-half months devoid of live sporting events at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, one that left sports fans fervently searching for something new to follow on a day-to-day basis. Sports networks, including ESPN, had to go back to the drawing board and figure out how to reconstruct their programming to continue bringing in ratings and revenue. Most notably for “The Worldwide Leader in Sports,” the 10-part documentary chronicling Michael Jordan’s career and the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls, “The Last Dance,” was moved up from June to April, and, partly due to the abeyance of new content, was the number one program in television since mid-March. Additionally, it averaged approximately 5.6 million viewers per episode, making it the most watched ESPN documentary of all time.
Aside from the odyssey sports fans found refuge in the early stages of the pandemic, they also sojourned in international and niche sports, such as the Korean Baseball League and Formula One Racing. Many networks also showed replays of iconic contests from over the years in baseball, basketball and hockey, engendering a nostalgic catharsis on a mission to make satiable the unquenchable thirst sports fans had.
Tuesday afternoon, The Petros and Money Show on AM 570 LA Sports in Los Angeles harkened back to these uncertain, melancholic times, and how their show, centered on sports talk, was able to withstand these hardships and have a successful stretch on the air in their segment, “Top Story of the Day.”
“Today’s top story is reminiscent of something that we did at the beginning of that stretch of what our boss Don Martin called ‘Maybe the best two months of The Petros and Money Show I have ever had the great honor of listening to,’” divulged Matt “Money” Smith, co-host of the afternoon program and current play-by-play announcer for the NFL’s Los Angeles Chargers on KFI AM 640. Speaking from the perspective of the Senior Vice President of Premier Radio Network, Fox Sports Radio, and LA iHeartMedia Don Martin, Smith continued: “While other fish were out there flipping and flopping not knowing what to do for content, the two of you shone like a north star in our business.”
Indeed, AM 570 LA Sports ratings’ improved in June 2020, with the station gaining a tenth-of-a-point in Nielsen PPM numbers in a time where live sports had come to a halt. Utilizing the aspects of showmanship and entertainment embedded within the nascent being of sports radio, The Petros and Money Show finished ninth in the 2020 Barrett Sports Media list of Top 20 Major Market sports radio afternoon shows presented by Steve Stone Voiceovers.
“We asked the question — as baseball and basketball and hockey was all shut down [sic] — would you watch NASCAR?; Would you watch the truck series?; Would you watch golf?,” said Smith. “Would you watch these sports that you were never interested in your sporting fandom life before because it was the only thing that was on?”
Fast-forward to October 26, 2021 — Matt “Money” Smith began to ponder over that same question the sports world answered for itself last year in his monologue, contextualizing it in the terms of the current state of sports in Los Angeles.
“I’m trying to figure out if the Dodgers, who were overwhelming favorites to win the World Series at the start of the year, [have caused too much emotional distress for] Los Angeles sporting fans… to immediately shift their sporting focus to what is now available,” said Smith. “Will they support the 1-4-1 Kings? Will they support the old-ass Lakers, who seemingly lose a player a day? Will they get into NFL football; the Rams are 6-1, a game back [of] the best record in the NFC; the Chargers are 4-2, a game back [of] the best record in the AFC.”
In a city full of sports and entertainment stars, such as LeBron James, Mookie Betts, Mike Trout, Kawhi Leonard, Aaron Donald, Anthony Davis, Drew Doughty and an innumerable amount of others, everyone has begun to wonder who is satisfying the craving for live sports in Los Angeles. As a play-by-play announcer and radio broadcaster, Smith knows that those in his field can become quite emotionally invested in the teams they cover, much like a fan, to try to propagate the conversation, and ultimately the focus of Los Angeles sports fans, to their specific team.
“We get excited about our assignments — we get involved,” explained Smith. “We want you to watch; we want you to be entertained; we hope we’re a part of a product that you find to be to your liking.”
Smith’s fascination with the inherent fandom of those who cover the team, such as LA Clippers studio host and co-host of “UCLA Health Zone” Adam Auslund, whose Twitter feed during games contains many creative pseudonyms for Clippers players, including forward Isaiah Hartenstein and guard Luke Kennard.
“I envision him with a number two pencil and a yellow legal pad,” divulged Smith, “and he has each player’s name and [is] working through these nicknames he’s going to put out in the Twitterverse.”
Long story short — having live sports back as a constant in everyday life has stimulated new modes of thought for broadcasters, fans, reporters and others about which sports they consume and how much they support each team. On a “Tu Hermano Tuesday,” Matt “Money” Smith, in conversation with co-host Petros Papadakis, assuredly renewed a conversation that will endure for many months and years to come as the sports media world enters a “new normal” in all aspects of the industry.
Doug Gottlieb On Praise For Pat Beverly: ‘What a Joke!’
“To be in the NBA and say things that are demonstrably false, outright mean, and oh by the way, obtuse to reality and turns people off to your sport.”
Pat Beverley of the Minnesota Timberwolves may have used his appearances this week on ESPN to set up a potential career in media, but some just simply weren’t impressed.
You can count Doug Gottlieb among them. Gottlieb said Wednesday that Beverley’s takes on Suns guard Chris Paul and words for Matt Barnes regarding James Harden’s contract didn’t do him any favors for the future.
“Pat Beverley, if you’re going to die on a hill, James Harden’s hill is not the one to die on,” Gottlieb said. “In a week in which you have a chance to carve out a potential career for yourself which is as good, or greater than your NBA career. What a joke!”
Gottlieb added that Beverley also lost people completely “acting like the arrogant NBA athlete that so many assume that NBA athletes are.”
“To be in the NBA and say things that are demonstrably false, outright mean, and oh by the way, obtuse to reality and turns people off to your sport,” he said. “Congratulations, hell of a week and you’re only in day two.”
While Beverley may not have Gottlieb singing his praises as an analyst, the T-Wolves journeyman did get the attention of Barstool Sports president Dave Portnoy. Portnoy said if Beverley wanted to do a podcast for the company, he would give him a blank check and hire him no questions asked.
Mick Hubert to Retire After 33 Years As Voice Of Florida Gators
“This wasn’t the end of a five-year plan. I don’t know if I can explain how I knew, but I knew.”
After more than three decades and more than 2,500 games called in Gainesville, Mick Hubert is retiring as the voice of the Florida Gators.
Hubert, 68, will call it a career after the Florida baseball team concludes its regular season this weekend.
Hubert, who’s called numerous Gators national championships across multiple sports in his tenure, said he had been thinking about retiring but finally had peace about it to make the decision.
“This wasn’t the end of a five-year plan. I don’t know if I can explain how I knew, but I knew,” he said. “I had been considering this for a little while. I just had to do some praying about it and enjoy every game.”
The longtime broadcaster is a 2019 inductee into the Florida Sports Hall of Fame.
Hubert said he poured his heart and soul into broadcasts and that hopefully fans recognized that.
“I hope they heard the enthusiasm, and the credibility is important to me,” he said. “You need to be factual and credible, but you need to be enthusiastic. That’s what I always felt. I always wanted to take my audience on a roller-coaster ride of emotions. I also wanted to give them enough information so they could paint that picture in their mind.”
Reporter Tells Kevin & Query About NBA Draft Lottery Security Measures
“By the time you’re watching the production on ESPN for the lottery, we already know.”
The NBA Draft is coming up towards the end of June, and the top half of the draft order was set this week in the NBA Draft Lottery.
The lottery adds a level of excitement to the mix because you never know if the team with the best odds for the number one pick will actually get it.
But it’s a whole process that actually unfolds well before it airs on ESPN. Pacers reporter Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files told Kevin Bowen and Jake Query on 107.5 The Fan in Indianapolis what it was like to have access to the lottery.
“By the time you’re watching the production on ESPN for the lottery, we already know,” he said. “It’s already happened. But we’re locked down, sequestered in a room, a ballroom, can’t leave.”
What was even more interesting to Agness was the fact that even people representing lottery teams were under an embargo until the results aired on TV.
“We had all that good info, but the person that won the lottery for instance couldn’t call and celebrate with their people,” Agness said. “None of us in the room could tweet it out because none of us had our devices.”
Agness added that the league had contingency plans in case the lottery drum failed, if the same team had its ping pong ball drawn, and just about every other scenario you could think of. He said he was very impressed with how the NBA did things.
“It was kind of cool to see how well-run everything was in the end,” he said.