Sports TV News
Sean McManus: CBS Will Stay In College Football Business
“McManus pointed out that the SEC has been good for CBS, but that CBS has been good for the SEC as well.”
One of the most valuable television properties in all of college football is the SEC’s primary media rights. The conference and CBS have been in business together since the turn of the century. That relationship comes to an end after the 2023 college football season, but CBS Sports boss Sean McManus says don’t think that means the network is done with college football.
“We plan to be involved in the business of college football, big-time college football, going forward, and to take advantage of that tradition we’ve established,” he said at the Sports Business Journal’s Media Innovators Conference.
McManus pointed out that the SEC has been good for CBS, but that CBS has been good for the SEC as well.
“You know, when we put the SEC on national television back in 2001, people thought we were crazy; ‘The Southeastern Conference? Who in the Midwest and the Northeast and the West is going to care about the SEC?’ But we promoted it, and we said ‘Every week at 3:30, you’re going to see the best SEC game. We grew it. And I think for 12 years in a row, it’s been the most-viewed window in all of college football.”
So how would CBS remain a player in the college football space? Well, the network already has deals with the three service academies. It also has deals with the Mountain West Conference and Conference USA. None of those fit the bill of “big-time college football” though.
The options will likely be limited. The SEC is gone. The ACC is locked up with ESPN through 2036. The Big Ten rights deals at FOX and ESPN expire after the 2022 season, but it is likely that at least the FOX deal will be off the table, as the network and the conference are partners on the Big Ten Network. That could leave just the PAC-12 or the suddenly-less-valuable Big 12 as the only potential options and those conferences likely have limited appeal.
Sports TV News
Bomani Jones: Cancellation of High Noon ‘Had Zero To Do With Me’
“I could have the greatest version of ‘High Noon’ that was possible [but] there’s not a place in [ESPN’s] line-up for that right now.”
Bomani Jones still has a presence at ESPN. He may not be on TV regularly, but he still hosts The Right Time podcast three times a week. That is different from ten years ago when he was on the network regularly on shows like Around the Horn, Highly Questionable, and High Noon.
In a new interview with Fortune, Jones reflected on the ups and downs of his personal and professional life. He was asked about High Noon, the show featuring himself and Pablo Torre and was billed as a more nuanced approach to sports debate.
It was canceled after less than two years on the air. Jones says he does not view it as a failure and he does not view it as a television audience rejecting him. It was the result of ESPN bosses deciding to go in a different direction with their afternoon programming.
“I could have the greatest version of ‘High Noon’ that was possible [but] there’s not a place in [ESPN’s] line-up for that right now,” he said. “That’s just not what they do, and that has zero to do with me.”
Bomani Jones is now on HBO each week as host of Game Theory. He said that the show feels like the first time he has been able to execute something close to his original vision on television. That is the key to building long-term audience loyalty.
“You want to do your work in the place where it gets the most visibility so long as you can stay true to what it is that you’re doing. Because once people can sniff that you’re not being true to yourself and what you’re doing, then they don’t care about anything else. It doesn’t matter. Your credibility is gone once they don’t believe that you’re being true to you.”
Sports TV News
NBC Sports Washington to Drop Commanders Programming
“Where the studio shows and shoulder programming goes in the future remains unclear.”
The contract between the Washington Commanders and NBC Sports Washington comes to an end this month. That will be the end of shows centered on the team airing on the regional sports network.
NBC Sports Washington and the Washington NFL franchise have been in business together for years. Where the studio shows and shoulder programming goes in the future remains unclear.
Last year, Monumental Sports, which owns the Washington Capitals, Mystics and Wizards, bought the network last year. While much of the network’s future programming is expected to center on those teams, John Ourand of Sports Business Journal writes that Monumental did make an effort to extend the partnership with the Commanders.
“Monumental started to negotiate a new deal, but I’m told that the two sides did not get close to a deal,” he wrote.
With the team up for sale, so much of the future of the franchise remains in question. It is very likely that a new ownership group would be in place before a new local media rights deal for the Commanders is done.
Sports TV News
Skip Bayless: I’m The Cal Ripken of Debate Shows
“I have done 52,000 debate topics on live TV, which means I’m almost 52,000 and 0 at winning debates because I don’t think I’ve ever lost one.”
If you ask Skip Bayless if he has ever lost a debate on UNDISPUTED or when he was at First Take, he will tell you he has been undefeated against whomever he goes up against on the 9-10 topics that he debates daily.
On his podcast, The Skip Bayless Show, Bayless made an estimate as to how many shows he has done over the duration of over two decades and how he compared himself to being the Cal Ripken of sports debate shows.
“Here’s my best estimation. Over 23 years and 4 months on national television, I have done 5,715 shows. If we have averaged 9 topics per show, that means I have done 52,000 debate topics on live TV, which means I’m almost 52,000 and 0 at winning debates because I don’t think I’ve ever lost one.”
“Nobody is more experienced in the debate format than I am. You can say I am the Cal Ripken of the genre. My friends, Michael Wilson and Tony Kornheiser, have been on TV for more years doing their show, which is all-time great, but their show is only 30 minutes a day. Mine was 2 hours a day at ESPN and 2.5 hours a day for the 6.5 years I’ve been at FS1.”
In the mailbag portion of his show, Bayless gave away the keys to winning a debate and how he always is ready whenever a show goes live.
“It’s preparation and concentration. Most debates are won the night before by researching and thinking them through. If he goes there, I will go here. If he goes here, I will go there. Then, of course, when that red light goes on, you must lock in and you must hyper focus for each of those 9-10 topics. If you let your mind wander for even a split second, you lose. We are live and I live for live.”
While some might disagree with what Bayless has to say, he knows that he doesn’t say things for shock value and he is not afraid to say how he feels about any subject.
“Shock jocks get exposed as frauds, as one-trick ponies. I am not that. God gave me a pretty good brain, a pretty good feel for sports and the people in and around sports. I watch those people very closely. I watch the games very closely and I am constantly asking myself what is really going on here?
“I am not afraid to say what I see and I see a lot. At heart, I am a truth teller, not a shock jock. I am often proven right. In fact, if you want to know the truth…I am invariably proven to be right again and again over time. People just try to explain me away and I just keep showing up every day after day after day. I stand strong. I don’t back off. I endure.”
Ricky Keeler is a reporter for BSM with a primary focus on sports media podcasts and national personalities. He is also an active podcaster with an interest in pursuing a career in sports media. You can find him on Twitter @Rickinator555 or reach him by email at RickJKeeler@gmail.com.