With sports betting becoming legal in more states such as New York, it has the potential to affect how people view sporting events. However, that may not exactly be the case.
Peter Kafka addresses the sports betting rise on his Recode Media podcast with the latest edition titled “Game on: Behind the sports betting boom.” His guests on the show were Action Network CEO Patrick Keane and Sports Illustrated writer Richard Johnson.
While sports gambling ads for Caesars SportsBook, DraftKings, and FanDuel keep popping up during games, it might be only something that happens in bulk when states start to allow legalized sports betting. As Keane notes, the NFL can only show so many ads in a game:
“I wouldn’t say it’s going to be for the rest of your life,” he said. “What you see is massive infusion of investment when a state goes mobile legal. When the state is mobile, that’s when you start to see the Caesars SportsBook, DraftKings, FanDuel that you see a lot on television. The NFL has a mandate that you can only show six of those ads during a game.”
Johnson agreed with that sentiment and thinks it is largely because, as of right now, broadcasters are going to be nervous about eliminating the casual viewer:
“I think what you are seeing and where you always are going to see it more than during the regular game telecast is going to be on the commercials,” said Johnson. “You can’t watch a sporting event without a commercial break being PointsBet, MGM, Caesars SportsBook, whatever it is. Those commercials are going to be more and more insipid.
“I think broadcasters are terrified of alienating the casual viewer. They have always been terrified of alienating the casual viewer, whether it is putting a score bug on the screen because they thought the viewer would turn off because they know the score. When John Madden was first calling games, they wouldn’t let him do actual football scheme stuff when he first started out because they said, well, that’s going to be too high level for the viewer.”
In fact, Johnson believe that sports gambling has become more mainstream thanks to Scott Van Pelt and his “Bad Beats“ segment on SportsCenter:
“He [Van Pelt] has really helped to make it mainstream in the sports watching and sports viewing and sports television vernacular,” Johnson said. “Increasingly, it’s becoming part of the common speak of the sports journalist and the sports fan if you are into it and if you can talk the talk.”
For Johnson, being able to write about gambling has allowed him to have another tool in his arsenal when he writes about college football because he is able to relate to more people:
“As someone who does a little bit of gambling writing but as someone who does a lot of college football writing in general,” he said, “gambling is really a thing to put in my tool kit that becomes very interesting.
“There are two ways you can go about writing about gambling. You can sort of write about the social aspect of people’s bad picks or funny picks or crazy parlays or… you can have your own numbers or own systems. I sort of dabble in both, but what it really helps me to do is sort of speak the language, especially in college football as a big sport. It helps me speak the language of using spreads and gambling projections to give predictions and set the table of what a game is going to be.”
As far as the future of alternate broadcasts or betcasts, both Keane and Johnson believe that more will pop up as more states are able to have legal sports betting:
“I think it’s not as prevalent today clearly because we are not in as many states,” said Keane. “But I think that’s going to be an experience where people are going to find it inauthentic if it is not referenced when you are at the end of a game. Is it critical mass? No, but I think you are going to see these alternative betcasts continue and start to bleed more into the traditional broadcast experience.”
This podcast is a good one for someone wanting to learn more about sports betting if you are just getting into it, as well as what the future holds for this industry.
Dave Rothenberg Can’t Stand Hearing Kenny Albert Mispronounce ‘Raleigh’
“I would think a true professional, like somebody that cares about their craft, would get that kind of feedback and welcome it.”
Dave Rothenberg has a tiny bone to pick with Kenny Albert, and it’s over the way Kenny pronounces the Carolina Hurricanes’ home city.
Talking on his show on ESPN New York on Tuesday, Rothenberg, who spent three years working in Raleigh on 99.9 The Fan, said he wished someone would get in Albert’s ear and correct the way he’s been saying it adding that it has made him wish one of the top play-by-play voices in hockey wouldn’t be on the call for the playoff series between the Canes and New York Rangers.
“I would think a true professional, like somebody that cares about their craft, would get that kind of feedback and welcome it,” Rothenberg said.
Albert has been pronouncing the city’s name as “RAW-lee”. It is properly pronounced “RAH-lee”.
Co-host Rick DiPietro and the rest of the show crew thought Albert would take offense to the correction, especially since it’s such a minor thing, but Rothenberg thought that was ridiculous.
“See, no one can deal with tough love anymore,” Rothenberg said.
The New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes series shifts back to Raleigh on Thursday for Game 5. The series is tied 2-2.
NBC Sports Names Al Michaels To Emeritus Role
The partnership will keep Michaels on for the Olympics and NBC’s NFL playoff coverage.
NBC Sports, which had been the home of Al Michaels since 2006, will still feature the veteran broadcaster despite Michaels’ moving to Amazon for Thursday Night Football.
The network announced that Michaels will still be a part of NBC Sports’ high-profile broadcasting properties including the Olympics and NFL Playoffs. Michaels’ last broadcast with the network had been Super Bowl LVI in February, his eleventh Super Bowl.
NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacqua said in a statement, “Revered by viewers and colleagues, Al has been the soundtrack for many of the greatest moments in sports television history. We are thrilled that he’s staying in the family and raising the stature of our events for years to come.”
“I’m looking forward to continuing my longtime NBC relationship while also launching the Thursday Night Football package on Amazon this fall. A special thanks to NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacqua and the folks at NBCUniversal for their help in making this happen,” Michaels said.
Michaels moved to Amazon Prime Video this season for their Thursday Night Football package. He will be paired with ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit. This season will mark his 37th NFL play-by-play campaign in primetime.
Following another historic broadcasting moment in which Michaels deftly demonstrated his expertise and versatility, he became just the second sportscaster in history to receive a News Emmy nomination for his coverage of the San Francisco earthquake during the 1989 World Series.
In addition to the 11 Super Bowls, Michaels has worked nine Olympics and called eight World Series.
In December 2020, Michaels was honored with the 2021 Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in broadcasting by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Michaels is one of only five distinguished broadcasters to be recognized with the baseball honor and the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Pete Rozelle Award (Dick Enberg, Lindsey Nelson, Jack Buck, and Curt Gowdy).
One of television’s most respected journalists, Michaels has covered more major sports events than any sportscaster, including 20 years as the play-by-play voice of Monday Night Football. He is the only commentator to call the Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals and host the Stanley Cup Final for network television. In addition, Michaels called the classic 1985 championship boxing match between Thomas “Hit Man” Hearns and “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler.
Among his many accolades, Michaels has captured eight Emmy Awards – seven for Outstanding Sports Personality – Play-by-Play and one in 2011 for the Lifetime Achievement Award, and has three times (1980, 1983 and 1986) received the NSSA Award from the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association; he was inducted into the NSSA Hall of Fame in 1998. Michaels was named Sportscaster of the Year in 1996 by the American Sportscasters Association, and, in 1991, he was named Sportscaster of the Year by the Washington Journalism Review.
Thom Brennaman Continues to Search for a Second Chance
Brennaman has been searching for a broadcasting gig since he spoke a homophobic slur in August 2020 on a Cincinnati Reds broadcast.
The last time Thom Brennaman sported the microphone for a major broadcast was August 19, 2020. It was game that featured a doubleheader between the Cincinnati Reds and the Kanasas City Royals and in between the two, Brennaman blurted a homophobic slur that has thus far kept him off radio and television.
Brennaman has struggled to find his footing since that error. Recently, Brennaman recorded an episode of Tell Me A Story I Don’t Know, a podcast hosted George Ofman. That episode was available Tuesday and in it, Ofman asks where Brennaman thinks he’ll be in six months.
Brennaman said, “I have no idea. I really don’t. There were a couple of times I thought that maybe somebody out there was going to give me a chance to broadcast again and then this same thing comes up again.”
Brennaman sounded baffled that he’s still searching for work, citing other influential local leaders and what they opined in the days after the incident. “You know what you find out George, the guy who’s considered to be the leading voice of the LGBT community here in Cincinnati, he’s a big executive with Johnson and Johnson, a guy named Ryan Messer. He had written, and I had never met Ryan Messer at this point in time, like two days after what I said, he wrote a letter to the editor of the Cincinnati Enquirer, local paper, that Thom Brennaman should not be fired. There is room for growth here in so many areas and a great opportunity for him, for the gay community, for the Reds, for our society.”
Brennaman added that the two met as well as did Brennaman with other leaders in the LGBT community at the time. “I reached out to the guy and made contact with him and he’s the guy who’s house we went to that I made reference to earlier in listening to a bunch of the stories with some gay leaders. But anyway, I said ‘if you have people there – and I know you do – that are gay that work there, I would put up the amount of hours that I have spent in the gay community in some form or fashion over the last year against anybody you have that works in that office that’s gay’.”
Despite his efforts, the broadcasting veteran is dismayed that it’s failed to sway opinion, “it’s almost like in some cases it just falls on deaf ears.”
Regardless of where he is at now, he’s confident that eventually he’ll be afforded another opportunity. “But I ‘d like to think there’s somebody out there – and there will be and all it takes is one – is just to say ‘you know what, this was a mistake. Here’s the documentation of what the guy’s tried to do since then. We’re going to take a chance – answer some tough questions – and take a chance and get him back in the booth.”
And if another opportunity doesn’t present itself? “If it doesn’t happen, it’s not going to be the end of my life.”