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Stephen A. Smith: ‘I’m More Popular Than 90% Of The Players’

“He admitted to Bomani Jones that he is not as loud in his private life as he is on TV. He also shed some light on why he isn’t afraid to be critical.”

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Game Theory with Bomani Jones debuted Sunday night on HBO. The show featured Jones’s commentary on the day’s sports issues, some comedy sketches, and an interview with Stephen A. Smith. The First Take star was very candid about his stature in the sports world and his run-ins with people that were unhappy with what he had to say about them.

“I was never good enough to be an elite college athlete, let alone a professional athlete,” Smith told Jones. “And to walk into an arena and be more popular than 90% of the players, every single place I go, is crazy.”

Stephen A. Smith illustrated the point with a story about watching a game at Cnseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. According to Smith, while he his eyes were on the court, a long line of people wanting his autograph had formed and it stretched from the court to way up in the stands.

Smith also offered some real insight into how he became the asset to ESPN that he is now. He admitted to Bomani Jones that he is not as loud in his private life as he is on TV. He also shed some light on why he isn’t afraid to be critical.

He played basketball and wrote for the student paper at Winston-Salem State University. He told a story about writing a column saying his coach needed to retire. According to Smith, the column ruffled some feathers in the athletic department and had plenty of people wanting him kicked out of school, but his coach stood up for him saying that if Smith wants to be a journalist, his job is to call it like he sees it and that he was fair in the way he dealt with the coach.

Stephen A. Smith said that if his basketball coach could deal with him professionally in that moment, he expects others to be able to do the same.

“My problem is, half the time, people are coming at me because of the headline. They don’t read the story. They don’t know the quote. They’re like ‘This headline is out there. You said that about me.’ And if I can get to them, I can resolve it, but like you said, I’m a busy man. I ain’t got time to get to everybody.”

Smith then told a story about one player confronting him and trying to intimidate him. He told Bomani Jones that he is willing to listen to fair criticism, but no one can intimidate him.

“I remember one cat came up to me and said ‘Man, I don’t like your ass. I can’t stand you. You’re a punk bitch. Blah blah blah blah blah.’ AndI looked at him and I said ‘Can I speak?’. He said ‘Yeah.’ I said ‘I’m glad you said that, cuz I don’t like your punk bitch ass neither. Who the hell you think you’re scaring? Because I did my job? This is what you did. I didn’t get into your personal life. I was talking about the game. Who you think you’re scaring? It ain’t gonna work.’”

Sports TV News

FOX Will Use Chris Fallica On Belmont Stakes Coverage

“While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.”

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The Bear will be more than just a college football presence when he moves to FOX. Chris Fallica wrapped his final duties for ESPN last week and is now headed to a new network and will tackle some new responsibilities.

Fallica’s new role at FOX will involve plenty of sports gambling content. Richard Deitsch of The Athletic reports that content will include horse racing.

“One Fox Sports source said look for him to appear on the Belmont Stakes coverage,” Deitsch wrote in his weekly media column.

Starting in 2023, horse racing’s Triple Crown will not be seen all in one place. While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.

How the network intends to use Chris Fallica on the broadcast is not clear. Given that he is coming to the network to contribute to gambling conversations, it is likely he would either be making picks or at least reviewing odds right up to the start of the race.

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Sports TV News

NBCUniversal CEO Expects Disney To Buy Company’s Hulu Stake

“Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal.”

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The Walt Disney Company owns 67% of Hulu. The other 33% is owned by NBCUniversal. The latter company doesn’t expect that to be the case forever.

“It’s worth a lot of money,” NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said at an investor conference earlier this week, “and I think there’s no indication that anything else is going to happen than Disney writing us a big check.”

Hulu is primarily a platform for movies and television shows. It is a major part of Disney’s deal with the NHL though. The streaming giant is part of the package of 103 games that are exclusive to ESPN and ABC. Hulu is also a live TV provider for many. The company’s Hulu Plus Live TV package had over 4 million subscribers as of the summer of 2022.

Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal. He credits sports and content migrated from Hulu as the reason Peacock has grown to 18 million paid subscriptions since September.

Deadline reports that if Disney does want to acquire NBCUniversal’s stake in Hulu, “the price could fluctuate but will be in the tens of billions of dollars.”

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Sports TV News

Greg Olsen Believes He and Kevin Burkhardt Can Handle Games ‘On Any Stage’

“Obviously, the bosses get paid a lot to make hard decisions. You have to obviously do what your bosses decide. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”

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Greg Olsen

Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen are on tap to call Super Bowl LVII in February, and Olsen told Front Office Sports he has the confidence to announce the game with no hesitations.

“If you’re asking me, I think Kevin and I have shown that we can handle a game on any stage – on any day. We just did it on Thanksgiving. We’ll do it again around Christmas. And obviously throughout the [NFL] Playoffs,” said Olsen. “So whatever decision they make. Obviously, the bosses get paid a lot to make hard decisions. You have to obviously do what your bosses decide. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

“But as of now, I anticipate Kevin and I, the two of us, with Erin and Tom down on the sidelines, the four of us, broadcasting the Super Bowl in February in Arizona. Until I’m told otherwise, that’s how we’re proceeding.”

Olsen also told FOS he has negotiated a new contract with FOX Sports, but declined to share details. He is slated to be replaced on the top broadcast crew once Tom Brady ends his playing career. Brady will then begin a 10-year, $375 million contract to serve as the network’s top NFL game analyst and brand ambassador.

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