The NFL keeps drawing major sports headlines despite being in the offseason, thanks to big-name player movement throughout the league. Wednesday’s big news was wide receiver Tyreek Hill being traded from the Kansas City Chiefs to the Miami Dolphins.
What necessitated the trade was Hill wanting a new top-dollar contract, which the Chiefs apparently weren’t willing to provide. But he got that deal from the Dolphins, who will sign him to a four-year, $120 million extension. (Hill will receive a guaranteed $72.2 million in the deal.)
On Wednesday’s First Take, Chris Russo couldn’t believe that Hill wanted to leave a Super Bowl contender with one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL and one of the sport’s best all-time coaches for a team with quarterback uncertainty, a new head coach, and possibly more difficult path to the playoffs for “an extra couple o’ dollars.”
Stephen A. Smith pointed out the obvious: Hill is going to the Dolphins for money. A whole lot more money. Sure, winning a Super Bowl is important but Hill has a championship. Now, he’s going to be paid an exorbitant salary, going from $18 million annually to $30 million.
But the discussion turned funny when Stephen A. drew the comparison to someone else who once left a successful franchise for a bigger paycheck. Russo left Mike & the Mad Dog after a 19-year partnership with Mike Francesa to eventually sign a lucrative deal with SiriusXM that included his own show, allowed him to program an exclusive channel, and provided a show on MLB Network, High Heat.
“I remember this big-time show called Mike & the Mad Dog, it was an institution,” said Smith. “It started sports talk radio. It was doing its thing, OK? But you know something? Mad Dog left! And why? Got his own damn channel! And I’m sure that wasn’t for ‘an extra few bucks,’ OK? You made a business decision! What’s wrong with Tyreek Hill doing that?”
That compelled a hilarious response from Russo, who yelled “I was there 19 years!” Molly Qerim was highly amused.
Mike and the Mad Dog reunited earlier this month at the 2022 BSM Summit, where Francesa revealed that Stephen A. was considered as a possible replacement for Russo. Russo mentioned that Smith grew up as a huge fan of the show, which was indicated in his remarks during that First Take segment.
Former Hulu Exec Michael Schneider Hired To Run Bally Sports+
“Schneider previously was VP of brand and content marketing at Hulu, where he had involvement in various marketing efforts for Hulu + Live TV.”
Schneider will oversee the direct-to-consumer platform that will also be the hub for Bally Sports live programming.
Schneider previously was VP of brand and content marketing at Hulu, where he had involvement in various marketing efforts for Hulu + Live TV.
“Throughout his career, Michael has successfully launched and developed DTC streaming and service platforms and created immersive engagement experiences,” said Sinclair COO and president of broadcast Rob Weisbord. “He is a terrific addition to the team as we build out the Bally Sports+ offering, its exclusive content and passionate fan community.”
Even before Hulu, Schneider had a hand in streaming. He was a founding member of the PlayStation Vue launch team.
Marquee Sports Network Weighs Streaming Options Outside of Bally Sports+
“Marquee GM Mike McCarthy said to Sports Business Journal there’s no rush, but the network is hopeful they can have something in time for the 2023 season.”
As Sinclair Broadcast Group prepares to launch Bally Sports+, its direct-to-consumer platform that will be home to Bally Sports live events, the Chicago Cubs are weighing their options for Marquee Sports Network, which the team co-owns with Sinclair.
Despite being under the Sinclair umbrella, Marquee is its own free-standing RSN from the rest of the Bally Sports networks across the country.
Marquee is readily available on a number of cable providers, but the only thing that’s really missing is its own standalone streaming platform for games. Marquee GM Mike McCarthy said to Sports Business Journal there’s no rush, but the network is hopeful they can have something in time for the 2023 season.
“We’re always interested in being on the cutting edge with the ultimate deliverable to our consumer,” McCarthy said. “But there isn’t any contractual clock ticking to make us feel that way. It’s how we’ve approached things from the beginning. Between our two ownership groups, there’s a lot of aggression to get it right. And I think you’ll see something along those lines shortly.”
The TV ratings will always be of top interest for MLB, especially regional ratings. But as the league has worked to embrace more streaming options for games, striking deals with Apple and Peacock for rights this season, it’s all about providing what the fans and viewers want.
“We now have the ability to do so much more, to properly tell the story of a 162-game season,” said Crane Kenney, Chicago Cubs president of business operations. Kenney was instrumental in the launch of Marquee. “We love baseball, we love the game, and we love the opportunity we have to share it with our fans in really deep ways.”
Laura Rutledge Celebrates Chemistry Of NFL Live
“It is truly the absolute joy of my life to get their opinions and to sit with them every single day and hear what they have to say.”
Laura Rutledge is very happy with where NFL Live is as the current lineup gets set to enter its third season together. She told The Big Lead that there is genuine chemistry between herself, Marcus Spears, Mina Kimes, and Dan Orlovsky and that is why she doesn’t feel the need to emulate any of sports television’s many debate shows.
“You don’t want to see people yelling at each other all the time and I’m really proud of the chemistry that we have struck and just letting that breathe on air and having so much fun. It is truly the absolute joy of my life to get their opinions and to sit with them every single day and hear what they have to say.”
The 2022 NFL season will have a very different feel for ESPN. The addition of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman for Monday Night Football adds new expectations to the network.
Rutledge said that the attention on the network means that she and her colleagues have to raise their respective games, but that shouldn’t be hard. There is always material to work with in this league.
“We’ve seen this offseason, we saw the previous offseason, how the NFL news cycle never stops. It’s funny because the news cycle becomes such a big piece of the story, but we’re like, we can’t wait for the games,” she said.