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Future Broadcasters in the NFL: Part 1

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With a new NFL season just around the corner, Barrett Sports Media decided to take on a big project. We reached out to hosts, PDs, and reporters in every NFL city in the country. The question we wanted answered was simple: Who on your team’s roster has the brightest future in the sports media?

We spent the better part of a month sending emails and texts asking folks to participate. Some gave us an answer right away. Some required a little poking and prodding. Some didn’t respond at all. What are you going to do, right? It’s a busy time of year for all of us in sports radio.

In the end, here’s what we have. We will reveal a new batch of answers everyday from now until Friday.

ARIZONA CARDINALS

Vince Marotta – Arizona Sports 98.7

The Arizona Cardinals’ roster is full of personality.

Perennial Pro Bowlers Patrick Peterson and Larry Fitzgerald are about as media-friendly as megastars can be.

Rookie quarterback Josh Rosen is one of the league’s “different” thinkers and definitely possesses an E.F. Hutton quality – when he talks, people listen (forgive the dated commercial reference.)

Offensive linemen D.J. Humphries, Justin Pugh and Evan Boehm, along with tight end Jermaine Gresham are some of the easiest people to interview because of their willingness to tackle whatever subject pops up.

But my choice for the current Cardinal who would make the best future broadcaster is safety Tre Boston.

Boston was a communications studies major at North Carolina and on his profile page on GoHeels.com, he says his career goal is to host his own reality television show.

He’s outspoken. Heck, he called the Cardinals’ original offer ‘very disrespectful’ on Sirius/XM NFL Radio before ultimately signing with Arizona just before training camp.​

“I did a lot of work with NFL Network last year,” Boston told our radio show (Bickley & Marotta) in July. “Every other Tuesday I was there being an analyst for them. Being able to do that, I think that set me up for a future in media”

And Boston says he enjoys radio, but envisions himself as a studio analyst.

“I want them to see my passion behind what I’m doing. I definitely see that as part of my future after I’m done playing in ten years – maybe 20,” he said.

I can definitely see it too.

CAROLINA PANTHERS

Kyle Bailey – WFNZ

The obvious choice here in Charlotte is TE Greg Olsen.  Olsen flirted with ESPN’s Monday Night Football job during the offseason, and many fans were anxious about possibly losing Cam Newton’s most reliable target to broadcasting.  In fact, some thought Greg was being a distraction and preferred he take the job as opposed to waffling about his future and costing the Panthers an opportunity to select his replacement in the draft.  But ESPN ultimately went with Jason Witten, and the Panthers came to agreement with Olsen on a 2-year extension.

If you’ll recall, Olsen also got some valuable network reps last year with FOX while sidelined with a foot injury.  It was an appearance that also carried some controversy.  The network assigned him a Vikings game just a few weeks before he returned to the lineup against… the Vikings.  Naturally, Minnesota was a bit displeased with Olsen’s presence and restricted his media access, which was expected given the paranoid nature of coaches and GMs in the NFL.  Greg absolutely has a future in broadcasting, it’s just a matter of when he retires and which network snatches him up.

CLEVELAND BROWNS

Ken Carman – 92.3 the Fan

Now that Joe Thomas has retired, this question has become a crap shoot since the team is so young, and the players aren’t yet confident in what to answer, and the answers they give like you would find in a veteran. 

As of right now, I would have to say that Myles Garrett has the brightest future in sports media, but that’s if he wants it. He’s a good story teller and a student of history. Mix those with his name, and what we believe will be a strong career, he may have a job waiting on him post career. But, his future after the game may be more fulfilling to him in some other area of study. 

Another one to keep an eye on is Drew Stanton. Quarterbacks can be good teachers, and can describe the “why” in a way that brings people with them, instead of talking above them. 

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

Carrington Harrison – 610 Sports Radio

The Chiefs drafted a wide receiver out of Georgia in 2015 named Chris Conley. He seems like a natural candidate to make a transition into media but I’m not entirely sure he will be someone that “sticks to sports.” He’s already shown an interest in filmmaking and is a movie aficionado. He made a college Star Wars fan movie while at Georgia.

I could see him making more of a pop culture, E! Network type move or do something behind the scenes. He’s someone I could also see doing in front the camera work. He isn’t shy and would have the personality. I wouldn’t be surprised to him doing some guest work as a player. I think the transition is in micro content. He could be someone that could do short movie reviews and offers up commentary on a subject. I think if he wanted to, it would be a smooth transition.​

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

Joe DeCamara – 94 WIP

Jason Kelce is a no-brainer answer to this question from an Eagles standpoint. While many Eagles players could do well, Kelce’s intelligence, communication skills, creativity and popularity in Philly make him a runaway easy lay-up answer.
Kelce is a beloved Philadelphia athlete. He was integral in the Eagles Super Bowl victory last February. Then he gave a parade speech that, well, let’s just say catapulted him to LEGEND in Philly. Despite his football and financial success, he maintains a down-to-earth everyman persona. Eagles fans love that. He is relatable, fun, funny and kind. Jason would be an incredible hire when he hangs up his cleats.

BSM Writers

Keeping Premier League Games Shouldn’t Be A Hard Call For NBC

“Beyond its massive global fanbase, the Premier League offers NBC/Peacock a unique modern 21st-century sport for the short attention span of fans.”

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NBC Sports is facing some tough, costly decisions that will define its sports brand for the rest of this decade.  A chance to connect with viewers in a changing climate and grow Peacock’s audience as well.  However, making the right choice is paramount to not losing to apps like Paramount+ (pun intended).

NBC is currently in the business of negotiating to continue airing the Premier League as their current deal ends after this 2021-2022 season.  NASCAR is contracted to NBC (and FOX) through the 2024 season.

NBC’s tentpole sports are the NFL and the Olympics.  

Negotiations for the EPL are expected to go down to the wire. Rather than re-up with NBC, the league is meeting with other networks to drive up the price. NBC has to then make a decision if the rights go north of $2 billion.

Should NBC spend that much on a sport that is not played in the United States? It’s not my money, but that sport continues to grow in the US.

If NBC re-ups with the Premier League, will that leave any coins in the cupboard to re-up with NASCAR? Comcast CEO Brian Roberts hinted that there might be some penny pinching as the prices continue to soar. This may have been one of the reasons that NBC did not fight to keep the National Hockey League, whose rights will be with Disney and WarnerMedia through ESPN and TNT, respectively.

“These are really hard calls,” Roberts said. “You don’t always want to prevail, and sometimes you’re right and sometimes you’re wrong, but I think the sustainability of sports is a critical part of what our company does well.”

Roberts was speaking virtually at the recent Goldman Sachs 30th Annual Communacopia Conference. He told the audience that between NBC and European network Sky, that Comcast has allocated approximately $20 billion towards these sports properties.

Comcast CFO Michael Cavanagh spoke virtually at the Bank of America Securities 2021 Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference and echoed that the company is in a good position to make some strong choices in the sports realm. 

“The bar is really high for us to pursue outright acquisitions of any material size,” Cavanagh added. “We got a great hand to play with what we have.”

While the European investments involve a partnership with American rival Viacom, the US market seems to have apparent limits.

Last Saturday’s NASCAR Cup Series at Bristol Motor Speedway was seen by around 2.19 million people. It was the most-watched motorsports event of the weekend. That same week eight different Premier League matches saw over 1 million viewers. More than half of those matches were on subscription-based Peacock. 

Beyond its massive global fanbase, the Premier League offers NBC/Peacock a unique modern 21st-century sport for the short attention span of fans. A game of typical soccer fan is used to a sport that is less than two hours long. The investment in a team is one or two games a week. 

My connection to the Premier League began before the pandemic.  When I cut the cord in late 2017, I purchase Apple TV.  Setting it up, it asks you to name your favorite teams.  After clicking on the Syracuse Orange and the New Jersey Devils, I recalled that my wife has family based in London, England.  They are season ticket holders for Arsenal, and that family redefined the word “die-hard” fans.

I’ve long been a believer that sports allegiances are best when handed down by family. I love hearing stories of people loving the New York Giants because their parents liked them, and they pass it down to their children.

I’ve successfully given my allegiance to the Devils to my young daughters. 

By telling Apple TV that I liked Arsenal, I get alerts from three different apps when the “Gunners” are playing. The $4.99 is totally worth it to see Arsenal.

Whenever I told this story, I was amazed to see how many other American sports fans had a Premier League team. Students of mine at Seton Hall University rooted for Tottenham Hotspurs, while an old colleague cheers on Chelsea.

Global Is Cool': The Growing Appeal of Premier League Soccer in America
Courtesy: Morning Consult

This is not meant to say that NBC should sign the EPL on my account. The key for any US-based soccer fan is that between Bundesliga, Serie A, and other leagues, there will be no shortage of soccer available on both linear television and streaming services.

Besides, Dani Rojas did say that “Football is life.”  NBC, originator of the Ted Lasso character, should make keeping its Premier League US connection a priority.

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BSM Writers

Media Noise – Episode 45

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Today, Demetri is joined by Tyler McComas and Russ Heltman. Tyler pops on to talk about the big start to the college football season on TV. Russ talks about Barstool’s upfront presentation and how the business community may not see any problems in working with the brand. Plus, Demetri is optimistic about FOX Sports Radio’s new morning show.

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BSM Writers

6 Ad Categories Hotter Than Gambling For Sports Radio

“Using sports radio as a back page service for gambling will have a limited shelf life.”

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For years sports radio stations pushed sports gambling advertisers to early Saturday and Sunday morning. The 1-800 ads, shouting, and false claims were seedy, and some stations wouldn’t even accept the business at 5 am on Sunday.

Now, with all but ten states ready to go all in on sports gambling, sports radio stations can’t get enough of that green. Demetri Ravanos wrote about the money cannon that sports gambling has become for stations. Well, what if you are in one of those ten states where it isn’t likely to ever be legal like California or Texas? Where is your pot of gold?

A Pot of Gold Articles - Analyzing Metals
Courtesy: iStockphoto

Or, let’s face it, the more gambling ads you run, the more risk you take on that the ads will not all work as you cannibalize the audience and chase other listeners away who ARE NOT online gambling service users and never will be. So, what about you? Where is your pot of gold?

Well, let’s go Digging for Gold. 

The RAB produces the MRI-Simmons Gold Digger PROSPECTING REPORT for several radio formats. In it, they index sports radio listeners’ habits against an average of 18+ Adult. The Gold Digger report looks at areas where the index is higher than the norm – meaning the sports radio audience is more likely to use the product or service than an average 18+ Adult who doesn’t listen to sports radio. The report, generated in 2020, indicates that sports radio listeners are 106% more likely to have used an online gambling site in the last thirty days. That’s impressive because the report only lists 32 activities or purchases a sports radio listener indexes higher than an average adult. I looked at those 32 higher indexes, and I think we can start looking for some gold.

Using sports radio as a back page service for gambling will have a limited shelf life. The gambling companies who commit significant money to get results will continue advertising and chase the others away. So, the future of sports radio needs to include other cash cows.

If it is evident to online sports gambling services that sports radio stations are a must-buy, who else should feel that way?  I looked at the Top 32 and eliminated the media companies. ESPN, MLB/NHL/NFL networks, and others aren’t spending cash on sports radio stations they don’t own in general. But Joseph A Bank clothing, Fidelity, and Hotwire should! Here’s your PICK-6 list I pulled together that’s hotter than sports gambling:

  • Sportscard collectors, Dapper Labs, Open Sea- read about Sports NFT $.
  • Online brokerage firms-Fidelity, Charles Schwab, Robinhood, Webull, TD Ameritrade
  • Golf courses, resorts, equipment, etc.- we play golf at home and vacation
  • Hotwire.com, Booking.com, TripAdvisor, Airbnb, Carnival Corporation, and Priceline.com- we’ve used Hotwire in the last year.
  • FedEx, UPS, U.S. Postal Service, Venmo, PayPal, Zelle-we wired or overnighted $ 
  • Jos. A. Bank, shein.com, macys.com, nordstroms.com- we went to Jos. A. Bank in last three months

The sports card/NFT market is 32% hotter than the sports betting market for sports radio listeners. Everything on the PICK-6 is at least 100% more likely to purchase than an average 18+ Adult who doesn’t listen to sports radio. All listed are at or above indexing strength compared to sports betting. The individual companies I added are industry leaders. Bet on it! Email me for details. 

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