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NFL Considers Monday Night Wild Card Weekend Game

It seems that a Monday night wildcard weekend game seems to be a go for the NFL.

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NFL has some new plans to change their ”Super Wild Card” idea from last year that included six total games. Now, they want to have one of their games on Monday of Wild Card Weekend, according to Ian Rapaport.

It seems as if the NFL is trying new methods of different days to try and raise the viewership of the Wild Card Weekend, as ratings were down across the board last season.

This does present some logistical issues for the NFL that some sports media members have pointed out. It could result in one or more teams having to play Monday night and then having a Saturday game turnaround the following week.

Warren Sharp of NBC Sports and The Ringer had some stats that would assume that if this was the case, that the team playing on short rest would be at a distinct disadvantage.

NBC Sports’s Peter King has said that this is not the first time the NFL has discussed this move to another primetime game on Wild Card Weekend, as they talked about the possibility all the way back in February.

However, there were some scheduling issues due to college football’s national championship game being on the same day. This issue no longer exists with the expanded season to 17 games, so it seems that a Monday night Wildcard Weekend game seems to be a go for the NFL.

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Audacy & MLB Partner On Cubs World Series Podcast

“I believe this moment of the Cubs winning was the last pure, joyful, optimistic moment in the history of this nation,” Spiegel jokes in the trailer for the show.

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The Run: 2016 Cubs is the first collaboration between Audacy’s 2400Sports and Major League Baseball. The show will tell the story of the year the Chicago Cubs broke the curse of the billy goat and finally won the World Series.

The podcast has some real name recognition working for it. It will be hosted by comedian Roy Wood Jr. and 670 The Score afternoon co-host Matt Speigel. The series is being produced by Jody Avirgan, formerly of ESPN’s 30 for 30 podcast series and FiveThirtyEight. David Ross, Theo Epstein, and Joe Madden are all set to make appearances on The Run as well.

Not only will the show follow the Cubs, it will put the championship run in historical perspective. Segments of episodes will be dedicated to what was happening in Chicago and around the country during the playoff run as America was nearing the contentious 2016 presidential election.

“I believe this moment of the Cubs winning was the last pure, joyful, optimistic moment in the history of this nation,” Spiegel jokes in the trailer for the show.

Starting Monday, September 27, The Run: 2016 Cubs will break down every moment, game, and controversy the team endured in route to its first title in 108 years. There will be ten episodes in total with new shows being released every Monday.

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Bloomberg Questions Adam Schefter’s Investment In Boom Entertainment

“O’Brien asked the company if they have a conflicts-of-interest policy, and they declined to answer.”

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Courtesy: ESPN Images

The Walt Disney Company is ready for ESPN to start diving deeper into sports gambling, but one of their well-known employees is already wading into the space with an investment.

Bloomberg’s senior columnist Timothy O’Brien noticed that ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter was part of a recent investment round for Boom Entertainment. The company helped develop NBC Sports Predictor and is using the latest funding round to expand into “real money gaming products.”

Among the other investors is NFL owner Robert Kraft, sparking questions as to whether or not the investment is a conflict of interest for Schefter as he continues covering the league.

O’Brien had this to say on the matter: “That information is also valuable to gamblers — or anyone who might own, say, a sizeable stake in a newfangled gambling company interested in digital sports betting. Viewers, and Schefter’s 8.5 million Twitter followers, might end up wondering whether he will shade his opinions or bury important information if he directly or indirectly has money riding on games and athletes. It gives a whole new meaning to “NFL Insider,” but ESPN seems unconcerned.”

O’Brien asked the company if they have a conflicts-of-interest policy, and they declined to answer.

ESPN dove headfirst into gambling in recent years and have reportedly been hard at work on a $3 billion licensing deal with Caesar’s Entertainment and DraftKings.

“There’s a long way between embedded into the ESPN business model and licensing out,” Disney chief executive Bob Chapek said to investors at Tuesday’s conference. “Let’s just say that our fans are really interested in sports betting. Let’s say that our partners — with the leagues — are interested in sports betting. So we’re interested in sports betting.”

ESPN is ready to embrace gambling, and it looks like one of their most well-known employees is as well.

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The Athletic Hires Firm To Facilitate Sale

“The Athletic boasts 1.2 million subscribers and had previously been in talks to merge with Axios or The New York Times, but those deals fell through.”

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Courtesy: The Athletic

The Athletic is back on the market after hiring a new firm to find a buyer at a $750 million evaluation. The Information reports the sports media company hired LionTree to expedite the sale process.

The Information confirmed that The Athletic has raised $145 million in funding since 2016 and was valued at $530 million last year. Their revenue has been healthy as well despite the sports shutdown in 2020. The Athletic is projecting $80 million in revenue this year, a 50% jump from the same 2020 figure.

By hiring the LionTree firm, the company is showing a more serious and defined approach to eventually being sold. The firm is looking to have initial bids submitted for The Athletic by October.

The Athletic boasts 1.2 million subscribers and had previously been in talks to merge with Axios or The New York Times, but those deals fell through. 

“As a general matter of policy, we do not comment on rumors about potential acquisitions or divestitures,” a Times spokesperson told TheWrap at that time, while an Athletic representative echoed similar sentiments: “The Athletic does not comment on rumors or speculation in the market.”

Reports also surfaced around Fanatics being interested in The Athletic, but those never came to fruition. Talks with the New York Times dissolved because the two sides couldn’t agree on how to offer the site’s employees equity in the company.

Next year, The Athletic expects revenues to increase to $120 million as they continue their search for a buyer.

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