Sports Radio News
Francesa and CBS At Odds
Mike Francesa first went public about his frayed relationship with CBS Radio seven months ago. On Wednesday, he made it clear that time has not healed any of the wounds.
The WFAN host called his relationship with executives at CBS Radio, which owns WFAN, “very poor,” “awful” and “terrible” and said it has “never been worse.”
Speaking during a break in his show at the Hard Rock Cafe in Manhattan, Francesa said that for legal reasons he cannot go into detail about the nature of the dispute.
But he acknowledged one source of tension is his ongoing frustration over his often pre-empted simulcast on Fox Sports 1 and 2, and CBS’ inability or unwillingness to find a contractual solution.
“We have a difference of opinion on a number of issues now, and Fox is one of them, yes,” he said. “But I’ve been asked not to discuss it in any detail and I’m going to abide by what I was asked not to do.”
In September, he said on the air that he had received a letter from CBS threatening to sue if he continued complaining about the simulcast. CBS said there had been no discussion of a lawsuit, causing him to fire back and insist there had been.
Francesa continues to produce strong ratings and is under contract for another three years, but he appears to be in an unhappy business marriage.
“My relationship with the people who I deal with is awful right now; it’s terrible,” he said. “We don’t agree on philosophy. Nothing’s changed. It’s what it is. I do my show. They didn’t have any interest in fixing what I wanted fixed.”
The simulcast situation has been helped somewhat by the improved distribution and channel position of FS2. But pre-emptions continue, usually for international soccer games that draw good ratings.
Francesa did not name the executives with whom he is at odds, but he excluded CBS chief executive Leslie Moonves, who was a target of harsh criticism from him after Moonves fired Don Imus in 2007.
What does Moonves make of Francesa’s status with CBS in 2015?
“We love Mike,” he said. “He’s done a great job . . . Let him keep doing what he’s doing and getting the ratings he’s doing and I’m very happy with him.”
Moonves said he is no stranger to criticism from employees, including Howard Stern and David Letterman. “What makes these the interesting personalities that they are is it’s important to take shots at ‘The Man,’ ” he said. “It just sort of goes with the territory.
“Howard Stern went on the David Letterman show when they were both working for me wearing a picture of me and my wife and underneath it said, ‘I hate Les Moonves’ on his T-shirt. It doesn’t get much worse than that.”
Francesa said he always will be indebted to Moonves, whom he called a “genius in this business.” He credited Moonves for meeting with him for three hours to discuss the Imus firing and for “doing things for me on my contract two times ago [in 2008] that no one had ever done for me in my life.”
He added, “This has nothing to do with Les Moonves. As far as with the guys I deal with [regularly], my relationship has never been worse.”
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
Sports Radio News
Buck Reising: I ‘Don’t Have Any Kind of Edict’ To Promote MLS
“I’m not going to call you a mouth breather, but I’m saying that you’re displaying the behavior of one if you don’t realize the impact this is about to have on Apple’s bottom line to acquire the biggest international star in sport.”
Lionel Messi is coming to America. The biggest star in sports is leaving Paris St. Germain to join Major League Soccer’s Inter Miami. Buck Reising thought the story was big enough to devote a few minutes to on Wednesday. One of his listeners disagreed.
A texter calling himself TN Berg wrote, “I don’t understand. I understand they have to push it because of Nashville SC, but nobody even watches it lol. It’s Miami Marlins attendance.”
Reising took exception to the idea that he and his producer, Lucas Panzica are forced to talk about Major League Soccer on 104.5 The Zone because there is a franchise in the market.
“We don’t have any kind of edict to push anything,” he said. “Lucas is the voice of Nashville SC. I am curious to know, as somebody who is not a soccer diehard, but who is interested in the United States acquiring the biggest international sports star going at this point, what that means.”
Messi is on the short list when soccer fans discuss the best player in the history of the sport. He joins a long line of international stars that come to the United States in the final days of their playing career.
Resising added that the MLS luring Lionel Messi to Miami is bigger than just a soccer story. The league made a deal last year with Apple TV+ for national coverage of all of its games. Messi will receive a percentage of all of the money generated from those subscriptions. That makes his signing a business story in Buck Reising’s eyes.
“I understand you may not be considering all the different things,” he said directing his frustration at the texter. “I’m not going to call you a mouth breather, but I’m saying that you’re displaying the behavior of one if you don’t realize the impact this is about to have on Apple’s bottom line to acquire the biggest international star in sport.”
Sports Radio News
Boomer and Gio Caller Explains Saudi Investment Realities vs. Media Narrative
“This might get a lot of notoriety, but it’s a different thing.”
Following Tuesday’s news of the merger between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour and LIV Golf, jolting reactions of astonishment and betrayal pervaded the sports and media landscape. The entities are set to operate as one commercial company with a name to be determined in the coming future, marking a seminal moment in the history of golf. The agreement also ended litigation between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf, and gave the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) ostensible purview regarding the evolution of the game.
Most players found out on Twitter, and even LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman was informed of the news shortly before its public announcement via a phone call. All of the eccentricities and nuance embedded in this type of situation has led sports fans to wonder whether this is just the metaphorical ‘tip of the iceberg’ for the PIF to expand its sphere of influence in the industry.
“I think it’s going to lead to the other sports doing the same thing,” Dennis, a caller on WFAN’s Boomer & Gio said. “If you have a league or commissioner – MLB; NBA; whatever it is – I think that they may do the same thing. Start their own league; get their own players on the backend or have a big name; give them these big contracts and kind of stir the pot for other leagues to do the same thing.”
The original source of indignation between the PGA and LIV Golf can be traced back to the launch of LIV Golf and its attempt to lure away players from the PGA Tour. The tour was successful in its mission, attracting stars such as Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson, and ultimately resulted in an unexpected, somewhat brash announcement of the agreement.
It has been a topic of discussion across sports media, but one that is perhaps more hyperbolic than it needs to be – at least according to another show caller who works on Wall Street.
This caller, named Mike, said that he visited Saudi Arabia and met with the Public Investment Fund, along with the fact that many businesses already have some presence or involvement with Saudi Arabia.
“The media makes it out to be a big deal, and I sort of look at it and say, ‘Everybody’s there. Everybody is there,’” Mike articulated. “This might get a lot of notoriety, but it’s a different thing.”
Mike divulged how golf was vulnerable to this kind of a transaction because all of its players are independent contractors who sign agreements with different tours to compete. Conversely, athletes in Major League Baseball, the NBA and the NHL are all under contract, and they could only be lured away through free agency or buyouts.
“The total adjustable market of players that could actually [be] picked off at any one time is basically 100% of all players [in golf],” he stated. “It’s much, much easier to pick off a large swath of players when nobody is really under contract.”
“That’s why we thought Kyrie Irving would be the perfect guy to lead the NBA over there because he’s a free agent right now and no one’s going to give him a supermax [contract],” co-host Boomer Esiason opined.
Despite the difficulties associated with the leagues being able to sign players affiliated with teams in contracts, show co-host Gregg Giannotti believes the affluent Saudi Public Investment Fund will try another way to carry out its mission. The entity simply has too many investors and is flush with cash; therefore, it may consider trying to own teams outright.
“I just don’t think that’s going to stop them,” Giannotti said of the composition of players available. “I know exactly what you’re saying, and it’s a great point and it was a very, very good call, but I still think they’re going to try.”
“I don’t see the NHL playing in Riyadh any time soon to try [and] get rid of the players’ escrow plan,” Esiason replied. “As much as Gary Bettman would love to do that and the players would love to do that, I don’t think hockey is the No. 1 thing over there.”
Esiason believes the PIF is more captivated by the allure of traditional events, such as horse racing, boxing and Formula 1 racing among others. He would not be surprised to hear about interest in acquiring a stake in some of them, an outcome that could aggravate geopolitical affairs because of the country’s human rights record.
“The hypocritical nature of what’s going on here, and all the things that had been said over the last year, and then, all of a sudden, after Jimmy Dunne reaches out to the Saudi investment fund… now everything changes,” Esiason said. “Oddly enough, he gets put on the PGA Tour’s board for policy.”
Sports Radio News
Joe DeCamara: I Hate Giving Chris Simms Attention
“Chris Simms got a football scholarship years ago, clearly not an academic scholarship because the guy’s a moron.”
There is no love for Chris Simms on 94 WIP. Wednesday morning, host Joe DeCamara made his feelings on the former Buccaneers quarterback clear.
“Chris Simms got a football scholarship years ago, clearly not an academic scholarship because the guy’s a moron,” he said after seeing that Simms had Jalen Hurts ranked seventh among NFL quarterbacks.
In April, Hurts signed a five-year contract that makes him the highest paid player in the NFL each season. That comes on the heels of him leading the Philadelphia Eagles to the Super Bowl in a season in which he was a legitimate MVP candidate.
“I almost hate bringing this up because I feel like it gives Chris Simms attention that I don’t really want to give him,” DeCamara said. He noted that the quarterbacks Simms ranked ahead of Hurts include Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Justin Herbert, Joe Burrow, Lamar Jackson, and Trevor Lawrence.
DeCamara’s partner, Jon Ritchie, said that this is actually progress for Hurts as far as Chris Simms is concerned. In 2021, Simms did not even rank Jalen Hurts among his top forty quarterbacks. Last year, he ranked Hurts number 25.
According to Ritchie, Putting Jalen Hurts in the top ten this year is Simms admitting that Hurts is valuable without having to say that his previous rankings were absurd.
“There’s still some spite,” Jon Ritchie said. “There’s still some ‘Hey, I can’t disprove myself by allowing for Jalen to be where he belongs,’ which is the top two quarterbacks in this league.”
DeCamara encouraged listeners to call in and talk about how dumb Chris Simms and his list are. Ritchie said that the piece is clearly a troll job. The show is just giving it more life and attention it doesn’t deserve.
“We’re giving it life, but you know what? We’re giving it life so people can just stomp out Chris Simms,” DeCamara responded. “So, whack away! It’s a whack away day.”
This isn’t the first time Simms has caught heat from Philadelphia. Last year, WIP afternoon host Jon Marks said the NBC football analyst “sounds so silly” for remaining committed to doubting Jalen Hurts after the quarterback had clearly proven him wrong.