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Ojeda Explains Reasons For SNY Exit

Jason Barrett

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Someone asked Bobby Ojeda what he would have said on SportsNet New York last Saturday after Jenrry Mejia was suspended 80 games for testing positive for Stanozolol. We could almost see him glaring intensely into the camera before he decided there was much more to offer than knee-jerk commentary concerning the closer’s selfishness.

“I would have said, ‘Bud Selig, thank you for not initially addressing the problem. Thank you for sweeping it under the rug for years,’ ” Ojeda, sarcastically, said. “What we see now is some 20-odd years later guys are still using the drugs.”

Ojeda continued ranting, resurrecting memories of the six years of viewer whiplash he caused with fearless unpredictability anchored with analysis built through the course of a baseball life. His summer pulpit was chopped down when Ojeda and SNY brass, who hired Nelson Figueroa to replace him,could not reach an agreement on a new contract.

Money, as always, played a role. Our guess is they were not that far apart, more like five figures than six — but what do we know? “I know a lot was made about the difference and the money, although it was minor,” Ojeda told me over the telephone. “But I didn’t make a decision like that based solely on one thing, which would have been money. That would have been disingenuous on my part.”

See, on his way to becoming the top local studio analyst in baseball, Ojeda learned you don’t arrive at that destination without plenty of help. Walking the high wire like Ojeda did necessitates a safety net. For the first four or five years, he worked largely with the same production personnel. They made it possible, and provided everything, for him to focus solely on working in front of the camera.

Last August, Ojeda said, he saw things beginning to change. Craig Germain, the senior coordinating producer, who oversaw the pre- and postgame shows, left SNY to join NFL Network. Gerard Guilfoyle, who produced the shows, began taking on other projects.

Ojeda looked down from that wire and saw nothing but concrete.

“All of a sudden it was, this is going to be a daunting task ahead of me. Am I able to do it? Are we going to be able to continue doing as good a job as we had been doing?” Ojeda asked. “When the players (production personnel) started to change, then go, the uncertainty started creeping in. . . . I found myself almost having to train people, very good people, to do what we had been doing.”

Through almost all of Ojeda’s SNY tenure, Guilfoyle was his producer. “(Last season) his time in the producer’s chair was starting to turn over,” Ojeda said. “Honestly, it was Gerard who was driving this thing. I cannot be more emphatic about that. His ideas, his insight — especially with the man on the street. He knew what the man on the street was curious about. Gerard really fueled me. He was a big boost to me.”

Let’s look at this logically, which may not be a great idea. But what the hell? Last season, Ojeda saw the infrastructure SNY built around its Mets studio beginning to change. That has an affect — even on little things. Like while the core group knew exactly what video to pull when Ojeda wanted to analyze a certain style of pitching, Ojeda now had to get more involved in the production process. Get it?

On top of the changes, Ojeda was looking down the barrel of a contract negotiation. In his mind, he was worth more dough not only because of his performance but he believed his job description changed.

“It began to be a little bit more than I signed on for. I was willing to do it,” Ojeda said. “But with that added responsibility, I think there should be added compensation. That’s quite fair. It’s that simple.”

The “responsibility” includes the prospect of being a target of criticism that is not deserved because of a behind-the-scenes glitch. “If it doesn’t fly, me and Gary (Apple) are going to take the fall,” Ojeda said. “Sure I miss doing the show. But it started to become a lot more than I felt I was able to do.

“But the reality is that’s just my own shortcomings I was afraid of,” Ojeda continued. “That was part of it. I had so many people helping me do that job and they began to turn over. And I began questioning my abilities a little bit.”

History tells us insecurity is in the air all these guys breathe. Yet Ojeda is quick to embrace the idea of a return to broadcasting. Or a front-office position. Or becoming a member of a coaching staff. For through all that went down, all the experiences over six years behind a microphone, Bobby Ojeda learned something about himself.

“I found out I still have a passion for the game that I didn’t know existed,” he said. “Now, I’m sort of in between innings.”

Credit to the NY Daily News who originally published this article

Sports TV News

The NFL Still Considering Multiple Offers For Sunday Ticket

The NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has not bid for the package but has stated it is willing to partner with the new rightsholder for a potential deal.

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Sunday Ticket Negotiations

DirecTV currently has the rights to Sunday Ticket. That deal expires at the end of this upcoming football season. The NFL is expected to make a boatload of cash when they decide which media organization gets the next rights to the package. The only question is… who will that be?

Alex Sherman of CNBC reports that the NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has decided not bid for the package. However, they are interested in partnering with the new rightsholder for a potential deal. DirecTV knows that Sunday Ticket is a staple in bars and restaurants and is interested in maintaining those relationships.

Outside of the bar/restaurant industry, success has been limited for the satellite provider with the football package. Fewer than two million subscribers signed up for Sunday Ticket each year which made the package a money-loser for the satellite TV provider.

According to the report, the NFL wants more than $2 billion for the rights and a stake in NFL Media, which is being packaged with Sunday Ticket. Also on the table is the NFL’s mobile rights. The league’s previous mobile agreement with Verizon has ended.

An interesting piece of the negotiations is Sunday Ticket price. According to the report, a buyer would have limited flexibility on pricing. The NFL signed contracts with CBS and Fox and within the framework of those deals, language mandates Sunday Ticket have a premium price. That’s to prevent loss of viewers from the networks that feature local market Sunday afternoon games. So essentially, the price is the price for the consumer.

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Sports TV News

F1 Renews With ESPN For U.S. Media Rights

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

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F1 ESPN

The racing series F1 has decided to stick with ESPN through 2025.

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

The reported value of the three-year contract is set to pay F1 $75-90M per year for the U.S. media rights. Amazon had offered to pay roughly $100M per year, with the right to sublicense to a linear broadcast network. Comcast’s offer was similar to ESPN’s in terms of value and the structure. They also wanted to put select races on it’s streaming service, Peacock.

Netflix was in on the negotiations, as well. The makers of Drive to Survive, the streaming series that many credit with the sport’s explosion in popularity in recent years, wasn’t close on on their financial offer. Also, it seems F1 executives were not ready to put all of its races on a streaming service just yet.

Currently, F1 receives $5M per year for ESPN to broadcast it’s races. ESPN has grabbed about 1.0 million viewers per race. That makes F1 a more than viable option for the network to invest into again. ESPN will be able to put a small number of races on its ESPN+ streaming service exclusively. The vast majority being on ABC or ESPN.

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Sports TV News

Skip Bayless Says He And Stephen A. Smith ‘Sorted Out’ Their Disagreement

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

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Skip Bayless

Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless were locked in a war of words last week following the First Take host’s appearance on JJ Redick’s Old Man and the Three podcast.

The origins of their partnership were discussed and Bayless admitted he did not like the way Smith characterized the state of First Take before he arrived on set. Smith insisted that Bayless simply misunderstood what he meant by saying that he was told the show needed him.

Over the weekend, Skip Bayless says he and Stephen A. Smith got together at the Bayless home in California to talk things out in private.

“He was in LA, he came over, we sat by the pool,” he said on the latest episode of The Skip Bayless Show. “It wasn’t the easiest conversation for a while, but we slowly but surely sorted it out. We got through it, and we have been through so much together.”

Bayless reiterated that he considers Smith a brother. They love each other. That doesn’t mean they are always going to remember events the same way or see eye-to-eye all the time.

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

Fighting doesn’t mean the relationship is fractured. In fact, Skip Bayless was adamant that he remains closer to Smith than he is to most people in his life.

“I don’t trust easily because of the way I was raised, but I do trust Stephen Anthony Smith. Trust him with my life. Always have and always will. I trust he will always be there for me, and you better believe I will always be there for him.”

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