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Facebook’s Sports Stadium Could Change The Game

Jason Barrett

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Sports, currently, is dominated by Disney’s ESPN, whose trademark saying is: “The Worldwide Leader in Sports.” Unlike many trademark sayings, ESPN’s is true.

The network has multi-year broadcast deals with all the major sports leagues, which means other aspiring sports networks get stuck with amateur chess championships instead of the college football playoffs.

To be clear, FB isn’t getting into sports broadcasting just yet. But it is doubling down on the conversations surrounding sports, which has become an integral part of how we consume sports in this day and age. It’s also something ESPN can’t do, and it could woo some major ad dollars Facebook’s way if it proves popular.

Dubbed “Facebook Sports Stadium”, the new feature will have its own real estate on Facebook’s mobile app. It will consist of four separate tabs: One devoted to live sports commentary from your friends, another populated with commentary from experts like commentators and players, the third will have play-by-play game details, and the fourth will include live game stats.

Two of those FB tabs will compete head-on with espn.com, which already provides play-by-play details and live game stats. And the other two — the social aspects — will surely foster high amounts of user engagement, which advertisers love.

It’s another move FB is making to combat its biggest competitor, Twitter. Sports events are one of the few things Twitter does better than Facebook currently. Users can and do take to Twitter during big games to talk trash, vent, rant and see what others are talking about. Now it’s Facebook’s turn.

For now, the new feature will serve as a complement to traditional sports broadcasters like ESPN. FB will prominently display where users can view the game on TV. But I wouldn’t put it past Facebook to look into broadcast deals in the future, especially if the feature ends up being a huge success, keeping users on the site for longer and attracting more advertisers.

Credit to Investor Place who originally published this article.

Sports TV News

Stephen A. Smith Promises Mike and the Mad Dog Reunion on First Take

“They made sports talk radio what it is. I’m gonna bring them both in soon for an appearance on First Take.”

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Past reunions of Mike and the Mad Dog have been put on hold in the past, but ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith has now gone on the record promising he’ll bring Mike Francesa and Chris “Mad Dog” Russo together on First Take.

While appearing on The Howard Stern Show Wednesday to promote his book Straight Shooter, Smith was asked about the New York radio icons, and how his relationship has grown with Russo after Mad Dog joined First Take as a regular contributor.

“My respect for both of them is profound,” Smith said. “They are pioneers in this business. And when I brought Mad Dog on my show First Take, the bosses didn’t think they could get him. I picked up the phone and in like two seconds he was like, ‘I’m in. I’m there for you.’ I love the guy. This guy and Mike Francesa started sports talk radio. They made sports talk radio what it is. And guess what else I’m gonna do, Howard? I’m gonna bring them both in soon for an appearance on First Take.”

In December, Francesa admitted a report from Andrew Marchand of The New York Post linking an on-screen reunion with his longtime partner “had a lot of truth to it“.

“They did ask me to do it,” Francesa said on his podcast at the time. “It was — as far as I knew — a one time thing. That was my understanding at the time. We haven’t discussed it since last April, maybe May.”

The former WFAN personality added his discussions with First Take were not centered around joining the show on a permanent basis, but strictly as a one-time reunion with his former partner. Francesa declined the opportunity to surprise Russo, saying “I was a little leery of surprising anyone. I felt better if they knew about it.”

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Sports TV News

ESPN, FOX Executives Floated As Next Big Ten Commissioner

“Here’s the problem with getting a TV executive right now is that their media deal is done for long-term.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Last week it was announced that Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren would be departing for a job with the Chicago Bears, and the speculation on a replacement has started.

With the conference last year inking a multi-billion dollar media rights deal with CBS, NBC and FOX, it’s believed that a TV executive could be considered one of the top candidates.

But on The Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast, Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand thought that might not be the play even though some names in various leadership positions have been floated around.

“Here’s the problem with getting a TV executive right now is that their media deal is done for long-term,” Ourand said. “So the names that consistently come up – Burke Magnus who has a big job at ESPN now, but he’s also the guy who launched the ACC Network, the SEC Network, he cut his teeth on ESPNU. He’s someone that knows, understands and loves the college game and somebody who would be great in that position I think.”

Ourand also wondered if FOX Sports president Mark Silverman would also be considered. But Ourand then thought about some of the other conference commissioners out there who could potentially throw their names in the running.

ACC commissioner Jim Phillips came to mind for Ourand.

“He’s cut his teeth as commissioner a the ACC,” he said. “Is this something that he could be interested in? I think that’s worthy of taking a look at.”

But Ourand did say when you look at conferences like the Pac-12, Big 12 and the Big Ten, often the name that emerges is someone that wasn’t necessarily grown in college sports.

“George Kliavkoff wasn’t on anybody’s list. He just sort of came out from nowhere,” Ourand said. “Brett Yormark at the Big 12. Nobody would’ve predicted that he would’ve gone in there. So the traditional route of you need to be an AD or you need to be in sort of college sports to rise up to commissioner, that’s been thrown on its head by the Pac-12 and the Big 12.”

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Sports TV News

Lisa Guerrero Details Fraught Relationship With Fred Gaudelli, Sports Radio in New Book

“I was trying to be Barbara Walters while all these radio sports-show guys were trying to be the next Howard Stern.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Former Monday Night Football sideline reporter Lisa Guerrero reached the pinnacle of her sports media journey in 2003-04, but her dream was quickly derailed.

Ahead of the release of her new memoir called Warrior, My Path to Being Brave, Guerrero told PEOPLE Magazine that she entered in a time where women in sports still weren’t taken seriously.

“I was trying to be Barbara Walters while all these radio sports-show guys were trying to be the next Howard Stern,” Guerrero said. “They did it for sport — just eviscerating me constantly and talking about my breasts and sexual acts and how I probably was able to get all these big athletes to talk to me.”

“To them, I was the worst,” an excerpt from the book reads. “I was everything that was wrong with sports. I alone had set women back decades. They’d attack my clothes, hair (why was it so long?), even my nail polish (how dare I wear red — I must be a whore!).”

Guerrero recalled in the book her often tumultuous relationship with MNF executive producer Fred Gaudelli. She recalled getting an earful after she made a mistake during an interview on her MNF debut.

“Freddie was still yelling into my IFB earpiece as I walked off the field to the production truck, feeling sick, my hands shaking,” Guerrero wrote. “I opened the door and braced myself. Freddie’s head snapped toward me as he demanded an explanation for my mistake. Freddie is a short guy. But at that moment, he reminded me of a hulking ‘roided-out linebacker about to deliver a vicious hit.”

She added that having Gaudelli being so harsh on her took its toll on her mental health.

“Freddie’s criticisms obliterated all other [aspects] of my life — a great job, lots of money, and a gorgeous fiancé,” she wrote. “But I was thinking, Who decides to get married when they’re also considering killing themselves? That was how bad I felt.”

Guerrero’s book is out January 24.

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