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Esports Popularity Continues to Increase

Brandon Contes

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Esports is an industry on the rise, but could its popularity surpass traditional sports in the not so distant future?

Legal and illegal wagering on esports is expected to reach $6.7 billion this year and could eclipse $13 billion in 2020.  Those numbers are not on par with any of the professional sports leagues, but it shows a growing industry.  According to online bookmaker, Betway, esports fans will outnumber those of the NBA, 500 million to 400 million by 2020 when 11 billion hours will be spent watching esports.

Trends have already tilted toward the popularity of esports.  Limelight Networks states gamers between the ages of 18-25 spend three hours and 25 minutes online watching others play video games.  The same grouping watches traditional sports for two hours and 33 minutes per week, a 25% decline from time occupied viewing esports.

The increased esports audience has also caught the eye of advertisers with the industry garnering big-brand sponsors.  A Forbes report from earlier this year predicts 2018 will see revenue generated from esports reach $1 billion and $1.65 billion in 2021.

We have seen professional leagues and franchises enter the esports industry, with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver even announcing the first pick of the NBA 2K League draft just last week.  It might not be long before esports fans begin to outnumber those of traditional professional sports.

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.

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Tom Brady Makes FOX Sports Booth Debut

“I can’t go down there on the field anymore, what are you talking about?”

Barrett Sports Media

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Screengrab from the UFL Championship game on FOX with Curt Menefee, Tom Brady and Joel Klatt
Screengrab: UFL Championship Game on FOX

If Spring Football gave us anything, it gave us this. Let the record show that the first time Tom Brady analyzed a pro football game from a broadcasting booth as an employee of FOX Sports, it was with teams from Birmingham and San Antonio, with the game being played in St. Louis.

That may someday be a trivia question hardly anyone will be able to answer. For now, it just marks the debut of Brady’s time as a football analyst as part of his 10-year $375 million deal he signed with FOX. Brady was not officially on the call of the UFL Championship game, but he did join play-by-play man Curt Menefee and analyst Joel Klatt in the second quarter on Sunday when the Birmingham Stallions beat the San Antonio Brahmas 25-0 at The Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis

“We bring in a little instant offense,” Menefee said. “You know him, you love him. Tom Brady, legendary quarterback, just had his number retired.”

“I can’t go down there on the field anymore, what are you talking about?” Brady quipped.

“He is joining us here at FOX sports as I am sure you have heard as an analyst this fall, can’t wait to see him,” Menefee said before asking Brady for his take on what he had seen in the UFL game. “So far, what are your impressions in this early going Championship game, sometimes teams can be a little bit tight, it looks like it may be right here.”

“They’re all a little different when you get into these games,” Brady said. “There’s a lot of defense out there right now. You see the defense out there playing with a lot of energy but someone’s gotta get the ball down the field and try and open this field up a little bit. It’s a lot of horizontal passes and the defense is swarming and trying to punch the ball out. ‘Make them defend every blade of grass,’ that’s what we used to say.’

At the conclusion of the game, Brady was on the field to present the championship game MVP award which went to Birmingham quarterback Adrian Martinez who played for both Nebraska and Kansas State and was the league’s regular season MVP.

Brady is set to work with Kevin Burkhardt this fall on the FOX No. 1 broadcast team. The pair will call the top game for FOX each week starting with the September 8 game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Cleveland Browns.

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Monumental Sports Network No Longer Available on Fubo

“We urge our fans to consider accessing other pay TV providers or subscribing to Monumental Sports Network directly.”

Barrett Sports Media

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Photo of a studio at Monumental Sports Network
Courtesy: Monumental Sports Network

Fubo subscribers in the Washington, D.C. area will no longer be able to watch Monumental Sports Network, the regional service that airs Wahington Wizards, Capitals and Mystics games in addition to other sports coverage.

Monumental Sports & Entertainment explained in a press release that after lengthy negotiations, Fubo has refused several offers to keep the independent local network available to its users. “This means that D.C. sports fans who are Fubo subscribers do not have access to live games for the Mystics, Capitals, Wizards, and other local teams such as the Washington Spirit and area HBCUs, colleges, and high schools,” the company said in its release.

“Throughout the process, we negotiated in good faith to keep our local independent network available to Fubo’s subscribers, including offering Fubo market-rate terms that other larger distributors have accepted,” the statement continued. “Unfortunately, Fubo did not appear motivated to come to a deal and refused several generous offers.

“Moving forward, our highly-rated WNBA content, including Wednesday’s Mystics-Fever game, will no longer be available on Fubo, which is unfortunate given the unprecedented interest that women’s sports are experiencing. This outcome seems at odds with Fubo’s claim to be the leading sports-focused live TV platform and clearly signals a total lack of interest in local women’s sports at a time when the rest of the world has declared their importance.  Would Fubo ever consider taking away Monumental from its fans if our NHL and NBA teams were in season?

“Unlike Fubo, we remain committed to women’s sports and serving D.C. sports fans. We urge our fans to consider accessing other pay TV providers or subscribing to Monumental Sports Network directly at monumentalsportsnetwork.com.”

WUSA9, the CBS affiliate in Washington, D.C. said they reached out to Fubo and received the following from a spokesperson:

“Fubo has been engaged in good faith negotiations with Monumental Sports Network but we were unable to reach a deal. As a result, the network left Fubo on June 15, 2024.”

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Sports Media Reacts to Charles Barkley Retirement Announcement

“We’re looking forward to another fantastic NBA on TNT season and further discussion of our future plans with him.”

Barrett Sports Media

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Screengrab from Charles Barkley on Club Shay Shay
Screengrab: Club Shay Shay on YouTube

Charles Barkley said on NBA TV after Game 4 of the NBA Finals that he will retire from television after next season, no matter what happens with TNT and the league. Near the conclusion of the NBA TV postgame show, Barkley said:

“There’s been a lot of noise the last few months and I just want to say, I’ve talked to all of the other networks, but I ain’t going nowhere other than TNT, but I have made the decision myself, no matter what happens, next year is going to be my last year on television. And I just want to say thank you to my NBA family, you guys have been great to me, my heart is full with joy and gratitude.”

Barkley went on to say that he wants to turn the baton over to someone like Jamal Crawford or Vince Carter should Inside the NBA continue with Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal.

TNT put out a statement that said, “Charles is a Hall of Famer and broadcasting icon who is and will always be a beloved member of the TNT Sports family. We’re looking forward to another fantastic NBA on TNT season and further discussion of our future plans with him.”

Several in sports media took to social media to post about their thoughts on Barkley’s career with TNT or wondering if Barkley’s ‘retirement’ is real:

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