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Skipper ‘Shockingly Comfortable’ on Simmons Podcast

“Simmons and Skipper discussed their disagreements towards the end of the podcast. The troubles began with Simmons not wanting to return to NBA Countdown.”

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As DAZN begins a sponsorship relationship with the Ringer, DAZN executive chairman John Skipper joined The BIll Simmons Podcast.

“We had an acrimonious ending,” Simmons said in his opener, adding that it was ironic the show was recorded on April Fools Day.

Simmons mentioned the duo had dinner a few months prior to talk about how things went “sideways.” He added both men looked back and realized they could have done things differently; throughout the show both Simmons and Skipper displayed thanks for reconciling the mistakes of the past and were happy to have a working relationship once again.

“This is both weird and not weird” – Simmons admitted early on.

“I am shockingly comfortable,” Skipper said. “There’s a slight trepidation, you and I haven’t actually done anything public for quite a long time, so I had a little trepidation, but I come in, I sit down on the sofa and it’s quite comfortable and we’re laughing about Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, and it’s great to see you.”

“It really makes me feel good to figure out some way to pay you exorbitant sums of money again,” Skipper added sighting the “quicky marriage” between DAZN and Simmons’ show.

Simmons began the conversation discussing Skipper’s early career at Rolling Stone in which Skipper admits a similarity to Simmons departure from ESPN.

“We share this in common, I was fired for insubordination,” Skipper said. “I was the publisher of Us magazine, 10 years after I started, and Jann wanted me to do some things which I resisted and thought I knew better than he did, forgetting in my mind that I didn’t actually own the magazine, he did, so I was dismissed.”

Simmons and Skipper discussed their disagreements towards the end of the podcast. The troubles began with Simmons not wanting to return to NBA Countdown. Simmons then blasted NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on his podcast with a challenge to his superiors to hold back his thoughts, which ultimately lead to Skipper handing down a suspension.

“We were no longer dealing with each other day-to-day,” Skipper said of the frustrating situation. “So when you would pop back up in my life it was for some kind of problem. It’s like ‘Damn, I’ve got a full day already and now I’m going to spend the next three hours dealing with this.’”

Simmons added a bit later he realizes now with a bit of maturity and regret it was an issue that could have been resolved much easier.

“To me it seems stupid now,” Simmons said.  “We had like this real relationship. At some point we should have had a real conversation about it. I see it from your point because I look like some rogue asshole who’s not listening to you which makes you look bad as a leader, which is a whole other issue.”

The podcast also includes other discussions such as how ESPN The Magazine, 30 For 30 and Grantland were started, an interesting story on Simmons trying to get Barack Obama on his podcast in 2008, and the rewards and difficulties of working at ESPN for both Skipper and Simmons.

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Russell Dorsey Joins Yahoo Sports

The addition of Dorsey is the latest transaction made by Yahoo Sports to bolster its MLB coverage ahead of first pitch for the 2024 season.

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Russell Dorsey
Courtesy: La Vida Baseball

Russell Dorsey announced that he will be joining Yahoo Sports as its national insider for Major League Baseball. Dorsey shared the news on social media while attaching a video and thanked various executives with the company. Later on Tuesday, Dorsey published his first story for the company outlining what he believes are the five best moves from the Major League Baseball offseason excluding Shohei Ohtani, the two-way superstar who inked a record-breaking 10-year, $700 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The addition of Dorsey is the latest transaction made by Yahoo Sports to bolster its MLB coverage ahead of first pitch for the 2024 season. Yahoo Sports added the “Céspedes Family BBQ” duo of Jake Mintz and Jordan Shusterman onto its editorial team, which renders them responsible for producing audio, visual and written content pertaining to the sport. Within his social media post, Dorsey shared his excitement to work alongside Mintz and Shusterman in his new role.

“As a baseball fan, I can’t wait to see the ways in which Russ, Jake and Jordan will shape and elevate our coverage of America’s Pastime,” Sam Farber, head of content at Yahoo Sports, said in a LinkedIn post.

Dorsey recently served in a role by the same title for Bally Sports and also served as a co-host of The Rally alongside Brooke Fletcher. He was laid off by the regional sports network cluster after just over two years with the outlet, a role he balanced with his responsibilities for Apple TV+ on its Friday Night Baseball property.

Dorsey previously worked as a contributing writer for Forbes, responsible for covering the NBA and MLB by writing features, columns and analysis. Additionally, he worked as a contributing writer for Baseball Prospectus where he primarily focused on the Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox and facets of Major League Baseball. Dorsey has also had work published by the Chicago Tribune and The Daily Herald throughout his career in sports media.

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Sports Podcasting Company Blue Wire Raises Additional Funding

Blue Wire’s library of content features personalities such as Lolo Jones, Chris Long and Gilbert Arenas among others.

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Blue Wire

Blue Wire founder Kevin Jones has told Axios the sports podcasting company has raised new funding from Decathlon Capital. Jones did not offer more details on the total amount raised or the valuation it was based on.

Blue Wire had raised over $200,000 in a community fundraising round last year. Blue Wire was founded in 2018 and has raised $12 million since 2020. The company has primarily received its funding from former athletes, including former NBA guard Baron Davis, along with venture capitalists and Wynn Resorts. 

Jones said the investment from Decathlon would primarily be used for building proprietary technology to help podcasters run their businesses, hiring more salespeople and recruiting additional content creators.

Blue Wire’s library of content features personalities such as Lolo Jones, Chris Long and Gilbert Arenas among others.

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Richard Deitsch Forewarns Media Companies of ‘Athlete Generated Content’

“Athletes now have become their own media distributors, and now that content is competing against everybody else…It makes the space more challenging.”

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Richard Deitsch of The Athletic
Courtesy: Pat Mayo Experience

One sports media reporter has a message for established media entities — get ready for the age of “athlete-generated content.” During an appearance on The Pat Mayo Experience, Richard Deitsch of The Athletic discussed a variety of topics, including athlete-led production companies and how athletes can eschew traditional media companies and tell their own stories using their own production outfits. Deitsch cites players like LeBron James, Stephen Curry, and Jason and Travis Kelce as athletes with their own platforms to distribute their messaging.

“Athletes now have become their own media distributors,” Deitsch said. “Whether it’s production companies owned by LeBron, the Kelce brothers have their own massive podcast entity now, Kevin Durant’s got his own production company, Steph Curry does…and that’s one thing that’s very, very new, is athlete-generated content, and now that content is competing against everybody else. It makes the space more challenging because there’s only so many advertising dollars to go around.”

LeBron James and Maverick Carter started SpringHill Company in 2020 and have since produced multiple fiction and non-fiction films, including What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali, Space Jam: A New Legacy, Hustle, and Black Ice, among others. It also serves as the production company behind The Shop, LeBron and Carter’s pseudo-podcast where they interview guests and discuss current events in a barbershop environment.

Meanwhile, Durant co-owns Boardroom along with his business partner Rich Kleiman, a sports media and entertainment brand that features “premium video/audio, editorial, daily and weekly newsletters, showcasing how athletes, executives, musicians, and creators are moving the business world forward.” It is home to the Netflix property Two Distant Strangers, SWAGGER on Apple TV+, and the Emmy-nominated Showtime documentary NYC Point Gods.

Jason and Travis Kelce broke into the podcasting game during the 2022-23 season with their show New Heights, the name an homage to the pair’s hometown Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Last season, the show quickly rose to the top of the charts thanks to the pair’s obvious chemistry and the success of both teams. However, this season saw the podcast reach new heights (pun sort of intended) thanks to a budding romance between Travis and pop star Taylor Swift.

Travis used New Heights as a way to discuss the ongoing season while giving his growing audience a peek behind the curtain regarding his relationship. When asked about the show, Travis said, “The only way I’d do the show was with my brother,” while Jason has echoed similar sentiments in the past, crediting the show for improving the brothers’ relationship.

Possibly the largest athlete-owned production company that Deitsch failed to mention is Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions, the company behind Peyton’s Place, Eli’s Places, and of course, the wildly popular “ManningCast” alternate Monday Night Football broadcast. Omaha has been adding new content for years thanks to the partnership with ESPN.

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