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Arena League Heading To ESPN Digital Outlets

“Regular season games will air on ESPN3 and the ESPN app. They will not be behind the ESPN+ paywall.”

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The Arena Football League kicked off a new season over the weekend. Just before games began, the league announced that it had a new media rights deal in place with ESPN that makes every game available digitally.

Regular season games will air on ESPN3 and the ESPN app. They will not be behind the ESPN+ paywall. One game will be on linear TV. ESPN2 has committed to airing the league’s championship game, Arena Bowl XXXII in July.

“We are pleased and proud to be working with ESPN and think they will be a great partner to help us grow the AFL,” League Commissioner Randall Boe said in a press release.

The Arena League has fallen on hard times in recent years. After arena football peaked in popularity in the early 2000s, the league has made some drastic changes to stay afloat. Those included canceling the entire 2009 season and returning with a fraction of the teams it once had. What used to be a nationwide league with as many as nineteen teams spread across the country, now has only six teams all concentrated in the Northeast and Mid Atlantic regions of the country.

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Fanatics Sportsbook Letting Gamblers Stream NFL Games They Have Money On

“The only condition is that the game must also be available in the bettor’s local market.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Fanatics Sportsbook logo

NFL fans using the Fanatics Sportsbook in four states have the ability to watch the broadcast of some of the games they bet on.

Legal Sports Report writes that users who place at least $1 in wagers on the NFL in the app will get access to the stream of the corresponding bet. The only condition is that the game must also be available in the bettor’s local market.

This feature of the Fanatics Sportsbook app is available in Massachusetts, Maryland, Ohio and Tennessee, and it’s been available since the start of the regular season.

Fanatics joins Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings and FanDuel as platforms that have agreements with the league’s exclusive rights holder of official NFL data, Genius Sports. These agreements give the sportsbooks the ability to provide live streams.

So far, Caesars is the only other platform with stream access available, but Legal Sports Report noted that DraftKings and FanDuel will likely bring streams online later this season.

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Dave Portnoy: Anyone With ‘Unbiased Mind’ Would Look at Accusations and ‘See There’s Nothing Here’

“I’ve come to grips it’ll never ever change.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Dave Portnoy
Courtesy: Slaven Vlasic, Getty Images

Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy opened up Thursday about his viral video confronting Washington Post food reporter Emily Heil, saying that it’s crazy that media outlets continue to come after him with stories and accusations from the past that he says are not rooted in truth.

Portnoy in recent years has been the subject of investigative pieces by outlets that paint a picture of Portnoy as a sexual deviant.

On Barstool Radio on Thursday, Portnoy wished people that continue to bring up these accusations would do a modicum of research.

“There is quite literally, if anybody sat down even for 15 minutes, and went through each accusation from the least important to the most important. Anybody with a clear, unbiased mind would be like, ‘There’s nothing here,'” he said. “That’s the only explanation to come from when you look at both sides. They just don’t look at both sides.”

Portnoy continued his assertion from the phone conversation with Heil that a negative story about him was already written by the Post and that they either had no intention of actually talking to him as evidenced by the cancelled interview Thursday morning, or they planned to reach out after they had formed their narrative talking to sponsors of his One Bite Pizza Festival in Brooklyn on Saturday.

He said it’s par for the course when it comes to journalists and outlets that clearly don’t like Barstool or him.

“I’ve come to grips it’ll never ever change,” he said. “Thats just the way it goes, but it is frustrating when you’re trying to do a f–king pizza event that has nothing to do with anybody and people are trying to destroy it.”

Dave has always said he’s caught flack from folks on both sides of the political spectrum, and that it doesn’t matter whether it’s FOX News, the Washington Post or the New York Times. He felt like they’re all of the same cloth.

“If you want to get a straight spin on a story, where do you go?” Portnoy asked.

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Dan Le Batard: Chris Russo is a ‘Caricature of a Sports Media Personality’

“He’s had a rejuvenation – a radiant rejuvenation.”

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Chris Russo
Courtesy: Bedford & New Canaan Magazine

Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo has turned heads lately in his First Take appearance, specifically through his “What Are You Mad About?” segment where he waxes poetic on various topics that agitate him. It was during a usual sit-down conversation though that produced a viral segment when he intricately outlined his Saturday plans with his wife being out of town.

Throughout his monologue, Russo insinuated the use of THC gummies, stating that he will have half at 12 p.m. and the other half at 3:25 p.m. in order to watch the college football games. The fact that Russo was allowed to divulge details of such, along with the fact that he is betting $10,000 on ESPN, a network owned by The Walt Disney Company, surprised Le Batard, one of its former employees.

“He’s had a rejuvenation – a radiant rejuvenation,” Dan Le Batard said on Thursday’s edition of The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz. “He did something yesterday that I’ve never seen, [and] on Disney television – on Disney television!… I have never seen a media member just say, ‘Yep, drinking, drugs and gambling – that’s my Saturday,’ and I’m jealous of him. I want that to be my Saturday.”

Mike Ryan Ruiz, the executive producer of the program, chimed in on the situation and reminded Le Batard that Russo went to many Grateful Dead concerts. In response, Le Batard referred to it as “circumstantial evidence” that did not directly support Mad Dog’s drug use.

“Yes, his performance showed that he had short-circuited and fried all of his brain cells in a way that was obvious, but he wasn’t saying out loud, ‘You know what I’m doing during my sports analysis consumption time? I’m going to come on next week and talk about Colorado, and I’m telling you right now, I was high while I was watching,’” Le Batard said. “Not usually part of the commentary.”

Le Batard referenced former NFL running back Ricky Williams, who smoked marijuana on the night before games and tested positive for the drug three times. The reason he brought him up was to assert that he thinks Russo would have been one of the most likely people to defame Williams’ character.

“[He is] one of the guys most likely to rip him as a character assassination for daring to do marijuana that all of it would get so normalized that my media member who’s on ESPN representing old-timey media [who] can’t shut up about Bob Cousy – that guy is out there saying, ‘Yeah, I’m doing drugs on a Saturday,’” Le Batard expressed.

Le Batard acknowledged his incredulity towards Russo betting $10,000 on a college football game, but understands that he has been successful throughout the years with his time on WFAN, SiriusXM and MLB Network. The style of sports television that has pervaded the airwaves in recent years lends personalities the ability to frolic in palaver and enjoy themselves, a stark contrast from when Le Batard was with the “Worldwide Leader.”

“What I see happening all over television now – sports television – [is that] there are so many people dancing and laughing and having a good time on sports television, genuinely enjoying themselves,” Le Batard said. “It used to be starched and stiff, and now I am watching.”

In a recent conversation with Stephen A. Smith on his podcast, The Stephen A. Smith Show, the First Take featured commentator called Le Batard “sanctimonious.” Reflecting back on the conversation, Le Batard agrees with him because he does not seek broad appeal and adheres to the principles and platforms he views as righteous and worthwhile.

Earlier this week, Le Batard revealed that he declined an interview with Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill when he was informed that he could not ask him about off-field issues. Although Russo is one of the most accomplished sports radio personalities of all time, Le Batard is not sure what to think about these types of situations and a new style of sports talk taking the airwaves.

“He has made a lot of money in this industry being a caricature of a sports media personality,” Le Batard said of Russo. “Skip Bayless – before Skip Bayless, man, that dude invented argument television. That started with [Mike] Francesa and Russo on the radio, and it infected everything in the coverage of newspapers, fandom [and] sports television.”

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