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Jessica Mendoza Called Out For Conflict Of Interest

Brandon Contes

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When ESPN analyst Jessica Mendoza was hired by the New York Mets as an operations adviser last season, many people around the game raised an eyebrow at the feasibility of holding both positions. Receiving league-wide access as a baseball analyst for ESPN, while also having the ability to report to the Mets, seemed like an obvious conflict of interest.

In the last few months, one of Major League Baseball’s worst cheating scandals was uncovered, in large part due to a willingness by pitcher Mike Fiers to reveal the Houston Astros sign-stealing scheme. An active player stepping forward to expose the scandal, was an unprecedented move that has been lauded by many for leveling the playing field. 

Thursday morning, Mendoza made it clear she disagreed with what Fiers did. “To go public with it and call them out and start all of this, it’s hard to swallow,” Mendoza said while appearing as an ESPN analyst on their morning radio show Golic and Wingo.

Later appearing on ESPN’s First Take, Mendoza doubled down on her Fiers take, stating he “ratted everyone out,”” again expressing concern for his decision to make the scandal public. 

At the same time, the Mets were mulling how to handle their recently hired manager Carlos Beltran, who was found to have played a “key role” in the Astros sign-stealing scandal. Mendoza is entitled to her opinion, but attempting to shame Fiers while the MLB organization she works for is in flux, caused questions about her perspective. 

Mendoza then took to Twitter to clarify her criticism of Fiers. But the clarification can also be viewed as a backtrack,as she credited Fiers for stepping forward. The ESPN and Mets employee also stated she believes Fiers should have alerted Major League Baseball, not a reporter about the Astros’ cheating scheme.

“In regards to the Mets, I want to make it extra clear that my advisor role with the team does not shape my opinion in any way, shape or form on this matter,” Mendoza added. “I feel this way regardless of what, teams, players or managers are involved.”

During a conference call to discuss the decision to part ways with Carlos Beltran, Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen was asked about Mendoza’s comments on ESPN.

“Jessica was speaking as an ESPN analyst, not as a spokesperson for the Mets,” Van Wagenen said. “I have not had the opportunity to speak with her yet.”

Mendoza’s opinions on Fiers’ decision to make the scandal public are valid. But talking about it as an ESPN employee, while her other employer the New York Mets became inadvertently involved in the scandal, exemplified the concerns about Mendoza working for both entities. 

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

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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