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Bill Simmons Explains Spotify’s Sports Vision

“The COVID-19 pandemic may have derailed the big picture a bit, but Simmons says The Ringer is in good position to succeed in the short term.”

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Vulture interviewed Bill Simmons on Wednesday, just one day after Spotify reached a $100 million deal to obtain the exclusive rights to The Joe Rogan Experience podcast. Earlier this year, the company acquired Simmons’s The Ringer for a reported $250 million.

“It’s a nut they’ve been trying to crack for two years, but it’s hard to find the right team,” Simmons said of Spotify’s plan for sports content and why the company saw value in The Ringer. “I think they felt they had most of the right pieces in place, and the thing they were missing was that one person who had succeeded in this space and had gut instinct on what works.”

Simmons said that the opportunity to help crack said nut was part of what made joining Spotify so appealing to him.

“There were two big reasons I went to Spotify. One was that they were going to blow out The Ringer — make it bigger, all that stuff. But the second was, they wanted me to figure out their global sports strategy with [Spotify head of studios and video] Courtney Holt, who’s my boss and who reports to [Spotify chief content officer] Dawn Ostroff. That was one of the tasks that we had this first year, and that’s impossible to figure out when we don’t know when sports are coming back.”

The COVID-19 pandemic may have derailed the big picture a bit, but Simmons says The Ringer is in good position to succeed in the short term. He points to shows like The Rewatchables, Binge Mode, The Book of Basketball podcast, and The Watch as perfect shows for the moment – the type of content that doesn’t require an active sports calendar to thrive.

“That goes back to the Grantland days: We try to think outside of the box and get creative during dead spots on the calendar.”

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said that he felt like he was buying “the next ESPN” when the company closed on the deal with The Ringer. Simmons says that those expectations were what pushed Spotify over the top while he was also talking with AT&T and Bleacher Report.

He acknowledges that the path to the top is going to be an interesting one, because while pieces of many companies make up Spotify’s competition, Apple is the only one-to-one competitor in the podcasting space and Simmons is confident that Spotify is more focused on podcasting than Apple is.

When asked if he still has eyes for TV, Simmons notes that his first look deal is still in place at HBO. He is still open to new opportunities, but podcasting and the growth of The Ringer under the Spotify umbrella remain his priorities.

“I love doing my podcast. I love the creativity of it, the format. I don’t just mean that podcast. I love The Rewatchables. I love doing the Book of Basketball stuff. I love popping on other people’s pods.”

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The Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Moving To New Studio

The show continued to be recorded inside the studio at the Clevelander after it departed ESPN Radio’s national lineup in 2021.

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Dan Le Batard Show

The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz is leaving its home at the Clevelander hotel on South Beach in Miami and moving into a new studio next year, according to a report from The Big Lead.

The show continued to be recorded inside the studio at the Clevelander after it departed ESPN Radio’s national lineup in 2021. It has remained the home for the show since Le Batard and John Skipper formed Meadowlark Media.

After a $50 million distribution deal with DraftKings was secured, the Meadowlark podcast network has grown in both reach and talent, allowing for an expanded studio space.

No immediate details were given on where the new studio space would be located.

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NSMA Announces Finalists for Awards, Hall of Fame

Final voting for the statewide and national awards, as well as for the Hall of Fame, will take place throughout this month, and the winners and inductees will be announced on January 9.

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The National Sports Media Association revealed its finalists for its national sportscaster of the year and national sportswriter of the year, and there are plenty of heavy hitters in the industry up for consideration for the NSMA awards.

Among the nominees for National Sportscaster of the Year include Al Michaels, Ian Eagle, Jim Nantz, Joe Buck, Kevin Harlan, and Mike Tirico. The full list includes Adam Amin, Jason Benetti, Joe Davis, and Mina Kimes.

For National Sportswriter of the Year, Adrian Wojnarowski, Ken Rosenthal, Nicole Auerbach, Pete Thamel, Pat Forde and Tom Verducci are among the biggest names. Candace Buckner, Katie Strang, Marc Spears and Wright Thomson round out the list of nominees.

The NMSA also revealed its finalists for the sportscaster and sportswriter Hall of Fame. James Brown, Joe Buck, Lee Corso and Tim McCarver are part of the sportscaster list, while Bill Plaschke and Ray Didinger appear among the names for the sportswriter hall of fame.

Final voting for the statewide and national awards, as well as for the Hall of Fame, will take place throughout this month, and the winners and inductees will be announced on January 9.

Winners and Hall of Famers will be honored at the NSMA Awards Weekend & National Convention held in Winston-Salem, N.C. June 24-26.

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Pat McAfee: Mentioning Brett Favre Scandal Is A Must

“We have to make sure that it’s mentioned every time that man is mentioned because that is a big deal that it happened.”

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While things may have quieted down a little bit with Brett Favre and his scandal involving misuse of public funds in Mississippi, Pat McAfee is going to make sure people don’t forget what the hall of fame quarterback is accused of.

On his show on Wednesday, McAfee said he thought of a way to mention the situation during Aaron Rodgers’ weekly appearance the day before. Rodgers in conversation talked about learning under Favre in the first years of his NFL career in Green Bay.

“My brain was literally like we’re in the holiday season. Brett Favre – what did he do,” McAfee said. “He didn’t just steal from the poor. Oh, he is the actual Sticky Finger Bandits from Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.”

Pat added that whenever the name Brett Favre is brought up on his show, it is absolutely necessary to remind folks about the scandal.

“We have to make sure that it’s mentioned every time that man is mentioned because that is a big deal that it happened,” he said. “Now obviously Brett Favre Enterprises is alleging that this is all wrong. And I can’t wait to hear BFE to drop Brett Favre Enterprises’ side of the story. And we will judge it accordingly.”

“Even though as a football player, he was an incredibly tough football player, good football player, did a lot of things,” McAfee added. “Certainly in the middle of stealing from poor people in Mississippi right now. Have to chat about that.”

Favre is yet to be charged with any crimes, but the state is currently investigating the matter. Early in the fall, Favre’s weekly appearances on local and national radio shows were halted in light of the initial fallout from the story.

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