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Learfield IMG Trying To Renegotiate Rights Deals

“While some schools are understanding of the unprecedented times, others, according to the USA Today story, believe Learfield is using the pandemic as a way of obtaining more favorable deals.”

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Rarely does too much time pass without hearing Learfield IMG College has agreed to another multimedia rights partnership, on their way to owning a large collection of contracts with elite athletic programs nationwide. But without the NCAA Tournament, and plenty of uncertainty surrounding the start of the college football season due to a global pandemic, Learfield IMG has “quietly” asked schools for 60-day delays in making scheduled payments, according to Dan Wolken of USA Today.

Beyond delaying scheduled payments, Learfield IMG is also looking to restructure some of their partnerships to reduce or even eliminate rights fees. While some schools are understanding of the unprecedented times, others, according to the USA Today story, believe Learfield is using the pandemic as a way of obtaining more favorable deals.

The company isn’t alone in their attempt to alter a college sports partnership. Recently, the LA Times reported Under Armour is looking for a way to renege their 15-year $280 million deal with UCLA which launched in 2017. As Under Armour watched their stock plummet from $50 to $9, they’re also now looking to dump their deal with Cal.

Learfield IMG also isn’t the first media company accused of using the pandemic as an excuse to cut costs. When Sports Illustrated parted ways with senior writer Grant Wahl, the longtime journalist suspected the platform was using COVID-19 as justification to permanently reduce his salary.

Learfield and IMG merged in 2018 amid antitrust concerns to create a company worth over $2 billion, representing more than 70% of NCAA Division I athletic programs. Of those representations, Learfield IMG pays around $1 million for smaller programs and up to $15 million annually for high-profile schools.

Learfield IMG offered the following statement to Wolken and USA Today, saying they built “an aggressive campaign to recoup millions in at-risk revenue on behalf of the universities and conferences we represent” following the cancellation of spring sports, but that the economic fallout and uncertainty about fall sports necessitated discussions about adjusting these contracts.

“From the very beginning, our sole objective has been to ensure that all parties are in a position to weather this storm together, and to exit the other side cooperatively invested in a thriving partnership.”

The unknown of how many more losses the sports industry will endure during this global pandemic shouldn’t be discounted as Learfield IMG and other companies restructure their costs. But that restructuring might force college athletic programs to find a new rightsholder or even choose to operate their own media and marketing rights.

Sports Radio News

Jaime Jarrín Retiring After 64 Years As Dodgers’ Spanish Voice

“Jarrín and Dodger baseball have gone hand in hand since first joining the team in 1959.”

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Courtesy: Los Angeles Dodgers YouTube

The Los Angeles Dodgers bid farewell to their legendary English radio voice, Vin Scully, in 2016, and now they are sending off Spanish-language voice Jaime Jarrín in a similar fashion.

Jarrín and the organization announced that 2022 is the 85-year old’s final season as the Spanish-language voice of the Dodgers.

“I’m grateful to the Dodgers — the best organization in baseball — for giving me the opportunity to do what I love most for 64 years,” Jarrín said in a team statement. “As much as I’ll miss my baseball family at Dodger Stadium and across the country, I’m looking forward to spending more time with my sons Jorge and Mauricio and my grandchildren and nurturing my love of travel.”

Jarrín and Dodger baseball have gone hand in hand since first joining the team in 1959. Jarrín has been with them ever since that second year playing in Los Angeles and is a fan-favorite in the Latino community.

Scully wished his longtime co-worker well as he embarks on a well-deserved farewell tour.

“Los Angeles has been so lucky to have enjoyed the talents of Jaime Jarrín for over six decades,” Scully, 93, Tweeted on Tuesday. “I’m thrilled my dear pal will get to spend precious time with his family in retirement. All the best to you Jaime.”

Jarrín had been calling games with his son, Jorge, who retired from the broadcast in February. Next up is Jamie, who has called three Perfect Games throughout his career. He has also been a part of 30 World Series and 30 All-Star Games, all while being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998.

The broadcaster’s talents extended beyond the baseball diamond. Jarrín was the Spanish-language broadcaster for the 1984 Summer Olympics and the “Thrilla in Manilla.”

The Dodgers plan to honor during the 2022 season at an unannounced date.

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Sports Radio News

Lance Zierlein: Manningcast Is What People Have Wanted For Years

“Zierlein showered the alternate broadcast with praise for not only the guests but the football lingo as well.”

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Courtesy: NFL.com

Most of the country seems to be catching Manning Fever, and Lance Zierlein of ESPN Houston is no different. The sports talk host discussed the third edition of the “ManningCast” with his co-host John Granato on Tuesday’s episode of The Bench.

The Mannings rolled out another star-studded guestlist on Monday night that included, Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, NBA superstar Lebron James, Alabama Football head coach Nick Saban, and retired NFL defensive end Chris Long. 

Zierlein showered the alternate broadcast with praise for not only the guests but the football lingo as well.

“I called my dad up,” Lance Zierlein began talking about the broadcast, “I’ve been telling my dad for years that the fans want more advanced football stuff… I was telling him this eight years ago, I said, ‘getting more advanced X’s and O’s stuff out there is a big deal because more and more people want that,’ well that’s what this is.”

If anyone can take the pulse of sports fans at large and NFL fans, in particular, it’s Zierlein. The host also helps lead NFL.com’s NFL prospect coverage during draft season. Zierlein is responsible for 500-plus player evaluations leading up to the big day every April.

“No they ask questions of each other that obviously, they are going to know the answers because they are setting it up for them to tell fans,” Zierlein continued. “Listening to them talk about safety play and certain looks and protections and stuff. Golly! From a football standpoint, it’s awesome.”

His co-host agreed and sees this type of broadcast as the way of the future.

“I’m telling you,” Granato said. “I think this is the future… this couldn’t be a better idea, because those guys are entertaining and informative.”

Lance Zierlien could see ESPN employing the model in coverage of other sports in the future. He suggested former Rockets and Knicks head coach Jeff Van Gundy to lead the NBA version of a conversational, X-and-O heavy broadcast.

ESPN went all in on this idea for that exact combination of traits, and fans now have to wait through a three-week hiatus before the Manning brothers return in Week 7.

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Sports Radio News

Scott Hanson Shouts Out ESPN’s Greg McElroy On NFL RedZone

“Scott Hanson used a rough day for Justin Fields to remind those that had forgotten about McElroy’s pro career that he is technically in the NFL record books.”

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Media members are often friends with their colleagues that work at competing outlets. They are often fans of people that may be their direct competitors regardless of whether or not they have ever actually met. Sometimes, it is nice just to acknowledge that. Surely that was Scott Hanson’s thinking when he shouted out Greg McElroy on NFL RedZone on Sunday.

McElroy was a seventh round selection of the New York Jets in 2011 after winning a national championship as a quarterback at the University of Alabama. He played two seasons in the NFL, including one start during the 2012 season. Now he calls college games for ESPN and ABC on Saturdays.

Scott Hanson used a rough day for Justin Fields to remind those that had forgotten about McElroy’s pro career that he is technically in the NFL record books.

“Shout out Greg McElroy, if you’re watching. Love your work on television. Loved you in college as well,” said Hanson before lowering the boom with a stat McElroy would probably prefer history forget. “But Greg McElroy, in his rookie NFL debut, got sacked 11 times. That’s the all-time NFL quote unquote record.”

The Bears worked hard to get that record for their rookie quarterback but came up short. Chicago gave up 8 sacks to the Browns in Justin Fields’ debut as an NFL starter.

There is nothing quite like a good radio partner. That is where Cole Cubelic comes in. He co-hosts McElroy and Cubelic in the Morning on WJOX in Birmingham and caught the shoutout and wanted to make sure his audience did too.

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