We are about two weeks away from the start of the NBA season when the Utah Jazz and the New Orleans Pelicans will square off in Orlando, Florida (6:30 p.m ET, TNT). While the spotlight will be on the games itself, a lot of people in the sports media industry are going to pay close attention to how these games are televised and produced.
On the latest episode of The Right Time with Bomani Jones, Jones spent a segment talking about how the NBA games need to be treated with the same level of scrutiny as a television show and how it is ironic that he is saying this.
“In the end, what they are producing is a television show. These basketball games are a television show and you got to figure it out with this emphasis on these matters and how to make a good television show around that,” said Jones referring to the emphasis that is put on Black Lives Matter.
“You cannot be in a situation if you are the league where an adherence to amplifying the cause becomes bigger than the television show itself. That’s not going to work. That’s going to be a problem.”
There is a lot of uncertainty as to how the NBA will incorporate addressing social issues during the game itself. While Jones said he did not know the middle ground, he did say that they need to keep the larger cause in mind when thinking about what they want to do.
“I hope the NBA is careful in the way they do it. I don’t know the middle ground. Where is the space that is effective, but is not corny overkill. They need to be concerned about this if they are really concerned about the larger cause in the way that they say…This is ambitious what they are saying what they want to do. I will give them grace if they get it wrong. I don’t need to slam them for getting it wrong, but you have to get it right.”
Throughout this segment, Jones did bring up the importance of balance whenever social issues come up in sports. He mentioned how when discussing what to talk about, he does realize that just because someone agrees with him on an issue, that does not mean it should be talked about all the time.
“We can’t come out here running an NPR program. You as a listener, even those of you who agree with me on a lot of these matters, you are not sticking around for that all the time. That’s not what you want.”
Jones did bring up a good example of that balance when he talked about when he was co-hosting High Noon with Pablo Torre. When they were planning out a topic on social issues, Jones knew that the content was important to get the viewer to stay with the program.
“If we want to go here, we can’t be a little bit good. We have to be very good or great if we are going to go in these directions. I have to feel very confident that it is a piece of content that is worthwhile and that will stick with you. That’s what I feel about the NBA.”
The NBA is going to be under the microscope for many different reasons if the season does start on time and the eye of the viewer will not only be on the product on the court, but also how the game is produced and televised since there will be no fans at the game in-person.
Pablo Torre: Tony Kornheiser Refused To Participate In PTI Doc
“The ESPN Daily host discussed what it was like to interview the two PTI icons.”
Pablo Torre might not be a daily host on Pardon The Interruption, but he is an integral part of the show’s history as it gets set to celebrate 20 years on the air. ESPN’s Bill Hofheimer interviewed Torre ahead of the PTI’s ESPN anniversary special airing on Tuesday, Sept. 28.
Torre is hosting a four-part ESPN Daily series on the pioneering sports debate show all while he continues filling in for Tony Kornheiser or Michael Wilbon whenever they need him to. The ESPN Daily host discussed what it was like to interview the two icons.
“The real TV special I wanted to make is a documentary about trying to convince Tony to participate in this TV special,” Torre told Hofheimer in the interview. “Because Wilbon quickly welcomed me to Chicago, took me around his home and his town, and saw all of this as a party from the jump. Kornheiser — who otherwise could not be more generously supportive of my ambitions and my career and my sanity — legitimately refused to participate, for weeks and weeks, out of a more existential concern that we’ll explain. And that contrast is a perfect encapsulation of both of them.”
Not many ESPN voices have filled in for Wilbon or Kornheiser on PTI, but Torre is honored to be one of them.
“I always, always love doing it. And sometimes it still feels a little surreal that I am, in fact, doing it,” Torre said. “When I talked to our pal Dan Le Batard and asked him what it meant for him to do PTI, in the very beginning, he described it kind of like being knighted. But I suppose that when you’re actually knighted, the Queen of England doesn’t proceed to roast you in front of millions of your countrymen, for years, as a show of affection.”
Torre and the rest of ESPN are ready to show their affection for the PTI story as they celebrate two decades of “Mail Time,” “Five Good Minutes,” and “Happy Trails.”
Mark Jackson: ‘I Look Forward To Coaching Again’
”I look forward to the day that I am coaching again.”
It has been 7 years since Mark Jackson has been a coach in the NBA, but the former Golden State Warriors coach is still waiting on his next chance to lead an NBA team.
The ESPN analyst went on to Club Shay Shay with Shannon Sharpe yesterday to discuss why he is not coaching in the NBA currently despite having some success helping shape the modern Golden State Warriors.
”I don’t know, that’s the full answer I do not know. What I will say is that I look forward to the day that I am coaching again. It will happen, I truly believe that with everything in me.” Mark Jackson said when asked why he did not have a head coaching job.
He also added that he rests on the success that he had with the Golden State Warriors and that it speaks for itself.
Mark Jackson works alongside another former head coach, Jeff Van Gundy, as part of ESPN’s top NBA broadcast, and Jackson believes that Van Gundy also deserves a shot at another coaching job and has been vocal it in past interviews.
“I know if I was hiring, without a doubt Jeff Van Gundy would be my hire. He’s a brilliant basketball mind, an incredible basketball coach. I’m speaking of a guy that sat in a chair and watched him lead a team as my head coach”.
Van Gundy however, has not been as eager to jump back into coaching like Jackson.
ESPN Passing On In Game Ads For Sportsbook Licensing Deal
”What they’ve been leaving on the table is chump change.”
While ESPN is looking aggressively for a licensing deal with a sportsbook, they are certainly playing the slow game on in-game advertisements.
The NFL’s sportsbook partners have already spent $50.7 million on in-game advertising since the beginning of the NFL season on September 9th.
Among those cashing in have been ESPN’s competitors CBS, Fox, and NBC while ESPN has been slow to jump into the action.
According to the commercial-tracking service iSpot.tv, the three broadcast networks have all but maxed out on gambling spots, with each booking the league-mandated maximum of six sportsbook ads per game.
“They’re shopping around for a licensing deal that could bring in as much as $3 billion, so what they’ve been leaving on the table is chump change.” one TV sales vet said of ESPN.
“They don’t want to put themselves in a situation where they have one sportsbook buying a lot of time on Monday night, only to get the exclusive marketing deal done with another book and suddenly face a conflict of interest.” he added.
With a looming licensing deal on the horizon, it seems that ESPN is waiting for said deal to make in-game advertisements come from one sole partner.
In-game advertising is just at the tip of the iceberg, and ESPN is waiting on the big money. Sports gambling is still only the sixth-biggest ad category so it appears that ESPN is choosing to go with the more commonly known ad categories until they get the big deal that they are looking for from sportsbooks.
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