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Layoffs Hit NBC Sports Digital Properties

“The layoffs from NBC also spread to some of their regional sports networks.”

Brandon Contes

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The return of Major League Baseball, the NBA and NHL has people hoping better days are on the horizon, but it’s yet to stop the bleeding for the sports media industry. On Monday, NBC Sports was in cost cutting mode with their digital department bearing the brunt of the layoffs.

The layoffs hit a few of their sport-specific “Talk” websites, which followed the format of Mike Florio’s Pro Football Talk platform. Impacted by Monday’s cost-cutting moves were NBC’s Hardball Talk, College Basketball Talk and College Football Talk.

Longtime writer and editor of Hardball Talk Craig Calcaterra announced the site was being erased by NBC Sports, and his time with the company was coming to an end after more than 11 years. Also impacted by the end of Hardball Talk were writers Bill Baer and Nick Stellini. Baer joined the site in 2013, becoming a full-time contributor three years later. Stellini began writing for the platform earlier this year. 

https://twitter.com/Baer_Bill/status/1290366518912573442

College Football Talk also appears to have been eliminated by NBC Sports, with a Monday post coming from John Taylor announcing his exit. 

“CFT is no more. At least, when it comes to NBC Sports,” Taylor wrote, adding he was informed his position as writer and editor was being eliminated after almost 12 years with the site. 

College Basketball Talk saw its last post from Rob Dauster Monday morning. Dauster, who was the managing editor and lead writer for College Basketball Talk, tweeted that he was laid off after a decade with the site. 

The layoffs from NBC also spread to some of their regional sports networks. Michael Jenkins was an anchor with NBC Sports Washington for 16 years, but unfortunately his tenure with the network came to an end Monday. 

Jenkins NBC Sports Washington colleague Sara Perlman also announced she was laid off. Perlman and Jenkins previously worked together on NBC Sports Radio’s The Daily Line, which was cancelled earlier this year when Westwood One decided to stop distributing the brand. 

UPDATE: Kelli Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area has confirmed on Twitter that she was laid off on Monday as well.

The Chicago Tribune reports that layoffs have hit NBC Sports Chicago as well and will also impact the amount of original programming on the network.

Sports Online

Mike Francesa: George Steinbrenner’s Idea to Put Mike and The Mad Dog On YES Network

“It was George’s idea. So give him credit for it. He wanted Mike and The Mad Dog as part of the CBS Radio contract, and we were.”

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Mike and The Mad Dog is often cited as one of, if not the, best sports radio shows of all time. The show saw an expanded reach with its partnership with the YES Network beginning in 2002. During his podcast Tuesday, Mike Francesa gave all the credit to the simulcast hitting the air on YES Network to the late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.

“It was George Steinbrenner that came up with the idea of Mike and The Mad Dog being on the YES Network. No one else,” Francesa said.

“They came to us when they were negotiating a new radio deal with him and they said ‘Hey, we need a quick answer on this. Would you guys want to be on the YES Network every day, simulcasting? You know what Imus is doing with MSNBC? We wanna do it with you guys, but we need a very quick answer’.”

Francesa said the show airing on YES Network was a sticking point for the Yankees in negotiations with CBS Radio to continue airing the franchise’s broadcasts.

“Our first deal with them were not for a lot of money. Our later deals with them were for a very significant amount of money. But it was George’s idea. So give him credit for it. He wanted Mike and The Mad Dog as part of the CBS Radio contract, and we were. Our joining the YES Network was part of the CBS Radio contract.”

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Dave Portnoy Reveals Back-And-Forth With New York Times Reporter Who Claimed He ‘Did Not Provide Answers’

“You waited till (sic) your hit piece was done and now you just need to say you gave me a fair chance to speak even though you have no interest in the truth and your article is already written”.

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A story from The New York Times centered around “aging casino company” — Penn National Gaming — and its relationship with “degenerate gambler” — Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy — caught the eye of the face of the online outlet after the claim that he “didn’t provide answers”.

In the story, Steel claims “Penn and Barstool executives did not respond to repeated messages. Mr. Portnoy did not provide answers.” Portnoy brought the receipts to Twitter with a video of all of the correspondence he had with Times writer Emily Steel.

The alleged conversation takes place sporadically from May through November, with Portnoy offering to meet face-to-face with Steel for an interview that is mutually audio and video recorded, which Steel declines. She offered to meet Portnoy in New York for an audio recorded interview, which he declined, saying the interview needed to take place in Miami, because “I’m not running around to accommodate you at the 11th hour.”

He added “You waited till (sic) your hit piece was done and now you just need to say you gave me a fair chance to speak even though you have no interest in the truth and your article is already written”.

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Sports Online

Kareem Daniel Leaving Disney After Bob Iger Reassumes Role as Company CEO

“This is a time of enormous change and challenges in our industry, and our work will also focus on creating a more efficient and cost-effective structure.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Bob Iger is back as the CEO of Disney, and one of the first moves he made was to announce a company restructure. Part of that restructure includes the departure of Kareem Daniel, the chair of Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution (DMED).

DMED was formed under now-previous CEO Bob Chapek. The division manages Disney’s streaming services which includes ESPN+.

Daniel was considered one of those closest to Chapek. Iger announced Daniel’s departure in a memo to employees at DMED.

“It is my intention to restructure things in a way that honors and respects creativity as the heart and soul of who we are,” Iger said in the memo. “As you know, this is a time of enormous change and challenges in our industry, and our work will also focus on creating a more efficient and cost-effective structure.”

ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro will join other company leaders in coming up with a new company structure that Iger hopes “puts more decision-making back in the hands of our creative teams and rationalizes costs.”

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