Amazon is yet to dive deep into sports broadcasting rights, but they continue to show an interest. Their most recent proof of ambition features a partnership with the Seattle Sounders, acquiring streaming rights for the MLS club.
First reported by The Sports Business Journal, the multiyear agreement begins next week with their Aug. 26 match against the LA Galaxy and will continue to include every Sounders game that is not nationally televised.
Amazon takes over for YouTube TV which served as the Sounders streaming rightsholder the last two seasons. The broadcast rights are not exclusive, Sounders matches will continue to be televised locally by FOX affiliate Q13.
Amazon’s agreement with the Sounders totals three seasons, ending in 2022 which is inline with MLS recommendations. According to a report by The Athletic last year, the MLS has instructed teams not to sign local TV rights deals beyond the 2022 season, signaling a potential change in how future media rights are handled.
It’s the second local sports streaming deal acquired by Amazon this year. In March, the tech giant announced a partnership with the New York Yankees to stream 21 of their games this year, but the deal was negated by COVID-19 and the shortened MLB season.
Ryen Russillo Calls Out Dan Le Batard’s Attack on Adrian Wojnarowski
“Man, if you’re gonna pick a fight, pick a fight with somebody who gets shit wrong, not Woj.”
The will they/won’t they mystery surrounding Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers is over. Lillard is headed to Milwaukee as part of a three-team trade. Ryen Russillo talked about the deal and some of the narratives about potential moves on the most recent edition of his podcast.
Russillo took people to task for assuming doing a deal with Miami was Portland’s only option because it is where Lillard wanted to be. He specifically called out Dan Le Batard for what Le Batard had to say about Adrian Wojnarowski’s reporting that Portland was not impressed by what Miami could offer.
At the time, Le Batard said that Wojnarowski’s report was “embarrassing” for suggesting that a deal between the two sides was not imminent. He said the ESPN reporter was “agenda-based schilling” and “bought and paid for by Portland”.
“That was on July 17,” Russillo said reading Le Batard’s comments back and reiterating that all Wojnarowski said on his podcast was that Portland did not like Miami’s offer. “’Bought and paid for’? I’m like, ‘Man, if you’re gonna pick a fight, pick a fight with somebody who gets shit wrong, not Woj.’ And here we are, weeks, months later, and it wasn’t Miami.”
Dan Le Batard has never run from the fact that he is a Miami fan above all else. That was on display again this week as he and his colleagues reacted in real time to Stephen A. Smith putting the Dolphins atop his A-List of the best teams in the NFL.
He has also not been above lashing out at other members of the media when he perceives a lack of integrity.
Le Batard’s producer, Mike Ryan, acknowledged on social media that Russillo called the show out by name. He also spent much of Wednesday swearing that the NBA and ESPN were conspiring against the city of Miami.
Andre Iguodala, Evan Turner Move Podcast From Meadowlark Media to SB Nation
“Basketball is our north star, but our conversations are universal.”
Former National Basketball Association forwards Andre Iguodala and Evan Turner are bringing their hit podcast, Point Forward, to Vox Media and SB Nation for its third season. The duo will release weekly episodes of the show on various audio distribution platforms in addition to their YouTube channel, which has nearly 60,000 subscribers. The partnership will give fans a look at life as an NBA player on and off the court and how the game has changed over the years with thought-provoking, insightful conversation. Meadowlark Media had produced, monetized and help distributed the podcast for its first two seasons on the air.
“Andre and Evan have reached some of the highest levels of success both on and off the court, and we couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to partner with them in bringing Point Forward to the SB Nation family,” Jermaine Spradley, publisher at SB Nation, said in a statement. “We’re always looking for partnerships that allow us to connect influential creators with the most loyal sports fans, and we plan to bring Point Forward to life at the biggest sports moments during the NBA season to engage even further with the community that SB Nation was founded upon.”
Episodes will be released starting in October and will feature discussions between the two co-hosts and special guest appearances. Over the first two seasons of the show, athletes such as Stephen Curry and Sue Bird, along with LA Clippers owner Steve Ballmer and Vista Equity Partners founder and chairman Robert Smith, have appeared on the program for interviews. Whether the discourse centers on sports stories, business advice or motivation, both Iguodala and Turner will grant viewers an exclusive look into the way they think and set themselves up for sustained success.
“Point Forward has always been about diving deeper into topics that resonate with our audience, and now with the unparalleled reach and expertise of SB Nation and Vox Media, we’re excited to take our conversations to an even wider audience,” Iguodala said in a statement. “Basketball is our north star, but our conversations are universal.”
“Having been on both sides of the game – as a player and a coach – I’ve come to appreciate the myriad stories that exist within the world of sports,” Turner added in a statement. “Andre and I have always had raw and honest discussions, and now we have a platform that will allow us to reach fans, thinkers, and enthusiasts on an even greater scale. The next season is set to be our best yet, and we’re thrilled to embark on this journey with SB Nation and Vox Media.”
The third season of the show will include presenting sponsor DraftKings Sportsbook, the official sports betting operator of the show. Additionally, there are opportunities to integrate additional sponsors into the program, which has Vox Media and SB Nation assuming sales, marketing and distribution responsibilities as part of the deal.
The business entity will also collaborate with Iguodala and Turner to explore new ways to appeal and entertain the audience throughout the NBA season. With this deal, the show officially joins the Vox Media Podcast Network, which continues to grow and includes premium offerings from luminaries and experts, including Sam Sanders, Preet Bharara and Esther Perel among others.
Pat McAfee: We Had ‘No Idea’ How Lou Holtz Would React to Interview Bit
“We’re like, very thankful that they took it positively, but you never know until he’s sitting there.”
Pat McAfee will be the first one to tell you that he never expected the interview with Lou Holtz from his show in South Bend last week to get the legs that it did. The interview was referenced by Ohio State coach Ryan Day after the Buckeyes defeated Notre Dame as motivation for the win.
The interview featured producer Ty Schmitt in Notre Dame garb and a prosthetic Holtz mask interviewing Lou Holtz as Lou Holtz.
While the college football world has talked a lot about Holtz saying that Ohio State is not a tough team and Day’s response to that, McAfee admitted on his show Wednesday that he had no idea how it would go.
“Ty’s been doing this impersonation for his whole life, on this particular program the last couple of years,” he told guest Bobby Carpenter. “Then Lou Holtz, his foundation, started following us, and we’re like, very thankful that they took it positively, but you never know until he’s sitting there.”
Carpenter said that he is surprised it went as well as it did, because Holtz had to be uncomfortable, at least for a moment.
“Anybody that can sit there with an impersonator of them in a chair, I have an immense respect for, because that’s hard, man, when you dive into your deepest insecurities. Imitation is the greatest form of flattery, but like Stephen A. Smith, Lou Holtz, guys that get impersonated, Gruden, that’s a tough deal.”
Earlier this week, McAfee said it was “so dumb” that a bit from his show was at the center of a controversy in college football. That doesn’t mean he isn’t happy that is the case.
“It was phenomenal. I appreciate, though, that Ryan Day utilized that to motivate the boys.”