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For Cousin Sal, It’s Sports, Comedy, Then Gambling

“I thought, ‘You know, what’s funnier than if I lose money while putting together a business during a pandemic that heavily relies on sports, only to see that there’s no sports on the horizon?’. I thought that would be a pretty funny way to go down.”

Tyler McComas

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It’s almost tough to decide whether sinking money into a new sports gambling podcast in 2020 is overly risky or incredibly brilliant.

On one hand, most of the year has been filled with cancelled sports, which means no gambling action to help formulate content. On the flip side, the country has never been more on fire for sports, than it was at the end of July when live action finally returned with the MLS, MLB and NBA.

Coincidentally, the Extra Points podcast, co-founded by “Cousin Sal” Iacono, capitalized on the mass need for live sports by launching right when the sports world came back to life.

Extra Points

“I think it was by design,” said Sal. “I wasn’t even going to do anything like this, but the pandemic gave me a lot of time to think about it, and I said, ‘Alright, this is something that I can get going on my own.’ I thought it through and put it together, then mapped out what kind of podcast I’d want. Things were really sketchy when I decided to go forward with it, in terms of creating a business account and things like that. I thought, ‘You know, what’s funnier than if I lose money while putting together a business during a pandemic that heavily relies on sports, only to see that there’s no sports on the horizon?’. I thought that would be a pretty funny way to go down.”

Before you think Extra Points is just another gambling podcast filled with a ton of numbers, stats and trends, think again. In fact, gambling content can often take a backseat to what Extra Points deems more important: entertainment. Alongside Cousin Sal are the duo of Dave Dameshek and Charlotte Wilder. Together, the trio combines for widely entertaining banter, stories, sports and yes, sometimes even gambling content.

“The idea was for it to be sports, comedy and then gambling,” said Sal. “I was on ESPN for two years and my best bet record was like 78 percent, or something ridiculous like that. I did it with Neil Everett on Thursday nights on SportsCenter and it didn’t get as much press as I thought. I was like, this is crazy, this is all I’ve wanted to do since I was 16 years old and it doesn’t get much notoriety. 

“I think a couple things hurt it, such as sports gambling not being as accepted as it is today. It made me think, it doesn’t matter as much to win as it does to be funny. There’s plenty of podcasts out there, there’s plenty of websites, you don’t even have to listen to a podcast, you can find and dig up trends and everything you need to know. I want to do more of a personality driven podcast.”

The type of podcast you create doesn’t matter. You could be doing sports, gambling, heck, even history, if multiple personalities are involved I just want to know one thing: do the hosts have chemistry? A podcast can’t survive without it. The biggest reason I’ll continue to listen to Extra Points is because the three hosts have the chemistry to flourish. 

“It’s been super fun to get to chat it up with Sal and Dave three times a week,” said Wilder. “I’m a dad at heart, so hanging with two of them and talking about sports feels very natural. I’m biased, but I really feel like we’ve got great chemistry and it’s an honor to be able to argue with them about important things like whether Russell Westbrook’s Iron Maiden shirt is cool or not.”

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Sal and Dameshek have been friends for at least 20 years and have worked on various shows together, such as Sports Geniuses on Fox Sports, The Man Show and Crank Yankers on Comedy Central, as well as Jimmy Kimmel Live. Those two were always going to work well together behind the mic, seeing as they’ve been watching and talking about games together for years, even if it was in the parking lot with nobody else listening. 

But Sal and Dameshek’s smartest move to date was probably adding Wilder to Extra Points. If their idea of another voice was one that’s snarky, hilarious and knowledgeable, they found the right fit. Wilder’s star is rapidly rising in sports media and her presence on the podcast will only continue that upward trend. 

“Charlotte is the Rachel Bonnetta of 2020,” Sal says referencing his FOX Bet Live co-star. “Rachel came from the digital side and she’s terrific. Charlotte lights it up and she’s funny on Twitter. Her interviews are great, too. She has a different point of view for sports and I knew she’d work immediately.”

Getting a podcast off the ground with three well-known personalities may seem relatively easy. In theory, you promote, record, post, retweet the link and bam, sponsors come running, right? Not exactly. Though the podcast has seen great numbers in the short time it’s been available, smooth wouldn’t be the right word to describe the simplicity of getting things started. 

“It’s a huge pain in the ass,” said Sal. “Getting everything aligned, and just the logistics of it, if I could just turn on the mic and just talk, that seems to be the easier part, but actually getting these things up and running and in the pipeline is a bit more difficult than I thought. There’s always something to be thinking of, like if I should’ve turned a phrase on the show into a T-shirt. So I’m thinking about merchandising, which is something I never thought I would have to spend time on. The podcast themselves, as long as it doesn’t feel like work to me, I’m excited about it. 

“But another thing I think about is, do I create a persona that doesn’t necessarily believe in a whole lot of things I say but has a strong point of view, that people will latch onto? Or do I say, I want to hear both sides of this before I decide, if kids should go back to school and play? Weighing those pros and cons is going to be a constant dilemma for me. But I really would like to keep it real as much as I can.”

Barstool CEO Erika Nardini predicted recently that, “personality is going to matter. And you’re going to find personality in non-traditional places,” when asked about sports media in the post-coronavirus world.

If a situation arises where college football and the NFL are cancelled, I don’t have to tell you the damage it’s going to do to sports gambling podcasts. Without sports, there’s only one way to make a gambling pod more interesting. You guessed it. Personality. 

Sal would take a hit if football were to be cancelled, sure, but his product is likely to continue flourishing in a non-sports world because the trio of Extra Points is so damn entertaining. 

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“I think that’s where we’re different from the stat heads that kind of have to fold their tents immediately,” said Sal. “Obviously, it’s tough, if we relate this back to April and all the talking head shows that stayed alive, if they didn’t have Michael Jordan on the Last Dance for several Sundays, they’d be screwed. We had opposing networks promoting that show, because it was the only thing to talk about.

“If we run out of stuff I don’t want it to be depressing, I want it to be a fun outlet for people to come to laugh. We would have to pivot in that regard. If football goes away AND sports goes away for six or eight months, I think we’d be in a bit of trouble. I have a couple of comedy podcasts on the horizon as part of the Extra Points Podcast Network so hopefully we’ll at least have that running.”

Barrett Blogs

BSM’s Black Friday SALE on BSM Summit Tickets is Underway!

Jason Barrett

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Each year I’m asked if there are ways to save money on tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit. I always answer yes but not everyone takes advantage of it. For those interested in doing so, here’s your shot.

For TODAY ONLY, individual tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit are reduced by $50.00. Two ticket and four ticket packages are also lowered at $50 per ticket. To secure your seat at a discounted price, just log on to BSMSummit.com. This sale ends tonight at 11:59pm ET.

If you’re flying to Los Angeles for the event, be sure to reserve your hotel room. Our hotel partner this year is the USC Hotel. It’s walking distance of our venue. Full details on hotel rooms can also be found via the conference website.

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BSM Podcast

Media Noise: What Does The Return of Bob Iger Mean to ESPN?

Demetri Ravanos

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Demetri Ravanos has questions about Disney going back to the future with Bob Iger. This entire episode of Media Noise is all about what the change at the top of the Walt Disney Company indicates about the future of ESPN.

ITunes: https://buff.ly/3PjJWpO

Spotify: https://buff.ly/3AVwa90

iHeart: https://buff.ly/3cbINCp

Google: https://buff.ly/3PbgHWx

Amazon: https://buff.ly/3cbIOpX

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Barrett Blogs

Mina Kimes, Bruce Gilbert, Mitch Rosen, and Stacey Kauffman Join the 2023 BSM Summit

“By the time we get to March, we should have somewhere between 40-60 participants involved in the conference.”

Jason Barrett

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The 2023 BSM Summit is returning to Los Angeles on March 21-22, 2023, live from the Founders Club at the Galen Center at the campus of the University of Southern California. Information on tickets and hotel rooms can be found at BSMSummit.com.

We’ve previously announced sixteen participants for our upcoming show, and I’m excited today to confirm the additions of four more more smart, successful professionals to be part of the event. Before I do that, I’d like to thank The Volume for signing on as our Badge sponsor, the Motor Racing Network for securing the gift bag sponsorship, and Bonneville International for coming on board as a Session sponsor. We do have some opportunities available but things are moving fast this year, so if you’re interested in being involved, email Stephanie Eads at Sales@BarrettSportsMedia.com.

Now let’s talk about a few of the speaker additions for the show.

First, I am thrilled to welcome ESPN’s Mina Kimes to the Summit for her first appearance. Mina and I had the pleasure recently of connecting on a podcast (go listen to it) and I’ve been a fan of her work for years. Her intellect, wit, football acumen, and likeability have served her well on television, podcasts, and in print. She’s excelled as an analyst on NFL Live and Rams preseason football games, as a former host of the ESPN Daily podcast, and her appearances on Around The Horn and previously on Highly Questionable and the Dan Le Batard Show were always entertaining. I’m looking forward to having Mina join FS1’s Joy Taylor and ESPN LA 710 PD Amanda Brown for an insightful conversation about the industry.

Next is another newcomer. I’m looking forward to having Audacy San Francisco and Sacramento Regional Vice President Stacey Kauffman in the building for our 2023 show. In addition to overseeing a number of music brands, Stacey also oversees a dominant news/talk outlet, and two sports radio brands. Among them are my former station 95.7 The Game in San Francisco, and ESPN 1320 in Sacramento. I’m looking forward to having her participate in our GM panel with Good Karma’s Sam Pines, iHeart’s Don Martin, and led by Bonneville’s Executive Vice President Scott Sutherland.

From there, it’s time to welcome back two of the sharpest sports radio minds in the business. Bruce Gilbert is the SVP of Sports for Westwood One and Cumulus Media. He’s seen and done it all on the local and national level and anytime he’s in the room to share his programming knowledge with attendees, everyone leaves the room smarter. I’m anticipating another great conversation on the state of sports radio, which FOX Sports Radio VP of programming Scott Shapiro will be a part of.

Another student of the game and one of the top programmers in the format today is 670 The Score in Chicago PD, Mitch Rosen. The former Mark Chernoff Award recipient and recently appointed VP of the BetQL Network juggles managing a top 3 market sports brand while being charged with moving an emerging sports betting network forward. Count on Mr. Rosen to offer his insights and opinions during another of our branding and programming discussions.

By the time we get to March, we should have somewhere between 40-60 participants involved in the conference. My focus now is on finalizing our business and digital sessions, research, tech and sports betting panels, securing our locations and sponsorships for the After Party and Kickoff Party, plus working out the details for a few high-profile executive appearances and a couple of surprises.

For those looking to attend and save a few dollars on tickets, we’ll be holding a special Black Friday Sale this Friday November 25th. Just log on to BSMSummit.com that day to save $50 on individual tickets. In addition, thanks to the generosity of voice talent extraordinaire Steve Kamer, we’ll be giving away 10 tickets leading up to the conference. Stay tuned for details on the giveaway in the months ahead.

Still to come is an announcement about our special ticket rate for college students looking to attend the show and learn. We also do an annual contest for college kids to attend the event for free which I’m hoping to have ready in the next few weeks. It’s also likely we’ll give away a few tickets to industry professionals leading up to Christmas, so keep an eye out.

If you work in the sports media industry and value making connections, celebrating those who create an impact, and learning about the business from folks who have experienced success, failure, and everything in between, the Summit is worth your time. I’m excited to have Mina, Bruce, Mitch and Stacey join us for the show, and look forward to spending a few days with the industry’s best and brightest this March! Hope to see you there.

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