Mike Greenberg Says Chris Berman Helped Keep Him At ESPN
Greeny called Berman “one of the most important sports announcers in the industry’s history because of what ESPN was when he started and what ESPN became and the enormous role he played in that.”
On the latest episode of his I’m Interested podcast, Mike Greenberg was joined by one of the legends in the sports broadcasting industry, Chris Berman. For Greeny, this was a special interview for him to do considering how important Berman was to him in his career.
Greeny called Berman “one of the most important sports announcers in the industry’s history because of what ESPN was when he started and what ESPN became and the enormous role he played in that.” He would go on to tell a personal story about how Berman helped him when he started at ESPN.
“When I first came to ESPN (end of August 1996). When I moved to Bristol from Chicago where I had been working, I left behind my girlfriend then, Stacey, and it was difficult to do. As a consequence of that, I worked weekends at ESPN for about the first year. I wanted to fly to Chicago as often as I could to see my girlfriend.
“For a period of time, I questioned whether or not I was doing the right thing. One day that I will never forget, I had just landed in Providence and raced towards the studios at ESPN. I’m in the men’s room and I am shaving in the sink in the bathroom with no shirt. The door opens and here comes Chris Berman.”
Later on in the bathroom, Berman goes to him and says “how are you doing, Greeny.” After Greenberg explains his situation to him, Berman said “Well, welcome home.” It was at that moment, Greenberg mentioned, that ESPN felt like his home and where he should be.
Berman gave some great stories during this podcast, including the one on the first time that he gave his signature play-on-words after players’ names during a broadcast, which he has become famous for until this day:
“In those early days, there might be 5 games that were on TV. Here was the rest of the games and here was the score panel. You are not as much entertaining people, but you are trying to give a little flair or color and describe the game. One night, working at 2:30 in the morning, I had done these nicknames in college out of the box score and 1 or 2 of them came out. This was not a plan…People seem to really respond.”
One interesting question Greeny asked Berman during this fun podcast of looking back at old memories of when ESPN first started and famous moments in his career was Berman’s thought on the role ESPN has had on sports in America.
“In some ways, we were a microcosm of the growth of cable in the 1980s. Therefore, we helped connect sports to fans by showing as much as was out there or if someone was traveling, we were like your home radio station. I think we, in a very good and positive way, kind of brought some folks together, including those in the games, not even necessarily the players. We helped people see what was going on. In our own way, we have our own sense of community. What I never knew when I signed up for the job was that sports would be such a melting pot. I believe certainly in this day and age, we can use a little something that is common ground.”
Ricky Keeler is a reporter for BSM with a primary focus on sports media podcasts and national personalities. He is also an active podcaster with an interest in pursuing a career in sports media. You can find him on Twitter @Rickinator555 or reach him by email at RickJKeeler@gmail.com.
Dave Portnoy: I Trust Penn Entertainment as Much as Ever
“Dave Portnoy is still an employee of Penn Entertainment. However, he has said publicly that he is unsure if the arrangement will continue after his contract expires in 2025.”
Dave Portnoy may have had some public disagreements with Penn Entertainment, but he says that he still trusts the company to run Barstool. He took to Twitter earlier this week to dispel the myth that he is in a feud with the company.
“By the way everything I say or do nowadays is construed as me having beef with @PENNEntertain I 100% do not. Most of my net worth is still tied to $penn. The corporate woke overlord narrative is bullshit. They woulda never bought us in 1st place if that was true. I trust them now as much as when they bought us.”
Portnoy has not been shy about criticizing the company’s decision to fire Ben Mintz after Mintz said the n-word while reading rap lyrics. Several supporters, including Dana White, noted that it is the kind of decision that only happens when corporations take over creative enterprises.
Earlier this week, Dave Portnoy announced that he had hired Ben Mintz as the first employee of Brick Watch Company. Mintz was emotional in making the announcement. The decision was not made to stick it to Penn Entertainment according to Portnoy.
Penn first acquired a stake in Barstool in 2020. It invested $163 million at that time for a 36% stake. Earlier this year, it completed its acquisition, investing an addition $388 million for the remaining 62% of the company.
Dave Portnoy is still an employee of Penn Entertainment. However, he has said publicly that he is unsure if the arrangement will continue after his contract expires in 2025.
Multiple State Regulators Push Back on Effort to Legalize Gambling on WWE
“In March, Alex Sherman of CNBC reported that WWE had meetings with regulators in Colorado and Michigan.”
Despite speculation over allowing sports bettors to wager on WWE, there doesn’t appear to be much support at the state level to add it to sportsbook offerings.
Earlier this year, WWE officials had discussions with accounting firm Ernst and Young to secure pre-determined match outcomes in order to allow betting on events. But many states where sports betting is legal have restrictions on wagering on scripted events.
In March, Alex Sherman of CNBC reported that WWE had meetings with regulators in Colorado and Michigan.
“The Colorado Division of Gaming is not currently and has not considered allowing sports betting wagers on WWE matches. By statute, wagers on events with fixed or predicted outcomes or purely by chance are strictly prohibited in Colorado; this includes wagers on the Academy Awards,” Shannon Gray of the Colorado Division of Gaming told Sports Betting Dime.
In Ohio, the same rules apply. The Ohio Casino Control Commission has not fielded any requests to add WWE. Officials in Kansas haven’t received requests either by their residents.
Elsewhere, Maryland sees keeping WWE out of betting offerings as a way to keep the integrity of legal sports betting.
“Maryland’s sports wagering law and regulations prohibit forms of wagering that are contrary to public interest or unfair to bettors,” Seth Elkin of the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency added. “We’ve determined that it is unfair to bettors and therefore not in the public’s interest to accept wagers on sports entertainment events that have scripted or predetermined outcomes, like professional wrestling.”
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He’s a multimedia journalist and communicator who works at the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond. Jordan also contributes occasional coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, WRIC-TV 8News and Audacy Richmond. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.
Former Twitter Sports Boss TJ Adeshola Joins Arctos Partners
“We’ve been fortunate to have TJ as an Operating Advisor for the past three years, and we are thrilled to have him play a larger role as an Operating Partner.”
Less than two months after TJ Adeshola announced his exit from Twitter, he has resurfaced. Arctos Partners, a firm that he had been advising, named Adeshola an operating partner on Thursday.
In the new role, Adeshola will be much more hands-on with the firm, a private investment company that focuses its investments in the sports world. The firm says it focuses on unlocking “non-obvious opportunities long before others have noticed the market need or opportunity”.
TJ Adeshola’s digital sports marketing expertise will certainly come in handy with that.
“We believe TJ is an innovator in emerging digital and sports media trends, and his wealth of knowledge is a tremendous resource for our Arctos Operating Platform, the value-added capabilities we provide to our franchise partners,” Arctos’s Jordan Solomon said in a press release. “We’ve been fortunate to have TJ as an Operating Advisor for the past three years, and we are thrilled to have him play a larger role as an Operating Partner.”
During his decade with Twitter, Adeshola served as the Head of U.S. Sports Partnerships. His title was Head of Global Content Partnerships at the time of his exit.
He is credited with securing broad strategic partnerships with the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB and MLS as well as NASCAR, esports, college, and high school sports. He helped the platform grow the engagement and audience for those entities.
“I’m thrilled to expand my role with Arctos as an Operating Partner,” Adeshola added. “As the first investment firm to invest across multiple North American sports leagues, Arctos is an innovator and disruptor in the sports landscape. And true to form, the Arctos team recognizes the power of digital media as a tool for growth and an opportunity to drive value for its franchise partners.”