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First Things First Keeps Debating Baker Mayfield After Brandon Marshall Says Enough

“Wright’s outburst elicits laughter from Marshall who insinuates that only successful players should ink endorsement deals.”

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The First Things First crew sure loves to debate seemingly any topic surrounding Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield. They were at it again Thursday morning in spite of co-host Brandon Marshall saying on Monday that they spent too much time focusing on Mayfield. The debate Thursday followed a familiar format of discussing Mayfield’s merits as a NFL quarterback until the closing moments of the show. That’s when co-host Nick Wight said that Mayfield was held to a higher standard because he is in commercials.

“Baker Mayfield is a constant moving target,” an energetic Wright said. “He is evaluated differently than #1 pick Jameis Winston, #1 pick Jared Goff, #1 pick Marcus Mariota and Carson Wentz. Why? Because Progressive pays him six hundred thousand dollars to do some commercials. That’s insanity. It’s so Dog-God crazy. I’m going to lose my mind.”

Mayfield does appear in a series of Progressive Insurance commercials that regularly air during NFL games.

Wright adds that he defends Mayfield not because he has any loyalty to the Browns, but because he wants to see people treated fairly.

“It’s not that Baker Mayfield is my guy,” Wright said. “In fact, now that OBJ is out and will probably never play another game in a Browns’ uniform, I have no connection to the Browns whatsoever, but I do care about fairness. Last year we said Baker needed to pay less attention to everything else (focus on football) and now this year when he says he does not pay attention to that stuff, he is being criticized. We said two weeks ago, maybe he should be benched and then when he plays great against the Bengals we say ‘oh that was only the Bengals. Everybody knew he would’. I am sorry for yelling America, but this is total insanity and people need to understand what is happening here.”

Wright’s outburst elicits laughter from Marshall who insinuates that only successful players should ink endorsement deals.

“Now days, players put fame before the game,” Marshall said. “I don’t mind Patrick Mahomes doing a commercial for State Farm or whoever he does them for because he has won a Super Bowl. Baker Mayfield is 5-3. Let him win something on the field first and then do a commercial.”

Marshall is not the only media personality to criticize Mayfield for his commercials as Colin Cowherd also did so in 2019.

Sports TV News

Former Hulu Exec Michael Schneider Hired To Run Bally Sports+

“Schneider previously was VP of brand and content marketing at Hulu, where he had involvement in various marketing efforts for Hulu + Live TV.”

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Sinclair Broadcast Group and Diamond Sports Group have tapped Michael Schneider as the chief operating officer and general manager of Bally Sports+ when it launches this year.

Schneider will oversee the direct-to-consumer platform that will also be the hub for Bally Sports live programming.

Schneider previously was VP of brand and content marketing at Hulu, where he had involvement in various marketing efforts for Hulu + Live TV.

“Throughout his career, Michael has successfully launched and developed DTC streaming and service platforms and created immersive engagement experiences,” said Sinclair COO and president of broadcast Rob Weisbord. “He is a terrific addition to the team as we build out the Bally Sports+ offering, its exclusive content and passionate fan community.”

Even before Hulu, Schneider had a hand in streaming. He was a founding member of the PlayStation Vue launch team.

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Sports TV News

Marquee Sports Network Weighs Streaming Options Outside of Bally Sports+

“Marquee GM Mike McCarthy said to Sports Business Journal there’s no rush, but the network is hopeful they can have something in time for the 2023 season.”

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As Sinclair Broadcast Group prepares to launch Bally Sports+, its direct-to-consumer platform that will be home to Bally Sports live events, the Chicago Cubs are weighing their options for Marquee Sports Network, which the team co-owns with Sinclair.

Despite being under the Sinclair umbrella, Marquee is its own free-standing RSN from the rest of the Bally Sports networks across the country.

Marquee is readily available on a number of cable providers, but the only thing that’s really missing is its own standalone streaming platform for games. Marquee GM Mike McCarthy said to Sports Business Journal there’s no rush, but the network is hopeful they can have something in time for the 2023 season.

“We’re always interested in being on the cutting edge with the ultimate deliverable to our consumer,” McCarthy said. “But there isn’t any contractual clock ticking to make us feel that way. It’s how we’ve approached things from the beginning. Between our two ownership groups, there’s a lot of aggression to get it right. And I think you’ll see something along those lines shortly.”

The TV ratings will always be of top interest for MLB, especially regional ratings. But as the league has worked to embrace more streaming options for games, striking deals with Apple and Peacock for rights this season, it’s all about providing what the fans and viewers want.

“We now have the ability to do so much more, to properly tell the story of a 162-game season,” said Crane Kenney, Chicago Cubs president of business operations. Kenney was instrumental in the launch of Marquee. “We love baseball, we love the game, and we love the opportunity we have to share it with our fans in really deep ways.”

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Laura Rutledge Celebrates Chemistry Of NFL Live

“It is truly the absolute joy of my life to get their opinions and to sit with them every single day and hear what they have to say.”

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Laura Rutledge is very happy with where NFL Live is as the current lineup gets set to enter its third season together. She told The Big Lead that there is genuine chemistry between herself, Marcus Spears, Mina Kimes, and Dan Orlovsky and that is why she doesn’t feel the need to emulate any of sports television’s many debate shows.

“You don’t want to see people yelling at each other all the time and I’m really proud of the chemistry that we have struck and just letting that breathe on air and having so much fun. It is truly the absolute joy of my life to get their opinions and to sit with them every single day and hear what they have to say.”

The 2022 NFL season will have a very different feel for ESPN. The addition of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman for Monday Night Football adds new expectations to the network.

Rutledge said that the attention on the network means that she and her colleagues have to raise their respective games, but that shouldn’t be hard. There is always material to work with in this league.

“We’ve seen this offseason, we saw the previous offseason, how the NFL news cycle never stops. It’s funny because the news cycle becomes such a big piece of the story, but we’re like, we can’t wait for the games,” she said.

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