ESPN is widely considered to be a heavily left-leaning network, but they’ve still parted ways with some of their more political and socially driven personalities in recent years, headlined by Jemele Hill in 2018 and now Dan Le Batard.
One of the network’s more outspoken personalities is Jalen Rose, who used his platform with ESPN to call for the arrest of the police officers who shot and killed Breonna Taylor earlier this year. The former NBA player and current multimedia star recently joined Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports and was asked if he’s concerned about upsetting his relationship with network management based on his social ideals, the way some of his past colleagues have.
“One thing I will say about working here for as long as I’ve had, I’ve never been told what to wear or what to say,” Rose answered. “And that doesn’t take away from the memos that leak to the public about, making sure that we stay on message about delivering quality sports content.”
Rose also noted there are other factors that led to the departure of Hill and now Dan Le Batard, who’s TV and radio shows will part ways with ESPN next month.
“The perception is that Dan is raging against the machine and all of a sudden because he’s not willing to conform to the machine, he’s going to exit stage left and be a hero in the eyes of the public,” Rose said. “But being a professional in this business is also a stage of transactions and negotiations.”
Rose added that while being on ESPN is helpful to someone building their brand, working on multiple outlets can sometimes be better for their bottom line while maintaining their voice, enjoying different opportunities and flexibility.
As for Rose, he believes he has a duty to use his platform to inspire change, and athletes similarly share that responsibility. Citing his partnership with LeBron James and other celebrities for their More Than A Vote initiative, motivating NBA teams to use their facilities as polling locations is an example of substantial change at work.
“There are also more fair-minded people that don’t look like me, that are willing to stand for our cause,” Rose said, adding that those people are “willing to listen to our cause. And don’t just say ‘Shut up and Dribble.’”
NFL Considers Ending Pro Bowl Amidst Low Ratings
“Mark Maske of The Washington Post reports the future of the Pro Bowl was discussed on Tuesday during the owners’ meetings in Atlanta.”
The NFL is obsessed with TV ratings. It isn’t a surprise that the league may not be willing to tolerate the Pro Bowl underperforming for much longer.
In 2022, the NFL’s all-star game produced it’s lowest ratings in 16 years. Fewer that 7 million people tuned in to watch the game across ABC, ESPN and DisneyXD.
“The (Pro Bowl) game doesn’t work,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday after the owners’ meeting in Atlanta. “We need to find another way to celebrate the players.”
There are two proposed alternatives that have been reported. The Washington Post says the league is considering launching a seven-on-seven competition. It would not include tackling or full clocks. The other report comes from Ian Rapport of the NFL Network. He says the league is considering hosting a series of skills competitions over the course of what would be branded an all-star week. The NFL has partnered with DirecTV in the past to present similar events during Super Bowl Week.
No details have emerged or final decisions made. Mark Maske of The Washington Post reports the future of the Pro Bowl was discussed on Tuesday during the owners’ meetings in Atlanta.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.”