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John Skipper Joins Le Batard & Friends Podcast

In addition to talking about the new company, Skipper and Le Batard started off the podcast by talking about what led to Le Batard being hired at ESPN: The Magazine in 1998.

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Earlier this week, former ESPN personality Dan Le Batard and the former president at ESPN, John Skipper, announced the name of their new media company, Meadowlark Media. It will be a company that focuses on sports and storytelling. 

To help announce this venture, Le Barard had Skipper as a guest on the Le Batard and Friends podcast. The one hour podcast released this week is the first of multiple parts, but Skipper did reveal the purpose and goal of the venture. 

“What we are going to do is create a company that will take great content and make content out of those stories,” he said. “We want to tell stories. We want to have associations, relationships with great, talented storytellers and help them tell those stories across all platforms and mediums and genres. The meadowlark is the songbird of the new dawn and I figured post-Trump, post-COVID, the songbird as the new dawn might be welcome.”

In addition to talking about the new company, Skipper and Le Batard started off the podcast by talking about what led to Le Batard being hired at ESPN: The Magazine in 1998. For Skipper, his goal was always to have a diverse workforce at the magazine. 

“The story of me trying to hire you started with the beginning of ESPN: The Magazine. I made the decision that we were going to create a diverse workforce for the magazine,” Skipper told Le Batard. “We were going to create a magazine with a great business plan. I looked at Sports Illustrated and believed that they were not in touch with the times. Sports Illustrated was a weekly gathering of sports fans who got the magazine and read about things that happened the week before, I thought that was a little out of date.

“Well, somebody got me a list of every hispanic sportswriter that has a regular column in the top 50-to-100 newspapers in the country. It was just one person. You. When I traveled and read the Miami Herald, I read many things that you wrote and they were great. I think he can speak to Hispanic sports fans and become a national figure.” 

“You brought me in as one of the fire starters because you were trying to change the culture a little bit,” said Le Batard. 

During this podcast, Le Batard got into what he felt was one of Skipper’s greatest failures at ESPN. It was a conversation Le Batard said the pair had in North Carolina after Skipper resigned from ESPN. 

“I thought your greatest failure at ESPN for all the good work you did is that you couldn’t pour enough of that money back into content to make the content even better than it was. You did change it from it’s not just sports and highlights. You had the spirit of Page 2 in your heart and I wanted to see some great content across the network where at one point they brought in Rush Limbaugh. I believe you would be fascinating on the subject of ESPN was not a political company, all you did was put minorities on the air. The moment you did that, it became a political company because you were giving minorities voices.”

“I never understood why people can’t decouple the idea that diversity and tolerance and accepting people for who they are is political,” Skipper answered. “I don’t think that’s political. I think that’s human values. Why wouldn’t you want to populate your on-air talent with people from all different kinds of experiences? That’s not political. That’s respect for people for who they are.”

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Online Sports Betting Not Happening In Maryland In 2022

“Some state regulators had expressed optimism at one point that online sports betting in Maryland would go live by the end of this year or in time for next year’s Super Bowl.”

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Online sports betting in Maryland appears to have no shot of happening this year due mainly to the fact that the state’s oversight committee on sports wagering is hung up on how to bring women and minority-owned businesses into the fold.

The Maryland Sports Wagering Application Review Committee (SWARC) is currently awaiting results of a disparity study by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency.

Some state regulators had expressed optimism at one point that online sports betting in Maryland would go live by the end of this year or in time for next year’s Super Bowl. But given where SWARC is, the whole process is being held up to the point that it’ll likely be later in 2023 before residents can use their phones to place bets.

It’s been just over a year since Governor Larry Hogan signed legislation that legalized sports betting in the state. Since then, five casinos in the state have opened retail sportsbooks.

The casinos have handled more than $132 million in bets since December. $26.9 million in wagers were placed in April alone.

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Media Reacts To Nick Saban’s Comments On Texas A&M, Jackson State

“Saban’s comments and the ensuing rebuttals will be used to fuel content on sports television and radio through the offseason and likely beyond.”

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Nick Saban had some choice words about recruiting in the NIL era on Wednesday night. The Alabama head coach didn’t just voice frustrations with the process. He called out three schools specifically for using Name, Image and Likeness payments to create an advantage for themselves in recruiting.

He said that Texas A&M, which signed the top-ranked recruiting class in 2022 according to a number of outlets “bought every player on their team.”

He said that Jackson State gave a player $1 million to come to the school. “It was in the paper,” he said. “They bragged about it! Nobody did anything about it.”

It is likely that he was talking about defensive back Travis Hunter, widely regarded as one of the five best players in the class of 2022. It should be noted that Jackson State Coach Deion Sanders has been adamant that Hunter did not receive a dime from the school or anyone else.

The comments created plenty of content on sports radio on Thursday.

Jimbo Fischer, the head coach of Texas A&M took the story to a new level with a press conference of his own in which he cryptically encouraged people to “dig into” Saban’s career history.

The commentary in the sports media came in all kinds of forms. Plenty took to Twitter to express an opinion.

Others used the feud to create comedy.

Finally, others did actual reporting. they made phone calls to get context and further the story.

The coaches may be relatively quiet in public for a while. That doesn’t mean the stories and reactions are going away. Saban’s comments and the ensuing rebuttals will be used to fuel content on sports television and radio through the offseason and likely beyond.

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Bleav Announces Partnership With SiriusXM

“The Bleav podcasts come with some serious star power. Each show features a former player paired with a host to discuss the latest news about their team. In adding Bleav, SiriusXM adds the likes of Eric Davis, Lorenzo Neal, Adam “Pac Man” Jones and others to its roster.”

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A new partnership will see content from the Bleav Podcast Network come under the SiriusXM umbrella. All 32 of the network’s NFL team-specific podcasts will now be available on the SXM app. The satellite radio company will also have the ability to air Bleav content on its sports channels.

“SiriusXM is a leader in content. We’re very happy to be a part of their programming and continue to amplify the voice of our talent,” Bleav CEO Bron Heussenstamm said in a press release. “SiriusXM listeners will be able to regularly hear from athletes that played for their team, bringing fans insight and access that only a player can.”

The Bleav podcasts come with some serious star power. Each show features a former player paired with a host to discuss the latest news about their team. In adding Bleav, SiriusXM adds the likes of Eric Davis, Lorenzo Neal, Adam “Pac Man” Jones and others to its roster.

The deal will also lead to more content in the future. The companies expect to add to the Bleav content available on the SXM App, including shows focused on other professional and college sports. 

“Bleav’s team-focused programming, hosted by many former stars from the league, give fans a unique and experienced perspective into their favorite players and franchises,” said Steve Cohen, SiriusXM’s SVP of Sports Programming and Podcasts.  “Bleav’s network of shows deliver valuable insight for fans of every NFL team.  They are a great addition to the selection of sports podcasts available on the SXM App and we look forward to adding other shows, focused on other sports, from the Bleav network to SiriusXM in the future.” 

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