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Raina Kelley New Editor-In-Chief At The Undefeated

Raina previously worked with Newsweek and ESPN The Magazine

Russ Heltman

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The Undefeated has announced the promotion of a longtime voice at the website. Raina Kelley, managing editor of The Undefeated since November 2015, has been promoted to Vice President and Editor-in-Chief of the ESPN-owned site that blends race, culture, and sports all in one.

Kelley is taking over for Kevin Merida, who launched the project five years ago. Merida is now reporting to Mark Walker, Senior Vice President, Content Business Development and Innovation. 

Kelley has played a key role on the music side of The Undefeated. The “Music For The Movement” series, a collaboration with Disney Music Group’s Hollywood Records, was steered in part by Kelley. The new EIC also leads ESPN’s Black History Always movement, which highlights the success and greatness of black storytellers past the 28-day barrier in February.

“Raina is a committed, collaborative and creative presence who has been part of the visionary leadership for this platform from the start,” ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said. “We know The Undefeated will continue to thrive with Raina in this role.”

Before 2015, the Yale University graduate wrote for Newsweek magazine where she published a column on American culture, mostly keying in on issues of race, gender, and politics. She joined Newsweek in 2003 as an associate editor and left as a staff writer in 2011. Kelley joined ESPN in May 2011 as a senior editor at ESPN The Magazine, helping with coverage of the National Football League, tennis, action sports, the Olympics, and ESPN Enterprise Unit. 

“Kevin [Merida] has been an outstanding leader, an amazing teacher, and mentor to our team,” said Raina. “I assume this responsibility knowing he has left behind a brilliant team of creative minds at The U that will continue this vision well into the future.”Kelley is taking over a new role, but the management team beneath will remain largely unchanged.

Sports Online

NASCAR Driver Denny Hamlin Launching Podcast with Dale Earnhardt Jr & Dirty Mo Media

“New episodes will be published each Monday during the NASCAR season with previews and reviews of races, with the goal of inviting guests and interacting with fans playing a future role in the series.”

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Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Dirty Mo Media has announced a podcast deal with NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin.

Hamlin will host Actions Detrimental with Denny Hamlin on a weekly basis during the NASCAR season. The Actions Detrimental branding is verbiage used by NASCAR for fines assessed to drivers for their disparaging comments about the sport. Known as one of NASCAR’s more outspoken drivers, Hamlin has been fined several times under the “actions detrimental to stock car racing” statutes.

New episodes will be published each Monday during the NASCAR season with previews and reviews of races, with the goal of inviting guests and interacting with fans playing a future role in the series.

Denny Hamlin jokingly thanked Dirty Mo Media for the “opportunity and the fat check” the company wrote for him to host the podcast in a Twitter announcement.

The 42-year-old Hamlin has won 48 races during his 18-year NASCAR Cup Series career. In addition to serving as a driver for Joe Gibbs Racing, he co-owns 23XI Racing with basketball legend Michael Jordan.

The podcast is the latest in an expansion of content produced by the Mooresville, North Carolina-based digital outlet. After beginning with The Dale Jr. Download, the company has grown to include other podcasts like Door, Bumper, Clear, and Speed Street, as well as video projects like The Next Level.

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Sports Online

Barstool Sports CEO: Golf Likely Next Step For Company’s Live Broadcasts

“I think we‘ll start with the biggest sports that we know and love.”

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Barstool Sports CEO Erika Nardini recently did a wide-ranging interview with AdAge.com about the future of the digital sports outlet’s television aspirations, and she said sports they’re familiar with will take priority.

“”We want sports that appeal to a broad audience. We’re kind of tickled to be able to broadcast things in the first place. So I think we‘ll start with the biggest sports that we know and love, whether it’s basketball and football,” Nardini said. “You could definitely see that extended to golf, that would probably be the next place that we’ll play.”

The questions about Barstool’s future aspirations come after the company’s successful first broadcast of the Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl. Barstool says the broadcast received nearly 1 million views, peaking at 130,000 concurrent viewers. The outlet also broadcasted the Barstool Sports Invitational that featured Akron, Mississippi State, Toledo, and UAB in November.

Nardini added that the company is interested live televised sports for a few reasons.

“We’re owned by a sports betting company and the more we think about building our sports platform, there’s obviously a huge opportunity for us to convey a whole bunch of offerings to our audience, but certainly betting will be one of them…I think that live sports on television is the last man standing where it’s all anyone tunes in for.”

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Sports Online

Fanatics to Open First Sportsbook Inside FedEx Field

“The location at the home of the Washington Commanders will make it the first sportsbook to open inside an NFL stadium.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Sports licensing giant Fanatics will soon be launching its long-anticipated sportsbook.

The company will open up a physical sportsbook location in Maryland at FedEx Field on January 20. Fanatics has also been granted a license to operate in Massachusetts, tethered to Plainridge Park Casino.

The location at the home of the Washington Commanders will make it the first sportsbook to open inside an NFL stadium. Bettors in the DMV will now be able to place wagers at all their local teams’ venues, as William Hill has an on-site location at Capital One Arena – home of the Capitals and Wizards – and BetMGM has a space at Nationals Park in D.C.

Despite having a physical location at FedEx Field, bettors in Maryland will not be able to place mobile wagers through a Fanatics Sportsbook app.

According to Front Office Sports, Fanatics hopes to have the sportsbook up and running in some fashion in all states where legal by September.

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