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Clay Travis Shares Details Of Outkick/FOX Deal With Dave Portnoy

“He and Portnoy agreed that gambling companies are likely overvalued right now and this is the time any content creator can make the most money from them.”

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Two of the internet’s greatest provocateurs got together for a podcast this week. Clay Travis was a guest on Barstool’s The Dave Portnoy Show with Eddie & Company. Despite the fact that they approach entertainment in the same way, it has been a while since Travis and Portnoy have spoken due to a disagreement and some professional rivalry between them.

“This, I guess, is the end of the Cold War,” Portnoy said when he brought Clay onto the show. Portnoy’s first question was whether or not Travis expected to be walking into an ambush.

“I did,” Travis answered honestly.

The interview was actually the exact opposite of an ambush. It began with Portnoy praising Travis for the deal he made to sell Outkick to FOX. While Travis said the sale price had not yet been made public and wouldn’t go into details, he did say he was “super happy” with the sales price and that he would be “a hundred million dollar plus guy,” taxes not withstanding. Clay stated that Outkick didn’t set out to sell the company, but as groups began to seek them out and express interest, it just made sense to pursue the opportunity.

Clay said he was motivated to sell due to the heat in the gambling industry right now. Barstool was one of the companies who discussed the possibility of acquiring Outkick. DraftKings did so as well. Clay projects that in the future, online sportsbooks will be run by “the four or five guys positioned to be standing in a big way.” He added that if he were leading a sports betting company today he’d make an aggressive run at Adam Schefter, Adrian Wojnarowski and other high profile newsbreakers. Portnoy and Travis agreed that gambling companies are likely overvalued right now and this is the time any content creator can make the most money from them.

“We probably played a fairly significant role in that,” Portnoy said, referencing the 2020 sale of Barstool Sports to Penn National.

One subject Portnoy was particularly interested in was exclusivity. He was surprised to learn that Outkick will not be forced to exclusively play and promote the FOX Bet app.

“We are still in charge of negotiating what partnerships we are going to have,” Travis said. “We are not exclusive to FOX Bet. At Outkick, we’re talking to everybody right now.” That apparently includes FanDuel, who Travis says Outkick is in negotiations with on an extension of the online gambling giant’s sponsorship.

FOX reportedly didn’t just want the Outkick name. They specifically wanted Travis and his brand’s sports betting influence. Clay told Portnoy that Outkick is either #1 or near the top among affiliate sites in delivering signups for FanDuel. He revealed that similar to the conditions Penn National put on Barstool in order for that sale to close, FOX locked Travis into a five year deal to continue creating content for the site.

According to Travis, Outkick was on track to generate a 10 million profit in 2021. That left him questioning whether it was smart to sell in the 2nd inning rather than the 5th. But once FOX emerged as a suitor, he felt good about the fit. The combination of the company’s reach in sports and news, its position in the sports betting space, his eight years of working with them, and their willingness to stand behind talent when they step into a fire made them the right business partner for Outkick.

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Russell Dorsey Joins Yahoo Sports

The addition of Dorsey is the latest transaction made by Yahoo Sports to bolster its MLB coverage ahead of first pitch for the 2024 season.

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Russell Dorsey
Courtesy: La Vida Baseball

Russell Dorsey announced that he will be joining Yahoo Sports as its national insider for Major League Baseball. Dorsey shared the news on social media while attaching a video and thanked various executives with the company. Later on Tuesday, Dorsey published his first story for the company outlining what he believes are the five best moves from the Major League Baseball offseason excluding Shohei Ohtani, the two-way superstar who inked a record-breaking 10-year, $700 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The addition of Dorsey is the latest transaction made by Yahoo Sports to bolster its MLB coverage ahead of first pitch for the 2024 season. Yahoo Sports added the “Céspedes Family BBQ” duo of Jake Mintz and Jordan Shusterman onto its editorial team, which renders them responsible for producing audio, visual and written content pertaining to the sport. Within his social media post, Dorsey shared his excitement to work alongside Mintz and Shusterman in his new role.

“As a baseball fan, I can’t wait to see the ways in which Russ, Jake and Jordan will shape and elevate our coverage of America’s Pastime,” Sam Farber, head of content at Yahoo Sports, said in a LinkedIn post.

Dorsey recently served in a role by the same title for Bally Sports and also served as a co-host of The Rally alongside Brooke Fletcher. He was laid off by the regional sports network cluster after just over two years with the outlet, a role he balanced with his responsibilities for Apple TV+ on its Friday Night Baseball property.

Dorsey previously worked as a contributing writer for Forbes, responsible for covering the NBA and MLB by writing features, columns and analysis. Additionally, he worked as a contributing writer for Baseball Prospectus where he primarily focused on the Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox and facets of Major League Baseball. Dorsey has also had work published by the Chicago Tribune and The Daily Herald throughout his career in sports media.

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Sports Podcasting Company Blue Wire Raises Additional Funding

Blue Wire’s library of content features personalities such as Lolo Jones, Chris Long and Gilbert Arenas among others.

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Blue Wire

Blue Wire founder Kevin Jones has told Axios the sports podcasting company has raised new funding from Decathlon Capital. Jones did not offer more details on the total amount raised or the valuation it was based on.

Blue Wire had raised over $200,000 in a community fundraising round last year. Blue Wire was founded in 2018 and has raised $12 million since 2020. The company has primarily received its funding from former athletes, including former NBA guard Baron Davis, along with venture capitalists and Wynn Resorts. 

Jones said the investment from Decathlon would primarily be used for building proprietary technology to help podcasters run their businesses, hiring more salespeople and recruiting additional content creators.

Blue Wire’s library of content features personalities such as Lolo Jones, Chris Long and Gilbert Arenas among others.

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Richard Deitsch Forewarns Media Companies of ‘Athlete Generated Content’

“Athletes now have become their own media distributors, and now that content is competing against everybody else…It makes the space more challenging.”

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Richard Deitsch of The Athletic
Courtesy: Pat Mayo Experience

One sports media reporter has a message for established media entities — get ready for the age of “athlete-generated content.” During an appearance on The Pat Mayo Experience, Richard Deitsch of The Athletic discussed a variety of topics, including athlete-led production companies and how athletes can eschew traditional media companies and tell their own stories using their own production outfits. Deitsch cites players like LeBron James, Stephen Curry, and Jason and Travis Kelce as athletes with their own platforms to distribute their messaging.

“Athletes now have become their own media distributors,” Deitsch said. “Whether it’s production companies owned by LeBron, the Kelce brothers have their own massive podcast entity now, Kevin Durant’s got his own production company, Steph Curry does…and that’s one thing that’s very, very new, is athlete-generated content, and now that content is competing against everybody else. It makes the space more challenging because there’s only so many advertising dollars to go around.”

LeBron James and Maverick Carter started SpringHill Company in 2020 and have since produced multiple fiction and non-fiction films, including What’s My Name: Muhammad Ali, Space Jam: A New Legacy, Hustle, and Black Ice, among others. It also serves as the production company behind The Shop, LeBron and Carter’s pseudo-podcast where they interview guests and discuss current events in a barbershop environment.

Meanwhile, Durant co-owns Boardroom along with his business partner Rich Kleiman, a sports media and entertainment brand that features “premium video/audio, editorial, daily and weekly newsletters, showcasing how athletes, executives, musicians, and creators are moving the business world forward.” It is home to the Netflix property Two Distant Strangers, SWAGGER on Apple TV+, and the Emmy-nominated Showtime documentary NYC Point Gods.

Jason and Travis Kelce broke into the podcasting game during the 2022-23 season with their show New Heights, the name an homage to the pair’s hometown Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Last season, the show quickly rose to the top of the charts thanks to the pair’s obvious chemistry and the success of both teams. However, this season saw the podcast reach new heights (pun sort of intended) thanks to a budding romance between Travis and pop star Taylor Swift.

Travis used New Heights as a way to discuss the ongoing season while giving his growing audience a peek behind the curtain regarding his relationship. When asked about the show, Travis said, “The only way I’d do the show was with my brother,” while Jason has echoed similar sentiments in the past, crediting the show for improving the brothers’ relationship.

Possibly the largest athlete-owned production company that Deitsch failed to mention is Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions, the company behind Peyton’s Place, Eli’s Places, and of course, the wildly popular “ManningCast” alternate Monday Night Football broadcast. Omaha has been adding new content for years thanks to the partnership with ESPN.

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