What I don’t understand is the hatred. When you can despise terrorists, tech frauds, virus-spreaders and Woody Allen, why would anyone hate Tim Tebow?
If you think he should move on in life, to a career in Sunday evangelism or a larger analyst’s role on TV, it’s hard to disagree. If you call him a beneficiary of preferential treatment from his college coach and Jacksonville neighbor, Urban Meyer, I’m with you there, too. If you want to call it a hometown publicity stunt, this idea he could make an NFL roster as a tight end at age 33 when he rarely has played the position, we are partners in preaching.
But the new loathing of Tebow is a sickness that reflects the American condition. It smacks of abject racism, all wrapped around his imagery as a wholesome Christian who builds ministries, writes children’s books, crusades against human trafficking, remained a virgin until his wedding night and still praises the Lord routinely when he isn’t tweeting to his followers, “YOU are not made to be average. This life isn’t one for you to just try and get through, or to just get by. God created you to thrive, to love others, to create change and impact. You are talented, but you have to make the choice to run with full speed, not just jog!”
The religion of sports is too splintered to appreciate the religion of Tebow. For many in the Black community, including athletes who’ve been critical on social media, the sight of him wearing No. 85 for the Jaguars — even during a voluntary minicamp workout on a lazy May afternoon — is a glaring example of White privilege. With NFL rabble-rouser Dez Bryant leading the charge, Tebow is being scorched.
“So Tebow haven’t played an NFL game in damn near a decade and it’s that simple … no hate but you got to be kidding me,” tweeted Bryant, still looking for a team to sign him.
“This Tebow deal shows that personal relationships go further at this level than actual ability,” wrote Carolina Panthers defensive tackle DaQuan Jones.
Tweeted Denver Broncos safety Kareem Jackson: “(Tebow) got more lives than a cat.”
Can we just let him be? Please?
This is not about race, gentlemen. It’s about Meyer, a controversial figure himself, trying to generate interest in his first months as the anointed Jaguars savior by gifting the hometown hero a shot. That’s all. “I have one job and that is to win games with the Jacksonville Jaguars. If Tim Tebow or Travis Etienne can help us win, then that’s my job to get them ready to go play,” said Meyer, referring to the rookie running back who’s expected to make instant impact. If anything, for those who know his past, Meyer has given too many opportunities to players of varied races and backgrounds, some of whom have encountered trouble with the law. The disturbing pattern dates to his days at the University of Florida, where 41 players were arrested — remember Aaron Hernandez? — in the period when Tebow was becoming a folk hero and leading the Gators to national title glory.
Is it hokey giving him a last chance when it’s highly unlikely he’ll make the team? Yes. Is Meyer risking an immediate division in the locker room, the same fissures exposed when Tebow was with the Broncos and New York Jets many years ago? Possibly. Will it be a sad day when Meyer must tell Tebow that his life as a professional athlete — which included five trying years in baseball’s minor leagues — is finally over? The tears will flood the St. Johns River.
But anyone who conflates Tebow’s tryout as part of a larger conspiracy — keeping Colin Kaepernick out of the NFL — needs a mental break. If Meyer brought in Tebow to compete for a backup quarterback role behind prized rookie Trevor Lawrence, Camp Kap would have a legitimate complaint. This is nothing more than a coach’s whim, likely inspired by Taysom Hill’s versatile role with the New Orleans Saints, though Hill moves like a Hummer and Tebow like a cement mixer. As I’ve stated repeatedly, Kaepernick has only himself to blame for lost chances. He continued to rebel against the establishment even when the Baltimore Ravens were interested in signing him and commissioner Roger Goodell was arranging for a league-wide tryout, which Kaepernick turned into a goose chase through the back roads of Georgia.
Where criticism will be valid is if the Tebow experiment devolves into a debacle. If it’s obvious from the start that he has no chance of making the team, Meyer had better cut him immediately to avoid in-house criticism — not to mention nationwide harpoons — that he’s another college coach unfit for the NFL. As it is, his own assistant coaches were divided about signing Tebow — if he has little or no chance of sticking on the roster, why waste time when much work is ahead in a rock-bottom franchise? When Tebow asked for a tryout back in February, couldn’t Meyer have had the Come-to-Papa talk then?
Instead, Meyer already is acknowledging possible locker-room problems by refusing to make Tebow available to media. By doing so, players don’t wonder why the coach’s pet and Lawrence are getting all the public attention while everyone else is ignored. All we have is a statement from Tebow, after he officially signed a one-year contract Thursday: “I want to thank the Jaguars for the opportunity to compete and earn the chance to be part of this team. I know it will be a challenge, but it is a challenge I embrace. I am dedicated to taking the direction of our coaching staff and learning from my teammates. I appreciate everyone’s support as I embark on this new journey.”
He will need every last smidgen of support. The knives are out.
“When he walks into that locker room, it’s going to be divided,” said ESPN football analyst Mike Tannenbaum, who speaks from experience as the general manager who brought Tebow to the Jets in 2012. “There are going to be huge supporters of his, and others are going to be like, what is he doing here as a 34-year-old backup tight end?”
Another ESPN analyst, Greg McElroy, was with the Jets then and offers inside information. “We tried switching him to tight end, and he wasn’t good. That’s what people don’t acknowledge,” McElroy said. “Tim is a good dude, and I hope the best for him. But it’s a sideshow, and that’s what it will be come training camp time. And I think it kind of undermines what Urban Meyer is trying to build. Maybe he makes the team, maybe he doesn’t. But it’s going to take away from the task at hand, which is trying to put together the most competitive roster in camp. And I bet you there will be players, as someone who went to training camp with Tim, who are rolling their eyes at the amount of attention the fourth-string, fifth-string tight end gets. And it’s going to piss people off. As a result, it’s going to affect locker room chemistry, just like it did for us with the Jets. Not because anyone had any animosity toward Tim — they just have animosity with the coverage Tim receives.
“So, I think it’s a stupid move.”
Stupid, he said.
See what I mean? If the subject was anyone else, people would use more measured responses such as “ill-advised” or “misguided.” When it’s Tim Tebow, the move is “stupid.” Or racist.
People need to vent in 2021. I get it. But rather than hate a guy with a big heart and bigger dreams who means no harm — really, no harm whatsoever — I suggest people consider the nuclear weaponry of North Korea. Pyongyang is a bit more worthy of America’s time, energy and wrath than Tim Tebow.
Keeping Premier League Games Shouldn’t Be A Hard Call For NBC
“Beyond its massive global fanbase, the Premier League offers NBC/Peacock a unique modern 21st-century sport for the short attention span of fans.”
NBC Sports is facing some tough, costly decisions that will define its sports brand for the rest of this decade. A chance to connect with viewers in a changing climate and grow Peacock’s audience as well. However, making the right choice is paramount to not losing to apps like Paramount+ (pun intended).
NBC is currently in the business of negotiating to continue airing the Premier League as their current deal ends after this 2021-2022 season. NASCAR is contracted to NBC (and FOX) through the 2024 season.
NBC’s tentpole sports are the NFL and the Olympics.
Negotiations for the EPL are expected to go down to the wire. Rather than re-up with NBC, the league is meeting with other networks to drive up the price. NBC has to then make a decision if the rights go north of $2 billion.
Should NBC spend that much on a sport that is not played in the United States? It’s not my money, but that sport continues to grow in the US.
If NBC re-ups with the Premier League, will that leave any coins in the cupboard to re-up with NASCAR? Comcast CEO Brian Roberts hinted that there might be some penny pinching as the prices continue to soar. This may have been one of the reasons that NBC did not fight to keep the National Hockey League, whose rights will be with Disney and WarnerMedia through ESPN and TNT, respectively.
“These are really hard calls,” Roberts said. “You don’t always want to prevail, and sometimes you’re right and sometimes you’re wrong, but I think the sustainability of sports is a critical part of what our company does well.”
Roberts was speaking virtually at the recent Goldman Sachs 30th Annual Communacopia Conference. He told the audience that between NBC and European network Sky, that Comcast has allocated approximately $20 billion towards these sports properties.
Comcast CFO Michael Cavanagh spoke virtually at the Bank of America Securities 2021 Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference and echoed that the company is in a good position to make some strong choices in the sports realm.
“The bar is really high for us to pursue outright acquisitions of any material size,” Cavanagh added. “We got a great hand to play with what we have.”
While the European investments involve a partnership with American rival Viacom, the US market seems to have apparent limits.
Last Saturday’s NASCAR Cup Series at Bristol Motor Speedway was seen by around 2.19 million people. It was the most-watched motorsports event of the weekend. That same week eight different Premier League matches saw over 1 million viewers. More than half of those matches were on subscription-based Peacock.
Beyond its massive global fanbase, the Premier League offers NBC/Peacock a unique modern 21st-century sport for the short attention span of fans. A game of typical soccer fan is used to a sport that is less than two hours long. The investment in a team is one or two games a week.
My connection to the Premier League began before the pandemic. When I cut the cord in late 2017, I purchase Apple TV. Setting it up, it asks you to name your favorite teams. After clicking on the Syracuse Orange and the New Jersey Devils, I recalled that my wife has family based in London, England. They are season ticket holders for Arsenal, and that family redefined the word “die-hard” fans.
I’ve long been a believer that sports allegiances are best when handed down by family. I love hearing stories of people loving the New York Giants because their parents liked them, and they pass it down to their children.
I’ve successfully given my allegiance to the Devils to my young daughters.
By telling Apple TV that I liked Arsenal, I get alerts from three different apps when the “Gunners” are playing. The $4.99 is totally worth it to see Arsenal.
Whenever I told this story, I was amazed to see how many other American sports fans had a Premier League team. Students of mine at Seton Hall University rooted for Tottenham Hotspurs, while an old colleague cheers on Chelsea.
This is not meant to say that NBC should sign the EPL on my account. The key for any US-based soccer fan is that between Bundesliga, Serie A, and other leagues, there will be no shortage of soccer available on both linear television and streaming services.
Besides, Dani Rojas did say that “Football is life.” NBC, originator of the Ted Lasso character, should make keeping its Premier League US connection a priority.
Media Noise – Episode 45
Today, Demetri is joined by Tyler McComas and Russ Heltman. Tyler pops on to talk about the big start to the college football season on TV. Russ talks about Barstool’s upfront presentation and how the business community may not see any problems in working with the brand. Plus, Demetri is optimistic about FOX Sports Radio’s new morning show.
6 Ad Categories Hotter Than Gambling For Sports Radio
“Using sports radio as a back page service for gambling will have a limited shelf life.”
For years sports radio stations pushed sports gambling advertisers to early Saturday and Sunday morning. The 1-800 ads, shouting, and false claims were seedy, and some stations wouldn’t even accept the business at 5 am on Sunday.
Now, with all but ten states ready to go all in on sports gambling, sports radio stations can’t get enough of that green. Demetri Ravanos wrote about the money cannon that sports gambling has become for stations. Well, what if you are in one of those ten states where it isn’t likely to ever be legal like California or Texas? Where is your pot of gold?
Or, let’s face it, the more gambling ads you run, the more risk you take on that the ads will not all work as you cannibalize the audience and chase other listeners away who ARE NOT online gambling service users and never will be. So, what about you? Where is your pot of gold?
Well, let’s go Digging for Gold.
The RAB produces the MRI-Simmons Gold Digger PROSPECTING REPORT for several radio formats. In it, they index sports radio listeners’ habits against an average of 18+ Adult. The Gold Digger report looks at areas where the index is higher than the norm – meaning the sports radio audience is more likely to use the product or service than an average 18+ Adult who doesn’t listen to sports radio. The report, generated in 2020, indicates that sports radio listeners are 106% more likely to have used an online gambling site in the last thirty days. That’s impressive because the report only lists 32 activities or purchases a sports radio listener indexes higher than an average adult. I looked at those 32 higher indexes, and I think we can start looking for some gold.
Using sports radio as a back page service for gambling will have a limited shelf life. The gambling companies who commit significant money to get results will continue advertising and chase the others away. So, the future of sports radio needs to include other cash cows.
If it is evident to online sports gambling services that sports radio stations are a must-buy, who else should feel that way? I looked at the Top 32 and eliminated the media companies. ESPN, MLB/NHL/NFL networks, and others aren’t spending cash on sports radio stations they don’t own in general. But Joseph A Bank clothing, Fidelity, and Hotwire should! Here’s your PICK-6 list I pulled together that’s hotter than sports gambling:
- Sportscard collectors, Dapper Labs, Open Sea- read about Sports NFT $.
- Online brokerage firms-Fidelity, Charles Schwab, Robinhood, Webull, TD Ameritrade
- Golf courses, resorts, equipment, etc.- we play golf at home and vacation
- Hotwire.com, Booking.com, TripAdvisor, Airbnb, Carnival Corporation, and Priceline.com- we’ve used Hotwire in the last year.
- FedEx, UPS, U.S. Postal Service, Venmo, PayPal, Zelle-we wired or overnighted $
- Jos. A. Bank, shein.com, macys.com, nordstroms.com- we went to Jos. A. Bank in last three months
The sports card/NFT market is 32% hotter than the sports betting market for sports radio listeners. Everything on the PICK-6 is at least 100% more likely to purchase than an average 18+ Adult who doesn’t listen to sports radio. All listed are at or above indexing strength compared to sports betting. The individual companies I added are industry leaders. Bet on it! Email me for details.