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We’re A Team, Not A Family And That’s Okay

“Coaches may absolutely love their players as people, but they still have to keep performance at the forefront of the decision making process.”

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Meridian Tech

Family is a very comforting concept. It feels good to have a group of people that you would give up everything for and vice versa. That is a kind of love that you will feel from only a very few people in your life.

Employers have been trying to sell the idea that their organizations are a family for decades, if not hundreds of years. At its most diabolical, the practice is exploitative. It drills into employees the idea that being asked not to log the overtime hours they work is okay and that wanting better is somehow selfish.

Courtesy: CBIA

Let’s put the social implications to the side for a second though, and think about this from management’s point of view.

Is hammering the idea of family into your employees’ heads the best way to accomplish your goals? It isn’t. Relationships will develop amongst departments and between individuals and that is fine. My wife has worked with largely the same group of people for the last 15 years and she is deeply loyal to that group. There is nothing wrong with employees feeling like a family. For a manager though, you have to sell the organization as a team.

Teams work towards a common goal. Team members are viewed as individuals and are valued based on their contribution towards that goal. We cover sports for a living. We see it all the time. Coaches may absolutely love their players as people, but they still have to keep performance at the forefront of the decision making process. That kind of relationship is much more conducive to business than a family relationship.

Look at the family I grew up with for instance. My dad and I don’t have much of a relationship at all. We talk maybe 3 or 4 times per year and haven’t seen each other since an extended family member’s wedding in 2019. He is still my dad. My sister goes through these phases where she retreats into her cocoon and doesn’t accept my calls or return my texts. I don’t know why she does that, but I love my sister very much. All I can do is keep texting until she texts me back.

Can you even begin to imagine trying to run an office or an air staff that functions that way? Now look, I get that not all families are dysfunctional like that, but plenty are. If family is the dynamic you are striving for with your staff, you need to be prepared to work around dysfunction.

How many coaches can you name that have been asked to speak to corporate groups or have written a book about leadership? The idea is pretty simple. There is a lot that can be learned about leading a team of employees from the way these guys lead a team of players. Do you see any Fortune 500 companies lining up to give your mom a check to come in and explain why you’re the world’s best lil’ puddin’ face? No, because there are so many duties and concerns that a family relationship requires that would get in the way of productivity when it comes to functioning as a business.

Phil Jackson has always been praised for building a team that lets the talents of superstars shine and builds up the role players to be ready when called upon. Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, John Paxon and Sasha Vujačić all trust Phil for different reasons. What matters is that they all trust him. That seems more like the ideal work environment than one where you feel obligated to show up to a co-worker’s kid’s piano recital.

Is Phil Jackson the best NBA coach of all time?
Courtesy: Charles Krupa/AP

Look at the sports radio world. A PD cannot manage every show and each individual employee the same way. Validation doesn’t look the same to a star talent as it does to a part-time producer trying to work his way up the ladder. The time devoted to an established, dominant show will not be the same as the time devoted to one you are trying to get off the ground. PDs manage their staffs as individuals in order to meet an overall goal.

Imagine trying to explain to your daughter, who only ever gets straight As and each week is assigned more chores, that she isn’t allowed to join you and your other daughter, who could get straight As but never turns in her homework and is only expected to take out the trash, at the water park this weekend. The good kid would be filled with resentment and demanding answers from you. As a parent, all you can answer with is “because I said so,” and if you’re a parent, you know that only leads to deeper resentment and more questions.

Establishing a team environment means making sure the players understand that they all have different roles and that means there will sometimes be an imbalance in recognition and reward. If that isn’t something they accept, there are two choices: work your way up to the level that gets the kind of recognition they require or find a new team.

The parent in the first scenario can’t really tell their daughter to find a new family. I mean, they could, but we would all rightfully call that parent an asshole if they did that.

There is one more element of being a team that doesn’t exist in families that is important to hammer home. Sometimes, a teammate can be beloved and just not be a fit for the team. The phrase “it’s nothing personal, it’s just business” isn’t much comfort when you get fired or laid off, but hey man, that’s reality. Radio, at its core is show business, and sometimes you’ve hired Eric Stoltz to play Marty McFly and you realize that isn’t going to work. Eric didn’t do anything wrong. The team just needs a change.

Courtesy: Paramount Pictures

My dad isn’t a great dad. He’s still my dad though. There is no re-casting in a family, so I was just stuck with a dad that had no interest in being a dad when I was a kid.

This might read as heartless. I don’t mean for it to. We sometimes overvalue what our work environment is or is supposed to be and that blinds us to reality. Employees, like players, need to know they are valued and appreciated and that it is your goal to set them up for success. Loyalty and benefit of the doubt are not given. They are things both sides have a duty to the other to earn. That is how a team functions and thrives.

BSM Writers

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.”

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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.

Global Is Cool': The Growing Appeal of Premier League Soccer in America
Courtesy: Morning Consult

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.

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BSM Writers

Media Noise – Episode 45

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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.

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BSM Writers

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.”

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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?

A Pot of Gold Articles - Analyzing Metals
Courtesy: iStockphoto

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. 

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