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Analysts Skeptical Of Apple’s Interest In NFL Sunday Ticket

The package is controlled by DirecTV until 2022.

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: Apple

A report from The Information last week zoomed in on early talks between Apple and the NFL over Sunday Ticket rights but analysts are skeptical. Sportico discussed the report with two industry insiders who aren’t convinced Apple is a serious player for the rights.

Publisher of TVAnswerMan.com Phillip Swann and LightShed Partners media and technology analyst Rich Greenfield are having a hard time picturing the NFL as Apple’s first foray into streaming sports.

“Apple has shown no indication to date, outside of a [single] hire (Jim DeLorenzo), that they have serious sports ambitions,” Swann said. “They also have not shown any real indication they want to be a super major player in streaming.”

Greenfield recognized how relationships with the two biggest tech giants on the planet would be major since Amazon has already secured exclusive rights to Thursday Night Football.

“To the extent Apple is serious, it [would be] a huge development for the NFL,” Greenfield said. “Having both Amazon and Apple [competing for Sunday Ticket rights], given what is happening to the traditional legacy media companies, [would be] a really big deal for the future of sports rights and the future of NFL rights.”

Yet, a deal like this would be unprecedented in the streaming arena. Swann noted that Peacock and ESPN+ bolstered their early offerings with lower-tier leagues as a foundation.

“It begs credulity to think the first step [Apple] would take in licensing sports would be Sunday Ticket,” Swann said. “It is kind of like saying [a player] that just came up to the majors from class-A [minor league ball] is going to hit a grand slam in his first at-bat.”

Swann pointed to one established streaming service that could be ready to make a big splash. 

“Peacock is the sleeping giant in this. They have the money. They have the motivation to build something, and they are constantly adding live sports. That is not a coincidence,” he said. “They are building a live sports powerhouse over there, and [the addition of] Sunday Ticket would be a game-changer.”

Sports Online

Washington Post Reporter Sally Jenkins Details Jerry Jones Reporting to Dan Le Batard

“We just started to research to ask him questions about it and we came across that photo.”

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A report from The Washington Post that featured a photo of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones witnessing the controversial integration of North Little Rock High School in 1957 caused a stir late last week, and one of the reporters on the project, Sally Jenkins, detailed how it came to be to Dan Le Batard Monday.

“It was part of a larger project,” Jenkins said of the discovery of the photo. “We came across this photo of Jones. It’s at the start of the school year at North Little Rock High School. He’s on the cusp of his 15th birthday and he’s very clearly identifiable in the photo, which ran on the front page of The New York Times in 1957 because Little Rock was undergoing a real crisis of desegregating it’s schools to the the point that (President Dwight D.) Eisenhower had to send the 101st Airborne into Little Rock to quell violence over black kids trying to go to white schools.

“We knew that Jerry Jones had witness — or at least lived through — a tough civil rights era in Little Rock, and we wanted to talk to him about that. We just started to research it to ask him questions about it and we came across that photo.”

The Washington Post debuted a nine-part series entitled “Blackout” that dove into why there are not more minority head coaches in the NFL. They asked every NFL owner for an interview for the project, but Jones was the only one to agree.

Stugotz asked Jenkins if it was fair to judge someone from a photo taken of them while they were a child, referring to some of the media backlish pushed towards Jones because of the photo.

“Of course not,” Jenkins said. “What is fair is to ask him about what he witnessed, ask him what he experienced, ask him how his views may have changed, or if they did change at all, ask him how he has evolved on issues of social justice or racial justice. And the fact is he has evolved, particularly recently. He started out as a real hard-liner on the Colin Kaepernick situation. At one point, Jerry Jones said ‘The Dallas Cowboys will stand for the anthem and tow the line’, and he’s really softened on that.”

She later conceded the answers Jones provided won’t satisfy everyone, and said there are legitimate questions about his positioning in the photograph, noting the Little Rock Six were spit on, and had the n-word shouted at them from those standing on the steps where Jones was located.

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Sports Online

Mike Francesa: George Steinbrenner’s Idea to Put Mike and The Mad Dog On YES Network

“It was George’s idea. So give him credit for it. He wanted Mike and The Mad Dog as part of the CBS Radio contract, and we were.”

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Mike and The Mad Dog is often cited as one of, if not the, best sports radio shows of all time. The show saw an expanded reach with its partnership with the YES Network beginning in 2002. During his podcast Tuesday, Mike Francesa gave all the credit to the simulcast hitting the air on YES Network to the late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.

“It was George Steinbrenner that came up with the idea of Mike and The Mad Dog being on the YES Network. No one else,” Francesa said.

“They came to us when they were negotiating a new radio deal with him and they said ‘Hey, we need a quick answer on this. Would you guys want to be on the YES Network every day, simulcasting? You know what Imus is doing with MSNBC? We wanna do it with you guys, but we need a very quick answer’.”

Francesa said the show airing on YES Network was a sticking point for the Yankees in negotiations with CBS Radio to continue airing the franchise’s broadcasts.

“Our first deal with them were not for a lot of money. Our later deals with them were for a very significant amount of money. But it was George’s idea. So give him credit for it. He wanted Mike and The Mad Dog as part of the CBS Radio contract, and we were. Our joining the YES Network was part of the CBS Radio contract.”

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Sports Online

Dave Portnoy Reveals Back-And-Forth With New York Times Reporter Who Claimed He ‘Did Not Provide Answers’

“You waited till (sic) your hit piece was done and now you just need to say you gave me a fair chance to speak even though you have no interest in the truth and your article is already written”.

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A story from The New York Times centered around “aging casino company” — Penn National Gaming — and its relationship with “degenerate gambler” — Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy — caught the eye of the face of the online outlet after the claim that he “didn’t provide answers”.

In the story, Steel claims “Penn and Barstool executives did not respond to repeated messages. Mr. Portnoy did not provide answers.” Portnoy brought the receipts to Twitter with a video of all of the correspondence he had with Times writer Emily Steel.

The alleged conversation takes place sporadically from May through November, with Portnoy offering to meet face-to-face with Steel for an interview that is mutually audio and video recorded, which Steel declines. She offered to meet Portnoy in New York for an audio recorded interview, which he declined, saying the interview needed to take place in Miami, because “I’m not running around to accommodate you at the 11th hour.”

He added “You waited till (sic) your hit piece was done and now you just need to say you gave me a fair chance to speak even though you have no interest in the truth and your article is already written”.

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