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The NIL Possibilities Are Endless For Everyone

“Opportunities abound for college athletes, but so too for universities if they can find a way to partner with their students.”

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At first, it seemed that the NCAA was dead set against awarding college athletes their name, image, and likeness (NIL) rights, or commonly referred to in the legal setting, rights of publicity.  With rights of publicity there comes infringement, and the consequences are termed torts: 

“The right of publicity prevents the unauthorized commercial use of an individual’s name, likeness, or other recognizable aspects of one’s persona.  It gives an individual the exclusive right to license the use of their identity for commercial promotion.  In the United States, the right of publicity is largely protected by state common or statutory law.  Only about half the states have distinctly recognized a right of publicity.  Of these, many do not recognize a right by that name but protect it as part of the Right of Privacy.  The Restatement Second of Torts recognizes four types of invasions of privacy: intrusion, appropriation of name or likeness, unreasonable publicity, and false light.”

Cornell Law School, Legal Information Institute

However, as states began to see a way to give access to college athletes through legislation that specifically provided a pathway to profit from their NIL, the NCAA changed course.  The universities were quicker to adapt and immediately began hiring experts to advise on best practices to implement NIL education, programs, partnerships, and licensing.  The laws that states passed (or even states that did not pursue NIL legislation) were mostly ceremonial because rights of publicity have existed in common law (e.g., English law that is derived from custom and judicial precedent juxtaposed with statutory law) for hundreds of years.  What the states did was move up the clock and force the NCAA’s hand to decide from a regulatory and compliance standpoint.  

Universities have expressed varying levels of support for NIL.  The Pac-12, whose main catalyst includes four universities from the state of California, was the first state to pass NIL legislation (“The Fair Pay to Play Act”), but the enactment date is not until 2023.  Nevertheless, to highlight the aforementioned point, athletes in California began profiting from their NIL immediately.  High school students in certain local communities may also profit from their NIL depending on various rules and regulations.  The Pac-12 then took it a step further by being the first athletic conference, let alone a Power Five conference that has already agreed to schedule arrangements with two of five other major conferences (the ACC and BigTen), to allow college athletes to use highlights from broadcasts in their NIL.  

College athletes being able to utilize copyrighted broadcast footage without having to pay large licensing fees cannot be overstated as highly valuable.  The ability to use and coordinate broadcast footage with the universities’, networks’ and streamers’ assistance will only increase the exposure for the athletes’ profitability.  The universities, networks, advertisers, and streamers also stand to benefit greatly because the broadcasts they own will be shared across social media platforms reaching a younger set of fans that would not normally watch sports. 

The New York State Legislature did introduce legislation in 2020 that would have split broadcast revenue with college athletes, but that was a nonstarter for universities, networks, and streamers.  College athletes being able to profit from their NIL, while not having to pay or being prohibited from using copyrighted broadcast footage from games is a great compromise.

Meanwhile, Apple, EA Sports, Google, and Facebook are all making major strides in sports, health, and tech development to benefit sports.  Apple Watch is tracking biometric data.  Facebook is working with Google to create something similar on various platforms.  EA Sports is discussing a new video game where college athletes profit from the intellectual property used in the gaming simulation.

Speaking of profit, will college athletes be able to create and sell non-fungible tokens (NFTs) when using broadcast footage?  With Spotify becoming a streamer of content beyond music and podcasts, will college athletes also seek podcasting and series original opportunities?  Sports documentaries are on the rise and exceedingly popular—why not the Hard Knocks of College Sports?      

Facebook created a social media fantasy sports gaming application and feature—making it simpler to play and share.  High school sports, the feeder for college athletic talent, is developing an application through Elysian Park Ventures (controlled by the Los Angeles Dodgers ownership group) to help fundraise for high school athletes and programs

George Kliavkoff (@Kliavkoff) | Twitter

Sports betting and college sports have yet to develop fully, but Caesars Entertainment purchased naming rights to the Fiesta Bowl and the University of Colorado signed a five-year deal with PointsBet.  It is of note, possibly, that the Pac-12 hired George Kliavkoff, a sports gaming executive out of Las Vegas, Nevada to be the commissioner for the conference.  Whether Kliavkoff’s hire leads to more entertainment and a higher broadcast premium price and/or sports betting sponsorship deals is likely for the first and less likely for the latter based on California’s current stance on sports betting.

Opportunities abound for college athletes, but so too for universities if they can find a way to partner with their students.  

BSM Writers

Being Wrong On-Air Isn’t A Bad Thing

…if you feel yourself getting uncomfortable over the fact that you were wrong, stop to realize that’s your pride talking. Your ego. And if people call you out for being wrong, it’s actually a good sign.

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WRONG BAD

In the press conference after the Warriors won their fourth NBA title in eight years, Steph Curry referenced a very specific gesture from a very specific episode of Get Up that aired in August 2021.

“Clearly remember some experts and talking heads putting up the big zero,” Curry said, then holding up a hollowed fist to one eye, looking through it as if it were a telescope.

“How many championships we would have going forward because of everything we went through.”

Yep, Kendrick Perkins and Domonique Foxworth each predicted the Warriors wouldn’t win a single title over the course of the four-year extension Curry had just signed. The Warriors won the NBA title and guess what? Curry gets to gloat.

The funny part to me was the people who felt Perkins or Foxworth should be mad or embarrassed. Why? Because they were wrong?

That’s part of the game. If you’re a host or analyst who is never wrong in a prediction, it’s more likely that you’re excruciatingly boring than exceedingly smart. Being wrong is not necessarily fun, but it’s not a bad thing in this business.

You shouldn’t try to be wrong, but you shouldn’t be afraid of it, either. And if you are wrong, own it. Hold your L as I’ve heard the kids say. Don’t try to minimize it or explain it or try to point out how many other people are wrong, too. Do what Kendrick Perkins did on Get Up the day after the Warriors won the title.

“When they go on to win it, guess what?” He said, sitting next to Mike Greenberg. “You have to eat that.”

Do not do what Perkins did later that morning on First Take.

Perkins: “I come on here and it’s cool, right? Y’all can pull up Perk receipts and things to that nature. And then you give other people a pass like J-Will.”

Jason Williams: “I don’t get passes on this show.”

Perkins: “You had to, you had a receipt, too, because me and you both picked the Memphis Grizzlies to beat the Golden State Warriors, but I’m OK with that. I’m OK with that. Go ahead Stephen A. I know you’re about to have fun and do your thing. Go ahead.”

Stephen A. Smith: “First of all, I’m going to get serious for a second with the both of you, especially you, Perk, and I want to tell you something right now. Let me throw myself on Front Street, we can sit up there and make fun of me. You know how many damn Finals predictions I got wrong? I don’t give a damn. I mean, I got a whole bunch of them wrong. Ain’t no reason to come on the air and defend yourself. Perk, listen man. You were wrong. And we making fun, and Steph Curry making fun of you. You laugh at that my brother. He got you today. That’s all. He got you today.”

It’s absolutely great advice, and if you feel yourself getting uncomfortable over the fact that you were wrong, stop to realize that’s your pride talking. Your ego. And if people call you out for being wrong, it’s actually a good sign. It means they’re not just listening, but holding on to what you say. You matter. Don’t ruin that by getting defensive and testy.

WORTH EVERY PENNY

I did a double-take when I saw Chris Russo’s list of the greatest QB-TE combinations ever on Wednesday and this was before I ever got to Tom Brady-to-Rob Gronkowski listed at No. 5. It was actually No. 4 that stopped me cold: Starr-Kramer.

My first thought: Jerry Kramer didn’t play tight end.

My second thought: I must be unaware of this really good tight end from the Lombardi-era Packers.

After further review, I don’t think that’s necessarily true, either. Ron Kramer did play for the Lombardi-era Packers, and he was a good player. He caught 14 scoring passes in a three-year stretch where he really mattered, but he failed to catch a single touchdown pass in six of the 10 NFL seasons he played. He was named first-team All-Pro once and finished his career with 229 receptions.

Now this is not the only reason that this is an absolutely terrible list. It is the most egregious, however. Bart Starr and Kramer are not among the 25 top QB-TE combinations in NFL history let alone the top five. And if you’re to believe Russo’s list, eighty percent of the top tandems played in the NFL in the 30-year window from 1958 to 1987 with only one tandem from the past 30 years meriting inclusion when this is the era in which tight end production has steadily climbed.

Then I found out that Russo is making $10,000 per appearance on “First Take.”

My first thought: You don’t have to pay that much to get a 60-something white guy to grossly exaggerate how great stuff used to be.

My second thought: That might be the best $10,000 ESPN has ever spent.

Once a week, Russo comes on and draws a reaction out of a younger demographic by playing a good-natured version of Dana Carvey’s Grumpy Old Man. Russo groans to JJ Redick about the lack of fundamental basketball skills in today’s game or he proclaims the majesty of a tight end-quarterback pairing that was among the top five in its decade, but doesn’t sniff the top five of all-time.

And guess what? It works. Redick rolls his eyes, asks Russo which game he’s watching, and on Wednesday he got me to spend a good 25 minutes looking up statistics for some Packers tight end I’d never heard of. Not satisfied with that, I then moved on to determine Russo’s biggest omission from the list, which I’ve concluded is Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates, who connected for 89 touchdowns over 15 seasons, which is only 73 more touchdowns than Kramer scored in his career. John Elway and Shannon Sharpe should be on there, too.

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BSM Writers

Money Isn’t The Key Reason Why Sellers Sell Sports Radio

I started selling sports radio because I enjoyed working with clients who loved sports, our station, and wanted to reach fans with our commercials and promotions.

Jeff Caves

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Radio Sales

A radio salesperson’s value being purely tied to money is overrated to me. Our managers all believe that our main motivation for selling radio is to make more money. They see no problem in asking us to sell more in various ways because it increases our paycheck. We are offered more money to sell digital, NTR, to sell another station in the cluster, weekend remotes, new direct business, or via the phone in 8 hours. 

But is that why you sell sports radio?

In 2022, the Top 10 highest paying sales jobs are all in technology. Not a media company among them. You could argue that if it were all about making money, we should quit and work in tech. Famous bank robber Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed twenty banks over twenty years. He reportedly said,” that’s where the money is”. Sutton is the classic example of a person who wanted what money could provide and was willing to do whatever it took to get it, BUT he also admitted he liked robbing banks and felt alive. So, Sutton didn’t do it just for the money.

A salesperson’s relationship with money and prestige is also at the center of the play Death of a Salesman. Willy Loman is an aging and failing salesman who decides he is worth more dead than alive and kills himself in an auto accident giving his family the death benefit from his life insurance policy. Loman wasn’t working for the money. He wanted the prestige of what money could buy for himself and his family. 

Recently, I met a woman who spent twelve years selling radio from 1999-2011. I asked her why she left her senior sales job. She said she didn’t like the changes in the industry. Consolidation was at its peak, and most salespeople were asked to do more with less help. She described her radio sales job as one with “golden handcuffs”. The station paid her too much money to quit even though she hated the job. She finally quit. The job wasn’t worth the money to her.

I started selling sports radio because I enjoyed working with clients who loved sports, our station, and wanted to reach fans with our commercials and promotions. I never wanted to sell anything else and specifically enjoyed selling programming centered around reaching fans of Boise State University football. That’s it. Very similar to what Mark Glynn and his KJR staff experience when selling Kraken hockey and Huskies football.  

I never thought selling sports radio was the best way to make money. I just enjoyed the way I could make money. I focused on the process and what I enjoyed about the position—the freedom to come and go and set my schedule for the most part. I concentrated on annual contracts and clients who wanted to run radio commercials over the air to get more traffic and build their brand.

Most of my clients were local direct and listened to the station. Some other sales initiatives had steep learning curves, were one-day events or contracted out shaky support staff. In other words, the money didn’t motivate me enough. How I spent my time was more important. 

So, if you are in management, maybe consider why your sales staff is working at the station. Because to me, they’d be robbing banks if it were all about making lots of money.  

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BSM Writers

Media Noise: BSM Podcast Network Round Table

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Demetri Ravanos welcomes the two newest members of the BSM Podcast Network to the show. Brady Farkas and Stephen Strom join for a roundtable discussion that includes the new media, Sage Steele and Roger Goodell telling Congress that Dave Portnoy isn’t banned from NFL events.

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