Conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt interviewed Donald Trump on his radio show recently. The two discussed who would be the best choice to moderate a Republican debate in 2024.
“You used to be interviewed by people like David Portnoy and Clay Travis,” Hewitt said in the conversation with former President Trump. “I am curious, when the Republicans do their debates for 2024, should they use people like Portnoy and Travis and me and people who aren’t part of the regular gang that gets to do these debates?”
A famous interview guest isn’t the only thing Travis and Portnoy have in common. Both started thriving media companies from the ground up and haven’t been afraid to speak their minds on social issues. A candidness that fans find refreshing and critics loathe.
“You’d be great,” President Trump responded. “Clay would be great. Portnoy would be great. You shouldn’t use a Chris Wallace. He’s terrible. He was terrible. He had no control of the debate.”
Travis appeared on The Dave Portnoy Show with Eddie & Co. in May, and the two brought up prior discussions of Barstool Sports acquiring Outkick.
“You had just reached out to me as you were just starting,” Travis described on the show. “Big Cat hadn’t been with you very long. Right before I went to fox the first time, we talked because I had gotten familiar with Barstool, I came on the rundown a couple of times with you guys. I think that was 2012 or 2013… That’s how we officially met.”
Travis and Portnoy have a working relationship in sports media. Time will tell if that seed grows in the political arena.
Russ Heltman is a daily news writer for BSM. He is the morning host and producer for 89.3 WMKV in Cincinnati, OH. He also works in gameday communications for FC Cincinnati and additionally contributes to the AllBengals blog for Sports Illustrated. Russ can be found on Twitter @RussHeltman11 or you can reach him by email at [email protected].
New Sports Illustrated Owner to Staffers: ‘No One is Important’
“I am not important…. The amount of useless stuff you guys do is staggering.”
Following reports of artificial intelligence writing articles for Sports Illustrated and posting them under human pseudonyms, there have been changes pertaining to the executive leadership of its parent company. The Arena Group’s chief operating officer Andrew Kraft and president of media Rob Barrett have been fired, which took place before a conference call with company staff on Wednesday afternoon.
According to Michael McCarthy and A.J. Perez of Front Office Sports, the protracted conversation lasted more than 90 minutes and featured majority owner Manoj Bhargava, who also owns 5-hour Energy. Sources told Front Office Sports that the departures of Kraft and Barrett, however, were unrelated to the AI report from Futurism.
Throughout the call, Bhargava emphasized that he has control over Sports Illustrated and other outlets owned by The Arena Group. This came after the Sports Illustrated Union released a statement that conveyed how writers were “horrified” by the Futurism article and demanded “answers and transparency” from its parent company.
The Arena Group laid off 17 employees earlier in the year as Sports Illustrated looks to solidify a transition from print to digital media, which included a 21% growth in the sector within its third quarter earnings report. Moreover, the company’s sports properties reached the No. 2 sport in the Comscore sports properties rankings on the quarter, something it called “a milestone achievement for the brand.” It was concurrent with a 600,000-follower increase on social media during the quarter as well. Nonetheless, comments from Bhargava revealed his thoughts on the publication, which included a plea for employees to “stop doing dumb stuff.”
“No one is important,” Bhargava said to staffers, according to what a source told Front Office Sports. “I am not important…. The amount of useless stuff you guys do is staggering.”
After the meeting, The Arena Group provided a statement to Front Office Sports about what transpired and the nature of Bhargava’s involvement in the discussion. Furthermore, the source stated that no mention of the Futurism article was made over the course of the meeting.
“Today, Manoj [Bhargava] conducted a virtual town hall and spoke with the staff of The Arena Group, and took questions,” The Arena Group said in a statement. “Also today, some adjustments to the business have been made to improve the efficiency and revenue, and also some changes to senior management have been made.”
Bhargava, under his venture capital company Simplify Inventions, purchased a 65% stake in The Arena Group for $50 million, along with a five-year, $65 million advertising pact. The Arena Group was previously known as TheMaven, Inc., and consists of more than 265 media brands within the categories of lifestyle, finance and sports. As part of the deal, Bridge Media Networks, a Simplify Inventions subsidiary, was also added under The Arena Group portfolio, and Simplify Inventions also received $25 million of preferred stock in the Sports Illustrated parent company.
Sports Media Reacts to Joe Castiglione Winning 2024 Frick Award
Castiglione’s colleagues and contemporaries were more than complementary when finding out he took home the award.
Longtime Boston Red Sox radio announcer Joe Castiglione was announced Wednesday as the 2024 Ford C. Frick Award winner given by the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The 76-year-old Castiglione has been the voice of the Red Sox since 1983, calling all four of the team’s modern-era World Series victories.
Several across sports media offered their reactions and congratulations to an MLB broadcasting legend.
Even University of Oklahoma Director of Athletics Joe Castiglione had to make sure he congratulated his good friend with the same name.
Joe will be honored during Hall of Fame induction weekend in Cooperstown in July.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He’s a multimedia journalist and communicator who works at the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond. Jordan also contributes occasional coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, WRIC-TV 8News and Audacy Richmond. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.
All The Smoke Productions, Meadowlark Media Agree to Content Partnership
“We feel pretty strongly that it was not a totally maximized property when it was under the Showtime banner.”
The basketball program All The Smoke and its portfolio of shows is joining Meadowlark Media and DraftKings Network in January 2024. Program hosts and former NBA champions Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson will join the company’s lineup of shows and talent, which includes The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz, Pablo Torre Finds Out and Oddball with Amin Elhassan & Charlotte Wilder among others. As part of the partnership, DraftKings will distribute and sell available advertising inventory. Moreover, fans will be able to watch highlights and full episodes on a new YouTube page, titled “Certified Smoke,” to ensure viewers do not miss a moment of the program.
All The Smoke formerly aired on Showtime Sports, which will be shuttering its operations by the year’s end due to the network’s transition towards offering “Paramount+ with Showtime” as part of a bundle. Other programs associated with “All The Smoke Productions,” which includes programs hosted by Rachel Nichols, DeMarcus Cousins, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, are also set to join the platform. A new lineup of shows is set to be announced sometime in the next few weeks, according to a report by Bloomberg.
“We know the asset,” Bimal Kapadia, Meadowlark Media chief operating officer, said in an interview with Bloomberg. “We feel pretty strongly that it was not a totally maximized property when it was under the Showtime banner.”
Although the complete breadth of future plans for Showtime sports-related properties still remains unknown, Paramount Global made the decision to have the network focus on original programming for series such as Billions and Yellowjackets. The company has CBS Sports within its portfolio, which is set to broadcast Super Bowl LVIII, part of March Madness and The Masters ahead of the retirement of Chairman Sean McManus. Additionally, the sports property has several podcast offerings of its own within a crowded media landscape pertaining to football, golf and sports betting along with other topics.
“It’s hard to get the economics to work in a single-medium basis like audio,” Kapadia told Bloomberg. “You have to have multimedia and an established audience that you can build off of.”
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