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WWE Announces NIL Program To Recruit College Athletes

“The WWE NIL program has the potential to be transformational to our business.”

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There have been many crossover between college athletes and the WWE once those students’ playing careers are over. Now, the WWE is taking advantage of the new NIL rules in the NCAA. It could be a huge advancement for the company to recruit new talent.

WWE has constructed a comprehensive program to recruit and develop potential future Superstars. Dubbed “Next In Line,” the NIL program aims to enhance the talent development process through collaborative partnerships with college athletes from diverse athletic backgrounds.

“The WWE NIL program has the potential to be transformational to our business,” said Triple H, WWE’s Executive Vice President. “By creating partnerships with elite athletes at all levels across a wide variety of college sports, we will dramatically expand our pool of talent and create a system that readies NCAA competitors for WWE once their collegiate careers come to a close.” 

Athletes who take part in the NIL deal will have access to the WWE’s performance center in Orlando as well as access to the resources that the athletes at the WWE receive including brand building, media training, communications, live event promotion, creative writing and community relations.

WWE dipped their toe into NIL deals this past September when they signed heavyweight freestyle wrestler Gable Steveson, who won both a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics and a national championship at Minnesota. The deal allowed Steveson to return to Minnesota for his senior season while also beginning his training at the performance center to become a WWE Superstar.

WWE plans to unveil its first class of NIL deals in the next few weeks.

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Pat McAfee Again Takes Aim At Sports Media Execs in ‘All The Smoke’ Preview

“Now…I’m negotiating…and it was all those same middle management people who said, ‘we got nothing for you,’ and I remembered that.”

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Courtesy: Brian Bowen Smith, Disney General Entertainment

A preview clip of the latest All the Smoke podcast featuring Pat McAfee was posted, and it seems like the current ESPN star isn’t done with his war against sports media executives who doubted him. While speaking with hosts Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson, McAfee gets candid about his ascent from NFL punter to sports media superstar and says he had plenty of doubters along the way:

“ESPN said ‘We got nothing for you,’ FOX said, ‘We got nothing for you,'” McAfee said when detailing his initial interviews with established media companies. “CBS said, ‘We got nothing for you, we don’t want to hear a punter who’s been arrested, that swears, who’s an Internet guy, on our [airwaves].”

McAfee then talks about the path he ultimately took — partnering with Barstool Sports while keeping his own company. McAfee says working at Barstool was a “university of how digital works” but eventually, McAfee and his team realized they could do it on their own. McAfee departed Barstool, and the rest was history.

“Now we’re coming back to the point where I’m negotiating with Amazon…NBC…Apple…ESPN…and it was all those same middle management people from five/six years ago who said, ‘we got nothing for you,’ and I remembered that.”

The full All the Smoke interview with McAfee drops this Thursday.

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Peter King Doubted ‘MMQB’ Column Was Worth The Money at The End; ‘I Don’t Think Words Are Profitable Anymore’

“I’m sure we could’ve worked out some sort of deal…but I just don’t think words are very profitable anymore. It’s a sad thing…”

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As Peter King embarks on his retirement tour across sports media, his comments on a prominent sports media podcast could have lasting repercussions throughout the sports journalism industry. During a lengthy appearance on the Sports Media with Richard Deitsch podcast, Deitsch asked King if NBC tried to talk him out of retirement. King responded in the negative and offered some reasons why they likely wouldn’t — and it’s tied to a contract he signed in 2018.

“Honestly, we may love this column…but I doubt that it made enough money to pay what NBC was paying me,” King said. “Remember, I went to NBC in 2006 originally part-time to do just Football Night In America for 90 seconds…I did it for three years with Florio, then he took over and I just started to do the column. Then, when they hired me full-time in 2018 when I left SI, there was no way they were paying me what they paid me to be on TV. I’m sure we could’ve worked out some sort of deal if I wanted to keep doing it, but I just don’t think words are very profitable anymore. It’s a sad thing, but that’s happened to our business.”

King built his four-decade legacy with the written word across multiple channels, most notably at Sports Illustrated before leaving and starting his own website, MMQB. King echoes sentiments made yesterday by Dan Le Batard, who said we may never make another Peter King due to a supposed decline in print journalism and written content.

In his final column, King retired after forty-plus years covering the NFL after spending time with longtime friend and Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid. During his conversation with Deitsch, King revealed that the upcoming NFL Draft Combine and the most recent coaching carousel were reasons why he looked forward to retirement, though it will be bittersweet come training camp time.

However, King retired with an asterisk, because while his longtime column might be done, King isn’t. Within his conversation with Deitsch, King supposes that he could teach at nearby universities but still wants the flexibility to do what he wants.

“What I’ve honestly thought about is doing nothing for the next two months, so I don’t really want to make a decision,” King said. “I’ll take a meeting and I’ll talk to people, but I don’t want to do anything for a while. Then, I want to wake up one morning and say, ‘You know, teaching would be really cool. I think I should do that.'”

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Mark Jackson Launches New Podcast With Son Mark Jr.

“If you don’t know, I got fired!”

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Courtesy: Come and Talk 2 Me Network

Former NBA player, coach and broadcaster Mark Jackson has launched a new podcast, The Mark Jackson Show. Airing as part of the Come and Talk 2 Me network, Jackson is doing the podcast with his son, Mark Jr. who is also known as ‘Bluu.’

The first episode of the new show has dropped and it didn’t take long for Jackson Sr. to get emotional. He said for those not aware, he is known to cry frequently and as he and his son shared how special it was for them to be doing the show together, the tears already started to flow.

“Launching this podcast with my son is an incredible thrill, especially on the Come and Talk 2 Me network,” Jackson said in the show announcement. “Discussing the NBA with him brings me true joy, and being part of a network that caters to our specific audience feels like the perfect fit. Brace yourselves for captivating stories, expert analysis, and a unique perspective as we explore basketball and beyond.”

“Welcoming a basketball legend like Mark to the network adds incredible depth to our roster, and we couldn’t be happier to have him and his son,” said Cam’ron. “Together, we’re offering fans an exciting new perspective on the NBA, and I can’t wait for listeners to tune in and experience the energy and insights Mark and Bluu bring to the table.”

Jackson, who was let go by ESPN at the end of July when Doris Burke and Doc Rivers were named as the new top analysts, started the show by answering his son’s question about what went into his decision to start a podcast.

“If you don’t know, I got fired!” he said. “That’ll do it, that’ll make you make an adjustment and an audible real fast.”

The Come and Talk 2 Me network was founded by hip-hop icons Cam’ron and Ma$e and their involvement is another major reason Jackson has started this podcast.

“What also happened was two legends out of New York City, two guys from Harlem, you never know who you’re impacting, and when I got fired they took my firing personally and they basically had a vision and they proposed that vision to me, two guys by the name of Cam and Ma$e, who are making a historic run with It Is What It Is, changing the game of how we cover sports. I’m honored to call them partners and even more honored to call them friends and family.”

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