Just over a week away from Super Bowl LVI, NBCUniversal announced that it has sold out its advertising inventory for the “Big Game” across all platforms, with some 30-second spots selling for $7 million each.
NBC’s audience for National Football League games grew over the season, with the most viewership coming from quarterback Tom Brady’s return to New England to face his old team. During the championship round of the playoffs, CBS announced it had an average of 47.9 million viewers tuned in for the AFC Championship game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs, while Fox disclosed its average of 50.2 million viewers for the NFC Championship game between the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams.
Despite Super Bowl viewership dropping to the lowest mark in decades last season (96.4 million viewers) when the game was on CBS, the numbers seem poised to bounce back this year. Combined with its Winter Olympics coverage, NBC is calling next Sunday, Feb. 13 “Super Gold Sunday,” a once-in-a-lifetime day of sports programming from which the network anticipates generating $500 million in revenue.
Outside of the game action, it has been a busy week for the NFL. The league has generated both positive and negative publicity due to the retirement announcement by the aforementioned Brady after an illustrious, 22-year career in professional football, along with the class-action lawsuit filed by Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores against the NFL and three of its teams, and the Pro Bowl set to kick off this Sunday from Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada.
On Thursday afternoon, Darren Smith and Marty on San Diego’s XTRA 1360 spoke about this year’s growth in Super Bowl advertising revenue, and how television networks seem to be unwilling to take a stand against the NFL in order to promote reform.
“Our opinion yesterday about, ‘Hey, if you’re going to inspire real change in the NFL, you got to hit them in the pocketbook; you got to hit them at the bottom line. These television networks [have to] play an active role…’ Yeah, no network is turning down $7 million for a 30-second spot,” said Smith, who has been a host on San Diego sports talk radio since 2004.
“Not NBC, not CBS, not ABC, not Amazon, none of them. I’m not going to wait for the TV networks to take a moral stand on this one.”
According to the afternoon drive program, Super Bowl commercials have been ruined since they began being posted on YouTube days before the “Big Game.” By seeing commercials early, they say, there is less anticipation and excitement surrounding them during the actual game, and one less thing to talk about the next day if the game ends up being a blowout.
“That segment doesn’t exist anymore in sports talk radio,” said Smith. “‘Hey everybody, let’s talk about the big movers for the commercials.’ They’re all up on YouTube.”
“That used to be the 12:30 segment on Monday, especially when you have a blowout in the Super Bowl,” said Marty Caswell, program co-host. “You [could] go ahead, move on from it and talk about the commercials.”
Looking back on some of the commercials from Super Bowl LV, such as Michael B. Jordan for Amazon Alexa, Jason Alexander for Tide, and Shaggy for Cheetos, the radio hosts had trouble remembering them. While most of the commercials for this year’s Super Bowl LVI are yet to be released, Smith is pretty sure he knows where the rise in 30-second spot revenue, up $1.5 million from last year, is coming from.
“We’re right back; we’re getting $7 million per commercial now,” said Smith. “Probably [from] some stupid crypto company.”
Cole Cubelic: ‘A Lot Of Media Wasn’t Prepared To Talk About Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher’
“There were multiple other messages that were attempted to be delivered by Nick Saban two nights ago that I don’t think anybody paid attention to, and I’m wondering if Jimbo paid attention to them.”
The comments from Alabama football coach Nick Saban regarding other teams allegedly “buying” their players through the new rules pertaining to name, image and likeness (NIL) deals has set the college football world abuzz.
In his comments, Saban directly accused Texas A&M Head Coach and one of his former assistant coaches at Louisiana State University Jimbo Fisher of unreasonably using NIL deals to recruit college football players, and remarked that the system as a whole has created a fundamental disadvantage for certain programs. Additionally, he stated that Alabama has never tried to lure a player solely based on these deals; however, he left the door open to potentially having to adjust his recruitment strategy to align with the actions of his competitors around him.
Much of the college football world weighed in on the comments, but the voice everyone was waiting to hear was that of Jimbo Fisher, including McElroy and Cubic in the Morning on Jox 94.5 FM in Birmingham, Ala. On Friday morning, the program opened with show co-host Cole Cubelic reacting to the candid response given by Fisher in a news conference carried on multiple media outlets in which Fisher called Saban a “narcissist.”
“When we’ve had coaching feuds before, we’ve had guys go back and forth; we’ve had guys go at one another, sometimes in a little bit more of a subtle way; sometimes maybe a less-confrontational way,” Cubelic said. “Jimbo even said it yesterday – he’s not afraid of confrontation; he’s not worried about it.”
An aspect of what has made this discordance between two highly-accomplished and eminent coaches a story being followed across the college football landscape is the fact that it has taken place within the public sphere. When Saban appeared on SiriusXM Radio and apologized for singling out Texas A&M in his comments from earlier in the week, there was not much emotion involved, according to Cubelic. Fisher’s remarks in his press conference though, were of a completely different sentiment – and may have escalated the situation altogether.
“Debates often turn to arguments as soon as emotions become involved,” Cubelic said. “…Jimbo Fisher yesterday at 10 a.m. – that felt emotional; that felt personal, and that one had to dig deep. Jimbo Fisher said yesterday he doesn’t anticipate things are going to be repaired. I don’t see in a way that these two sort of get things back in line.”
“The bridge is burned both ways,” added show co-host Greg McElroy. “They’ll probably shake hands; do what they need to do pregame. But as far as any love lost? Nah, that’s a wrap.”
A part of this story that remains seminal when reporting or commenting on it is listening to the full extent of the comments from both Saban and Fisher on the situation so as to more effectively contextualize and comprehend the situation. Cubelic said that he did multiple interviews on different programs yesterday, and some of the interviewers, as he anticipated, had solely listened to portions of the comments, rendering them not completely prepared to have a truly pertinent discussion about the topic at hand.
“We said it here on the show yesterday morning — right out of the gate — people are going to take the Miami; the Jackson State; and the Texas A&M stuff, and they’re going to clip it and they’re going to play it and they’re going to read it and that’s all they’re going to pay attention to,” said Cubelic. “There were multiple other messages that were attempted to be delivered by Nick Saban two nights ago that I don’t think anybody paid attention to, and I’m wondering if Jimbo paid attention to them.”
Jimbo Fisher and the Texas A&M Aggies visit Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide on October 8 in a matchup that will sure to be a primary topic of discussion in the weeks and months leading to kickoff.
Doug Gottlieb On Praise For Pat Beverly: ‘What a Joke!’
“To be in the NBA and say things that are demonstrably false, outright mean, and oh by the way, obtuse to reality and turns people off to your sport.”
Pat Beverley of the Minnesota Timberwolves may have used his appearances this week on ESPN to set up a potential career in media, but some just simply weren’t impressed.
You can count Doug Gottlieb among them. Gottlieb said Wednesday that Beverley’s takes on Suns guard Chris Paul and words for Matt Barnes regarding James Harden’s contract didn’t do him any favors for the future.
“Pat Beverley, if you’re going to die on a hill, James Harden’s hill is not the one to die on,” Gottlieb said. “In a week in which you have a chance to carve out a potential career for yourself which is as good, or greater than your NBA career. What a joke!”
Gottlieb added that Beverley also lost people completely “acting like the arrogant NBA athlete that so many assume that NBA athletes are.”
“To be in the NBA and say things that are demonstrably false, outright mean, and oh by the way, obtuse to reality and turns people off to your sport,” he said. “Congratulations, hell of a week and you’re only in day two.”
While Beverley may not have Gottlieb singing his praises as an analyst, the T-Wolves journeyman did get the attention of Barstool Sports president Dave Portnoy. Portnoy said if Beverley wanted to do a podcast for the company, he would give him a blank check and hire him no questions asked.
Mick Hubert to Retire After 33 Years As Voice Of Florida Gators
“This wasn’t the end of a five-year plan. I don’t know if I can explain how I knew, but I knew.”
After more than three decades and more than 2,500 games called in Gainesville, Mick Hubert is retiring as the voice of the Florida Gators.
Hubert, 68, will call it a career after the Florida baseball team concludes its regular season this weekend.
Hubert, who’s called numerous Gators national championships across multiple sports in his tenure, said he had been thinking about retiring but finally had peace about it to make the decision.
“This wasn’t the end of a five-year plan. I don’t know if I can explain how I knew, but I knew,” he said. “I had been considering this for a little while. I just had to do some praying about it and enjoy every game.”
The longtime broadcaster is a 2019 inductee into the Florida Sports Hall of Fame.
Hubert said he poured his heart and soul into broadcasts and that hopefully fans recognized that.
“I hope they heard the enthusiasm, and the credibility is important to me,” he said. “You need to be factual and credible, but you need to be enthusiastic. That’s what I always felt. I always wanted to take my audience on a roller-coaster ride of emotions. I also wanted to give them enough information so they could paint that picture in their mind.”