Bomani Jones Trying To Make Late-Night Sports Show Work On HBO’s ‘Game Theory’
“You are making content as much as anything else for people to love… I want to make a show that people who are into it can love.”
Starting next month, Bomani Jones will have a new show on HBO called Game Theory With Bomani Jones that will be a weekly program diving into the big issues in sports. It will be a late-night show and Jones knows that late-night shows that are about sports can be a challenge.
Jones was a guest on the Real Ones with Raja + Logan podcast on The Ringer NBA Show and mentioned that doing this show will be a challenge because no one has figured out how to make a late-night sports show work yet:
“It hasn’t evolved in sports because nobody has figured out how to do this in sports,” Jones explained. “If there’s anything I would say that’s probably the most challenging thing about this is we are trying to make a format work that as far as I can tell, nobody has been able to make work.”
One thing that Jones thinks will have the content click with the viewers is that there will be no studio audience for his show and it will allow him to take more chances with the content he produces:
“Part of doing a show that has a studio audience for late-night, what you wind up with in large part is things that are done to set it up so that the people in the audience will laugh and tell the people at home that they are supposed to laugh,” Jones said. “This isn’t going to be that.”
“People are going to have to buy in. That, I think, is the biggest difference, which also allows you to take a few more chances because you aren’t trying to make content for people who kinda like you or for people who don’t care about you. You are making content as much as anything else for people to love… I want to make a show that people who are into it can love.”
In terms of what kind of guests will be on the show, Jones mentioned he is going to take some things from when he was a part of Highly Questionable on ESPN. One of them is knowing that even if the guest may not have the strongest connection to sports, he or she can still bring a fun topic to talk about to the table:
“The approach on guests and interviews for me is going to be informed by the time I spent doing Highly Questionable,” Jones said. “It was a sports show, but if somebody’s got something cool to talk about, it doesn’t really matter. Their connection with sports can be tenuous at best if they are good, if they’ve got something interesting and fascinating to talk about.”
Ricky Keeler is a reporter for BSM with a primary focus on sports media podcasts and national personalities. He is also an active podcaster with an interest in pursuing a career in sports media. You can find him on Twitter @Rickinator555 or reach him by email at RickJKeeler@gmail.com.
Study Finds 58% of College Students Have Gambled on Sports
“Overall, 58% of students say that ads make them more likely to gamble and 70% believe that consistent sports gambling is a way to supplement their income.”
Sports betting is reaching a younger audience in a big way according to a study commissioned by the NCAA. When asked if they had ever placed a bet on a sporting event, 58% responded that they had.
Students that live on campus are even more likely to lay money down. 67% of them said they had placed a bet on sports before.
Advertising is clearly working on this demographic. Of the respondents that live on campus, 63% report having seen sports betting advertising. Overall, 58% of students say that ads make them more likely to gamble and 70% believe that consistent sports gambling is a way to supplement their income.
In recent years, schools have reassessed their relationship with sportsbooks. In fact, the study comes on the heels of Alabama firing baseball coach Brad Bohannon for allegedly providing inside information to a gambler and student-athletes at Iowa and Iowa State were ruled ineligible for placing bets on games.
College sports on TV and radio are havens for sportsbook ads. The NCAA may look to take more steps to address its relationship with gambling, but it is hard to imagine that will change.
The American Gaming Association revealed in February that the US betting market generated $7.5 billion in revenue last year. That is a 75% increase over 2021.
Dave Portnoy Unsure if Barstool Will Renew His Contract in 2025
“There’s a part of me that thinks I’d be like, ‘Okay, I’m done.’”
Penn Entertainment finalized its acquisition of Barstool Sports from The Chermin Group earlier this year for approximately $338 million, bringing with it the loyal, dedicated following of the digital sports and entertainment brand and now, the future of Barstool’s founder, however, is in doubt.
Dave Portnoy recently appeared on The Kirk Minihane Show and expressed uncertainty regarding whether or not he would reach a contract extension with Penn National. He is not sure what the brand’s parent company is thinking regarding his future, and he publicly opposed the firing of Ben Mintz earlier this month.
“Who knows where I’ll be in three [or] four years,” Portnoy said. “I think Dan [Katz], which I would say is very good for Barstool, is clearly locked in for a long time. He’s creating this huge fantasy factory there. I think it’s great for Barstool.”
Barstool Sports has launched a sportsbook that is in the midst of being licensed in different locales around the United States, and Portnoy is aware sports betting is a priority for Penn National over the ensuing years. If his contract was not renewed upon expiration, Portnoy would have to consider several options regarding what to do in the future.
“Would I just do a podcast a week that’s totally unfiltered? Would I enjoy doing that? Maybe,” Portnoy said, noting that his contract expires in a little less than 2 years. “There’s a part of me that thinks I’d be like, ‘Okay, I’m done.’”
One of the things he has considered though is launching a pizza review show on Netflix, perhaps similar to what Anthony Bourdain did during his time as a celebrity chef.
One thing he is not interested in doing is cultivating an entirely new media business, but he genuinely does not know what Penn National is thinking as it pertains to his future with the brand.
Certainly though, Penn National wants to ensure it retains gambling licenses, and having controversial Barstool Sports personalities could at times complicate the situation. Moving on from Portnoy has the potential to redefine the brand itself, something that could ultimately prove harmful in the eyes of its dedicated legion of consumers.
Meta Cuts Sports Partnerships Leaders Rob Shaw, Kevin Cote, Dev Sethi
“I was fortunate to be surrounded by top notch people, and while it is emotional to say goodbye, I have no doubt our paths will cross again soon.”
Another round of layoffs has gotten underway at Facebook’s parent company Meta. Among those being let go are three executives in sports-related roles.
Meta’s Director of Global Sports Partnerships Rob Shaw, Director of Sports Partnerships Kevin Cote and Dev Sethi all confirmed in LinkedIn posts on Wednesday that their positions had been eliminated.
Shaw and Cote had been at Meta and Facebook since 2014, while Sethi joined the company in 2015.
“Those years have been full of innovation and transition within the sports industry, and it was my great pleasure to be a leading advocate for how technology can bring people closer to their passion of sports,” Shaw wrote. Before Facebook, he was the vice president of content and media at Bloomberg Sports.
“I was fortunate to be surrounded by top notch people, and while it is emotional to say goodbye, I have no doubt our paths will cross again soon,” Cote wrote. He noted that working with various athletes, teams and leagues worldwide on business and social needs, partnerships with high-profile athletes, original programming, live sports and working on athlete partnerships were some of the highlights of his career.
Sethi expressed pride in the work he did at Meta and was thankful to work in a position he could put his heart and soul into.
“I’ve been lucky to marry my passion for sports with my professions for years now, and my hope is to continue that marriage in whatever lies ahead,” he wrote.
The shedding of these jobs is part of a larger swath of cuts at the social media giant. Some 20,000 jobs at the company are being eliminated, and that dates back to November when Meta laid off its head of media partnerships and regional leaders in Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.
Meta at one time had rights to broadcast MLB games live on Facebook. The company has partnered with leagues like the NFL and the NBA, as well as the UFC to bring sports-related content into Web3 and the Metaverse. But the focus has shifted away from live sports rights into AI and alternate reality.
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@example.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.