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Stephen A. Smith: ‘I’m More Popular Than 90% Of The Players’

“He admitted to Bomani Jones that he is not as loud in his private life as he is on TV. He also shed some light on why he isn’t afraid to be critical.”

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Game Theory with Bomani Jones debuted Sunday night on HBO. The show featured Jones’s commentary on the day’s sports issues, some comedy sketches, and an interview with Stephen A. Smith. The First Take star was very candid about his stature in the sports world and his run-ins with people that were unhappy with what he had to say about them.

“I was never good enough to be an elite college athlete, let alone a professional athlete,” Smith told Jones. “And to walk into an arena and be more popular than 90% of the players, every single place I go, is crazy.”

Stephen A. Smith illustrated the point with a story about watching a game at Cnseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. According to Smith, while he his eyes were on the court, a long line of people wanting his autograph had formed and it stretched from the court to way up in the stands.

Smith also offered some real insight into how he became the asset to ESPN that he is now. He admitted to Bomani Jones that he is not as loud in his private life as he is on TV. He also shed some light on why he isn’t afraid to be critical.

He played basketball and wrote for the student paper at Winston-Salem State University. He told a story about writing a column saying his coach needed to retire. According to Smith, the column ruffled some feathers in the athletic department and had plenty of people wanting him kicked out of school, but his coach stood up for him saying that if Smith wants to be a journalist, his job is to call it like he sees it and that he was fair in the way he dealt with the coach.

Stephen A. Smith said that if his basketball coach could deal with him professionally in that moment, he expects others to be able to do the same.

“My problem is, half the time, people are coming at me because of the headline. They don’t read the story. They don’t know the quote. They’re like ‘This headline is out there. You said that about me.’ And if I can get to them, I can resolve it, but like you said, I’m a busy man. I ain’t got time to get to everybody.”

Smith then told a story about one player confronting him and trying to intimidate him. He told Bomani Jones that he is willing to listen to fair criticism, but no one can intimidate him.

“I remember one cat came up to me and said ‘Man, I don’t like your ass. I can’t stand you. You’re a punk bitch. Blah blah blah blah blah.’ AndI looked at him and I said ‘Can I speak?’. He said ‘Yeah.’ I said ‘I’m glad you said that, cuz I don’t like your punk bitch ass neither. Who the hell you think you’re scaring? Because I did my job? This is what you did. I didn’t get into your personal life. I was talking about the game. Who you think you’re scaring? It ain’t gonna work.’”

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Final SEC on CBS Broadcast Scores Highest-Rated Conference Championship Game

The broadcast of Alabama/Georgia marked the final game in a partnership that began in 1996.

Jordan Bondurant

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The final SEC broadcast on CBS turned out to be the most-watched game of the weekend.

The SEC Championship broadcast on CBS averaged 17.519 million viewers, making it the most-watched conference championship game on any network in five years.

Viewership of the telecast peaked at 22.35 million. The game was the second-most-watched college football game of the season so far behind Ohio State/Michigan.

The game also was the most-streamed college football game ever on Paramount+ across households, minutes, and average minute audience.

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NBCUniversal CEO Mark Lazarus: People Have Said Sports TV Rights Bubble Would Burst for 30 Years

“For 30 years everyone said, the sports [rights] bubble is gonna burst, it’s gonna burst. You’re starting to see rights fees growth moderate.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Mark Lazarus
Courtesy: NBCUniversal, Inc.

Value is power when it comes to sports rights, and NBCUniversal CEO Mark Lazarus understands that. It’s why newly completed media rights deals across sports, and college sports in particular, command billions of dollars from networks each year now.

Next TV reported that Lazarus, in a conversational interview with TODAY host Hoda Kotb on Tuesday, said while the price for rights to properties like the NFL, NASCAR, Notre Dame, and the Big Ten are astronomical, the cost is starting to level off in some ways.

“For 30 years everyone said, the sports [rights] bubble is gonna burst, it’s gonna burst,” Lazarus told Kotb. “You’re starting to see rights fees growth moderate.”

Lazarus mentioned that there are no individual content budgets for sports, news, and entertainment at NBCUniversal. Those three divisions have a single budget executives work from. Executives are responsible for finding content audiences will consume and a platform to house it on.

“What’s the best content and where can it be successful in our portfolio?” Mark Lazarus said. “It’s a combination of art and commerce.”

“We reach massive amounts of people, we have reach and scale,” he later added, pointing out the company reaches 65-70 million homes on pay TV and another 30 million on Peacock.

“That’s great for our distribution partners and that’s great for our advertising partners and it’s really important for our audience.”

Mark touted Sunday Night Football, which is a ratings juggernaut and averages 22 million viewers. The NFL streaming on Peacock has also seen strong numbers this season, with this past week’s Chiefs/Packers game having an average minute audience of 1.86 million viewers. That’s between Peacock, NBC Sports Digital, and NFL Digital platforms. It marked the second-largest streaming audience ever for a regular-season Sunday NFL game for NBC Sports.

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CBS Sports Shares Details of Spongebob-Themed NFL Broadcasts

Noah Eagle and Nate Burleson return to the booth for both games alongside Dylan Schefter and Young Dylan.

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Super Bowl LVIII CBS Nickelodeon

Get ready for some Turtles on Christmas and some SpongeBob on Super Bowl Sunday. CBS Sports and Nickelodeon are teaming up to deliver two alternate NFL broadcasts this year — one for the Monday night “Nickmas” game between the Las Vegas Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs, and then a second, SpongeBob Squarepants-themed broadcast for Super Bowl LVIII.

Noah Eagle and Nate Burleson return to the booth for both games alongside Dylan Schefter and Young Dylan. The live-action hosts will be joined by two groups of Nicktoons depending on the game.

SpongeBob and Patrick (voiced by Tom Kenny and Bill Fagerbakke, respectively) will join Eagle and Burleson in the booth for Super Bowl LVIII, while Sandy and Larry the Lobster will provide some additional flair from the sidelines. The Bikini Bottom crew will be joined by Dora the Explorer and Boots the Monkey, who will explain penalties to the younger viewers. During the “Nickmas” Game on Dec. 25, the crew will be joined by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle’s Raphael in the booth, while Donatello will join Schefter on the sidelines.

The Christmas Day game will be Nickelodeon’s first regular-season game, as previous Nick alternate broadcasts were all during Wild Card Weekend. Last year, Nick aired an alternate broadcast of Cowboys/49ers, which drew an audience of 41 million viewers. The games have also become a social media phenomenon from adult viewers watching tongue-in-cheek.

The Nickelodeon Super Bowl telecast and Nickelodeon NFL Nickmas Game are produced by CBS Sports in association with Nickelodeon Productions.

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