As Sinclair and Charter square off over carriage of Bally Sports networks across the country, one Detroit radio host wonders how much of an effect this is actually having on fans.
“With all the different ways to get televised things and people cutting cords…How many people in the metro area cannot watch the Tigers on TV due to [the] broadcasting dispute?,” asked radio host Bob Wojnowski on 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit on Wednesday.
Sinclair Broadcast Group CEO Chris Ripley has been pursuing the launch of a DTC option amid interminable negotiations with Charter Communications to carry its broadcast channels, which the company plans to softly launch this spring. While a deal between Sinclair and Charter was completed yesterday, Sinclair will still move its RSNs into the streaming space while simultaneously maintaining a presence on traditional cable television.
“Obviously, I understand [that] the Tigers, the Pistons and the Red Wings [are] maybe not the greatest teams, but what else are you watching?,” asked Riger and Wojo Show co-host Jeff Riger. “It would drive me nuts if I couldn’t watch those games.”
Indeed, the state of sports in Detroit is in a rebuilding phase with the Pistons, Red Wings and Tigers all missing the playoffs in their last-completed seasons, respectively. Despite the rough times in sports, the Detroit fans have remained steadfast and unyielding in their allegiances to their teams. Amid economic inflation though, consumers are becoming more frugal in their spending habits by trying to allocate and use funds effectively tailored to their consumption habits. But as fans patiently wait for the launch of the streaming service, they have been left to pay for cable providers that carry the RSNs to continue to follow their favorite teams – and it has frustrated many.
One practice consumers are participating in is the illicit streaming of sporting events by looking for them on the internet. After Wojnowski read a Ticket Text on the air from a listener explaining that if you know where to look, there are many high-definition streams available, Riger made listeners a gracious offer in offering to reveal his cable login information on-the-air.
“I can give you my little login,” said Riger. “I’ll give all of Metro Detroit my login and you can watch the Wings; the Pistons; and the Tigers on the Bally App.”
Participating in illegal streaming practices causes regional sports networks and other affected parties to lose money, thus harming future broadcast rights agreements. Upon that realization, Riger hypothesized that it was precisely the reason why the Tigers missed out on signing shortstop Carlos Correa, who ultimately inked a deal with the American League Central-rival Minnesota Twins.
“Wait a second – do you think that’s why Carlos Correa isn’t in Detroit?,” Riger asked Wojnowski when discussing consumers finding online streams of games for free.
“Yep, I do,” replied Wojnowski.
“People – come on!,” exclaimed Riger to close out the segment.
Derek Futterman is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. In addition, he serves as the production manager for the New York Islanders Radio Network and lead sports producer at NY2C. He has also worked on live game broadcasts for the Long Island Nets and New York Riptide. He previously interned for Paramount within Showtime Networks and wrote for The Long Island Herald. To get in touch, find him on Twitter @derekfutterman.
1010XL Jay Fund Radiothon Raises Nearly $250,000 For Pediatric Cancer Research
“In the 15 year history of the radiothon, the station has raised just under $1.6 billion for the Jay Fund.”
Jacksonville’s 1010XL used its airwaves to raise money for the Jay Fund for the fifteenth year earlier this week. The radiothon was a smashing success, raising $249,784 to fight pediatric cancer.
This year’s total is a new record for the event. In the 15 year history of the radiothon, the station has raised just under $1.6 million for the Jay Fund.
“I’m truly amazed at the generosity of the 1010 XL listeners in times when a carton of eggs cost six dollars,” said General Manager Steven Griffin, “and equally amazed how the hosts, producers, radio staff and volunteers come together with a singular focus to year-after-year produce these results in one broadcast day.”
Former Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin started the Jay Fund in memory of Jay McGillis, who developed leukemia while playing for Coughlin at Boston College. The organization has helped over 5,000 families and given away over $16 million in grants in Northeast Florida and the New York/New Jersey Metropolitan Area.
Parkins & Spiegel Wonder If Trent Dilfer Will Still Appear On Their Show After Taking UAB Job
“I will just say that his status with the show and the station is uncertain.”
Former ESPN NFL analyst Trent Dilfer has been hired as the new head coach at UAB. However, Danny Parkins and Matt Spiegel wondered if that meant Dilfer would no longer be making his weekly appearances on Parkins & Spiegel on 670 The Score.
“Our guy is no longer gonna do a radio show out of Chicago?” Parkins joked, referencing an incident last month where Dilfer failed to say “Parkins & Spiegel“ during an appearance on The Herd with Colin Cowherd.
“I don’t know that that’s the case,” Spiegel replied.
“We don’t know that yet,” producer Shane Riordan said. “We have only shared a couple of text message — Trent and I — this morning and I will just say that his status with the show and the station is uncertain.”
Later in the show, Parkins and Spiegel jokingly wondered what jobs they could have on UAB’s staff, with Parkins balking at being a sports information director. He did say he would welcome being the offensive player caller, but believed that job might fall under the purview of Dilfer.
Mike Milbury: Jack Edwards Is ‘Awkward’ and ‘A Different Breed’
“Like him or love him, I’m not gonna judge him. As a guy that’s been cancelled, I have no right anymore.”
Boston Bruins television play-by-play announcer Jack Edwards has come under fire for recent comments he made about Tampa Bay Lightning forward Pat Maroon and his weight. In turn, Maroon donated money in Edwards’ name to a mental health organization. On The Greg Hill Show Thursday, former NHL on NBC analyst Mike Milbury both slammed and defended Edwards.
“Jack Edwards. Who’s Jack Edwards? He went through all of junior high school being picked on and bullied,” Milbury said. “Now he’s trying to get even. Wouldn’t you want to smack that guy, Wiggy? Skinny, scrawny, mouthy son of a bitch.”
“Jack is screaming at the TV all the time,” he continued. “I gotta turn it down half the time.”
When asked by Courtney Cox if it was appropriate for Edwards to make comments about Maroon’s weight, noting that the comments were “awkward”, Milbury said Edwards is a divisive presence.
“Jack is awkward. I think half of Boston hates him and half of Boston loves him. He certainly loves the Bruins and is passionate about it but he’s a different breed of cat. Like him or love him, I’m not gonna judge him. As a guy that’s been cancelled, I have no right anymore.”
Milbury was “cancelled” after saying NHL players in the league’s playoff “bubble” weren’t being distracted by their wives and girlfriends being present. He was dropped by the NHL on NBC after the comments and has not resurfaced on a major network.
The comments and questions to Milbury came after Cox and co-host Jermaine Wiggins disagreed about whether Edwards’ comments were warranted.
Wiggins said he “thought hockey players were supposed to be tough”, adding “he’s got a few extra LBs. It’s a joke.”
Cox countered by saying “it’s not a joke. No one should be talking about it. Jack Edwards went on for like five minutes about it. It wasn’t funny.”
Hill said when Wiggins was in the NFL, nobody cared what television broadcasters said about them. Cox argued by saying “in your day, nobody talked to a therapist, either”.