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Common Man & T-Bone: SportsCenter Will Prioritize The SEC Over The Big Ten

“If it goes to NBC with Peacock, you can almost assure they’re going to put an Ohio State game on Peacock, and you’re going to have to go get that thing.”

Derek Futterman

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Common Man and T-Bone

The Big Ten Conference’s current media rights deal with Fox and ESPN is set to expire in 2023, and, according to conference commissioner Kevin Warren, a new agreement is imminent. At the moment, the conference hopes to have a memorandum of understanding agreed to before Memorial Day; however, which of the seven suitors confirmed to be in talks for the media rights, is currently unknown.

On Tuesday afternoon, Common Man and T-Bone on 97.1 The Fan in Columbus spoke about the negotiations, which could amount to a record-setting $1 billion annually, that will impact where and how a quarter of the United States population watches its college football teams.

“[It’s] not a shock to me that this would get done fairly quickly,” said Jonathan “T-Bone” Smith. “The amount of money to be made off of this conference and all these rightsholders, they want a part of this. They want to be in the mix and make sure they don’t lose this college football money that comes to them.”

The last media rights deal involving the Big Ten was worth $2.64 billion and involved Fox and ESPN sharing the football rights, while CBS had exclusive rights to a package of basketball games.

Now with a myriad of different networks involved, the possibility of the conference severing ties with ESPN, a partnership existent since ESPN’s launch in 1979, is a very genuine possibility. If ESPN were to lose the media rights to Big Ten games, it could mean a massive shift in the way games are consumed by the viewing public.

“I had heard that NBC was very interested,” said co-host Mike “Common Man” Ricordati. “What would that mean, in terms of a lot of these games being stream-only on Peacock? That could be a possibility.”

Recent negotiations between NBC and sports leagues have implemented Peacock, NBC’s streaming service, to have exclusive rights to a set number of games. On the day before the start of the regular season, Major League Baseball and NBC came to terms on a two-year agreement worth a reported $30 million annually to broadcast 18 Sunday baseball games on the streaming service.

If the Big Ten were to secure a media rights deal with NBC, a similar scenario could play itself out, something that the afternoon duo compared to exclusive National Hockey League games being broadcast on ESPN+. The distinction they made, though, is in the size of the college football audience compared to the, according to Ricordati, “not large” NHL audience, and how restricting access could coerce fans to purchase new subscriptions.

“As much as they have ESPN+, I don’t think [that] right now [is] a huge strategy for them,” said Smith. “They put lots of college football games on ESPN+ – you can actually watch plenty of that stuff there – but they also put it on ESPN…If it goes to NBC with Peacock, you can almost assure they’re going to put an Ohio State game on Peacock, and you’re going to have to go get that thing.”

The SEC and ESPN recently agreed to a decade-long media rights deal worth approximately $3 billion. The agreement marks the first time that CBS will not hold the rights to the conference since 1996, meaning that if the network is unable to gain the Big Ten rights, it could be without college football entirely – at least for a period of time.

“If CBS is not involved in the SEC, are they just going to sit there and say, ‘Well, no college football for us – that’s it.’?,” asked Ricordati. “No, they’re going to get in on the Big Ten.”

The other aspect of the Big Ten ending its long-standing rights agreement with ESPN, according to the afternoon duo, is that it may not garner as much coverage overall across the properties of the network. While Smith affirmed Tuesday that “It’s not fair and it’s not right,” he came to the realization that “it will happen.”

“You will never go across ESPN SportsCenter Saturdays in the fall, and not see them showing Ohio State highlights; not see them talking about Ohio State as one of the top five teams – all that stuff,” added Smith. “But you’re not going to see them talk about the Iowas of the world as much and hyping them up the way they are going to hype the fourth or fifth best team in the SEC.”

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Advertising Strategy for 24/7 Businesses

With lower ad costs aimed at the audience who makes staying open late worth it, you can be ringing in the profits on the night shift.

Jeff Caves

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Graphic for a business sign "Open 24 Hours"

If you have prospects who are open for business between Midnight and 5 am, why not have them make it worthwhile and help them develop an advertising strategy? They might be surprised how inexpensive it can be.

Many companies operate 24/7:

– Convenience stores, gas stations, and truck stops.

– Fast food chains like Taco Bell, Jack in the Box, and McDonalds.

– Hospitals and Emergency Care clinics.

– Hotels, motels, and grocery stores.

– Airports, bus depots, and cabs.

With an effective marketing strategy, “it’s gonna be all right on the night shift.” Here are some insights and tips to give these prospects to help them attract and retain customers to their 24/7 business:

Understand the Night Owl

At night, customers seeking services or products often prioritize convenience, speed, and availability. Sometimes, price isn’t the controlling factor, nor is it even the best quality they seek. Make offers and go to market with these needs to better cater to your target audience and keep them returning for more.

Advertise: Digital Billboards

Digital billboards are great for visibility, especially at night when there’s less competition for attention. Consider strategically placing advertisements along busy freeways or nightlife hotspots to capture the attention of passersby and promote your business’s offerings and operating hours. If you can buy :15 ads on Times Square in NYC for $40, you may be shocked at what you will pay locally for rotating ads from Midnight to 5 am. 

Radio Ads on the Cheap

Radio is a powerful medium for reaching customers during the late-night hours. Larry King was America’s most listened-to-talk radio program in the late 80’s. For 16 years, he broadcast live between Midnight and 5:30 am from coast to coast. Select radio stations with programming tailored to your target audience’s preferences and air ads during peak nighttime listening hours. Pop music stations for night clubbers at 2 am or News Talk for late-night drivers wanting to stay engaged. Give incentives to overnight listeners to visit your business NOW. While the audience may only be 10% of the daytime crowd, so are the prices. And let’s face it, if they are driving and listening to the radio, that’s your #1 prospect! Expect rates at most stations under $25 per commercial in major cities and less in other areas. Promote late-night specials, highlighting convenience and speed of service. If you are a hospital, airport, or bus company, brand your business with the overnighters, reminding them you are open when they need you.

Mobile Digital Advertising

Target potential customers in the vicinity of your business during late-night hours. Use geotargeting to deliver ads to mobile phone users in high-traffic areas like concerts, ballgames, or nightlife districts. Drive foot traffic right through your front door. Promote time-sensitive offers or exclusive late-night deals through mobile ads. Don’t expect a price break, though, when purchasing them.

Easily Monitoring KPI’s

Regularly monitor the performance of your efforts and adjust as needed. Your late-night business is probably way less than daytime, and tracking key metrics such as foot traffic, sales, and customer feedback will be easier. If an offer is working on your radio campaign, look into buying more stations and cut back on areas that don’t work. Apply the 70-20-10 rule to your ad budget.

With lower ad costs aimed at the audience who makes staying open late worth it, you can be ringing in the profits on the night shift.

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Todd Walsh on Arizona Coyotes Sale, Relocation to Utah: ‘This Didn’t Have to Happen’

“My fear all along going into this for the last few years was at some point, someone’s going to walk up to a microphone in front of a bunch of cameras and say, ‘We did everything that we could,’ and I have a feeling we’re going to hear that.”

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Todd Walsh
Courtesy: Nicki Escudero

The National Hockey League Board of Governors has approved the relocation of the Arizona Coyotes to Salt Lake City, Utah, establishing a new NHL franchise under the ownership of Smith Entertainment Group. Hockey assets within the Coyotes organization will be transferred to the new team, which will play its games at Delta Center, the home of the Utah Jazz. The Coyotes concluded the 2023-24 NHL season on Wednesday night from Mullet Arena and defeated the Edmonton Oilers 5-2. After the game ended, Coyotes studio host Todd Walsh anchored postgame coverage and concluded the broadcast with a heartfelt message to the Coyotes fans on the Scripps Sports broadcast.

Within his prose, Walsh explained what the Coyotes meant to him and the special bond shared among those who consider themselves members of the hockey community. He discussed how people were there for him when he lost his parents and uplifted him in difficult times. To close his message, Walsh stated to viewers that they all “walk together forever as Coyote fans,” advancing a well-known hockey quote, “Win today and we walk together forever,” from Fred Shero, former head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Although the Coyotes were never able to attain a Stanley Cup championship, the organization provided plenty of memorable moments on the ice and developed players who made a lasting impact on the sport. Shane Doan, Dale Hawerchuk, Jeremy Roenick and Keith Tkachuk are just some of the players who energized hockey in the desert over the last 26 seasons. Walsh joined Bickley & Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 on Wednesday to elaborate on his emotions surrounding the situation.

“As I said, I’ve been sort of preparing for this moment, but I never thought it would be when the team was turning out the lights after we were done with our broadcast and leaving town,” Walsh said, “but I just wanted to speak from the heart and I wanted to thank the game and acknowledge briefly somehow, someway the people in it, because if you’ve been around this sport even a minute, I think you start to understand [and] realize that there’s nothing quite like the sport of hockey and the people in it and the great reverence that they have for anyone who puts time into the game.”

Walsh imparted a lesson he learned over the years that states that if you are good to the game, the game will be good back to you. He was able to relate to that on a personal level, and woke up to see the sun rise in the morning to make sure that life would go on after the Coyotes. Co-host Dan Bickley asked Walsh to elaborate on how everything felt for him, especially having been a part of the organization over many years. In response, Walsh explained how people who had not seen each other made eye contact and took time to speak with one another, engaging in similar conversations with several people.

“The first words that one of us would say – it was universal – [were], ‘This didn’t have to happen,’” Walsh said. “That’s what I kept hearing, and then I started to repeat it and that’s how I feel today. I’m not smart enough to talk about finances when you’re getting into the billions of dollars, but I am smart enough to know how things can work and I’ve seen it work, and I’ve seen the due diligence that has been done and has to be done in a situation like this in cultivating a sport, and I’ve seen how it has failed.”

The interview with Walsh took place before the official announcement of the team’s relocation. This transaction includes a stipulation that Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo has the right to reactivate the franchise if “a new, state-of-the art facility appropriate for an NHL team” is constructed within five years. Nonetheless, the outcome for many hockey fans in Arizona was disappointing, with Walsh describing the environment at Mullet Arena resembling that of a wake.

“My fear all along going into this for the last few years was at some point, someone’s going to walk up to a microphone in front of a bunch of cameras and say, ‘We did everything that we could,’ and I have a feeling we’re going to hear that,” Walsh said. “And I don’t want to hear it from the current ownership, but I feel like we’re going to hear that, and that’s what troubled me.”

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Sports Media Reacts to Awkward Caitlin Clark Press Conference Moment with Gregg Doyel

“I was just doing what I do, talking to another athlete, another person, and didn’t see the line – didn’t even know there was a line in the vicinity – until I crossed it.”

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Photo of Caitlin Clark
Credit: Clark Wade/IndyStar

By now almost everyone it seems has weighed in on an incredibly awkward situation at yesterday’s Indiana Fever press conference involving Caitlin Clark and Indianapolis Star reporter Gregg Doyel. Doyel’s strange exchange started with him making a heart gesture with his hands, something Clark flashes to her family after each game. “Start doing it to me and we’ll get along just fine,” was Doyel’s reply.

Doyel has since apologized and wrote a column about it which said, in part, “I’m devastated to realize I’m part of the problem. I screwed up Wednesday during my first interaction with No.1 overall draft pick Caitlin Clark of the Indiana Fever…I was just doing what I do, talking to another athlete, another person, and didn’t see the line – didn’t even know there was a line in the vicinity – until I crossed it.”

Several in sports media gave their thoughts on the situation, on the air and through social media:

Josh Klingler and Bob Fescoe played the audio from the press conference on 610 Sports in Kansas City and when it ended, Klingler said, “What the hell was that?”

Fescoe responded, “That’s just creepy and if I’m Caitlin Clark, I’m like, ‘I don’t want this guy around.’ What was he doing to begin with?…Don’t get creepy…that’s just disgusting.”

In Boston, The Greg Hill Show on WEEI highlighted the incident in a segment called ‘How Creepy Is It?’

“He’s kind of a dink,” Hill said. “…If I were Caitlin Clark, I wouldn’t accept the apology.”

“He was lightweight flirting with her, he tried to make a joke and it didn’t land,” said co-host Jermaine Wiggins.

Mike Mulligan and David Haugh talked about the issue on their morning show on 670 The Score in Chicago. “It just fell so flat, and it was so borderline sexist, misogynistic, it was just the wrong tone,” Mulligan said. “It was completely unprofessional for an introductory news conference.”

Haugh replied, “Well it was unprofessional, but what was worse is because it was a 22-year-old female, it was inappropriate, and he should have known better…His apology was clumsy itself.”

105.3 The Fan in Dallas’ RJ Choppy said about Doyel, “He was an idiot…He tried and attempted humor…and it backfired. He’s not part of the problem, he is a problem, in general.”

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