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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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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.”

Sports Radio News

Dan Dakich: Craig Carton is ‘The Way Talk Radio Should Be’

“If you’re being critical because you want to be the guy that’s always critical I don’t think you can do that either. I think you gotta be honest. And criticism comes with it.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Craig Carton has prided himself on being one of those hosts who tells it like it is, especially when talking about New York’s pro sports teams.

That willingness to call a spade a spade and levy criticism on teams like the Jets and Giants, especially when things are not going well on the field, is something Dan Dakich has always seen as a recipe for success in the industry.

Interviewing Carton on Thursday on his Outkick show Don’t @ Me, Dakich praised the WFAN afternoon host for essentially creating a blueprint for how sports talk should be done.

“In Indianapolis I’m the bad guy right, because I say look the Colts stink, this regime is 46-49-1 – why are you telling me the GM is the best in the country – why are you telling me Frank Reich can really coach?” Dakich said. “New York’s different, though, right? I mean, New York they expect you to say look if you ain’t any good then you ain’t any good. Yu don’t sugarcoat nothing, and I think that’s the way talk radio should be.”

Carton noted that what’s key in how you critique a team or a front office, executive or owner is finding a balance. He said you can’t as a host be the ultimate homer and blow smoke up everyone’s behind.

“You have to be able to be critical when it’s warranted,” Carton said. “If you’re being critical because you want to be the guy that’s always critical I don’t think you can do that either. I think you gotta be honest. And criticism comes with it.”

Carton pointed out that the fan bases in both New York and in Indianapolis are ultimately the same, because at the end of the day it’s all about making sure you have competent people calling the right shots. He added that the organizations are the same too because of how sensitive they can be to criticism, which he said if they don’t like it, “too bad.”

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Nick Ashooh Joins BetMGM Tonight

Jordan Bondurant

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The talent lineup for the BetQL show BetMGM Tonight is expanding, and Nick Ashooh is joining the team.

The news became official on Thursday when BetQL announced the addition of Ashooh on Twitter.

Ashooh has worked mainly in the D.C. market up to this point in his career, hosting for Audacy and NBC Sports Washington. He had been contributing sports betting content for the BetQL network for the latter part of the last year.

Ashooh joins co-hosts Trysta Krick and Ryan Horvat on BetMGM Tonight. The show can be heard weeknights from 7-11 p.m.

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Sports Radio News

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 $1.5 billion for the Jay Fund.”

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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.

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