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Randy Scott and Gary Striewski Are Poised to Take SportsCenter Into the Future

“This is SportsCenter.” Those iconic words have been spoken over since 1979. Randy Scott and Gary Striewski are helping usher them into the future.

Derek Futterman




“This is SportsCenter.” Those iconic words have been spoken over ESPN’s multiple platforms of dissemination since 1979, indicative of the start of an hour of game highlights, expert analysis, memorable in-studio moments, and for some, the realization of a career goal. Over the years, SportsCenter has been anchored by its share of notorious personalities, including Scott Van Pelt, Craig Kilborn, Dan Patrick and Stuart Scott, all of whom infused or continue to infuse the program with their nuances.

Today, the format of the program has somewhat changed, concurrent with the dynamic state of today’s media landscape and the increased accessibility fans have to the sports teams and leagues they follow – some doing so more fastidiously than others.

The purpose of SportsCenter as a show on ESPN is not only to serve as a source of information, but also as a place for viewers to be entertained. As a result, the chemistry between the hosts of each individual edition of SportsCenter is something that has to be fostered in order to keep fans coming back for the hosts per se. Integrating other aspects of pop culture, such as movies, music or current events, into the sports news cycle and interspersing it other dialogue when applicable, renders the program compelling and intriguing for viewers to watch on a daily basis. More than 60,000 episodes later, the institution continues to be a backbone of ESPN’s studio programming.

Randy Scott and Gary Striewski followed a similar path that took their careers to ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut. They rose through the broadcasting ranks with an unwavering persistence and determination to succeed. Both anchors grew up in military households and watched SportsCenter from the time they were young, and recognize it as part of the reason they wanted to become broadcasters. In fact, Striewski wrote in his eighth grade yearbook that he would be a SportsCenter anchor at ESPN when he grew up. To get there though, he worked as a personal banker at a credit union while attaining his undergraduate degree in journalism at the Metropolitan State College of Denver. After his graduation, he took a 50% pay cut and relocated to Cheyenne, Wyoming to begin his career as sports director for KGWN. He knew that starting in a smaller marketplace would ultimately prove to be beneficial when looking back at his career trajectory, taking the advice he overheard from a reporter while he was interning at FOX.

“He was chewing the fat with the sports director,” Striewski recalled of the FOX reporter, “and he was like, ‘You’re going to suck in your first job. Go suck in front of 50,000 people in Cheyenne, Wyoming, as opposed to 500,000 people in Des Moines, [Iowa] or something like that’ because you’re not going to be good. No matter how good you think you are, you’re going to suck. Get that ‘suck’ out of the way in front of the least amount of people as possible – that way when you’re ready to make that jump, you’re good or you suck less.”

Striewski’s co-host Randy Scott grew up without cable and watched SportsCenter at the homes of his friends. He coerced them to watch episodes they had already viewed because of his interest and enthusiasm for the program. After he graduated Northwestern University a semester early with a degree in journalism, he struggled to find a job until he received an offer from KSWO-TV in Lawton, Oklahoma. Before accepting that job offer though, Scott made his debut appearance on ESPN as a contestant on the show Dream Job, a reality program with a grand prize of landing a role as a SportsCenter anchor on the network. After placing in the round of 30, Scott was unable to advance to make the top 10. Three days later he had moved from his home in Virginia to take the job offer in Oklahoma.

“This business is designed to pay you nothing and weed out people who aren’t really committed to it,” Scott said. “One of those commitments has to be starting in the middle of nowhere and getting experience.”

After working within smaller markets in Lawton and Toccoa, Georgia, Scott was hired at NESN in Boston in 2010. He served as a sports anchor and reporter at a place he would stay for nearly three years before joining ESPN in 2012. One year later, Striewski arrived at NESN following stints in Cheyenne and Houston and eventually worked as a Major League Baseball sideline reporter for the Boston Red Sox. During his time in “Beantown,” several of his co-workers asked if he had ever worked with Scott – now his current partner at ESPN – sensing the two would form a good duo on the air.

“A lot of the people that [I] worked with were like, ‘[Have] you ever [worked] with Randy? You guys are the same person,’” Striewski recalled. “I’m like, ‘I keep hearing that. Who’s this Randy guy?’ Randy legitimately has been everywhere that I end up – just a couple of years prior to me – and then over the last couple of months, we met at the SportsCenter desk.”

As anchors for SportsCenter A.M. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, both Scott and Striewski have found a way to blend the traditional facets of the program with modern means of consumption, including through streaming and social media platforms. They draw inspiration from those pioneers that came before them on SportsCenter while also staying true to their own personalities and the rapport they have cultivated since working together on the show.

“I don’t think you can get to this point at this time without having some real fingerprints from other people that you’ve watched,” Scott said. “It’s hard because on Twitter you’ll get people who are like, ‘Stop trying to be fill in the blank.’ Gary and I laugh, and I want to say that [Scott] Van Pelt and Neil Everett were the first guys I remember laughing and working together. I think we’ve probably cribbed different style things from so many different people.”

Throughout the show, there are several opportunities in which Scott and Striewski are able to divulge their personas; however, through the use of non-linear platforms of distribution, they can create content regardless of it appearing on the television program to engage with viewers. In this way, they have been able to draw positive feedback and differentiated themselves from the other editions of the show with other anchoring pairs on ESPN.

“I think now you can lament the fact that things are digital and that things are streamlined – there are people who have said, ‘Oh, you’re just a piece of the ESPN machine.’ Or you can put your spin on it; put your style on it,” explained Scott. “Right now there is an opportunity to clip that off and put it out in channels where there are sports fans that maybe didn’t watch the actual TV broadcast, but they still consume ESPN.”

One of those channels of distribution is social media – specifically Snapchat, which is approaching a daily active user figure of 400 million with a continuing upward trajectory. Striewski serves as the host of the Snapchat edition of SportsCenter, which garners approximately 2 million viewers per day. Out of those 2 million viewers, 1.6 million of them (80%) were unaware of the show’s origination and primary locale on linear television, making that faction of users appear resplendent in terms of a target psychographic to the next generation of content creators and on-air personalities in sports media.

“If we can take that 1.6 million, or even a fraction of that, and bring them over to TV by doing something cool; doing something memorable,” said Striewski. “It’s all about basically funneling or trying to bring over some of those digital viewers and letting them know this linear thing is still here and we’re taking elements from it.”

Streaming and on-demand viewing options are gradually taking their share in the strategy and means of distribution for various media outlets, whether or not they are related to sports. The altered state of media consumption from linear to nonlinear programming through different platforms of dissemination is undoubtedly in the midst of taking form; however, Striewski is not sure that will last based on his own view of consumer behavior.

“I think everything is cyclical,” explained Striewski. “Everybody started becoming cable-cutters, and then streaming happened and now everybody has a million different streaming accounts and are like, ‘Wait a minute – I’m paying five times more for all of these different streaming platforms than I was just doing cable. Hold on, let me just get cable again.’ It doesn’t seem like that’s how the numbers are trending, but like I said, I think everything is cyclical.”

A central part of what has differentiated SportsCenter over the years is the team that puts together the program, whether it be in the specializations of research, graphic design, audio or live production. As it continues its run on the air since the launch of ESPN in September 1979, the broadcast has continued to thrive as the flagship program not only because of the highlights and entertainment, but also due to its inherent production value and esoteric information it provides to its audience.

“The team that actually puts SportsCenter on the air [are] the best-of-the-best,” Striewski said. “They will come up with the most ridiculous stats and nuggets of information that you have to sift through…. We still do that better than anybody else who does it, and I don’t think there’s a close second to sort of pump the chest of the people who work behind-the-scenes whose faces you may not know but whose information and whose knowledge and whose passion comes through in situations like that.”

Over the years, the look and feel of SportsCenter has, at the core, remained consistent; nonetheless, the program has been able to adapt to widespread changes in media. By being cognizant of the past while also keeping an eye towards the future, ESPN has sought to remain ahead of the pack when it comes to innovation to ensure the program remains relevant in the digital age. While the content of the show and means of distribution certainly have an impact on viewership numbers, the people sitting at the desk delivering the information to the audience en masse is the driving force of what makes each episode of SportsCenter unique, and in some instances, appointment television.

“I will plead ignorance to the macro 10,000-foot view of a lot of the challenges that ESPN is not unique in facing right now,” said Scott. “…For us in what we do for the SportsCenter we are lucky enough to sort of have proprietary ownership of, I think people still want to see how we do highlights. We can sort of be this catch-all; this funnel where it’s not just the highlight – it’s the sound that goes with the highlight; it’s the stat that goes with the highlight.”

The commodification and subsequent ability to rapidly engage with user-generated content has genuinely rendered people with a camera and internet connection as cultivators of and/or contributors to stories. Having an active connection to the audience is something Scott and Striewski have and will continue to prioritize as they continue hosting SportsCenter together as they attempt to implement their own content, which is often shared through social media or other mediated communication platforms, into the show when appropriate.

“There’s going to be a continued blurred line between linear cable, social media and user-generated content,” said Scott. “…I feel like it’s almost like a community view of generating content where… just as we need to be able to meet the consumers… where they’re at, we have to also be open to a video getting traction online [that] is sports related.”

The same people who serve as potential content creators also serve as a source of feedback for Scott, Striewski and the entire SportsCenter team at ESPN. As with most other shows, there are people who enjoy the programming and those who loathe it, and some of those viewers choose to opine those views in public communication forums. In an effort to better engage with their audience and implement them within the broadcast, the possibility of breaking down the metaphorical ‘third wall’ that exists between the studio and screen – deviating from the accepted modus operandi – is something being considered for future shows.

“We’re actually toying with the idea of using [the] tweets [from] people who are watching it; interacting with the show; getting the references or not getting the references… [and] going to break with that,” said Striewski. “We’re toying with those ideas because we get a lot of that stuff daily… and I think it is a good thing that we can have real-time feedback.”

For nearly 43 years, SportsCenter has been a mainstay at ESPN as a place where all sports are covered and highlighted, whether it be at the collegiate or professional level. According to both Scott and Striewski, an auspicious future lies ahead for SportsCenter, and neither sees it departing ESPN’s slate of programming any time soon.

“I don’t think SportsCenter is ever going away – it’s ‘Fourth of July and Apple Pie’ as far as I’m concerned – you just have to figure out how to get it to the consumers,” said Striewski. “The consumers aren’t going away; people want to consume content. You just have to go meet them where they’re at.”

For the duo of Scott and Striewski though, it seeks to continue to distinguish itself among the other editions of SportsCenter by explicating the ongoing trends in media consumption and evolution while imbuing their own personalities in the show in the process. They hope that following this strategy will help their edition of the show experience continued, sustained growth alongside the rest of the programming across the network.

“Each individual SportsCenter will continue to find a way to differentiate itself, to stand out and will take risks and chances to try to accomplish that while also staying true to what SportsCenter has been, and what has worked and what continues to work,” said Scott. “[That is] being right, being as first as possible… being informative and being entertaining. As long as you stick to those pillars and take chances on top of that, I think that’s where it’s going.”

BSM Writers

Beyond The Mask: Henrik Lundqvist Embraced 2nd Career in Sports Media

“It’s not a coincidence you see a lot of goalies working [on] panels and analyzing the game because that’s a huge part of playing in goal.”

Derek Futterman




Plucking the strings of an acoustic guitar, Henrik Lundqvist found himself beneath the bright lights once again, poised to put on a worthy performance. Just as he aimed to stop pucks from going in the net as the star goaltender of the New York Rangers for 15 seasons, Lundqvist sought to captivate viewers as half of a musical duo featuring former NHL forward Paul Bissonnette.

Their performance of “Good Riddance” by Green Day was in tribute to Rick Tocchet, a former NHL on TNT studio analyst who recently departed the network to serve as interim head coach of the Vancouver Canucks.

Lundqvist serves as a studio analyst for TNT’s coverage of the NHL, breaking down players and teams throughout the broadcast and bringing his own unique style to the set. His pursuit of a post-playing career in sports media was no guarantee from the moment he retired in August 2021; in fact, he never intended to stop playing the game and competing for a Stanley Cup championship at that time.

During the 2019-20 season, Lundqvist had lost playing time to young goaltenders Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev, and by the year’s end, his deal was bought out by the team. In an effort to continue playing, Lundqvist signed a contract with the Washington Capitals – marking the first time in his NHL career that he would not step between the pipes for the Rangers.

Lundqvist never played a game for the team though, as it was discovered in a medical exam that he would need open-heart surgery to replace his aortic valve while also having an aortic root and ascending aortic replacement. One month after the successful five-hour operation, he was back on the ice rehabbing and attempting to make a full recovery – but a few months in, he began to feel unexpected chest pain. Following a medical checkup, Lundqvist was told he had inflammation around his heart caused by exertion. It was a significant setback that required him to step off the ice, take off his goaltender equipment and rest for several months.

After discussions with his family and friends, Lundqvist determined that the risk of taking the ice outweighed the rewards and officially stepped away from the game. Rather than conjuring hypothetical scenarios wherein he did not experience the misfortune and played for the Capitals, Lundqvist looked to the future amid the ongoing global pandemic and thought about how he could best enjoy his retirement.

“I was just mentally in a very good place,” Lundqvist said. “I didn’t have a choice; I guess that makes it easier sometimes when the decision is made because you can’t go back-and-forth – ‘Should I?’ ‘Should I not?’ Yeah, I wanted to play but it was just not meant to be for me.”

Before any definitive resolution on his future endeavors was made though, the Rangers announced that the team would retire Lundqvist’s No. 30 in a pregame ceremony during the 2021-22 season, making him just the 11th player bestowed that honor in franchise history. As a five-time NHL All-Star selection, 2011 Vezina Trophy winner, and holder of numerous franchise records, Lundqvist had the accolades to merit this profound distinction.

Moreover, he was an important component in growing the game of hockey and contributing to the greater community, serving as the official spokesperson for the Garden of Dreams Foundation and founder of the Henrik Lundqvist Foundation. He also was a two-time recipient of the organization’s prestigious Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award, honoring the player “who goes above and beyond the call of duty.”

Throughout the night, attendees regaled Lundqvist with chants of “Hen-rik!” and were treated to flashbacks of some of his memorable career moments. The night was of monumental importance for Lundqvist, during which he expressed his gratitude to the Rangers’ organization, former teammates and fans. Then, Lundqvist — referred to as “The King” — promptly took his place among team legends beneath the concave ceiling of “The World’s Most Famous Arena.”

“When I look back at my career, I know, to me, it was all about preparation; how I practiced and how I prepared for each game at practice,” Lundqvist said. “There’s no regrets, and I hope people, when they think about how I played, [know] that it was 100% heart and commitment to the game.”

Before this ceremony though, Lundqvist and Rangers owner James Dolan had held several meetings with one another. The purpose of these conversations was to determine the best way for Lundqvist to remain involved with the team, its fans, and the community. In the end, he was named as a lead studio analyst on MSG Networks’ broadcasts of New York Rangers hockey before the start of the 2021-22 season: the start of his foray in sports media.

This past summer, Lundqvist negotiated a new deal with Madison Square Garden Sports and Madison Square Garden Entertainment in which he maintained his in-studio responsibilities while increasing involvement in other areas of its sports and entertainment ventures. In this new role, Lundqvist supports the business operations for both companies, assisting in digital content development, alumni relations, and partner and sponsor activities.

When Lundqvist is not in the studio or the office, he can often be found at Madison Square Garden taking in New York Rangers hockey, New York Knicks basketball, or one of the arena’s renowned musical performances. Usually, when he is in attendance, he is shown on the arena’s center-hung video board as an “NYC Celebrity” and receives a thunderous ovation from the crowd.

“The network is just part of it, but it feels great to come there,” Lundqvist said of Madison Square Garden. “Every time I go there – to see the people that I’ve known for so long – but also I love that place; I love The Garden. I think the energy [and] the variety of things that happen there is something I really appreciate. It feels really good to be a part of that.”

Sitting alongside former teammate and studio analyst Steve Valiqutte and sportscaster John Giannone, Lundqvist appears in the MSG Networks studios, located across the street from the arena, for select New York Rangers games. From the onset, he brought his allure and expertise to the set and appealed to viewers – so much so that national networks quickly began to take notice.

“I enjoy watching hockey [and] talking hockey, but the main thing to me is the team; the people that you work with,” Lundqvist said. “The guys on the panel [and the] crew behind. I really enjoy that part of it and having a lot of fun off-camera.”

One month later, Lundqvist was on his first national broadcast for the NHL on TNT where he and Bissonnette famously performed a cover of “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica that went viral on social media. It had been known that Lundqvist was a musician, famously performing on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in his Rangers uniform to celebrate the end of the 2012-13 NHL lockout.

In fact, during his retirement ceremony, the Rangers gifted him with a custom-made guitar painted by David Gunnarsson, the same artist who used to paint Lundqvist’s goalie masks.

Aside from occasional music performances, Lundqvist brings an esoteric base of knowledge to the NHL on TNT panel as its only goaltender. Whether it be through player breakdowns, interviews, or dialogue with other analysts, Lundqvist has a perspective to which few professional hockey players can relate. There are various goaltenders among local studio panels surrounding live hockey game broadcasts, and Lundqvist is in a unique situation with MSG Networks in that he and Valiquette are both former goaltenders. Yet on Turner Sports’ national coverage, he is the only voice speaking to this different part of the game.

“It’s not a coincidence you see a lot of goalies working [on] panels and analyzing the game because that’s a huge part of playing in goal,” Lundqvist explained. “Yes, you need to stop the puck, but a huge part of being a goalie is analyzing what’s going on. We can never really dictate the play so you need to analyze what’s happening right in front of you.”


In broadcasting at both the local and national level, Lundqvist is cognizant of the differences in each network’s studio programs. Lundqvist says appearing on the MSG Networks studio panel is more about being direct with the viewer, whereas the NHL on TNT views its panel as being conversational in nature. With Turner Sports, Lundqvist also asks his colleagues about the different teams around the league since he is most familiar with the Rangers both as a former player and studio analyst.

“I’m closer to the Rangers; I see more of what’s going on,” Lundqvist stated. “When you work [national] games, maybe you focus in on teams on the West Coast or [part] of the league you don’t see as often. You try to talk to the other guys on the panel and the crew and figure out things that are interesting about those teams.”

Hockey is a team sport, and Lundqvist felt grateful to play with his teammates and face his competitors over the years. Now as an analyst though, it is his job to analyze their games and critique them when necessary; however, he does not try to be excessively critical.

Lundqvist knows the trials and tribulations associated with the sport and can relate to scenarios many players face on a nightly basis. Therefore, he thinks about his own experience before giving an opinion, especially a critique, instantiating it with comprehensible, recondite knowledge and/or by recounting a similar situation.

“I’d much rather give them positive feedback obviously because I know it is a tough game,” Lundqvist said, “and sometimes it might look like an easy mistake, but if you can give the viewer a better explanation of why he did that, they might have a different view of that mistake.”

Now metaphorically being beyond the goalie mask, Lundqvist’s vision of the game has evidently shifted. He discerns just how intense the schedule is and the rapid pace of the game, axioms he was aware of while playing but inherently avoided thinking about. He has implemented his refined viewpoint of the game accordingly into his analysis, simultaneously utilizing the mindset and savvy he cultivated on the ice. It is, quite simply, a balancing act.

“I think people can be pretty quick to jump on guys and critique them,” Lundqvist said. “That’s where maybe you take an extra look and try to understand why it happened and give those reasons. I think that’s where it helps if you played the game [for] a long time and just love the game [because] you have a pretty good understanding of why guys react a certain way.”

The challenge tacitly embedded in the jobs of most studio analysts – Lundqvist’s included – is in presenting the information to the audience in a manner through which it learns without being confused. It is a delicate craft that takes time and genuine understanding to master, especially related to promulgating hockey analytics as Valiquette does on MSG Networks and within his company, Clear Sight Analytics.

“There’s a lot of educated viewers out there, but there’s also a lot of people that maybe don’t watch as much hockey,” Lundqvist said, “so you want to find that middle ground where you kind of educate both sides.”


By broadcasting both locally and nationally in addition to working in a specially-designed business operations role, Lundqvist is staying around the rink in his retirement while facilitating the growth of hockey. Despite the profusion of young talent, dynamic action and jaw-dropping plays, viewership of the sport on ESPN and TNT’s linear channels has dropped 22% from last season, according to a report by Sports Business Journal.

For Lundqvist though, he does not feel much has changed from playing regarding his responsibility to advance the reach and appeal of the sport. He played professionally for 20 years, beginning his career in his home country of Sweden, primarily in the Swedish Elite League (SEL). In the 2004-05 season, his final campaign before arriving in New York City, Lundqvist had won the award for most valuable player. Furthermore, he was recognized as the best goalie and best player, leading Frölunda HC to its second Elitserien championship in three seasons.

His NHL debut came five years after he was selected in the seventh round of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Rangers but unlike many rookies over the years, he came polished and prepared to embrace the lights of Broadway. Following an injury to starting goaltender Kevin Weekes, Lundqvist was inserted into the starting lineup and, from that moment on, virtually never came out.

By the end of his first year, he had been named to the NHL All-Rookie Team and was a Vezina Trophy finalist for best goaltender. Additionally, he remains the only goaltender to begin his NHL career with seven consecutive 30-plus win seasons.

“I think the league is doing a great job of growing the game,” Lundqvist said. “In the end, it comes down to the product and right now, it’s a great product. I feel really good about, the best way I can, to promote the game [by] talking about it, but… it feels like I’ve been doing that for 20 years.”

One means through which Lundqvist attempts to grow the game is within the studio demos he performs with the NHL on TNT, displaying different facets of the game in a technical manner. The show also embraces the characteristics of their analysts and implements them in lighthearted segments, such as zamboni races, putting competitions, Swedish lessons and, of course, musical performances.

“I’m huge on mindset and the pressure,” Lundqvist said. “I love to talk about that type of stuff and give the viewer a better understanding of what goes through their heads. In terms of personality, I don’t know if I can say [that] I’m a serious guy because I love to have fun and laugh and do fun things.”

Lundqvist thoroughly enjoys what he is doing both locally and nationally, and he ensures he surrounds himself with people he wants to be around. There are plenty of other broadcast opportunities for former hockey players, such as moving into the booth as a color commentator or between the benches as a rinkside reporter. At this moment though, he is more focused on being immersed in his current roles, performing them to the best of his ability while ensuring he allocates time to spend with friends and family.

“I see myself more as an analyst in the studio more than traveling around and being in the rink,” he said. “I think that’s another thing with the schedule; it works really well with my schedule to have one or two commitments with the networks, but then I have other things going on in my life that I commit to.”

Plenty of comparisons can be drawn between playing professional hockey and covering the sport from the studio in terms of preparation and synergy. Yet the end result is not as clearly defined since “winning” in television is quantifiably defined as generating ratings and revenue. Undoubtedly, Lundqvist is focused on doing what he can to bolster hockey’s popularity; however, he also wants to enjoy this new phase of his career being around the game he loves.


“In sports, you win or you lose,” Lundqvist explained. “With TV, you want to be yourself [and] you want to get your point out – but at the same time, if you do it at the same time you’re having a good time, I feel like that’s good TV.”

Once their careers conclude, many athletes think about pursuing a post-playing career and oftentimes end up taking on a role in sports broadcasting. On MSG Networks alone, there are plenty of former players who take part in studio coverage on live game broadcasts, such as Martin Biron of the Buffalo Sabres, Bryce Salvador of the New Jersey Devils, and Matt Martin of the New York Islanders. At the national level, Turner Sports employs Paul Bissonnette, Anson Carter, and Wayne Gretzky for its studio broadcasts, while ESPN’s top studio crew includes Mark Messier and Chris Chelios.

All of these former professional hockey players had an obligation to regularly speak with media members, answering questions about games and the season at large. Lundqvist maintained a professional relationship with journalists and beat reporters, and he most enjoyed taking questions when the team was doing well. Regardless of what the end result of a game was though, he had a responsibility to divulge his thoughts and, in turn, be subject to criticism and/or negative feedback.

His stellar career and persona all came from emanating a passion for the game – and it continues to manifest itself beyond the television screen. Listening to those passionate about the game discuss it usually engenders euphony and lucidity to viewers, analogous to the sound of the puck hitting the pads or entering the glove. It is a timbre Lundqvist created 27,076 times throughout his NHL career (regular season and playoffs) in preventing goals, and one he now aims to explain en masse.

“The reason why I kept going to the rink and put all the hours in was because I really enjoyed it,” Lundqvist said. “If you decide to go into media or whatever it might be, I think the bottom line is [that] you have to enjoy it and make sure you have good people around you.”

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BSM Writers

Should the NBA Nationalize Local TV Rights Like MLS?

The NBA’s upcoming rights negotiations will be this transformational idea’s first testing grounds.

Avatar photo




Diamond Sports has been anything but a diamond in the sports world. As subscribers leave cable and satellite for streaming services, companies are dropping RSNs nationwide because they are too expensive to carry. This has caused an impending bankruptcy for the company, which owns the local rights to dozens of sports teams nationwide. It is also putting the NBA, NHL, and MLB at major financial risk. 

In the short term, it is known that teams will still broadcast on their RSNs even if they aren’t getting the paychecks they were promised in previous rights deals. This will affect teams’ ability to pay players and could even create an unfair advantage among the haves of the sports world like the Yankees and Lakers and the have-nots. The NFL doesn’t face the same problems that the other leagues are facing because its rights have been nationalized.

With the NFL’s continued television dominance, college conferences also bundling up games together for more money, and the MLS guaranteeing themselves television revenue after packaging local and national rights together, could we see the other leagues follow suit? It is an option that is much easier said than done but it seems like we are moving closer to it becoming reality. 

The NBA’s upcoming rights negotiations will be this transformational idea’s first testing grounds.

The biggest problem the NBA and other leagues would face are that the local rights to all of its teams don’t expire at the same time. If the league were to sign a deal that included giving all local rights to a streamer, the amount which the league was getting paid would be very unique year after year. It would be crazy for a streamer to pay a huge chunk of money to the NBA all at once if the number of teams they have local rights to changes every year.

It would also be insane to pay an astronomical amount if the streamer is only getting the local rights to small-market teams like the Cavs and the Pistons. A major market team like the Lakers doesn’t renew their local rights until 2032. We’re still in 2023. How does that affect the league’s operating costs? 

The NBA would also have to figure out whether teams whose rights don’t expire yet deserve to be included in the pot of money garnered from selling local rights to a streamer. Whether they are or they aren’t, does it put each team at different competitive advantages and/or disadvantages when trying to acquire free agents or front-office personnel?

One of the most interesting puzzles to figure out is what influence a league owner like Washington’s Ted Leonsis has in this potential measure when all is said and done. Leonsis just acquired complete control of the regional sports network — currently named NBC Sports Washington — that broadcasts Wizards and Capitals games for millions of dollars, although the exact amount remains undisclosed.

What does Leonsis do with his network if his team’s games can no longer air there? Can his team opt out of participating in a potential league offering? Or if the games continue to air on his network but are simulcasted locally on the streamer that wins local rights on a national scale, does the streamer have the ability to pay less money for rights?

If so, does that make the deal as lucrative for the NBA? And what does that mean for retransmission fees that cable companies like Comcast pay to Leonsis and other RSNs they’re still carrying?

The league will face a similar problem with the Lakers, Bulls, Knicks and other franchises that either wholly own or partially own a part of the RSNs where they broadcast their games. 

I don’t have the answers to any of these questions which is why they are written here in this column. Unfortunately for the leagues, they don’t have the answers either. But if the NBA figures out a way to nationalize their product even more and make streaming games more appealing by ending local blackouts, it’ll benefit the game more than it hurts the game. 

NBA, NHL, and MLB games are still some of the highest-rated programs locally in many markets when you look at how they rate vs. other cable and broadcast offerings. But at this point, the ability to charge everyone for a program that only ten percent of subscribers are watching is a losing business proponent.

The leagues should start from scratch and sell a mass package of games for maximum profit. It gives fans a more centralized location to watch their favorite teams and puts the leagues on a much more steady path than where they could be headed sooner rather than later.

Diamond in the rough to sparkling jewel of light? Only time will tell.

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BSM Writers

Do You Have Affirmations Of Gratitude?

“We are told to be grateful for what we have and remember it could be worse. That feels like a really low bar, right?”

Jeff Caves




Having gratitude for your life is all the rage. If you, like me, have trouble starting your day with positive affirmations and maintaining a positive outlook about your job, read on! 

We are told to be grateful for what we have and remember it could be worse. That feels like a really low bar, right? Here is another version. Try a few affirmations of gratitude instead.


With interest rates rising, inflation increasing, and spending down; corporations are laying people off. PayPal laid off 7% of its entire workforce. Amazon let 18,000 go. Alphabet (Google) said goodbye to 12,000 jobs. Radio sales managers need to hire people like you – experienced sellers with a track record of bringing home the bacon. 


You solve a problem for your company when it comes to revenue. You know people, and you sell advertising better than anything they can come up with…so far. 

Yes, they are trying to replace you, but Zoom Info reports iHeart’s self-serve spot buying service,  AdBuilder, is doing under 5 million in business. You have time to solidify your value. Be happy you are the rainmaker. 


Sports talk radio is the ultimate companion to millions of listeners. They aren’t robots, and your stations improve their lives by talking about what they care about 24/7. Celebrate selling access to callers, Twitter followers and FANS who go to games. You also get to work with local celebrities that everybody knows but you know best. We all need a connection to other people and want to be seen and heard. 


In this job, you determine your value, feelings about your work, and who you work with. You get to set a strategy and talk to the businesspeople you want to help and do business with. It’s like running your own business with a tremendous support staff. Try to do it independently, and you will appreciate accounting, traffic, production, and sales assistance. Those wins produce deposits in your bank account.  


That format competitor across the street does things differently and sometimes better than you or tries to imitate you and looks terrible. They motivate you to beat them to a new account or put a moat around your best clients so they can’t be touched. They keep you sharp and willing to try new things. Good competition schemes to take money from your station, and your management needs you to protect them. And they also provide a place for you to work one day. The FTC wants to eliminate non-competes so you can walk across the street this year.  

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