Pat McAfee was involved in ESPN’s coverage of the first attempted revival of the XFL. He made it clear on his radio show on Monday that it took extraordinary circumstances to derail that league.
Vince McMahon had secured broadcast deals with both FOX and ESPN. Many of the teams were drawing passionate crowds. McAfee says Dwayne Johnson and his ex-wife and business partner Dani Garcia are smart to incorporate as much from the 2020 league as they can when they re-launch the XFL in 2023, because it was going to be successful if not for a worldwide pandemic.
“It was gonna go,” McAfee said. “I think honestly, first time ever, a spring league was gonna have success. Then Uncle Covid came through, got in the nachos in Seattle. The league shut down. Bankruptcy was filed. It went up for sale and The Rock and Dani Garcia bought it.”
That point can be disputed. A market like St. Louis is proof that there were plenty of XFL fans in many of the league’s home markets, but the TV viewership did decline steadily each week, finally falling below one million viewers for a game in the final week of action.
Still, that is considerably better than 2001 when the league set a record in primetime in Week 1 and then immediately saw its audience disappear.
Eight cities were announced Sunday as the home bases for XFL franchises. Not a lot has changed. Five of the teams are staying in the same cities. One moves from one suburb to another and two have new homes.
McAfee says it is a brilliant move.
“They kept a lot of the very same fan bases, which I think was a very smart idea. They take the Dallas team and move it to Arlington, they take the Tampa team and move it to Orlando, took the Los Angeles team and moved it to Las Vegas.”
Disney will be the media partner of the XFL when it relaunches next year. The company will use ABC, FX and the ESPN networks to air games.
According to Pat McAfee, a successful spring football league wouldn’t just be a big deal for football fans or the league’s media partners. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson should be excited about more than just what it means for his wallet.
“I don’t know if he ever had like a closing to the chapter of football. If he’s able to build his own f***ing league that’s successful, they’ve already partnered with the NFL, and his business mind is able to give opportunities to guys in his position, I think he would probably say ‘You know, I feel like I kinda closed that whole part of my life up,’ which is good for The Rock. It’s good for players that are going to get an opportunity here too.”
Mad Dog: Gus Johnson ‘Bothered The Hell Out of Me’ Saturday
“For crying out loud, Michigan/Ohio State isn’t even better than North Carolina/Duke, who play twice a year. So let’s be careful with the hype machine.”
FOX Sports college football voice Gus Johnson has made no bones about his affinity for Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. However, Chris “Mad Dog” Russo has heard enough.
During his Mad Dog Unleashed program on SiriusXM, Russo shared that not only was Johnson obnoxious for the constant use of a nickname he bestowed up Harrison, but he was also misguided for calling Ohio State/Michigan the greatest rivalry in sports.
“Gus Johnson — the hype machine that he is — please, when you broadcast a ballgame, I don’t need to hear about Maserati Marv, number one. And number two, that’s not the greatest rivalry in sports history. Have you heard of the Yankees and the Red Sox? Giants and the Dodgers? How about Bears/Packers? Have you heard about that?
“For crying out loud, Michigan/Ohio State isn’t even better than North Carolina/Duke, who play twice a year. So let’s be careful with the hype machine. That bothered the hell out of me.”
When a caller pushed back on Russo’s opinion on the Michigan/Ohio State rivalry, he continued by saying “That rivalry’s not Yankees/Red Sox. To compare college football to the Yankees and the Red Sox is ludicrous.”
Nashville Predators Radio Voice Pete Weber Calling 2,000th Game Tuesday
“I always wanted to be there for the birth of a team. I feel like I’ve been a pretty fair midwife here.”
Nashville Predators radio voice Pete Weber is set to hit a career milestone Tuesday, as he’ll call his 2,000th game for the NHL franchise.
Weber told The Tennessean that he has relished the opportunity to be the voice of a team since its inception. He claimed he applied for and was a finalist for the radio play-by-play job when the Carolina Panthers were conceived, before ultimately landing with the Predators.
“I always wanted to be there for the birth of a team,” said Weber. “I feel like I’ve been a pretty fair midwife here.”
Despite missing time late last season due to a rare brain condition, Weber said he has no plans of retiring anytime soon.
“I have not thought about it, other than when I thought about how (former Philadelphia Phillies announcer) Harry Kalas was carried dead out of the broadcast booth in Washington,” Pete Weber said. “I thought, ‘Well, that’s an interesting way to go. I don’t necessarily know that I want to do it like that. But it could happen. I’m not going to say no.”
Weber’s 2,000th game will come as the Nashville Predators play host to the Pittsburgh Penguins. 102.5 The Game is the flagship home of the Predators Radio Network.
iHeartMedia Ending WEEI Simulcast in Cape Cod
A job opening for a sports talk co-host/producer/programming assistant that says its salary will “be funded by the savings that the market is acquiring from the expiring Audacy/WEEI & Red Sox contracts”.
iHeartMedia is preparing to drop its simulcast of WEEI on its 96.3 WEII-FM signal in Hyannis/Cape Cod.
According to a report from Radio Insight, iHeartMedia has posted a job opening for a sports talk co-host/producer/programming assistant that says its salary will “be funded by the savings that the market is acquiring from the expiring Audacy/WEEI & Red Sox contracts”.
It goes on to state that the contract between the company and Audacy was $300,000 annually and it paid the Red Sox $65,000 annually.
The job posting alleges 96.3 FM will continue to carry sports programming with a local show.
WEEI is currently simulcast on stations in Springfield and Worcester, MA; Providence; Portland, Maine; and on stations in New Hampshire and Vermont, as well. Earlier this year, the station’s offices in Warwick, Rhode Island closed as part of a cost-cutting measure.
WEII-FM is licensed to Dennis, MA and features a 25,000-watt Class B signal.