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ESPN Allowing Stephen A. Smith To Expand Helps Both

ESPN is doing the right thing by letting SAS spread his wings and fly. Sports fans aren’t dumb. They can compartmentalize Stephen A. Smith the sports analyst and Stephen A. Smith the news analyst.

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Stephen A. Smith

There is no one who has ever blessed the world with his presence on the television screen like Stephen A. Smith. He’s the king of ESPN right now and slowly aiming to be the king of all media. The talk show GOAT recently launched his own podcast with Cadence13 in which he discusses politics, entertainment, and culture while dabbling into sports.

This week, the superstar also re-launched his former ESPN+ show Stephen A’s World. Previously, the show had a similar premise to his podcast excluding the politics. Now, the show is a simulcast of NBA games airing on ESPN. It’ll air at least 3 more times this year with the potential to air even more frequently in 2023. He features guests and analyzes the game with them while giving his takes and getting personal anecdotes from his guests. The concept is more akin to the Manningcast and is produced by Omaha Productions.

If you know one thing about SAS, it’s that he has an opinion on everything and anything which is what makes his podcast and any other endeavor he pursues entertaining.

I’m truly happy for Stephen A. Smith. He worked so hard to get to this moment. He has earned it and deserved it. Smith went from breaking the LeBron to Miami story on Fox Sports Radio to owning several hours of content on sports’ biggest platform (no slight to FSR but there’s no one who would ever doubt the assertion that ESPN is behemoth compared to everything else in the sports talk ecosystem). The only thing that makes me ponder though is if ESPN is playing favorites and has its own set of rules for Stephen A. compared with the rest of their talent.

It’s a question sports fans ask all the time about superstars that SAS covers like Tom Brady and LeBron James. Do they have shadow “superstar calls” that refs give them that they wouldn’t give other players? Does ESPN have special privileges for SAS that they don’t have for everyone else? 

When Dan Le Batard and Jemele Hill spoke out against Donald Trump’s racist rhetoric, why was that considered political and punishable? Yet, Stephen A. Smith gets to talk about those same kind of political topics on a podcast that isn’t even affiliated with ESPN? Can Sage Steele join The Daily Wire on the side and give her own political viewpoints that might tangle with sports? 

Admittedly, the situations I describe all have different context for each situation and were all situations that happened during previous management regimes at the company. But I’m sure there are plenty of ESPN talent looking at SAS on “Hannity” and other non-ESPN platforms promoting a non-ESPN product while being the de facto face of ESPN wondering if they could ever get away with the same thing. 

ESPN is doing the right thing by letting SAS spread his wings and fly. Sports fans aren’t dumb. They can compartmentalize Stephen A. Smith the sports analyst and Stephen A. Smith the news analyst. Just like they were able to do so when Keith Olbermann was the host of MSNBC’s Countdown and Football Night in America. And just like they are able to do so when the see a SportsCenter anchor like Matt Barrie subbing in for an ABC News personality on Good Morning America. Humans are able to be multi-faceted. So why don’t we let all humans spread their wings and fly? 

Each personality should understand that flying comes with risks. Even though freedom of speech exists, there are consequences for spreading misinformation especially as someone who is more recognizable for their role with ESPN. But in today’s society where everyone has more than one hustle, it’s essential that we let everyone use their God given talents to the extent that they desire.

Talent is happier to work at ESPN and it might be easier to pursue other desirable pieces to the team because of your ability to adapt. WBD Sports recently displayed their flexibility by allowing Taylor Rooks to join Amazon’s Thursday Night Football team (Fox did the same with Charissa Thompson).

When you allow your main talent to shine elsewhere, audiences will build a deeper connection with the talent and therefore build a deeper connection with ESPN. No matter how much of a behemoth ESPN is, there is always room to build more consumer connection. 

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BSM’s Black Friday SALE on BSM Summit Tickets is Underway!

Jason Barrett

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Each year I’m asked if there are ways to save money on tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit. I always answer yes but not everyone takes advantage of it. For those interested in doing so, here’s your shot.

For TODAY ONLY, individual tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit are reduced by $50.00. Two ticket and four ticket packages are also lowered at $50 per ticket. To secure your seat at a discounted price, just log on to BSMSummit.com. This sale ends tonight at 11:59pm ET.

If you’re flying to Los Angeles for the event, be sure to reserve your hotel room. Our hotel partner this year is the USC Hotel. It’s walking distance of our venue. Full details on hotel rooms can also be found via the conference website.

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BSM Writers

Media Noise: What Does The Return of Bob Iger Mean to ESPN?

Demetri Ravanos

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Demetri Ravanos has questions about Disney going back to the future with Bob Iger. This entire episode of Media Noise is all about what the change at the top of the Walt Disney Company indicates about the future of ESPN.

ITunes: https://buff.ly/3PjJWpO

Spotify: https://buff.ly/3AVwa90

iHeart: https://buff.ly/3cbINCp

Google: https://buff.ly/3PbgHWx

Amazon: https://buff.ly/3cbIOpX

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BSM Writers

Media Noise: What Is Realistic For FOX at the World Cup?

Demetri Ravanos

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On this special holiday edition of Media Noise, Demetri Ravanos dives into the controversy and criticism surrounding FOX’s coverage of the World Cup in Qatar.

ITunes: https://buff.ly/3PjJWpO

Spotify: https://buff.ly/3AVwa90

iHeart: https://buff.ly/3cbINCp

Google: https://buff.ly/3PbgHWx

Amazon: https://buff.ly/3cbIOpX

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