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MLB Network Going All-In With Winter Meetings Coverage

“You’re chasing news the entire time. We’re obviously trying to make sure everything we’re getting is accurate – that’s most important – because there can be a lot of false information out there.”

Derek Futterman




For the first time in two offseasons, the Baseball Winter Meetings will commence, bringing the industry together before the holidays as roster construction and preparation for the season ahead take center stage, and MLB Network has planned dozens of hours of live coverage. 

Several of the sports biggest starts could be on the move, and several issues involved in the game’s pace of play and the future of the sport will be decided. All in all, MLB Network will bring fans 38 hours of live on-site programming from the Winter Meetings, which is being held from the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel in San Diego.

The broadcast outlet’s robust team of hosts, analysts and insiders will report and analyze the latest breaking news, transactions and rumors, bringing fans the information they need to know about “our national pastime, all the time.”

Additionally, the network figures to welcome various guests from the baseball world onto its set and will also provide coverage of other industry events, including the reveal of the 2022 All-MLB Team and the inaugural MLB Draft Lottery.

“The Winter Meetings is a battle, but we want to own the week with our coverage,” said Doug Jaclin, coordinating producer of news at MLB Network. “You’re chasing news the entire time. We’re obviously trying to make sure everything we’re getting is accurate – that’s most important – because there can be a lot of false information out there.”

The baseball world has not been gathered under one roof since before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, accentuating the paramountcy of reconnecting with people and cultivating new relationships with those in the industry. After all, part of good journalism and reporting comes from being able to develop and maintain professional relationships with those involved in making decisions with the potential to shape the future of the game.

“You have to constantly balance the demands of your job every day and getting on the air with new material [while] also realizing that this is a profoundly important week to network and meet new people,” said MLB Network Insider Jon Morosi. “You probably sacrifice a lot of sleep during a week like this because there are only so many hours in the day.”

Morosi attended Harvard University with the intention of either working in law or education; however, he quickly gravitated towards the sports information department and kept statistics of various sporting events on campus. Around his sophomore year in college, he began writing for The Harvard-Crimson and has continued doing so for a wide variety of outlets, including the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Detroit Free Press and, eventually, as a national baseball writer for

Today, Morosi works with MLB Network and has worked hard to consolidate information to a format compatible to its mediums.

“You have to be able to synthesize the really key points that you’re trying to communicate to your audience and then speak them in a digestible way,” Morosi said. “That also involves a little bit of detail, but also pacing it out so that way the listener or the viewer can understand it without feeling as though they just sat through an hour-long lecture.”

“We’re able, at the network, to be totally immersed in baseball so we’re able to kind of formulate opinions and ideas and philosophies,” added Brian Kenny., host of MLB Now and other studio programming on MLB Network. “I’d rather try hard and get out a ton of information than just not do that. We like to have fun; we like to have laughs, but we also want to find out interesting things that a viewer would find interesting and fascinating.”

While breaking news and staying on top of everything in real time may be central to broadcast coverage at the Winter Meetings, the element of storytelling is at the root of effective journalism, keeping readers captivated and informed through all of the chaos. Storytelling within the parameters of a standard Major League Baseball game evidently differs from the practice during the offseason – yet the importance of establishing a setting, evoking imagery and communicating in a way tailored to your audience all remain central.

Perhaps no one better embodied what it means to be a storyteller than the late-Los Angeles Dodgers play-by-play announcer Vin Scully. Working with him during her time with Spectrum SportsNet LA, MLB Network host Alanna Rizzo implements what she learned from the Radio Hall of Fame member and 1982 Ford C. Frick Award recipient into her hosting style.

“I think he was such a man that was absolutely revered not just with Dodgers nation having been behind that microphone for 67 years, but also with baseball and sports in general,” Rizzo said. “He will never be replicated in the way that he went about a broadcast. I think the biggest thing I learned from Vin was to be yourself and really just tell a story and be conversational.”

Rizzo works on High Heat with Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo, longtime host of WFAN’s Mike and the Mad Dog and current host of Mad Dog Unleashed on SiriusXM Mad Dog Sports Radio and contributor to First Take on ESPN. Rizzo feels that High Heat, which is also simulcast on MLB Network Radio, is presented as a show built for radio and garners a specific type of audience – largely due to Russo’s uncanny ability to recall past events.

His effervescence and energy is hardly fabricated, for it is his genuine personality that is communicated especially when he welcomes guests on to the program, although he tends to lean more towards tradition in his opinions about the game. The Winter Meetings give both Rizzo and Russo the opportunity to interview veteran baseball personnel and budding superstars across the industry, and the dynamic of having a co-host who has frequently interviewed players helps modernize the program amid a crowded media landscape.

“I think today’s fans for the most part, especially if we want to move the game along and grab the attention and the audience of the younger generation, they want to hear from players; they don’t want to hear from analysts as much,” Rizzo said. “I think there’s certainly a place for our analysts, and there’s no better analysts in my opinion covering Major League Baseball than ours, but I think it’s also important to hear the perspective of the current player.”

Dan O’Dowd brings the perspective of a former general manager and baseball executive to the panel on MLB Tonight, providing fans insight about the gravity of the Winter Meetings amid the offseason. Following a stint as vice president of baseball operations and assistant general manager with the then-Cleveland Indians, O’Dowd nearly joined ESPN but decided he wanted to remain in the game. As a result, he was hired by the Colorado Rockies to be the team’s general manager, a role he served in for 15 years and made prominent decisions guiding the direction of the franchise.

“We really lost something not having the Winter Meetings,” O’Dowd said. “I think it’s the one time over the winter that we own the winter. Since the network’s inception, it’s taken that perspective for me to a completely different level. We really are nationally front and center because everybody wants an insight to roster development, trades [and] free agent signings. It’s just a fascinating part of the game and nothing will be as interesting as this particular week with everything that’s going on.”

A preponderance of communication today is mediated in scope, meaning that it takes place through some technological means including emailing, texting or talking over the phone. Yet there is an ostensible tangibility to face-to-face communication through its power to seamlessly blend credibility, emotion and logic into one’s parlance – indelible pillars to rhetoric and persuasion.

“It’s rare to have the entire industry in one spot,” Kenny explained. “You have baseball operations departments, managers, scouts; everybody in one place [and] I think [that] makes for a fascinating mix…. A lot of work can get done – I think we’ve learned this through the pandemic [that] there’s real value in physically being in one place in being in a spot where everyone can communicate face-to-face.”

Unlike during the baseball season when the structure is more predictable per se in terms of games and storylines, the Winter Meetings is very much sporadic in nature. News could break at any second, meaning that everyone involved needs to be prepared to discuss any possible topic related to the action – and have the right questions ready to go when welcoming a guest on set, often at a moment’s notice.

As a former host of SportsCenter and Baseball Tonight at ESPN, along with reporting in news earlier in his career, Kenny knows the value of comprehensive preparation and adaptability while also implementing his ability to interact with people.

“A lot of times you find out that day or just before the show who’s available; who can make it; who can’t make it,” Kenny said. “It’s last minute. As far as doing the prep, I try to get as familiar as I can with the free agent market and where there’s teams that have needs and where the free agent market has a surplus [and] where it has scarcity.”

It is a goal of the network to utilize the time it will be broadcasting live from the Winter Meetings to talk to people across the industry – whether they be owners; team presidents; general managers; managers; players, etc. The meetings are a genuine actualization of the activity that usually takes place from afar, but for these few days in the place referred to as “America’s Finest City,” the industry tries to take advantage of the in-person element underscoring the event’s return.

“We always want to have the team personnel visiting our set across all the shows,” Jaclin said. “You want to get a perspective from a manager or a general manager on where they think their team stands right now, where they need to improve and where they want to be different [from] the year before.”

It is fundamental, though, not to mislead an audience; therefore, one must be truthful with the information they know to be true with sensible aplomb. Conversely, one should disclose when there may be some ambiguity in reporting and/or may not completely know the facts of a situation.

After all, much of the industry watches MLB Network, according to Morosi, and through healthy relationships and periodic conversations with those connected in the industry, storylines can be reasonably posited, checked for accuracy and subsequently reported. This helps the network and its insiders extrapolate what may be going on behind closed doors, somewhat craving the seemingly insatiable propensity for access and information.

“I think it’s important to be a good steward of the information that you’ve got in front of you that you know to be accurate,” Morosi said. “I think that to me is one of the great challenges when things are happening really fast and everyone’s around you and stories are breaking.”

The nature of the conversations being had differs depending on one’s role, along with the longevity of certain relationships. O’Dowd has been involved in the game for many years and is looking forward to touching base with people rather than trying to find out the intricacies of negotiations and contents of germane conversations.

“It’s a lot of information to find out, but a lot of the time it’s really just saying hello; meeting a person; finding out what they’re like,” Kenny added. “It’s a chance for us to be face-to-face and they have a chance to tell me what they think of my work. It goes both ways.”

“It’s very different now because with the onset of technology and smartphones and Twitter, there’s not as much face-to-face with front offices – but we still have everything down to the minute of what’s happening,” Rizzo added. “People are just ready for baseball to start again and this is where at least there’s some juice.”

Rizzo has her undergraduate degree in international business at the University of Colorado Boulder, and had what she calls an “epiphany” shortly after her graduation where she discovered her passion for sports reporting. Because of this, she decided to return to school to earn her master’s degree in journalism and began working with various local stations.

As she continued to refine her skills, she joined ROOT Sports Rocky Mountain as an in-game reporter and host for its live game broadcasts and surrounding coverage for the Colorado Rockies. Now in her second stint with MLB Network after departing in 2012 to join Spectrum SportsNet LA’s coverage of the Los Angeles Dodgers, she has had to use social media through it all – and is vigilant in what she publicizes on its multiple platforms.

“I think it’s a positive tool but you have to be very careful,” she said. “I really caution young people who want to get into the industry about their social media use and what they post on there because it lives forever.”

The Winter Meetings though, through everyone being present, is indicative of a time to look up from phone screens, shed aloofness and relish in interaction free of technology’s limits. Morosi, an insider himself, recognizes that he competes against many other reporters year-round to obtain and subsequently disseminate accurate and precise information. Just as he watches and follows other reporters as a mode of “defense,” he needs to swing for the fences and play “offense,” especially over the next several days in San Diego, Calif.

“The reality is you can’t have every scoop,” Morosi said. “There are too many talented people out there and too many great reporters who are going to have the information. I think it’s a matter of verifying whatever it is that you’re putting out there, and on the intake, you have a good way of collating things whether it’s on Twitter or other services to make sure that the information that you’re bringing in is timely and accurate and current – and also not overwhelming.”

“Be very enterprising and very opportunistic when the chance occurs that you have a general manager in front of you or an agent in front of you,” he added. “….You should never let an opportunity go by to ask a question of someone who is in front of you and in position to make a decision.”

Aside from transactional moves being made on the baseball diamond, the Winter Meetings also serve as a place for aspiring professionals to meet with prospective employers. There have been instances where broadcasters get their start through an interaction at the Winter Meetings, meaning it is imperative they communicate in a professional manner and make an appropriate first impression conducive to success.

“I do pay attention to the young men and women that want to get in the industry that are professional and go about it in what I believe to be the right way,” Rizzo said. “Speaking in emojis and shorthand and ‘L.O.L.’ and no grammar and no punctuation; that doesn’t fly with me because in journalism, you have to know how to write. You have to have proper punctuation, grammar and subject-verb agreement, and I think that gets lost because of social media [and] because of the way we communicate now.”

“You should be immersed in the business of baseball if you want to be in it – have an understanding of it – but also be well-read in things not baseball,” Kenny added. “Just to have people skills and to be well-read; to have a good vocabulary; to have good reference points to understand how things work; to understand how people work…. You still have to bring something to the table, [and] those are still the fundamental skills of reading, writing and being able to articulate your ideas.”

A common maxim noted around media is that a career can be made in who you know more than what you know. Indeed, there are many people looking to work professionally in sports media, and differentiating factors that could determine whether or not someone lands a job could very well come down to skills outside of media and personal conduct.

“The depth and the quality of your relationships will be the depth and quality of the work that you produce with the people you work with,” O’Dowd said. “It’s about establishing authentic relationships with people as deep as you possibly can, and then being respectful of those relationships when you work together to try to put out a product. That’s the best for everyone involved, no different [from] working in a front office.

The network will feature its studio programs from dawn until dusk including Hot Stove, High Heat, MLB Now, Intentional Talk and the multiple Emmy Award-winning MLB Tonight. The studio programming will welcome guests from around the world of baseball and also enterprise and react to news as it happens. Today’s live coverage will begin at 11 a.m. EST with Hot Stove and conclude with MLB Tonight from 9-11 p.m, and includes the unveiling of the 2022 All-MLB Team at 8 p.m.

BSM Writers

Amanda Brown Has Embraced The Bright Lights of Hollywood

“My whole goal was that I didn’t need people to like me; I needed people to respect me.”

Derek Futterman




The tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and eight others aboard a helicopter, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, sent shockwaves around the world of sports, entertainment, and culture. People traveled to Los Angeles following the devastating news and left flowers outside the then-named STAPLES Center, the arena which Bryant called home for much of his career, demonstrating the magnitude of the loss. Just across the street from the arena, Amanda Brown and the staff at ESPN Los Angeles 710 had embarked in ongoing breaking news coverage, lamentation, and reflection.

It included coverage of a sellout celebration of life for Kobe and his daughter and teams around the NBA opting to take 8-second and 24-second violations to honor Bryant, who wore both numbers throughout his 20-year NBA career. They currently hang in the rafters at Arena, making Bryant the only player in franchise history to have two numbers retired.

During this tumultuous time, Bryant’s philosophy served as a viable guiding force, something that Brown quickly ascertained in her first month as the station’s new program director.

“I had people that were in Northern California hopping on planes to get here,” Brown said. “You didn’t even have to ask people [to] go to the station; people were like, ‘I’m on my way.’ It was the way that everybody really came together to do really great radio, and we did it that day and we did it the next day and we did it for several days.”

The 2023 BSM Summit is quickly approaching, and Brown will be attending the event for the first time since 2020. During her first experience at the BSM Summit in New York, Brown had just become a program director and was trying to assimilate into her role. Because of this, she prioritized networking, building contacts, and expressing her ideas to others in the space. This year, she looks forward to connecting with other program directors and media professionals around the country while also seeking to learn more about the nuances of the industry.

“The Summit is kind of like a meeting of the minds,” Brown said. “It’s people throughout the country and the business…. More than anything, [the first time] wasn’t so much about the panels as it was about the people.”

Growing up in Orange County, Brown had an interest in the Los Angeles Lakers from a young age, being drawn to play-by-play broadcaster Chick Hearn. Brown refers to Hearn as inspiration to explore a career in broadcasting. After studying communications at California State University in Fullerton, she was afforded an opportunity to work as a producer at ESPN Radio Dallas 103.3 FM by program director Scott Masteller, who she still speaks to on a regular basis. It was through Masteller’s confidence in her, in addition to support from operations manager Dave Schorr, that helped make Brown feel more comfortable working in sports media.

“I never felt like I was a woman in a male-dominated industry,” Brown said. “I always just felt like I was a part of the industry. For me, I’ve kind of always made it my goal to be like, ‘I deserve to be here; I deserve a seat at the table.’”

Brown quickly rose up the ranks when she began working on ESPN Radio in Bristol, Conn., working as a producer for a national radio show hosted by Mike Tirico and Scott Van Pelt, along with The Sports Bash with Erik Kuselias. Following five-and-a-half years in Bristol, Brown requested a move back to California and has worked at ESPN Los Angeles 710 ever since. She began her tenure at the station serving as a producer for shows such as Max and Marcellus and Mason and Ireland.

Through her persistence, work ethic and congeniality, Brown was promoted to assistant program director in July 2016. In this role, she helped oversee the station’s content while helping the entity maintain live game broadcast rights and explore new opportunities to augment its foothold, including becoming the flagship radio home of the Los Angeles Rams.

“Don’t sit back and wait for your managers or your bosses to come to you and ask what you want to do,” Brown advised. “Go after what you want, and that’s what I’ve always done. I always went to my managers and was like, ‘Hey, I want to do this. Give me a chance; let me do that.’ For the most part, my managers have been receptive and given me those opportunities.”

When executive producer Dan Zampillo left the station to join Spotify to work as a sports producer, Brown was subsequently promoted to program director where she has helped shape the future direction of the entity. From helping lead the brand amid its sale to Good Karma Brands in the first quarter of 2022; to revamping the daily lineup with compelling local programs, Brown has gained invaluable experience and remains keenly aware of the challenges the industry faces down the road. For sports media outlets in Los Angeles, some of the challenge is merely by virtue of its geography.

“We’re in sunny Southern California where there’s a lot of things happening,” Brown said. “We’re in the middle of Hollywood. People have a lot of opportunities – you can go to the mountains; you can go to the beach. I think [our market] is more about entertainment than it is about actual hard-core sports. Yes, obviously you have hard-core Lakers fans; you have hard-core Dodgers fans, but a majority of the fans are pretty average sports fans.”

Because of favorable weather conditions and an endless supply of distractions, Brown knows that the way to attract people to sports talk radio is through its entertainment value. With this principle in mind, she has advised her hosts not to worry so much about the specific topics they are discussing, but rather to ensure they are entertaining listeners throughout the process.

“People know the four letters E-S-P-N mean sports, but really our focus is more on entertainment more than anything,” Brown said. “I think the [talent] that stick out the most are the ones that are the most entertaining.”

Entertaining listeners, however, comes through determining what they are discussing and thinking about and providing relevant coverage about those topics. Even though it has not yet been legalized in the state of California, sports gambling content has been steadily on the rise since the Supreme Court made a decision that overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act established in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association (2018). Nonetheless, Brown and ESPN Los Angeles 710 have remained proactive, launching a sports gambling show on Thursday nights to try to adjust to the growing niche of the industry.

Even though she has worked in producing and programming for most of her career, Brown is eager to learn about the effect sports gambling has on audio sales departments. At the same time, she hopes to be able to more clearly determine how the station can effectuate its coverage if and when it becomes legal in their locale.

“I know that a lot of other markets have that,” Brown said regarding the legalization of sports gambling. “For me, I’m interested to hear from people who have that in their markets and how they’ve monetized that and the opportunity.”

No matter the content, though, dedicated sports radio listeners are genuinely consuming shows largely to hear certain talent. Brown recalls receiving a compliment on Twitter earlier this quarter where a listener commented that he listens to ESPN Los Angeles 710 specifically for Sedano and Kap. Evidently, it acted as a tangible sign that her philosophy centered around keeping people engrossed in the content is working, and that providing the audience what it wants to hear is conducive to success.

At this year’s BSM Summit, Brown will be participating on The Wheel of Content panel, presented by Core Image Studio, featuring ESPN analyst Mina Kimes and FOX Sports host Joy Taylor. Through their discussion, she intends to showcase a different perspective of what goes into content creation and the interaction that takes place between involved parties.

“A lot of times in the past, all the talent were on one panel; all the programmers were on one panel,” Brown said. “To put talent and a programmer together, I think it’s an opportunity for people to hear both sides on certain issues.”

According to the most recent Nielsen Total Audience Report, AM/FM (terrestrial) radio among persons 18-34 has a greater average audience than television. The statistical anomaly, which was forecast several years earlier, came to fruition most likely due to emerging technologies and concomitant shifts in usage patterns.

Simultaneously, good content is required to captivate consumers, and radio, through quantifiable and qualifiable metrics, has been able to tailor its content to the listening audience and integrate it across multiple platforms of dissemination. The panel will give Brown a chance to speak in front of her peers and other industry professionals about changes in audio consumption, effectuated by emerging technologies and concomitant shifts in usage patterns.

Yet when it comes to radio as a whole, the patterns clearly point towards the proliferation of digital content – whether those be traditional radio programs or modernized podcasts. Moreover, utilizing various elements of presentation provides consumers a greater opportunity of finding and potentially engaging with the content.

“We do YouTube streaming; obviously, we stream on our app,” Brown said. “We’ve even created, at times, stream-only shows whether it’s stream-only video or stream-only on our app. We all know that people want content on-demand when they want it. I think it’s about giving them what they want.”

As a woman in sports media, Brown is cognizant about having to combat misogyny from those inside and outside of the industry, and is grateful to have had the support of many colleagues. In holding a management position in the second-largest media market in the United States, she strives to set a positive example to aspiring broadcasters. Additionally, she aims to be a trusted and accessible voice to help empower and give other women chances to work in the industry – even if she is not universally lauded.

“I’ve kind of always made it my goal to be like, ‘I’m no different than anyone else – yes, I’m a female – but I’m no different than anyone else,’” Brown expressed. “My whole goal was that I didn’t need people to like me; I needed people to respect me.”

Through attending events such as the BSM Summit and remaining immersed in sports media and the conversation at large about the future of sports media, Brown can roughly delineate how she can perform her job at a high level.

Although the genuine future of this business is always subject to change, she and her team at ESPN Los Angeles 710 are trying to come up with new ideas to keep the content timely, accurate, informative, and entertaining. She is content in her role as program director with no aspirations to become a general manager; however, remaining in her current role requires consistent effort and a penchant for learning.

“Relationships are very important overall in this business whether you’re a programmer or not,” Brown said. “Relationships with your talent; relationships with your staff. If you invest in your people, then they’re going to be willing to work hard for you and do what you ask them to do.”

The 2023 BSM Summit is mere days away, and those from Los Angeles and numerous other marketplaces will make the trip to The Founder’s Club at the Galen Center at the University of Southern California (USC).

Aside from Brown, Kimes and Taylor, there will be other voices from across the industry sharing their thoughts on aspects of the industry and how to best shape it going forward, including Colin Cowherd, Rachel Nichols, Al Michaels and Eric Shanks. More details about the industry’s premiere media conference can be found at

“I’m excited to be a female program director amongst male program directors for the first time and get a seat at the table and represent that there can be diversity in this position,” Brown said. “We don’t see a lot of it, but… there is an opportunity, and I hope I can be an example for other people out there [to show] that it’s possible.”

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BSM Writers

Pat McAfee Has Thrown Our Business Into a Tailspin

Yet even with all the accomplishments he’s been able to achieve, McAfee is still anxious and unsatisfied with the state of his show and his career.

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When you have one of the hottest talk shows in America, you’re always up to something. That’s the case for the most popular sports talk show host in America – Pat McAfee. 

The former Pro Bowl punter was on top of the world on Wednesday. With over 496,000 concurrent viewers watching at one point, McAfee was able to garner an exclusive interview with frequent guest Aaron Rodgers who announced his intention to play for the Jets.

Yet even with all the accomplishments he’s been able to achieve — a new studio, consistent high viewership, a syndication deal with SportsGrid TV, a four-year, $120 million deal with FanDuel — McAfee is still anxious and unsatisfied with the state of his show and his career.

At the end of the day, he is human and he’s admitted that balancing his show, his ESPN gig with “College Gameday,” and his WWE obligations has taken a toll on him.

McAfee and his wife are expecting their first child soon and he recently told The New York Post he might step away from his deal with FanDuel. Operating his own company has come with the responsibility of making sure his studio is up and running, finding people to operate the technology that puts his show on the air, negotiating with huge behemoths like the NFL for game footage rights, booking guests, booking hotels, implementing marketing plans and other tasks that most on-air personalities rarely have to worry about.

McAfee says he’s looking for a network that would be able to take control of those duties while getting more rest and space to spend time with family while focusing strictly on hosting duties. FanDuel has its own network and has the money to fund such endeavors but is just getting started in the content game. McAfee needs a well-known entity to work with who can take his show to the next level while also honoring his wishes of keeping the show free on YouTube.

The question of how he’s going to be able to do it is something everyone in sports media will be watching. As The Post pointed out in their story, McAfee hasn’t frequently stayed with networks he’s been associated with in the past for too long. He’s worked with Westwood One, DAZN, and Barstool but hasn’t stayed for more than a year or two.

There’s an argument to be made that the latter two companies weren’t as experienced as a network when McAfee signed on with them compared to where they are today which could’ve pushed the host to leave. But at the end of the day, networks want to put money into long-term investments and it’s easy to see a network passing on working with McAfee for fear that he’ll leave them astray when he’s bored. 

It’ll also be difficult for McAfee to find a network that doesn’t put him behind a paywall. Amazon and Google are rumored to be potential new homes. But both are trying to increase subscribers for their respective streaming services.

It will be difficult to sell Amazon on investing money to build a channel on YouTube – a rival platform. For Google, they may have the tech infrastructure to create television-like programming but they aren’t an experienced producer, they’ve never produced its own live, daily talk show, and investing in McAfee’s show doesn’t necessarily help increase the number of subscribers watching YouTube TV.

Networks like ESPN, CBS, NBC, and Fox might make sense to partner with. But McAfee faces the possibility of being censored due to corporate interests. Each of these networks also operates its networks or streaming channels that air talk programming of their own. Investing in McAfee could cannibalize the programming they already own.

And if McAfee works with a traditional network that isn’t ESPN, it could jeopardize his ability to host game casts for Omaha or analyze games on Gameday. It’s not impossible but would definitely be awkward on days that McAfee does his show remotely from locations of ESPN games with ESPN banners and signage that is visible in the background.

If SportsGrid has the money to invest in McAfee, they might be his best bet. They have all the attributes McAfee needs and they already have a relationship with him. It is probably unlikely that he’ll be censored and he would even be able to maintain a relationship with FanDuel – a company SportsGrid also works alongside.  

Roku is another option — they already work with Rich Eisen — but they would move his show away from YouTube, something McAfee should resist since the majority of smart TV users use YT more than any other app.

If the NFL gave McAfee editorial independence, they would make the perfect partner but the likelihood of that happening is slim to none. NFL Media has independence but it was clear during the night of the Damar Hamlin incident that they will do whatever is necessary to stay away from serious topics that make the league look bad until it’s totally unavoidable. 

It’s hard to think of a partner that matches up perfectly with McAfee’s aspirations. But once again, at the moment, he’s on top of the world so anything is possible. The talk show host’s next move will be even more interesting to watch than the other fascinating moves he’s already made that have put the sports media industry in a swivel.

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BSM Writers

5 Tips For Networking At the BSM Summit

“Have a plan and don’t leave home without it.”

Jeff Caves




Bring your game plan if you attend the BSM Summit in LA next Tuesday and Wednesday. No matter your purpose for attending: to learn, get a job, speak, or sell an idea, you must be able to read the room. To do that, it helps to know who will be there and how you can cure their pain. 

Have a plan and don’t leave home without it. If you have time, buy How to Work a Room by Susan Roane. If you don’t, just follow these five tips:

  1. INTRODUCE YOURSELF: Before you arrive at The Summit, figure out what you want, who you want to meet, and what you will say. Once you get there, scout out the room and see if anyone of those people are available. Talk to speakers after they have spoken- don’t worry if you miss what the next speaker says. You are there to meet new people! Most speakers do not stick around for the entire schedule, and you don’t know if they will attend any after-parties, so don’t risk it. Refine your elevator pitch and break the ice with something you have in common. Make sure you introduce yourself to Stephanie, Demetri and Jason from BSM. They know everybody and will help you if they can.  
  2. GET A NAME TAG: Don’t assume that name tags will be provided. Bring your own if you and make your name clear to read. If you are looking to move to LA or want to sell a system to book better guests, put it briefly under your name. Study this to get better at remembering names.
  3. LOSE THE NOTEBOOK: When you meet folks, ensure your hands are free. Have a business card handy and ask for one of theirs. Remember to look people in the eye and notice what they are doing. If they are scanning the room, pause until they realize they are blowing you off. Do whatever it takes to sound upbeat and open. Don’t let their clothes, hair, or piercings distract from your message. You don’t need to wear a suit and tie but do bring your best business casual wear. A blazer isn’t a bad idea either. 
  4. SHUT UP FIRST! The art of knowing when to end the convo is something you will have to practice. You can tell when the other person’s eye starts darting or they are not using body language that tells you the convo will continue. You end it by telling them you appreciate meeting them and want to connect via email. Ask for a business card. Email is more challenging to ignore than a LinkedIn request, and you can be more detailed in what you want via email. 
  5. WORK THE SCHEDULE: Know who speaks when. That is when you will find the speakers hanging around. Plan your lunch outing to include a few fellow attendees. Be open and conversational with those around you. I am a huge USC fan, so I would walk to McKays– a good spot with plenty of USC football memorabilia on the walls. Sometimes you can find the next day’s speakers at the Day 1 after party. Need a bar? Hit the 901 Club for cheap beer, drinks, and food. 

You’re welcome. 

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