Matthew Berry: ESPN Thought Fantasy Was ‘Small Corner of The Internet’ When I Got There
“That was a long struggle and there were people internally at ESPN that were fantasy friendly and people who weren’t open to it initially.”
For NBC Sports fantasy expert Matthew Berry, giving his business, Fantasy Life, going was very important to him when he was deciding where to continue giving his fantasy advice. Once Berry decided to leave ESPN, NBC was very accommodating to him with that vision.
Berry was a guest on The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz last week and he not only talked about the weirdest place he’s ever given fantasy advice, but he said that NBC brought up the example of their talent having side business and why they could be able to help Berry with keeping that entrepreneurial spirit going.
“I thought I have this entrepreneurial spirit as well. I have this company Fantasy Life that I started that’s basically in the veins of all of those companies (Pat McAfee Show, Omaha Productions) in terms of its a media and content producer in a variety of mediums. I would like to try that entrepreneurial spirit.
“Cris Collinsworth owns Pro Football Focus, Jim Cramer owns his own investment club, Mike Florio owns Pro Football Talk. We are comfortable with our talent having a business that’s on the side. We will not only support it, but if there’s a way NBC could participate that makes sense for NBC Universal, we will not only let you do it, but we will support it and promote it the way we have all those other properties. We are having those conversations now and figuring out what that looks like. When I heard that, I was like where do I sign?”
Berry mentioned that when he arrived at ESPN in 2007, he made it a point to talk to anyone he could at the company to try to see how his visions for fantasy football coverage could help any part of the network instead of just being only in a niche corner.
“When I got there in 2007 at ESPN, a lot of people felt like fantasy deserved to only be in a small corner of the internet. I spent my first 2 years at ESPN trying to meet with every TV producer I could, every radio producer, every marketing/advertising/PR executive there, every magazine editor, the people that ran our mobile division saying what are you trying to accomplish with your department/show/program. Here’s what I am trying to accomplish with fantasy and here’s why I think fantasy could help you achieve your goals and here’s how I think it might be able to work on TV, or radio, or in the magazine, or for your advertisers or as part of marketing.
“That was a long struggle and there were people internally at ESPN that were fantasy friendly and people who weren’t open to it initially. Just trying to navigate that was challenging but exciting. I am really proud of everything we built at ESPN.”
Ricky Keeler is a reporter for BSM with a primary focus on sports media podcasts and national personalities. He is also an active podcaster with an interest in pursuing a career in sports media. You can find him on Twitter @Rickinator555 or reach him by email at RickJKeeler@gmail.com.
Rob Parker Bringing MLBBro.com Podcast To iHeartRadio
“I’m thrilled to be a part of this groundbreaking project – this sound has never been heard before in connection with Major League Baseball.”
Rob Parker loves Major League Baseball and he is expanding his reach in the sport. His site MLBBro.com is taking another step forward just weeks after announcing a partnership with the league to provide coverage of minority players from the past and present.
He will add a podcast to the brand’s portfolio. The MLBBro Show Podcast – The Mixtape will join the iHeartRadio podcast lineup. While Parker oversees the brand, the show will be led by MLBbro.com’s Vice President of Operations JR Gamble.
Gamble brings more than two decades of experience covering the league to the show. The first episode drops right after Opening Day on March 31.
“I’m thrilled to be a part of this groundbreaking project – this sound has never been heard before in connection with Major League Baseball,” said Parker, who has been a Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) member since 1990.
“It’s baseball coverage with hot sauce, loud and proud and in living color. Get on board from day one!”
What Implications Would TikTok Ban Have on Sports Media & Business?
“Prominent Democrats have spoken out against banning TikTok in the United States, but the effort has bipartisan support.”
If TikTok is banned in the United States, a very realistic possibility, the ad market around sports and sports media stands to take a significant hit. Front Office Sports took a look at the companies that used the social video platform to advertise to sports audiences in 2022 and 2023.
Among the advertisers making major investments in TikTok was Degree, whose March Madness advertising campaign includes an ad that is exclusive to TikTok and stars Giannis Antetokounmpo. For the Super Bowl, T-Mobile supplemented its FOX ad buy with a TikTok campaign, while State Farm chose to skip the network broadcast of the game and spend all of its advertising with the digital platform.
It’s not only advertisers. Leagues and networks factor TikTok prominently into reaching younger audiences. The WWE, FIFA and the NBA all saw significant growth in their audiences on the app last year. On top of that, FOX and ESPN both have taken advertising money from TikTok in the past for postseason baseball and college football broadcasts respectively.
Prominent Democrats have spoken out against banning TikTok in the United States, but the effort has bipartisan support. The Biden administration and other lawmakers have voiced concern about the security threat the Chinese government’s involvement with the app poses to Americans and their personal data.
The appeal of TikTok for networks and advertisers is easy to see. Between 2021 and 2022, no social media platform showed more growth for engagement from sports fans. TikTok’s sports audience jumped 65% in that timeframe. Facebook saw 22% growth and for Twitter, it was just 8%.
Dan Le Batard Addresses Response To Stephen A. Smith Criticism
“Oo-wee I seem to have gotten people mad.”
Last week Dan Le Batard went back and forth with his former ESPN cohort Stephen A. Smith, with Le Batard not pulling any punches with the First Take host.
“I hate what you two have done to sports television,” Le Batard said to Stephen A., mentioning Skip Bayless, Smith’s former co-host. Dan said on his South Beach Sessions podcast that specifically his issue is with the constant need to make the arguing over a point the primary entertainment focus.
Stephen A. responded by questioning how he and Bayless are responsible for the rise of people in the space without a journalism background when both he and Skip are trained journalists and spent years working newspaper beats before they got their breaks on television.
“You can say that all you want to; I would say, who the hell are you?!” Smith said. “To sit up there and say me and him. What about you? Where the hell were you? Living under a rock? Teaching at Miami U? You were part of it too! You ain’t innocent!”
Le Batard faced some blowback for his stance on Twitter, and on Friday Dan posted a quick video response on his Instagram.
“Oo-wee I seem to have gotten people mad,” Le Batard said. “And the reaction was hostile and swift on Elon Musk’s kind, gentle community app.”
“People say that I am a fat, ugly, hypocritical, jealous, jerk, asshole, moron, idiot,” he added. “And I’d just like to defend myself against that…I’m not jealous.”
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He’s a multimedia journalist and communicator who works at the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond. Jordan also contributes occasional coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, WRIC-TV 8News and Audacy Richmond. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.