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NHL Commissioner: Gen Z Wants So Much More Than Just Games

Jordan Bondurant

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As Big Tech continues to expand its footprint in live sports, America’s major college conferences and professional sports leagues are trying to navigate the waters and embrace these companies as important media partners.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told Bloomberg that he thinks it’s exciting to see companies like Apple and Amazon step in to fill a gap widened by traditional TV.

“It’s an opportunity, and there’s going to be more forms of competition,” Bettman said in a conversation with Scarlet Fu and Jason Kelly. “The marketplace in some respects is contracting, but overall it’s expanding. So the traditional methods may be contracting a little bit, not going to zero, but the adjustment provides us opportunities to do other things.”

Bettman added that it’s evident these massive corporations are trying to strike while the iron is hot and that the key to being profitable with their respective products will be in what live sports offerings they can give to consumers.

“The Apple’s, the Amazon’s, the Peacock’s of the world, are taking, and Netflix still hasn’t dipped its toe in sports, but at some point they may conclude that that’s the way to go,” he said. “I think sports may be driving some of these streaming services as they go forward.”

The younger generation of sports fans are influencing the shift in the rise of streaming. Over the last five years or more, cord cutting has become the new normal. But Bettman sees that providing an affordable outlet for these fans isn’t enough. That’s why the NHL has worked to put together limited series like Road to the Winter Classic and Road to the Stanley Cup, that go beyond just the on-ice product.

“But also when you’re looking at the millennials and the Gen Z’s, they want more than just the games now. They want behind the scenes,” he said. “It’s about giving a look at our players and our game from a vantage point that when I was the equivalent age of a Gen Z, you could only imagine what was it like to be inside of a locker room to see the players getting ready…And that’s what our younger fans are demanding and frankly, I think it’s good for the game, particularly for our game based on our players for them to see that.”

Sports Online

Dan Le Batard: It Enrages Me That There’s a Craig Carton Show on TV

“The man defrauded the people and got right back into sports entertainment television!”

Jordan Bondurant

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The news of Tom Brady announcing his retirement on Wednesday came as Dan Le Batard and company were on the air, and in the midst of the initial reaction to Brady’s announcement, Le Batard offered a quick shot at WFAN and FS1 host Craig Carton.

Carton has been hosting a morning show on FS1 since last September. Craig added the TV show to co-hosting his successful afternoon drive program on WFAN alongside Evan Roberts.

But as Le Batard and the rest of the show were looking at the TV trying to figure out what was going on with the Brady story, Dan said he thought it was crazy Carton was on television.

“It enrages me that there’s a Carton show,” Le Batard said. “The man went to jail. The man defrauded the people and got right back into sports entertainment television!”

Carton went to prison for a year after facing a charge of securities and wire fraud. In the fall of 2020, after being released from jail earlier in the year, Carton made his return to WFAN.

It’s possible that Le Batard, who is busy running his own independent media operation, wasn’t aware Carton had a TV show. So it’s likely seeing Craig’s face probably was a bit of a shock. But it was clear Dan wasn’t expecting to learn the news from Carton’s show.

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Sports Online

ESPN Hands Out 6 New Contracts To Investigative Journalists

Jordan Bondurant

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ESPN is solidifying its lineup of investigative journalists. The network announced on Wednesday the hiring of two newcomers as well as contract extensions for four others.

Xuan Thai and Sara Coello are the two newcomers to The Worldwide Leader, starting their jobs in January.

Thai previously worked at NBC News and MSNBC. Most recently, she was the deputy bureau chief of the south region at NBC.

Coello has made her way to ESPN after stops at The Charlotte Observer, The Dallas Morning News and The Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C.

Alyssa Roenigk, Tisha Thompson, Sam Borden and Tom Junod are the four others who received contract extensions.

Roenigk is the most senior of the group, with 2023 being her 21st year at ESPN. She’s been an editor, sideline reporter, studio host and writer in that stretch of two decades.

Thompson and Borden both started at ESPN in 2017. Thompson has covered stories including the ongoing government investigation of Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder and investigated sexual assault allegations within the U.S. Snowboard team.

Borden has appeared regularly on various ESPN platforms like the ESPN Daily podcast and Outside the Lines. He’s a 2021 Edward R. Murrow Award winner for an NFL Countdown piece called “This Big Mo Show.”

Junod has been at ESPN since 2019. His previous stops include GQ, Esquire, Life and Sports Illustrated.

Additionally, a contract extension for veteran feature producer Scott Harves was announced by the network.

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Sports Online

Sports Media Reacts To Tom Brady Retiring

“Plenty of the biggest names in the business rushed to Twitter to pay tribute to Brady’s career on the football field.”

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Things seem a little more final this time. Tom Brady says he will not return to the field. The GOAT announced his retirement Wednesday morning in a video posted to social media.

While it is still unclear what happens next, plenty of people in the sports media had opinions to share. Plenty of the biggest names in the business rushed to Twitter to pay tribute to Brady’s career on the football field.

There were other reactions as well. It is well-known that Tom Brady has a ten-year contract worth $375 million waiting for him at FOX. That means plenty of people in the sports media have questions about what today’s announcement means for Greg Olsen.

Olsen has won plenty of acclaim as the analyst in the network’s top NFL booth. Brady’s deal includes him taking over that spot, so several personalities and writers used the day to publicly question the logic in that decision.

There was a third reaction too. Twitter was made for two things: reacting to breaking news and making jokes. Tom Brady announcing his retirement gave some members of the sports media the chance to do both.

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