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Liam McHugh Continues To Try New Things

“It’s probably healthier for the game — healthier for all these broadcasts — if it’s on multiple networks. I think a little healthy competition is not a bad thing.”

Derek Futterman




The Pittsburgh Penguins have been one of the most consistent and dominant teams in the National Hockey League over the last decade, winners of four Stanley Cup championships in the last 15 years. If you’re a devoted hockey fan, that statement of fact is obvious, and you would expect the team to be part of any conversation about the Stanley Cup Playoffs taking place on Turner Sports’ studio coverage of the NHL, led by Liam McHugh.

Sometimes though, the conversation diverges from the sublime to the ridiculous – but it is in the ostensible absurdity where, perhaps, the NHL on TNT differentiates itself. In this case, it was discussing what Penguins’ defenseman Kris Letang had dressed up as for Halloween – which turned out to be a grasshopper – and then deliberating on the characteristics of the animal and whether it is considered a predator or prey.

“The intent of that was to show [the team] in costumes, make a comment and then move on – but it just took on a life of its own,” McHugh reflected. “In the same respect, the very next segment what [the analysts] do really well is they can then break down the game really well. They can hit a key moment; they can interview someone really well and bring some personality out of them.”

The enigma of taking different approaches to covering sports – ranging from shootout contests to musical performances by studio analysts to dropping teddy bears from the ceiling to displaying tweets in real time – captivates and engages the audience. It is, according to McHugh, a “smart, entertaining and fun” way to bring out the personalities of the studio crew, and, in turn, helps augment the reach and popularity of hockey.

The approach is straight out of the playbook of Inside the NBA, the broadcast entity’s signature studio program for its coverage of the National Basketball Association, and something McHugh learned from its host Ernie Johnson.

“You want to just put something out there because you know your co-hosts are going to react to it,” he said. “You’re not exactly sure what the reaction might be, especially when we have [Paul Bissonnette] – I can ask him a basic question and I don’t know what the reaction’s going to be – but you want to put something out there that you know they’re going to react to and see where it goes.”

Working as a lead studio host for broadcast coverage of the NHL was never an obvious landing spot nor something McHugh planned for. His mother worked as a librarian and his father taught English, making the command of language through reading and writing a vital part of McHugh’s upbringing. It turned out he gravitated towards writing and subsequently pursued a career as a print journalist upon matriculating at the University at Buffalo.

Even after McHugh joined ESPN The Magazine, he did not think of himself particularly adroit as a print journalist, and conversations with his editors suggested that focusing on a different niche in the industry was likely the most suitable option. Despite possessing a taciturn demeanor which was, at one point, uncomfortable with public speaking, McHugh decided to build a career in broadcast journalism and attended Syracuse University to attain his master’s degree in the craft.

“I remember there were plenty of people there who were, on day one, sitting there saying, ‘I’m going to be a SportsCenter host,’ or if they were in news, ‘I’m going to be a nightly news anchor,’” McHugh recalled pertaining to his time as a graduate student. “I was really at this point trying to make a career, enjoy it, make enough money to live on and have some success.”

After local television stops in Terra Haute, Indiana and Oklahoma City, the Versus Network came calling for him to be the host of The Daily Line, an evening sports news show focused on fan engagement and banter. McHugh worked with professionals in different sectors of the industry on the program, including comedian Reese Waters, blogger Jenn Sterger and handicapper Rob DeAngelis.

Although it was canceled after seven months because of low viewership, it led to a new opportunity following the merger of NBCUniversal and Comcast (then-owners of Versus Network) related to covering hockey.

McHugh grew up as a fan of the New York Islanders; however, he had not closely followed the sport for many years. At this moment of his career, he was grateful just for the fact that he was still employed after the show cancellation and would be able to make ends meet. Make no mistake about it though – McHugh desired to comprehensively learn hockey, leading him to fervently read and watch games while receiving guidance from Keith Jones, a studio analyst and trusted colleague.

“He was the guy who saw something in me, thought I could be a solid show host and someone that he could mesh with and be able to produce good content with,” McHugh said of Jones. “At the same time, he knew I was light on sort of the inside-hockey knowledge, but he was willing to sort of work with me and have conversations with me and educate me throughout that process.”

McHugh’s first role would be as the host of NHL Live, the studio-based show airing before and after each of NBC’s nationally-televised hockey games. Being present among a team of established professionals with an abundance of skills took the pressure of McHugh to be preoccupied about anything other than performing his primary job. He had never worked at a national level in broadcast media before; therefore, he felt an immense amount of pressure to make sure he continued to earn his place and the trust of his bosses and colleagues.

“I had basically done everything myself from editing and shooting and writing to all of a sudden, there is now a machine behind you and you don’t have to think about every little thing in the show,” McHugh said. “You get to focus a little bit more on your role [and], to me, that was a big change and part of that change was being able to trust people…. they’re going to make the show look good.”

When McHugh was at NBC Sports, he was also hosting the wrap-up show College Football Talk and, eventually, worked as the on-site host of Football Night in America. These broadcasts lead up to Thursday Night Football produced in tandem with NFL Network and, for McHugh, took place on the road amid raucous crowds filled with energy and excitement. The pacing of the show and types of conversations that appealed to the audience quickly became apparent to him, along with how to best encapsulate the atmosphere; that is, until everything changed.

“I was doing that role during the COVID-moments,” McHugh explained. “Now you’re talking about like, ‘Hey, let’s go out to Liam McHugh; he’s at an empty stadium’…. The atmosphere is grim and it’s depressing and it’s hard to deliver the things that you want to deliver on-air. It was a lesson in how to do those reports from those places.”

Following the conclusion of the 2020-2021 season, the NHL negotiated new media rights deals with ESPN and Turner Sports, working with multiple broadcast entities to grow the game of hockey and deliver a stellar broadcast product. Subsequently, McHugh departed from NBC Sports and joined the team at Turner Sports to host its studio coverage, working alongside Anson Carter, Rick Tocchet, Paul Bissonnette and “The Great One”, Wayne Gretzky.

“He clearly does not have to do this and I thought he’d come in week one, sit with us for five minutes and be like, ‘Why am I here? Why would I want to do this?,’” McHugh said of Gretzky. “But instead, [he was] very much a hockey player in that he wanted to be a part of a team [and] wanted to be a part of this group.”

In working with two broadcast entities, viewers may perceive a sense of competition between each to present the best coverage of hockey. McHugh does not refute that assumption, although he does not feel that way. Conversely, he is sure the analysts, many of whom are friends with one another, have felt it. In the end though, aiming to be the best hockey broadcast on television is all for the benefit of augmenting the reach and allure of the game.

“It was different because at NBC, we had all of it for so long,” McHugh said. “In the end, it’s probably healthier for the game — healthier for all these broadcasts — if it’s on multiple networks. I think a little healthy competition is not a bad thing.”

McHugh and the NHL on TNT studio broadcast look to highlight the personalities of hockey players in order to facilitate the growth of the game in key demographics. Additionally, hockey has grown in popularity among young athletes with people taking the ice in all different parts of the country. Thus it is essential to maintain interest and, consequently, the growth trajectory through humanizing standout players and personnel.

“Pregame interviews are tough – guys don’t always want to talk; they want to get warmed up [but] I think we brought a different dynamic here where we brought out some of their personalities,” McHugh said. “Postgame interviews are usually better for us where it’s conversational and guys are joking around with us and showing their personality. Now you want to know more about that team; now you want to buy that guy’s jersey; now you want to root for that team.”

Turner Sports will broadcast the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time within the new seven-year national media rights deal and have comprehensive coverage of the Stanley Cup Playoffs as a whole. McHugh covered the Stanley Cup Finals several times while working with NBC, but what he did not have was the man widely regarded as the game’s greatest player on his panel.

He believes the presence of No. 99, the league’s all-time leader in goals, assists and total points, not to mention a key member of four Stanley Cup championship teams, will captivate fans and alter the way people view the game.

“Some captain is going to take that Stanley Cup and we’re going to all sit there and watch it,” McHugh said. “To have the first voice to speak about that be Wayne Gretzky who hoisted that cup; who was handed that cup as a captain, a superstar and a legend – that he’ll be the first person commenting on that; there’s nothing better than that.”

McHugh also continues to step outside of his comfort zone, recently signing on with Apple TV’s Major League Soccer Season Pass package as its lead whiparound studio host. His role with the NHL on TNT remains his priority, though, and he is grateful that Turner Sports executives did not encumber him when the circumstance arose. Just as he believes hockey has a chance to continue to grow its consumer base, soccer, which he played in college, is another sport drawing new viewers and imploring fans to keep tuning in.

“I love the game – I really do,” McHugh said. “I think it’s growing here in America and I think this is a league that’s getting stronger.”

Apple and Major League Soccer announced last November that they had reached an agreement to launch a subscription service to soccer fans in over 100 countries and regions. Fans can begin subscribing to MLS Season Pass on Feb. 1 for $14.99 per month or $99 per season and enjoy live games, highlights and an exclusive whiparound show among other features. McHugh is excited for the kickoff of the regular season on Feb. 25 beginning with a late afternoon matchup between New York City FC and Nashville SC.

“It’s a different type of show,” McHugh expressed. “Twelve years ago, it would have very much intimidated me and scared me – and I’m still a little scared – but I think, again, it’s out of [my] comfort zone and trying something different. It’s a cool opportunity to do all those things.”

The technology company continues to move into sports media and live game broadcasts with the addition of Major League Soccer as it prepares for a second year of Friday Night Baseball. It is a component of a larger implementation of streaming into the consumption experience, underscored largely in the National Football League with exclusive game broadcasts on ESPN+ and Peacock; Amazon Prime Video’s presentation of Thursday Night Football; and YouTube TV securing the rights to the NFL Sunday Ticket out-of-market package.

Covering hockey, soccer or most other sports, McHugh brings versatility and experience to programs on which he appears and looks to continue providing fans informative and entertaining talk. While having fun is certainly an important aspect of each broadcast, being able to maneuver in and out of moments of poignancy or earnest gravity is an indispensable part of discussing all subject matter. He learned how to do this by conversing with Ernie Johnson and Bob Costas, while also watching late night television hosts; that is, those who do not primarily focus on sports but rather entertainment and pop culture at large.

“Sitting there whether I was watching Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert or people like that and realizing how you can have serious moments in a show; then you can pivot and have a light moment; and then pivot right back to something serious,” McHugh said. “That’s something that I really wanted in a show and I wanted to know how to do that. It’s not an easy thing and I’m still learning. Those are people that I watched because they were the best at that, and I think it’s something we’re trying to bring to the table on this show.”

Embracing spontaneity with the ability to take on new roles or to create a memorable moment based on free-flowing conversation is an aspect of hosting Liam McHugh has worked to master over his time in sports media. He takes his job seriously but does not take himself too seriously, allowing him the freedom and flexibility to enjoy his work and develop amicable working relationships with the studio analysts. He has also had to make sacrifices and now looks to attend more of his childrens sports games since he missed many of them over the years.

In covering Super Bowls, Stanley Cup Finals and Olympic Games throughout his career, he has taken calculated risks in sports media and is trying to enjoy the journey on the “long, twisting road.”. His previous experience as a multimedia journalist, print reporter and athlete have rounded him into the professional he is today – providing an assist to showcase hockey and soccer as a host.

“I’m thankful for the fact that I’ve got to do so many things that I never expected to,” McHugh said. “In the end, they make you so much better at the things that you do know – they just do.”

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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Barrett Media Writers

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