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Dan Le Batard: ‘Does Sports Media Care if Interviews Are Done Well?’

“An exclusive interview with Ja Morant, who hasn’t talked to anybody after his controversy, is going to get eyeballs, so it doesn’t matter how good it actually is.”

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Mike Greenberg had praise for Jalen Rose this week. He said that no one but his ESPN colleague could have handled the interview with Ja Morant that has been airing on the network. Dan Le Batard has the exact opposite opinion of what he saw.

“What I saw was soft and didn’t seem to serve anybody except ESPN,” Le Batard said on his Thursday show. “This seems to be a lot of people around the economy of basketball and Ja Morant orchestrating an interview so Ja Morant can move onto the next stage of his branding.”

Whereas Greenberg thought the shared experience of an NBA career made Rose more likely to get answers from Morant, Le Batard said it created a problem. He accused Rose of letting Morant get away with using “talking points” in lieu of answering any actual questions about the string of erratic behavior and disturbing incidents the Memphis Grizzlies star has been involved with.

It wasn’t the only interview that Dan Le Batard pointed to. He noted that Pat McAfee’s interview with Aaron Rodgers may have drawn an audience of nearly half a million, but very little substance was offered.

“Does anybody in the audience, in sports fandom, or even, at this point, in sports media companies, care in a real and legitimate way whether the interview is done well or not?”

He added that the standard has changed for these interviews because the goal has changed. They are no longer about journalism as much as they are about branding, particularly in the case of ESPN’s exclusive interview with Ja Morant.

“An exclusive interview with Ja Morant, who hasn’t talked to anybody after his controversy, is going to get eyeballs, so it doesn’t matter how good it actually is,” Le Batard concluded. “All you need, if you’re the media partner, is please get me the famous guy to sit down.”

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Dan Le Batard: Inside the NBA is ‘Most Popular Studio Show in the History of Sports Television’

“I believe that studio show still could exist.”

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Graphic for The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz, a photo of David Samson and a logo for Inside the NBA
Photo Credit: David Samson X Profile

With news coming down earlier today the NBA would soon be formalizing deals with ESPN, NBC and Amazon for its media rights after next season, the immediate thought for a lot of NBA fans is more about who is not part of group. That would be TNT, who has had a 40-year history with the league and is also home to the incredibly popular Inside the NBA show led by Ernie Johnson and featuring Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith. Former Marlins president and sports business expert David Samson, who hosts the Nothing Personal with David Samson podcast, joined The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz to talk about the show’s future.

Le Batard began reading the breaking news story from the Sports Business Journal as he brought David Samson in to the conversation. “The best sports studio show there’s ever been, Charles Barkley won another Emmy last night as he always does as part of that show,” Le Batard said. “It would appear that one of the most popular shows in the history of television, not just in sports television, it’s the most popular studio show in the history of sports television. But it ends, right David? How does it get saved? It means next season will be the last, not this season, you’ll get one more year of it. But is there anything that rescues that?”

“Well, you love the people not the show,” Samson replied. “So, the question is, do any of the new networks who have rights to show basketball games, will they try to hire Shaq, Kenny and Charles? And will Ernie follow up on his promise not to leave Turner? And the thought is that he likes his life, he doesn’t necessarily want to leave Atlanta. Could the show continue in Atlanta just for a different network? Is there studio space? Is any of that possible? The answer is yes. So, I think it’s way too early to say Inside the NBA is done…I believe that studio show still could exist.”

Charles Barkley confirmed in a recent interview on ESPN Cleveland that he has an opt-out in his deal should TNT Sports lose broadcasting rights to the NBA. Smith and O’Neal reportedly hold a similar clause.

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Dan Le Batard Breaks the News – NBC Has Contacted John Tesh About ‘Roundball Rock’

“We are actually talking right now about licensing it to them for the Olympics in Paris, which is always great.”

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Screengrab of John Tesh being interviewed by The Dan Le Batard Show
Screengrab: The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz

While everyone waits with bated breath for an announcement on the NBA media rights partnerships after next season, The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz dug in on what has become an important topic amongst basketball fans. If NBC does in fact get its partnership back with the NBA, fans want to know if they plan to re-license the ‘Roundball Rock’ theme song they used for The NBA on NBC from 1990-2002.

Dan Le Batard welcomed the score’s composer, former CBS and NBS sportscaster John Tesh to the show and he confirmed he has spoken to NBC recently.

“Has NBC reached out to you about reviving ‘Roundball Rock’?” asked Le Batard.

“They have actually,” said Tesh. “Nothing firm, but they said, ‘Hey, can you stay frosty on this? … we’d love to talk to you about it.’ We are actually talking right now about licensing it to them for the Olympics in Paris, which is always great.”

Even bigger news came next when Test told the show, “We are actually going in at the end of June, we’re heading to Nashville, we have a full orchestra on hold and we’re going to re-record it. The recording, I think, still sounds great, but I wanted to make a few changes, maybe open up the middle.”

The show played the famous Saturday Night Live skit where Jason Sudeikis and Tim Robinson played the song for show host Vince Vaughn along with Kenan Thompson and Kate McKinnon.

As the guest appearance wrapped, Le Batard said, “…NBC is going to fix all the badwill it creates by ending Charles Barkley’s studio show but replacing it with the glorious remake of [‘Roundball Rock’]”

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Foul Territory Adds Two New Shows to Its Network

“We’re extremely excited to join Foul Territory’s fast-growing network.”

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Foul Territory Logo
Courtesy: Make Plays Media

Make Plays Media has announced that it is adding two new shows within its expanding Foul Territory Network, providing fans with more localized coverage pertaining to their favorite Major League Baseball teams. In addition to Dodgers Territory, which launched earlier in the regular season, the platform will introduce North Side Territory and Hammer Territory. The Foul Territory program debuted last March and features its signature program hosted by Scott Braun with a roster of former players who convey their perspectives of the game. These personalities include A.J. Pierzynski, Erik Kratz, Todd Frazier and Adam Jones among others. Moreover, MLB insider Ken Rosenthal frequently contributes to the show, which also contains guest appearances from active major-league players.

The North Side Territory program will focus on the Chicago Cubs and will be hosted by Patrick Mooney and Sahadev Sharma, both of whom cover the team for The Athletic. The debut episode of the program has been released, beginning its cycle of releasing shows three times per week during the season.

“We’re extremely excited to join Foul Territory’s fast-growing network,” Mooney said in a statement. “We’ve enjoyed appearing on the main show and thought this platform would be great for a Chicago-centric, Cubs podcast. We appreciate the way that the Foul Territory crew covers the game with authenticity and authority, giving fans the type of information and perspective they want. With their help, we plan to do the same thing with North Side Territory, and amplify our work at The Athletic.”

“I’m so excited to serve passionate Cubs fans and get back to podcasting with my partner on the Cubs beat at The Athletic,” Sharma said in a statement. “To do so with Foul Territory, an exciting venture that has quickly established itself as an authority in this medium, is truly a great opportunity. We’re hoping North Side Territory becomes fans’ go-to podcast for all things Cubs.”

Earlier in the month, Foul Territory released the Hammer Territory podcast centered on the latest news and analysis surrounding the Atlanta Braves. The program debuted at No. 3 on the Spotify U.S. charts for all sports podcasts and first on the Chartable U.S. rankings on Apple’s podcasting platform. Members of the show include former SB Nation Battery Power professionals Brad Rowland, Scott Coleman, Stephen Tolbert and Shawn Coleman. New episodes are released four times per week across all podcasting distribution platforms.

“We are so excited and thankful to connect with the folks from Foul Territory and be part of the network,” Rowland said in a statement. “It’s an amazing opportunity to connect with Braves fans from all over the country and the globe, and the support has been tremendous. We look forward to a fruitful partnership for a long time.”

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