There was a time when the reaction Max Kellerman had on Tuesday to the Miami Heat winning the Eastern Conference Finals would not have been allowed on any ESPN platform. The network used to require its talent play things down the middle and not acknowledge their own fandom.
Fast forward to 2023, and things have changed. What makes these personalities fans is highly valued by the network, and that is why Tuesday morning, ESPN Radio’s morning show could revel in the results of the previous night’s game.
“Yesterday was a great day in the life of a Boston hater,” Kellerman said. “Which is me one hundred percent. One hundred percent I root against the Boston teams as a New Yorker.”
Max Kellerman is outspoken about his love for the Knicks and Yankees. Seeing another Boston team complete a comeback after being down in a league championship series 0-3 would not have been bearable.
“Spoken like a true Yankees and Giants fan,” his Keyshawn, JWill and Max co-host Jay Williams said with a smile on his face.
Kellerman wasn’t done though. He called watching Bostonians walk away dejected after getting their hopes so high “so pleasurable to watch.”
“The fact that this thing got to a Game 7 at Boston, no one’s ever done it. They’re going to host the game. Here it comes! They cut the game to single digits. Here it comes! Ooooooh, it’s so good! It’s so good.”
Plenty of ESPN personalities have let their fandom out in recent years. Mina Kimes is so associated with her love of the Seattle Seahawks that her colleagues took to social media to check on her well-being when the team traded Russell Wilson last season. Scott Van Pelt has always celebrated his Maryland Terrapins. Even hate has a place on the network, as Stephen A. Smith regularly makes time to mock the Dallas Cowboys.
Greg Hill: NFL, Travis Kelce, Taylor Swift All Working Together for Publicity Stunt
“I don’t think Taylor Swift needs the publicity.”
Are Taylor Swift, Travis Kelce, and the NFL in cahoots to drive publicity for each other? That’s what WEEI morning host Greg Hill believes.
During The Greg Hill Show Tuesday, the Boston-based host led a discussion about whether or not Swift was more popular than the NFL. Co-host Courtney Cox argued that it’s undeniable she is more famous than the NFL on the global stage. Meanwhile, colleague Jermaine Wiggins argued the pop start isn’t even the most popular artist in America.
“The reason this came up is because of the massive fraud, charade that is being pulled on America by all of them,” Hill said. “And that’s Kelce, that’s her, and that’s the NFL. Who is it benefiting the most? I think Courtney is right. I don’t think Taylor Swift needs the publicity.”
Producer Chris Curtis claimed 2.5 million people in Brazil watched Super Bowl LVII, while only 2 million attempted to get tickets for Swift’s shows in the country. Cox argued that was an apples-to-oranges comparison.
Hill maintained the alleged relationship between Swift and Kelce is simply a ploy by the NFL to seek out a new potential fan base with Swift’s massive following.
Jon Jansen: If Taylor Swift Increases NFL Fandom, It’s a Good Thing
“The Lakers have been running this shtick for decades.”
As a luxury suite began to fill over the 45-yard line at MetLife Stadium, many fans in the lower bowl turned around to try to spot Taylor Swift, the Grammy Award-winning superstar who has made headlines in recent weeks for her alleged relationship with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.
NBC Sports also had several of its cameras positioned towards the box, ready to capture Swift’s body language and reactions to specific plays, especially touchdowns. Swift was shown a total of 17 times on Sunday Night Football, which reported an average of 27 million viewers and growth across the board in viewership from women.
With a devoted fan base of “Swifties” closely tracking her every move, major broadcast networks know that part of their audience is tuning in just to see her at the game. As a result, they have made it a point to accentuate how they implement her as part of the broadcast – whether that be through playing off her lyrics, explaining the basics of football or outright welcoming them on the air.
“I was on [social media] Sunday night, and there were people I know who are huge Jets fans say, ‘Enough already,’” Mike Stone, morning co-host on 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit, shared on Tuesday morning. “As a football fan; as somebody who’s watching the game, do you really care that much that they show her in the booth in the suite?”
“I don’t,” replied co-host Jon Jansen. “It doesn’t matter to me [and] it doesn’t affect my viewing experience.”
Jansen, a former NFL offensive tackle, understands that while continuously presenting footage of Swift may not be the most appealing to traditional football fans, it is helping grow the game en masse. Swift’s social media following surpasses that of the NFL, and her presence seems to be broadening the interest in the game aside from her interactions with Kelce.
“If you’re going to bring in a whole new demographic – not that all of them are going to stick around; some of them are there just there because it’s Taylor Swift [and] they’re huge fans,” Jansen said, “[but] ‘Swifties’ – if some of them are going to stick around, great – increase the fandom.”
Later in the show, Stone read several text messages from listeners with remarks varying from the fact that her fanbase would be unable to take over a stadium and the meager puns the announcers were making in relation to her songs.
“The Lakers have been running this shtick for decades,” Stone said. “It’s annoying, but that’s what networks do everywhere they go.”
Another message reversed the situation and asked how concertgoers would feel if Kelce and the Chiefs were brought up every five minutes. By acknowledging the contrasting demographics and differentiating interest levels in each topic, however, it only reaffirmed the point being promulgated by Jansen about the NFL trying to capitalize on the situation.
“Because Taylor Swift is jumping around because of a touchdown, [maybe her fans will think], ‘Well, why is she so excited? Can I be that excited about this?’”
FOX Sports Radio Added to Sports 1440 in Edmonton
“We heard loud and clear from our listeners that they wanted even more sports coverage, and now that’s going to happen overnights and on weekends with FOX Sports Radio.”
After debuting last month, Sports 1440 in Edmonton has bulked up its daily lineup by adding syndicated shows from FOX Sports Radio.
“We heard loud and clear from our listeners that they wanted even more sports coverage, and now that’s going to happen overnights and on weekends with FOX Sports Radio,” said Jackie Rae Greening, Sports 1440 Program Director. “We’re excited for their great team to join ours!”
The network’s morning show — Two Pros and a Cup of Joe with LaVar Arrington, Brady Quinn, and Jonas Knox will be heard from 4-7 AM. Additionally, The Jason Smith Show with Mike Harmon and The Ben Maller Show will be heard consecutively from 9:00 PM-4:00 AM. The entire FOX Sports Radio lineup will be heard on weekends in the Alberta capital.
The addition of the network lineup coincides with local programming being announced on Sports 1440. The Kevin Karius Show is heard from 7-11 AM, while Fantasy Frenzy with Halley & Douglas airs from 11 AM-12 PM. The Lowdown with Lowetide airs from 12-2 PM, with The Jason Gregor Show handling afternoon drive from 2-6 PM.
Sports 1440 is owned and operated by Stingray Radio. It is the lone sports station in the Edmonton market after the abrupt shutdown of TSN 1260 in June.