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Padres CEO Tells Ben & Woods Losing Bally Sports San Diego is Good For Fans

“I do anticipate that eventually, most, if not all the industry, will move in the direction that we’re moving right now, and you won’t have [us] every year doing different rights deals.”

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After Diamond Sports Group informed the San Diego Padres it was neglecting to pay the fee for the local broadcast rights, Major League Baseball has officially taken control of local broadcasts for the team. Games will continue to be made available on linear television providers, but will also be available to stream on MLB.TV. Fans in the team’s home market can subscribe to MLB.TV for $19.99 a month or pay $74.99 for the remainder of the season.

On Wednesday, San Diego Padres chief executive officer Erik Greupner joined Ben & Woods on 97.3 The Fan to inform consumers what the process has entailed over the last several months. He said Diamond Sports Group had a two-week grace period to submit their rights payment, but he received a call from company CEO David Preshlack saying that wasn’t going to happen.

“We’ve been working for months with Major League Baseball, [and] we’d already been sort of through a fire drill once or twice before,” Greupner said. “I think we’re as prepared as we can be. It’s never easy to make these sorts of changes in-season. We’re trying to do our very best to communicate with our fans, but the bottom line is this is a really good development for fans.”

The move could be indicative of things to come, as the league is looking to end local blackouts and expedite its own direct-to-consumer streaming option by reacquiring broadcast rights as the deals expire.

“I was in a full-blown panic last night [and was] almost on the phone with Cox because I’m a Cox subscriber,” show co-host Steve Woods said. “It’s convenient – my Cox is there; it’s ready; it’s waiting. I turn on Cox. I’m good to go and there’s my Padres on Bally – I’m good. As we know, things have changed, and I don’t like to change. I don’t like change at all. I’ll do it if I have to, but I really am the guy that needs his hand held.”

Major League Baseball hired Billy Chambers to become its first executive vice president of local media. He brings over 20 years of experience to the role, largely in senior finance roles with FOX Sports and Sinclair Broadcast Group, and has been tasked with overseeing media rights distribution and local management.

The Padres’ new broadcast arrangement augments the reach of games by 189% and gives fans multiple options to keep up with the team. Greupner expressed how fans have been asking for the ability to stream games in the market without blackouts. Moreover, some locations where fans are bound by blackout restrictions because of exclusive local rights do not even have regional sports networks distributed to them, leaving them entirely in the dark.

“This move, we anticipate, is going to be the last move that we have to make for quite some time as far as the eye can see,” Greupner revealed. “Under the direction and leadership of the Commissioner [and] what MLB is doing – and we happen to be the first team that’s making the move – but they are stepping in and replacing what has become a broken RSN model.”

Diamond Sports Group, a subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcast Group, recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and is in active litigation with the league after refusing to pay the full amount of rights fees to other teams. The entity stated it had sufficient funding in liquidity and would agree to do so in exchange for valuable direct-to-consumer streaming rights, something the league quickly shot down.

“It’ll take you a day or two to get used to turning the Padres to a different channel on your cable,” show co-host Ben Higgins said. “If you were getting the Padres before, you will be getting the Padres starting today as well – just not on Bally Sports San Diego anymore.”

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Tom Crean Added to SiriusXM NBA Draft Coverage

The former Marquette, Indiana, and Georgia men’s basketball coach will co-host SiriusXM’s NBA Draft Preview Show, alongside Eddie Johnson and Justin Termine.

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NBA Draft logo, SiriusXM logo and a photo of Tom Crean

The 78th edition of the NBA Draft will be the first to be held over two days. The first round will take place on Wednesday June 26 and will be followed by the second round on Thursday June 27. The draft will be held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. SiriusXM will provide full coverage on SiriusXM NBA Radio channel 86, and they have announced Tom Crean will take part in a preview show prior to each round.

The former Marquette, Indiana, and Georgia men’s basketball coach will co-host SiriusXM’s NBA Draft Preview Show, alongside Eddie Johnson and Justin Termine, on Tuesday, June 25 on Wednesday, June 26 prior to Round 1 at 4 p.m. ET, and on Thursday, June 27, prior to Round 2 at 2 p.m. ET.

Crean returned to ESPN as a college basketball analyst in December 2022 after having worked for them previously during the 2017-2018 season. Crean was fired after four seasons at Georgia, prior to his ESPN return.

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Dan Woike: ‘I Can’t Imagine’ JJ Redick and LeBron James Podcast Will Continue

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JJ Redick
Courtesy: Phil Ellsworth, ESPN Images

Following the conclusion of the 2024 NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks, JJ Redick has reportedly agreed to a contract to serve as the next head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. Redick, who recently broadcast the best-of-seven series for ESPN on ABC with play-by-play announcer Mike Breen, analyst Doris Burke and reporter Lisa Salters, is reportedly in the process of compiling his coaching staff for his first season leading the Lakers. Although Redick does not have any NBA coaching experience, he played 15 seasons in the league with six teams and has been an analyst for ESPN over parts of the last four years. Outside of his work with ESPN, Redick also built his ThreeFourTwo Productions company and co-hosted The Old Man and the Three podcast.

This past March, Redick launched a new podcast with Lakers forward and four-time NBA champion LeBron James titled Mind the Game. Episodes of the show contained nuanced basketball discussions that some people feel gave Redick an inherent edge in the head coaching search. Dan Patrick recently had Dan Woike, Lakers beat writer for the Los Angeles Times, on his program, the Dan Patrick Show, and asked about the future of the podcast with James.

“I can’t imagine it’s going to continue,” Woike said. “Sad, right? We might get a season finale episode…. Who knows what’s going to happen here.”

Woike spoke about Redick’s eclectic interests that include basketball, broadcasting, golf, wine and fancy suits. Part of this transition that Woike will be watching is how Redick makes the adjustments and focuses the energy that he has. The organization, he stated, is not hiring a podcaster and believes that Redick has an aptitude and shrewdness towards basketball and is serious about the endeavor. While Redick and James have a good relationship with strong rapport, it is relatively new and something Woike perceives as critical to everything going on. Nonetheless, he does not think they can continue the show because it would be an “unnecessary distraction” to the team.

“They’re paying him to coach, they’re not paying him to podcast,” Woike said. “His divestment from his podcast empire is sort of an interesting media side-note to this to see kind of how much he steps back and kind of what happens to it because it’s been really successful for him.”

Rather than asking him another question, Patrick presented Woike with a sentence and asked him to complete it. The statement was, “If he doesn’t have the podcast with LeBron…,” and Woike proceeded to outline that the Lakers would then have more questions about his ability to coach James. Patrick then immediately followed up by asking if he still would have landed the Lakers’ head coaching job if he did not have the podcast, to which Woike replied that he believed it would still be possible. Former Duke Blue Devils men’s basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski was reportedly advising the organization throughout its head coaching search, and Redick previously played for him at the university.

Woike referenced a specific clip from the podcast in which Redick and James were discussing analytics and three-point shooting. At one point, James pushed back against the analytics by asking what would happen if a team missed 27 straight three-point shots, as the Houston Rockets did in Game 7 of the 2018 Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors. Redick quickly replied by asking if it had happened since, leading James to admit that he was right.

“Now how that plays in the locker room at halftime when you’re down 17 to the Charlotte Hornets and everybody’s tired, who knows,” Woike said. “That is a huge question, but I think, to be quite fair, there was going to be elements of question with that with Dan Hurley too.”

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ESPN LA 710 Announces New Fall Lineup

This follows announcements made earlier in the week which saw play-by-play partnerships added with USC and the LA Kings and a new contract for afternoon show co-host Scott Kaplan.

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Logo for ESPN LA 710 and a graphic for their new fall lineup
Graphic Courtesy: ESPN LA 710

ESPN LA 710 announced more news today, introducing a new lineup which will start on Monday, September 9. This follows announcements made earlier in the week which saw play-by-play partnerships added with USC and the LA Kings and a new contract for afternoon show co-host Scott Kaplan.

The new lineup will see morning drive start with Mike Greenberg’s Greeny , followed by Travis Rodgers and Allen Sliwa moving back an hour to start at 9a PT. Steve Mason and John Ireland will then air from 12p to 3p PT followed by the afternoon team of Jorge Sedano and Scott Kaplan moving to 3p-6p PT.

In addition to USC and the Kings, the station has play-by-play agreements with the Lakers, the Rams, the Angels and LAFC.

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