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USL, SiriusXM Renew Agreement

“SiriusXM has been a great partner the last three years and extending this relationship on the men’s side was an easy choice.”

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The United Soccer League (USL) and SiriusXM have inked a new agreement that extends its media rights deal through 2025. The deal ensures SiriusXM will be the audio home of USL Championship games, including the USL Championship Final, USL Super League inaugural Final, the USL League One Final and USL League Two Final. SiriusXM subscribers can listen to games on channel No. 157 and on the SiriusXM app.

“At the USL, we want to ensure that our games are available to our fans wherever they want to experience them,” Court Jeske, USL chief commercial officer, said in a statement. “SiriusXM has been a great partner the last three years and extending this relationship on the men’s side was an easy choice. We are also incredibly proud that they will offer coverage of the USL Super League, our new women’s professional league, with the inaugural season beginning in August of 2024.”

The SiriusXM FC channel has been the broadcast home of the USL Championship since 2020, and also airs a USL Game of the Week for consumers in the United States and Canada. Additional future coverage will include games from the 2024-2025 USL Super League season. Moreover, USL All-Access will resume with hosts Mike Watts and Devon Kerr, offering listeners new perspectives on the league, and a broad view of highlights and storylines.

“The USL has a terrific and dedicated fanbase across the country and we’re pleased to deliver those fans both the action on the pitch and a show dedicated to their league,” said Eric Spitz, SiriusXM vice president of sports programming, in a statement. “We’re excited to not only renew our agreement with the USL for multiple years, but also expand our coverage and be the exclusive audio home of the USL Championship Final, League One Final, League Two Final and the new USL Super League Final.” 

Watts has been the play-by-play announcer for the USL Championship since 2015, and he continues to work on Westwood One’s college football game of the week and serves as a backup public address announcer at Madison Square Garden. Furthermore, he called eight domestic and international finals in 2021, including the U.S. Men’s National Team victories in the Concacaf Nations League and Concacaf Gold Cup.

Kerr serves as an analyst for MLS Season Pass on Apple TV and contributes to FOX Sports as well. He has been the lead analyst for the USL Championship since 2018, and works in a similar role for the NCAA Men’s College Cup on ESPN and Concacaf events. Aside from his work with Apple TV and FOX Sports, Kerr has appeared on platforms for ESPN, EA Sports, the NCAA and MLS.

Broadcasts started Wednesday night, but the next game airing on SiriusXM FC will be a matchup between the San Diego Loyal and Sacramento Republic at 10 p.m. EST/7 p.m. PST. Games have been announced through July 3, and additional matchups will be announced at a later date.

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Mike Evans: ‘NBA Unplugged’ is ‘Kind of a Rip Off of the Manningcast’

“Guys like Kevin Hart and Cedric, stick to entertaining because you clearly aren’t good basketball fans.”

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Mike Evans
Courtesy: Denver Sports 104.3 The Fan

The Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Timberwolves took the court on Wednesday night in a matchup between the two top teams in the Western Conference. On the strength of a 41-point game by center and two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Nikola Jokić, the Nuggets secured the 116-107 victory and propelled themselves to the No. 1 seed in the conference. During the preceding game between the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat, ESPN2 broadcast NBA Unplugged with Kevin Hart, a new alternate broadcast that premiered earlier in the season. During the second quarter appearance from Cedric the Entertainer, there was a conversation pertaining to if Jokić should be named the league MVP for the third consecutive year.

Hart stated that the NBA cannot grant Jokić another MVP award, stating that it would not be good for the Association. The conversation continued to see if he would be allowed to win a Finals MVP award should the Nuggets qualify in the final round. Cedric the Entertainer ultimately agreed that Jokić could not garner the MVP and stated that it did not feel like he was having as much of a dominant year. Denver Sports 104.3 The Fan morning program Schlereth and Evans played the audio after reviewing a quote from Nuggets head coach Michael Malone where he expressed that he hoped the national audience would recognize the greatness of the center.

“I get a little pissy about people out there in the NBA universe who just refuse to acknowledge what’s so obvious in front of us,” co-host Mike Evans said to lead into the sound. “During the Dallas game that was broadcast earlier in the night, their NBA Unplugged, it’s kind of a rip-off of the whole Manningcast, they had Kevin Hart and Cedric the Entertainer on chopping it up about basketball; a couple of basketball experts.”

Evans went on to explain that he believes there are four reasons why people diminish Jokić and his ability to earn a third-consecutive NBA MVP award. The first of which is that he plays in a small marketplace, something that could have precipitated the comment from Nuggets head coach Michael Malone during his postgame press conference.

“I do think that if Nikola Jokić was doing what he’s been doing the last several years – if he was doing it in Boston, New York, Chicago, Philly, LA – it’d be a completely different narrative around him,” Evans said. “That’s one – Denver, sorry, just being honest.”

The second point Evans made pertained to Jokić’s style of play, much of which comes under the rim and involves setting up his teammates. Jokić is a skilled mid-range and three-point shooter as well, but he tends not to have jaw-dropping plays in this regard. As a result, Evans stated that he is not a dream for someone trying to compile a highlight package for an ESPN program. The latter two points related to the fact that he is European and white, and Evans proceeded to explain that there is prejudice, bigotry and racism in the world.

“The only guys who don’t say he’s the best player in the NBA that are NBA players are former NBA players,” co-host Mark Schlereth added. “Have you noticed that?”

In response to Schlereth, Evans stated that former point guard Gilbert Arenas has been vocal about Jokić lately, but that people who are still playing or recently retired recognize and acknowledge the prowess of the Nuggets center. He then concluded the segment by thanking Jokić for continuing to drive people crazy, but not before he delivered a parting message to Kevin Hart and Cedric the Entertainer. In fact, he began to refer to Cedric the Entertainer as “Cedric” because of what he had to say during his NBA Unplugged appearance.

“Guys like Kevin Hart and Cedric, stick to entertaining because you clearly aren’t good basketball fans,” Evans said.

ESPN, Hartbeat and Omaha Productions announced in December that NBA Unplugged with Kevin Hart was scheduled to broadcast seven episodes during the NBA season. Earlier this week, ESPN and Omaha Productions agreed to a nine-year media rights extension, extending their partnership which has included alternate broadcasts, original podcasts and content exclusive to ESPN+ since beginning their collaboration a few years prior.

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Steve ‘Sparky’ Fifer to Host Daily Show on 1250 The Fan in Milwaukee

“I’m super excited to be hosting ‘Wisconsin Sports Daily,’ and I can’t wait to talk about our favorite sports teams with our loyal listeners.”

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Logo of 1250 The Fan in Milwaukee

Steve ‘Sparky’ Fifer will host a new local weekday afternoon show on 1250 The Fan in Milwaukee station owner Audacy announced today. Wisconsin Sports Daily will air weekdays from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. CT beginning April 15. 

“I’m super excited to be hosting ‘Wisconsin Sports Daily,’ and I can’t wait to talk about our favorite sports teams with our loyal listeners,” said Fifer. “The opportunity to host great guests to add to our conversations is a plus. Let’s bring some passion back into sports talk radio in Milwaukee!”

As the first daily show since August 2022, “Wisconsin Sports Daily” will fill weekdays with discussions about Milwaukee sports, guest interviews and interactions between Fifer and his listeners.

Fifer is also the Assistant Program Director for the station and covers the Milwaukee Bucks, Green Bay Packers and Professional Bowlers Association . He has been with the station since its start in January 2005. He also helps run Audacy’s BetQL Network in other markets.

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Dan Le Batard: Stugotz Turned Down WFAN Because “He Didn’t Want to Work That Hard”

“It would have been interesting. It would have been different.”

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Stugotz
Courtesy: Meadowlark Media

Two weeks ago, WFAN host Gregg Giannotti hinted there was a “bombshell candidate” in the search for a new program director. Today, we learned officially that candidate was Jon Weiner, aka Stugotz from The Dan Le Batard Show, and he will not be taking the position.

“We talked about the bombshell program director candidate a couple of weeks ago,” Giannotti said this morning on Boomer & Gio. “Well, I can report a couple of things…The process is not over…The bombshell of the world is out…There was mutual interest on both sides, there was a lot of discussions back and forth, they really tried to make it work, creative ways to see if it could happen, it just ultimately in the end did not happen…I do know it did not work out and there is one less candidate. So now the focus has gone from bombshell to more mainstream [candidates].

“I can’t answer many questions about it…but as of right now I can only say, this is the bombshell candidate, and he is now out and his name is Stugotz. Jon Weiner was the bombshell candidate, and he loves this place, and they had a lot of discussions…but he is now out. There was a point I thought it was going to happen.”

Dan Le Batard also discussed the topic on his show this morning and made his listeners and some of his staff aware of how qualified Stugotz was for the job.

“The industry Stugotz helped build should feel flattered that he would entertain the idea of coming back to be a power broker, lazy and fat and comfortable. Boomer Esiason just got done telling Stugotz that now, unfortunately they are going to have a professional environment.

“Stugotz kind of helped invent the revolution of sports radio in Miami. Where Miami had been doing sports radio the way New York did it and Stugotz hired a whole bunch of young people and created a radio station that was doing it different entirely than the generation of people who were doing it all over the country.”

“I remember thinking to myself ‘there has to be a younger, hipper, cooler way of doing this in Miami,'” Stugotz said.

“I hope New York radio is flattered that someone who helped shape and shake this industry was willing to consider it at 50, but he didn’t want to work that hard,” Le Batard said.

“Well, that hard for that amount of money,” Stugotz replied.

So, the search continues to find the replacement for Spike Eskin who will soon be headed back to Philadelphia. Giannotti said a few weeks ago he believes Spike Eskin’s contract expires with WFAN on June 20th.

In mid-December it was announced Eskin would return to SportsRadio 94WIP in Philadelphia as afternoon drive co-host. Eskin will leave his current position, which he has held since July, 2021. At the time of that announcement, it was said Eskin would return to the WIP airwaves, on a full-time basis, once his successor at WFAN and CBS Sports Radio has been found.

As for the what if of Stugotz having taken the job, Giannotti said, “It would have been interesting. It would have been different.”

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