Dave Portnoy caught wind of a piece that was being written about him by The Washington Post pertaining to a pizza festival Barstool Sports is holding in Brooklyn, N.Y. this Saturday. Instead of watching the piece be published, he decided to contact the reporter, food writer Emily Heil, who was seeking comment from advertisers involved in the festival. In an email, she wrote that Portnoy “has a history of misogynistic comments and other problematic behavior,” a statement the Barstool founder and owner felt was “tortious interference.”
When Portnoy called Heil, she initially denied that she had written an email about Portnoy to sponsors about the story. After Portnoy read it back to her, she confirmed that it had indeed been done in order to get people to respond, asserting that negative commentary elicits more responses than its counterpart. WFAN host Gregg Giannotti described the occurrence on the Boomer & Gio morning show on Thursday, prompting co-host Boomer Esiason to give his genuine reaction to what had happened.
“Classic, classic example of cancel culture,” Esiason said. “She’s using her platform as a Washington Post reporter – that’s her backstop – and she’s sending out an email from that email address and she’s basically associating him with something she thinks he is. It’s the absolute obvious cancel, I guess, cancel culture syndrome if you will.”
Giannotti made mention of the fact that Portnoy has raised $50 million for small businesses affected by the COVID-19 global pandemic through his “Barstool Fund.” Moreover, he articulated how the entrepreneur has helped pizza places through reviewing them, even if he does not grant every restaurant a high score. Portnoy’s “One Bite” videos garner millions of views on social media and have become a trusted source of information pertaining to local outlets.
“The last one he gave a negative review,” Esiason said, referring to Dragon Pizza in Somerville, Mass., “and the next thing you know, the place is packed.”
Watching the incident unfold in real time through Portnoy’s recording of the phone call and videos on social media was fascinating for Esiason and Giannotti. The call ended with him agreeing to be interviewed by The Washington Post at 10 a.m. on Thursday; however, the reporter canceled the call and asked to reschedule after details of the interaction became public knowledge.
“This is a really bad look on her part and the whole industry’s part,” Esiason said. “She’s trying to impart her feelings into a question to get people to respond. What she’s really doing is probably trying to get them to pull out of sponsoring the pizza fest.”
Both hosts believe that Heil is taking advantage of her platform as a reporter for The Washington Post in an attempt to thwart their business because of her own aversion to its practices. The disclosure of this ordeal is somewhat disturbing for them, acknowledging how it is extraordinary that something of this magnitude is taking place out in the open
“This is not someone writing, ‘This is what I think of this guy,’” Giannotti explained. “She said she’s doing reporting, so when you do reporting and throw out there, ‘This guy’s got a history of misogynistic and problematic behavior….’”
“And she doesn’t take into account the Barstool employees,” Esiason added, “[who are] the people that are benefiting from the pizza fest and all the stuff that he’s done for small business because she doesn’t like the way that Barstool does its business.”
Greg Papa: ‘These Are Rough Times’ After KNBR Cuts
“Murph, I’ve known forever, going back to the A’s days. These are rough times. Things change.”
Late Wednesday, it was unveiled that KNBR had undergone a series of cost-cutting measures that eliminated the jobs of morning co-host Paul McCaffrey and evening host F.P. Santangelo. KNBR midday host Greg Papa reflected on the changes Thursday morning.
To open Papa and Lund, Greg Papa took the opportunity to address the elephant in the room.
“With Murph and Mac, and Pauly, I’ve been on with them every Friday since I started working with the Niners in 2019, and we hardly ever talked football,” Papa said. “It was always about other things and coming to the studio and getting to know them. Murph, I’ve known forever, going back to the A’s days. These are rough times. Things change. Look at what’s going on with the RSNs in the country. Certainly, terrestrial radio is feeling the brunt of it for a number of factors.”
John Lund agreed, calling McCaffrey “one of my favorites”.
Fill-in host Deiter Kurtenbach hosted the morning show Thursday in place of Brian Murphy. Papa joked that the fill-in host needed a better understanding of radio if he’s going to have the job full-time.
“For Deiter, if you’re going to be on in the morning, you gotta get on the clock better. We can’t start at 10:08 AM. You get a false start right away.”
It is unclear what Murphy’s role with KNBR will be going forward. The station has removed him from its website, and he has yet to comment publicly about his future. Kurtenbach said this morning he would host the morning timeslot for the remainder of the week.
NASCAR President ‘Can’t Overstate’ Importance of New TV Deal
“Everyone talks about getting younger and we’re no different…We have, but we have to keep going…”
Yesterday, NASCAR announced a new television deal with 10 races split between new partners Amazon Prime Video and TNT. NASCAR President Steve Phelps says you can’t overstate the importance of new partnerships.
In an interview with Sports Business Journal, Phelps admitted the agreements with TNT — and it’s Max streaming service — and Amazon Prime Video are focused on reaching a younger audience.
“I don’t think you can overstate how important it is,” Phelps said. “Everyone talks about getting younger and we’re no different. Have we had success over the last three years getting younger and more diverse? We have, but we have to keep going and we have to meet those potential fans where they are, whether that’s our Netflix show that’s going to come out early next year or what’s going to happen with here.
“Amazon is going to do some different content-related things going into 2025 and … our expectation is Warner Bros. Discovery is going to plug us into Bleacher Report, House of Highlights, and other channels that will start to promote NASCAR. Because, honestly, we haven’t had a lot of that. Now they’re a partner and see us as a partner and there’s going to be a mandate to promoting NASCAR, and that to me is really important and it speaks to the changing landscape of where media consumption is going specifically.”
Phelps continued by saying it was “one of the most important, if not the most important” contracts of his career, noting that the new deal was about more than just money.
“It was critical – even past dollars. Are they important? Of course, but it’s really about having these distribution outlets that are just incredible. The reach these five companies have is incredible.”
SiriusXM and MLB Sign Extension Through 2028
“We’re very proud to continue Baseball’s rich history of reaching fans through their radios.”
SiriusXM and Major League Baseball have announced an extension of their partnership that goes through the 2028 MLB season.
Every MLB game will remain available to SiriusXM subscribers on their car radios and in the SiriusXM app. The new deal also ensures that MLB Network Radio will continue through the 2028 season.
“We’re very proud to continue Baseball’s rich history of reaching fans through their radios. Today, we’re delivering those fans the sounds of the game through SiriusXM’s state-of-the-art platforms in the car and on the SiriusXM app,” said SiriusXM President and Chief Content Officer Scott Greenstein.
“Being able to hear their team’s announcers is important to fans, and no matter where you are listening from across North America, you’ll get access to every team’s broadcast for every game on SiriusXM. Couple this with the best daily talk and analysis of the game on the MLB Network Radio channel and SiriusXM is a must-have for baseball fans, and will be for years to come.”
The new agreement continues the relationship between SiriusXM and MLB that dates back to the 2005 season.
“The collection of MLB game presentations and content that has developed through our extended relationship with SiriusXM has been a powerful asset in making our game more accessible to fans wherever they are,” said MLB Executive Vice President of Media & Business Development Kenny Gersh.
“The sounds of Baseball are an important part of our story and we’re proud to continue to work with SiriusXM as they advance and grow the MLB streaming experience for fans on their platforms.”