This week, ESPN presented two exclusive NHL games, the latter of which was broadcast on its streaming service, ESPN+, and Hulu. 98.5 The Sports Hub hosts Rich Shertenlieb and Fred Toucher believe the network have some work to do when it comes to its presentation of the NHL.
While fans in the Boston marketplace and beyond are excited regarding the success of their team after a record-setting regular season last year, some had trouble finding the game. On Friday morning’s edition of Toucher & Rich on 98.5 The Sports Hub, co-host Rich Shertenlieb expressed how the Original Six matchup was not prominently displayed on the front screen of the Hulu app, contrasting from how other streaming services market sports properties.
“It’s the opposite of what you do when you’re watching Thursday Night Football,” Shertenlieb said. “Amazon is like, ‘We spent money on this product. Damnit, you’re going to watch it.’ I don’t even think you need to press play when you turn on Amazon. It’s right there.”
In order to find the game on Hulu, Shertenlieb had to type ‘Bruins’ into the search bar, something that Toucher feels is taking away from the growth of the sport. While there is a large slate of programming on Hulu across various genres, prominently featuring the NHL on nights with exclusive games could prompt people to click on it just to see what is going on, and then perhaps become interested in the game later on.
“I didn’t see it on the [Hulu] front page, so I went to ESPN and it was the first thing for me on ESPN,” Toucher said. “I have the ESPN app, but if you are going to have something on Hulu, I understand, and I now think anybody they want watching the games probably has streaming service. They’re not overly interested in you – I apologize if you’re this age – but if you’re in your 60s or 70s or 80s, they’re not overly interested in you; they’re just not.”
In his remarks, Toucher likened the lack of promotion surrounding the property to a “J.V. operation,” claiming that the NHL is missing an opportunity for fans outside of markets with an emphasis on hockey. There have been times when he has become interested in recommended shows because of the algorithm within the streaming service, and pushing the NHL and other live sports in a similar regard could help grow the audience and elicit a greater return on investment.
“At any given point, how many live sporting events are running on Hulu at night? It’s not many, right?,” Shertenlieb presumed. “Let’s say there’s three – wouldn’t you think that [if] you were somebody who ran Hulu, you would have, on the front screen, a portion of it that said, ‘Live sports right now,’ that you could click on?”
Toucher assumed that Hulu does not value the NHL and does not care to advertise it or put significant marketing spend. He also opined that the league should insist on having a banner advertisement and that if no one clicks on it, it will still be good for purposes of exposure.
“They were desperate to get on ESPN is what happened, and they got on ESPN,” Toucher said. “….Disney owns ESPN, ABC, Hulu – all that stuff – and they were so desperate to get on ESPN that they agreed to do this crap. By the way, of all the games, that’s a national showcase game.”
Joe Benigno: No Ground Rules in Texting Jets Head Coach
“What else do you want me to say? There’s nothing else I can say.”
With a losing streak that has reached five consecutive games and questions surrounding the team, the New York Jets endured several rounds of negative publicity on Monday. A report from Dianna Russini of The Athletic stated that Wilson was reluctant to reassume the starting quarterback responsibilities, while former WFAN host Joe Benigno revealed that head coach Robert Saleh told him in a text message that he does not like Wilson.
While Saleh addressed the first matter in a press conference yesterday and gave a vote of confidence to his quarterback, there has been several discussions surrounding what Benigno revealed Monday on WFAN. Benigno recognized that he misinterpreted what Saleh said and appeared on Boomer & Gio on Tuesday morning to clear the air. Rather than not caring for his quarterback, Joe Benigno revealed that Saleh was incredulous to the fact that he wanted Wilson to start again after suggesting to him for weeks that he should be benched. The matter was a topic of discussion to open Tuesday’s edition of the show, and Benigno called in to try and defend his actions.
“Well look, I wouldn’t call [it] me hammering him,” Joe Benigno said. “You think I’m sitting there hammering him; is that what I’m doing?”
Benigno did not seem to grasp an understanding of what he did to Saleh, who morning show co-host Gregg Giannotti surmises received a deluge of messages and feedback about the purported narrative. Giannotti presented a hypothetical situation to Benigno where he promulgated information that Benigno did not like his co-host Evan Roberts based on what he was told by him. After asking Benigno whether or not he would consider the action by Giannotti to be an example of throwing him under the bus, he concurred that it would constitute such a classification.
“Okay, well that’s what you did to Rob Saleh yesterday!,” Giannotti replied. “That’s my point.”
“I defended myself in the way that I have to,” Joe Benigno said back. “What else do you want me to say? I shouldn’t have done it.”
Benigno has fostered a relationship with Saleh where they text back-and-forth about the team, but there have not been ground rules established in their interactions. After Giannotti inquired pertaining to whether or not certain things were off-the-record, he was surprised to learn that there were no set limitations about what to and not to disseminate. This caused him not to want to know whether or not Benigno heard from Saleh himself yesterday after the reaction it elicited.
Morning show co-host Boomer Esiason continued the discussion by asking Benigno how the owner of the Jets would feel if someone revealed information that was obtained through a text message that was willingly sent by the head coach. He also averred that Saleh would likely have plenty of time to text with Benigno in the future, surmising that he would be losing his job after the team’s performance this season. Benigno still did not understand how he harmed the reputation of the head coach, causing Giannotti to recapitulate what he had explained earlier.
“The fact that he wants to continue texting you about the team after this makes him look like a stone-cold moron,” Giannotti said, preceding his remarks by explaining that he intended to demonstrate no disrespect to Benigno. “If he didn’t learn his lesson this time around and he’s still going to go back and talk to you about the team, then he shouldn’t be the head coach because that is idiotic. I can’t even imagine the stuff that he heard yesterday from people.”
Although Benigno is not sure if Saleh will still text him about the team, the morning show co-hosts seemed to feel that he reached an understanding about the implications and consequences of his actions. After the call concluded, Esiason inferred that Benigno was feeling “sick to his stomach” about what he did on the air.
“Alright, well look,” Benigno said. “I guess only time will tell, alright. What else do you want me to say? There’s nothing else I can say. Obviously I made a mistake here; something I shouldn’t have done; totally misinterpreted it; and what can I do about it now – not much.”
“What you did actually,” Giannotti answered. “I think what you can do about it now is what you did, which is understand what happened; that’s all. At least we understand that you understand now, so now we can move on with an understanding.”
Shan Shariff: FS1 Has the Worst NFL Analysts
He noted that Skip Bayless, Craig Carton, and LeSean McCoy were the “dumbest” analysts for FS1.
FS1 has assembled a wide-ranging cast of former NFL players and pundits throughout its analyst, panelist, and host roles. That doesn’t mean they have earned the respect of 105.3 The Fan’s Shan Shariff.
During the Dallas morning show Tuesday, Shariff shared that in a recent interview with Awful Announcing, he named the three “dumbest” analysts when it comes to the Dallas Cowboys. He noted that Skip Bayless is the worst offender, while Craig Carton is third on his list behind LeSean McCoy. All three work for FS1.
A recent statement from McCoy caught the particular ire of Shariff, for arguing that Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, despite playing well recently and being viewed as an NFL MVP candidate, needs to play worse to see how he’ll respond to the adversity.
“I wanna see when he messes and how he responds,” McCoy said.
“I honestly think — I don’t know if he’s a clown or if he’s just not intelligent…he made zero sense,” Shariff said. “Everyone else on set was looking at him like ‘You want him to be worse and mess up so he can respond to that in order to get more MVP consideration?'”
“If he had said ‘I need to see Dak play well against good teams’, that’s a totally valid statement,” co-host RJ Choppy said. “This makes no sense.”
Shariff then brought up a recent statement from FS1’s Joy Taylor that argued Prescott can’t win the MVP due to his on-field play.
“This is like a two-and-a-half-minute clip. I don’t have the patience for or the tolerance for that,” Shariff said.
Co-host Bobby Belt responded by saying “She’s clearly on TV because of her football opinions,” which led Shan Shariff to say “Yeah, Thanks, Jason Taylor,” the older brother of Joy Taylor, who made the Pro Football Hall of Fame after a 13-year NFL career.
ESPN 1400 Coming to KGVL in Greenville, Texas
Greenville, Texas is 50 miles northeast of Dallas.
KGVL in Greenville, Texas is preparing to flip formats from oldies to sports radio with ESPN 1400 set to debut after Christmas.
After it wraps up airing Christmas music, the station will permanently air a sports format with ESPN Radio.
“While we have enjoyed bringing you classic hits for the last few years, we have an opportunity to bring something to Northeast Texas that we can’t pass up!,” a post to the station’s Facebook stage said. “Starting after the Holidays, we will become ESPN 1400! Not only will we bring you non-stop sports, but we will also carry LIVE sports like college football, NFL, NBA, MLB, and even CFP Bowl Games!”
Greenville, Texas is 50 miles northeast of Dallas. KGVL is a Class C, 1,000 watt station owned by E Radio Network. The station covers the majority of Dallas and the eastern portion of the Metroplex. It can also be heard on FM translators on 105.9 FM and 107.7 FM.
The news was first reported by RadioInsight.