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Richard Deitsch: Would Not Surprise Me if NFL Had Two Streaming-Exclusive Playoff Games Next Year

“And, I agree, you’re going to see, eventually in the next year or two years, whatever it is, another Wild Card game that is going to be on a streaming platform.”

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Sports Media Podcast wtih Richard Deitsch and Austin Karo
Austin Karp Courtesy: SportsBusinessJournal.com

The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch said on his podcast, Sports Media with Richard Deitsch, he would not be surprised to see more than one streaming-exclusive NFL playoff game by as early as next year. Deitsch had Sports Business Journal’s Managing Editor/Digital Austin Karp as his guest and the two discussed NFL streaming as well as other topics such as the Daytona 500 TV ratings, the upcoming Men’s and Women’s NCAA basketball championships and more.

Last week, CNBC’s Alex Sherman reported Amazon will pay $150 million to exclusively-stream an NFL Wild Card playoff game after reports had first indicated the number would be $120 million. This past season it was Peacock who started the trend as the first to exclusively stream a playoff game, with a $110 million price tag.

“We are going to read this headline now every year,” Deitsch said. “Whether it’s Amazon or someone else, and I would not be surprised if in short order, if we move very quickly to a second postseason game behind a paywall…It would not surprise me if next year someone like an Amazon or somebody else had two of them.”

Karp agreed with Deitsch, saying, “…It has proven out that you can draw a comparable audience for the Wild Card round. As far as sports moving over to streaming with big events like this, it’s incremental. And, I agree, you’re going to see, eventually in the next year or two years, whatever it is, another Wild Card game that is going to be on a streaming platform. It just makes sense, that’s where the eyeballs are going and we have shown that the audience numbers can match what linear TV was able to produce for that round.”

One other item of note covered by Deitsch and Karp was the future of the Sports Media Podcast. Previously the podcast had been hosted by SBJ’s John Ourand along with New York Post senior sports media columnist Andrew Marchand. However, both have changed employers with Ourand now at Puck News and Marchand moving over to The Athletic.

Karp has taken over hosting duties and said, “We are going to stay, obviously, very focused on what our bread and butter is – sports business and sports media, in particular. But, maybe you will see us branch out a little more…We want to try to keep as many of the smart talk elements, and really lean in to what SBJ has been doing for close to 30 years, giving you an insiders look into sports business.”

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Andreas Hale Joins ESPN as Combat Sports Insider

“You all said I’d land on my feet. I did at ESPN.”

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Graphic announcing Andreas Hale hire at ESPN
Courtesy: ESPN

Andreas Hale, a former member of the staff at The Sporting News, has been hired by ESPN. Hale was laid off from TSN in the round of layoffs which took place in January.

Hale announced the new position via his X account, and he also thanked those that supported him. “When I was laid off in January, I had no idea what was next for me,” he wrote. “There was an overwhelming amount of support that I didn’t anticipate from people I knew and those I weren’t aware knew of me. You all said I’d land on my feet. I did at ESPN. Thank you.”

According to the post from ESPN PR announcing the hire, Hale will provide coverage of MMA, boxing and pro wrestling. Hale’s first assignment will be a big one as he covers UFC 300, which is set to be one of the top gates in UFC history and have more than 1 million pay-per-view buys.

In the main event, newly crowned light heavyweight champion Alex Pereira takes on returning former titleholder Jamahal Hill, after Hill had to relinquish the belt last summer due to injury. 

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Edison Research: ‘The Dale Jr. Download’ Ranks No. 4 in Podcast Listener Exclusivity

The podcast has been on the air since 2017 and discusses a variety of topics pertaining to racecar driving, and is available on all major podcasting platforms.

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Edison Research
(Illustration) Edison Research Logo – Courtesy: Edison Research

Earlier in the year, Edison Research determined within its Infinite Dial 2024 report that 34% of Americans age 13 and older listen to podcasts every week. Podcast familiarity was recently measured at 84 million people across the United States, and the weekly listening audience was determined to be approaching 100 million weekly listeners.

An aspect of that study, however, that was not divulged was the listening exclusivity and investment that audiences demonstrate to different offerings. Edison Podcast Metrics, which interviews 20,000 weekly podcast listeners per year while tracking demographics, content preferences and listening behaviors, recently viewed the 500 largest active shows in the United States. In this exercise, the company was trying to determine which programs had the highest portion of the audience that listens exclusively to the show.

Edison Research findings discovered that The Bible in a Year hosted by Father Mike Schmitz and featuring Jeff Cavins finished No. 1 in this study, finding that 30% of program listeners do not listen to any other show during the week. Finishing fourth in the study is The Dale Jr. Download from Dirty Mo Media featuring two-time Daytona 500 champion Dale Earnhardt Jr. The podcast has been on the air since 2017 and discusses a variety of topics pertaining to racing, and is available on all major podcasting platforms. Additionally, the show has a video component on YouTube and currently has approximately 400,000 subscribers.

The program has been releasing three episodes per week in recent months that features discussion, debate and interviews. Apple Podcasts measurements have the show reaching its 600th episode in the coming weeks and receiving a 4.9 out of five stars from approximately 8,200 ratings. In addition to The Dale Jr. Download, Dirty Mo Media includes various podcast offerings with hosts such as Andrew Kurland, Denny Hamlin and Steve Letarte.

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Scott Van Pelt: The Masters Invites Me to Be Reflective and Nostalgic

“There’s something about it – and I get that if you haven’t been here, you can roll your eyes at it – but everyone’s sort of in a good mood; everyone’s on their best behavior.”

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Scott Van Pelt SC
Courtesy: Allen Kee, ESPN Images

Scott Van Pelt is hosting his edition of SportsCenter this week from Augusta National Country Club, the site of The Masters golf tournament. The heralded tradition of the sport is considered to be one of the most difficult events for which to secure a ticket, but it has been part of Van Pelt’s career as a media professional from nearly the very beginning.

Fans recognize Van Pelt at the tournament and often ask him for pictures, and his coverage of the proceedings has become a regular part of the tradition itself. Yet it took Van Pelt time to become fully accustomed to working in sports media and overcoming imposter syndrome, something he attributes to being part of the reason why he believed he would never work at ESPN.

Van Pelt was rejected from the journalism program at the University of Maryland and struggled to find a full-time television job for many years out of school. One of his friends offered him a chance to work at the Golf Channel, a new startup network at the time, and he worked to become an anchor of the Golf Central program. When championship golfer Tiger Woods was playing in Doral, Fla., Van Pelt drove five hours from Orlando just to ask if he would be able to interview him the next week. Woods obliged and informed the PGA Tour that he wanted to speak with Van Pelt, a conversation that he affirms impacted his career.

While Van Pelt was at the Golf Channel, he worked with producer Lee Rosenblatt, a former employee at ESPN that was nicknamed “Nate,” the reasoning behind which is unbeknownst to Van Pelt. Nonetheless, Rosenblatt told Van Pelt that he would work at ESPN someday, a statement that Van Pelt did not believe would become true. Rosenblatt then subsequently bet Van Pelt $100 that he would, prompting Van Pelt to write a Post-It note that reads, “I’ll never work at ESPN.” In 2001, Van Pelt was hired by ESPN and officially lost the bet, but he keeps the note on his desk as a reminder not to state the things that he will not do.

“It’s good to have that sort of rutter for yourself, and I think of it often, and I’ve changed some of the things I’ve done,” Van Pelt said in a recent interview on The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz. “I’ve taken on different challenges throughout time, and I try to remind myself not to just get stuck in a lane, which I think can happen to all of us if we’re not willing to do the thing we think we aren’t good enough to do.”

Earlier in the conversation, show host Dan Le Batard asked Van Pelt if he considers the week in which he gets to cover The Masters as a representation of having a “get-to job” rather than a “got-to job.” Van Pelt replied that it was without question and explained how he gets to reconnect with old friends every time he visits Augusta, including someone who works on the grounds that recently introduced him to his nephew.

“There’s something about it – and I get that if you haven’t been here, you can roll your eyes at it – but everyone’s sort of in a good mood; everyone’s on their best behavior,” Van Pelt said. “All the players love it – they revere the place. I owe my career to it largely having met Tiger [Woods] and having him do what he did in ‘97 and have the opportunity to talk to him about it afterwards and maybe get on the radar of ESPN or whatever, so I don’t know. It invites me to be reflective; it invites me to be nostalgic, and gratitude is something I try to put out in the universe all the time. I don’t always do a great job of it, but it’s really easy to do that this week.”

Van Pelt has found that he appreciates going to The Masters more with age and tries to maintain a sense of perspective regarding his career. He discussed that there is a point when you wake up and realize you are on the “Back 9 of your life,” and thinks back to the time when he was in the early stages of his career covering the sport. Van Pelt is undoubtedly grateful to be at the course this week to watch the 88th iteration of The Masters as golfers from around the world compete for the title.

“The end of the runway doesn’t feel like it’s immediate, but it’s you’re getting there, so undoubtedly coming here and thinking, ‘How long do you get to do this – this get-to job?’ I don’t know, but I’m here right now, and so you just try to be present in that and grateful in that because at some point, I won’t. I try not to think a ton about that, but absolutely, age makes you more aware of and present in the present.”

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