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ESPN Pulls Katz From SiriusXM Show

Jason Barrett

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Charles de Gaulle once opined that politics is too serious a matter to be left to the politicians. Apparently, the same goes for college basketball reporters and Outside The Lines hosts.

Without warning, ESPN management last week pulled Andy Katz from co-hosting a SiriusXM program called “The Arena,” featuring Katz and Rick Klein of ABC News interviewing subjects from the sports and political worlds on how sports-related topics can drive the agenda in Washington. The six-episode run debuted on October 2, and you can see here that Sirius XM promoted the show in a big way. The show aired on SiriusXM’s non-partisan political channel, P.O.T.U.S, and the first (and now only) guest was Florida governor and current GOP candidate Jeb Bush. That conversation produced some interesting news for SiriusXM, ESPN and ABC News, given all three were attached to the project.

Said Bush on whether the Washington football team should change its nickname: “I don’t think [the team] should change it. But again, I don’t think politicians ought to have any say in that to be honest with you. I don’t find it offensive. Native American tribes generally don’t find it offensive. We had a similar kind of flap with FSU if you recall, the Seminoles, and the Seminole tribe itself kind of came to the defense of the university and it subsided. It’s a sport for crying out loud.”

Last Thursday SiriusXM confirmed that “The Arena” is no longer airing on SiriusXM. The company declined comment beyond that. If you think it’s strange that a SiriusXM show ended after one episode and no one wants to talk about it, you’d be right. But the onus isn’t on SiriusXM here. It’s on ESPN.

Katz was clearly given an internal green light to do this – SiriusXM isn’t putting out a splashy announcement for a show that talent hasn’t signed on to do – so the question is: what happened? Sources told SI.com that Katz was pulled off the show in an effort to minimize Presidential candidate appearances on platforms connected to ESPN, and the sensitivity of such political identification. The supreme irony here is that Katz and Klein continue to host a politically-based (but ideologically neutral) podcast (Capital Games) on ESPN since 2014.

Klein declined comment via email.

When contacted by SI.com on Sunday, an ESPN spokesperson said, “Some internal miscommunication occurred, and we apologize. ESPN’s policy does not allow for full-time employees to create content for other outlets, so Andy could no longer appear on the show.”

I feel bad for Katz (who was not made available by ESPN for this query) and Klein. They forged something unique and interesting – and apolitical – and it was pulled for what appears to be a heavy-handed management decision. Perhaps there is some merit to ESPN’s public response (Stephen A. Smith’s show on SiriusXM is produced by ESPN) but ESPN has a history in this, well, arena . Readers can be the judge.

To read more, visit Sports Illustrated where this was originally published

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Paul Finebaum: ESPN, FOX Have Power To Tank EA Sports College Football Video Game

“Paul Finebaum had high praise for what the video game has meant to college football.”

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Paul Finebaum

The power brokers in college football now are the media. In particular, it is ESPN, who is set to take over the SEC’s media rights and FOX, who controls the Big Ten’s media rights. Paul Finebaum said recently on the Dynasty Mode podcast that those relationships give the two networks major control over college football.

Dynasty Mode is a podcast about EA Sports’ popular college football video game series hosted by BSM writers Arky Shea and Demetri Ravanos. Finebaum told the pair that if either ESPN and FOX or the Big Ten and the SEC don’t want to work together, the video game, which will return to store shelves in 2023 after a ten-year absence from the market, could be doomed.

“We’re a year removed from an absolute certainty, that was a 12 school playoff for the CFP, getting shot down for the very same reason,” he said. “So if they can shoot down the most important entity in college sports, I think they can shoot down this.”

Paul Finebaum had high praise for what the video game has meant to college football. He told Shea and Ravanos that he hopes power brokers at schools and networks realize that.

“I think it’s been very important and I don’t know how many people that are in those power five seats think about stuff like that.”

In the early 2000s, Tony Bruno brought a fictionalized version of his radio show to EA Sports’ Madden NFL series. Finebaum said he had not been approached yet by EA to do something similar for the new college football video game.

“I’m really surprised they haven’t because it would be a big money-making operation, at least for me. I don’t know about for them, but I am happy to participate,” Finebaum joked.

He added that the real value to EA Sports would be his audience. They could give the game a level of authenticity that many fans have missed as college football becomes a more corporate entity.

“You can replace me, but you can’t replace the callers. They are the most unique, and I think it takes a lot of work to nurture callers like that. I’m not campaigning for EA because I have people to do that for me,” he said. “Point being, what makes college sports what it is? It’s the fans. It’s not the fat cats that buy the one million or two million dollar suites. It’s not the people sitting with the president. It’s the rank and file that probably never get to campus.”

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Matt Chernoff: WFAN’s Sal Licata ‘Doesn’t Have The Guts’ to Appear On 680 The Fan Again

“He doesn’t have the guts to come on again. After what happened last time? You think he wants that again? Why the hell would he want that?”

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Would WFAN’s Sal Licata join Chuck and Chernoff on 680 The Fan in Atlanta again? According to Matt Chernoff, no.

During a May appearance on SNY, Licata declared the National League East race over, saying the New York Mets had wrapped up the division. The Atlanta Braves then proceeded to win 14 consecutive games. The Mets currently hold a seven game lead over the Braves in the division.

After the 14 game winning streak, Chuck and Chernoff had Licata on their show to confront him about the opinion, and things got slightly heated, with Chernoff and Licata eventually yelling at each other, before cooler heads prevailed.

The two hosts rekindled their disdain for one another after the Mets won four of five games against the Braves over the weekend, with the two trading barbs on Twitter. Licata joked Chernoff should hope the New York host doesn’t move to Atlanta to win a ratings battle, and called Chernoff a clown before deleting the tweet. He later tweeted “Funny. No invites from Atlanta sports talk radio today,” accompanied by a should shrug emoji. That caught the attention of Chernoff, who addressed it to open his show Monday.

“He (Licata) won’t come on,” Chernoff said. “He doesn’t have the guts to come on again. After what happened last time? You think he wants that again? Why the hell would he want that? He made a fool of himself and then lied about it to his own fans. There’s a reason he didn’t play the audio on his dumb little show. And next time when he’s an hour late, they have that to play instead. I mean, honestly, if he wants to come on, come on. He has no interest. He does not want this smoke.”

@680thefan

Chernoff has had enough of loud mouth Sal Licata of #wfan #braves #mets

♬ original sound – 680 The Fan

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Sports Gambling Podcast Network To Stage 24-Hour Fantasy Football Draft

“The event begins at 3 pm on Tuesday and is dubbed Draft Day 2.0.”

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Sports Gambling Podcast

If you’re serious about Fantasy Football, the Sports Gambling Podcast Network is bringing back a tradition you’ll want to pay attention to. 

For the second year in a row, Ryan Kramer will draft 24 different teams over the course of a 24 hour marathon that will be streamed across multiple video platforms. 

“Fortunately, the analytics research is done so I can focus now on news coming out of the camps to sharpen my views and deliver the well-reasoned selections that people need to get an edge in their drafting,” Kramer said in a press release. “It’s a bit of an audacious undertaking, but the growing phenomenon of Fantasy Football deserves this level of commitment and our SGPN audiences always respond.” 

The event begins at 3 pm on Tuesday and is dubbed “Draft Day 2.0”. All of the content will originate from the Sports Gambling Podcast Network’s studios in Los Angeles. 

The marathon will also be a fundraiser. The network is using GoFundMe to raise funds for a colleague named Darryl injured in a motorcycle accident earlier this year. A portion of proceeds generated from the sale of Sports Gambling Podcast Network branded apperal will also go to the effort. 

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