Sports TV News
Bleacher Report Embraces Delivering Content Everywhere
When word first leaked that Facebook was approaching publishers to put content directly on the platform, many were skeptical. There were the usual fears of loss of control and uncertain prospects for monetization.
And, to be fair, many of those questions remain unanswered. But as Facebook, Google and Snapchat have moved content directly on their platforms, publishers like BuzzFeed and Bleacher Report have eagerly jumped at the chance of reaching audiences directly on the platforms where they’re spending the most time.
“2016 is the year that, as a publisher, if you’re not embracing the content-everywhere approach and you’re not coming up with a way to have conversations with advertisers about how you’re going to bake their brands in content on these platforms, 2017 is going to roll around and you’ll be in trouble,” said Rory Brown, President of Bleacher Report. Brown was employee #12 and has witnessed the company’s growth to more than 300 people, becoming a cornerstone piece of Turner’s digital media strategy in the process.
Bleacher Report did not grow without its share of critics. Some bemoaned the site’s reliance on aggregation and mastery of the dark arts of search-engine optimization. What they missed, Brown said, is that Bleacher Report was focused not just on producing content but on getting it to audiences, a basic strategy that many publishers were late to adopt.
The knock on distributed strategy is publishers can become over-reliant on a platform. That’s why Bleacher Report has a “hedging” strategy of not over-emphasizing one platform too much. That can mean bringing in traffic through search, social and apps but also going out to platforms.
Compared to many publishers, Bleacher Report made an early bet on mobile, seeing its audience shift in that direction. That has allowed it to amass 15 million downloads of its Team Streams app. Its strategy relied on converting search traffic to email newsletters and then to the app, Brown said.
“The current media wars are not going to be won on direct audience numbers,” he said. “Brand is the big winner. We’ve got to reach as many people as we possibly can, and the best way to do that is creating content that might live on Bleacher Report but lives in a number of places as well.”
To read the full article and hear the podcast with Rory Brown visit Digiday where it was originally published
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
Sports TV News
Chris Chelios Won’t Return to ESPN
“The decision is directly tied to job cuts at the network.”
Chris Chelios will not be returning to ESPN next NHL season. Front Office Sports reports that the analyst has been told his contract is not being renewed. Chelios becomes the first name related to ESPN layoffs to become public.
Front Office Sports reports that ESPN was not dissatisfied with Chelios’s performance. He joined ESPN in 2022 ahead of the network reclaiming part of the NHL’s television rights.
The decision is directly tied to job cuts at the network. Chelios fit the archetype that ESPN is reportedly looking at as it decides where and who to cut. He is a well-compensated talent with an expiring contract.
Layoffs at ESPN are part of a larger effort to reduce costs at the Walt Disney Company by around $5.5 billion. More than 7,000 jobs are expected to be lost across all sectors of the company.
Chelios is a three-time Stanley Cup Champion, having won the title with the Montreal Canadiens in 1986 and twice with the Detroit Red Wings. He is also an eleven-time All-Star and three-time winner of the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman.
Sports TV News
LA Kings Going With Radio/TV Simulcast, Alex Faust Out
“Los Angeles now joins the Dallas Stars and Carolina Hurricanes as teams employing a simulcast on both television and radio.”
Big changes are coming to the Los Angeles Kings next season. The team is shaking up its broadcast booth and the new lineup leaves popular play-by-play man Alex Faust without a job.
Faust announced on Twitter Monday that he was told his contract was not being renewed by the team. Instead, the team will adopt a single broadcast that will be simulcast across TV and radio.
Nick Nickerson will handle play-by-play duties. Jim Fox will serve as the analyst. Daryl Evans will be part of the team as well.
Alex Faust was a popular young broadcaster. At just 34-years-old, he had already earned national work from FOX calling college football and basketball as well as Major League Baseball.
Even people who didn’t like sports became interested in Faust’s work in 2018. That year, the late Alex Trebek mentioned to TMZ that he could see Faust taking over Jeopardy! when he was done.
“The LA Kings sincerely thank Alex Faust for representing the organization and our community with dignity and class over the last six years,” a statement from the Kings reads. “Alex is an extremely talented and passionate broadcaster with a bright future in the NHL and sports on the whole. We wish him the utmost success in the years ahead.”
Los Angeles now joins the Dallas Stars and Carolina Hurricanes as teams employing a simulcast on both television and radio.
The team currently does not have a TV rights holder. It anticipates naming one before the start of the 2023-2024 season. The team’s English language radio call is heard exclusively on the iHeartRadio app.
Sports TV News
Joe Davis: I Do Not Let Myself Feel Pressure of Following Joe Buck
“I would have been too in my own head thinking about who I was following.”
There are not many people in the sports media industry who get the opportunity to take the broadcast seat of one great voice, let alone two. Joe Davis has that distinction. Not only is he the lead voice for MLB on FOX (taking over for Joe Buck), but he’s also the voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers (taking over for the late, great Vin Scully). For some, the moment of being that person can bring a lot of pressure, but not for Davis.
Davis was a guest on the New York, New York with John Jastremski podcast before the Yankees-Dodgers series over the weekend and he told Jastremski about being the voice of the Dodgers that he looked at it as more of a responsibility to follow Scully rather than thinking about how he was going to replace him.
“For me, part of what made the job special, part of why I wanted it, the main reason was I wanted it. I didn’t want to look at it as oh my god, I’ve got to replace Vin. I looked at it as how cool of an opportunity, of an responsibility to be the guy who gets that chance to follow the greatest ever.”
As for taking over for Buck, Davis mentioned he grew up watching him and that’s what made sitting in that chair a big moment for him.
“I tried to channel that positively and that was how cool this is instead of ‘oh crap, how about this pressure I’m going to deal with’. I think it is easy to fall into one of those traps and I think that had I done that, I wouldn’t have been able to do my job right and I wouldn’t have been able to bring joy to people by hopefully having fun doing the game. I would have been too in my own head thinking about who I was following.”
Like every MLB announcer this year, Davis has been able to call games with the pitch clock. For him, it has been a very good thing.
“Best way I can put it is I no longer have to remind myself that I love baseball. There would be times before the pitch clock where those games would just drag to the point where it’s like okay, you love this sport, remember that. I don’t have to remind myself anymore. It’s so much fun every single night because it moves so quickly. I don’t have anywhere to go, it’s not like I need to leave the park. It’s more about what happens while you are there. It’s just an edgier seat, snap of the finger, move forward process.”
Ricky Keeler is a reporter for BSM with a primary focus on sports media podcasts and national personalities. He is also an active podcaster with an interest in pursuing a career in sports media. You can find him on Twitter @Rickinator555 or reach him by email at RickJKeeler@gmail.com.