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Le Batard Goes Off On 790 The Ticket Officials

Jason Barrett

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Dan Le Batard went off yesterday on the management at his local radio station 790 the Ticket in Miami during the end of his show’s local hour. The diatribe was the result of Le Batard being upset with station officials who wanted him to not to talk about a story in the Miami Herald about a local woman who is heading to prison for an illegal penis surgery that left a man with “mangled” private parts. Le Batard’s show had interviewed the author of the story in the previous segment.

Le Batard said “We’ve got someone locally already doing what Mike was fearing nationally, which is threatening to yank us off the air if we play it. Nothing matters to me more than you don’t control what comes out of my mouth. And we’ve got someone going crazy locally saying they’re gonna yank us off the air if we continue to talk about this, and what I’m telling you right now is fire me. Not only never do that again but fire me now if you want to control me that way.”

“I don’t want to get up at 9 o’clock in the morning. I’m doing this for Miami and I’m doing this for 790 the Ticket. Yank me off the air now. Fire me now. Cancel my contract. You can have your money and you can have your 9 o’clock hour and I can get my sleep because this is infuriating. This isn’t even happening nationally, this is happening locally. You do not control what comes out of my mouth. You’re threatening to take me off the air because I’m talking about a story that was in the Miami Herald? Man, get the hell out of here.”

“This is what my parents fled. You will not control this. No you will not. Money doesn’t matter to me. I don’t want to be up at this hour and now you’re saying you’re gonna control what I say at this hour when I’m doing it for you? I’m doing it from 9 to 10 for you, so that you can have our show. I did this show for free locally because of how much Miami matters to me. You have to be bleeping kidding.”

Le Batard didn’t appear today on his show but that was due to a scheduled absence to attend Pablo Torre’s wedding. Whether or not he appears on Monday remains to be seen.

To hear the full rant click the audio below.

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The Future For NFL Sunday Ticket Depends On Pricing, Creativity and Reliability

“How do you assure me that the experience they’re going to have with the product is superior to what they had been seeing?”

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If DirecTV’s Sunday Ticket were a professional football team, one could argue that it’s off to a losing start this season.

The NFL is entering Week 5 having played less than a month of regular-season football. Out of the first four weeks of action, at least three saw fans vent their frustrations about DirecTV’s Sunday Ticket package. From error pages to inconsistent streaming to quality issues, Sunday Ticket has seen its fair share of online criticism in what could be its last season as a DirecTV exclusive.

It’s widely believed that after the 2022 season, DirecTV will cede control of Sunday Ticket, which will face intense competition from streaming providers. Apple is widely believed to be the future home, but Amazon, Disney and Google are all believed to be vying for rights as well.

As the streaming giants face off against one another, it’s likely that they’ll have to be creative in their pitch to the NFL. In an NFL Sunday Ticket survey of 2,562 fans conducted by The Streamable, which covers streaming services, increased accessibility isn’t the only thing that viewers want to see from a new provider.

According to the survey, only 26% of fans are willing to pay up to Sunday Ticket’s current $300 base price. If that price were in the $150-to-$200 range, the survey says that it could result in an increase in subscribers. It also states that 50% of fans are willing to pay $150, while 43% are willing to pay $200. 

“If [the Sunday Ticket provider] is able to drop the price to something lower, something more in line with other out-of-market packages, like $150 to $200, you can see somewhere up to a 2x increase in the number of people who might sign up for this service,” Jason Gurwin, co-founder of The Streamable, said in an interview. 

The price any company will pay for the rights to Sunday Ticket is also a point of discussion. Amazon’s 11-year streaming deal for the NFL’s “Thursday Night Football” package will cost the tech company $1 billion per season. Apple’s 10-year contract with Major League Soccer for rights to all regular season and League Cup matches cost it $2.5 billion total. The iPhone creator is also spending $85 million annually over the next seven years to stream MLB’s Friday Night Baseball on Apple TV+. 

According to Gurwin, the competition for the package will be heavily dictated by the creativity of the streaming giants. DirecTV’s history with the package has been hindered by only being accessible to customers with satellite dishes. 

If a company wants to win Sunday Ticket rights going forward, Gurwin believes that it’ll have to show flexibility in the market.

And with the bidders likely coming to the NFL with similar offers in the billions, they’ll have to assure the league that they can offer more than just cash given Sunday Ticket’s dwindling reputation, said Chris Lencheski, CEO of Phoenicia Sport, a private equity consultancy specializing in media, sports and entertainment.

“How do you assure me that the experience they’re going to have with the product is superior to what they had been seeing?” Lencheski said. “Low bar, so that shouldn’t be hard, but also superior in the sense of a digital product that they compared to many other players out there in the space.”

Lowering the Sunday Ticket price for fans isn’t the only way to lure new consumers, Lenchenski argued. It could come down to a viewer consuming games in ways that DirectTV couldn’t offer under its Sunday Ticket ownership. 

Lencheski envisions alternate broadcast strategies akin to ESPN’s ManningCast program or the Worldwide Leader’s “Kayrod” Sunday Night Baseball edition with Alex Rodriguez and Michael Kay. The possibilities provide streaming companies an endless number of ways to entice Sunday Ticket followers.

“Whomever wins this product comes at it from the customer experience,” Lencheski added.

Apple’s willingness to experiment with its sports services thus far makes it a heavy favorite to win the Sunday Ticket bid, according to Gurwin. MLS matches are not only available for free through the Apple TV app, but also for those who have Apple TV+ subscriptions and even traditional linear TV viewers. And, when the Yankees’ Aaron Judge faced off against the Red Sox on Friday, September 23rd, to see if he’d match Roger Maris’ homerun record, fans (myself included) were able to stream on Apple TV for free.

“It seems like their team is willing to try different options in order to see what works best for the consumer,” Gurwin said. 

Another popular way for Apple to strengthen its chances at securing Sunday Ticket is through bundles. Both Gurwin and Nick Rizzo, research director at Vertical Scope, believe that Apple’s diverse product offerings can be incorporated into deals with Sunday Ticket. 

Gurwin envisions a scenario where Apple offers a free year of Apple TV+ to get people to sign up for Sunday Ticket. Rizzo could see the tech giant offering free Airpods or Apple Music gift cards. 

To Rizzo, these kinds of hypothetical incentives are what Apple needs to offer if it wants to secure the Sunday Ticket rights. He recently conducted a preliminary survey asking participants to rank the four companies — Apple, Amazon, Disney and Google — that they are most excited to join if they offered Sunday Ticket. 

The company that participants were least excited to join? Apple. 

With streaming numbers well behind its competitors, Rizzo thinks that bundles and enticing offers will make customers more accepting of Apple being another streaming service in their monthly subscriptions. 

“It’s kind of clear that people don’t want to add that other service,” Rizzo said. “But all signs are pointing in the direction that Apple TV’s likely to win [Sunday Ticket]. So you can see why from Apple’s perspective why they’d want to do that, because it’s going to force the hand of more fans to say, ‘Okay, well, I guess I’ll sign up.’” 

“If they provide some incentives to get people to sign up and join Apple TV,  it’s going to start giving them exposure and get more people on their platform.”

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Willard & Dibs: Jon Heyman Is Ignoring Facts with the Home Run Record

“Nobody’s here to tell you that Bonds was perfect,” Willard said. “We’re just here to tell you that it happened, that’s all.”

Jordan Bondurant

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LM Otero/AP

New York Yankees star Aaron Judge finally hit his 62nd home run of the season on Tuesday night, and some took the moment to stake their claim of Judge being the one true home run king.

New York Post columnist Jon Heyman wrote that Judge should be recognized as the actual MLB single-season home run record holder given the fact that Barry Bonds, who hit 73 homers in 2001, Mark McGwire, who hit 70 in 1998 and Sammy Sosa, who slugged 66 in 1998, were all admittedly taking performance-enhancing drugs.

On 95.7 The Game in the Bay Area, hosts Mark Willard and Dan Dibley said Heyman was blatantly ignoring facts.

“Facts died,” Willard said. “Somewhere in like 2018, 2019, the word ‘facts’, it died. There’s a grave somewhere. Now we feel like we get to have opinions about facts. This is not an opinion. This is just fanning flames. There is a fact here that you have decided is not a fact – and that is that Barry Bonds hit 73 home runs.”

Judge told the San Francisco Chronicle on Tuesday night after the game that even he acknowledged Bonds’ feat. Dibley had a couple conclusions to draw from that.

“That tells me one of two things. Either ‘A’ – Aaron Judge himself is a juicer and so he’s trying to hide behind the fact he’s also juicing, or ‘B’ he understands more deeply, the overall nature of what this is,” he said.

But within the confines of the “What are you doing” segment on the Willard & Dibs show, Willard said that Heyman needs to reassess and just acknowledge that Bonds hit 73 home runs in a season.

“Nobody’s here to tell you that Bonds was perfect,” Willard said. “We’re just here to tell you that it happened, that’s all.”

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Gary Cohen, Duane Kuiper, Steve Stone Among Ford C. Frick Award Finalists

The award is presented annually for excellence in baseball broadcasting by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

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Ford C. Frick

The finalists for the 2023 Ford C. Frick Award were announced on Wednesday. The group to choose from is loaded with terrific baseball voices.

The ten finalists for the are: Dave Campbell, Joe Castiglione, Gary Cohen, Jacques Doucet, Tom Hamilton, Jerry Howarth, Pat Hughes, Ernie Johnson Sr., Duane Kuiper and Steve Stone.

The award is presented annually for excellence in baseball broadcasting by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. The winner of the 2023 Frick Award will be announced on Dec. 7 at baseball’s Winter Meetings in San Diego and will be honored during the July 22 Awards Presentation as part of the July 21-24 Hall of Fame Weekend 2023 in Cooperstown.

Final voting for the award will be conducted by the twelve living Frick Award recipients and three broadcast historians/columnists, including past Frick honorees Marty Brennaman, Bob Costas, Ken Harrelson, Jaime Jarrín, Tony Kubek, Denny Matthews, Tim McCarver, Al Michaels, Jon Miller, Eric Nadel, Bob Uecker and Dave Van Horne as well as historians/columnists David J. Halberstam (historian), Barry Horn (formerly of the Dallas Morning News), and Curt Smith (historian).

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