FWAA Names Award After Edward Aschoff
“According to the press release, the award will be presented each year to a journalist no older than 34, who exemplifies the work ethic to succeed and passion to make the industry better.”
The Football Writers Association of America announced an annual award in memory of ESPN’s Edward Aschoff. A popular college football reporter, Aschoff passed away suddenly on Christmas Eve, which was also his 34th birthday.
Aschoff was initially said to have passed away from pneumonia, but it would later be revealed he died from previously undetected Stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma in his lungs.
The Football Writers Association of America plans to honor his life with the Edward Aschoff Rising Star Award. According to the press release, the award will be presented each year to a journalist no older than 34, who exemplifies the work ethic to succeed and passion to make the industry better.
Aschoff was a 2008 graduate of the University of Florida, joining ESPN in 2011 as a contributor to their SEC blog. In 2017 he moved to Los Angeles for an expanded role with ESPN which included TV work. Aschoff provided reports from college campuses around the country for multiple ESPN platforms, also contributing as a sideline reporter.
“He was someone I always looked forward to seeing when our paths crossed in a random SEC press box or elsewhere, someone who always encouraged me as a younger journalist trying to navigate my way through this business and life, someone I always admired – both for his work and his zest for life – and someone I could always count on for a laugh,” said Tom Green, a friend of Aschoff and the Auburn beat reporter for AL.com. “I’ll always be grateful for his friendship, his advice and his respect, because I know I’m better for having known Ed. We all are.”
After his death, Aschoff was honored at college football events with reserved press seats, including at the national championship game. Last month, his alma mater the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications announced the Edward Aschoff Memorial Fund, providing support for journalism students.
Brandon Contes is a former reporter for BSM, now working for Awful Announcing. You can find him on Twitter @BrandonContes or reach him by email at Brandon.Contes@gmail.com.
Meta Cuts Sports Partnerships Leaders Rob Shaw, Kevin Cote, Dev Sethi
“I was fortunate to be surrounded by top notch people, and while it is emotional to say goodbye, I have no doubt our paths will cross again soon.”
Another round of layoffs has gotten underway at Facebook’s parent company Meta. Among those being let go are three executives in sports-related roles.
Meta’s Director of Global Sports Partnerships Rob Shaw, Director of Sports Partnerships Kevin Cote and Dev Sethi all confirmed in LinkedIn posts on Wednesday that their positions had been eliminated.
Shaw and Cote had been at Meta and Facebook since 2014, while Sethi joined the company in 2015.
“Those years have been full of innovation and transition within the sports industry, and it was my great pleasure to be a leading advocate for how technology can bring people closer to their passion of sports,” Shaw wrote. Before Facebook, he was the vice president of content and media at Bloomberg Sports.
“I was fortunate to be surrounded by top notch people, and while it is emotional to say goodbye, I have no doubt our paths will cross again soon,” Cote wrote. He noted that working with various athletes, teams and leagues worldwide on business and social needs, partnerships with high-profile athletes, original programming, live sports and working on athlete partnerships were some of the highlights of his career.
Sethi expressed pride in the work he did at Meta and was thankful to work in a position he could put his heart and soul into.
“I’ve been lucky to marry my passion for sports with my professions for years now, and my hope is to continue that marriage in whatever lies ahead,” he wrote.
The shedding of these jobs is part of a larger swath of cuts at the social media giant. Some 20,000 jobs at the company are being eliminated, and that dates back to November when Meta laid off its head of media partnerships and regional leaders in Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.
Meta at one time had rights to broadcast MLB games live on Facebook. The company has partnered with leagues like the NFL and the NBA, as well as the UFC to bring sports-related content into Web3 and the Metaverse. But the focus has shifted away from live sports rights into AI and alternate reality.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He’s a multimedia journalist and communicator who works at the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond. Jordan also contributes occasional coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, WRIC-TV 8News and Audacy Richmond. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.
Dan Le Batard: HBO Max ‘Going to Lose a Good Many People’ With Rebrand
“It doesn’t just transfer over when you go to HBO Max, it says this isn’t working anymore. This is closed forever. You’ve got to go somewhere else. Your Internet is not going to connect here.”
If you consume HBO content exclusively through the OTT platform HBO Max, you got a bit of a surprise this week. While the company had been preparing users that HBO Max and Discovery+ were going to be merged into an app simple called Max, users were shocked to find out that the existing apps weren’t simply going to become Max. Instead, users had to go download a new app entirely.
Dan Le Batard wonders if that might spell doom for the rollout of the new service.
“What they’ve changed, Amin, is you have to go to a different place,” he told colleague Amin Elhassan on his Wednesday show. “It doesn’t just transfer over when you go to HBO Max, it says this isn’t working anymore. This is closed forever. You’ve got to go somewhere else. Your Internet is not going to connect here.”
While HBO Max’s sports content was minimal, Warner Bros. Discovery has bigger plans for Max. In addition to US Soccer, it is expected that the new app will be the exclusive home for some NBA matchups if the league’s deal with TNT is renewed.
That is a worry for the future though. This weekend, HBO will air the finale of Succession. Le Batard wonders how many people are going to miss it entirely due to confusion.
“You have to download another app. And I do believe they’re going to lose a good many people who just simply don’t know how to do this of a certain age. They’re not going to be able to get over there, get their password and figure this part out without the help of the kids.”
Certainly how many of those users disappear forever is of interest to the NBA and NHL, but both leagues have good relationships with Warner Bros. Discovery. In the case of the NBA, the relationship with TNT goes back decades. A clumsy rollout of a new app is not ideal, but it isn’t likely to cost WBD Sports in upcoming negotiations.
Cari Champion: Amazon Still ‘Figuring Out the Way of the World’ in TV
“I think they kind of give you the keys to the castle and say go ahead and decorate it the way you want. I love that.”
Cari Champion hosts The Cari Champion Show every Monday-Friday from noon-2 PM ET on Amazon Prime Video. With her new show, the former host of First Take gets the chance to be creative and do what she wants to, which is to have an honest conversation with a guest.
“I love the show,” she said on Adam Schein’s Rise And Schein Podcast this week. “I think they kind of give you the keys to the castle and say go ahead and decorate it the way you want. I love that. I get two hours a day, Monday-Friday to talk to so many different people, to cover so many different topics.
“At Amazon Prime Video, they are still figuring out the way of the world in terms of how they want to do live television, there’s just a great opportunity to explore and with traditional linear television, many times you don’t get that opportunity to see what works and what doesn’t work.”
She told Schein that she doesn’t think the kind of conversations she and her guests have would work for every outlet.
“I think the idea of being able to have an honest conversation is exciting, but it’s also scary for a lot of entities because they don’t know what that all entails. While we are building, I think this is the time to do it so we can see what works…It’s really interesting all of the different outlets and the different shows that we have that cover everything. I bring on our traditional faces, but this is an opportunity for them to explain as opposed to having 45 seconds to respond.”
When Champion isn’t hosting the show, she also has her podcast, Naked with Cari Champion. When she does that show, it gives her the chance to be even more honest.
“I just do it in a way I hope everyone knows on the outside looking in that it’s not gravy. No one is posting on Instagram their worst day. Sometimes, the power of social media and podcasting can be great because you remove the pretense of the camera and feeling like you have to go to commercial break and you’ve got to get in, got to get out.”
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.