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Risking Tragedy, MLB Must Cancel An Infected Season

“With the Marlins and other teams already impacted by the coronavirus, it’s time to end baseball’s ill-fated, non-Bubble experiment and end a shortened season before human lives are threatened.”

Jay Mariotti




When they tell the story of baseball’s demise in Americana — a movie that will last three hours and 37 minutes even with speed-up mandates — the final blow might be the summer of 2020. That’s when the powers-that-be restarted a season, recklessly and dangerously, in a raging pandemic.

No rigid isolation. No medically sealed bio-Bubble like the smart NBA people. Nah, just the same bullheaded idiocy that has plagued the industry for decades.

This is a rerun of how the U.S. government botched its response to the coronavirus crisis: wealth over health, pretend like you know what you’re doing when you don’t, then fail miserably and historically. And why would anyone at all be surprised? As it is, the owners and so-called commissioner have allowed Major League Baseball, once dignified and thriving, to devolve into clumsy and dawdling irrelevance. Who of right mind held faith they’d pull off this lunacy without immediate COVID-19 attacks?

Only days into a shortened MLB season that never should have been attempted, the pandemic has caused predictable chaos. A virus breakout involving at least 14 players and staff members has paralyzed the Miami Marlins, leaving hundreds of big-leaguers and their families to ask in a panic state, “Are we next?’’ And yet, during a conference call Monday, owners refused to consider cancelling the season, instead continuing to play Russian roulette with a virus that is openly laughing at them and ready to create more havoc.

Juan Soto home run ties it at 3-3 in the 8th in the Nationals' 7-3 NLDS  Game 5 win over the Dodgers - Federal Baseball

As usual, MLB is taking a devil-may-care attitude. Let the games go on so the Brinks trucks can make their deliveries to teams and TV networks. Miami’s first two home games were postponed, along with a game between the Phillies and New York Yankees in Philadelphia, where the Marlins think they contracted the virus — unless they caught it in South Florida, a virus hotspot thanks to legions of COVID-iots in that state, or perhaps in Atlanta, where they played an exhibition game last Wednesday and where Freddie Freeman, the Braves’ star first baseman, prayed for his life after his virus-triggered fever rose to 104.5 degrees. The next day, one of the sport’s young cornerstones, Juan Soto, tested positive, further darkening Opening Night for a Washington Nationals team that couldn’t celebrate its first World Series title. Since then, the Cincinnati Reds had to send two regulars home after another tested positive.

There you have it, a wildfire in just five days, as predicted here.

And through those virus flames, MLB still is going to play ball.

“I’m going to be honest with you, I’m scared. My level of concern went from an eight to a 12,’’ said Nationals manager Dave Martinez, who has an underlying health condition — cardiac surgery last fall — and doesn’t want his team traveling to a scheduled series in Miami starting Friday.

Do the quarantine math. Check the schedules. Count how many weeks and months are left until the postseason. When infectious disease experts haven’t even begun to weaken the fury of the coronavirus, tell me, how is a corporate weakling such as Rob Manfred going to win this Whack-a-Mole game? Kanye West has a better chance of becoming President than MLB has of denting the virus, much less surviving it until late October. Already, the competitive integrity of a shotgun season — 60 games in 66 days — is in shambles.

Here's what MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said it would take to pause 2020  MLB season over COVID-19 concerns - TownTalk Radio

So what is the point of even trying to continue a futile exercise? Please call off this debacle — NOW —  before a rapid procession of players, older managers and coaches, support staff members and their loved ones follow the Marlins in falling ill and spreading the virus in communities. Manfred and his predecessor as commissioner, Bud Selig, have made regrettable decisions amid baseball’s free-fall since the early ‘90s. Trying to recoup $4 billion with a 60-game regular season and expanded playoffs, as the virus continues to hospitalize and kill victims throughout America and Planet Earth, is the worst decision yet. Manfred and the owners, in protective bunkers with their accountants, are risking the lives of young people — mere employees, in their eyes — and asking them try to save the game the owners screwed up. This after trying to gouge the Players Association with a second pay cut during a preseason labor battle that America was in no mood to watch. If the owners continue to push the virus envelope and plod on, they risk venturing into criminal territory.

What if someone dies because a baseball season was played?

Have the owners even thought about it? What if there is a mass player revolt, starting with the sport’s current face, Mike Trout, whose wife is expecting their first child next week?

“Now we REALLY get to see if MLB is going to put players health first,’’ tweeted pitcher David Price, who opted out of his season with the Los Angeles Dodgers to protect his family from the virus. “Remember when Manfred said players health was PARAMOUNT?! Part of the reason I’m at home right now is because players health wasn’t being put first. I can see that hasn’t changed.’’

Health experts agree with Price. `This is off-the-charts bad,’’ leading epidemiologist Zachary Binney, a frequent critic of sport’s return to live events, told the Washington Post. “MLB should probably shut the Marlins down for two weeks, shut the Phillies down for five days and … hope there isn’t a broader problem.’’

Continuing on Twitter, Binney wrote, “This is absolutely insane … if possible, the literal stupidest possible plan. You have a raging outbreak, anyone in the Marlins traveling party could be infected regardless of how their tests come back. So by all means, just bring that on the road to Baltimore!”

Thirteen Miami Marlins test positive for COVID-19 as MLB season, U.S.  pandemic approach in general look dicey.

A shutdown? No chance, Zach. As of now, the Marlins are headed to Baltimore, where, even if they barely can field a lineup with players still in quarantine, they are expected to play Wednesday and Thursday against an Orioles team that now must worry about infections. Anyone expecting to hear from Manfred, who loves to hide from public view in difficult times, instead got a statement from MLB:

“The members of the Marlins’ traveling party are self-quarantining in place while awaiting the outcome of those results. Major League Baseball has been coordinating with the Major League Baseball Players Association; the Marlins; the Orioles; the Marlins’ weekend opponent, the Phillies; and Club medical staffs, and will continue to provide updates as appropriate.”

Meanwhile, other teams are being sized up by COVID-19, which is licking its chops, ready to pounce in clubhouses across a diseased land. “I don’t believe there is going to be any panic,’’ Dodgers president Stan Kasten said on Sirius XM, speaking from a state, California, that has been ravaged by the virus. “My understanding from talking with other teams is that it’s business as usual at least for every other team.’’

Good luck to all. “Guys are talking. There’s heightened awareness,’’ said Oakland A’s manager Bob Melvin, “because what everybody was hoping didn’t happen, did. … We’ll see if it gets worse’’

When word came Sunday that four Marlins players — including the day’s starting pitcher, Jose Urena — had tested positive, MLB should have shut down the game. There was no thought of that, not even from within the Marlins themselves, with veteran manager Don Mattingly saying, “We never really considered not playing.’’ Donnie Baseball, obviously, is not Donnie Infectious Disease Expert. He should have known better, lamenting days earlier how his team’s dugout was “a mess’’ during a rain delay in Atlanta. “We had all these guys and nowhere to go,’’ he said. “Then we’ve got a zillion guys in the dugout, so there’s no way we’re social distancing.’’

The Miami Marlins will need slick defense from SS Miguel Rojas

And every way to spread a virus. Yet, no one thought about not playing a game when four players already were sick? “That was never our mentality,’’ said Miami shortstop and team leader Miguel Rojas, who said players made the call during — gulp — a group text. “We knew this could happen at some point. We came to the ballpark ready to play.’’

No longer is that a prudent, advisable strategy. “The health of our players and staff has been and will continue to be our primary focus as we navigate through these unchartered waters,” said Marlins CEO Derek Jeter, whose stewardship continues to trend in the opposite direction of his epic playing career. “Postponing (two home games) was the correct decision to ensure we take a collective pause and try to properly grasp the totality of this situation.’’

The totality is this: Everybody, go home.

All of which should serve as stark cautionary warnings for the NFL and college football, which should not be proceeding with seasons. Without a Bubble, football risks the same frightening outbreaks as baseball at only a higher rate, given the absence of physical distancing on scrimmage lines and larger roster sizes in locker rooms and on road trips. Roger Goodell is the commissioner, trying to save $15 billion for the owners this season, but the most sound leadership thoughts are coming from players such as New England Patriots cornerback Jason McCourty, who said on a podcast, “I’m not going to lie. For me as a fellow player, I go on social media and it makes me very nervous to think there will be a season. I’ve seen guys posting a video in a nightclub, and it’s just like, `Yo, we’re attempting to play football. That’s not going to be OK.’ You see guys working out in one city on a Monday, working out in another city on a Tuesday, and another city the next week, and it’s just like, `Dang, if they’re working out here, here and here, that means you have to be traveling and you come across however many people.’ Or you see a guy posting pictures and there’s hundreds of (people), whether it’s anywhere. So for me, it is nerve-wracking.”

He surely speaks for football players everywhere, including those in college, where the help isn’t paid but the university presidents and head coaches are making heavenly salaries. I mean, when the infection control officer of Minnesota Vikings tests positive for the virus, what does that say about football’s chances? McCourty saw the Marlins’ outbreak and said, “Those are the things that for me, make it nervous to say, `Are we going to be able to have an entire season?’ Because of small things like that that go a long way … it only takes one person testing positive, you come into the building, and that thing will spread like wildfire.’’

Patriots cornerback Jason McCourty 'very nervous' about NFL season amid  coronavirus - YouTube

MLB considered playing in a Bubble, in Arizona, until the governor got cocky and allowed the state to become a hotspot. So, without thinking much, Manfred figured 30 teams could play games in 27 home markets — many still crushed by massive infection spikes — and that everyone would safely head back to their homes and hotel rooms after spending days and nights at ballparks. How mindless can one be? As Mattingly said, “It’s a lot scarier on the road,’’ where players in their 20s and 30s aren’t too eager to follow strict protocols.

“To me, if there was a breach of protocol by any of those players, then it’s more easily explainable,’’ Los Angeles Angels manager Joe Maddon said of the Marlins. “If not, then it becomes more problematic.’’

Never forget that any scenario is possible in a pandemic, including a complete crash throughout sports. But the NBA does have a chance, fair to middling, of successfully finishing its season in a controlled environment. So does the NHL. So does the WNBA. So does Major League Soccer.

Barring a miracle, MLB will be the first league to try and fail, throwing a wild pitch amid the wildest of fires. The only question is whether Manfred will get off the mound before his farcical season turns tragic.

BSM Writers

Beyond The Mask: Henrik Lundqvist Embraced 2nd Career in Sports Media

“It’s not a coincidence you see a lot of goalies working [on] panels and analyzing the game because that’s a huge part of playing in goal.”

Derek Futterman




Plucking the strings of an acoustic guitar, Henrik Lundqvist found himself beneath the bright lights once again, poised to put on a worthy performance. Just as he aimed to stop pucks from going in the net as the star goaltender of the New York Rangers for 15 seasons, Lundqvist sought to captivate viewers as half of a musical duo featuring former NHL forward Paul Bissonnette.

Their performance of “Good Riddance” by Green Day was in tribute to Rick Tocchet, a former NHL on TNT studio analyst who recently departed the network to serve as head coach of the Vancouver Canucks.

Lundqvist serves as a studio analyst for TNT’s coverage of the NHL, breaking down players and teams throughout the broadcast and bringing his own unique style to the set. His pursuit of a post-playing career in sports media was no guarantee from the moment he retired in August 2021; in fact, he never intended to stop playing the game and competing for a Stanley Cup championship at that time.

During the 2019-20 season, Lundqvist had lost playing time to young goaltenders Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev, and by the year’s end, his deal was bought out by the team. In an effort to continue playing, Lundqvist signed a contract with the Washington Capitals – marking the first time in his NHL career that he would not step between the pipes for the Rangers.

Lundqvist never played a game for the team though, as it was discovered in a medical exam that he would need open-heart surgery to replace his aortic valve while also having an aortic root and ascending aortic replacement. Less than two months after the successful five-hour operation, he was back on the ice rehabbing and attempting to make a full recovery – but a few months in, he began to feel unexpected chest pain. Following a medical checkup, Lundqvist was told he had inflammation around his heart. It was a significant setback that required him to step off the ice, take off his goaltender equipment and rest for several months.

After discussions with his family and friends, Lundqvist determined that the risk of taking the ice outweighed the rewards and officially stepped away from the game. Rather than conjuring hypothetical scenarios wherein he did not experience the misfortune and played for the Capitals, Lundqvist looked to the future amid the ongoing global pandemic and thought about how he could best enjoy his retirement.

“I was just mentally in a very good place,” Lundqvist said. “I didn’t have a choice; I guess that makes it easier sometimes when the decision is made because you can’t go back-and-forth – ‘Should I?’ ‘Should I not?’ Yeah, I wanted to play but it was just not meant to be for me.”

Before any definitive resolution on his future endeavors was made though, the Rangers announced that the team would retire Lundqvist’s No. 30 in a pregame ceremony during the 2021-22 season, making him just the 11th player bestowed that honor in franchise history. As a five-time NHL All-Star selection, 2011 Vezina Trophy winner, and holder of numerous franchise records, Lundqvist had the accolades to merit this profound distinction.

Moreover, he was an important component in growing the game of hockey and contributing to the greater community, serving as the official spokesperson for the Garden of Dreams Foundation and founder of the Henrik Lundqvist Foundation. He also was a two-time recipient of the organization’s prestigious Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award, honoring the player “who goes above and beyond the call of duty.”

Throughout the night, attendees regaled Lundqvist with chants of “Hen-rik!” and were treated to flashbacks of some of his memorable career moments. The night was of monumental importance for Lundqvist, during which he expressed his gratitude to the Rangers’ organization, former teammates and fans. Then, Lundqvist — referred to as “The King” — promptly took his place among team legends beneath the concave ceiling of “The World’s Most Famous Arena.”

“When I look back at my career, I know, to me, it was all about preparation; how I practiced and how I prepared for each game at practice,” Lundqvist said. “There’s no regrets, and I hope people, when they think about how I played, [know] that it was 100% heart and commitment to the game.”

Before this ceremony though, Lundqvist and Rangers’ owner James Dolan had held several meetings with one another. The purpose of these conversations was to determine the best way for Lundqvist to remain involved with the team, its fans, and the community. In the end, he was named as a lead studio analyst on MSG Networks’ broadcasts of New York Rangers hockey before the start of the 2021-22 season: the start of his foray in sports media.

This past summer, Lundqvist negotiated a new deal with Madison Square Garden Sports and Madison Square Garden Entertainment in which he maintained his in-studio responsibilities while increasing involvement in other areas of its sports and entertainment ventures. In this new role, Lundqvist supports the business operations for both companies, assisting in digital content development, alumni relations, and partner and sponsor activities.

When Lundqvist is not in the studio or the office, he can often be found at Madison Square Garden taking in New York Rangers hockey, New York Knicks basketball, or one of the arena’s renowned musical performances. Usually, when he is in attendance, he is shown on the arena’s center-hung video board as an “NYC Celebrity” and receives a thunderous ovation from the crowd.

“The network is just part of it, but it feels great to come there,” Lundqvist said of Madison Square Garden. “Every time I go there – to see the people that I’ve known for so long – but also I love that place; I love The Garden. I think the energy [and] the variety of things that happen there is something I really appreciate. It feels really good to be a part of that.”

Sitting alongside former teammate and studio analyst Steve Valiqutte and sportscaster John Giannone, Lundqvist appears in the MSG Networks studios, located across the street from the arena, for select New York Rangers games. From the onset, he brought his allure and expertise to the set and appealed to viewers – so much so that national networks quickly began to take notice.

“I enjoy watching hockey [and] talking hockey, but the main thing to me is the team; the people that you work with,” Lundqvist said. “The guys on the panel [and the] crew behind. I really enjoy that part of it and having a lot of fun off-camera.”

One month later, Lundqvist was on his first national broadcast for the NHL on TNT where he and Bissonnette famously performed a cover of “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica that went viral on social media. It had been known that Lundqvist was a musician, famously performing on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in his Rangers uniform to celebrate the end of the 2012-13 NHL lockout.

In fact, during his retirement ceremony, the Rangers gifted him with a custom-made guitar painted by David Gunnarsson, the same artist who used to paint Lundqvist’s goalie masks.

Aside from occasional music performances, Lundqvist brings an esoteric base of knowledge to the NHL on TNT panel as its only goaltender. Whether it be through player breakdowns, interviews, or dialogue with other analysts, Lundqvist has a perspective to which few professional hockey players can relate. There are various goaltenders among local studio panels surrounding live hockey game broadcasts, and Lundqvist is in a unique situation with MSG Networks in that he and Valiquette are both former goaltenders. Yet on Turner Sports’ national coverage, he is the only voice speaking to this different part of the game.

“It’s not a coincidence you see a lot of goalies working [on] panels and analyzing the game because that’s a huge part of playing in goal,” Lundqvist explained. “Yes, you need to stop the puck, but a huge part of being a goalie is analyzing what’s going on. We can never really dictate the play so you need to analyze what’s happening right in front of you.”


In broadcasting at both the local and national level, Lundqvist is cognizant of the differences in each network’s studio programs. Lundqvist says appearing on the MSG Networks studio panel is more about being direct with the viewer, whereas the NHL on TNT views its panel as being conversational in nature. With Turner Sports, Lundqvist also asks his colleagues about the different teams around the league since he is most familiar with the Rangers both as a former player and studio analyst.

“I’m closer to the Rangers; I see more of what’s going on,” Lundqvist stated. “When you work [national] games, maybe you focus in on teams on the West Coast or [part] of the league you don’t see as often. You try to talk to the other guys on the panel and the crew and figure out things that are interesting about those teams.”

Hockey is a team sport, and Lundqvist felt grateful to play with his teammates and face his competitors over the years. Now as an analyst though, it is his job to analyze their games and critique them when necessary; however, he does not try to be excessively critical.

Lundqvist knows the trials and tribulations associated with the sport and can relate to scenarios many players face on a nightly basis. Therefore, he thinks about his own experience before giving an opinion, especially a critique, instantiating it with comprehensible, recondite knowledge and/or by recounting a similar situation.

“I’d much rather give them positive feedback obviously because I know it is a tough game,” Lundqvist said, “and sometimes it might look like an easy mistake, but if you can give the viewer a better explanation of why he did that, they might have a different view of that mistake.”

Now metaphorically being beyond the goalie mask, Lundqvist’s vision of the game has evidently shifted. He discerns just how intense the schedule is and the rapid pace of the game, axioms he was aware of while playing but inherently avoided thinking about. He has implemented his refined viewpoint of the game accordingly into his analysis, simultaneously utilizing the mindset and savvy he cultivated on the ice. It is, quite simply, a balancing act.

“I think people can be pretty quick to jump on guys and critique them,” Lundqvist said. “That’s where maybe you take an extra look and try to understand why it happened and give those reasons. I think that’s where it helps if you played the game [for] a long time and just love the game [because] you have a pretty good understanding of why guys react a certain way.”

The challenge tacitly embedded in the jobs of most studio analysts – Lundqvist’s included – is in presenting the information to the audience in a manner through which it learns without being confused. It is a delicate craft that takes time and genuine understanding to master, especially related to promulgating hockey analytics as Valiquette does on MSG Networks and within his company, Clear Sight Analytics.

“There’s a lot of educated viewers out there, but there’s also a lot of people that maybe don’t watch as much hockey,” Lundqvist said, “so you want to find that middle ground where you kind of educate both sides.”


By broadcasting both locally and nationally in addition to working in a specially-designed business operations role, Lundqvist is staying around the rink in his retirement while facilitating the growth of hockey. Despite the profusion of young talent, dynamic action and jaw-dropping plays, viewership of the sport on ESPN and TNT’s linear channels has dropped 22% from last season, according to a report by Sports Business Journal.

For Lundqvist though, he does not feel much has changed from playing regarding his responsibility to advance the reach and appeal of the sport. He played professionally for 20 years, beginning his career in his home country of Sweden, primarily in the Swedish Elite League (SEL). In the 2004-05 season, his final campaign before arriving in New York City, Lundqvist had won the award for most valuable player. Furthermore, he was recognized as the best goalie and best player, leading Frölunda HC to its second Elitserien championship in three seasons.

His NHL debut came five years after he was selected in the seventh round of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Rangers but unlike many rookies over the years, he came polished and prepared to embrace the lights of Broadway. Following an injury to starting goaltender Kevin Weekes, Lundqvist was inserted into the starting lineup and, from that moment on, virtually never came out.

By the end of his first year, he had been named to the NHL All-Rookie Team and was a Vezina Trophy finalist for best goaltender. Additionally, he remains the only goaltender to begin his NHL career with seven consecutive 30-plus win seasons.

“I think the league is doing a great job of growing the game,” Lundqvist said. “In the end, it comes down to the product and right now, it’s a great product. I feel really good about, the best way I can, to promote the game [by] talking about it, but… it feels like I’ve been doing that for 20 years.”

One means through which Lundqvist attempts to grow the game is within the studio demos he performs with the NHL on TNT, displaying different facets of the game in a technical manner. The show also embraces the characteristics of their analysts and implements them in lighthearted segments, such as zamboni races, putting competitions, Swedish lessons and, of course, musical performances.

“I’m huge on mindset and the pressure,” Lundqvist said. “I love to talk about that type of stuff and give the viewer a better understanding of what goes through their heads. In terms of personality, I don’t know if I can say [that] I’m a serious guy because I love to have fun and laugh and do fun things.”

Lundqvist thoroughly enjoys what he is doing both locally and nationally, and he ensures he surrounds himself with people he wants to be around. There are plenty of other broadcast opportunities for former hockey players, such as moving into the booth as a color commentator or between the benches as a rinkside reporter. At this moment though, he is more focused on being immersed in his current roles, performing them to the best of his ability while ensuring he allocates time to spend with friends and family.

“I see myself more as an analyst in the studio more than traveling around and being in the rink,” he said. “I think that’s another thing with the schedule; it works really well with my schedule to have one or two commitments with the networks, but then I have other things going on in my life that I commit to.”

Plenty of comparisons can be drawn between playing professional hockey and covering the sport from the studio in terms of preparation and synergy. Yet the end result is not as clearly defined since “winning” in television is quantifiably defined as generating ratings and revenue. Undoubtedly, Lundqvist is focused on doing what he can to bolster hockey’s popularity; however, he also wants to enjoy this new phase of his career being around the game he loves.


“In sports, you win or you lose,” Lundqvist explained. “With TV, you want to be yourself [and] you want to get your point out – but at the same time, if you do it at the same time you’re having a good time, I feel like that’s good TV.”

Once their careers conclude, many athletes think about pursuing a post-playing career and oftentimes end up taking on a role in sports broadcasting. On MSG Networks alone, there are plenty of former players who take part in studio coverage on live game broadcasts, such as Martin Biron of the Buffalo Sabres, Bryce Salvador of the New Jersey Devils, and Matt Martin of the New York Islanders. At the national level, Turner Sports employs Paul Bissonnette, Anson Carter, and Wayne Gretzky for its studio broadcasts, while ESPN’s top studio crew includes Mark Messier and Chris Chelios.

All of these former professional hockey players had an obligation to regularly speak with media members, answering questions about games and the season at large. Lundqvist maintained a professional relationship with journalists and beat reporters, and he most enjoyed taking questions when the team was doing well. Regardless of what the end result of a game was though, he had a responsibility to divulge his thoughts and, in turn, be subject to criticism and/or negative feedback.

His stellar career and persona all came from emanating a passion for the game – and it continues to manifest itself beyond the television screen. Listening to those passionate about the game discuss it usually engenders euphony and lucidity to viewers, analogous to the sound of the puck hitting the pads or entering the glove. It is a timbre Lundqvist created 27,076 times throughout his NHL career (regular season and playoffs) in preventing goals, and one he now aims to explain en masse.

“The reason why I kept going to the rink and put all the hours in was because I really enjoyed it,” Lundqvist said. “If you decide to go into media or whatever it might be, I think the bottom line is [that] you have to enjoy it and make sure you have good people around you.”

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BSM Writers

Should the NBA Nationalize Local TV Rights Like MLS?

The NBA’s upcoming rights negotiations will be this transformational idea’s first testing grounds.

Avatar photo




Diamond Sports has been anything but a diamond in the sports world. As subscribers leave cable and satellite for streaming services, companies are dropping RSNs nationwide because they are too expensive to carry. This has caused an impending bankruptcy for the company, which owns the local rights to dozens of sports teams nationwide. It is also putting the NBA, NHL, and MLB at major financial risk. 

In the short term, it is known that teams will still broadcast on their RSNs even if they aren’t getting the paychecks they were promised in previous rights deals. This will affect teams’ ability to pay players and could even create an unfair advantage among the haves of the sports world like the Yankees and Lakers and the have-nots. The NFL doesn’t face the same problems that the other leagues are facing because its rights have been nationalized.

With the NFL’s continued television dominance, college conferences also bundling up games together for more money, and the MLS guaranteeing themselves television revenue after packaging local and national rights together, could we see the other leagues follow suit? It is an option that is much easier said than done but it seems like we are moving closer to it becoming reality. 

The NBA’s upcoming rights negotiations will be this transformational idea’s first testing grounds.

The biggest problem the NBA and other leagues would face are that the local rights to all of its teams don’t expire at the same time. If the league were to sign a deal that included giving all local rights to a streamer, the amount which the league was getting paid would be very unique year after year. It would be crazy for a streamer to pay a huge chunk of money to the NBA all at once if the number of teams they have local rights to changes every year.

It would also be insane to pay an astronomical amount if the streamer is only getting the local rights to small-market teams like the Cavs and the Pistons. A major market team like the Lakers doesn’t renew their local rights until 2032. We’re still in 2023. How does that affect the league’s operating costs? 

The NBA would also have to figure out whether teams whose rights don’t expire yet deserve to be included in the pot of money garnered from selling local rights to a streamer. Whether they are or they aren’t, does it put each team at different competitive advantages and/or disadvantages when trying to acquire free agents or front-office personnel?

One of the most interesting puzzles to figure out is what influence a league owner like Washington’s Ted Leonsis has in this potential measure when all is said and done. Leonsis just acquired complete control of the regional sports network — currently named NBC Sports Washington — that broadcasts Wizards and Capitals games for millions of dollars, although the exact amount remains undisclosed.

What does Leonsis do with his network if his team’s games can no longer air there? Can his team opt out of participating in a potential league offering? Or if the games continue to air on his network but are simulcasted locally on the streamer that wins local rights on a national scale, does the streamer have the ability to pay less money for rights?

If so, does that make the deal as lucrative for the NBA? And what does that mean for retransmission fees that cable companies like Comcast pay to Leonsis and other RSNs they’re still carrying?

The league will face a similar problem with the Lakers, Bulls, Knicks and other franchises that either wholly own or partially own a part of the RSNs where they broadcast their games. 

I don’t have the answers to any of these questions which is why they are written here in this column. Unfortunately for the leagues, they don’t have the answers either. But if the NBA figures out a way to nationalize their product even more and make streaming games more appealing by ending local blackouts, it’ll benefit the game more than it hurts the game. 

NBA, NHL, and MLB games are still some of the highest-rated programs locally in many markets when you look at how they rate vs. other cable and broadcast offerings. But at this point, the ability to charge everyone for a program that only ten percent of subscribers are watching is a losing business proponent.

The leagues should start from scratch and sell a mass package of games for maximum profit. It gives fans a more centralized location to watch their favorite teams and puts the leagues on a much more steady path than where they could be headed sooner rather than later.

Diamond in the rough to sparkling jewel of light? Only time will tell.

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BSM Writers

Do You Have Affirmations Of Gratitude?

“We are told to be grateful for what we have and remember it could be worse. That feels like a really low bar, right?”

Jeff Caves




Having gratitude for your life is all the rage. If you, like me, have trouble starting your day with positive affirmations and maintaining a positive outlook about your job, read on! 

We are told to be grateful for what we have and remember it could be worse. That feels like a really low bar, right? Here is another version. Try a few affirmations of gratitude instead.


With interest rates rising, inflation increasing, and spending down; corporations are laying people off. PayPal laid off 7% of its entire workforce. Amazon let 18,000 go. Alphabet (Google) said goodbye to 12,000 jobs. Radio sales managers need to hire people like you – experienced sellers with a track record of bringing home the bacon. 


You solve a problem for your company when it comes to revenue. You know people, and you sell advertising better than anything they can come up with…so far. 

Yes, they are trying to replace you, but Zoom Info reports iHeart’s self-serve spot buying service,  AdBuilder, is doing under 5 million in business. You have time to solidify your value. Be happy you are the rainmaker. 


Sports talk radio is the ultimate companion to millions of listeners. They aren’t robots, and your stations improve their lives by talking about what they care about 24/7. Celebrate selling access to callers, Twitter followers and FANS who go to games. You also get to work with local celebrities that everybody knows but you know best. We all need a connection to other people and want to be seen and heard. 


In this job, you determine your value, feelings about your work, and who you work with. You get to set a strategy and talk to the businesspeople you want to help and do business with. It’s like running your own business with a tremendous support staff. Try to do it independently, and you will appreciate accounting, traffic, production, and sales assistance. Those wins produce deposits in your bank account.  


That format competitor across the street does things differently and sometimes better than you or tries to imitate you and looks terrible. They motivate you to beat them to a new account or put a moat around your best clients so they can’t be touched. They keep you sharp and willing to try new things. Good competition schemes to take money from your station, and your management needs you to protect them. And they also provide a place for you to work one day. The FTC wants to eliminate non-competes so you can walk across the street this year.  

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