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Michael Smith Struggled With Hypocrisy of ESPN Embracing BLM

“At first, it was a lot of anger about that, because it was like ‘Wait a second. I’m old enough to remember 2018. If Black Lives Matter now, they didn’t matter then?’”

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SC6 remains one of the most divisive experiments in ESPN history. Viewers had strong opinions on both sides of Michael Smith and Jemele Hill’s take on the iconic SportsCenter brand, with most detractors saying that discussions of race and culture made the show too political.

Smith will be a guest on fubo Sports Network’s Drinks With Binks on this week. Host Julie Stewart-Binks said that she never saw SC6’s conversations as political. “It was morals and how you treat people,” she said and asked Smith how he felt watching ESPN personalities have the same conversations that the network pointed to as a major problem for his show.

“At first, it was a lot of anger about that, because it was like ‘Wait a second. I’m old enough to remember 2018. If Black Lives Matter now, they didn’t matter then?’” Smith said. “I’m watching, and it’s nothing against the people doing it now, they’re friends of mine. I’m watching people I respect, I’m watching them have unfiltered, unlimited, unedited conversations on the same platforms, whether it’s you know SportsCenter or The Jump or NFL Live, like everybody’s having that conversation. I’m like ‘Oh, word? Wow! Having those conversations literally compromised my career, but it’s cool now?’”.

Many of the Black Lives Matter conversations we have heard in pop culture in 2020 began after the killing of George Floyd by four Minneapolis police officers. Smith says that the conversation is no different from the ones he and Hill had. That was disappointing for him.

“Unarmed black people have been getting killed on camera. That’s what we were talking about. We were talking about police brutality. It’s not like anything is different now. It’s not like it’s a different subject matter. It’s not like there is a different take on the matter. There’s been no discovery that makes us feel like ‘Well, now this is different.’ This is literally the same subject. He was just killed in a different manner. I was like ‘So now it’s cool? Less than 2 years ago it wasn’t and I’m a living example of that?’”

Smith says he has since made peace with how SC6 ended and has accepted that the rules are just different now. It took time, but he says he is at a place now where he sees that as a good thing.

“There was a lot of resentment at first just given what I’ve been through,” he told Stewart-Binks. “But over time I realized yeah, I’m entitled to my feelings and I’m trying not to make it about me. And the most important thing is look, better late than never. And here we are having these conversations. More important, others who came behind me are getting a chance to speak their truth and speak that truth to power. So be it.”

The interview was pre-recorded. It will air in full on Friday night at 8 pm on fubo Sports Network’s Drinks with Binks.

Sports TV News

The NFL Still Considering Multiple Offers For Sunday Ticket

The NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has not bid for the package but has stated it is willing to partner with the new rightsholder for a potential deal.

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Sunday Ticket Negotiations

DirecTV currently has the rights to Sunday Ticket. That deal expires at the end of this upcoming football season. The NFL is expected to make a boatload of cash when they decide which media organization gets the next rights to the package. The only question is… who will that be?

Alex Sherman of CNBC reports that the NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has decided not bid for the package. However, they are interested in partnering with the new rightsholder for a potential deal. DirecTV knows that Sunday Ticket is a staple in bars and restaurants and is interested in maintaining those relationships.

Outside of the bar/restaurant industry, success has been limited for the satellite provider with the football package. Fewer than two million subscribers signed up for Sunday Ticket each year which made the package a money-loser for the satellite TV provider.

According to the report, the NFL wants more than $2 billion for the rights and a stake in NFL Media, which is being packaged with Sunday Ticket. Also on the table is the NFL’s mobile rights. The league’s previous mobile agreement with Verizon has ended.

An interesting piece of the negotiations is Sunday Ticket price. According to the report, a buyer would have limited flexibility on pricing. The NFL signed contracts with CBS and Fox and within the framework of those deals, language mandates Sunday Ticket have a premium price. That’s to prevent loss of viewers from the networks that feature local market Sunday afternoon games. So essentially, the price is the price for the consumer.

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Sports TV News

F1 Renews With ESPN For U.S. Media Rights

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

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F1 ESPN

The racing series F1 has decided to stick with ESPN through 2025.

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

The reported value of the three-year contract is set to pay F1 $75-90M per year for the U.S. media rights. Amazon had offered to pay roughly $100M per year, with the right to sublicense to a linear broadcast network. Comcast’s offer was similar to ESPN’s in terms of value and the structure. They also wanted to put select races on it’s streaming service, Peacock.

Netflix was in on the negotiations, as well. The makers of Drive to Survive, the streaming series that many credit with the sport’s explosion in popularity in recent years, wasn’t close on on their financial offer. Also, it seems F1 executives were not ready to put all of its races on a streaming service just yet.

Currently, F1 receives $5M per year for ESPN to broadcast it’s races. ESPN has grabbed about 1.0 million viewers per race. That makes F1 a more than viable option for the network to invest into again. ESPN will be able to put a small number of races on its ESPN+ streaming service exclusively. The vast majority being on ABC or ESPN.

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Sports TV News

Skip Bayless Says He And Stephen A. Smith ‘Sorted Out’ Their Disagreement

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

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Skip Bayless

Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless were locked in a war of words last week following the First Take host’s appearance on JJ Redick’s Old Man and the Three podcast.

The origins of their partnership were discussed and Bayless admitted he did not like the way Smith characterized the state of First Take before he arrived on set. Smith insisted that Bayless simply misunderstood what he meant by saying that he was told the show needed him.

Over the weekend, Skip Bayless says he and Stephen A. Smith got together at the Bayless home in California to talk things out in private.

“He was in LA, he came over, we sat by the pool,” he said on the latest episode of The Skip Bayless Show. “It wasn’t the easiest conversation for a while, but we slowly but surely sorted it out. We got through it, and we have been through so much together.”

Bayless reiterated that he considers Smith a brother. They love each other. That doesn’t mean they are always going to remember events the same way or see eye-to-eye all the time.

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

Fighting doesn’t mean the relationship is fractured. In fact, Skip Bayless was adamant that he remains closer to Smith than he is to most people in his life.

“I don’t trust easily because of the way I was raised, but I do trust Stephen Anthony Smith. Trust him with my life. Always have and always will. I trust he will always be there for me, and you better believe I will always be there for him.”

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