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9 Sports Movie Ideas From 8 Sports Radio Professionals

“Hollywood has always had a love of sports. Whether it is Oscar bait like Rocky and Chariots of Fire, feel good schmaltz like Rudy, or slapstick bafoonery like Caddy Shack and Slap Shot, competition just makes for a great plot device.”

Demetri Ravanos

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For the second consecutive summer, movie theaters will struggle. Sure, there is reason to celebrate in 2021. At least this summer most theaters, the ones that survived through the deepest throws of COVID anyway, get to be open. But studios are still wary of the public’s desire to go out.

That means most big budget popcorn movies are going to be available on demand while also being in theaters. There isn’t a big event movie that forces you to grab a date or round up the family and head to the theater.

Hollywood has always had a love of sports. Whether it is Oscar bait like Rocky and Chariots of Fire, feel good schmaltz like Rudy, or slapstick bafoonery like Caddy Shack and Slap Shot, competition just makes for a great plot device.

It makes sense to me to turn to the sports media industry to solve theater owners’ problem. So, I asked hosts from across the country a simple question. What sports story do you want to see turned into a movie?

I also asked them to cast their leading man. Here’s what they had to say.

STEVE CZABAN – 97.3 THE GAME, MILWAUKEE

“Deflategate! And Tommy Lee Jones has to be somewhere in it!”

LANCE TAYLOR – JOX 94.5, BIRMINGHAM

“Random AF but Bison Dele (Brian Williams). The Rock could pull it off. Fascinating and dark. Complete opposite of a Disney film.”

PHIL MACKEY – SKOR NORTH, MINNEAPOLIS

“My answer is more of a look into the future — a story I’d LIKE to see play out… 

“I love me a Kevin Costner sports movie, and I feel like he needs to keep branching out into other sports to complete his sports movie portfolio. He’s done baseball, football, golf, etc. How about Kevin Costner as the renegade new head coach of U.S. soccer, as they make a miraculous push deep into the World Cup for the first time ever (say, 2026)?

“He takes a program besieged in embarrassment and turns it all the way around in his Costner way — fighting with his bosses, fighting a rotten culture, a broken system… 

“They get beat in the finals. By Brazil. But they gain world respect for the first time. 

“Oh, and Jennifer Garner is still his capologist. If there is such a thing in soccer.”

ALLEN SLIWA – ESPN LOS ANGELES

“The sports story turned into a movie for me would be Kobe’s final game. I think that would be amazing story. I don’t know of another finale for a career like that. Michal B Jordan would be the individual who can play his role.”

JAY RECHER – 95.3 WDAE, TAMPA

“It’s gotta be Tom Brady and this 2020-2021 Bucs season right? 

“From the decision to come to Tampa, to Gronk and AB coming to town, to the Super Bowl win & Lombardi toss at the boat parade, what an awesome story to tell! Matt Damon plays Brady. Take my money and give them the Oscars.”

FRED FAOUR – 97.5 ESPN, HOUSTON

“Thought I would go a little off the beaten path….The 1993 Oilers, the team that played the year after the collapse in Buffalo. They had brought in Buddy Ryan as defensive coordinator, and the owner Bud Adams said it was Super Bowl or bust. They then promptly started the season 1-4. However, they  reeled off 11 in a row to finish 12-4. Along the way, they had a defensive lineman (Jeff Alm) die in a car crash under suspicious circumstances, had openly gay players in the locker room long before it was acceptable, had an offensive lineman skip a game to be there for the birth of his first child (babygate), and of course the famous sideline fight between Kevin Gilbride and Ryan. They would lose their first playoff game at home to Joe Montana and the Chiefs  28-20, a team they had beat 30-0 in Week 2.

Michael B. Jordan as Warren Moon

J.K. Simmons as Jack Pardee

Kevin James as Buddy Ryan

Josh Brolin as Kevin Gilbride”

AARON GOLDHAMMER – ESPN CLEVELAND

“Now that the Browns are Super Bowl contenders, I’d embrace a comedy about the 1-31 seasons in 2016 and 2017. In a remarkable two year span, the Browns drafted countless busts and traded the rights to multiple franchise quarterbacks. They tanked for draft picks and wasted the final playing years of hall-of-fame lineman Joe Thomas. They unfurled a banner in the Dawgpound that said “GPODAWUND.” Somehow, they also set the stage for where the team is today.

“Dennis Haysbert stars as Browns coach Hue Jackson in…No Win Situation. Definitely not suitable for children.”


Seven interesting films for sure. And man, did we run the gamut? We heard everything from a murder mystery to prestige cinema to what could be one of the dumbest comedies ever written.

Personally, as a lover of film, I tend to gravitate more to Aaron Goldhammert’s way of thinking. I love absurd comedies, and nowhere is their more absurdity than in the world of college sports. It is where the richest guy in the room and the dumbest guy in the room get to run the show and they are both the same guy!

So, let’s go to the world of college football. I want to see a movie adaptation of the University of Tennessee’s 2017 coaching search. This is the one that began with a verbal agreement with Greg Schiano and ended with six different coaches saying no and an athletic director getting fired before former Vols coach Phil Fulmer orchestrated a coup to make himself AD and Jeremy Pruitt became the head coach.

If you are not a college football fan, trust me. It was wild. Have you ever seen the movie The Death of Stalin? I have to imagine that is what it was like in Knoxville during that time.

Jeff Bridges plays Phil Fulmer. Kyle Chandler has experience playing a beloved football coach as Eric Taylor on Friday Night Lights. Let’s see how he does playing a man that doesn’t know what asparagus is. We’ll cast him as Jeremy Pruitt.

You want a drama suggestion? It is a lot less fun, but fine. Let’s go with the 2008 US Open. A virtual nobody, knocking on the door of 50 goes head-to-head with the greatest golfer to ever walk the planet, mere months before his downfall. Anthony Mackie plays Tiger Woods. Adam Sandler plays Rocco Mediate.

Boom! Hollywood, sports radio has solved your problems!

If you would like to turn any of these treatments into a movie, you can reach me at the email address and Twitter handle below. I will act as everyone’s agent and take 20% off the backend.

BSM Writers

The Future Is Now, Embrace Amazon Prime Video, AppleTV+

As annoying as streaming sports is and as much as I haven’t fully adapted to the habit yet, Amazon and Apple have done a magnificent job of trying to make the process as easy and simplified as possible.

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This week has been a reckoning for sports and its streaming future on Amazon Prime Video, AppleTV+, ESPN+, and more.

Amazon announced that Thursday Night Football, which averaged 13 million viewers, generated the highest number of U.S. sign ups over a three hour period in the app’s history. More people in the United States subscribed to Prime during the September 15th broadcast than they did during Black Friday, Prime Day, and Cyber Monday. It was also “the most watched night of primetime in Prime Video’s history,” according to Amazon executive Jay Marine. The NFL and sports in general have the power to move mountains even for some of the nation’s biggest and most successful brands.

This leads us to the conversation happening surrounding Aaron Judge’s chase for history. Judge has been in pursuit of former major leaguer Roger Maris’ record for the most home runs hit during one season in American League history.

The sports world has turned its attention to the Yankees causing national rights holders such as ESPN, Fox, and TBS to pick up extra games in hopes that they capture the moment history is made. Apple TV+ also happened to have a Yankees game scheduled for Friday night against the Red Sox right in the middle of this chase for glory.

Baseball fans have been wildin’ out at the prospects of missing the grand moment when Judge passes Maris or even the moments afterwards as Judge chases home run number 70 and tries to truly create monumental history of his own. The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand has even reported there were talks between YES, MLB, and Apple to bring Michael Kay into Apple’s broadcast to call the game, allow YES Network to air its own production of the game, or allow YES Network to simulcast Apple TV+’s broadcast. In my opinion, all of this hysteria is extremely bogus.

As annoying as streaming sports is and as much as I haven’t fully adapted to the habit yet, Amazon and Apple have done a magnificent job of trying to make the process as easy and simplified as possible. Amazon brought in NBC to help with production of TNF and if you watch the flow of the broadcast, the graphics of the broadcast, NBC personalities like Michael Smith, Al Michaels, and Terry McAuliffe make appearances on the telecast – it is very clear that the network’s imprint is all over the show.

NBC’s experience in conducting the broadcast has made the viewing experience much more seamless. Apple has also used MLB Network and its personalities for assistance in ensuring there’s no major difference between what you see on air vs. what you’re streaming.

Amazon and Apple have also decided to not hide their games behind a paywall. Since the beginning of the season, all of Apple’s games have been available free of charge. No subscription has ever been required. As long as you have an Apple device and can download Apple TV+, you can watch their MLB package this season.

Guess what? Friday’s game against the Red Sox is also available for free on your iPhone, your laptop, or your TV simply by downloading the AppleTV app. Amazon will also simulcast all Thursday Night Football games on Twitch for free. It may be a little harder or confusing to find the free options, but they are out there and they are legal and, once again, they are free.

Apple has invested $85 million into baseball, money that will go towards your team becoming better hypothetically. They’ve invested money towards creating a new kind of streaming experience. Why in the hell would they offer YES Network this game for free? There’s no better way for them to drive subscriptions to their product than by offering fans a chance at watching history on their platform.

A moment like this are the main reason Apple paid for rights in the first place. When Apple sees what the NFL has done for Amazon in just one week and coincidentally has the ability to broadcast one of the biggest moments in baseball history – it would be a terrible business decision to let viewers watch it outside of the Apple ecosystem and lose the ability to gain new fans.

It’s time for sports fans to grow up and face reality. Streaming is here to stay. 

MLB Network is another option

If you don’t feel like going through the hassle of watching the Yankees take on the Red Sox for free on Apple TV+, MLB Network will also air all of Judge’s at bats live as they are happening. In case the moment doesn’t happen on Apple TV+ on Friday night, Judge’s next games will air in full on MLB Network (Saturday), ESPN (Sunday), MLB Network again (Monday), TBS (Tuesday) and MLB Network for a third time on Wednesday. All of MLB Network’s games will be simulcast of YES Network’s local New York broadcast. It wouldn’t shock me to see Fox pick up another game next Thursday if the pursuit still maintains national interest.

Quick bites

  • One of the weirdest things about the experience of streaming sports is that you lose the desire to channel surf. Is that a good thing or bad thing? Brandon Ross of LightShed Ventures wonders if the difficulty that comes with going from app to app will help Amazon keep viewers on TNF the entire time no matter what the score of the game is. If it does, Amazon needs to work on developing programming to surround the games or start replaying the games, pre and post shows so that when you fall asleep and wake up you’re still on the same stream on Prime Video or so that coming to Prime Video for sports becomes just as much of a habit for fans as tuning in to ESPN is.
  • CNN has announced the launch of a new morning show with Don Lemon, Poppy Harlow and Kaitlin Collins. Variety reports, “Two people familiar with plans for the show say it is likely to use big Warner Bros. properties — a visit from the cast of HBO’s Succession or sports analysis from TNT’s NBA crew — to lure eyeballs.” It’ll be interesting to see if Turner Sports becomes a cornerstone of this broadcast. Will the NBA start doing schedule releases during the show? Will a big Taylor Rooks interview debut on this show before it appears on B/R? Will the Stanley Cup or Final Four MVP do an interview on CNN’s show the morning after winning the title? Does the show do remote broadcasts from Turner’s biggest sports events throughout the year?
  • The Clippers are back on over the air television. They announced a deal with Nexstar to broadcast games on KTLA and other Nexstar owned affiliates in California. The team hasn’t reached a deal to air games on Bally Sports SoCal or Bally Sports Plus for the upcoming season. Could the Clippers pursue a solo route and start their own OTT service in time for the season? Are they talking to Apple, Amazon, or ESPN about a local streaming deal? Is Spectrum a possible destination? I think these are all possibilities but its likely that the Clippers end up back on Bally Sports since its the status quo. I just find it interesting that it has taken so long to solidify an agreement and that it wasn’t announced in conjunction with the KTLA deal. The Clippers are finally healthy this season, moving into a new arena soon, have the technology via Second Spectrum to produce immersive game casts. Maybe something is brewing?
  • ESPN’s Monday Night Football double box was a great concept. The execution sucked. Kudos to ESPN for adjusting on the fly once complaints began to lodge across social media. I think the double box works as a separate feed. ESPN2 should’ve been the home to the double box. SVP and Stanford Steve could’ve held a watch party from ESPN’s DC studio with special guests. The double box watch party on ESPN2 could’ve been interrupted whenever SVP was giving an update on games for ESPN and ABC. It would give ESPN2 a bit of a behind the scenes look at how the magic happens similarly to what MLB Tonight did last week. Credit to ESPN and the NFL for experimenting and continuing to try and give fans unique experiences.

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BSM Writers

ESPN Shows Foresight With Monday Night Football Doubleheader Timing

ESPN is obviously testing something, and it’s worth poking around at why the network wouldn’t follow the schedule it has used for the last 16 years, scheduling kickoffs at 7 and then 10 on their primary channel.

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The Monday Night Football doubleheader was a little bit different this time around for ESPN.

First, it came in Week 2 instead of Week 1. And then, the games were staggered 75 minutes apart on two different channels, the Titans and Bills beginning on ESPN at 7:15 PM ET and the Vikings at the Eagles starting at 8:30 PM on ABC and ESPN+. This was a departure from the usual schedule in which the games kicked off at 7:00 PM ET and then 10:00 PM ET with the latter game on the West Coast.

ESPN is obviously testing something, and it’s worth poking around at why the network wouldn’t follow the schedule it has used for the last 16 years, scheduling kickoffs at 7:00 PM and then 10:00 PM ET on their primary channel. That’s the typical approach, right? The NFL is the most valuable offering in all of sports and ESPN would have at least six consecutive hours of live programming without any other game to switch to.

Instead, they staggered the starts so the second game kicked off just before the first game reached halftime. They placed the games on two different channels, which risked cannibalizing their audience. Why? Well, it’s the same reason that ESPN was so excited about the last year’s Manningcast that it’s bringing it back for 10 weeks this season. ESPN is not just recognizing the reality of how their customers behave, but they’re embracing it.

Instead of hoping with everything they have that the customer stays in one place for the duration of the game, they’re recognizing the reality that they will leave and providing another product within their portfolio to be a destination when they do.

It’s the kind of experiment everyone in broadcasting should be investigating because, for all the talk about meeting the customer where they are, we still tend to be a little bit stubborn about adapting to what they do. 

Customers have more choices than ever when it comes to media consumption. First, cable networks softened the distribution advantages of broadcast networks, and now digital offerings have eroded the distribution advantages of cable networks. It’s not quite a free-for-all, but the battle for viewership is more intense, more wide open than ever because that viewer has so many options of not just when and where but how they will consume media.

Programmers have a choice in how to react to this. On the one hand, they can hold on tighter to the existing model and try to squeeze as much out of it as they can. If ESPN was thinking this way it would stack those two Monday night games one after the other just like it always has and hope like hell for a couple of close games to juice the ratings. Why would you make it impossible for your customer to watch both of these products you’ve paid so much to televise?

I’ve heard radio programmers and hosts recite take this same approach for more than 10 years now when it comes to making shows available on-demand. Why would you give your customers the option of consuming the product in a way that’s not as remunerative or in a way that is not measured?

That thinking is outdated and it is dangerous from an economic perspective because it means you’re trying to make the customer behave in your best interest by restricting their choices. And maybe that will work. Maybe they like that program enough that they’ll consume it in the way you’d prefer or maybe they decide that’s inconvenient or annoying or they decide to try something else and now this customer who would have listened to your product in an on-demand format is choosing to listen to someone else’s product entirely.

After all, you’re the only one that is restricting that customer’s choices because you’re the only one with a desire to keep your customer where he is. Everyone else is more than happy to give your customer something else. 

There’s a danger in holding on too tightly to the existing model because the tighter you squeeze, the more customers will slip through your fingers, and if you need a physical demonstration to complete this metaphor go grab a handful of sand and squeeze it hard.

Your business model is only as good as its ability to predict the behavior of your customers, and as soon as it stops doing that, you need to adjust that business model. Don’t just recognize the reality that customers today will exercise the freedom that all these media choices provide, embrace it.

Offer more products. Experiment with more ways to deliver those products. The more you attempt to dictate the terms of your customer’s engagement with your product, the more customers you’ll lose, and by accepting this you’ll open yourself to the reality that if your customer is going to leave your main offering, it’s better to have them hopping to another one of your products as opposed to leaving your network entirely.

Think in terms of depth of engagement, and breadth of experience. That’s clearly what ESPN is doing because conventional thinking would see the Manningcast as a program that competes with the main Monday Night Football broadcast, that cannibalizes it. ESPN sees it as a complimentary experience. An addition to the main broadcast, but it also has the benefit that if the customer feels compelled to jump away from the main broadcast – for whatever reason – it has another ESPN offering that they may land on.

I’ll be watching to see what ESPN decides going forward. The network will have three Monday Night Football doubleheaders beginning next year, and the game times have not been set. Will they line them up back-to-back as they had up until this year? If they do it will be a vote of confidence that its traditional programming approach that evening is still viable. But if they overlap those games going forward, it’s another sign that less is not more when it comes to giving your customers a choice in products.

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BSM Writers

Media Noise: Sunday Ticket Has Problems, Marcellus Wiley Does Not

Demetri Ravanos

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On this episode of Media Noise, Demetri is joined by Brian Noe to talk about the wild year FS1’s Marcellus Wiley has had and by Garrett Searight to discuss the tumultuous present and bright future of NFL Sunday Ticket.

ITunes: https://buff.ly/3PjJWpO

Spotify: https://buff.ly/3AVwa90

iHeart: https://buff.ly/3cbINCp

Google: https://buff.ly/3PbgHWx

Amazon: https://buff.ly/3cbIOpX

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