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Learfield IMG College Raises $242 Million

Learfield now has access to $425 million in capital as they forge ahead to a more normal college sports climate this fall.

Russ Heltman

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Learfield IMG College just got a new influx of cash from their existing investors. According to Sportico, The dominant college sports broadcasting platform received $242 million in new investments from Endeavor, Silver Lake, and Atairos.

All three of those firms have been staunch supporters of the broadcast group. The move also helped Learfield extend the maturity date of $183 million in existing loans scheduled to be paid off this year to 2023.

“While the college sports community has navigated dynamic challenges, we have continued to lean in to unlock new value for our university partners and brand partners alike,” Learfield IMG College CEO Cole Gahagan said in a statement. “We now have the deepest and broadest platform that includes digital sponsorships, contactless mobile ticketing, governance for NIL, esports, content, and industry collaborations, with the necessary fan data and analytics to help school partners grow their entire athletics departments.”

This was perfect timing for Learfield after the pandemic threw their business model in flux, with games canceled left and right across college sports. Learfield now has access to $425 million in capital as they forge ahead to a more normal college sports climate this fall.

About a month ago, Sportico uncovered the net profit Learfield brings in from Georgia, Nebraska, Michigan, Kansas, Houston, Georgia Tech, Marshall, and UCLA.

Georgia was far and away the most profitable partner for Learfield in the pandemic year of 2019-20. The Bulldogs produced $7.4 million in profit for the network. The low positive number came from Marshall, who produced $492,000 in profit.

The only school on the list that didn’t make Learfield money was UCLA. The Bruins lost Learfield $933,000 in 2018-19 and $1.7 million in 2019-20. Conferences around the country expect to allow more fans into sporting events this year as Learfield prepares to bring all the action to those not lucky enough to be there in person.

Sports Radio News

1140 The Bet Cancels ‘The Playmakers’

The show, hosted by Lindsey Brown and Adrian Hernandez, aired from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM.

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In another cut from Audacy, 1140 The Bet has cancelled The Playmakers on their Las Vegas station.

The show, hosted by Lindsey Brown and Adrian Hernandez, aired from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM.

Brown tweeted the news, saying “Sadly I have been informed that yesterday was our final show. I am thankful for the people it brought into my life & the experiences we created I am incredibly proud of our work & the boundaries we are eager to push in sportz radio. Today is a tough day. Tomorrow is on the way.”

Hernandez followed up by tweeting “I can’t put into words right now how I feel right now but in my radio journey from College in Tampa to Phoenix and now Las Vegas you were the best teammate I’ve ever had in radio and more importantly a great person. I appreciate and will miss you Badass Brown.”

According to the station’s website, it will replace The Playmakers with You Better You Bet from the BetQL Network.

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Sports Radio News

1250-AM The Fan in Milwaukee Reportedly Cancels Local Programming

The station is streaming CBS Sports and has removed the local daily lineup from the 1250 AM The Fan website.

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1250 AM The Fan

Stunning sports radio news out of Milwaukee. 1250-AM The Fan has suddenly removed all of its local programming and switched over to CBS Sports Radio.

The news came as a shock to local listeners but even more surprising to the station’s staff. Here’s a tweet from Evan Heffelfinger noting that today was “everyone’s” last day at the station.

The station’s stream is currently airing CBS Sports Radio. The local daily lineup has also been removed from the 1250 The Fan website although show podcasts still remain.

In regards to the station’s talent, most have been quiet since the news began to trickle out. The Milwaukee Business Journal reported that recent NFL Hall of Famer and former Green Bay Packer LeRoy Butler was part of the cuts. Bart Winkler, Tim Allen, and Gary Ellerson are expected to be out as well.

One host who may remain involved is Steve ‘Sparky’ Fifer. Fifer was part of the midday show, and also helped behind the scenes. According to sources, he’s likely to contribute off-air and with additional brand projects. The rest will have an opportunity to explore opportunities should any become available at 97.3 The Game, ESPN 94.1, WTMJ or any other local outlets.

Upon learning of the news, a few former 1250 hosts, Mike Wickett and Cliff Saunders, took to social media to share their sadness.

Ryan Maguire, who served as the PD of 1250 The Fan from 2006-2009, and is currently the PD of crosstown rivals ESPN Milwaukee and WTMJ, provided his perspective.

One host who left before the station was dismantled was former afternoon man Ramie Makhlouf. The longtime Milwaukee voice exited in June to join Sactown Sports 1140.

This is a developing story and as more information becomes available we’ll pass it along. 1250-AM The Fan is owned by Audacy, which just announced plans to reduce 5% of its programming staff.

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Sports Radio News

Fred Toucher: Fred Roggin Rant ‘Is Why Everyone Thinks Radio Sucks’

“I understand defending yourself, but then there’s like desperation,” he said.

Jordan Bondurant

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A recent piece in the L.A. Times painting the picture of why the sports radio audience in Los Angeles is smaller than that of Boston struck a nerve locally.

And when AM 570 LA Sports host Fred Roggin tried to explain why Boston does so much better with listeners, Fred Toucher couldn’t contain himself.

Let me give it to you in a nutshell real, real quickly,” Roggin said in a clip that played during Toucher and Rich on 98.5 The Sports Hub on Tuesday. “The implication here is that you don’t care. Do they have as many Latinos living in Boston? I don’t think so, and if you look at the ratings, they don’t. We’re a melting pot, we’re very different here. Sports is a niche audience.

Toucher and company laughed at the sound byte before Toucher laid into Roggin.

“Does that mean that Latinos don’t like sports?” he asked. “To do well in Los Angeles, you have to adapt to the market, you jackass! Latinos have to listen to ya.”

Roggin and co-host Rodney Peete sounded even more out of touch in the clip by saying that part of the reason more people listen to sports talk in Boston is because of weather and an affinity for baked beans. Additionally, there’s just more to do in LA versus Boston.

“He is under the impression that the east coast is really something else,” Toucher said. “But he’s painting the east coast as if like no one lives out here. Like New York City and Philadelphia are these minor flyover states. It’s really funny.”

Toucher understood Roggin taking the time to go on the defensive, but he just couldn’t get over the way in which the defense was presented.

“I understand defending yourself, but then there’s like desperation,” he said. “What do you care if the station in Boston does better than you? What does it matter to you?! Clean up your own business! Jesus Christ!”

“This is the first time I think I’ve ever heard the northeast described as like toothless hicks that like got nothing better to do,” Toucher added.

Toucher finished his point by piling on the hosts further, saying that if their show aired anywhere else, it would fail.

“This is why everyone thinks radio sucks,” Toucher said before the rest of the Roggin clip was played.

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