Barstool Sports is now the broadcaster and presenting sponsor of the Arizona Bowl in a deal that almost didn’t include the former. Barstool founder Dave Portnoy discussed details of the negotiation on this week’s The Dave Portnoy Show with Eddie & Co.
Portnoy says Barstool originally wanted to just sponsor the game, while CBS handled the broadcast duties, but that didn’t sit well with everyone involved.
“CBS won’t work with us? Kick them the f*ck out, get those f*ckin white-haired…get them out, we’ll do the game ourselves,” Portnoy said on his show.
“Not because they didn’t like us,” Portnoy continued. “I think they know we’re gonna eat their lunch, and they view us as a competitor. Do you wanna give the hungry wolf fresh meat? Do you want to basically put steroids in your competitor?”
The bowl airs on New Year’s Eve in a matchup between the Mountain West and Mid-American Conference. Barstool has been a staunch supporter of #MACtion and all things MAC sports for years.
CEO Erika Nardini is the yin to Portnoy’s yang, and she discussed the milestone deal in an interview this week.
“We really believe that what we can do is take the best of traditional broadcast and take the best of traditional sponsorship and do both in a brand new way,” Barstool CEO Erika Nardini said in an interview with Sportico. “We think we’ll bring new fans. We know we will bring a level of energy, and we’ll cover the game in a way that is completely unique, and uniquely Barstool.”
For Nardini and Barstool, this is just another step towards growth in every possible entertainment space, including TV.
“There’s no reason we can’t play in the broadcast space, the sponsorship space, and the comedy or personality and opinion space,” she continued. “Obviously, we want to make sure we do it right and do it well, but this is a watershed moment for rethinking where and how games are broadcast.”
Russ Heltman is a daily news writer for BSM. He is the morning host and producer for 89.3 WMKV in Cincinnati, OH. He also works in gameday communications for FC Cincinnati and additionally contributes to the AllBengals blog for Sports Illustrated. Russ can be found on Twitter @RussHeltman11 or you can reach him by email at Heltmandm@yahoo.com.
Rece Davis Remembers Where He Was When the News of Him Hosting College GameDay Got Out
“I look over, and my phone and iPad are at the broadcaster’s position, and they are exploding. Bzz, zz, zzz. I’m like ‘what in the world?’
Rece Davis has been the host of ESPN’s College GameDay since 2015 when he took over for Chris Fowler. Fowler moved into the broadcast booth alongside Kirk Herbstreit for the ABC/ESPN Primetime Game of the Week. The timing leading up to the switch was an interesting one for Davis.
Davis joined The Press Box podcast with Bryan Curtis and talked about how he had entered some talks with CBS before getting the GameDay spot, but was never really close because ESPN called him and told him they would take care of him. Over the next year, he and his agent negotiated for one of the most prominent spots in college football broadcasting.
While Davis doesn’t remember the moment he signed, he does remember the moment the news finally got out.
“I was calling a basketball game in Ann Arbor (February 5, 2015). I had my iPad out and I was doing a SportsCenter hit about the game,” Davis recalled. “I look over, and my phone and iPad are at the broadcaster’s position, and they are exploding. Bzz, zz, zzz. I’m like ‘what in the world?’ I go ahead and do my hit. I don’t have any inkling that it’s gotten out yet. Obviously it had. I thought ‘okay, who’s going to be ticked off at me that I didn’t let them know it was coming.
Linda Cohn: Other Networks Never Gave Me A Good Enough Reason to Leave ESPN
“There were always more pros than cons about where I was.”
Linda Cohn just celebrated 30 years on SportsCenter. On top of that, she just signed a new deal at ESPN.
She has been one of the network’s staples for a long time. Stephen Strom asked her how that happened on the latest episode of the Sports Talkers Podcast. Cohn’s answer was pretty simple.
“I didn’t see enough from other networks to make this dramatic change,” she said.
ESPN always viewed Linda Cohn as a standout at the SportsCenter desk. As time went by, she became a reliable presence that the network did not want to lose. She told Strom that meant unfortunately she did not get every opportunity she wanted in Bristol.
Other networks have shown interest at various points. In the end though, Cohn said her kids were a major factor and no network ever presented an opportunity that was worth uprooting her kids.
“You can’t ignore the fact that you don’t want to move people around. You know, the old pro/con list? That’s what I did. There were always more pros than cons about where I was.”
New episodes of The Sports Talkers Podcast drop every Thursday.
NBC Sports Announces Matthew Berry Hire, Will Debut Tonight on Football Night in America
This is truly a full circle moment for me,” said Berry, who served as a fantasy football expert at NBC Sports’ Rotoworld from 1999-2004.
NBC Sports has announced the official hiring of fantasy specialist Matthew Berry. He has agreed to a multi-year deal and will be featured on Peacock, NBC and NBC Sports digital platforms.
The network also announced that Berry will join Football Night in America each week during the NFL season on NBC and Peacock including with his debut tonight leading into the 2022 Hall of Fame Game.
Berry will host a weekly game-day fantasy football and sports betting show on Sundays from 11a-1p ET on Peacock and NBC Sports digital platforms. He will also create a one-hour daily podcast for Peacock, live-listening on NBC Sports Audio and SiriusXM and be available as a downloadable podcast.
“We welcome Matthew to the team and are excited to incorporate into our coverage the compelling and industry-shaping commentary that has made him the face of fantasy football for millions of fans,” said Sam Flood, NBC Sports Production Executive Producer & President.
“This is truly a full circle moment for me,” said Berry, who served as a fantasy football expert at NBC Sports’ Rotoworld from 1999-2004. “I started my career at Rotoworld, spent many years there, and not many people are lucky enough to get the chance to come home. I’ve spent my entire life talking fantasy football to anyone that would listen. So when I was offered the chance to join the highest-rated studio show in all of sports, I couldn’t say yes fast enough.”
Berry also added, “Please remind me of this quote the next time I realize millions of people just saw me get a prediction wrong. In the meantime, know that I am incredibly honored and humbled by the opportunity not just to join the FNIA family but also to help build something special on Peacock.”
Berry will provide analysis and content around major NBC Sports events outside of football, including the Kentucky Derby, Indy 500, and more.