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ESPN Acquires High School Sports Brand BallerVisions

“ESPN is taking over control of the BallerVisions social media accounts and making Chappell a social media producer.”

Russ Heltman

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ESPN is diving deeper into the high school sports content business. According to Variety, the network struck a deal with Marcel “Celly” Chappell to acquire his company, BallerVisions.

ESPN is taking over the BallerVisions social media accounts and making Chappell a social media producer.

“I’m excited to see the impact we can have in the high school scene with the power of ESPN behind me and can’t wait to get started,” Chappell said in a statement.

Chappell founded the account in 2012 as a favor to his high school buddy, who needed their highlights to get more exposure. The BallerVisions YouTube channel sports over 1,200 videos and 65 million views since 2018.

“We haven’t been as aggressive in the high-school video highlights space, even though a number of high school games are played on air on ESPN,” ESPN’s vice president of social media, Kaytee Daley, said to Variety.

The move to hire Chappell opens up fresh avenues to cover high-school athletes, and, “allow us to connect more deeply with the high-school sports community.” Chappell’s compensation in the deal went undisclosed.

Rising social media accounts have been in ESPN’s sights for years. Last January, they hired Omar Raja to be a prominent voice on their Instagram account. Raja founded the House of Highlights social media account.

“This next generation of athletes and stars wants to be featured on SportsCenter and TV is still a pinnacle for them,” Daley said. “But they also want to see themselves on YouTube and they want to see themselves on SportsCenter Snapchat and SportsCenter Instagram.”

ESPN is doing there best to stay ahead of trends in viewership. Many young sports fans rely on social media for their sports viewing diet, and the network is trying to meet them in the social space; rather than trying to revive traditional media.

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Michael Kay: Vin Scully Was ‘A Gift From The Gods’

“No one can come close to his talent and his ability to communicate so easily with his audience.”

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As sports media figures continue to mourn the passing of Vin Scully, Yankees television play-by-play announcer Michael Kay penned a special op-ed to Scully in The New York Post.

Kay noted the sheer length of Scully’s career — pointing out he announced games for Jackie Robinson and Gil Hodges just as he did for Clayton Kershaw — and how his style “transcended generations”.

“If you listen to how some called a game in the 50s, you can question if they would even be hired by today’s execs or, more importantly, accepted by today’s audience,” Kay said. “Scully was just as good and relevant in 2016 as he was in 1950. There is an incredible genius to that accomplishment.”

The two baseball broadcasters both graduated from Fordham University, which Kay said bonded them after they were introduced to one another in 1999 by Scully’s friend Keith Olbermann.

Kay also echoed a sentiment shared by many the day following Scully’s passing: that he was the greatest sports broadcaster of all time.

“In an era of hot takes where debate shows argue about the greatest this and the greatest that, there is no debate that Scully is simply the greatest sports broadcaster who ever lived,” Kay definitively said. “No one can come close to his talent and his ability to communicate so easily with his audience.”

He later added Scully’s ability “was a gift from the Gods. A lovely, soft, easy voice and a disarming manner that made him sound like a friend and not an authority figure giving you the score.”

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NFL Network’s Kyle Brandt Will Host Podcast With Omaha Productions

Among other duties, Brandt will be hosting a podcast distributed by ESPN called Kyle Brandt’s Basement.

Jordan Bondurant

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You’ll soon be able to hear NFL Network’s Kyle Brandt on your favorite podcast platform.

Brandt, who co-hosts Good Morning Football, signed on with Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions according to Adam Schefter.

Among other duties, Brandt will be hosting a podcast distributed by ESPN called Kyle Brandt’s Basement.

“I’m thrilled about this show, and I’ll be shot out of a cannon every single day,” said Brandt. “It’s in my own basement and I’ve got games, toys and takes. I can promise one thing: it will not be boring.”

Caesars Sportsbook will be supply all betting lines for Brandt’s show. Caesars will also present Brandt’s weekly gambling segment Caesars Picks: This Time It’s Personal where Brandt will risk his own personal items around his basement when picking games based on Caesars Sportsbook spreads.

Brandt’s show joins a lineup of six other podcasts originally announced back in June.

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DirecTV Strikes Deal with Amazon to Carry Thursday Night Football in Bars and Restaurants

. Owners were being faced with the choice of having to upgrade their video systems to handle streaming video. Some are not currently equipped to do so.

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DirecTV Amazon

This season, Thursday Night Football moves over to Amazon’s streaming service for the first time. That might be good for consumers at home, but that left a drastic issue still with bars and restaurants carrying the games.

John Ourand of Sports Business Journal reports that Amazon has agreed to allow DirecTV co carry its games to bars and restaurants. Owners were being faced with the choice of having to upgrade their video systems to handle streaming video. Some are not currently equipped to do so. Some establishments that have upgraded their equipment recently have run into issues syncing the video to go to different televisions from the stream.

DirecTV is also entering its last season with NFL Sunday Ticket.

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