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Bill Simmons: NBA Eyeing Seattle and Vegas For Expansion Teams

“I never love expansion, but I think the NBA’s in the best position to expand that it’s probably been since the early 90s from a talent standpoint.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Could we see franchise expansion in the NBA in the near-future? Bill Simmons believes that is going to happen.

Talking with Ryen Russillo during his newest episode of The Bill Simmons Podcast (via Mediaite), Simmons believes there are two cities primed and ready to go.

“I don’t know what the possibilities would be, but I think Seattle and Vegas are going to have teams,” he said. “That’s happening.”

Seattle just opened Climate Pledge Arena in the fall ahead of the inaugural season for the NHL’s newest expansion team, the Seattle Kraken. It was also the former home of the Seattle Supersonics, which eventually relocated and became the Oklahoma City Thunder.

And in Vegas, T-Mobile Arena has been open for a few years and is home to the NHL’s second-newest expansion franchise, the Vegas Golden Knights. But despite not having an NBA franchise, the building has hosted the NBA All-Star Game.

All that’s missing is ownership groups and a willingness by the NBA to welcome another city into the fray. Simmons says he believes an ownership group like Fenway Sports Group is a likely suitor and that LeBron James is being vetted to go into ownership.

“They’ve been circling different NBA teams for a while,” Simmons said of Fenway Sports, which owns the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool FC.

“I’m just saying the Vegas thing I would watch that,” he added. “I think it’s officially real — LeBron is definitely going to be involved in that.”

If there was anyone questioning whether expansion beyond the current 30 teams in the NBA would be logical, and if there would be enough talent out there to field a competitive team, Simmons says the talent pool is deep.

“I never love expansion, but I think the NBA’s in the best position to expand that it’s probably been since the early 90s from a talent standpoint,” he said. “There’s enough talent to go around.”

Time will tell, but there are certainly options and cities with NBA-ready arenas and basketball fans that would fill the seats.

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Barstool Sports CEO: Golf Likely Next Step For Company’s Live Broadcasts

“I think we‘ll start with the biggest sports that we know and love.”

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Barstool Sports CEO Erika Nardini recently did a wide-ranging interview with AdAge.com about the future of the digital sports outlet’s television aspirations, and she said sports they’re familiar with will take priority.

“”We want sports that appeal to a broad audience. We’re kind of tickled to be able to broadcast things in the first place. So I think we‘ll start with the biggest sports that we know and love, whether it’s basketball and football,” Nardini said. “You could definitely see that extended to golf, that would probably be the next place that we’ll play.”

The questions about Barstool’s future aspirations come after the company’s successful first broadcast of the Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl. Barstool says the broadcast received nearly 1 million views, peaking at 130,000 concurrent viewers. The outlet also broadcasted the Barstool Sports Invitational that featured Akron, Mississippi State, Toledo, and UAB in November.

Nardini added that the company is interested live televised sports for a few reasons.

“We’re owned by a sports betting company and the more we think about building our sports platform, there’s obviously a huge opportunity for us to convey a whole bunch of offerings to our audience, but certainly betting will be one of them…I think that live sports on television is the last man standing where it’s all anyone tunes in for.”

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Fanatics to Open First Sportsbook Inside FedEx Field

“The location at the home of the Washington Commanders will make it the first sportsbook to open inside an NFL stadium.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Sports licensing giant Fanatics will soon be launching its long-anticipated sportsbook.

The company will open up a physical sportsbook location in Maryland at FedEx Field on January 20. Fanatics has also been granted a license to operate in Massachusetts, tethered to Plainridge Park Casino.

The location at the home of the Washington Commanders will make it the first sportsbook to open inside an NFL stadium. Bettors in the DMV will now be able to place wagers at all their local teams’ venues, as William Hill has an on-site location at Capital One Arena – home of the Capitals and Wizards – and BetMGM has a space at Nationals Park in D.C.

Despite having a physical location at FedEx Field, bettors in Maryland will not be able to place mobile wagers through a Fanatics Sportsbook app.

According to Front Office Sports, Fanatics hopes to have the sportsbook up and running in some fashion in all states where legal by September.

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Pat McAfee Teases Major New Partnership

“We didn’t sleep much the last couple days so we haven’t really gotten to grasp this entire thing.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Up to something season has returned for Pat McAfee.

McAfee has routinely used that phrasing to tease viewers and listeners about major dealings in the works, and on Wednesday he said something big is coming down the pike.

“We’re up to something,” McAfee said. “We got a big partnership coming up. It’s big. We haven’t even chatted about this at all. That’s how much we’ve evolved.”

Pat continued about how the show has matured, saying he was proud they waited until this late in the game to even bring up the fact they’ve got a new deal to announce.

“If this conversation had taken place three years ago, the announcement we’re about to make, it would’ve been two weeks worth of the show,” he said. “Every single segment would’ve been brought back to oh something’s coming, something’s coming, something’s coming.”

“That is changing quickly in a big way,” he added.

McAfee noted that being on the road in Los Angeles for the college football national championship has made the reaction to the new partnership somewhat subdued.

“I should be more excited,” he said. “We didn’t sleep much the last couple days so we haven’t really gotten to grasp this entire thing. We’ve been working on this for a couple years now. Good for us, dude.”

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