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Stephen A. Smith: ‘I’m More Popular Than 90% Of The Players’

“He admitted to Bomani Jones that he is not as loud in his private life as he is on TV. He also shed some light on why he isn’t afraid to be critical.”

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Game Theory with Bomani Jones debuted Sunday night on HBO. The show featured Jones’s commentary on the day’s sports issues, some comedy sketches, and an interview with Stephen A. Smith. The First Take star was very candid about his stature in the sports world and his run-ins with people that were unhappy with what he had to say about them.

“I was never good enough to be an elite college athlete, let alone a professional athlete,” Smith told Jones. “And to walk into an arena and be more popular than 90% of the players, every single place I go, is crazy.”

Stephen A. Smith illustrated the point with a story about watching a game at Cnseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. According to Smith, while he his eyes were on the court, a long line of people wanting his autograph had formed and it stretched from the court to way up in the stands.

Smith also offered some real insight into how he became the asset to ESPN that he is now. He admitted to Bomani Jones that he is not as loud in his private life as he is on TV. He also shed some light on why he isn’t afraid to be critical.

He played basketball and wrote for the student paper at Winston-Salem State University. He told a story about writing a column saying his coach needed to retire. According to Smith, the column ruffled some feathers in the athletic department and had plenty of people wanting him kicked out of school, but his coach stood up for him saying that if Smith wants to be a journalist, his job is to call it like he sees it and that he was fair in the way he dealt with the coach.

Stephen A. Smith said that if his basketball coach could deal with him professionally in that moment, he expects others to be able to do the same.

“My problem is, half the time, people are coming at me because of the headline. They don’t read the story. They don’t know the quote. They’re like ‘This headline is out there. You said that about me.’ And if I can get to them, I can resolve it, but like you said, I’m a busy man. I ain’t got time to get to everybody.”

Smith then told a story about one player confronting him and trying to intimidate him. He told Bomani Jones that he is willing to listen to fair criticism, but no one can intimidate him.

“I remember one cat came up to me and said ‘Man, I don’t like your ass. I can’t stand you. You’re a punk bitch. Blah blah blah blah blah.’ AndI looked at him and I said ‘Can I speak?’. He said ‘Yeah.’ I said ‘I’m glad you said that, cuz I don’t like your punk bitch ass neither. Who the hell you think you’re scaring? Because I did my job? This is what you did. I didn’t get into your personal life. I was talking about the game. Who you think you’re scaring? It ain’t gonna work.’”

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The NFL Still Considering Multiple Offers For Sunday Ticket

The NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has not bid for the package but has stated it is willing to partner with the new rightsholder for a potential deal.

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Sunday Ticket Negotiations

DirecTV currently has the rights to Sunday Ticket. That deal expires at the end of this upcoming football season. The NFL is expected to make a boatload of cash when they decide which media organization gets the next rights to the package. The only question is… who will that be?

Alex Sherman of CNBC reports that the NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has decided not bid for the package. However, they are interested in partnering with the new rightsholder for a potential deal. DirecTV knows that Sunday Ticket is a staple in bars and restaurants and is interested in maintaining those relationships.

Outside of the bar/restaurant industry, success has been limited for the satellite provider with the football package. Fewer than two million subscribers signed up for Sunday Ticket each year which made the package a money-loser for the satellite TV provider.

According to the report, the NFL wants more than $2 billion for the rights and a stake in NFL Media, which is being packaged with Sunday Ticket. Also on the table is the NFL’s mobile rights. The league’s previous mobile agreement with Verizon has ended.

An interesting piece of the negotiations is Sunday Ticket price. According to the report, a buyer would have limited flexibility on pricing. The NFL signed contracts with CBS and Fox and within the framework of those deals, language mandates Sunday Ticket have a premium price. That’s to prevent loss of viewers from the networks that feature local market Sunday afternoon games. So essentially, the price is the price for the consumer.

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F1 Renews With ESPN For U.S. Media Rights

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

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The racing series F1 has decided to stick with ESPN through 2025.

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

The reported value of the three-year contract is set to pay F1 $75-90M per year for the U.S. media rights. Amazon had offered to pay roughly $100M per year, with the right to sublicense to a linear broadcast network. Comcast’s offer was similar to ESPN’s in terms of value and the structure. They also wanted to put select races on it’s streaming service, Peacock.

Netflix was in on the negotiations, as well. The makers of Drive to Survive, the streaming series that many credit with the sport’s explosion in popularity in recent years, wasn’t close on on their financial offer. Also, it seems F1 executives were not ready to put all of its races on a streaming service just yet.

Currently, F1 receives $5M per year for ESPN to broadcast it’s races. ESPN has grabbed about 1.0 million viewers per race. That makes F1 a more than viable option for the network to invest into again. ESPN will be able to put a small number of races on its ESPN+ streaming service exclusively. The vast majority being on ABC or ESPN.

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Skip Bayless Says He And Stephen A. Smith ‘Sorted Out’ Their Disagreement

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

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Skip Bayless

Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless were locked in a war of words last week following the First Take host’s appearance on JJ Redick’s Old Man and the Three podcast.

The origins of their partnership were discussed and Bayless admitted he did not like the way Smith characterized the state of First Take before he arrived on set. Smith insisted that Bayless simply misunderstood what he meant by saying that he was told the show needed him.

Over the weekend, Skip Bayless says he and Stephen A. Smith got together at the Bayless home in California to talk things out in private.

“He was in LA, he came over, we sat by the pool,” he said on the latest episode of The Skip Bayless Show. “It wasn’t the easiest conversation for a while, but we slowly but surely sorted it out. We got through it, and we have been through so much together.”

Bayless reiterated that he considers Smith a brother. They love each other. That doesn’t mean they are always going to remember events the same way or see eye-to-eye all the time.

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

Fighting doesn’t mean the relationship is fractured. In fact, Skip Bayless was adamant that he remains closer to Smith than he is to most people in his life.

“I don’t trust easily because of the way I was raised, but I do trust Stephen Anthony Smith. Trust him with my life. Always have and always will. I trust he will always be there for me, and you better believe I will always be there for him.”

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