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Andrew Patterson Jumped At Chance To Join Jomboy Media

“I think the idea of taking the communities we have and bringing them to their content [creates] a mutually-beneficial relationship,” Patterson said.

Derek Futterman

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Until June 2022, Jomboy Media operated without a chief executive officer, but as time went on, it was determined that the company needed to add someone to help lead planning, operations, strategy and development across multiple media platforms. Andrew Patterson was selected to help lead Jomboy Media into the future and now three months into the job, he recognizes the power of the company in its ability to innovate within the world of sports media.

Jomboy Media is a digital sports media brand that has experienced exponential growth over the last several years. The company was started by Jimmy O’Brien and his friend Jake Storiale, and it initially became widely known due to video breakdowns O’Brien created of prominent moments in baseball, such as ejections and evidence of sign-stealing following initial reports of the Houston Astros illicitly engaging in the practice during the organization’s 2017 championship season.

First centered around the Talkin’ Yanks podcast started by avid New York Yankees fans O’Brien and Storiale in 2017, Jomboy Media eventually reached a point where it was beginning to grow so quickly that it required a larger time commitment. That growth has hardly slowed with the brand attaining $5 million in a recent funding round led by Connect Ventures featuring athletes such as Dwayne Wade, C.C. Sabathia and Karl-Anthony Towns, along with other renowned celebrities.

Major League Baseball is the oldest professional sports league in the world and while it has been criticized for being behind the curve in various facets of its game ranging from pace of play to the promotion of its athletes, it was at the forefront of the proliferation in social media usage at the start of the last decade. Patterson was hired by MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM), the league’s interactive division, as the senior director of new media.

In fact, he was the first employee hired with a focus on social media altogether. Now working as a manager for the first time in his professional career, Patterson built the new media division with the addition of 85 employees and enlarged the league’s social media following by over 4300%.

“I think it’s better to be lucky than to be smart, but even better to be smart not knowing you’re getting lucky,” Patterson said. “It was just the right timing and the right place there. I found myself at MLBAM and that kind of started my career in sports at this point.”

Following a stint of over eight years with MLBAM, Patterson joined Greenfly, a digital media asset management and distribution platform co-founded by former Major League Baseball all-star outfielder Shawn Green. Patterson initially served as its vice president of partnerships and strategy before being promoted to senior vice president and, eventually, chief strategy officer.

Coinciding with Patterson’s time at Greenfly was the rapid evolution of Jomboy Media from an independent start-up cultivated out of a passion for baseball and love for the Yankees to a brand at the forefront of the growing digital sector in sports media. As a Yankees fan himself, Patterson noticed what O’Brien was building and once it was announced that the company was looking to hire its first CEO, was excited to explore the opportunity.

“There was a tangential kind of familitary there and then being a Yankees fan, you see [the] content,” Patterson said. “It was one of those interesting things where there’s a lot more under the hood when you start to get into it.”

An important value ingrained within the culture of Jomboy Media is its people-first mentality, and it is one of the reasons the brand has attracted fans of baseball and sports as a whole to its various pieces of multiplatform content, such as podcasts, tournaments and YouTube breakdown videos. It is a facet of the company that impressed Patterson during the interview process and has given him further motivation to help the brand soar to new heights as one of its newest members.

“As you kind of start to unpack understanding a little bit more about me [and] quite frankly understanding about the business and them and where they’re going and where they’re headed and how they think – there’s kind of an alignment [in] vision and direction,” Patterson expressed, “and that’s why I was excited to come on…. It’s definitely been eye-opening just kind of the pendulum the business has and all the places that they’re going and the opportunities that fit there.”

The world has undoubtedly been forever changed by the events of the COVID-19 pandemic and in the business world, that means the diminishing practice of reporting to work in an office for five days a week. Jomboy Media recently moved its headquarters from the Bronx to Manhattan, which was announced in the form of a YouTube video, and features various podcasting studios and workspaces to ensure maximum comfort and productivity.

Nonetheless, the company is operating in a hybrid format, meaning that people are not required to come to the office every day of the work week, but still maintains a tight-knit, congenial atmosphere.

“People are happy,” Patterson said. “They’re excited about it. I think it pervades… the work that they do and the relationship they have…. It’s just a fun place to be, and having worked in a lot of places that I really enjoyed; even when I’ve left places… one of the biggest parts that I missed was the people, and that’s one of the parts I’m most excited about here.”

While emerging technologies have made the effectuation of stellar and engaging content more facile than ever, it can be argued that the synergy and chemistry between people lacks when working in separate locations. A massive adaptation in lifestyle due to changing global conditions evinced feelings of dis-ease experienced through difficult times, nor did the adaptation represent one of permanence to some company leaders. Patterson believes it is ultimately the decision of each individual company to determine the future of working in-person among colleagues – and subsequently establish means of collaboration.

“I think there’s a balance to it,” Patterson said. “….Given the first two years of the pandemic where remote work in some way, shape or form is here to stay, I think that what we’ve also found from the office is that there’s a gravity and a reason people come together. When we are filming and we have talent working from one place or another or just kind of cross-sharing ideas; just the small things. People walking to lunch together, bumping into each other and having conversations. I think that aspect of it – just the community aspect of it – is a real piece of it.”

Consumers value authenticity in today’s media world and it is embedded in the fabric of Jomboy Media, a company with a podcast network consisting of over 20 shows and a YouTube subscriber count of nearly 1.7 million people. The authenticity comes from an amalgamation of perspectives garnering unparalleled ethos including directly from fans, established commentators and professional athletes. The company values people who possess a good work ethic and are driven to find new ways to grow the platform, along with having a presence behind the microphone and/or in front of the camera and being sincere in their opinions.

“I think the business is not about takes; it’s about storytelling [and] I think that’s the difference,” Patterson said regarding Jomboy Media’s approach towards its content. “[Our talent] is not looking for shocking and aweing; they’re having an authentic and probably more than authentic I’d say a genuine experience in how they enjoy the game and how they talk about that.”

Storytelling is the foundation of journalism in all contexts, as its premise is one’s ability to gather information, ensure its accuracy and communicate a message to an audience both clearly and concisely. In evaluating talent both internally and externally, Patterson looks for a sustained level of curiosity, willingness to improve each day and, as O’Brien puts it, people who are able to be “fun, not funny” and assimilate into the culture.

“You can find very talented people, but for a team I think even more special than [it] is the kind of atmosphere and environment that people have here,” Patterson said. “It’s something that’s very special and it’s a hard thing to kind of keep over time. I quite frankly think it comes through in the content that we produce which is why people very much enjoy it.”

Being able to place oneself into a conversation with content creators and fans encompasses consumers within a brand, and Jomboy Media leverages that effect of social media to its advantage. When he worked at MLBAM, Twitter was the primary platform for interaction and while it remains prevalent today, other competitors such as Instagram, Snapchat and BeReal are competing for people’s attention and engagement.

The congested landscape of social media platforms requires employees accruing new knowledge or companies bringing on new people with relevant knowledge and, when applicable, experience, in order to safeguard that it does not fall behind. For example, Lorenzo DeMalia and Jack Doyle – co-hosts of the We Got Ice Show and content creators at Jomboy Media – are trying to help the company expand its reach on TikTok.

“Technology creates a new way to have a new spin on existing conversations, and then it’s just finding new ways to leverage that,” Patterson explained. “We’re constantly looking at what our fans are doing, how we can tell our stories in different ways and how we can push those and in some cases where we can find people who can do an even better job.”

One thing that is not always instantaneous is the cultivation of new ideas since the creative process varies in duration for different people. There is often an incessant need to produce new content – especially in today’s day and age –  but ensuring the quality of that content meets and/or exceeds standards has a considerable impact on long-term growth. Putting out meager content that fails to adequately tell a story can sometimes be counterintuitive to brands akin to Jomboy Media, but being willing to fail and try new things often facilitates improvement and eventual success.

“We see people who have ideas coming to the table consistently just bringing new things and pushing it,” Patterson said. “[Try] one idea and if that doesn’t work, let’s try another remix or let’s try a derivative of that and keep on going there. I think when we find something that works, we’re patient enough to kind of keep on trying until we find a way to [make it] work and then we can build on what we’ve done.”

There are a myriad of similarities between traditional radio and podcasts, primarily their bases in aural communication; however, the growing prevalence of podcasts in the marketplace is depictive of shortcomings traditional radio as a medium has yet to significantly overcome. For one thing, podcasts are designed to be consumed from wherever and at whenever consumers see best fit rather than scheduled radio shows, some of which are posted in full or in smaller segments in an on-demand format soon after their initial debuts over the airwaves.

“The accessibility of podcasting as a format and just kind of how it’s ubiquitous and no matter where you’re listening you probably have an opportunity there,” Patterson said. “That’s the biggest difference, I think, between podcasts and radio – where you can do appointment viewing, but in addition to appointment viewing, on the platform of your choosing.”

Jomboy Media, while it is a digital company at its core, also works with traditional sports media outlets including regional sports networks. The company struck a deal with YES Network prior to the start of the baseball season to produce exclusive content for the television home of the Yankees, including podcasts and digital series.

A few months later, the company partnered with NESN, which serves as the television home of the rival Boston Red Sox, similarly producing original content for the NESN 360 direct-to-consumer subscription-based streaming service.

“I think the idea of taking the communities we have and bringing them to their content [creates] a mutually-beneficial relationship,” Patterson said. “To be able to work with YES and NESN and learn from all that’s worked well with traditional media but also being able to bring our spin, our distribution [and] our approach to content is something different. I think that those two things are where you get one plus one equals five, which I think has been really different.”

Another aspect of the YES Network deal specifically is the production of an alternate broadcast available exclusively on the network’s app. Tilted the Watchin’ Yanks Jomboy-Cast, the broadcast follows a similar model to ESPN’s production of Sunday Night Baseball with Kay-Rod, except it is built on a partnership between a regional sports network and digital sports media brand. The alternate show features longtime hosts O’Brien and Storiale and gives fans a new way to watch the game and exposure to perspectives rooted in zealous fandom.

“As we find new partnerships and new ways to innovate, I think that’s just part of the nature of the business,” Patterson said. “You can’t sit still; you have to be always looking at what the next frontier is and how we can push forward.”

In fact, the alternate broadcast was featured for several nights during the final games of Aaron Judge’s quest to break the American League single-season home run record (61) set in 1961 by former Yankees outfielder Roger Maris.

Judge blasted his 62nd home run earlier this week, 61 years later in Arlington against the Texas Rangers, prompting jubilation from baseball fans around the world including those at Jomboy Media. The next day, O’Brien put out a video breakdown of the historic moment on the company’s YouTube channel, and it has already received over 500,000 views.

“He has a very unique perspective and interesting way of approaching content because at his core and [in] his heart, he’s a storyteller,” Patterson said of O’Brien. “He finds stories in ways of thinking and seeing things in ways that I think are extremely unique…. There’s an ingenuity in what he does that is extremely interesting, and I’m excited to learn from him.”

The average age of a baseball fan in a recent survey by Sports Business Journal was found to be 57, the oldest among all professional sports. As a result, Major League Baseball has prioritized growing its game among younger demographics – and content coming from digital brands such as Jomboy Media certainly help further its mission.

Patterson does not believe Jomboy Media as a company facilitates the growth of baseball though; instead, he attributes the somewhat-contrived role of a catalyst for the expansion of the game to an understanding of the audience and what kind of content people are interested in consuming.

“The constant is that we’re fans and we enjoy the game,” he said, “and when you’re having fun, people are often having fun with you. If what we do is highlighting the fun parts that we love about the game and that lets other folks that are baseball fans or new fans or otherwise also see what we see and they love the game, then that’s the purpose that we serve. I don’t think that it’s an intentional one on our part. It really is just to enjoy and to show people what we love and what we’re passionate about.”

There is a positive growth trajectory for the company as it looks to continue to produce multiplatform content about baseball and professional sports as a whole, and Patterson looks to ensure its sustained success. As long as everyone involved looks to keep creating and discovering new ideas for content, the future of the business is bright.

“There’s a lot of directions that we can go; how we decide where our core strengths are and where the business’ core strengths are and how we leverage and double-down on those; that’s the challenge,” Patterson said. “I think there’s a lot of opportunity out there and remaining kind of focused on what we do special and what works for us particularly I think is the important part and that’s challenging and fun.”

It is essential to innovate and remain at the forefront of changes in the industry, and being adaptable and versatile are commodities many employers look for in today’s job market. For Andrew Patterson and Jomboy Media, staying tenacious in content creation and continuing to push boundaries is what they hope will allow for the company to soar to new heights.

“A lot of this is just working and doubling down on it; being dedicated to kind of pushing it,” Patterson said. “I don’t really know if I have a secret per se. It really is just kind of finding something you’re passionate about and then just being curious about expanding that, learning and growing.”

BSM Writers

Beyond The Mask: Henrik Lundqvist Embraced 2nd Career in Sports Media

“It’s not a coincidence you see a lot of goalies working [on] panels and analyzing the game because that’s a huge part of playing in goal.”

Derek Futterman

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Plucking the strings of an acoustic guitar, Henrik Lundqvist found himself beneath the bright lights once again, poised to put on a worthy performance. Just as he aimed to stop pucks from going in the net as the star goaltender of the New York Rangers for 15 seasons, Lundqvist sought to captivate viewers as half of a musical duo featuring former NHL forward Paul Bissonnette.

Their performance of “Good Riddance” by Green Day was in tribute to Rick Tocchet, a former NHL on TNT studio analyst who recently departed the network to serve as head coach of the Vancouver Canucks.

Lundqvist serves as a studio analyst for TNT’s coverage of the NHL, breaking down players and teams throughout the broadcast and bringing his own unique style to the set. His pursuit of a post-playing career in sports media was no guarantee from the moment he retired in August 2021; in fact, he never intended to stop playing the game and competing for a Stanley Cup championship at that time.

During the 2019-20 season, Lundqvist had lost playing time to young goaltenders Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev, and by the year’s end, his deal was bought out by the team. In an effort to continue playing, Lundqvist signed a contract with the Washington Capitals – marking the first time in his NHL career that he would not step between the pipes for the Rangers.

Lundqvist never played a game for the team though, as it was discovered in a medical exam that he would need open-heart surgery to replace his aortic valve while also having an aortic root and ascending aortic replacement. Less than two months after the successful five-hour operation, he was back on the ice rehabbing and attempting to make a full recovery – but a few months in, he began to feel unexpected chest pain. Following a medical checkup, Lundqvist was told he had inflammation around his heart. It was a significant setback that required him to step off the ice, take off his goaltender equipment and rest for several months.

After discussions with his family and friends, Lundqvist determined that the risk of taking the ice outweighed the rewards and officially stepped away from the game. Rather than conjuring hypothetical scenarios wherein he did not experience the misfortune and played for the Capitals, Lundqvist looked to the future amid the ongoing global pandemic and thought about how he could best enjoy his retirement.

“I was just mentally in a very good place,” Lundqvist said. “I didn’t have a choice; I guess that makes it easier sometimes when the decision is made because you can’t go back-and-forth – ‘Should I?’ ‘Should I not?’ Yeah, I wanted to play but it was just not meant to be for me.”

Before any definitive resolution on his future endeavors was made though, the Rangers announced that the team would retire Lundqvist’s No. 30 in a pregame ceremony during the 2021-22 season, making him just the 11th player bestowed that honor in franchise history. As a five-time NHL All-Star selection, 2011 Vezina Trophy winner, and holder of numerous franchise records, Lundqvist had the accolades to merit this profound distinction.

Moreover, he was an important component in growing the game of hockey and contributing to the greater community, serving as the official spokesperson for the Garden of Dreams Foundation and founder of the Henrik Lundqvist Foundation. He also was a two-time recipient of the organization’s prestigious Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award, honoring the player “who goes above and beyond the call of duty.”

Throughout the night, attendees regaled Lundqvist with chants of “Hen-rik!” and were treated to flashbacks of some of his memorable career moments. The night was of monumental importance for Lundqvist, during which he expressed his gratitude to the Rangers’ organization, former teammates and fans. Then, Lundqvist — referred to as “The King” — promptly took his place among team legends beneath the concave ceiling of “The World’s Most Famous Arena.”

“When I look back at my career, I know, to me, it was all about preparation; how I practiced and how I prepared for each game at practice,” Lundqvist said. “There’s no regrets, and I hope people, when they think about how I played, [know] that it was 100% heart and commitment to the game.”

Before this ceremony though, Lundqvist and Rangers owner James Dolan had held several meetings with one another. The purpose of these conversations was to determine the best way for Lundqvist to remain involved with the team, its fans, and the community. In the end, he was named as a lead studio analyst on MSG Networks’ broadcasts of New York Rangers hockey before the start of the 2021-22 season: the start of his foray in sports media.

This past summer, Lundqvist negotiated a new deal with Madison Square Garden Sports and Madison Square Garden Entertainment in which he maintained his in-studio responsibilities while increasing involvement in other areas of its sports and entertainment ventures. In this new role, Lundqvist supports the business operations for both companies, assisting in digital content development, alumni relations, and partner and sponsor activities.

When Lundqvist is not in the studio or the office, he can often be found at Madison Square Garden taking in New York Rangers hockey, New York Knicks basketball, or one of the arena’s renowned musical performances. Usually, when he is in attendance, he is shown on the arena’s center-hung video board as an “NYC Celebrity” and receives a thunderous ovation from the crowd.

“The network is just part of it, but it feels great to come there,” Lundqvist said of Madison Square Garden. “Every time I go there – to see the people that I’ve known for so long – but also I love that place; I love The Garden. I think the energy [and] the variety of things that happen there is something I really appreciate. It feels really good to be a part of that.”

Sitting alongside former teammate and studio analyst Steve Valiqutte and sportscaster John Giannone, Lundqvist appears in the MSG Networks studios, located across the street from the arena, for select New York Rangers games. From the onset, he brought his allure and expertise to the set and appealed to viewers – so much so that national networks quickly began to take notice.

“I enjoy watching hockey [and] talking hockey, but the main thing to me is the team; the people that you work with,” Lundqvist said. “The guys on the panel [and the] crew behind. I really enjoy that part of it and having a lot of fun off-camera.”

One month later, Lundqvist was on his first national broadcast for the NHL on TNT where he and Bissonnette famously performed a cover of “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica that went viral on social media. It had been known that Lundqvist was a musician, famously performing on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon in his Rangers uniform to celebrate the end of the 2012-13 NHL lockout.

In fact, during his retirement ceremony, the Rangers gifted him with a custom-made guitar painted by David Gunnarsson, the same artist who used to paint Lundqvist’s goalie masks.

Aside from occasional music performances, Lundqvist brings an esoteric base of knowledge to the NHL on TNT panel as its only goaltender. Whether it be through player breakdowns, interviews, or dialogue with other analysts, Lundqvist has a perspective to which few professional hockey players can relate. There are various goaltenders among local studio panels surrounding live hockey game broadcasts, and Lundqvist is in a unique situation with MSG Networks in that he and Valiquette are both former goaltenders. Yet on Turner Sports’ national coverage, he is the only voice speaking to this different part of the game.

“It’s not a coincidence you see a lot of goalies working [on] panels and analyzing the game because that’s a huge part of playing in goal,” Lundqvist explained. “Yes, you need to stop the puck, but a huge part of being a goalie is analyzing what’s going on. We can never really dictate the play so you need to analyze what’s happening right in front of you.”

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In broadcasting at both the local and national level, Lundqvist is cognizant of the differences in each network’s studio programs. Lundqvist says appearing on the MSG Networks studio panel is more about being direct with the viewer, whereas the NHL on TNT views its panel as being conversational in nature. With Turner Sports, Lundqvist also asks his colleagues about the different teams around the league since he is most familiar with the Rangers both as a former player and studio analyst.

“I’m closer to the Rangers; I see more of what’s going on,” Lundqvist stated. “When you work [national] games, maybe you focus in on teams on the West Coast or [part] of the league you don’t see as often. You try to talk to the other guys on the panel and the crew and figure out things that are interesting about those teams.”

Hockey is a team sport, and Lundqvist felt grateful to play with his teammates and face his competitors over the years. Now as an analyst though, it is his job to analyze their games and critique them when necessary; however, he does not try to be excessively critical.

Lundqvist knows the trials and tribulations associated with the sport and can relate to scenarios many players face on a nightly basis. Therefore, he thinks about his own experience before giving an opinion, especially a critique, instantiating it with comprehensible, recondite knowledge and/or by recounting a similar situation.

“I’d much rather give them positive feedback obviously because I know it is a tough game,” Lundqvist said, “and sometimes it might look like an easy mistake, but if you can give the viewer a better explanation of why he did that, they might have a different view of that mistake.”

Now metaphorically being beyond the goalie mask, Lundqvist’s vision of the game has evidently shifted. He discerns just how intense the schedule is and the rapid pace of the game, axioms he was aware of while playing but inherently avoided thinking about. He has implemented his refined viewpoint of the game accordingly into his analysis, simultaneously utilizing the mindset and savvy he cultivated on the ice. It is, quite simply, a balancing act.

“I think people can be pretty quick to jump on guys and critique them,” Lundqvist said. “That’s where maybe you take an extra look and try to understand why it happened and give those reasons. I think that’s where it helps if you played the game [for] a long time and just love the game [because] you have a pretty good understanding of why guys react a certain way.”

The challenge tacitly embedded in the jobs of most studio analysts – Lundqvist’s included – is in presenting the information to the audience in a manner through which it learns without being confused. It is a delicate craft that takes time and genuine understanding to master, especially related to promulgating hockey analytics as Valiquette does on MSG Networks and within his company, Clear Sight Analytics.

“There’s a lot of educated viewers out there, but there’s also a lot of people that maybe don’t watch as much hockey,” Lundqvist said, “so you want to find that middle ground where you kind of educate both sides.”

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By broadcasting both locally and nationally in addition to working in a specially-designed business operations role, Lundqvist is staying around the rink in his retirement while facilitating the growth of hockey. Despite the profusion of young talent, dynamic action and jaw-dropping plays, viewership of the sport on ESPN and TNT’s linear channels has dropped 22% from last season, according to a report by Sports Business Journal.

For Lundqvist though, he does not feel much has changed from playing regarding his responsibility to advance the reach and appeal of the sport. He played professionally for 20 years, beginning his career in his home country of Sweden, primarily in the Swedish Elite League (SEL). In the 2004-05 season, his final campaign before arriving in New York City, Lundqvist had won the award for most valuable player. Furthermore, he was recognized as the best goalie and best player, leading Frölunda HC to its second Elitserien championship in three seasons.

His NHL debut came five years after he was selected in the seventh round of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Rangers but unlike many rookies over the years, he came polished and prepared to embrace the lights of Broadway. Following an injury to starting goaltender Kevin Weekes, Lundqvist was inserted into the starting lineup and, from that moment on, virtually never came out.

By the end of his first year, he had been named to the NHL All-Rookie Team and was a Vezina Trophy finalist for best goaltender. Additionally, he remains the only goaltender to begin his NHL career with seven consecutive 30-plus win seasons.

“I think the league is doing a great job of growing the game,” Lundqvist said. “In the end, it comes down to the product and right now, it’s a great product. I feel really good about, the best way I can, to promote the game [by] talking about it, but… it feels like I’ve been doing that for 20 years.”

One means through which Lundqvist attempts to grow the game is within the studio demos he performs with the NHL on TNT, displaying different facets of the game in a technical manner. The show also embraces the characteristics of their analysts and implements them in lighthearted segments, such as zamboni races, putting competitions, Swedish lessons and, of course, musical performances.

“I’m huge on mindset and the pressure,” Lundqvist said. “I love to talk about that type of stuff and give the viewer a better understanding of what goes through their heads. In terms of personality, I don’t know if I can say [that] I’m a serious guy because I love to have fun and laugh and do fun things.”

Lundqvist thoroughly enjoys what he is doing both locally and nationally, and he ensures he surrounds himself with people he wants to be around. There are plenty of other broadcast opportunities for former hockey players, such as moving into the booth as a color commentator or between the benches as a rinkside reporter. At this moment though, he is more focused on being immersed in his current roles, performing them to the best of his ability while ensuring he allocates time to spend with friends and family.

“I see myself more as an analyst in the studio more than traveling around and being in the rink,” he said. “I think that’s another thing with the schedule; it works really well with my schedule to have one or two commitments with the networks, but then I have other things going on in my life that I commit to.”

Plenty of comparisons can be drawn between playing professional hockey and covering the sport from the studio in terms of preparation and synergy. Yet the end result is not as clearly defined since “winning” in television is quantifiably defined as generating ratings and revenue. Undoubtedly, Lundqvist is focused on doing what he can to bolster hockey’s popularity; however, he also wants to enjoy this new phase of his career being around the game he loves.

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“In sports, you win or you lose,” Lundqvist explained. “With TV, you want to be yourself [and] you want to get your point out – but at the same time, if you do it at the same time you’re having a good time, I feel like that’s good TV.”

Once their careers conclude, many athletes think about pursuing a post-playing career and oftentimes end up taking on a role in sports broadcasting. On MSG Networks alone, there are plenty of former players who take part in studio coverage on live game broadcasts, such as Martin Biron of the Buffalo Sabres, Bryce Salvador of the New Jersey Devils, and Matt Martin of the New York Islanders. At the national level, Turner Sports employs Paul Bissonnette, Anson Carter, and Wayne Gretzky for its studio broadcasts, while ESPN’s top studio crew includes Mark Messier and Chris Chelios.

All of these former professional hockey players had an obligation to regularly speak with media members, answering questions about games and the season at large. Lundqvist maintained a professional relationship with journalists and beat reporters, and he most enjoyed taking questions when the team was doing well. Regardless of what the end result of a game was though, he had a responsibility to divulge his thoughts and, in turn, be subject to criticism and/or negative feedback.

His stellar career and persona all came from emanating a passion for the game – and it continues to manifest itself beyond the television screen. Listening to those passionate about the game discuss it usually engenders euphony and lucidity to viewers, analogous to the sound of the puck hitting the pads or entering the glove. It is a timbre Lundqvist created 27,076 times throughout his NHL career (regular season and playoffs) in preventing goals, and one he now aims to explain en masse.

“The reason why I kept going to the rink and put all the hours in was because I really enjoyed it,” Lundqvist said. “If you decide to go into media or whatever it might be, I think the bottom line is [that] you have to enjoy it and make sure you have good people around you.”

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BSM Writers

Should the NBA Nationalize Local TV Rights Like MLS?

The NBA’s upcoming rights negotiations will be this transformational idea’s first testing grounds.

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Diamond Sports has been anything but a diamond in the sports world. As subscribers leave cable and satellite for streaming services, companies are dropping RSNs nationwide because they are too expensive to carry. This has caused an impending bankruptcy for the company, which owns the local rights to dozens of sports teams nationwide. It is also putting the NBA, NHL, and MLB at major financial risk. 

In the short term, it is known that teams will still broadcast on their RSNs even if they aren’t getting the paychecks they were promised in previous rights deals. This will affect teams’ ability to pay players and could even create an unfair advantage among the haves of the sports world like the Yankees and Lakers and the have-nots. The NFL doesn’t face the same problems that the other leagues are facing because its rights have been nationalized.

With the NFL’s continued television dominance, college conferences also bundling up games together for more money, and the MLS guaranteeing themselves television revenue after packaging local and national rights together, could we see the other leagues follow suit? It is an option that is much easier said than done but it seems like we are moving closer to it becoming reality. 

The NBA’s upcoming rights negotiations will be this transformational idea’s first testing grounds.

The biggest problem the NBA and other leagues would face are that the local rights to all of its teams don’t expire at the same time. If the league were to sign a deal that included giving all local rights to a streamer, the amount which the league was getting paid would be very unique year after year. It would be crazy for a streamer to pay a huge chunk of money to the NBA all at once if the number of teams they have local rights to changes every year.

It would also be insane to pay an astronomical amount if the streamer is only getting the local rights to small-market teams like the Cavs and the Pistons. A major market team like the Lakers doesn’t renew their local rights until 2032. We’re still in 2023. How does that affect the league’s operating costs? 

The NBA would also have to figure out whether teams whose rights don’t expire yet deserve to be included in the pot of money garnered from selling local rights to a streamer. Whether they are or they aren’t, does it put each team at different competitive advantages and/or disadvantages when trying to acquire free agents or front-office personnel?

One of the most interesting puzzles to figure out is what influence a league owner like Washington’s Ted Leonsis has in this potential measure when all is said and done. Leonsis just acquired complete control of the regional sports network — currently named NBC Sports Washington — that broadcasts Wizards and Capitals games for millions of dollars, although the exact amount remains undisclosed.

What does Leonsis do with his network if his team’s games can no longer air there? Can his team opt out of participating in a potential league offering? Or if the games continue to air on his network but are simulcasted locally on the streamer that wins local rights on a national scale, does the streamer have the ability to pay less money for rights?

If so, does that make the deal as lucrative for the NBA? And what does that mean for retransmission fees that cable companies like Comcast pay to Leonsis and other RSNs they’re still carrying?

The league will face a similar problem with the Lakers, Bulls, Knicks and other franchises that either wholly own or partially own a part of the RSNs where they broadcast their games. 

I don’t have the answers to any of these questions which is why they are written here in this column. Unfortunately for the leagues, they don’t have the answers either. But if the NBA figures out a way to nationalize their product even more and make streaming games more appealing by ending local blackouts, it’ll benefit the game more than it hurts the game. 

NBA, NHL, and MLB games are still some of the highest-rated programs locally in many markets when you look at how they rate vs. other cable and broadcast offerings. But at this point, the ability to charge everyone for a program that only ten percent of subscribers are watching is a losing business proponent.

The leagues should start from scratch and sell a mass package of games for maximum profit. It gives fans a more centralized location to watch their favorite teams and puts the leagues on a much more steady path than where they could be headed sooner rather than later.

Diamond in the rough to sparkling jewel of light? Only time will tell.

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BSM Writers

Do You Have Affirmations Of Gratitude?

“We are told to be grateful for what we have and remember it could be worse. That feels like a really low bar, right?”

Jeff Caves

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Having gratitude for your life is all the rage. If you, like me, have trouble starting your day with positive affirmations and maintaining a positive outlook about your job, read on! 

We are told to be grateful for what we have and remember it could be worse. That feels like a really low bar, right? Here is another version. Try a few affirmations of gratitude instead.

“I HAVE A JOB.”

With interest rates rising, inflation increasing, and spending down; corporations are laying people off. PayPal laid off 7% of its entire workforce. Amazon let 18,000 go. Alphabet (Google) said goodbye to 12,000 jobs. Radio sales managers need to hire people like you – experienced sellers with a track record of bringing home the bacon. 

I AM A PROBLEM SOLVER.”

You solve a problem for your company when it comes to revenue. You know people, and you sell advertising better than anything they can come up with…so far. 

Yes, they are trying to replace you, but Zoom Info reports iHeart’s self-serve spot buying service,  AdBuilder, is doing under 5 million in business. You have time to solidify your value. Be happy you are the rainmaker. 

I WORK IN THE PEOPLE BUSINESS.”

Sports talk radio is the ultimate companion to millions of listeners. They aren’t robots, and your stations improve their lives by talking about what they care about 24/7. Celebrate selling access to callers, Twitter followers and FANS who go to games. You also get to work with local celebrities that everybody knows but you know best. We all need a connection to other people and want to be seen and heard. 

“I GET TO CHANGE HOW I FEEL ABOUT MYSELF.”

In this job, you determine your value, feelings about your work, and who you work with. You get to set a strategy and talk to the businesspeople you want to help and do business with. It’s like running your own business with a tremendous support staff. Try to do it independently, and you will appreciate accounting, traffic, production, and sales assistance. Those wins produce deposits in your bank account.  

I HAVE COMPETITION!”

That format competitor across the street does things differently and sometimes better than you or tries to imitate you and looks terrible. They motivate you to beat them to a new account or put a moat around your best clients so they can’t be touched. They keep you sharp and willing to try new things. Good competition schemes to take money from your station, and your management needs you to protect them. And they also provide a place for you to work one day. The FTC wants to eliminate non-competes so you can walk across the street this year.  

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Barrett Media Writers

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