Bleav Content Joins Cumulus Podcast Network
Cumulus Media announced today that the Bleav Network, a sports and entertainment production company with a specialty in producing original, localized content, will be joining the Cumulus Podcast Network.
Cumulus Media announced Wednesday that the Bleav Network, a sports and entertainment production company with a specialty in producing original, localized content, will be joining the Cumulus Podcast Network.
As part of the agreement, the Cumulus Podcast Network will now be responsible for marketing, monetizing and distributing over 300 shows produced by the Bleav Network, expanding its vast audio repertoire.
“Bleav is thrilled to announce our partnership with Cumulus/Westwood One: an industry-leading, audio-first media company,” Bleav President Eric Weinberger said in a statement. “We are eager to embark on this journey together as we continue to empower our creators and remain on the cutting edge of athlete-driven content.”
Bleav was founded by Bron Heussenstamm in 2018 and covers, “Every team, every topic, everywhere.” Its programming is distributed across various audio platforms – including Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Amazon Music – and also has two free, ad-supported television channels (FAST), with one of them being exclusively focused on football. The partnership makes Bleav the first podcast network to feature a player from every professional and major college sports team, giving fans unparalleled insight and expertise into their favorite teams.
“Bleav has created a broad and deep well of programming for sports fans with content from virtually every professional and major college team in America,” said Suzanne Grimes, EVP Marketing at Cumulus Media and President of Westwood One. “Listeners and advertisers alike turn to Westwood One for the very best sports programming, so it’s a natural fit for us to partner with Bleav and offer our advertisers access to this extensive podcast portfolio.”
Westwood One is the largest audio network in the United States, with Cumulus Media distributing programming in sports, entertainment, news and talk to over 9,400 affiliate stations around the country. The company itself owns and operates 405 radio stations across 85 markets, along with the Cumulus Podcast Network, featuring sports programming including The Jim Rome Podcast, The Rich Eisen Show and To Be The Man featuring Ric Flair.
Bleav has over 500 shows of its own producing over 1,000 hours of original audiovisual content each month. Over 800 hosts appear across the network with 175 professional athletes, connecting fans to their favorite teams while keeping them simultaneously informed and entertained. The network has previously announced partnerships with Gow Media, SiriusXM, Auddia and TuneIn to help expand the reach and distribution of its content.
Dave Portnoy: I Trust Penn Entertainment as Much as Ever
“Dave Portnoy is still an employee of Penn Entertainment. However, he has said publicly that he is unsure if the arrangement will continue after his contract expires in 2025.”
Dave Portnoy may have had some public disagreements with Penn Entertainment, but he says that he still trusts the company to run Barstool. He took to Twitter earlier this week to dispel the myth that he is in a feud with the company.
“By the way everything I say or do nowadays is construed as me having beef with @PENNEntertain I 100% do not. Most of my net worth is still tied to $penn. The corporate woke overlord narrative is bullshit. They woulda never bought us in 1st place if that was true. I trust them now as much as when they bought us.”
Portnoy has not been shy about criticizing the company’s decision to fire Ben Mintz after Mintz said the n-word while reading rap lyrics. Several supporters, including Dana White, noted that it is the kind of decision that only happens when corporations take over creative enterprises.
Earlier this week, Dave Portnoy announced that he had hired Ben Mintz as the first employee of Brick Watch Company. Mintz was emotional in making the announcement. The decision was not made to stick it to Penn Entertainment according to Portnoy.
Penn first acquired a stake in Barstool in 2020. It invested $163 million at that time for a 36% stake. Earlier this year, it completed its acquisition, investing an addition $388 million for the remaining 62% of the company.
Dave Portnoy is still an employee of Penn Entertainment. However, he has said publicly that he is unsure if the arrangement will continue after his contract expires in 2025.
Multiple State Regulators Push Back on Effort to Legalize Gambling on WWE
“In March, Alex Sherman of CNBC reported that WWE had meetings with regulators in Colorado and Michigan.”
Despite speculation over allowing sports bettors to wager on WWE, there doesn’t appear to be much support at the state level to add it to sportsbook offerings.
Earlier this year, WWE officials had discussions with accounting firm Ernst and Young to secure pre-determined match outcomes in order to allow betting on events. But many states where sports betting is legal have restrictions on wagering on scripted events.
In March, Alex Sherman of CNBC reported that WWE had meetings with regulators in Colorado and Michigan.
“The Colorado Division of Gaming is not currently and has not considered allowing sports betting wagers on WWE matches. By statute, wagers on events with fixed or predicted outcomes or purely by chance are strictly prohibited in Colorado; this includes wagers on the Academy Awards,” Shannon Gray of the Colorado Division of Gaming told Sports Betting Dime.
In Ohio, the same rules apply. The Ohio Casino Control Commission has not fielded any requests to add WWE. Officials in Kansas haven’t received requests either by their residents.
Elsewhere, Maryland sees keeping WWE out of betting offerings as a way to keep the integrity of legal sports betting.
“Maryland’s sports wagering law and regulations prohibit forms of wagering that are contrary to public interest or unfair to bettors,” Seth Elkin of the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency added. “We’ve determined that it is unfair to bettors and therefore not in the public’s interest to accept wagers on sports entertainment events that have scripted or predetermined outcomes, like professional wrestling.”
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He’s a multimedia journalist and communicator who works at the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond. Jordan also contributes occasional coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, WRIC-TV 8News and Audacy Richmond. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.
Former Twitter Sports Boss TJ Adeshola Joins Arctos Partners
“We’ve been fortunate to have TJ as an Operating Advisor for the past three years, and we are thrilled to have him play a larger role as an Operating Partner.”
Less than two months after TJ Adeshola announced his exit from Twitter, he has resurfaced. Arctos Partners, a firm that he had been advising, named Adeshola an operating partner on Thursday.
In the new role, Adeshola will be much more hands-on with the firm, a private investment company that focuses its investments in the sports world. The firm says it focuses on unlocking “non-obvious opportunities long before others have noticed the market need or opportunity”.
TJ Adeshola’s digital sports marketing expertise will certainly come in handy with that.
“We believe TJ is an innovator in emerging digital and sports media trends, and his wealth of knowledge is a tremendous resource for our Arctos Operating Platform, the value-added capabilities we provide to our franchise partners,” Arctos’s Jordan Solomon said in a press release. “We’ve been fortunate to have TJ as an Operating Advisor for the past three years, and we are thrilled to have him play a larger role as an Operating Partner.”
During his decade with Twitter, Adeshola served as the Head of U.S. Sports Partnerships. His title was Head of Global Content Partnerships at the time of his exit.
He is credited with securing broad strategic partnerships with the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB and MLS as well as NASCAR, esports, college, and high school sports. He helped the platform grow the engagement and audience for those entities.
“I’m thrilled to expand my role with Arctos as an Operating Partner,” Adeshola added. “As the first investment firm to invest across multiple North American sports leagues, Arctos is an innovator and disruptor in the sports landscape. And true to form, the Arctos team recognizes the power of digital media as a tool for growth and an opportunity to drive value for its franchise partners.”