SBD: ESPN To Cut About 100 Employees SBD: ESPN Begins Laying Off Around 100 Personalities SBJ: Interest soars in hosting NFL draft SBD: Cord-Cutting, Rights Fees Put ESPN In Bind SBD: Report: ESPN Talent Eyes Pay Cut To Avoid Layoffs SBJ: Colleges flip the switch on esports SBJ: NBA regular season sees ratings drop SBD: ESPN Cuts Drive Discussion On Twitter SBD: Executive Transactions SBJ: Topgolf eyes racetracks to drive business
July 29, 2014 02:48 PM
ESPN's Pablo Torre said of the NBA scheduling the Spurs at the Cavaliers for the '14-15 season-opener, "This is almost an example of the NBA getting real with itself in terms of realizing, 'Look, we're about stars and storylines. This is what our league is fueled by.' That's why we've been talking about LeBron one billion times more than the San Antonio Spurs" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 7/28).
NO SIR, I'M NOT IMPRESSED: The opening monologue from Keith Olbermann last night: "We begin tonight with disturbing information about how the National Football League investigated the Ray Rice case. It is information that suggests Commissioner Roger Goodell is guilty of an ethical breach so profound that it brings into question whether or not he should have been entitled to rule on how Ray Rice should have been punished, let alone been permitted to handout a perfunctory two-game suspension. Goodell still has not commented on the nearly unanimous backlash against his decision last Thursday to impose the laugh and cry out loud two-game pat on the wrist. Today, however, he did send out his unfortunate senior vice president in charge of being a tackling dummy, Adolpho Birch, to make it all worse and worse and worse" ("Olbermann," ESPN2, 7/28). Dallas Morning News columnist Tim Cowlishaw said, "We haven't heard much before from Adolpho Birch on the national TV or national radio stage. I doubt we'll hear much from him in the future. He was just not up to answering these questions" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 7/28).
SELLER'S MARKET: Fox News interviewed Donald Trump yesterday who said of his efforts to buy the Bills: "I like buying things so we'll see what happens. I’ll put a bid in and we'll see. ... But chances are very, very unlikely because I'm not going to do something totally stupid. Maybe just a little bit stupid, but not totally stupid" (Fox News, 7/28).
ABOUT THE BENJAMINS: ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said of Colts Owner Jim Irsay handing out $100 bills to fans, "This is not only repulsive, it looks like a blatant attempt to curry favor with the Indianapolis public given what recently happened with him" ("PTI," ESPN, 7/28).
July 28, 2014 03:01 PM
NFL VP/Labor Policy & Government Affairs Adolpho Birch defended the league's two-game suspension of Ravens RB Ray Rice on this morning's episode of "Mike and Mike." Birch said, "The reality is that we have to make decisions that are fair and consistent with both the prior case law and the prior precedent, but also the message we need to send to ensure that people understand the standards of conduct expected of them." He added, "If you're any player and you believe that based on this decision that it's okay to go out and commit that type of conduct, I think that's something that I would suggest to you that no player is going to go out and do that. So in terms of sending a message about what the league stands for, we've done that" (“Mike and Mike,” ESPN Radio, 7/28).
BUT THE HOSTS AREN'T BUYING IT: ESPN’s Mike Greenberg said after the Birch interview, “I just found myself more and more confused as that conversation went on, to be completely honest. I do not feel that most people listening to that discussion feel they got an adequate explanation of how they arrived at two games. ... It was their chance to make a statement about domestic violence and they think they made a good statement, and they are certainly entitled to it and it's their decision. We disagree with it." Mike Golic: "I really, really don’t understand it. I really would love to hear more of an explanation and this point, we have not" (“Mike and Mike,” ESPN Radio, 7/28).
ELSEWHERE IN BRISTOL: ESPN's Cari Champion said of her "First Take" colleague's controversial comments about Rice's suspension, "I know (Steven A. Smith's) humanity, I know where he was going and what he was trying to say. Obviously, he failed and he said he failed to so" ("First Take," ESPN2, 7/28).
GETTING PERSONAL: USA Today columnist Christine Brennan said, “Roger Goodell is not only married, but he has two daughters. For the life of me, I'm trying to figure out how does he explain to his daughters what he just did?” (“ABC World News,” ABC, 7/26).
WILL YOU MISS MY BACK FLIPS? NASCAR team owner Jack Roush said of Carl Edwards leaving Roush Fenway Racing at this year's end, “NASCAR Cup racing is big-time sports entertainment thing today. Like football, baseball and basketball, athletes move around. ... Just a reality of the business we’re in, I have no emotion either way” (NASCAR.com, 7/27).
DEAR JON LETTER: CBSSN’s Jim Rome: “I want Bills fans to dust off their ‘Slippery When Wet’ cassettes because you might be burning them. Jon Bon Jovi's ownership group has investigated the potential for building a Bills stadium in Toronto. I would tell you to keep the faith, Buffalo, but this isn't just a bad sign. It's ‘Bad Medicine’” (“Rome,” CBSSN, 7/25).
SHOW AND TELL: MLB Network's Joe Magrane said of the changes to the Baseball HOF voting procedures, “The other thing I like about it ... is the transparency that the voters have to declare who they did vote for. ... This becomes a very passionate thing about, ‘Is he a Hall of Famer or is he not?’ I think the transparency is good” (“MLB Tonight,” MLB Network, 7/26).
WE'RE NOT GONNA PROTEST: ESPN's J.A. Adande: "The league will take care of its business, there's no need for you to try to effect change because of you sit out you're hurting so many other people besides Donald Sterling. You can't hurt Donald Sterling in this. He's either going to make money while you're playing or he's going to make money from the sale of the team" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 7/25).
July 28, 2014 09:00 AM
July 23, 2014 03:04 PM
NFL Network’s Mark Kriegel, on Broncos Owner Pat Bowlen: “If you're a fan of a team you look at, ‘Does this owner give us a reasonable chance to win or to compete in a Super Bowl?’ By that standard, Pat Bowlen's reign was an overwhelming, unqualified success” (“NFL AM,” NFL Network, 7/23). ESPN’s Mark Schlereth, a former Bronco, said, “He just wanted to be a piece of the pie to make sure that we won championships. He had great care for all his players. He had a love for all his players and his organization, but he wanted to win. Those are great combinations” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 7/23).
FRIAR SALE: CBSSN’s Doug Gottlieb, on the recent transactions by the Padres: “Somebody walked by the Xbox and clicked on quit. The old thing used to be hit reset or just turn it off and on. They clicked on quit and they are trying to start it over. Grab a bucket, throw water on the fire. This is a fire sale” (“Lead Off,” CBSSN, 7/23).
L.A. STORY: ESPN’s Mike Golic, on the Donald Sterling saga: “All these decisions that are going to be made by Doc Rivers, by players, by sponsors, by season ticketholders; I will be curious to see what they do. You can't say, ‘The NBA didn't do enough.’ Can you?” (“Mike & Mike,” ESPN Radio, 7/23).
OUT OF THE SPOTLIGHT: Bengals Owner Mike Brown said of the franchise’s turnaround, "Do I take credit for that? I wasn't out there taking credit when it wasn't going so well, so maybe I ought to shut up and not take credit when it's going a little better” (WXIX-Fox, 7/22).
PITCHING A FIT: ESPN's Michael Wilbon said of the Astros receiving the No. 2 in next year's MLB Draft, while top pick P Brady Aiken may be ruled ineligible by the NCAA, “How do you like the Astros, who stink, being rewarded and the kid potentially being punished for this mess? … I don't hear any outrage about them getting the pick while a kid is made ineligible" ("PTI," ESPN, 7/22).
HOMEBODY: CBSSN’s Allie LaForce, on the proposed helmet cameras for NFL referees: “Who is going to want to go to a game now if you can have access to the referee and 100 other camera angles at home watching your TV?” (“Lead Off,” CBSSN, 7/23).
CHICKEN LITTLE? ESPN's Rod Gilmore said of Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby’s comments on the future of college sports, "The doomsday scenarios (the conferences) are painting is there to scare the public. We've heard this for 30-35 years that it's going to end if we have to share money. It's never happened" ("College Football Live," ESPN, 7/22).
BOGEY MAN: adidas Group North America President Mark King said of golf, "I just don't like where the game looks like it’s going and it's not in the right direction" ("Real Sports," HBO, 7/22).
July 22, 2014 03:27 PM
N.Y. Daily News' Frank Isola, on golfer Rory McIlroy: "Maybe he's not going to be Tiger Woods, but he's exactly what golf needs. He's a young guy, he's got a lot of personality … he doesn't take himself too seriously. When you had Tiger Woods, he was a little too neatly packaged" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 7/21). TWC SportsNet's Chris McGee: “He moves the needle, but I think the difference with Tiger is, when he is in the hunt, your wife and the person that doesn't care about golf tunes in. I don’t know if Rory does that yet” (“Rome,” CBSSN, 7/22).
REPORT CARD: ESPN’s Colin Cowherd said of cheating among NCAA schools, “The reality is when you have these gigantic infrastructures like the NCAA, they’ve never knocked on doors. They wait for the major American media to break stories then they get in their car, go to the campus (and) apprehend the suspects. They don’t break the stories. They’ve always been the chasers” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 7/22).
GUIDING LIGHT: LRMR Management Founder Maverick Carter said of LeBron James’ return to the Cavaliers, "We didn't push him to do it. We don’t push him to do anything. He asked our opinion of what do we think about the pros and the cons (of returning to Cleveland). We helped him think through it" ("Real Talk With Jason Whitlock," ESPN.com, 7/21). Columnist Kevin Blackistone said, "What a great off-season for the NBA coming out of the Donald Sterling mess. All of a sudden they have a hot stove league. This is better than anything baseball has had in years" ("PTI," ESPN, 7/21).
FAILURE TO LAUNCH: MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, on the Astros failing to sign top pick P Brady Aiken: “I was getting texts from competing executives calling them ‘The Disastros.’ This is really a bad thing for them” (“MLB Now,” MLB Network, 7/21).
LESS IS MORE? ESPN's Darren Rovell said of the NFL owning a stadium in L.A., “There has to be some sort of carrot, something for a positive standpoint for anyone moving there because in a scenario where they are in San Diego or they are in St. Louis, even having less of a crowd might be better off than the NFL owning everything and them not getting the revenue generators" ("OTL," ESPN, 7/21).
July 21, 2014 03:04 PM
ESPN's Ron Jaworski said, “I know Jon Bon Jovi very well … (and he) always does the right thing. The right thing is to keep the Buffalo Bills in western New York. He will do that” ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 7/21).GONE FISHING: N.Y. Daily News’ Mike Lupica, on Angels OF Mike Trout: “We need a star like this in baseball, who if he’s playing, you want to watch” (“The Sports Reporters,” ESPN2, 7/20).
FORTUNATE SON: R&A CEO Peter Dawson, on preparation for the golf course in Brazil for the ‘16 Olympic Games: “I think we were very fortunate to start this process earlier than many other sports. While other sports were concentrating on the London games, golf was looking further forward to Rio because we weren’t involved in London” (“2014 Open Championship,” ESPN, 7/20).
PENNYWISE: Wall Street Journal Sports Editor Geoff Foster, on the NFL concussion lawsuit settlement: “It will probably be around $700 million, but this is a league that makes ten billion dollars in revenue. If you break it down by 32 teams, it's not that much money” (“CBS This Morning,” CBS, 7/19).
KING OF CLEVELAND: ESPN’s Israel Gutierrez, said of LeBron James’ stature in Cleveland: “LeBron isn’t just the Cavs’ star again. He is part coach, part GM and part owner which can be viewed as admirable, but it is also risky. If this is a LeBron led move, it has to work. How long will this second honeymoon last if Cleveland’s big three doesn't win a title soon?” (“The Sports Reporters,” ESPN2, 7/20).
July 15, 2014 02:51 PM
ESPN’s Mike Greenberg said, “The influx of international talent into Major League Baseball has been, from a talent standpoint, the best thing that could possibly happen to the sport. It certainly has not diminished people's interest in basketball, which has become global” (“Mike and Mike,” ESPN Radio, 7/15). MLB Network’s John Smoltz: “I think the All-Star Game that baseball plays is the best and most realistic all-star game of any sport. I think the pride and the determination of each player will show that they want to do well” (“MLB Tonight,” MLB Network, 7/14).
GAME OF THRONES: ESPN's Dan LeBatard said, “We just saw LeBron James exert more power than we've ever seen an American athlete exert in holding up free agency, and he just did it again here. ... He wanted more power over the organization. He did not have that with Pat Riley. He has it all now. He and his guys are going to be able to trample Dan Gilbert" ("Highly Questionable," ESPN2, 7/14). Agent Leigh Steinberg: "He is, without question, the leading endorsement figure of our time. This puts him at an entirely different level. He can write his own ticket" ("ET," 7/14).
FUTBOL FANDOM: The N.Y. Daily News' Frank Isola said of the World Cup, “What people liked also it's not a three-and-a-half-hour baseball game, it's not a four-hour college football game. We can wrap it all up, including halftime, in under two hours. I think people really understood and really fell in love with the tournament" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 7/14). MLS Commissioner Don Garber: "All of us in pro sports struggle with do you want to have a star-driven strategy -- clearly the NBA has that -- or do you want to have more of a league focus and the NFL has done very well with that" ("After the Bell," Fox Business, 7/14).
ONE FOR THE ROAD: ABC's Michael Strahan, on the Jordan Brand spot that pays tribute to Derek Jeter: "I was like, 'Where was my ad when I was retiring, Nike?' I only had 15 years with you. But it's okay" ("GMA," ABC, 7/15).
July 14, 2014 03:50 PM
Virtually every sports and news program over the past 72 hours has offered commentary on LeBron James' return to the Cavaliers. Below is a sampling of memorable quotes on the impact of his move:
--ABC’s Diane Sawyer: “Not just the king of basketball, he is arguably the superstar whose choices can change the economic fortune of an entire city” ("World News,” ABC, 7/11).
--NBC’s Jenna Wolfe reporting from Cleveland: "The 'Lyin’ King’ has now been forgiven, but this news isn't just good for basketball fans. LeBron coming back means good for business anywhere" (“Nightly News,” NBC, 7/11).
--N.Y. Times columnist Bill Rhoden: “At a certain point I think he is concerned with Cleveland and that the fans do care. Miami, they come a half hour late, they leave early and there's a part of him that wanted to go home” (“CBS This Morning,” CBS, 7/12).
--L.A. Times columnist Bill Plaschke: "This was a great day for the sports world as far as redemption, as far as going back home … and this shows that through all the narcissistic awfulness the sports world can be, a guy can grow up, a guy can get perspective and a guy can go home. That's what he's doing and he did it the classy way with a classy, classy letter. His letters trumps Dan Gilbert's letter, his letter trumps 'The Decision'" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 7/11).
--ESPN's Michael Wilbon: "Four years ago 'The Decision' struck an off-keynote with most folks. Today, 'The Letter,' LeBron's essay in Sports Illustrated announcing his homecoming, is being widely praised" ("PTI," ESPN, 7/11).
--Boston Globe's Bob Ryan: "This is an extraordinary document and demonstrates the human growth of a person before our very eyes, a prominent athlete, who has really thought out a lot of things. ... This is a great, savvy PR move for him as well, for his image" ("PTI," ESPN, 7/11).
--Cleveland's WKRK-FM's Joe Hull: “It’s so much more than just a story about sports and a basketball player going to a team. This was validation for an entire region -- an entire people -- and I can't underestimate that enough” (“Lead Off,” CBSSN, 7/12).
--N.Y. Daily News’ Mike Lupica: “He has said, ‘I am the most powerful person in this sport.' ... The league couldn't have had a better day. Usually, a free agency like this and waiting to see where guys are going to make their next $100 million makes fans resentful. Not this time” (“The Sports Reporters,” ESPN, 7/13).
--NBC’s Kevin Tibbles: “Happy days appear to be here again for a city once the butt of America’s jokes. The triumphant return of LeBron James is just the latest sign brawny blue-collar Cleveland is fighting back” (“Meet the Press,” NBC, 7/13).
July 10, 2014 05:00 PM
The Green Bay Packers this afternoon reported net income of $25.3 million for the fiscal year ended March 31, down from $43.1 million the previous year.
The drop is largely tied to the timing of four free agent contracts across the 2013 and 2014 seasons that all dropped into the most recent fiscal year, said Mark Murphy, Packers president. Murphy declined to identify the contracts, but some of the big-ticket signings in the last year include Sam Shields and Julius Peppers. Bonus money paid out for the contracts fell into expenses.
Local revenue rose 6 percent, driven by 7,000 new seats at Lambeau Field, to $136.4 million. National revenue, which includes broadcast TV and sponsorship money, jumped 4 percent, to $187.7 million. Part of this increase included the benefits from the NFL Network’s new distribution deals with Time Warner Cable and Cablevision Systems, Murphy said.
Total revenue for the team was $324.1 million, a Packers record, Murphy said. With a new Lambeau Field pro shop opening next week that’s expected to add $8 million annually to merchandise revenue, and new national TV contracts coming into play this fall, that looks to be a one-year record.
The Packers are publicly owned and, as such, they release their financials publicly. They are the only NFL team that does so.
Green Bay is grandfathered under a league policy that now prohibits public ownership of teams.
July 8, 2014 03:47 PM
New Nets coach Lionel Hollins: “I'm very low-maintenance. I'm actually embarrassed when I drove up and saw the big billboard with my picture on it" ("Brooklyn Nets Press Conference," YES Network, 7/7).
COLT OF PERSONALITY: Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman, on the treatment of Browns WR Josh Gordon compared to Colts Owner Jim Irsay for their drug related offenses: “I really get irritated about some of the double-standards I see, the reaction to him from fans, people I see on Twitter and other people in the media versus Jim Irsay” (“Rome,” CBSSN, 7/7).
SELF EVALUATION: Dallas Morning News’ Tim Cowlishaw said of Sporting KC F Dom Dwyer taking a selfie after a goal, "I think selfies are either the death of America or society, I'm not sure which. For a soccer player to go do that in the middle of a game, it’s the worst thing I've ever seen" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 7/7).
TOP DRAFT PICK: CBSSN’s Doug Gottlieb said of the DraftServ machines at Target Field, “It’s a great idea to get more beer in ballparks because it’s the only thing that makes baseball entertaining” (“Lead Off,” CBSSN, 7/7).
BODY OF WORK: ESPN The Magazine Editor-in-Chief Chad Millman said of the “Body Issue”, "We're not going out there just trying to be titillating, we're trying to prove a point about the athletic form" ("Nightline," ABC, 7/7).
KNOW WHEN TO SAY WHEN: FS1's Petros Papadakis, on the Donald Sterling trial: "Everything's a play, everything's a lie. We've reached critical mass with this stuff. I've had enough of it" ("Fox Sports Live," FS1, 7/8).
ALL FOR ONE: MWR co-Owner Rob Kauffman said of the formation of Race Team Alliance, “The key word is collaboration. No one is looking to do any kind of big fight or controversy, this is really about everyone trying to work to together to just promote and enhance the sport" ("NASCAR Race Hub," FS1, 7/7).
FIRST-NAME BASIS: Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding, on the Lakers and the potential acquisition of free agent Carmelo Anthony: “We are talking about a first name guy. You say Carmelo, you do not have to give the last name. There is something about that for the Lakers. They feel that is extremely valuable. As they try to bounce back and maintain their global brand with Carmelo and Kobe, that’s powerful stuff" (“NBA GameTime,” NBATV, 7/7).
SMILE: Starwood Capital Group CEO Barry Sternlicht, on the U.S. fans of the World Cup: "We're such a happy nation and we want to have heroes and we want to have things to root for and it's such a shame that the politicians are so hell-bent on ripping us to shreds" ("Squawk Box," CNBC, 7/8).
KEEPING SCORE: Bloomberg TV's Jon Erlichman said of ESPN, “They win when the ratings are great because they're able to satisfy the advertisers … and they're able to say to the cable companies who sometimes wonder about these high fees that they're paying for sports channels to say, 'Listen, this is what people want to watch'" ("In The Loop," Bloomberg TV, 7/7).NEW FRONTIER? Golf Channel’s Tom Abbott, on the state of the LPGA Tour: “Eugenie Bouchard, who was sort of the darling of Wimbledon, was on the front page of some of the newspapers here at the end of last week. That would be unheard of for a lady golfer” (“Golf Central,” Golf Channel, 7/7).