Trump Ties Just Latest In Clay Travis' Evolution In Sports Media
Clay Travis' help in facilitating President Trump's call with Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren completed his "only-in-2020 transformation from abrasive sports blogger to influential conservative sports radio host to apparent Trump campaign surrogate," according to Ben Strauss of the WASHINGTON POST. Travis for years "has been building a brand partly rooted in attacking progressive athletes and accusing ESPN of liberal bias." However, his "nascent mini-media empire has morphed into the go-to platform for Republicans hoping to win over sports fans." That has come along with the addition of Jason Whitlock, who also "shares political DNA" with Trump, as a business partner in Travis' OutKick website. Both have appeared on Fox News shows, and a "parade of conservative politicians and operatives -- including U.S. senators, governors, White House aides and even Trump himself -- have appeared on Travis's show." Republican strategist Jim Hobart said, "These sports issues can be a very effective base motivator. They can drive donor interest, especially small-donor interest, and the reason they are going on with Clay is that he reaches the same audience that they are trying to reach." Strauss reported in becoming so entangled with Trump, Travis "may be threatening his appeal inside mainstream sports media." At least one advertiser, AutoZone, has left his Fox Sports Radio show "over his politics." Additionally, a source said that Travis' show "has fewer advertisers than other Fox Sports branded radio shows currently and is by far the hardest radio show to sell in Fox's lineup" (WASHINGTON POST, 9/3).