About the baseball thing . . . Maxx Client Bart Scott knows you are skeptical. He knows he has work to do. He knows he is a football guy in a baseball town, and about to be handed a microphone to talk baseball on 50,000 watts of clear channel radio.
“To me football and basketball are like breathing; I’ve watched it my entire life,” he said before a recent warmup show in advance of his official Jan. 2 debut as one of three new afternoon hosts on WFAN.
“In baseball, I’m going to struggle with that. It’s up to me to do the research and do my due diligence.”
Scott, 37, has an outsized personality and is the biggest name in a trio that also includes Chris Carlin and Maggie Gray, so why focus here on something as specific as baseball knowledge, or lack thereof?
Because it’s New York, he is on the Yankees’ flagship station, he is a former football player, he grew up in Detroit and during three December shows he experienced some early wobbles when talking baseball.
Scott said he views the challenge as no different from coming out of a non-major program at Southern Illinois University and having to “get myself up to speed” against NFL competition as an undrafted free agent.
“I look at it the same way,” he said. “It’s baseball. It just means I have to pay attention to it, that’s all . . . It’s in the details. I’ll get the details cleaned up.”
Boomer Esiason, WFAN’s morning co-host, and Chris Simms, who was offered but declined a spot on the afternoon show, are former NFL players but grew up in the New York suburbs, giving them an edge Scott lacks.
“It’s important for me to get a sense of the history of the Mets and the Yankees,” he said, “because I’m a Tigers fan. I’m a Red Wings fan. I’m a Pistons fan. I’m a Lions fan. I’m a Michigan State fan. I can speak those things.”
He then congratulated Alan Trammell on his recent election to the Hall of Fame and waxed nostalgic about “Sweet” Lou Whitaker and Cecil Fielder. See, he has nothing against baseball!
“It’s up to me to go back and get the history,” he said. “I’ll get there.”
There is no time to waste. “The Afternoon Drive,” as the program will be called, will face intense scrutiny from the start as WFAN’s first afternoon show of the post-Mike Francesa era.
Scott, a linebacker for the Ravens from 2002-08 and Jets from 2009-2012, widely is viewed as the wild card, an unpredictable font of opinions and stories. If all goes well he will straddle the line between provocative and incendiary, leaning toward the former.
“That’s me anyway,” he said. “People say (former WFAN morning co-host Craig) Carton was like that. Stephen A. (Smith of ESPN) is like that. I’m comfortable with being uncomfortable. I’m comfortable saying what people are afraid to say, because that’s the only way I’ve always been.
“When people hear me say something, just know that I believe it. And if I’m wrong, I’m man enough to say it.”
Asked what Scott’s personality will bring, Carlin said, “I think it brings an edginess; I think it brings an unabashed lack of fear. It’s funny. When you’re in radio you can be around some people you work with and they can have that and it can scare you. Are they going to say the wrong thing?
“I look at Bart and being around him I know how smart he is. He’s exceptionally smart. He knows what works and what doesn’t on that front.”
Scott’s final season with the Jets included a brief (and failed) attempt at a media boycott, and ripping fans for heckling players at halftime of the infamous “Butt Fumble” game against the Patriots. And that was only in November!
Earlier that season, he physically threatened a reporter who had taken his picture in the locker room. So, Bart, um . . . welcome to the media?
“It’s white noise,” he said. “I’ve heard some of the criticism. ‘Oh, how could anybody hire him? He was against the media, blah, blah, blah.’ That’s baloney.”
Scott had extensive radio and TV experience during his playing days, and from 2014-16 he was on CBS’ “The NFL Today” studio panel. So he said he has nothing against the media in general. He said he was angered in 2012 by media depictions of the Rex Ryan’s Jets as “clowns.”
“I’ve always lived in a glass bowl; that’s what being an athlete is,” he said. “You put yourself in the forefront, you are going to be criticized. It never bothered me. But one thing you’re not going to do is attack my integrity, my professionalism.
“You can say whatever you want about me; I’ve never had a DUI, no incidents off the field, no illegitimate children, no beef with my wife, no domestic violence. So you can’t lump me into that. I won’t tolerate that. But if you want to say I can’t tackle, I can’t run, I’m horrible in coverage, so be it . . . Hakunah Matata. Stuff rolls off.”
Scott admitted he struggled with the NFL pregame format, in which thoughts must be limited to 10- or 15-second sound bites. CBS replaced him after last season with Nate Burleson.
“We’re big fans of Bart’s,” CBS Sports president David Berson said. “This new opportunity he has on the radio is a platform, I think, to showcase all of his strengths.”
Mark Lepselter, Scott’s agent, said WFAN executives saw his potential after midsummer fill-in shifts. “I think he has more space now, more real estate to convey his thoughts, show his personality,” Lepselter said.
Scott is unconcerned about three voices being a crowd, but he urged listeners to be patient.
“We’ll find our groove,” he said. “You go back and think about ‘Mike and the Mad Dog’ and their history, sometimes we forget the beginning and the journey because we see them at the end when they get to the destination. We’ll figure it out. We’ll get our sea legs.”
One goal is to reach new potential listeners given the younger, more diverse cast.
“That’s what I’m hoping,” Scott said. “Look at the perspectives we have. We always laugh that Carlin represents the middle-aged white man. Maggie is a young woman. You talk about where can the industry grow? It’s with women.”
Like Esiason, Scott will provide a former athlete’s point of view, a view he thinks often is discounted by fans.
“If you just know me from [saying] ‘Can’t wait!’ and just think I’m a raging lunatic that’s not sophisticated enough or intellectual enough to hold a conversation outside the athletic realm, that’s not who I am,” he said. “There are many layers to me, like an onion. I always get, ‘Oh, you’re so articulate.’ What’d you think I was, a Neanderthal?
“I’m a college graduate. It’s like saying, ‘Oh, you sound so smart.’ Like, what the hell does that mean? You think I’m some dummy? But that’s kind of what you deal with: stereotypes. I love that I get an opportunity to raise the bar.”
Scott’s off-air pursuits include working with Morgan Stanley to counsel athletes on financial strategy.
The WFAN gig also is an opportunity to recreate a flicker of the old athletic juices. “When you retire you look for something that gives you the butterflies in the stomach, that makes you nervous,” he said.
Given the attention that is to come, this job should qualify.
“You talk about replacing an icon, an institution, somebody like Mike Francesa, what he’s meant to the business, the industry, it’s big shoes to fill,” Scott said. “But it’s not anything I’m not prepared to handle. I knew what I was signing up for.”
In other words: Can’t wait! Yeah, that, too. Scott uttered his trademark phrase seven years ago on ESPN, after the Jets upset the Patriots in a divisional round playoff game and he looked toward the AFC Championship Game in Pittsburgh.
Does he mind still being known for that?
“I love it,” he said. “It’s not like ‘Butt Fumble’ where you want to make fun of it five years later . . . I got a positive one. At least we were victorious. It’s not like, ‘Oh, you were the dummy who ran into the back of the lineman.’ Nobody wants to be that guy.”
By Neil Best, Newsday
MAXX Client Gregg Giannotti has been making the long daily drive from Bellport to Soho for two years, so he knows the routine, and he knows that when many people hear about it, “they think I’m nuts.”
But come Jan. 2, he believes the commute will have its benefits as he moves down the hallway from CBS Sports Radio to WFAN, where he will join Boomer Esiason as morning co-host.
“Living here, especially now, it’s really important to me, with all the craziness that is going to go on,” Giannotti said. “Life is going to change, no doubt about it.
“There’s something about leaving that world where everybody is paying attention to every word and everybody is focused on your success and there is high pressure in New York City and driving back here and de-stressing and pulling into my driveway and having it be the exact same place I grew up in.”
Giannotti, 35, lives less than two miles from where he grew up and near his parents. That should be a help, given that he and his wife, Gina, are expecting their first child in February.
But mostly, it gives him a comfort zone and support system as he transitions from a national network that is not heard in New York to the area’s iconic sports radio station.
After joining CBS Radio from a station in Pittsburgh, Giannotti lived for a year in an apartment in Great Neck. “I was looking in Nassau County; things were extremely expensive,” he said. “Then I was looking at Suffolk County and I kept going farther east and east and I said, ‘I’m this far east. Why don’t I just go all the way back?’ ”
Traffic usually is not an issue because he leaves at 3:45 a.m., then heads back before noon. When he gets there, familiar faces abound.
“There are people I went to high school with and people I see who are just locals at the deli, and they are all so proud of it,” he said. “It’s funny, because it’s like this in-between of ‘I knew you were going to do this’ but it’s coupled with ‘Man, I can’t believe you actually did it!’ ”
Giannotti began at WFAN as a producer for Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts in middays and always planned to return.
“This is it,” he said. “Every decision I’ve made was because I wanted to do this. Now I’m given an opportunity and I know I’m going to do well, because it’s all I’ve ever wanted . . . So that first day it’s not going to be nervousness . . . It’s going to be excitement that it’s finally here.”
The opportunity came after Craig Carton was arrested on federal charges of wire and securities fraud on Sept. 6 and resigned a week later. When Giannotti got the job, Carton called him to wish him well.
“I was so impressed with the fact he could in that moment reach out and be that nice,” Giannotti said. “I thought to myself: Could I do the same thing? Could I be that good of a person to, in a bad moment in life, be that good?”
Giannotti said Carton urged him to lean on colleagues for support and to “always, always be me. That is something I’ve heard from a lot of people. It really is the most sound advice, to never try to be anybody but yourself or ever try to imitate or emulate a voice other than yours.”
Speaking of which . . . Giannotti, whom friends call “Gio,” is known for impersonations, notably of Benigno and Mike Francesa. He tries to not overdo it. “In the beginning it bothered me, because it was always the thing that people thought of about me and I had to fight against that a little bit,” he said. “But I also had to appreciate the fact people enjoyed it that much.
“This is making it sound way more important than it is, but I always make the analogy of a band that is sick of their biggest hit and don’t want to play it. They wish their fans would just look at the new stuff, but they’re making them play their old songs.”
At least New York listeners can appreciate his Benigno. “I can’t go to Pittsburgh and do a Joe Benigno imitation,” he said. “People in Squirrel Hill will think I’m crazy.”
That’s a neighborhood in Pittsburgh, by the way. Now he is back to his old neighborhood, not all that far from where Esiason grew up and played at a rival high school.
“It’s funny, because with all the things that Boomer has done and all the places he’s been, he’s still a guy that went to East Islip,” Giannotti said.
Giannotti considered an afternoon drive time offer but decided the more freewheeling morning vibe fits him best. So Chris Carlin, Maggie Gray and Bart Scott will replace Francesa, a move that has garnered far more attention than the morning change. That is fine with Giannotti, giving him more breathing room to ease into his new role. That and about 70 miles of pavement.
“Will the demands of the job make me [eventually] move farther west?” he said. “As of right now, I really like the idea of having all that spotlight on you in there, and you’re the same guy you always were out here when you get home.”
By Neil Best, Newsday
So you think being the sideline television reporter for the NBA champs is all glamor all the time? Then you haven’t seen the dank little “hidey hole” in which MAXX Client Kerith Burke hangs out during Warriors games at Oracle Arena.
When she’s not delivering on-air reports or interviewing players, Burke, who is in her rookie season with NBC Sports Bay Area, spends plenty of time hunkered down just beyond the baseline and below the stands. Envision the cupboard Harry Potter occupied under the stairs in the Dursleys’ home and you get the general idea: It’s a dark and cramped space where she can only see the game on a 14-inch monitor perched on a fold-out table. Occasionally, peanut shells rain down from above and she has been known to rescue cell phones that fans have fumbled.
The worst part? The temperature.
“It’s really cold back here,” Burke says, settling into her seat next to audio assistant Jason Knapp just before Wednesday night’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies. “I always get goosebumps. Sometimes I wonder if the camera will pick them up in HD. I think I’m safe, though.”
But a few goosebumps and peanut shells aren’t about to get Burke down. This, after all, is a woman who not long ago was bagging groceries just to pay the rent. Now she owns one of the most coveted jobs in sports broadcasting — assigned to a star-studded, world-renowned team that has captured two NBA titles in three years.
“I feel honored to be doing what I’m doing because there’s a very big spotlight on this job,” she says. “But I know what it took to get me here, and I’m appreciative of the path I took.”
So far, Burke, who replaced fan favorite Rosalyn “Ros” Gold-Onwude, has been getting positive reviews from not only Dub Nation, but the people she covers and works with.
“We love Kerith,” says Warriors coach Steve Kerr. “She’s as smart as a whip. She understands the game. She understands her position and is really good at it. I’m impressed, especially given that it’s year one and I think she’s killing it.”
Burke’s play-by-play partners apparently are just as impressed. Bob Fitzgerald raves about her work ethic (“She’s really diligent and on top of everything she needs to be to cover this team”), and Jim Barnett talks of her on-air composure (“It’s easy to see that the camera really likes her.”).
All the positive reinforcement is welcome, especially considering the bumpy road Burke took to get here. This May, as the Warriors were storming their way through the postseason, Burke reluctantly took at job at a Whole Foods Market because, as she admits, “I needed to pay my bills.”
A few months earlier, Burke had ended her longtime stint as a sports anchor and reporter at SportsNet New York (SNY) and moved to the Bay Area to be closer to her boyfriend. It was the first time in her life, she says, “that I put my personal life over my career.”
With her stout resume, Burke, who had covered the U.S. women’s basketball team during the 2016 Olympics for NBC, believed it wouldn’t be difficult to find another job in sports journalism. But she found herself scrambling for freelance gigs, including some work with the Pac-12 Network. As her savings dwindled, she tried to hide the struggle from her friends.
“I don’t really think that it’s special that I took a job at Whole Foods,” Burke says. “Millions of Americans are doing what they need to do to pay the bills. But it was a good moment to reflect and remind myself that there’s nothing beneath me.
“It was also a reminder that loading watermelons into double bags is not what I prefer to do. So it sort of galvanized me again to keep trying in sports.”
By the end of summer, her big break arrived when Gold-Onwude accepted a position with Turner Sports to cover the NBA full time. In early October, NBC Sports Bay Area awarded its open position to Burke, who immediately expressed hope that viewers wouldn’t label her as the “new Ros.”
“She was beloved here and she earned it,” Burke says of her predecessor. “I have an appreciation for what she did. Her style was really all about letting people in. I knew I was stepping into some big shoes. But I can’t be Ros. I can only be me and I hope viewers are discovering my style.”
Her style apparently includes a dogged commitment to the job. On Wednesday, Burke maintained what is a typical home-game schedule, leaving her apartment in San Francisco at 9:45 a.m. to make the Warriors shoot-around. There, she interviewed Kerr and a few players before co-hosting “Warriors With You,” a Facebook Live show geared toward fan interaction, with Monte Poole.
Then it was back across the bridge to grab lunch, change clothes and do her hair and makeup for that night’s telecast. By 3:30 p.m., she was at Oracle Arena to meet with production staff, shoot segments for the pre-game show and attend Kerr’s pre-game press conference.
After the game and all the sideline and press-conference duties that entails, she was back on the road shortly after 11 p.m. and headed home.
“It’s a long day, but it’s a great day,” Burke says. “I knew what I was getting into and I don’t know if I could have done this as a younger person.”
Kerr, who has experienced his share of TV work, says it’s a tougher job than some might think, and Burke has a good handle on it.
“She knows her place and I mean that in a good way,” he says. “As a sideline reporter, you have to understand that there are times that you have to back off and give the team some space. And there are other times you get in there and get some good info. I think she really understands that give-and-take. And I think it’s remarkable that she has found her niche so early in her first year.”
MEET KERITH BURKE
— What’s in a name: Her distinctive first name comes from a character in “The Source,” a 1965 novel by James A. Michener. “My mom loves to read,” Burke says, “and she wanted something that sounds Irish. I’ve never met another Kerith, but I know they’re out there.”
— No relation: Some basketball fans have assumed that Kerith is the daughter of Doris Burke, the veteran ABC and ESPN basketball analyst. Nope, but the younger Burke is a big fan.
— Go, Cougars: Burke and Warriors guard Klay Thompson share the same alma mater. They both attended Washington State University.
— Winning ways: The Warriors aren’t the first championship team Burke has been around. With SNY, she covered perennial women’s college basketball powerhouse UCONN for several seasons.
NEW YORK (WFAN) — The No. 1 sports talk radio station in the country, New York’s legendary WFAN Sports Radio 101.9 FM and Sports Radio 66 AM, announced Wednesday a fresh new lineup and distinctive new voices to coincide with the launch of the new year, featuring Maxx clients Bart Scott, Gregg Giannotti, and Joe Benigno.
Maxx client Gregg Giannotti, currently co-host of “Gio & Jones” on CBS Sports Radio, has been named co-host of the newly renamed WFAN morning show, “Boomer & Gio,” alongside the incomparable Boomer Esiason. Later in the day, Maxx Client and former New York Jets linebacker Bart Scott, along with Chris Carlin and Maggie Gray, will host a long-awaited new afternoon program, “The Afternoon Drive with Carlin, Bart and Maggie.” Further bolstering The Fan’s weekday lineup, longtime audience favorite, Maxx client Joe Benigno, and Evan Roberts will now host a fourth hour.
The new shows and programming updates take effect Jan. 2. “Boomer & Gio” airs weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and is simulcast on CBS Sports Network. Now with a refreshed three-anchor format and a diversity of voices, “The Afternoon Drive with Carlin, Bart and Maggie” will air weekdays from 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. “Joe & Evan” airs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Beginning Jan. 2, the new WFAN Sports Radio 101.9 FM and Sports Radio 66 AM weekday lineup will be as follows:
1:00 – 5:40 AM — Tony Paige & Marc Malusis
5:40 – 6:00 AM — “The Warmup Show” with Al Dukes & Jerry Recco
6:00 – 10:00 AM — “Boomer & Gio”
10:00 AM – 2:00 PM — “Joe & Evan”
2:00 – 6:30 PM — “The Afternoon Drive with Carlin, Bart and Maggie”
6:30 PM – 1:00 AM — Steve Somers
“Today’s announcement helps solidify WFAN’s rank as the No. 1 sports talk radio station in the U.S. for years to come,” said Marc Rayfield, senior vice president/market manager for CBS Radio New York. “The mix of distinctive new voices and lineup changes alongside perennial on-air favorites ensures a continuously remarkable listening experience for the passionate New York sports fans we proudly serve.”
Added Mark Chernoff, vice president of programming for WFAN and CBS Radio New York, “With the addition of Gregg to the WFAN morning show alongside Boomer, and with Bart, Chris and Maggie joining us in the afternoon, we’ve assembled a stellar line-up that we’re proud to showcase on WFAN. New York sports fans are about to be entertained, challenged and engaged like never before.”
Giannotti currently co-hosts CBS Sports Radio’s morning show with former NFL linebacker Brian Jones weekdays from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. Giannotti began his sports broadcasting career in 2005 as an intern at WFAN. He worked part-time for the station following the completion of his internship and joined WFAN full-time in 2007. He first served as a board operator and took on producing responsibilities a short time after that. In 2008, he hosted his first show for the legendary station.
When CBS RADIO was launching a new all-sports radio station in Pittsburgh in 2010, Giannotti was named as Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan’s night host. Just six months later, he was promoted to host of the station’s morning show – a program that has perennially been the No. 1-rated sports talk show in the market.
While in Pittsburgh, Giannotti also served as the sideline reporter and pregame host for Pittsburgh football during the 2012 and 2013 seasons. In addition to his duties at The Fan, he also hosted a weekend show on CBS Sports Radio.
Scott most recently served as a host and guest on ESPN New York 98.7 FM, where he appeared four times a week on “New York’s Game Day,” “The Michael Kay Show,” “Humpty & Canty” and “Inside the Jets.”
Prior to joining ESPN, Scott was a studio analyst for the CBS television network’s NFL pregame show, “The NFL Today” from 2014-16. He elevated his role from 2013, when he was a studio analyst on CBS Sports Network’s weekly Sunday pregame show, “That Other Pregame Show.”
In addition to “The NFL Today,” Scott contributed to “Inside the NFL” on Showtime and appeared in weekly segments on “That Other Pregame Show.”
Scott joined CBS Sports Network as a studio analyst during the 2013 NFL season on “That Other Pregame Show.” Before joining CBS Sports, Scott’s NFL career spanned 11 years playing with the Baltimore Ravens (2002-08) and New York Jets (2009-12).
In 2006, he was a Pro Bowl selection and earned All-Pro honors. Scott graduated from Southern Illinois University and was named to the All-Gateway Conference (now Missouri Valley Conference) first team during his senior year. He is now a member of the school’s Hall of Fame.
Netflix has renewed “Ultimate Beastmaster” for a second season. Former NFL star and MAXX Client Tiki Barber will be co-hosting Season 2 alongside comedian Chris DiStefano.
The athletic competition show premiered last year as Netflix’s first reality series, part of a larger move into unscripted programming for the streaming giant. Created by “The Biggest Loser” executive producer David Broome, “Ultimate Beastmaster” features athletes from different countries competing to best a vast obstacle course dubbed “The Beast.” Sylvester Stallone executive produces alongside Broome.
The show was designed to be a unique international play for Netflix. Broome’s 25/7 productions created six different versions of each of the first season’s 10 episodes geared toward six different territories — the United States, Brazil, South Korea, Mexico, Germany, and Japan. Each version is edited differently, and each features its own pair of announcers speaking in the country’s native language.
Teams will compete from Spain, France, Italy, China, India, U.S., Mexico, Brazil and South Korea — with localized versions of the show being produced for each. The new season, which has already been shot, will premiere Dec. 15 on Netflix worldwide.
Netflix has seen mixed results with its nonfiction programming thus far. While 2015 documentary series “Making a Murderer” was an enormous hit and cultural phenomenon for the service, its first swing at a late-night style talk show, Chelsea Handler’s “Chelsea,” failed to capture buzz and was recently brought to an end after two seasons.
Netflix has shown a willingness to invest in reality competitions beyond “Ultimate Beastmaster.” The streaming service is currently developing “Rhythm & Flow,” a music competition show from executive producers John Legend and Jeff Gaspin.
Watch the trailer for “Ultimate Beastmaster” season two below:
ESPN and Barstool Sports have teamed to create a new program Barstool Van Talk, featuring MAXX Clients Dan “Big Cat” Katz and PFT Commenter. Produced by Henry Lockwood, along with Embassy Row, the show will take place in Vanny Woodhead, the conversion van that plays a central role in the trio’s top-rated sports podcast “Pardon My Take.” The show will premiere on October 17 and will air weekly on Tuesday nights at 1 a.m. ET/ 10 p.m. PT on ESPN2.
Barstool Van Talk will feature original digital shorts, guest interviews and comedy sketches. The show will also include their popular “exit interview” taped in the back of their 1993 conversion van. Content from the show will be featured across ESPN’s digital and social platforms including ESPN.com, the ESPN App, ESPN’s YouTube channel, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Barstool Sports launched “Pardon My Take” in March 2016 and the popular podcast is now on its 250th episode. Co-hosted and produced by Katz, PFT Commenter and Lockwood, the podcast was created on the belief that sports coverage should be fun and structured as a satire on modern day sports media. Barstool Sports will continue to publish “Pardon My Take” three times a week on its platform.
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – October 11, 2017 – NBC Sports Bay Area (@NBCSAuthentic) and the Golden State Warriors (@Warriors) today announced that veteran sports anchor and reporter Kerith Burke (@KerithBurke) has joined the Warriors broadcast team as a sideline reporter. In addition, she will provide coverage across the network’s signature programs – Warriors Pregame Live, Warriors Postgame Live, Warriors Central and other NBA programming. Burke will also present original content throughout the season across various social media platforms: Facebook (facebook.com/NBCSAuthentic); Instagram (NBCSAuthentic); Snapchat (NBCSAuthentic); and Twitter (@NBCSAuthentic & @NBCSWarriors).
Burke will join the Emmy Award-winning team of Bob Fitzgerald and Jim Barnett. She will make her debut this Friday (October 13) at 7:30 p.m. as the Warriors host the Sacramento Kings in preseason action.
“It's a dream to cover the defending NBA champions and this world-class organization,” said Burke. “The team has achieved so much and built the foundation for more. I feel like the luckiest reporter alive. I'm thrilled to work with NBC Sports Bay Area to bring to life all the Warriors' stories from this incredible roster.”
"Kerith is a perfect fit for our broadcast team," said Warriors’ President and COO Rick Welts. “Her extensive experience in major markets and covering high-profile teams will make her transition seamless. We’re excited about her addition and know that our fans will benefit from her extensive insight.”
“Kerith is a true professional with deep roots in basketball and extensive experience covering championship teams,” said David Koppett, Vice President of Content Strategy for NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California. “We’re excited to put her in position to connect Warriors fans with the passion and excellence of this special team.”
Burke has more than a decade of experience as a sports anchor and reporter at the highest levels, including her work as a sideline reporter for NBC Olympics’ coverage of Team USA women’s basketball during the team's historic gold medal run at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. She had a long stint as an anchor and reporter at SportsNet New York (SNY) – a regional sports network for the New York Mets, New York Jets and University of Connecticut men’s and women’s basketball, with daily coverage of all the Tri-State area’s professional and collegiate sports teams.
At SNY, Burke served as the sideline reporter for UConn men’s and women’s basketball. She covered the UConn women’s four consecutive national championships (2013-2016) and hosted the Emmy Award-winning "The Geno Auriemma Show." Burke was also an anchor and reporter for SNY’s nightly news and highlights show “Geico SportsNite.”
Prior to SNY, Burke worked in the sports departments of local news stations in Washington, Idaho and North Carolina. She was a reporter, fill-in anchor, photographer and editor. Most recently, Burke freelanced as a basketball and football reporter for the Pac-12 Network. Burke was born outside of Seattle, WA and moved around the country with her Army family growing up. She graduated from Washington State University with a degree in Communications.
NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California, both part of NBC Sports Regional Networks, serve more than four million households in Northern California, Nevada, Southern Oregon and Hawaii. NBC Sports Bay Area, the television home of MLB’s San Francisco Giants, NBA’s Golden State Warriors, and the official regional sports network of the San Francisco 49ers, also features a robust lineup of Emmy Award-winning news, analysis and original programming. NBC Sports California offers live coverage of MLB’s Oakland Athletics, NBA’s Sacramento Kings, NHL’s San Jose Sharks, MLS’s San Jose Earthquakes and is the official regional sports network of the Oakland Raiders. Collectively, these networks deliver more than 600 live game broadcasts per year. NBCSportsBayArea.com and NBCSportsCalifornia.com provide fans with comprehensive digital coverage of the hometown teams with original stories and content from a team of “Insiders,” breaking news, up-to-the-minute game previews/recaps, highlights and multimedia video clips. Follow both networks on social media –Twitter: @NBCSAuthentic; Instagram: NBCSAuthentic; Snapchat: NBCSAuthentic; and Facebook: facebook.com/NBCSAuthentic.
CNBC has renewed its original series, "Adventure Capitalists," for a sophomore season. Premiering on Tuesday, October 10 at 10PM ET/PT, the six-episode season welcomes new investor, American gymnast and Olympic gold medalist, Shawn Johnson East, who will join returning investor and MAXX Client Jeremy Bloom, former world-champion freestyle skier and the first athlete to ski in the Olympics and also to be drafted in the NFL, and Dhani Jones, former NFL linebacker. "Adventure Capitalists" is produced by 3 Ball Entertainment.
In each one-hour episode, four separate entrepreneurs showcase products designed for outdoor adventure. These cutting edge products and inventions run the gamut; from outerwear that can insulate against freezing temperatures (even when wet), to a robotic fishing lure that brings dead bait back to life and a full suspension mountain bike that can trek over any terrain. The adventure capitalists then put these innovations to the test, often in harsh conditions, to determine which are actually worthy of an investment.
In addition to the primary investors who appear in every episode, new this season are guest investors –former Olympic skier Bode Miller; founder of Neff Headwear Shaun Neff; Washington Redskins tight end Vernon Davis; former NFL star Tony Gonzalez; and former pro freestyle skier and Winter X Games medalist Kristi Leskinen– who will be joining Shawn, Jeremy and Dhani in various episodes to test products and potentially offer investments.
"Adventure Capitalists" is produced by 3 Ball Entertainment with Todd A. Nelson, Ross Weintraub, DJ Nurre, Grady Candler and Jeff Altrock serving as executive producers. Jim Ackerman and Marshall Eisen are the executive producers for CNBC.
For more information, visit adventurecapitalists.cnbc.com. LIKE us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AdventureCNBC/ and Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/adventurecnbc/ and FOLLOW us on Twitter: @AdventureCNBC #AdventureCapitalists
There are a lot of ways to make a name for yourself in sports media these days. You could go the traditional route of getting a degree in journalism, getting your start at a newspaper, and working your way up to beat reporter. You could be a former athlete with good looks and charismatic wit. Many others even start through blogging, podcasting and social media accounts. But perhaps the fastest rising name in sports journalism right now got his start by commenting on articles, intentionally using poor grammar and spelling, and not even telling you his real name at all. And it all started because he was bored at work.
Recently ranked as the number one sports media talent under 40 by The Big Lead – ahead of such names as Tony Romo, Tim Tebow and Erin Andrews – PFT Commenter (who to this day refuses to give out his real name) has grown his self-amusing hobby of satirizing idiotic comments on the NBC website ProFootballTalk into 332,000 followers on Twitter, a top-50 podcast (Pardon My Take, which is estimated to get up to 1.5 million listens per episode), and a future in comedy that he had always dreamed of as a child in Washington, D.C., listening to Phil Hendrie and Loveline on the radio. It just took a twist of mid-twenties angst to spark the creation he was born to play.
"I'd tape his show and listen to it every chance that I got," PFT says of Hendrie, a Los Angeles-based radio host who plays both rational interviewer and the irrational, offensive characters who he would interview. "I developed a strong appreciation for his talent and the way that he's able to make people laugh that other forms of comedy don't necessarily strike."
At the time, PFT had dreams of becoming a comedy-based radio host, but instead turned to writing, which eventually turned to moving to Austin to make short films, which led to working in a cubicle at a job that was not even tangentially related to entertainment, as such dreams are often wont to turn to. Unfulfilled with how his career had turn out up to this point, PFT created a Twitter account to keep himself distracted from the job that he loathed. It didn't take long for him to find out that thousands of others had a mutual appreciation for his form of distraction. He just knew, naturally or perhaps because of his lifelong admiration for satire, how to hit the right chord with fans of both football and comedy.
A self-described "connoisseur of internet comments," PFT Commenter found that he enjoyed the comments on articles to often be more entertaining than the posts themselves. A huge fan of the NFL, he'd frequent sites like ProFootballTalk and get extremely amused by what people had to say in response to news reports, often going above and beyond their actual level of expertise on an issue. Especially back in 2012, when he was finally compelled to start the Twitter account that would change his life, with much of the credit going to arguably the most satire-worthy personality in the history of sports media: Skip Bayless.
"At the exact same time that Skip Bayless and the entire First Take industrial complex on ESPN was coming into full form, people were giving the most outrageous takes. Things like, 'You should encourage players to hit with their helmets more often because the human body can adapt to concussions like a callous, so your brain will toughen itself up.' People in comment sections that saw themselves as the working man's Bayless," says PFT Commenter, who thought that dynamic was one of the funniest things he'd ever seen.
"How one guy on television who has disingenuous takes has now inspired millions of people to think about sports in that exact same paradigm."
He then created a persona, "PFT Commenter," who he thinks of as a guy who "grew up inside of a man cave only watching Skip Bayless, 'Clockwork Orange-ing' himself to just seeing First Take, and that's how he sees the entire world." He likens this creation to Plato's The Wall, where the only thing that a person knows is the shadows he sees on the wall. Keep in mind that this comes from the guy who created PFT Commenter, a character who spells maybe three-fourths of his words right on a given day.
He credits writer Drew Magary, of sports sites Deadspin and Kissing Suzy Kolber for being the first to really discover his Twitter account and spread the word around about his brand. Mike Tunison, also of KSK, then asked him if he wanted to contribute to that site, which PFT described as "a dream come true." At that point he had 1,000 Twitter followers, an opportunity to write at KSK, and he was overjoyed. That may have been enough to keep him happy. But then SB Nation came along and offered him an opportunity to write for them that would give him enough money to live off of his writing and to quit his desk job. His distraction had officially become his new career.
"I knew I might not make that much money doing it but if I can get up to $40,000 a year writing about sports and comedy, my life would be extremely happy and I don't need anything more than that."
Then he got the offer that is likely earning him much more than a modest $40,000, moving over to Barstool Sports full time and co-hosting the Pardon My Take podcast with Dan Katz (better known by his own pseudonym, "Big Cat") that has vaulted him to the top of the sports charts and right back into the audial mainstream that he once so desperately dreamed to be a part of, just like hero Phil Hendrie.
It was still a tough move for PFT, as he enjoys the lone wolf aspect of his comedy career, but he felt comfortable that Barstool would not put any chains on him, which certainly appears to be true so far. PFT even goes on camera regularly now, for events ranging from the Super Bowl to the Democratic National Convention, in which he had an exclusive interview with presidential candidate and former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley. Really. But he's always in sunglasses and doing his best to hide his identity, since anonymity remains important to him even as his fame and power within the sports world grows. "I want to keep my personal life personal if I can, and want to keep the character going in public."
The person who plays PFT Commenter does not want to be famous, but he very much enjoys the fact that his outspoken, outlandish, Skip Bayless mutation of a character is. Certainly it comes with its perks.
"A few years ago, Phil Hendrie followed me out of nowhere. It was a holy shit moment. I didn't tweet at him or anything it just happened organically," says PFT, who goes on to say that he may have blown his opportunity to meet his hero. He send a direct message to Hendrie to ask if he wanted to go for a drink when he was in Los Angeles next, but the conversation quickly died down. "I shot my shot, but I probably shoulda kept that one down," he admits.
Except that it's taking your shot, even when everything and everyone is telling you not to that got him to this point in the first place. The idea that you could build a Twitter, podcast and sports media empire by making fun of anonymous idiots – by playing an anonymous idiot – wasn't something that existed until someone stuck this person in a cubicle and overlooked how often he was spending on a football website. Above all else, he also put a lot of thought and care and gravitas into a persona that is completely devoid of thought, care, and gravitas; "PFT Commenter" is so genuinely stupid because the person who created him was so passionate about not going about it in a stupid way.
"I think that's why people identify with PFT Commenter," he says, "because I cared about it and I still do care about it, and I'm protective about where I would use it and in what ways. I don't know if it was on purpose because I had no formal training, but if it's something that I care about, then it's something that I put time into thinking about."
There is no official road to the top other than the one you build yourself. Even sometimes when you didn't know you were paving the ground until you look behind yourself.
Football’s Most Famous Twins in the FOX NFL Booth for Oct. 1 Giants at Bucs Game alongside Kenny Albert and Kristina Pink
NEW YORK, NY – The NFL’s most famous and accomplished twins, standouts Rondé and Tiki Barber, will be teammates once again, reuniting on FOX to call the Oct. 1 New York Giants at Tampa Bay Buccaneers game (1:00 PM ET).
The game, pitting their former teams (Giants – Tiki; Bucs – Rondé) against each other, is believed to be the first time twin brothers have called an NFL game for national broadcast television. They join Rondé’s FOX NFL boothmate, play-by-play announcer Kenny Albert, and sideline reporter Kristina Pink to telecast the battle between the franchises at which each spent their entire NFL playing careers. Rondé played cornerback for the Bucs from 1997 through 2012, while Tiki was a Giants running back from 1997 to 2006.
“I probably wouldn’t want to be part of a three-man booth with too many people, but I’m happy to share the FOX booth with Tiki,” Rondé said. “Tiki is a novice in terms of calling games, and there are so many different mechanics that go along with it. We have always shared our life experiences with each other, so he knows what he is getting into by virtue of me. He is very ‘big-picture’ and not myopic when it comes to football. Because of his history in New York and mine in Tampa, we will be able to offer a different perspective to these two markets and a global viewpoint on both teams to any viewer.”
Rondé has served as a FOX NFL analyst since 2013, while Tiki co-hosts “Tiki and Tierney” on CBS Sports Radio. In their first joint broadcasting project, the Barbers shared the airwaves on SiriusXM Radio’s “The Barber Shop” for several years. The duo, who played together at the University of Virginia and were roommates throughout college, appeared on FOX’s CELEBRITY MASTER CHEF in October 2016 and have co-written several children’s books.
“Rarely does a TV network have the chance to broadcast a game from the perspective Rondé and Tiki Barber will provide FOX Sports,” said John Entz, FOX Sports President of Production and Executive Producer. “It is always beneficial to have an analyst who played for one of the teams on the field, but to have both teams represented in the TV booth, by twin brothers, will be truly unique. Both men are sharp and astute on their own, so when they are paired alongside Kenny Albert, it will be intriguing to watch them play off of each other.”
“I am ecstatic to have the opportunity to join my brother, Rondé, and Kenny (Albert) in the booth for the Giants/Bucs matchup,” Tiki said. “Being a former Giant, and having lived in the New York/New Jersey area for the past 20 years, I look forward to bringing the viewers a different perspective. Rondé and I played against one another five times professionally, and it was always a lot of fun, I’m sure it will be the same with Kenny as our quarterback on Oct. 1 in Tampa.”
Selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the 66th overall pick in the 1997 NFL Draft, Rondé quickly became one of the most consistent cornerbacks in the league and was selected to five Pro Bowls (2001, 2004-2006 and 2008). He earned three first-team All-Pro (2001, 2004 and 2005) and two second-team All-Pro selections (2002 and 2006). Rondé was named to the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team and played in every game from 2000-’12. He led the NFL in interceptions (10) in 2001 and remains the Buccaneers’ all-time interceptions leader (47) and only member of the “40/20 club” (40+ interceptions, 20+ quarterback sacks). The biggest achievement of his career, however, came during the 2002 season when he helped Tampa Bay defeat the Oakland Raiders to win Super Bowl XXXVII.
Drafted by the New York Giants as the 36th overall selection in the second round of the 1997 NFL Draft, Tiki spent his entire 10-year career with the franchise and is a member of the New York Giants Ring of Honor. He was named to three Pro Bowls (2004-2006) and earned first-team All-Pro honors in 2005. As a Giants running back, Tiki amassed 10,449 career rushing yards and averaged 4.7 yards per carry. He is credited with 55 rushing touchdowns, 586 receptions, 5,183 receiving yards and 12 receiving touchdowns.
Tiki played in Super Bowl XXXV against the Baltimore Ravens and set numerous franchise records during his tenure. Additionally, he was the NFL’s top yardage gainer from the line of scrimmage from 2003-2006. While at the University of Virginia, Tiki was honored as the ACC Player of the Year in 1996.
ESPN 98.7FM will greatly enhance its coverage of the local NFL teams this season as former New York Jets linebacker and MAXX Client Bart Scott will join the station and bring his opinions and experiences to a variety of programs.
Starting Monday, Sept. 11, Scott will appear on The Michael Kay Show (Tuesdays 4:30 p.m.), Humpty & Canty (Fridays 10:30 a.m. and hosted by Rick DiPietro, Canty and Dave Rothenberg) and will host Inside The Jets (Mondays 7 p.m.) alongside Eric Allen.
Ryan Hurley, program director of ESPN 98.7FM, said, “As one of the most entertaining players while on the field during his career and one of the most entertaining and opinionated voices off the field, we are thrilled to have Bart Scott join the 98.7 ESPN family."
About ESPN New York
ESPN New York 98.7FM is the flagship station of ESPN Radio, providing sports talk, news and local and national play-by-play coverage. It’s the official radio home of three of the New York market’s most iconic teams: New York Knicks, New York Rangers and New York Jets game broadcasts in addition to national rights for the entire NBA season from tip through The Finals, Major League Baseball from Opening Day through the World Series and a slate of top college football including the entire College Football Playoff. ESPN New York is also streamed live at www.ESPNNewYork.com.
Nike now has both the NBA and NFL jerseys on lock, which means repping your favorite team on your back is all the way in style again. Ahead of NFL kickoff, a celebration of past legends and the duality of football glory took place on September 6th live at Nike SoHo with none other than Hall of Famer & MAXX Client Lawrence Taylor and NY Giants Receiver Odell Beckham Jr., along with Scottie Beam as the host.
G-Men fans filled the store to hear the young legend in the making pay homage to an all-time New York great and discuss what it means to wear his jersey.
The jersey has become both a uniform and a marker of cultural significance to the city. It’s a statement of who and what the wearer represents.
Take a quick exclusive look inside the Nike SoHo event below and you can shop the new Nike NFL jerseys online right now.
FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., Sept. 6, 2017 – The wait is almost over, the first kickoff of the 2017 NFL season is just two days away and Hyundai has suited up to give fans an even better experience. Entering its third season as an official sponsor of the National Football League (NFL) and the presenting sponsor of the 2017 Kickoff, Hyundai will tackle the first game with immersive fan interaction and creative content. The Kickoff activities will be the opening drive of Hyundai’s season-long campaign to help NFL fans have a better experience with the game they love.
In the “Safeties First” videos running on Hyundai’s YouTube channel (and embedded below), MAXX Client Rodney Harrison learns that he has a lot in common with Hyundai; they both believe that safety/safeties should come first. The videos will have contextually relevant online media banners running on NFL.com with pre-roll that will be directing to Hyundai.com to view all the videos.
Hyundai vehicles include safety technology like Automatic Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Detection that helps drivers avoid hits. Currently five Hyundai models are deemed IIHS Top Safety Picks where vehicles are tested to determine crashworthiness — how well a vehicle protects its occupants in a crash. It also rates vehicles for front crash prevention, systems that warn the driver or brake automatically to avoid or mitigate a frontal collision.
Congratulations to all of the MAXX Clients named to The Big Lead's '40 Under 40: Sports Media Talents' list for 2017!
The criteria used to generate these rankings are as follows: To what extent there would be a bidding war for these writers, reporters, and/or personalities if they came available, whether they could plausibly make it on their own, the ability to report or ideate original content — with opinion or breaking news — or be the subject of stories that spread throughout the sports media ecosystem. Can they shape discussions? How much do their names resonate in headlines? Also factored in are resonance/recognizability with viewers and readers, and the importance of one’s platform.
Without further ado:
25. Mina Kimes, Domonique Foxworth, Clinton Yates; ESPN
The three co-hosts of the weekend ESPN Radio program Morning Roast are atop ESPN’s proverbial bench now. Kimes now regularly appears on Around the Horn, has co-hosted Highly Questionable, and writes big NFL feature stories. If you watch ESPN, you will assuredly become well-acquainted with her. Foxworth, the former president of the NFLPA and a Harvard MBA, has also appeared on HQ. Yates joined ESPN’s Undefeated after spending nearly a decade at the Washington Post, and has recently been the go-to fill-in host on The Right Time With Bomani Jones.
22. Tom Haberstroh; ESPN
Haberstroh was formerly part of the TrueHoop podcast troop, and since the layoffs this past April now contributes to The Basketball Analogy pod. Haberstroh has been on a tear with deep stories of late, including dives into player rest and the Tinderization of today’s NBA.
18. Kate Fagan; ESPN
Fagan, whose book What Made Maddy Run: The Secret Struggles and Tragic Death of an All-American Teen will be released on August 1st, is both a reporter and opinionist on television. She appears regularly on Around the Horn, and is on the shortlist of people who could conceivably replace Bob Ley hosting Outside the Lines when that time comes (which hopefully will not be soon).
7. Nate Burleson; NFL Network & CBS
Burleson, whose work on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football has been noticed by many, will join CBS’s pregame show.
2. Bomani Jones; ESPN
Jones' new show with Pablo Torre is going to launch early in 2018, and will be produced by Erik Rydholm. Bomani has been co-host of Highly Questionable, and hosts a daily ESPN Radio show. He reportedly turned down a big offer from Fox to remain with ESPN.
1. Big Cat/PFT Commenter; Barstool Sports
Five years ago, Big Cat had recently shut down his personal blog to focus on his real estate gig. PFT Commenter was not yet a Twitter account, let alone a burgeoning voice at Kissing Suzy Kolber and SB Nation. Now, their Pardon My Take podcast is often ranked No. 1 in the sports category on iTunes, and the world is their oyster. They’ll literally soil themselves for the show:
They have massive social reach and their legion of fans approaches them in public, referencing their bits. There are going to be innumerable opportunities for expansion of their franchise, and it will be interesting to see how their core audience responds as their ascension continues from being buzz-worthy outsiders into the mainstream establishment.
Just Missed: Matt Jones; Kentucky Sports Radio
Comment sections are generally known as the cesspools of the Internet.
But if nothing else, they also gave birth to the funniest Twitter parody account in sports: PFT Commenter.
The idea was simple enough: A satirical Twitter account mocking sports’ “Embrace Debate” media landscape and the dimwitted everyman often found in the comments of the NFL website, Pro Football Talk. The account was launched in October of 2012 by an anonymous man in Austin, TX, who was bored with his office job and in need of a creative outlet.
“I’m a connoisseur of Internet comments,” PFT Commenter recently said in an interview. “And the Pro Football Talk comments section was one of the worst places on the Internet. And so I was just bored at work one day and decided to start that Twitter account and started responding to all of Pro Football Talk’s tweets.”
Soon enough, PFT Commenter’s Twitter account caught the eye of some popular sports blogs and he started to build a following of his own.
“After about like six months of tweeting at Pro Football Talk and tweeting out stupid takes, I started auditioning for Bleacher Report and then posting the essays I was writing for Bleacher Report,” PFT said. “And people liked the writing, they thought it was funny, so I started my own blog. It was just something to do to be creative at work when I was just doing mindless stuff all day long. And then Mike (Tunison) from Kissing Suzy Kolber said, ‘If you want to blog for us, you’re more than welcome to do it,’ so I did that. And then I just started writing as much as I could because it was fun to do and I liked it. (I) didn’t really think that it would become a fulltime job, at least anytime soon. And it just kept snowballing.”
By the fall of 2013, PFT was a regular writer for SB Nation with hot takes such as:
- “Stop Slut-Shaming Jerry Jones”
- “Is Ben Roethlisberger Black Enough?”
- “Trade Tom Brady”
- “Joe Flacco Was Too Elite”
- “Tim Tebow is the NFL’s Jackie Robinson”
But what propelled PFT Commenter to being a full-blown Internet celebrity was his hijinks at the Republican Party presidential debates.
It started in August of 2015 when PFT convinced SB Nation to allow him to attend the first Republican debate in Cleveland before heading to the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony and game just a couple days later in Canton, OH.
PFT was in the right place at the right time to end up in the background of MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews” while holding a sign that asked, “Is Joe Flacco a Elite Quarterback?” — typo and all.
He was just getting warmed up with his shenanigans.
Three months later, PFT Commenter showed up in Milwaukee for the fourth Republican debate and reached a new level of absurdity with a question for then-candidate Ben Carson that turned into national news and set the tone for the circus that became the 2016 Presidential Election:
Said PFT: “That actually gave me really good insight into what modern day journalism is about because within maybe 30 or 45 minutes of putting that out, there was an article on the front page of CNN.com saying, ‘Ben Carson would not abort Baby Hitler.’ And I was like, ‘Uh-oh, we’re fucked.’”
PFT left SB Nation last year to join Barstool Sports and start a podcast with his friend Dan Katz, a.k.a. “Big Cat.” The show, “Pardon My Take,” is now regularly listed as the top podcast in the Sports & Recreation section of the iTunes Store and has an audience of 750,000 to 1.5 million listeners per episode, according to Barstool.
PFT Commenter currently has over 255,000 follows on Twitter, which includes many real NFL “capital ‘J’ journalists,” as PFT would say.
He is also still writing parody columns such as his most recent think piece, “The Warriors Would Get Swept by Jimmy Chitwood’s High School Team in Hoosiers.”
Now almost five years after he created the character, the question still remains: “Just who is the man behind PFT Commenter?”
He’s grown his hair out from his younger years and always wears sunglasses while on camera to keep people from getting a good look at him. He even gives out a fake name to throw people off his scent because, “I think the joke’s a lot funnier (when I’m anonymous), that’s the main reason why.”
According to PFT Commenter, everyone at Barstool simply refers to him as “PFT” and about half of the office doesn’t even know his real first name — which is a plus to avoid someone accidentally saying it on air.
But as PFT’s fame continues to grow, he admits his identity has become an “open secret” and knows it’s only a matter of time until his cover is fully blown.
“It’ll happen eventually and I’m at peace with that,” PFT said. “I try not to worry about it too much because it’s somewhat out of my control.”
The one thing PFT may never get used to is being treated like a celebrity on the streets of New York City or on the road for “Pardon My Take.”
Said PFT: “It’s the weirdest thing of all time. I’m still getting used to it because I’m not a celebrity. I’m some asshole with a Twitter account… It’s still kind of strange to me, walking down the street and somebody just coming up to me and being like, ‘Hey PFT, love the show.’ But it’s very cool to know at the same time that we are doing something that’s connecting with people in such a way where they’re excited to see you out in public.”
In baseball, there's nothing quite like the camaraderie, intensity, exchange of knowledge and readiness to enter the cauldron of competition that a team experiences in the dugout.
And today, from 8-11 p.m. ET, MLB.com will let fans into The Dugout, a groundbreaking weekly three-hour program livestreaming exclusively on Twitter and set to delve into the big leagues like never before.
With MLB games already streaming weekly on Twitter, The Dugout, hosted by MLB.com's Alexa Datt, is primed to supplement this already-in-depth and vibrant programming with compelling coverage directly from MLB.com studios in Chelsea Market in New York City.
Datt and a who's who of MLB.com broadcasters, baseball influencers and MLB.com's vast network of beat reporters, columnists and insiders, will provide instant analysis while breaking down all the latest trends. The program will also feature live look-ins and highlights as each Wednesday slate of games unfolds in real time, plus appearances with former Major League stars and celebrities with ties to baseball.
Today's debut of The Dugout, which, like all such programs, is available at TheDugout.Twitter.com or via @MLB on Twitter.
MLB games have already been available on Twitter in live streams on Tuesday nights, with more to come. This Tuesday, the Nationals will play the Marlins in Miami, and on June 27, the Yankees will visit the White Sox as the livestreaming schedule continues.
And now there's The Dugout, another innovative way for fans to connect to MLB on social media.
Over the past year and a half, Barstool Sports has gone from a niche blog with a cult following to a major player in sports media backed by a full-blown movement.
And nowhere has Barstool’s crossover into the mainstream media been more evident than the meteoric rise of the wildly popular podcast, “Pardon My Take.”
Hosted by Dan Katz, better known as “Big Cat,” and the anonymous “PFT Commenter,” who has a parody Twitter account of the same name, “PMT” is regularly listed as the top podcast in the “Sports & Recreation” section of the iTunes Store. Beneath PMT you can often find pods such as “The Bill Simmons Podcast,” “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” and the two ESPN TV shows PMT’s name satirizes: “Pardon the Interruption” and “First Take.”
According to Barstool, “Pardon My Take” averages between 750,000 and 1.5 million listeners per episode and can reach two million listens for shows with celebrity guests. To put those numbers in perspective, ESPN’s best-rated debate show, “PTI,” averages about a million viewers per day on ESPN and ESPN2 combined.
The foundation of PMT’s success is the wacky chemistry between Katz and PFT Commenter and the way they feed off each other for hilarious jokes and crazy antics.
Katz, who worked in real estate before joining Barstool, and PFT, who will only say he was stuck in a miserable office job before his character received writing opportunities, originally connected via Twitter.
“It’s funny that the way we became friends was people would accuse Big Cat of stealing my takes and then people would accuse me of stealing Big Cat’s jokes because we have such similar senses of humor,” PFT said recently in an interview. “And so enough people on Twitter started tagging us in each other’s posts that we both started following each other.”
The podcast recently concluded its second “Grit Week,” where the hosts and producer Henry Lockwood, a.k.a. “Handsome Hank,” drove around the Rust Belt in an old conversion van named “Vanny Woodhead” and interviewed big-name guests such as Bob Huggins, Jim Harbaugh, Andy Dalton and Tom Crean.
In a surreal role reversal, ESPN.com even aggregated part of PMT’s interview with Harbaugh in which he took blame for the Jim Schwartz handshake dustup at midfield after Harbaugh’s San Francisco 49ers beat Schwartz’s Detroit Lions in 2011.
The podcast has certainly come a long way since it launched over 15 months ago in March of 2015 while being recorded on Skype with Katz in Chicago, PFT in Austin, TX, and Lockwood in Massachusetts. The audio quality was poor, the chemistry had yet to develop and the flow was clunky.
“I’m actually shocked that the podcast became as popular as it did in those first couple months,” PFT said, but added that the “duct tape and popsicle stick” feel of the show “made it a little more endearing at the time.”
According to Katz, the first big moment in the podcast was receiving a cease & desist letter from ESPN just days after the pod started. It asked PMT to change its name and logo (Barstool complied with the latter request but obviously not the former). Naturally, this turned into fodder for an entire episode and great publicity for the podcast.
But the moment “Pardon My Take” really hit its stride was the first “Grit Week,” in which Katz & PFT visited gritty cities like Buffalo, Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Youngstown while interviewing guests such as Rob Ryan, Bo Pelini and Jim Tressel.
According to Katz, the last huge milestone in PMT’s rise to prominence was its interview with ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt last August that spanned over two episodes. In a game of “call the most famous person in your phone,” Tiger Woods joined the podcast and hilarity ensued that included a crack about Pat Riley’s hair and Woods’ take on Stanford football and Christian McCaffrey’s grittiness.
“I think that was really the first time we did an interview where we hit exactly how we wanted to do interviews going forward,” Katz said. “By that I mean, we wanted to have a real conversation with the person but we also wanted to hit questions that they’ve never been asked and really get them to get comfortable in a way you don’t see them comfortable with traditional media.”
“Pardon My Take” now regularly gets guests to open up in ways they wouldn’t elsewhere.
“We’re trying to make people laugh, first and foremost,” Katz said. “I think the guests that we have, especially in person, sense that right away. And they get comfortable because they know we’re gonna make fun of ourselves, we’re probably gonna make fun of you, it’s gonna be a little bit silly, but we’re all gonna have fun.”
With Katz, PFT and Lockwood all moving to New York by last fall as Barstool shifted its headquarters from Boston to The Big Apple, the show has racked up more signature moments. Their “NFL Primetime” parodies of that Sunday’s games. PFT sneaking into Super Bowl LI Media Day despite Barstool being banned by the NFL. Van Pelt having Katz and PFT on his ESPN show. And the latest headline-making Grit Week.
Not to mention a guest list that’s a who’s who of pro athletes and sports media members.
Both Katz and PFT Commenter give effusive praise to their boss, Barstool Sports founder Dave Portnoy, for allowing the show to be off the cuff and organic.
“Most places on the Internet, you’re chasing a bottom line or you’re chasing X amount of clicks,” Katz said. “Dave (Portnoy) has always from Day 1 said, ‘Go be funny and the rest will kind of figure itself out.’”
Not everyone is such a fan of Barstool or its polarizing “El Presidente,” as the site has often found itself embroiled in controversy.
There was the 2011 post entitled “Check Out the Howitzer on Tom Brady’s Kid” with a picture of the QB’s nude son on the beach. Accusations of normalizing rape culture and misogyny with its salacious content and “Blackout Tour” college parties. Countless feuds in which “Stoolies” turn into an angry Twitter mob and attack the site’s critics.
And just two weeks ago, Barstool was roundly shunned for “fat-shaming” Rihanna; the questionable post was taken down by Portnoy not because it was in poor taste, but because he said it wasn’t funny enough.
But none of that has stopped Barstool from becoming one of the biggest and most influential sports websites on the Internet or from media mogul Peter Chernin acquiring Barstool last year at a reported valuation of $10-15 million. According to its site, Barstool now averages over 200 million page views per month.
“Pardon My Take” has largely stayed away from Barstool’s underbelly and become not only a popular podcast, but also a respected one. Pro athletes such as Danny Woodhead, Chris Long and Blake Griffin are frequent guests and fans of the show themselves. And mainstream media regulars on the podcast include Van Pelt, Mike Florio, Joe Buck and Rachel Nichols.
So where does “Pardon My Take” go from here?
In the short term, there’s talk of attending the MLB All-Star Game in Miami (“Marlins Man” is a good friend of the pod) and an interview with PMT’s “white whale,” J.J. Watt, next month. The two also plan to do a trip around NFL training camps in August, but it’s still undecided whether that will be on the East or West Coast.
As for the long term, both seem completely dedicated to Barstool and making the podcast as big as possible while the sports media landscape continues to rapidly evolve.
Said Katz: “With the way the Internet’s going with Facebook Live and all these different ways people can consume video and audio, you don’t need a radio station, you don’t need the drive-time radio host… You can do it on a podcast. I think we’re going to end up being a huge media force for people who want to laugh…”
The New York Islanders announced today that Scott Gomez has been named an Assistant Coach. Gomez retired from hockey at the completion of the 2015-16 season and will begin his coaching career with the Islanders this upcoming season.
His 16-year NHL career included a Calder Memorial Trophy in 1999-00 as the league's top rookie, as well as two Stanley Cup Championships with the New Jersey Devils (2000, 2003). A two-time NHL All-Star, Gomez scored 756 points (181 goals, 575 assists) in 1,079 career regular-season games with the Devils, New York Rangers, Montreal Canadiens, San Jose Sharks, Florida Panthers, St. Louis Blues and Ottawa Senators. In 2003-04, Gomez led the NHL in assists (56, tied with Martin St. Louis).
"Scott brings an immense amount of hockey knowledge to our coaching staff," Head Coach Doug Weight said. "His offensive instincts, expertise on the power-play and the way he could control the game with his skating and smarts, are all key elements that we want implemented into our group. He played in the league as recently as the 2015-16 season so he can relate to today's NHL player in an effort to bring out the best in each member of the team."
The New Jersey Devils selected Gomez in the first round, 27th overall, of the 1998 NHL Draft. A native of Anchorage, Alaska, Gomez scored 101 points (29 goals, 72 assists) in 149 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
On the international stage, Gomez played for Team USA at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games, the 2004 World Cup of Hockey and the 1998 and 1999 World Junior Championships.
NY-Based Olive Oil Brand Sheds Light on Label Transparency & Raises Funds for Critically Ill in NY/NJ Area
Capatriti Olive Oil teams up with celebrity chef and owner of “Streets” restaurant in Brooklyn, NY, Roblé Ali, to create viral videos featuring delicious spring and summer themed dishes to benefit celebrity-backed NYC charity organization, God’s Love We Deliver. Consumers can join in on the effort to donate funds toward the amazingly honest and sincere mission of God’s Love We Deliver to help those with severe and chronic illnesses through nutritious meals. Share Capatriti’s Honest Olive Oil campaign videos featuring Chef Roblé on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and tag @CapatritiOliveOil and #HonestOliveOil. For every share, repost or retweet on social media, Capatriti will donate $1 to God's Love We Deliver, up to $5,000.
“The Honest Olive Oil campaign is really us publicly stepping forward to acknowledge the issue of adulteration in the industry and reassure consumers that the Capatriti Olive Oil they’ve grown to love and buy, is in fact genuine and pure,” said Gourmet Factory Chief Executive Officer, Themis Kangadis. “We’re proud to be partnering with Chef Roblé to benefit God’s Love We Deliver and provide consumers the opportunity to raise funds to make a difference in the lives of those who are most vulnerable, by giving back through a simple and easy social share.”
The Honest Olive Oil campaign is part of Capatriti’s latest mission – to be blunt, honest and transparent. They want consumers to know that unlike other olive oil brands on the market, their Extra Virgin and 100% Pure Olive Oils are unadulterated – meaning they’re entirely authentic and lack any fillers or additives such as sunflower or soybean oil. If it appears the 40-year-old company from Long Island, New York is confidently flexing their muscles, they are. In fact, they’ve earned the right to do so. Thanks to their commitment to authenticity, they are the first olive oil brand to earn the coveted United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Quality Monitoring Program (QMP) seal for both their Extra Virgin and 100% Pure Olive Oils, assuring their loyal consumers that their olive oils are the real deal.
“Partnering with Capatriti and God’s Love We Deliver for the Honest Olive Oil campaign means a great deal to me as a philanthropist, small business owner and entrepreneur,” said Chef Roblé Ali, celebrity chef and owner of Streets restaurant. “I’m excited to share with my followers, customers and the world the simplicity and versatility of Capatriti’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil, all while benefiting a worthwhile cause that heals people in need with quality, nutritious food.”
Capatriti, Chef Roblé and God’s Love We Deliver all have a common thread – and that’s ensuring that their customers and clients are afforded the opportunity to know that the ingredients they consume are of high-quality, made with integrity, pure, and free from additives. Whether it’s a bottle of one of Capatriti’s olive oils with the USDA QMP seal, delicious meals inspired by global street food at Chef Roblé’s New York hot-spot restaurant, or the healthy hand-crafted and delivered meals created by God’s Love – all three businesses are dedicated to ensuring that they provide their clientele with great food and ingredients that are delicious, nutritious and 100% authentic.
“We believe food is medicine for the critically ill, and therefore, we only use quality ingredients to prepare customized, nutritious, healthy and satisfying meals for our clients,” said God’s Love We Deliver Chief Development Officer, David Ludwigson. “Healing people from the inside out with food starts with the purest ingredients. We’re thrilled to partner with Capatriti and cook our meals with the brand’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil.”