A six-pack of media notes on a Thursday:
▪ Dan Le Batard’s 24-hour streaming extravaganza, dubbed Freedumb, was a rousing success, drawing nearly three million views across YouTube Live and social platforms.
On average, listeners tuned in for more than 45 minutes, with the total watch time nearing 430,000 hours.
Le Batard, who left ESPN earlier this year, opted for a 24-hour programming buffet to promote his new $50 million-plus partnership with DraftKing, a sports wagering site.
Le Batard and former ESPN president John Skipper in January announced the creation of Meadowlark Media, a new content company. In April, DraftKings and Meadowlark announced a content, distribution, monetization and sponsorship agreement with Meadowlark centered on The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz.
DraftKings agreed to pay Meadowlark at least $50 million over three years.
The lively 24-hour marathon included segments with Pat Riley, Jim Rome, Bob Costas, Adam McKay, Michael Schur, Rasheed Wallace, Mina Kimes, Amin Elhassan, Adnan Virk, Jemele Hill, Michael Smith, Renee Montgomery, Stan Van Gundy and Method Man.
The 24-hour gabfest also had a charitable component; Kate Fagan and Tom Haberstroh’s Freedumb ALS Challenge raised more than $120,000 for “I Am ALS.” Ron Magill’s Conservation Endowment and the International Rescue Committee also were promoted.
DraftKing’s offerings from Le Batard and his Meadowlark staff will “prominently feature DraftKings’ odds, betting trends and general sportsbook and daily fantasy information.”
Incidentally — Le Batard, after learning that Riley was fined $25,000 by the NBA for his comments on the show — tweeted: “Hell out of here. This is stupid. He saw a UFO that night, too. Fine him for that. Drinking with friends on a Friday night. He misunderstood the question. @DraftKings, you want to pay this party tab? Or you want me to take care of it this time?”
Riley was asked by a Le Batard staffer about leaving a key out for Dwyane Wade if Wade – now a Utah Jazz part-owner – wants to return to the Heat organization. But Riley thought the question was about LeBron James, who spent four seasons with the Heat before returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers in July 2014.
“I would leave the key under the doormat if he would call me and let me know that he’s coming,” Riley said. “I would do that, but I doubt very much that key … That key is rusted now.
The NBA fined Riley, asserting that he violated the league’s tampering policy.
Regarding Riley’s fine, Wade told ESPN: “Pat Riley has got $25,000 in dress socks. Pat Riley is doing Pat Riley things.”
Chris Bosh said: “I’m pretty sure he meant things tongue in cheek; maybe a little serious.”
▪ During a joint appearance on The Jump on ESPN, Wade and Bosh were asked what they see the Heat doing in the months ahead.
“The Heat is always going to do what they have always done,” Wade told Rachel Nichols. “They always are planning steps ahead to look at the future and see how they can compete for championships. Miami is all about championships. You can take the years you don’t win championships and say man, we had a great season, but that wasn’t a year that Pat Riley and the organization want to remember. They want to remember the ones that end in parades.
“They’re going to do everything possible to do that as long as Pat Riley and the Arison family is at the helm of that organization. They are always going to go all in and put those chips in when it’s right. They’re not going to do it when it’s not right.”
Bosh said: “Give credit to the Arison family and the Riley family and their vision. We know they will be aggressive… but only when it’s right. They’ll be right back in the mix.”
Asked by Nichols about Chicago’s pursuit of Wade and Bosh in 2010, Wade pointed out that the Heat was the only team that had the cap space for Wade, Bosh and James.
“In Chicago, it wasn’t going to be all three of us,” Wade said. “Even though we had to take less money, there was no other place that had room for all three of us. And me and Bron looked at it, [we thought] him and I would not result in the championships we wanted. We knew we needed Chris Bosh and we decided not to settle for just two of us.”
▪ Inter Miami part-owner Jorge Mas shut down his streaming sports broadcast operation, On Side Radio, after just eight months. Former WQAM hosts Orlando Alzugaray and Alex Donno — and several local sports writers — hosted talk shows from the MLS team’s Fort Lauderdale stadium. Inter Miami had 10 full-time employees.
Mas declined to discuss his reason for pulling the plug.
▪ The notable Sports Emmy award winners this week: TNT’s Ernie Johnson for studio host; CBS and NFL Network’s Nate Burleson for studio analyst; Fox’s Joe Buck for play-by-play; Buck’s Fox baseball partner, John Smoltz, for game analyst work; and NBC’s Michele Tafoya for reporting.
NBC’s Sunday Night Football received the award for outstanding live sports series. TNT’s Inside the NBA won the “outstanding studio show/weekly” category and ESPN’s SportsCenter won the daily award in that category.
HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel won the “outstanding sports news anthology” series award and the sports journalism award.
▪ Stanford coach David Shaw told The Athletic that he’s “pissed at Fox for our [11 a.m. Central] kickoff time [Sept. 4] against Kansas State [in Arlington, Texas]. They can say whatever they want to say. I don’t want to hear [expletive] about, ‘Oh, it’s great ratings.’ I don’t care about the ratings..
“This is either complete disregard, or lack of understanding how difficult it is to be a West Coast team that travels east and gets forced to play an early kickoff game… That, to me, is something that is egregious.”
Oregon plays at Ohio State at 11 a.m. Columbus time the follow Saturday.
Asking college students to play a college football game in the morning is kind of silly, but this is precisely what the Pacific 12, Big 12 and Big 10 agreed to in their deals with Fox.
Even more ridiculous was Southern Cal and Arizona State playing at 9 a.m. California time last November.
▪ Per The New York Post, CBS – seeking another NFL game analyst – auditioned former NFL quarterbacks Alex Smith (recently retired) and Mark Sanchez, ex-receiver Joel Galloway (an ESPN employee, like Sanchez) and ex-linebacker Sean Lee.
CBS could hire one to replace No. 4 game analyst Rich Gannon, whose contract was not renewed. Or CBS could promote No. 5 analyst James Lofton or No. 6 analyst Adam Archuleta to its fourth team, paired with Greg Gumbel, and hire a newcomer for a lower spot on the depth chart.
Tony Romo, Charles Davis and Trent Green remain in place as CBS’ top three NFL game analysts.