1. Every media company relies on ads to pay the bills. There are ads on this column. There are ads throughout the SI Media Podcast.
When it comes to ABC/ESPN’s NBA studio show, though, a little more balance between ads and analysis would better serve viewers.
This is hard to do, because Disney currently pays $1.4 billion a year for NBA rights. Additionally, money was lost the past two seasons because of the pandemic. But ABC/ESPN’s studio crew can’t be thrilled that they hardly get any air time during halftime.
An astute Reddit user recently posted the second-by-second breakdown of ABC’s halftime show for Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Celtics and Warriorsand it showed that 64.2% of it was spent on ads.
The amazing part is that this was an 11% improvement over the 2021 NBA Finals.
With halftime lasting 15 minutes and 50 seconds, the studio crew of Mike Greenberg, Stephen A. Smith and Jalen Rose (joined by Magic Johnson for Game 1) got just a measly three minutes and 15 seconds of air time. Normally, Adrian Wojnarowski is part of the crew, but he missed Game 1 because of COVID-19.
I understand that sports networks all copy each other, and they all think that the more people you have for a studio show, it makes the event seem more important. But at this point, ABC/ESPN would be better off just giving halftime to Stephen A. and Rose. Stephen A. can easily do opens and closes and throws to commercials. You don’t need a traditional host to do those things. If you’re barely going to give the panel three minutes, just let Stephen A. and Rose cook. Why bother trying to squeeze in four people in such a short window?
With ESPN constantly being compared to TNT when it comes to NBA studio shows, ESPN should be trying to do things as differently as possible.
2. Speaking of ABC’s NBA Finals coverage, I have a quick follow up on Friday’s “Traina Thoughts” about the network not showing the player intros for the Celtics and Warriors.
I reached out to ESPN to ask why this decision was made and whether we’d see player intros at some point in the series. ESPN declined to comment.
Apparently, skipping the player intros during the NBA Finals is not a new thing for ABC/ESPN, but truth be told, I didn’t pay close attention to the coverage the past couple of years since 2020 was played in a bubble and ’21 saw the Finals being played in the middle of July.
Either way, it’s sad that the tradition of player intros seem to be a thing of the past for the most important and most-watched games of the season.
3. Back in November, Spittin’ Chiclets host and TNT studio panelist Paul “BizNasty” Bissonnette bet his colleague Ryan Whitney that the Flames would go deeper into the season than the Oilers. Biz lost the bet, and payment came this Saturday in the form of this haircut.
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Bissonnette will be on the SI Media Podcast later this week (subscribe here), so we can’t wait to hear what life has been like for him with that new ‘do.
4. Is LeBron James getting a podcast?
My first thought on this: How much would LeBron get paid to do a podcast?
My second thought is that while I don’t understand why someone who has the life that LeBron James has would want to waste his time hosting a podcast, I can see the King wanting to be able to have his voice out there since so much nonsense is said and written about him.
5. Wrestling is scripted. The injuries are not. WWE superstar Cody Rhodes wrestled Sunday night with a torn pec, and it looked nasty as hell.
6. You need to see the Wiffle ball pitch Brewers left-handed pitcher Aaron Ashby threw in Saturday’s game against the Padres.
7. The latest SI Media Podcast features a conversation with The Athletic‘s media reporter and former SI writer Richard Deitsch.
Among the topics covered: why it’s become a thing to knock Bill Simmons; is the Greg Olsen–Tom Brady–Fox Sports situation “weird”?; what the Brady–Fox Sports deal is all about; ManningCast copycats; NESN to offer its own streaming service for $29.99 a month; and Al Michaels being named emeritus at NBC Sports.
We also talked about Deitsch’s decision to stop tweeting on Feb. 20 and when he’ll be back on the social media service.
Following Deitsch is the weekly “Traina Thoughts” segment with Sal Licata from WFAN radio and SNY TV in New York. Jimmy and Sal break down the surreal Tommy Pham–Joc Pederson–Mike Trout fantasy football controversy, share their thoughts on Derek Jeter joining Twitter and answer listener emails.
You can listen to the podcast below or download it on Apple, Spotify and Google.
8. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: On this date in 2004, HBO aired the Season 5 finale of The Sopranos, which ended with Tony running through the snow to avoid the FBI in a sensational scene.
Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on Apple, Spotify gold Google. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter, instagram and TikTok.