If you didn’t pay any attention to sports Tuesday… well, you didn’t miss too much.
But despite a relatively slow day in the sports calendar, we’re not complaining. We got 15 baseball games, plus some NBA rumors, an update on a once-beloved quarterback and an explosive look inside a sports media train wreck.
Welcome to The Cheat Sheet.
Inside the Jamie Horowitz revolution at Fox Sports
If you’re interested in the nuts and bolts of sports media, you’ve got to check out our own Ben Koo’s deeply reported piece on how Jamie Horowitz assumed control of Fox Sports Digital and drastically re-made the operation with a TV-centric vision.
The most shocking revelation from the piece concerned a meeting Horowitz held with the digital staff in January, in which he instructed all writers to focus on hyping up talking heads like Skip Bayless and Colin Cowherd instead of reporting or writing their own stories.
From Horowitz’s mouth:
“The written word is still relevant, but the advertising value of written content, what we call display, is not growing. Our plan is to refresh our editorial strategy to be more in line with our video strategy. So let’s talk about this. What that means is doing less of this: ‘The 15 most unthinkable QB divorces in NFL history ranked.’ There’s nothing wrong with this. It’s just like the deer video. This is good. I might read it. But it’s not core to Fox. It has no brand identity to Fox. Anyone could publish this. So it’s always going to be hard to monetize things like this.
What really does work is when you take things are good like ’11 Coaches Oregon Might Hire’, that might be something someone is interested in the day Helfrich gets fired, and we change to ‘Colin Cowherd’s 11 Coaches.’ We’ve seen this be very successful. You look at Fox News right now, O’Reilly and his take. That’s all it is. And there are many different ways. “Colin, some of our guys and girls want to write stuff.” Sometimes you might ghost-write it for them. Sometimes you might just hear them say things on shows and that can lead you to write a story about stuff they have said. And here’s a good example of something like that. Bradshaw says something interesting about Greg Hardy on a pre-game show, and immediately writing a story about what TB said. Taking our existing content and making that into news.”
Fox announced Monday that it was essentially cutting all written editorial content and replacing it with video centered on TV personalities. On Tuesday, a stream of ex-employees announced their firings on Twitter, as Fox Sports entered its new era.
Ben’s piece is full of dramatic revelations. It’s worth checking out.
NBA rumor mill keeps getting hotter
NBA free agency officially begins Saturday, but until then we’re left with nothing but lots and lots of rumors.
Here are some of the juiciest nuggets from Tuesday:
– Meanwhile the Celtics are pursuing not only George but also Gordon Heyward, hoping to pair the two in an effort to catch the Cavs, according to The Vertical.
– Per ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Knicks have refused to buy out Carmelo Anthony’s contract, despite his wishes.
League sources: Carmelo Anthony's camp, while acknowledging Melo's preference to stay in NYC, has tried to engage the Knicks in buyout talks
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 27, 2017
But league sources say that the Knicks have thus far resisted the idea of a Melo buyout that would clear the way for him to join the Cavs
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) June 27, 2017
– The Knicks have “legitimate interest” in re-signing Derrick Rose, ESPN reports.
– A whole bunch of teams are interested in prying Andre Iguodala from the Warriors, per ESPN’s Chris Haynes, who lists seven teams that are pursuing the former Finals MVP.
– For some reason, LeBron James will reportedly never, under any circumstances, sign with the Clippers.
– Sports Illustrated’s Greg Bishop profiled former NFL quarterback Vince Young as part of the magazine’s annual “Where are they now?” issue, and Young did not hold back in his quotes. Though some headlines focused on a throwaway comment about Ryan Fitzpatrick, the most interesting part of the article was Young’s memory of former coach Jeff Fisher.
Young describes an incident from November of his rookie season when he left his ID at home before a road game against the Eagles. As he tells it, he went to retrieve it and was then held up by a funeral procession en route to the team plane, so he called Fisher to say he would be two minutes late. Young had seen Fisher hold the plane for other players, but this time he did not. “I feel like Fisher did that s— on purpose,” he says. “I’m pulling in, seeing them pull the door down. I can hear the team yelling.” As Young stood on the tarmac, grounded, he could only watch as the team he was supposed to lift into the playoffs soared into the sky without him.
At McNair’s urging, Young chartered a private jet to Philly instead. In his defense Fisher cited team policy for not waiting. Young wasn’t having it. “Where I’m from,” he told the coach, “that’s like saying F you.”
Young also said Fisher continued a narrative that Young was suicidal, blowing up a small incident into a bigger one.
– The Supreme Court will rule on a case that could decide the future of sports betting in the United States.
– Florida won its first ever College World Series, sweeping LSU.
That feeling when you win your school's first ever College World Series. pic.twitter.com/jWvaC0Ewj3
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 28, 2017
– Adrian Beltre whacked his 450th career home run, a nice milestone for the future Hall of Famer. And it could hardly have come at a better time in the game.
— Mike Leslie (@MikeLeslieWFAA) June 28, 2017
– An Alabama man was arrested after allegedly stealing a golf cart from the Braves’ SunTrust Park.
– Funds from the Yankees’ charity are reportedly going to wealthy neighborhoods, not the poor ones they’re meant to go to.
– Bill Belichick’s appearance on the cover on Nantucket Magazine is just incredible.
Photographer: "Bill, smile!"
Belichick: "I am." pic.twitter.com/UH31z327y1
— One Take At A Time (@OneTakeAtATime) June 27, 2017
– FIFA finally released the findings of the Garcia Report, its inquiry on the bid process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups—but only because a German newspaper basically forced it to.
– Manny Pacquiao said Connor McGregor is unlikely to “land a meaningful punch” on Floyd Mayweather, which seems about right.
– Look carefully at this tweet from college football recruit Jacobi Bellazin, and you’ll see he probably needs a geography lesson.
just the beginning ? pic.twitter.com/hwDTCll089
— 1️⃣ (@c1_era) June 27, 2017
– John McEnroe says Donald Trump once offered to pay him to play either Serena or Venus Williams. The world is better off because he said no.
One last moment of procrastination
There’s never a bad time for an Adrian Beltre hijinks highlight reel.