It’s Friday, time for the Outkick mailbag.
Okay, here we go:
“What do you think of the national media spinning the Zion story to go back to Duke because a small market team won the lottery and not New York or LA? Even though a couple months ago when he got hurt they all advocated for him to never play a game at Duke again and prepare for the draft after he got hurt. Hypocrisy at its finest in my opinion. The draft is the only thing that can remotely keep the balance in professional sports. Golden State wasn’t attractive 6 years ago, they built through the draft and now have pulled in Superstars KD and Boogie. Although Oakland isn’t a small market it definitely wasn’t desirable for a FA.”
The national media wanted Zion in New York or Los Angeles because it’s better for the national media.
But let me put it to you this way — can you imagine having a $50 million contract, at least, and being 19 years old and getting to live in New Orleans?
When I was 19 I went to New Orleans with $50 in my pocket and had one of the best times of my life.
I can’t imagine how much fun Zion will have with the kind of money he’ll be making. Plus, he’s a kid from the South meaning he’ll fit in well in New Orleans and he’ll be able to grow into his own as a basketball player there.
I think starting your career in a mid-size market like New Orleans will be perfect for him.
Here were my thoughts on this yesterday on Outkick the Show:
“The media in New York and LA immediately defined Zion’s going to New Orleans as a disappointment. Can you imagine how amazing your life would be if you were 19, had $50 million, and got to live in New Orleans?”—@ClayTravis pic.twitter.com/b7sxrOgLUV
— Outkick the Coverage (@Outkick) May 17, 2019
“What are your thoughts on the Alabama abortion law? While I am pro life, it seems like this is a tactical mistake and more of a virtue signal similar to the pro choice plan of abortion until or past birth from the Democrats . What would be a plan that would makes sense to you if you were pro life and as someone who is pro choice what is the plan you would like to see?”
I am pro-choice, but I am so sick of the abortion debate. I think abortion should be safe, legal and rare and fortunately technology is helping to make that the case.
I know that everyone lives in perpetual outrage these days, but I’m not that worried about the Alabama law (or any other state abortion law for that matter) for this reason — it’s flagrantly unconstitutional.
So any federal judge in Alabama who is applying the existing law will have to strike down this law. That is, it can never be the law of the land in Alabama because state law can’t supersede federal law. And Roe v. Wade is the law of the land.
So the idea that anything will change in Alabama is just insane. No reasonable person believes this law is anything other than a political show piece.
I also don’t think the Supreme Court is going to overturn Roe v. Wade because I believe they will stick to existing precedent, especially for the next several years. You know there are four reliable votes to uphold Roe on the liberal end of the court — Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan — and three judges on the right who would vote to overturn it — Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch. But I think either John Roberts or Brett Kavanaugh would vote to uphold Roe under stare decisis, that is, to support existing precedent.
The amazing irony would be if Kavanaugh was the vote to uphold Roe after the way liberals tried to tar and feather him during his confirmation. I think early votes from Kavanaugh suggest he’s less dogmatic than many of his most vocal critics feared.
So I don’t see Roe being overturned and I believe what’s likely to happen is technology continues to evolve, making old school abortions rarer and rarer.
I think what happens with abortion is both parties have learned they can motivate their base by preaching fear to each other. Democrats constantly harp on the danger of Roe being overturned and Republicans constantly harp on the necessity of overturning it.
But what if Roe did get overturned, what would happen then?
Well, the law would be left to the states. And then you’d have blue states where abortion was legal and red states where it was rare or illegal to make happen. And I suspect that there would be a cottage industry of charities that would raise money to bring people into states where abortion is legal from states where it isn’t legal.
None of this would change a big deal that mostly gets overlooked: the number of abortions has been declining substantially for years. According to data from the CDC the number of abortions peaked in 1984 and has pretty much been declining every year since. By 2015, the last year we have data for, the number of abortions were down nearly 50% from 1984.
Again, I think this is primarily because of better birth control technology when it comes to preventing and ending pregnancies.
Abortions are just much less necessary than they used to be.
So the reality is this issue should become less significant every year, instead of more so.
Having said all of this, I think Roe being overturned is the best thing that could ever happen to Democrats. Because abortion, for conservatives, is like the barking dog chasing a car.
But did you ever think what happens if the barking dog caught the car?
He’d get dragged to death.
The vast majority of the American public believes abortion should be legal and rare. We don’t want fifteen year old girls crossing state lines in the quiet of night to have secret abortions like it’s 1940 all over again.
If Roe was overturned Republicans would get crushed in the next few elections, eventually leading to Democratic presidents putting supreme court justices back on the court who would overturn the Roe overturning and make abortion legal nationwide once more.
And the court doesn’t want that because it turns the courts into just another political body.
I think the justices sitting on the supreme court now know this is bad for their legitimacy and that’s why I think they’d rather leave existing precedent in place, even if they don’t agree with it, then replace it and unleash a massive mess of constant legal upheaval in the abortion jurisprudence.
“What do you think about Disney buying Hulu?”
Disney is trying to become Netflix while simultaneously trying to maintain its existing revenue streams from a collapsing cable bundle.
In so doing, the most fascinating thing about this move is I think Disney is recreating the bundle, only making that bundle entirely made up of its own assets.
Very soon Disney will have ESPN+, for sports fans, Disney+ for families and kids, and Hulu for adults. I think what they are likely to do is bundle all three of these streaming services together and charge the same as Netflix does for its subscription, right at $13.99 a month.
I think Disney will price each individually at $6.99. So you’d pay roughly $21 if you bought all three individually, but you can essentially buy two and get the third free for the same price as Netflix. (It’s also possible they’ll make it $12.99 and undercut Netflix by a dollar to be able to tout how much better their deal is.)
The challenge for all of these streaming companies will be who has the best original content.
I know that shows like “The Office” and “Friends” are insanely popular on Netflix, but I think what brings people in to subscribe is a must-see event they can’t find elsewhere. All of these services are ravenous for new, original, must see content.
That’s why I believe ESPN is going to move so aggressively to try and get the NFL Sunday Ticket next year. I think AT&T/DirecTV/WarnerMedia, Disney/ESPN, Amazon, and, maybe, DAZN are all going to be desperately competing to buy Sunday Ticket.
The NFL Sunday Ticket price might get up to $3 billion.
Which raises an interesting question, wouldn’t it make a lot of sense for Amazon to buy Netflix and roll Amazon Prime into Netflix?
Think about it — the motivation for Disney to buy the Fox assets was a realization that Disney needed be bigger to compete with Netflix.
Right now Disney is creating their own streaming bundle, featuring three different businesses. Wouldn’t, potentially, Amazon be looking at this and thinking, “Boy, we’ve got Amazon Prime now and we really want the NFL Sunday Ticket, but what would really give us substantial tonnage would be if we could link every Amazon subscription and the data we have for every consumer with the data that Netflix has.”
Think about the result of this, imagine how targeted Amazon’s advertising ads during NFL Sunday Ticket could be if they already knew your Amazon purchasing decisions? It’s wild to think about. Instead of every single person seeing the same national ad, Amazon would know exactly what products to advertise for you and we’d all get served up different ads while we watched NFL games.
Given that many of these would be occurring digitally, Amazon could even allow you to click through live on the screen during the game and buy what’s being advertised to you.
The potential revenue gain is incredible.
But in the meantime, Disney’s streaming ambitions are clear — they want to be bigger and better than Netflix.
“I saw a recent tweet you sent Barstool about signing Big Cat and PFT to a below market contract. Obviously I have no idea what the deal they signed is but it got me wondering what they could get on the open market. Factoring in all forms of media (podcast, TV, radio, etc), what do you think their free agent price is?”
Well, let’s start at the top of the sports media market.
Colin Cowherd is roughly a $10 million a year guy and my assumption is that what’s Stephen A. Smith will end up making in his new deal with ESPN too.
I bet Tony Romo will end up making this to call NFL games for CBS and I’d bet your top play-by-play guys, your Jim Nantz, Mike Tirico and Joe Bucks of the world are in the vicinity of $7 or $8 million a year already. (Age and longevity would factor in here too so Nantz is probably the highest).
So the top of the market is $10 million and then there are a decent number of top guys at around that number.
Then you have your Skip Baylesses of the world making around $6 million — he’ll want ten in his next deal, by the way — and my bet would be Dan Patrick is in this $6 million a year ballpark too, maybe a bit more, and then you have Bill Simmons who probably checks in around this number as well.
Look at this group and the first thing you notice is either a. the amount of content being churned out or b. the number of eyeballs on a game they’re calling.
Cowherd, Stephen A., Skip, and Dan Patrick all produce at least three hours a day of weekly content. (Technically Skip is 2:30, but you get my drift.) That means each of these guys is giving his company a minimum of 15 hours of unique, brand new content every single week.
That matters because it connects to the revenue that can be produced as a result of the work. That is, every man’s show allows 15 hours of advertising opportunities, increasing the revenue they produce, and thereby growing the salary they can demand.
Then you have the guys like Romo and the top play-by-play guys, who are the most important employees at massive sporting companies producing programs that tens of millions of people view.
So that’s the top of the line marketplace in sports media for content producers.
(If you are thinking about someone like me, I’d be more in the line of a guys like Cowherd and Stephen A. I’m producing 15 hours a week of national radio and five hours a week of national TV. Plus, the daily Periscope and Facebooks. But I’ve also got a bit of Bill Simmons mixed in because I’ve created my own platform online, which allows me to directly monetize my audience. I want Cowherd and Stephen A. to keep driving the market higher. I’m rooting for everyone to make as much money as possible because if they keep driving the market higher eventually I’d like to be up there near the $10 million a year mark as well.)
Now to your question, what would a couple of guys with a big sports podcast and a strong social media presence be worth if they were free agents on the open market? Certainly much more than they’re making now. My bet would be that both guys are making around $800k a year now, maybe a bit more, maybe a bit less. (Portnoy has made a big deal of saying no one at Barstool makes a million dollars.)
If they took their podcast independent and they started their own company, I think they could easily quintuple that salary, maybe more. (Remember that theoretically they’d have to split their money unlike all of the other top earners above, who pretty much are solo acts). But that comes with risk because you don’t necessarily have the guaranteed salary. So what would someone pay them?
Probably $2 million each on the open market. (It’s always possible a new podcast company could be desperate and offer them more, but I think $4 or $5 million between the two is probably what they’d get from another company).
The challenge for a major media company would be that they don’t produce that much content. I’m not a podcast guy, but how many total hours does the average podcast do a week? Three hours? That’s like one show for me. Personally, I think the economics on podcast ads are way out of wack because I believe it’s much harder to host a solo show for three hours five days a week than it is to do three podcasts a week for one hour each.
That is, I think Cowherd, Stephen A., Dan Patrick, or me could easily do great podcasts, but I’m not sure the best podcast hosts could do 15 hours a week of live radio solo by themselves. So, to me, the radio show hosts should make way more than the podcast hosts because the job is more difficult and the talent is rarer.
But it’s possible that I’m wrong and what the market really wants isn’t live radio any more, it’s three one hour shows.
And it’s something I’m exploring.
That’s why we’re starting the one hour weekly long form Outkick interview as a podcast. To find out which is the better business model.
TV, other than sports, is pretty much all on demand now. That is, with the exception of a show like “Game of Thrones” almost no one sits down together to watch a taped TV show. So if TV has gone to on demand, will audio too?
I can see that happening.
I wonder about, for instance, this, what if my morning radio show was the same one hour played three different times in a row. If it’s my best one hour, would ratings actually go down? Because the average person is listening to 15-20 minutes every morning. Sure, some people listen to all three hours, but that’s a rarity.
So what if I recorded an hour live every night, late at night after the games are over, and you could get that as a podcast when you woke up in the morning and it played on the radio too.
Wouldn’t that be just as effective as sitting down and doing a live three hour show?
I’m not sure of the answers, but I’m certainly experimental in what I think works and what doesn’t.
So we’re experimenting.
Thanks for reading the Outkick Friday mailbag.
Hope y’all have great weekends.