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Dan Le Batard, John Skipper Building a Far-Left Response to OutKick

The sports media marketplace has long lacked independent thinkers, personalities who don’t just disobey the Left but who challenge it, hosts who relate to sports fans watching games on Sundays, not loud Twitter accounts looking for retweets. But rather than address this need, Front Office Sports reports that Dan Le Batard and John Skipper are working on a “progressive response to OutKick.” They plan to go even further Left than they were, together, at ESPN.

This idea is the antithesis of innovation. The market share for this worldview is beyond oversaturated. Should some other media personality respond to Barstool by creating unfunny sports coverage? Should Don Lemon leave CNN to form an anti-Trump alternative to OANN? Please, someone, invent a Twitter alternative that will censor conservatives and let China call the genocide “emancipated.”

Launching a far-Left political company isn’t just overdone, it also does not respond directly to OutKick. Clay Travis has voted for Democrats and Republicans. Ryan Glassipegel voted for Joe Biden. I’m a conservative who fears what the Democrats will do with control of the House, Senate, and White House. If Joe Kinsey has political views, he hasn’t made them known. OutKick employees have a variety of political beliefs.

Based on this report, it seems like Le Batard and Skipper are trying to attract yet another audience hungry for more Leftist political drivel, for further condemnation of the country as a whole, for more accusations of racism, and for more cancel culture. That’s what this is about. 

The plan skips right over the center-Left and aims directly for the radicals, for those who support Joy Reid, Bernie Sanders, and Al Sharpton. This is clear by the personalities the two are interested in featuring: Jemele Hill, Bomani Jones, and Kate Fagan.

Le Batard has a digital audience. He scored a major win in retaining his show’s feeds from Apple and Spotify. These subscribers and most of Le Batard’s audience already consume his content in podcast form. Le Batard will maintain this audience. But part of the upside of independent media is that the overhead can be kept small. Hill, Jones, and Fagan would be expensive, and none of them would bring a large audience with them.

Of the three, Hill is the most noteworthy. Her Q-rating is actually higher than Le Batard’s. Hill did well at ESPN until she went extreme. Now she is mostly a Twitter star, who gets attention for making despicable comments. Maybe she can bring her following to a show with Le Batard and Skipper, but she hasn’t yet been able to do so at Vice.

Le Batard knows Bomani Jones well. As the third wheel behind Le Batard and his father, Jones co-hosted Highly Questionable and did fine. However, Jones has proven he is not a lead. After losing over 90 affiliates and drawing the worst ratings in ESPN Radio history, Jones’ radio show was canceled. ESPN then gave him a TV show that first failed at noon, then at 4 p.m. before it was canceled outright.

Kate Fagan is relatively unknown, but sources inside ESPN say she showed promise during her time with the network.

The next question is monetization. Le Batard now has to directly make money off his audience. Skipper will try to sell a deal to a podcast service that I expect will attract some suitors, though a company built around Le Batard, Hill, and Jones is not advertiser-friendly. It’d appeal to a niche but alienate 75% of the country.

SiriusXM makes the most sense. The project would then be less reliant on sponsors, and Le Batard could lead into his other employees, who otherwise wouldn’t have an audience. Listeners are more likely to keep a channel on than download or subscribe to another podcast.

Outlets can find success in putting all or select content behind a paywall, if the content is unique, but this project is not. It merely repeats the ESPN model, which features Leftist propaganda disguised as sports talk.

While Le Batard and Skipper’s business direction is flawed, each individual in the media should root for its success. Such industry moves always have a domino effect. Dan Patrick paved the way for Colin Cowherd, Skip Bayless, and Charissa Thompson to leave ESPN. Cowherd elevated his status post-ESPN, and others have since followed suit. The industry is now inching toward an entrepreneurial era, led by Dave Portnoy. Each time it works, out of touch executives lose a step of power. That’s a win for the industry.

Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack covers any news story that deserves attention but focuses on media. His interests include reading Stephen King novels, avoiding traffic on the road, and pretending to solve true-crime mysteries. He still believes Cersei should've won and encourages everyone to always question the news.

72 Comments

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        • Have you ever tried to run around for 90 minutes on a 120/72 yard field? Have you ever seen a fat professional soccer player? They wouldn’t last 5 minutes. Some of the best athletes play soccer. Yes there are many players that fall down at the first contact but it is what it is, kind of like flopping in basketball.

        • Always seemed like a bunch of male models running around to stay in shape. Not a fan but yes, the left seems to despise football. I am sure it has something to do with toxic masculinity.

      • Played soccer my whole life (and still do) and have never come across an Antifa member. Soccer is definitely a melting pot though. I have been on several teams whereby I was the only gringo/American. Soccer haters were just never good enough to progress past 8/9 year old leagues so they denigrate it. To each his own I guess.

        • I never got past the early stages of soccer (middle school), but I love the sport and watch it when I can. Hardcore conservatives seem to detest it though. Not sure why. Perhaps the flopping, or lack of scoring in some games, or that there are no 1st downs, or 3rd and short for the games. Meh. I love it. Go MLS!

          • I always love hearing the hardcore baseball fan say soccer is boring but loves sitting through a 1-0 pitchers duel. Not bashing baseball I used to love playing! I am more of a European, Bundesliga in particular, soccer fan. I just can’t get into the MLS but the league is getting better.

      • Yep. They like ice skating, gymnastics, Olympics in general because it makes them feel worldly and sophisticated, and basketball only because it helps them virtue signal their support for the oppressed. That’s about it.

    • I’m not so sure about that. Never underestimate the financial ineptitude of the far-left. Polling has shown that Democrats are more than twice as likely to donate to political campaigns as Republicans (this is despite the fact that Republicans are slightly more likely to donate to charity). Hell, Bernie Sanders’ supporters were even giving their rent money to his campaign. I expect LeBatard will be able to drum up plenty of subscriptions; although, he may bankrupt some of his readers in the process.

  1. i’ve never heard anyone say ever..ever..go check out what leBatard had to say…ever…in 20 years.plenty of ‘go check out this’ for many dudes…LeBatard..nope…StuGotz is a dope, and his dad is entertaining for 15 seconds…Stugotz tho good Lord…terrible

  2. This explains Le Betards unprovoked attack on Clay recently and speaks to the popularity of OutKick. Im sure that show of wokesters will be providing a lot of content for us to talk about on OutKick. So thanks in advance. Who will say the most ridiculous thing? My money is on Hill

  3. This is the equivalent of Jeff Zucker and Don Lemon leaving CNN to form a left-wing news network. This new sports platform will likely fail at sports, but succeed at comedy (albeit unknown to them or their woke audience).

  4. Here’s the thing……wokesters don’t pay for things. They’ll follow their idols on Twitter and FB…..but they’re not shelling out coin for subscriptions.

    Granted, Hill, Jones and Le Betard have money and won’t go broke with the new gigs. But their potential is increasingly limited because they offer nothing new or interesting to their audience in order to draw $10 per month from them.

  5. Hilarious that Clay is living so rent free in these clowns heads that LeBetard & Jemele would create a woke sports podcast in response. And yes true it will only generate content for Clay.

    Deadspin is a failed joke and now the ever angry Jemele Hill will sink LeBetard’s show.

  6. This just sounds like the last stop before going off the cliff into liberal misery and oblivion. I`m sure if they need funding Uncle George Soros will be writing a check like he did for all for DA`s getting elected the last year or two. The only people tuning in will be Trump haters who don`t even like sports, but will take the knee anyway…..

  7. The Left has tried to launch alternatives to conservative talk radio, too, over the years. And they failed *miserably*. Just look at the success Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin have had over the years. This should parallel that, I would think (even though Outkick has varying points of view, not exclusively conservative).

    You guys are fantastic — keep up the good work.

  8. Good luck. LeBetard’s core audience will likely leave him when he beats them over the head with non-stop race baiting and wokeness. The industry is littered with the corpses of far-left media ventures, as the world gets enough of the Marxist drivel from the networks and papers. Anyone remember Air America? I project a monumental failure.

  9. I haven’t missed many Le Batard shows in the past 5 years (my favorite radio show), but the last week has just been awful. I don’t have any problem with listening to political speak from the other side of the aisle, but the entire show is just political nonsense now and he clearly hates people like me …

    I’ll ride it out for a while, but if they don’t get back to their previous dynamic soon (where they are funny), and it is just nonstop Trump nonsense, I guess I’ll be going back to Cowherd and Dan Patrick. Too bad, cuz Le Batard and Stugotz, and their chemistry is hilarious when they don’t delve in to serious shit.

  10. He also doesn’t quite understand that all of the hillbillies that stormed the capital are every bit as disenfranchised in today’s America as the minorities he champions every day. There is no difference between the scary Trump guy in a truck and the antifa “bro” in a mask. Both extremists, both brainwashed, both being absolutely poisoned by social media and neither are smart enough to discern between truth and fiction. As a conservative, I laugh equally hard when I see a giant Trump truck with stickers all over it and a little Volkswagon with Bernie Sanders stickers all over it. I can’t imagine making politics my identity. Sad and lonely place … I know, I know, privilege …

  11. Skipper is buying “call her daddy” podcast, because that’s all about Barstool has on the national stage. Trust me, no sports content there. It’s amusing to listen to at times, but it’s not going to float a brand about sports. I know doves and sixes die for that dick, I don’t need a podcast reminder.

  12. Wow! What an original idea! A sports show based on hard core leftism. That’s never been tried before, right?
    So what is going to separate these two communist shitbrains from all of the other communist shitbrains spewing lies and stupidity out there???

  13. Most of the time leftists only seek to destroy as nothing on this earth is utopian enough to satisfy. If they actually build something worthwhile I will be surprised. Leftism (not liberalism) is a one street of destroying .

  14. He’s doing what he knows but he’s moving into a crowded arena. He’ll siphon off other angry, stupid, woke sports fans from ESPN, etc. On the flip side, he doesn’t have to worry about advertisers, being de-platformed, or have his server farm wiped out. For now. This snake that has been unleashed by the Left still has a lot of its own tail to eat.

  15. If I didn’t know better, it seems like maybe Tard and Travis may have struck a backdoor deal? Makes sense. Clay is all about competition. Competition and conflict move the needle forward and make $$$. A direct nemesis for Clay sounds lucrative to me and would obviously get Tard’s new endeavor successfully off the ground. Perhaps the deal wasn’t outright discussed between the two, but definitely good for both. I think most of the people replying on this thread are missing the point. So much anger. Get it together.

  16. It’s true that competition is good. But if you let you wokeness and awareness rule the day then your listeners will eventually tire and leave you. Look at talk radio. There is not a single prominent ratings grabbing liberal show on the national stage. Why? Because people tend to tune out those of those shows that engage in constant lecturing and grievance mongering. This is what much of ESPN’s content shows have turned into. LeBatard at times reflexively behaves this way as well. It’s a recipe for failure.

    • CNN and MSNBC have seen their ratings climb recently so I think the market might be there. There are a number of lefty podcasts that do well. Yes, talk radio is dominated by conservatives but it is a dying format.

      I’ve never listened to Labatard and I have no interest in doing so but his podcast ranks high on Apple’s podcast chart so there is no denying he has a following. I think bringing in Jemele Hill and others that don’t really bring an audience could sink that ship though.

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