The Sports Media Misery Index lives to see a new way of looking live at Super Bowl LIV:
== Fox Sports’ not-so-frivolous investment into the burgeoning age of legalized sports wagering, combined with a pledge to make Sunday’s NFL championship game in Miami a national unifying moment, gives us an odd family bonding experience.
Cousin Sal can now canoodle with Uncle Sam, making gambling Americans grateful again.
It starts with Fox running its own online sports book, FoxBet.com. Go there to see Charissa Thompson and Colin Cowherd walk you through setting up an account and getting $20 in “free cash” to start. Sal Iacono, part of the FS1 “Lock It In” gambling show with Clay Travis and Todd Fuhrman, is also driving traffic this week under the legal disclaimer that this only for “entertainment purposes.”
The same San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs who will participate in this year’s Super Bowl are also two of the 13 NFL teams licensed by FoxBet to be their official cyber sportsbook home.
On the single-greatest sporting-event day to excuse any sort of betting, it behooves Fox to promote as much of it as it can.
Whether or not play-by-play man Joe Buck, analyst Troy Aikman or even rules analyst Mike Pereira allude to any sort of overs, underdogs or whatever else goes silly sideways during the contest is fodder for exotic bets.
Buck, who at 50 has been in the NFL TV business half his life now, will work his sixth Super Bowl with Aikman going back to 2005. Unlike Al Michaels, Buck has not been one to lean on any sort of gambling parlance, subtle or otherwise. As such, OddsShark.com has favored odds as much as -290 for “no” and +190 for “yes” on whether Buck or Aikman specifically make mention of a point spread.
“I have been told to avoid it,” Buck told us by text Thursday. “For the most part, I do anyway. But I have said something about it before, even this year. I referenced the early line for the Super Bowl at the conclusion of the NFC championship game before we went off the air.”
Folks can also bet on whether Fox MLB analyst and Miami native Alex Rodriguez will make a halftime cameo. If not to critique the performance of fiancé Jennifer Lopez, then maybe launch into a lively debate about whether the Houston Astros’ cheating scandal is a worse offense than being caught with steroids?
== Sports Illustrated’s new ownership announced it will “take over the Fontainebleau Miami Beach” on the night before the Super Bowl for “one of the biggest parties in sports,” offering admission tickets online (SportsIllustratedTheParty.com) starting at $650 for open-bar VIP entry.
Spectacular to see priorities are in place after SI depleted its staff with recent cutbacks and layoffs but can still slap its brand on this blessed event.
== Fox lists 45 on-air people associated with its Super Bowl coverage in Miami. But it doesn’t include veteran Pam Oliver as one its sideline reporters for Sunday’s game instead of … anyone not her? Not even on “The Masked Singer” post-game show?
Sports Illustrated is taking over the Fontainebleau Miami Beach the night before the Super Bowl for the biggest party in sports.— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) January 21, 2020
Leading the way with 🔥 performances by @marshmellomusic, @bep and @DaBabyDaBaby #SItheparty ➡️ https://t.co/qYK5AtbzhN pic.twitter.com/ZUjvTKF0Gk
== TNT’s Tuesday night Kobe Bryant tribute show from Staples Center brought real, raw emotion from Shaquille O’Neal, Dwyane Wade, Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley, Reggie Miller and Jerry West. But it also allowed former Laker Rick Fox to revisit Sunday’s news cycle and convey how incorrect information put out about his inclusion on the downed helicopter affected him.
“One of my daughter’s greatest fears is finding out one of her parents would be lost through social media, instead of through a loved one or family member,” Fpx said. “This has been a lot to process. It shook a lot of people in my life.”
ABC News’ suspension of a reporter who gave out erroneous information was needed. If only more media outlets were as proactive about showing reporters there are consequences to irresponsible actions.
And then there’s TMZ editor Harvey Levin going on with KNX-AM (1070) to say his organization had permission from “Kobe’s people” to release the news before authorities could verify it, and it did so after sitting on it for a period of time.
A HIGHER TOLERANCE
== Suggested viewing: “The Great Brady Heist,” an hour-long documentary from Fox Sports Films, airs Saturday (7 p.m. Channel 11) leading into the NFL awards show. It rewinds to the 2017 Super Bowl when New England quarterback Tom Brady had his uniform stolen from his locker, only to find through an FBI investigation it was taken by a tabloid media executive from Mexico who got in with an international journalist credential.
The Santa Monica-based media company Religion of Sports, with Brady as a prime partner, produced the project with NFL Films.
== The latest shenanigans at El Segundo-based DirecTV, where new owners AT&T systematically pick apart a once proud sports net provider. The “The Dan Patrick Show” and “The Rich Eisen Show” get shortchanged.
AT&T will discontinue The Audience Network, where both nationally syndicated radio shows have been simulcast. Patrick told us via email they are “in discussions for a new TV partner as we speak, but the radio show and podcast continue without interruptions.”