ESPN executive Traug Keller discusses Colin Cowherd's departure from the world wide leader to Fox Sports, plus the future of ESPN radio.
“I’m close to Colin and I think he’s a unique talent,” said Keller by phone from Gleaneagles, Scotland, where he is attending The Open Championship. “But I think he was playing this around in his mind, 'Is there something bigger and better out there for me?' This was also, and make no mistake about it, this was about the bids that were put in. We put in an aggressive bid for Colin and I think he got a better one from Fox. As you know, that’s life.”
But just because ESPN management thinks Le Batard is a good fit by no means assures it will happen. Le Batard and Jones work on Highly Questionable, which tapes at 12:30 p.m. ET (the slot Cowherd currently hosts). That show is very important to Le Batard and Rydholm, not to mention ESPN’s TV side. Also, keep in mind Le Batard and his radio show have spent years establishing an audience during the drive-time hours in Miami. That’s something that group might not want to screw around with. It also seems inconceivable that Le Batard would make any move that has a negative impact on the television show he does with his father, Gonzalo. As for Jones, he does a lot of spots on Around The Horn (which tapes at 1:30 p.m.) so that’s also a factor with him. I believe Keller when he says nothing has been finalized.
For those who think ESPN Radio is going to fall off a cliff from 10-1 without Cowherd, guess again. The person or persons who replace Cowherd will essentially be given a Wonka Golden Ticket.
THE NOISE REPORT
Love’s job at VICE Sports is still evolving. He said his objective is to increase the site’s content and help with strategy. Clearly, he will use his contacts to help expand the brand. He travels from Washington to VICE’s offices in Brooklyn a couple of times a month. “The main strategy to is to make sure that VICE Sports is part of the daily conversation,” Love said. “We’re not a place were people come for statistics and scores so how do we maintain ourselves in the sports conversation?”
Under its current rights deal with the NBA, which expires after next season, ABC was scheduled for 16 games. Instead of airing doubleheaders on Sundays, ABC will now air one on Saturday nights and one on Sunday afternoons. Per usual, ABC's NBA schedule begins with its Christmas Day doubleheader.