On the latest Sporticast episode, hosts Scott Soshnick and Eben Novy-Williams discuss some of the biggest sports business stories of the week, including reactions from the NBA’s All-Star Weekend in Utah. The game itself was its typical high-scoring, low-defense affair, but the story of the weekend was YouTube mixtape sensation Mac McClung, who won the Slam Dunk Contest less than a week after being called up from the G League.
McClung’s presence in the event was deliberate move by the NBA—since high school he’s been a well-known name among young basketball fans that consume more via social media than via full games on TNT or ESPN. It’s also a possible lesson for other sports leagues, all of which are struggling to redefine their All-Star weekends amid dwindling interest from both fans and players. The Slam Dunk Contest and Home Run Derby were once cultural moments every year; now the NBA and MLB are trying to inject them with new life to match consumption habits and athlete preferences.
The hosts also talk about the XFL’s debut weekend. The episode was recorded before the ratings dropped, but the league’s first week featured a lot of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson—he’s a co-owner, alongside his business partner Dany Garcia and RedBird Capital—new scoring options and a clear attempt to give fans a more inside look at professional football. The coordinators and play callers were mic’ed up, as were players and referees as they deliberated video reviews.
Lastly, they discuss the latest in the bidding for Manchester United, and details from the most recent DraftKings (Nasdaq: DKNG) earnings call that could have major financial ramifications for professional sports.
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