HoopsHype Media rumors

July 22, 2014 Updates
July 18, 2014 Updates
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July 15, 2014 Updates

The National Basketball Association is seeking to double the TV-rights fees it receives from ESPN majority owner Walt Disney Co. and Time Warner Inc.'s Turner Broadcasting, as the league looks to lock up deals for nationally televised games in the coming months, according to people familiar with the matter. Wall Street Journal

July 14, 2014 Updates
July 12, 2014 Updates

The day before the meeting, on Saturday, July 5, Sports Illustrated senior writer Lee Jenkins had emailed his boss, managing editor Chris Stone. "Remember that thing I sent you in the spring?" Jenkins wrote him, according to Stone. "I think it's a possibility." That "thing" was Jenkins's nebulous pitch, made around the end of the regular season, on how to tell the story of James's pending free-agency decision. Jenkins, Stone says, didn't necessarily want to break the news of James's choice, but "wanted to tell the story in a new, better way than it was told in 2010." Deadspin.com

"I think they trust him and by extension trust SI that we wouldn't turn this into a circus," Stone says of the James crew's decision to go with Jenkins. The negative reaction to airing The Decision on ESPN was clearly still a sore spot for James, so much so that he brought it up in his meeting with Gilbert. Sports Illustrated was a more respectable outlet and had done right by James in the past. (It had done right by Jenkins, too, as it turned out. Earlier this year, Jenkins rebuffed a fairly serious courtship by Grantland. It's hard to see him scoring the LeBron story as a part of the ESPN machine.) Deadspin.com

The idea of a first-person "as-told-to" essay came from James's camp, according to Stone. They reached out to Jenkins to float the idea on July 5, and that's when Jenkins put his bosses on high alert. Deadspin.com

On Thursday, James's camp told Jenkins that James would give him the scoop. They also contacted police in Bath Township, where he keeps his home, and requested off-duty officers as security for a forthcoming announcement. "On Thursday his company requested additional staffing for Thursday and Friday," Michael McNeely, the Bath chief of police, told Deadspin in an email. "That staffing was provided and paid for by LeBron's company. They indicated there was going to be an announcement." Deadspin.com

July 11, 2014 Updates

Frank Isola: From a professional standpoint, the beat writers all hope Melo returns. Great player & great to deal with. Low maintenance superstar. Twitter @FisolaNYDN

On Wednesday, Mr. Jenkins traveled to Las Vegas. He met with Mr. James on Thursday night before writing the essay with him. Mr. Jenkins emailed the essay to his editors around mid-morning on Friday. "Everyone reading it was learning the news for the first time," Mr. Stone said. The magazine, which introduced a top-to-bottom redesign of its website last month, alerted its technology team that a big story would soon publish. That way they'd be prepared for the extra traffic. They weren't told, however, what the big scoop was about. Advertising Age

Only about six Sports Illustrated staffers saw the piece before it went live, according to Mr. Stone, who had worried it would somehow leak. "I can't tell you how stressful the last 24 hours were," he said. "There were a lot of smart, good reporters pursuing this story." "We're going to sleep well tonight," Mr. Fichtenbaum added. Advertising Age

Editors didn't tell their business-side counterparts about the scoop ahead of time. "The reason we got this story, I think, is because Lebron's team trusted us not to turn it into a circus," Mr. Stone explained. "So to parlay it into a commercial endeavor ahead of time would have been inappropriate." Advertising Age

Here's how Cleveland's radio & TV outlets broke the news live on-air. Up top we have WKNR radio, which reported the news amongst celebratory music and, it sounds like, quite a few tears. WKNR was one of only two major media outlets in Cleveland that actually had the news live; in a twist of fate, three of Cleveland's TV stations and its major news radio station WTAM were all at commercial when the news broke. Here's the one TV station that was live, ABC affiliate WEWS: Deadspin.com

July 9, 2014 Updates

Before asking how we got here, it’s worth studying the Trade Rumor Era. It has acquired its own language, its own high-PER reporters, and an ever-expanding schedule. “It’s not just the offseason,” said ESPN’s Marc Stein. “It’s transactions, period. People love transactions.” The strangeness of Stein’s new world began to dawn on him in January 2007, when he got massive traffic for reporting a trade. Earl Boykins had been shipped to Milwaukee. Grantland

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