Neil Best leaves no stone unturned in the world of sports media.

ESPN on YouTube, off European Champs League

Random ESPN-related stuff:

Lots of ESPN stuff coming to YouTube as part of the new deal with Disney/ABC.

FSC wrests European Champions League rights from ESPN starting next season. That's soccer, people.

Interesting stuff from a Bill Simmons podcast in which he talks to his boss, former Newsday sports editor John Walsh, and discusses among other things his concerns regarding Tony Kornheiser's role in the "Monday Night Football" booth.

Sports Business Daily was nice enough to transcribe some of the highlights for us. Thanks, SBD.

Click below for that.ESPN's Bill Simmons and his boss, ESPN Senior VP & Exec Editor John Walsh, Friday discussed their relationship at the net on Simmons' ESPN.com podcast. Simmons said, "We have a love/hate relationship that I would say is 98% love."

Walsh: "Creative disagreements, occasionally, that amount to 2% of your copy." Simmons during the conversation listed some of his "gripes" with ESPN. Simmons: "We could have a better sense of humor about ourselves."

Walsh: "I would love that. ... The one place we do accomplish that is in those ‘SportsCenter’ ads, ‘This is SportsCenter.’ I think that’s one place. I wish we could transport that to a lot of others." Simmons: "I mean the self-deprecation type of sense of humor."

Walsh: "Absolutely, I agree." Simmons: "Then why don’t we have more self deprecating sense of humor?" Walsh: "Humor is a hard thing. I think sometimes you see it, but you don’t see enough of it. It’s hard to find the opportunities for it." In discussing Simmons' second issue with ESPN, Walsh said the "mega disagreement" between them is whether a "great number of fans discuss the media."

Walsh: "This is such a small piece of the sports fan's interests." Simmons said he "would have a very interesting angle" on Tony Kornheiser's role on "MNF." But he added, "For a variety of reasons I probably couldn’t write for our Web site because internally it would cause some problems."

Walsh: "We don’t want to have people doing things critically within a company, going after one another." Simmons: "For me the Kornheiser thing, the root of the issue, is ... fundamentally people watching a football game want to hear from people who played football or coached it. Anybody outside of that realm they just don’t trust their opinion on it."

AIRING IT OUT: Simmons wondered why ESPN officials "run away from sexuality in sports." Simmons: "We are just terrified of it. For instance, Erin Andrews has had a ton of success for us. Would you argue she is one of the more popular talents that we have?"

Walsh: "Yeah, she’s popular." Simmons: "I think the first reason is because she is very good at her job. The second reason is because she’s pretty and guys like her. The second reason is not nearly as important as the first reason, but it’s a reason. What is the big deal about having a sideline reporter where looks factor into it?"

Walsh: "We try to hire women and we even have women do play-by-play. It’s a visual medium so if somebody happens to be in the mind’s eye of somebody, better looking than somebody else with men or women, that’s not the factor. The factor is, ‘Hey, how much do you know about sports? How good are you at doing your job?' ... Those are the only factors that you should have whether you are a man or a woman." Simmons also brought up his concern with sponsorships in ESPN programming and publications. Simmons: "I watch ‘SportsCenter’ and it’s like, all right we made money there, we made money there. To be honest, I miss the old ‘SportsCenter.’ I just feel like we make enough money as a company that we don’t need to bleed ‘SportsCenter’ with all these different zingers."

Walsh: "It’s not our job to criticize how much or how little money we make. It’s other people who have to determine that" ("The BS Report with Bill Simmons," ESPN.com, 3/27).

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