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How to Watch Every Sport Without Cable (When Sports Return)

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How to Watch Every Sport Without Cable (When Sports Return)

Getting rid of cable does not mean that you can no longer watch your favorite sports. Live TV services feature many of the networks and local channels you get with a cable subscription, though not every service offers every channel. Subscription prices vary wildly between services, too.

So, how can you find the right service? A good strategy is to make a list of all the sports teams you watch along with the channels or networks that hold those broadcasting rights. Next, use a tool such as The Streamable’s Channel Finder to find which service offers those channels. In the case that more than one service offers all the channels you want to watch, consider the cost, features, and additional content you get with a subscription.

The Live TV Streaming Service Experience

What should cord cutters expect from a live TV service? For one, even though the prices of live TV streaming services have steadily increased, you can choose to pay for services on a month-to-month basis (something that not all cable providers allow). Additionally, very few of the video streaming services we’ve reviewed only cover sports. Some offer tons of news and entertainment channels as well. Others include massive libraries of on-demand movies and TV shows to tide you over to the next game. Many services include easy-to-use DVR functionality with ample cloud storage, negating the need for a dedicated hardware box. The services’ cross-platform apps are also typically highly intuitive and reliable.

Sports streaming services don’t improve on every aspect of the cable experience. For instance, you can’t escape the ads from live TV streams. The streaming resolution of a broadcast also depends on the channel, so you won’t magically get to watch every game in 4K and HDR. Some streams run slightly behind the live broadcasts, too.

Sports Broadcast Coverage Is a Mess

The biggest hurdle for sports fans who want to cut the cord for good is navigating a minefield of coverage blackouts and broadcast rights. Some games broadcast nationally, which means everyone can watch them, regardless of their location. However, there is a difference between national syndications and national exclusivity. In the former’s case, the game will broadcast on your local regional sports network (RSN) with a blackout on the national channel. In the latter’s, the game will air on the national channel everywhere.

Coverage blackouts most often occur for games in markets where RSNs are available (which is to say most metropolitan areas). Either FOX or NBC run most, but not all, RSNs. Collectively, FOX and NBC RSNs cover 28 NBA teams, six WNBA teams, 20 MLB teams, and 18 NHL teams. So, for MLB, NBA, NHL, WNBA, and some NCAA games, these RSNs play a significant role in determining which channels you need. Other RSNs are not fully managed by either FOX or NBC. Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN), MSG, NESN, SportsNet Pittsburgh, SportsNet Rocky Mountains, and YES are some examples.

On the other hand, NFL games will always broadcast on your local affiliate channels, so you don’t need FOX RSNs to watch your local NFL team on Sunday afternoons (games will air on affiliate FOX or CBS channels).

Some of the dedicated services from individual leagues, such as MLB.TV, NBA League Pass, and NHL.TV, only allow you to watch live games if they are out-of-market. In other words, if a local RSN has broadcast rights to a team in your area, you can’t watch those games live on these services. You could try to use a VPN to bypass regional coverage blackouts, though know that many live TV streaming services block VPN traffic or require you to set a home location.

Again, my best advice is to check the broadcast schedule for your local team and make sure that the video streaming service you choose includes the network affiliates, cable channels, and RSNs that have the broadcast rights. In some cases, a cable subscription may very well be the only way to watch your local team. Some cable subscriptions may even offer more channels overall and for cheaper.

You may be able to watch some major sporting events for free on the organization’s website, too, negating the need for casual sports fans to pay for any of these services. And yes, there are also many illegal ways to stream sports online, but PCMag does not condone piracy.

What This Guide Covers

Our guide only covers sports broadcasts in the US. We don’t tackle NCAA college sports or other international sports leagues (we make an exception for Premier League soccer). We include both the sports’ status (even though the COVID-19 pandemic may cause some changes) and all the channels and services you need to watch the sport. In the case that more than one video streaming service has all the necessary channels, we consider the value, technical capabilities, and extra content on the service to determine the best one.


Best Streaming Service for Watching MLB Games

Status: Ongoing

Channels: ESPN, FOX, FOX RSNs, FS1, MLB Network, NBC RSNs, AT&T SportsNet affiliates, and TBS

AT&T TV Now’s Max plan is your best bet for MLB coverage. It covers all of the national and local channels (including AT&T’s SportsNet channels) you need to watch in-market and national broadcasts of MLB games for $80 per month. However, it is missing MLB Network, which could be a dealbreaker. If you do not live in an area covered by a SportsNet channel, YouTube TV and Hulu are slightly cheaper options. YouTube TV is missing Fox Sports West, MASN, and YES, but it covers all the other FOX and NBC RSNs. Hulu lacks NESN, MASN, and MLB Network, but otherwise matches YouTube TV’s lineup.

YouTube TV’s unlimited DVR storage is a great option for catching up with any matchups you may have missed, which also gives it an edge over Hulu’s 50-hour limit. AT&T TV Now can keep 500 hours of DVR recordings for up to 90 days.

AT&T TV Now's interface

The MLB offers a dedicated streaming package for watching out-of-market games, called MLB.TV. You get to choose whether you want to watch every out-of-market MLB game ($59.99 per year) or just every out-of-market game for a specific team ($49.99 per year). If you live in a TV market where a local RSN has broadcast rights, the game’s stream becomes available approximately 90 minutes after the game ends. You can check what blackouts apply to your area on the service’s pricing page.


Best Streaming Service for Watching NBA Games

Status: Ongoing

Channels/Services: ABC, ESPN, FOX RSNs, NBA TV, NBA League Pass, NBC RSNs, and TNT

If you can do without the few games that air exclusively to NBA League Pass subscribers, YouTube TV is the best option for NBA fans. Despite the recent price hike, YouTube TV’s subscription cost still comes in below that of fuboTV’s standard plan and Sports Plus package. YouTube TV also has the benefit of unlimited DVR storage, a top-notch interface, and 1080p streams for most channels. Some games are only available to watch on your local RSN. For some NBA markets, such as New York, this is problematic, since YouTube TV no longer carries MSG or YES (AT&T TV Now carries both).

YouTube TV's Web Interface

Another option is the NBA’s League Pass for $99.99 per year, which enables you to watch live out-of-market games and game replays. Some games throughout the remainder of the season will exclusively air to these subscribers, so there’s no way around a subscription.

However, there are some massive caveats. If you are in a market where blackout restrictions apply, you will not be able to watch local games as they air. You need to wait three days before you can watch an archived version. National games broadcast on ESPN, ABC, TNT, and NBA TV (which is the majority of them) are not available to watch on NBA League Pass as they air either. You need to wait until three hours after the broadcast to watch affected matchups. You can check what coverage blackouts apply to your area on the service’s pricing page.

If you don’t want to watch ads, the NBA League Pass’s price goes up to $124.99 per year. If you only care about a single team, you can subscribe to NBA Team Pass for $59.99 per year. You can also add on an NBA League Pass subscription to either YouTube TV or Sling TV, as well as subscribe via Prime Video’s channel add-on.

Best Streaming Service for Watching WNBA Games

Status: Ongoing

Channels: ABC, CBS Sports Network, CW affiliates, ESPN, ESPN 2, FOX RSNs, NBC RSNs, NBA TV, and SportsNet RSNs

We haven’t reviewed a sports streaming service that includes all of the channels you need to watch every WNBA game. Three services get close: AT&T TV Now, Hulu with Live TV, and YouTube TV. However, Hulu lacks NBA TV, NESN, and Spectrum SportsNet, while YouTube TV lacks Spectrum SportsNet and YES. AT&T TV Now’s Max plan is missing Fox Sports Indiana and NBA TV.

Alternatively, the WNBA offers a dedicated League Pass. You can subscribe to this plan to watch non-nationally televised games. As with the NBA League Pass, blackouts may still apply in the case that an RSN has rights to the game broadcast in your local market.


Best Streaming Service for Watching NFL Games

Status: A shortened preseason starts August 13, 2020.

Channels: CBS, ESPN, FOX, NBC, and NFL Network

FuboTV carries all the channels you need to watch every nationally broadcast NFL game and the local ones in your market. No other video streaming service can claim that. FuboTV couldn’t claim that either until recently; the service announced that it would soon include Disney channels (including ESPN) as part of its subscription. FuboTV also has the distinction of being one of the only live TV services to offer any events in 4K. Football fans will also appreciate the Lookback (watch anything you may have missed up to 72 hours after it first aired) and Startover (watch currently airing events from the beginning no matter when you tune in) features. However, the included 30 hours of DVR storage is not as impressive as competitors’ offerings.

FuboTV Web Interface

For additional options, check out our roundup of the best NFL streaming services. You can watch national broadcasts (Thursday Night Football, Sunday Night Football, and Monday Night Football) for free on mobile devices via the Yahoo Sports or NFL apps, too.


Best Streaming Service for Watching PGA Tour Events

Status: Ongoing

Channels: CBS, NBC, Golf Channel

Hulu with Live TV has all the channels you need to stream PGA Tour events and the major golf tournaments at a lower monthly price than both fuboTV and YouTube TV. Those services also lack the benefit of Hulu’s extensive library of on-demand shows and movies.

Hulu with Live TV's Web Interface

If you don’t want a full-fledged live TV streaming service, you can subscribe to PGA Tour live via NBC Sports Gold or as a Prime Video channel for $9.99 per month or $64.99 per year. Note that with either of these subscriptions, you only get to watch the events that air on NBC.

Best Streaming Service for Watching LPGA Tour Events

Status: Ongoing

Channels: NBC and Golf Channel

Many of the sports streaming services we’ve reviewed include both of these channels, but Sling’s Blue plan with the Sports Add-On is the cheapest way to stream LPGA tour events. This plan supports three simultaneous streams and 10 hours of DVR storage.


Best Streaming Service for Watching NHL Games

Status: A modified playoff schedule will resume on August 1, 2020.

Channels: CNBC, FOX RSNs, NBC RSNs, NBC Sports Network, NHL Network, SportsNet RSNs, and USA

AT&T TV Now’s Max plan covers the majority of channels that broadcast NHL games, despite lacking a few FOX RSNs and NHL Network. YouTube TV and Hulu follow closely behind in terms of channel coverage. Depending on your location, you may be able to save money with Hulu or YouTube TV, rather than shelling out for AT&T TV Now’s $80-a-month plan. If you want to watch the NHL Network channel, Sling TV’s blue plan with the Sports Extra is the cheapest option.

Alternatively, you can subscribe to NHL.TV, which costs either $24.99 per month, or 115.99 per year (one team) or $144.99 per year (all teams). Like the dedicated NBA and MLB streaming services, NHL.TV is subject to coverage blackouts for in-market games. Still, you do get to watch full replays of the games after they air.

Best Streaming Service for Watching NWHL Games

Status: A new season is expected to start in mid-November.

Service: Twitch

Whenever the NWHL resumes, you can watch all of the matchups on Twitch. You don’t need to pay to view NWHL’s Twitch streams, but you can certainly subscribe to the channel via one of three tiers for $4.99, $9.99, or $29.99 per month. More expensive tiers give you some perks like custom emotes, ad-free streaming, and members-only chats. Check out our full review of Twitch for more information on the game and entertainment streaming service.


Best Streaming Service for Watching MMA and Boxing Events

Status: Ongoing

Channels/Services: Dazn, ESPN, and ESPN+

Dazn ($19.99 per month) carries boxing from Golden Boy Promotions, Matchroom Boxing, GGG Promotions, and World Boxing Super Series. It also features MMA matches from promoters such as Bellator, Combate Americas, and KSW.

Dazn's Web Interface

Sling’s Orange Plan is the cheapest way to get ESPN, which includes some UFC Fight Nights and undercard matchups. However, PPV fights ($65 for each title card) are exclusive to ESPN+ subscribers ($4.99 per month). That’s the only way in the US to purchase any UFC PPV events. Top Rank Boxing events also air on both ESPN and ESPN+.


Best Streaming Service for Watching NASCAR Races

Status: Ongoing

Channels: FOX, FS1, NBC, and NBC Sports Network

Sling’s Blue plan is the cheapest way to get all the channels that broadcast NASCAR races. The Blue plan supports three simultaneous streams and includes a mix of news and entertainment channels. As with all of Sling TV’s other plans, you get 10 hours of DVR storage.

Sling TV Web Interface

Best Streaming Service for Watching Formula 1 Races

Status: Ongoing

Channels: ESPN and ESPN 2

Sling’s Orange plan is the cheapest way to stream these ESPN channels. The Orange plan does not support simultaneous streaming, but you still get 10 hours of DVR storage.

Alternatively, there is a dedicated video streaming service for Formula 1 fans, called F1 TV. The Pro tier costs $79.99 per year and allows subscribers to watch live coverage of all the races as well as replays of events. The $26.99-per-year F1 TV Access plan gives you access to full replays, but not live events.


Best Streaming Service for Watching Premier League Matches

Status: Ongoing

Channels: NBC Sports Network, NBC Sports Gold, and Peacock

At least some Premier League matches will air exclusively to US viewers on either NBC’s video streaming service, Peacock, or via NBC Sports Gold for the remainder of the season. However, coverage will transition entirely to Peacock for next season, with the NBC Sports Gold option ceasing to exist. Unfortunately, you can’t watch these matches with a free Peacock account; you need to subscribe to one of the service’s premium tiers at $49.99 or $79.99 per year (ad-free). Other matches will air on NBC’s broadcast or Sports Network channels. The cheapest way to get those channels is with Sling’s Blue plan, which costs $30 per month.

Peacock's Web Interface

Best Streaming Service for Watching MLS Matches

Status: Ongoing

Channels: ESPN, ESPN 2, FOX, FS1, and TUDN

Once ESPN arrives on fuboTV, it will be the best sports streaming service for MLS fans, since it is the only one that also includes TUDN. FuboTV’s standard plan costs $59.99 per month and supports two simultaneous streams and 30 hours of DVR storage. We already mentioned the benefits of its Startover and Lookback streaming features.

Best Streaming Service for Watching WNSL Matches

Status: The Challenge Cup is in progress.

Service: CBS All Access

The WNSL’s 2020 season is suspended, with the Challenge Cup now in place. All the games will air on CBS All Access, so there’s no need to subscribe to any other video streaming service. In addition to live coverage of sports from your local CBS network, CBS All Access is home to a large library of on-demand network shows and streaming originals, including Star Trek: Picard.

CBS All Access Web Interface


Best Streaming Service for Watching Tennis

Status: Play resumes on August 22, 2020.

Channels: ABC, CBS, ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN 3, NBC Sports Network, and Tennis Channel

YouTube TV includes all the channels you need for watching regular Tennis tournaments and all four majors. The service is not cheap, but tennis fans will certainly find a use for YouTube TV’s unlimited DVR storage, given how long matches can last. It’s one of the only services that includes the Tennis Channel without the need to pay for any add-ons.

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Tennessee Baseball: Five Questions to Answer Entering 2022

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After years of struggling to be competitive as the SEC established itself as the toughest conference in college baseball and finally breaking through to a regional in 2019, Tennessee jumped back on the national stage in the sport by getting to the College World Series in 2021 for the first time since 2005.

That success will be tough to duplicate in 2022, as the Volunteers had a whole host of important players drafted over the summer. That’s not to say that the talent isn’t there for Tennessee to make a return trip to Omaha, because it absolutely is, but it will require some newcomers jumping into the deep end and succeeding right away.

These are five questions Tennessee will look to answer next season as it tries to keep the ball rolling in the program.

Who will join Blade Tidwell in the weekend rotation?

Whether he pitches on Friday or later in the weekend, righthander Blade Tidwell will go into the 2022 season expected to lead the Tennessee rotation after a freshman season that saw him put up a 3.74 ERA in 98.2 innings.

After a stint with USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team over the summer took his 2021 workload to 105.2 innings for the year, Tidwell got a late start to the fall in the interest of giving him proper recovery time.

Joining him in also being brought along slowly in the fall are perhaps the two prime candidates to jump into the weekend rotation in fourth-year junior righthander Seth Halvorsen, a transfer from Missouri who chose to come to Tennessee rather than sign as a 19th-round pick, and sophomore righthander Chase Dollander, a transfer from Georgia Southern.

Both have excellent stuff. Halvorsen can touch triple digits with his fastball and both his breaking ball and changeup had 44% whiff rates last season. Throwing strikes was his issue at Mizzou, and that played a big role in his 6.00 ERA for the season, but if pitching coach Frank Anderson can help him get that straightened out, his stuff is frontline SEC stuff. His experience, having been a weekend guy for Missouri, also doesn’t hurt.

“Seth Halvorsen, he’s got a background to him,” teammate Evan Russell said of the new arrival. “He’s pitched on Friday nights in this league. He’s done the deal, and he’s been through it, so I think it has been an adjustment for him, but it’s been pretty easy to have him come in and he knows what his routines are, he’s kind of a professional in that aspect.”

Last season, Dollander had a 4.04 ERA in 49 innings with the Eagles, using a fastball that was up to 97 mph and a changeup that had a nearly 60% whiff rate in a somewhat small sample. The question for him will be how he adjusts in taking on a bigger workload than what he had as a freshman and how he handles SEC hitters, but like Halvorsen, stuff really isn’t a question.

One wild card for the rotation competition could be fourth-year junior righthander Camden Sewell. With a 2.54 ERA in 99.1 career innings, Sewell has been an effective pitcher for Tennessee over three years, but it’s come mostly as a reliever.

He may still end up in a relief or swing role come the 2022 season, but Sewell admits that he’s aiming a bit higher, at least for now.

“I think all of us, as competitors, you want to be in the rotation, so I think a big (goal) for me is trying to get in that rotation and do everything I can,” he said. “There’s also a lot of competition here. We’ve got a lot of great arms this year, so it’s fun to be a part of. In reality, it makes everyone better.”

Will Chase Burns make an impact right away?

Righthander Chase Burns, the No. 49 player on the BA 500 going into the 2021 draft, is one of the most talented freshmen on a college roster this fall.

With a fastball that has touched 100 mph in the past, a changeup and two distinct breaking balls, it’s easy to get caught up on Burns’ stuff, but he’s impressed early on for his feel for the finer points of the craft.

“His stuff has been very, very good, which is what’s hyped up, but his pitchability has been outstanding,” said Tennessee coach Tony Vitello. “I think he’s a much better pitcher, if you know what I’m talking about, than people give him credit for. It’s not a ‘I’m just going to try to blow your doors off for three outs.’ He’s got the ability to be a weekend starter at some point in his career, and I think he can not only throw good stuff at you but knows how to utilize it.”

His teammates have similar assessments at this early juncture.

“He’s elite in the category of coming in and having confidence and he’s a guy that can make adjustments throughout the outing,” Russell said. “If a certain pitch isn’t working, he’s okay to admit it and then going with something else. So being able to see him have the maturity that most guys don’t have at this age, it’s special.”

Given the relative surplus of options at Tennessee’s disposal when it comes to the rotation in 2022, the intersection point at which Burns is ready for a weekend starter spot and when one is available might not come in his first season, but it would be foolish to rule it out. Anyone with stuff that good who can also leave coaches and teammates raving about his maturity and feel for pitching is going to be evaluated for the most important spots on a pitching staff.

Beyond that, midweek starts can be a good place for a freshman pitcher to get his feet wet, and it will also be tempting to have an arm as good as Burns’ at the back of the bullpen. Suffice it to say that it seems safe to expect to see plenty of Chase Burns as a freshman for Tennessee one way or another.

Who will take over at catcher?

With veteran backstop Connor Pavolony drafted by the Orioles, Tennessee’s pitchers will be throwing to a different catcher this season.

The early favorite to be the new catcher is actually Russell, a fifth-year senior. In that case, Russell would really be a new old catcher, because while he has been mostly an outfielder for the Volunteers in his career, he came to Knoxville as a catcher out of high school.

The move back to catcher for Russell happened for a few different reasons. For one, a successful move would improve Russell’s standing as a prospect at the next level, as his play in the outfield and at the plate has not yet been enough to entice evaluators to draft him. Tennessee also obviously wants his bat in the lineup as a guy coming off of a 14-home run season with more than 600 career plate appearances to his name.

But as much as anything else, Tennessee simply had a need and Russell wanted to help out. In addition to Pavolony moving on to pro baseball, incoming transfer Matt McCormick from West Virginia decided this fall to step away from the sport. That left the Volunteers with quite literally zero experience at the position.

“I came to Coach V and was like ‘Hey man, I know that you don’t have many catchers coming back. I’d like to give it a try,’ ” Russell recalls. “And he was like ‘You know, we’d be open to giving you an opportunity, but it’s not going to be easy’ and (that) he’d be lying to me if he thought that I was going to get to play much. I’ve put in a lot of work, me and Coach (Josh) Elander. We’ve really been on the same page, and I’ve been grinding to try to get to the point of being able to handle the big dogs on the mound, so I think it’s going well.”

There’s more work to be done for Russell to sew up the starting job, but so far, he’s done nothing but put himself in position to succeed there.

“When he asks you a question or you present information to him, he’s a sponge, and he’s very humble in the whole deal and realizes there’s competition at that position, too,” Vitello said. “I think it would be a shocker if he’s not in our Opening Day lineup, but by no means has he wrapped up the catching position (for) Opening Day.”

Torin Montgomery Courtesymissouri

Missouri Baseball: Five Questions to Answer Entering 2022

Coming off of a tough 2021 season, Missouri has hit the reset button.

Who will lead the offense?

Russell, coming off of a career-best season in many ways, will be one of the leaders, regardless of position, but he won’t be alone.

The two primary catalysts are likely to be third-year sophomore outfielders Jordan Beck and Drew Gilbert.

Beck hit .271/.336/.523 with 15 homers and a team-leading 64 RBIs in 2021 and followed that up in the Cape Cod League over the summer by hitting .267/.377/.400. He’s a good athlete who could play center field if forced into duty, but he profiles better in right field, where he can make the most of his plus arm strength. At 6-foot-3, 210 pounds, Beck looks the part of a first-round talent, and with another big year in Knoxville, he very well could be.

Gilbert hit .274/.341/.437 with 10 home runs and 62 RBIs last season, which helped earn him a place alongside Tidwell on the Collegiate National Team. He’s a good runner, a steady defender in center field and he packs more punch than you would think based on his 5-foot-9 frame.

Also back is sixth-year senior Luc Lipcius, who is locked in as the team’s everyday first baseman for all intents and purposes. Lipcius has dealt with ups and downs in performance in his six years on campus, both individually and from a team standpoint, but he had a breakout season in 2021, slugging 15 home runs, which tied Beck for the team lead.

Two other veterans who could be poised for breakouts like the one Lipcius enjoyed in 2021 are fourth-year juniors Trey Lipscomb and Christian Scott, who also happen to be good friends who co-host a web series on the Tennessee baseball Twitter account.

Lipscomb, who is primarily in the competition at third base, has had fewer than 100 plate appearances, but went 9-for-29 with three doubles and a home run last season. Scott, an outfielder, has never had more than 42 at-bats in any single season, but he’s been an effective hitter when he’s had chances. He’s a .298 hitter with a .425 on-base percentage, and Vitello sees things coming together for him.

“I think he sees himself getting better,” Vitello said of Scott. “While the stats might not be there online, there’s no question (that) he’s gotten better each year in and out, and now I think he’s smelling blood a little bit. I think without Covid, maybe a little more action last year. Without an injury freshman year, maybe more. Maybe it’s his time. I definitely feel like it’s Trey Lipscomb’s time and those two are buddies. So maybe it’s time for both of those guys.”

With several key departures, including Pavolony, third baseman Jake Rucker, second baseman Max Ferguson and shortstop Liam Spence, there are holes to fill, but just taking into consideration the veterans back in the mix, Tennessee still has the makings of a deep, quality lineup.

Which freshmen have stood out among position players?

Given the opportunities for playing time that exist on the infield, it’s worked out well for Tennessee that two freshmen who have stood out so far are Christian Moore, a potential two-way player originally from Brooklyn, and 6-foot-3, 235-pound California native Blake Burke.

Moore is right in the thick of things in the competition at second base. He generates impressive bat speed, which provides good raw power at the plate, and while second base might be where he finds immediate playing time, he showed the ability to handle the left side of the infield during his prep days.

Burke passes the eyeball test, and he has the power to match the physicality apparent in his frame. He’s a first baseman by trade who is also listed as an outfielder on the roster. He worked to get into better shape ahead of his senior season in high school, and that work paid off in allowing his natural athleticism to shine through. Given the relatively crowded outfield picture and the presence of Lipcius at first base, Burke’s playing time might be more situational than Moore’s, but both have done enough to prove they’re deserving.

“You can tell they want to be here every day, and so with that, they’re anxious to learn, to work, to show what they can do, but also they’re not scared,” Vitello said. “That may sound simple to someone who’s listening at home, but when you’re a freshman on campus here and it’s SEC and there’s media around and things like that, you can tend to get a little timid or doubt yourself at times, and while neither one has been perfect, especially with the nuances of college baseball, baserunning is so important, defense becomes highlighted, they’ve been far from perfect, but they’ve been good because I don’t think either one of them are scared.”

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Dune Shows WB Learned Nothing From Zack Snyder’s DCEU

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Dune Shows WB Learned Nothing From Zack Snyder's DCEU

The handling of Dune and its necessary sequel shows Warner Bros. failed to learn its lesson from Justice League and their original DCEU plans with Zack Snyder. Despite the fallout of Snyder’s departure from the DC franchise, the studio handed another epic, bug budget sci-fi project to an auteur director without fully committing to the creative vision.

After Man of Steel, Warner Bros. announced a slate of director-driven DCEU projects surrounding Zack Snyder’s planned Justice League arc, seemingly committing to Snyder’s vision for the DC universe, but after a rocky start, the Snyderverse was abandoned, leaving the future of the DCEU in the lurch. While there was a specific plan in place for a grand culmination of Snyder’s 5-part Justice League story, including a number of spin-offs from other directors, Warner Bros. says there’s no plans to see this original plan to completion, meaning the story set up by the original slate of DCEU films will never be fully realized.


Related: The Snyder Cut Proves WB Killed Their Best Chance to Compete With Marvel

While WB gave auteur director Denis Villeneuve $165 million to adapt the first half of the epic sci-fi novel Dune, the studio decided not to approve the sequel until after they could see how the initial installment, only half the story, performed at the box office. This continues WB’s history of embarking on big director-driven projects without fully committing to the vision, an approach that is virtually guaranteed to ensure the resulting product will be less than its original conception, even if a Dune sequel still happens.

WB’s Failed Director-Driven DCEU Plan

Justice League Snyder cut snyderverse

After the success of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy, Warner Bros. had Nolan develop a modern adaptation for Superman, and Nolan selected Zack Snyder as the director due to his approach with his adaptation of Watchmen. Man of Steel became the highest-grossing Superman movie, so Warner Bros. had Snyder develop a larger DCEU plan, which became Snyder’s 5-part Justice League saga. The story would center on Superman but would bring in the rest of the Justice League members, and a full slate of movies was planned, including Wonder Woman, Suicide Squad, Aquaman, The Flash, Cyborg, Green Lantern Corps., and a solo Batman movie. Warner Bros.’original DCEU plan was to follow the model established by Nolan with The Dark Knight trilogy and Man of Steel by bringing in directors with distinct styles to head each project, including David Ayer, Patty Jenkins, Rick Famuyiwa, James Wan, and Ben Affleck.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad were among 2016’s top-grossing movies, but their polarizing reviews resulted in notoriously low Rotten Tomatoes scores, resulting in Warners taking drastic action to change plans for the rest of the franchise. The changes immediately impacted Justice League the most even though it was already in production, resulting in conflict with Snyder that eventually resulted in him exiting the project following a family tragedy, allowing WB to bring in Joss Whedon to drastically reshape the project in reshoots, abandoning most of the sequel set-up and erasing as much of Snyder’s distinctive style as possible. The fallout impacted almost all the remaining movies in the slate. Aquaman was already in production, but both Famuyiwa and Affleck left their respective movies. Versions of The Flash and The Batman are coming out next year, but both are drastically different versions than originally planned (and The Batman isn’t even part of DCEU canon)

Snyder’s plan was very clearly leading to a big culmination, with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice teasing a post-apocalyptic “Knightmare” future that had been conquered by Superman who was under the control of DC ultra-baddie, Darkseid. Snyder would eventually get the chance to release his intended version of the movie, the 4-hour long Zack Snyder’s Justice League, spurring excitement for what would have been, but with no plans for Snyder to return and the current slate servicing a different plan, Warner Bros. seems content to leave this epic set-up forever unresolved.

Related: The Latest Restore The SnyderVerse Trend Proves It’s Not Going Away

The odd part is Warner Bros.’ biggest successes with DC movies have always come from the bold visions of distinct directors like Richard Donner, Tim Burton, Christopher Nolan, and even Zack Snyder, while attempts to make more broadly appealing crowd-pleasers didn’t work, like Batman & Robin, Superman Returns, and Green Lantern. As if to double down on the point, Snyder’s Watchmen, Batman v Superman, and Justice League saw significant changes for their theatrical releases, only for Snyder’s director’s cuts to be nearly universally regarded as the superior product. Despite the problems caused by their decision to abandon the original DCEU plans, Warner Bros. didn’t learn their lesson and made similar decisions with Villeneuve’s Dune.

Warner Bros. Repeated Their DCEU Mistakes With Dune

Why WB betting big on Dune Villeneuve

Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049 was lauded by critics, but bombed at the box office, bringing in less than $260 million from a $150 million budget, failing to hit the typical twice-budget break-even point. Blade Runner 2049 was Villeneuve’s highest-grossing movie, despite its box office failure, but his ability to adapt stunning high-concept sci-fi convinced Warner Bros. to hand him the reins to Dune, although they didn’t opt to film it back-to-back with a sequel, or even greenlight a sequel at all, despite knowing Villeneuve was only adapting half the book in the first movie.

While WB’s caution is understandable due to Villeneuve’s box office history, the willingness to begin work on the $165 Dune part 1 without committing to part 2 upfront immediately shortchanges the franchise’s potential. Under this strategy, the absolute best-case scenario was Villeneuve produces a monster hit with an incomplete story and WB has to start the sequel from scratch and can’t capitalize on Dune‘s performance for three years. In addition to the time delay, they also miss out on the massive cost savings of shooting back-to-back, reducing the overall profitability of both movies. The worst-case scenario would be the movie flops and the whole thing looks like a massive, ill-conceived blunder on the part of WB, who would have a massive bomb on their hands after entrusting a big-budget sci-fi epic to an auteur director whose last big-budget sci-fi epic also flopped. While Villeneuve and WB escaped harsh criticism for Blade Runner 2049 due to the movie’s quality, that likely wouldn’t be the case if Dune flopped, since the movie is only half the story of the Dune book, and adapting it would likely burn a chance for another director to take a swing at the property in the near future.

Meanwhile, committing to the whole vision up-front would have been better all-around, even if WB’s concerns came true and Dune flopped.  The cost-savings of back-to-back production would at least partially offset box office losses, audiences wouldn’t be deprived of the second half of the story, and there’s always the chance the sequel could be a bigger hit, salvaging the hypothetical losses from part 1. Like with Blade Runner 2049, the quality of the film would offset a lot of the criticism over the box office losses.

Dune had a solid box office opening and seems to have fair chances of getting a sequel, but it won’t be soon enough for audiences hungry for a sequel and may see a reduced budget, ironically missing out on the cost savings that could have accompanied a back-to-back sequel production. If Warner Bros. was willing to take the risk of the first installment, why not commit to the whole vision?

Warner Bros. Needs To Follow Through On Director Driven Visions

New Warner Bros. Logo

Warner Bros. has a history of being a studio that takes big swings on grand director visions, but changes in leadership in recent years, such as the departure of former Warner Bros. Pictures Group president Jeff Robinov (who brought iconic directors like Nolan, Affleck, Snyder, the Wachowskis, and others to the studio) has seen a rise in situations like Justice League and Dune. As if to punctuate the severity of the decline, Nolan decided to make his next movie at Universal after working with Warner Bros. exclusively for nearly 20 years.

Related: Nolan’s Massive Universal Deal Could Reinvent Blockbusters Post-Pandemic

The problem isn’t that the days of bold director-driven projects are in the rearview mirror at Warner Bros., those still exist, there’s even a new Matrix movie coming out December, but there is a concerning pattern of self-sabotage of big projects brought on by a lack of trust in their directors. Situations like Justice League and Dune make the studio’s decision-making suspect and erode consumer confidence in their projects, particularly for big IP adaptations.

The whole thing is also incredibly short-sighted. It’s common for a franchise to overcome early stumbles only for those movies to be well regarded after the franchise finds its footing. The Marvel Cinematic Universe had several films in Phase 1 that were considered underwhelming at the time and Fast and Furious powered through several films with a mediocre reception to become one of the biggest franchises in film. Even films like the original Blade Runner got poor reviews and underperformed at the box office and are now considered required viewing. In the case of the DCEU, Warner Bros. was scared away from Zack Snyder’s plan because of reviews for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but that movie was so impactful in the zeitgeist that WB’s attempts to pivot away from Snyder couldn’t outpace their momentum, and they eventually had to cave to demands for the Snyder Cut when simply committing to the plan and finishing the plan they started would have seen Zack Snyder’s arc completed by now, allowing them to start fresh without having to deal with the unending reminders of the incomplete Snyderverse.

Fortunately, Dune is well received and performing well at the box office, which bodes well for sequel potential, but the lost time, momentum, and wasted money will ultimately hold back the complete vision from what it could have been if they’d produced the movies back-to-back. If WB wants to retain (or regain) its reputation for being the studio that produces this kind of movie, they need to gain some confidence and stop with the half measures and deliver on the director visions they sell to audiences.

Next: Why Warner Bros Losing Christopher Nolan Is Such A Big Deal

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Fashion Briefing: Fashion’s emerging founder-investors are mega-influencers – Glossy

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Fashion Briefing: Fashion’s emerging founder-investors are mega-influencers – Glossy

Fashion’s OG Instagrammers are building empires and, at the same time, growing their influence beyond the industry.

After being schooled for years on the workings of the fashion industry, mega-influencers including Danielle Bernstein (2.7 million Instagram followers) and Rocky Barnes (2.5 million Instagram followers) are graduating to careers less reliant on brands. To take it to the next level, they’re leveraging their prowess and communities, driving deals with effective business partners, and evolving their focus, based on the industry’s direction and their own passions. The emerging results, for both Bernstein and Barnes, are personally-backed brands and investment portfolios set to expand based on early successes.

“The plan is to grow, in a big way,” said Bernstein. “I’m a serial entrepreneur, so I’ll always want to introduce new businesses and categories to my brand. And I’m angel investing and joining the board of advisors for so many companies. That’s the future of the creator economy: harnessing and creating community around your existing followers and then figuring out how to monetize that.”

In 2019, upon inking a licensing deal with New York-based clothing company Onia, Bernstein launched the Shop We Wore What e-commerce site, populated with her expanding We Wore What fashion collection. The collection has been at the center of much recent controversy, due to allegedly including copycat designs. According to Bernstein, she turns to vintage pieces, editorials and travel for inspiration. Bernstein’s also become an investor and advisor for hair supplement company Wellbel and CBD brand Highline Wellness. In May, she became active on Patreon, offering exclusive video content to paying members of her community.

In addition, Bernstein heads up We Gave What, a charitable arm of her company. In 2019, she launched tech company Moe Assist with a project management tool for influencers, though its social accounts have been inactive for two-plus months. When asked for comment, a spokesperson said Moe Assist is in a new fundraising stage and “should have news to share shortly.”

Barnes, meanwhile, partnered with Reunited Clothing to come out with her apparel company, The Bright Side, in December. And she recently became a first-time investor-advisor, for 6-month-old SMS shopping platform Qatch. She announced the partnership in an Instagram post on Monday.

“I feel like a grown-up,” she told me, before confirming that she’s interested in investing in more companies. “Diversifying my business has been a really big [focus] for me. I interact with so many different brands and companies on a daily basis. Using my market knowledge in ways that can help other people is fulfilling and exciting for me. And I especially love when I can be involved with a company from the beginning.”

Building on their content creator role in fashion is a natural progression, both said. And it plays into many industry shifts: On its way out is fashion’s DTC era, largely fueled by Harvard Business School and Wharton graduates using a plug-and-play, marketing-heavy business model to launch brands. More consumers are prioritizing quality, differentiated products, making industry experience and style expertise greater virtues among insiders. At the same time, consumers are increasingly taking shopping cues from relatable, platform-native celebrities, moving on from authoritative editors and more closed-off celebrities.

The school of collaborations
The collaborator-to-founder shift isn’t the newest thing. Other longtime influencers that have made the pivot include Arielle Charnas, with Something Navy; Aimee Song, with Song of Style; Rumi Neely, with Are You Am I; the list goes on. Most often, the names behind these brands don’t have formal design and business training — for her part, Bernstein said she “went to FIT for two years, but didn’t study design and production.” But, for years, they’ve worked hand-in-hand with companies to bring their visions to life. And along the way, they’ve come to know what resonates best with their vast communities, from marketing to merchandising to product.

“My most successful collaborations have led to the largest share of my business,” said Bernstein.

Bernstein’s partnership with Onia came out of her swimwear collaboration with its Onia brand, in May 2019. On the collab’s launch day, it drove $2 million in sales, and an included style was the brand’s best-selling swimsuit of the summer. Also in 2019, Bernstein collaborated with Joe’s Jeans on multiple denim collections. The launch day of the first, in March 2019, marked Joe Jeans’ best sales day to date, said Jennifer Hawkins, the brand’s svp of marketing and innovation on a Glossy Podcast in October.

Both served as learning opportunities for Bernstein, who said — as with all of her collaborations — she took full advantage: “It was never just [uploading] a post, and then I went away,” she said. “I always wanted to know how the performance was, in terms of sales, and asked questions: ‘Can you share the analytics?’ ‘What did you see on your end?’ ‘What worked and what didn’t work?’”

She added, “They provided a ton of data, in terms of what I could sell and what the market was missing.”

Likewise, she said, she always followed and shared with partner brands the Instagram Insights and Google Analytics numbers around her corresponding posts. Doing so gave all parties a 360-degree view of a collaboration’s success.

“I’ve learned what works for brands so they get the largest return on their investment,” she said.

For example, she’s learned to lean on her audience’s tastes, versus rely on her own, by allowing them to offer feedback throughout the design process through Instagram. That’s included the selection of fabrics and colors and the fit sessions with models. She only spotlights her favorite styles and what she wears in her own social posts, as a play for authenticity.

According to Bernstein, the collaborations with brands allowing her to play an advisor role — by guiding them on influencer partnerships, marketing and messaging — are always more successful. And they often turn into longer-term investment or advising partnerships.

Bernstein chose to work with Onia on the We Wore What collection based on its prioritization of quality and fit, and ability to keep to affordable retail prices. Currently, prices on the We Wore What site range from $20, for a scrunchie, to $228, for a vegan leather jumpsuit.

Barnes was also ready to go out on her own after finding the right partners. Her Reunited Clothing partnership came after working with the company to create her Express product collaboration, in early 2019. On its first-quarter 2019 earnings call, interim CEO Matthew C. Moullering said the company had seen “a strong start to [the] collection both in-stores and online and [believed] it [was] helping to introduce the brand to a new audience.”

“Having your own brand is terrifying,” Barnes said. “But I like that I’m in control and not so dependent on doing the day-to-day posts promoting other companies.”

But, she added, “One of the huge benefits of working with all these different brands on all these different projects is that we’re constantly getting introduced to new people and seeing who we like working with.”

Barnes’ internal team consists of her husband, who’s the “business brains” of the company, she said, and an assistant.

Like Bernstein, Barnes stressed the need for outside support in the production process: “I love such quirky, crazy things, but I also understand what is realistic for a buyer and a normal girl buying clothes,” she said. “The experience of taking ideas and making them work for a bigger group of people was my learning curve going into a business. It’s important to have a good, diverse team around you who can make your idea something that’s marketable.”

For its part, We Wore What has seen “200x growth in the last year,” as it’s expanded to new categories, Bernstein said. Its ready-to-wear, swimwear, resort wear, and activewear are now sold in “dozens and dozens of retailers around the world,” many of which offer style exclusives; they include Revolve, Bloomingdale’s and Intermix.

“Launching my own brand was putting the proof in the pudding for the power of influencers, when it comes to selling product,” she said.

As with her Joe’s and Onia collaborations, Bernstein sees a rush-to-buy with We Wore What product drops. “The first 10 minutes is when we see the biggest portion of our sales for the entire collection,” she said.

To build buzz, Shop We Wore What’s Instagram account (213,000 followers) features in its Stories the line sheets of the soon-to-launch styles, allowing customers to thoughtfully plan their buy. Doing so has led to lower return rates, Bernstein said. The company’s marketing mix also includes text messages and emails, VIP discounts and user-generated content.

Bernstein has a staff of four people, which include a chief operating officer and a brand coordinator. She said she prioritizes establishing partners with skills and expertise she doesn’t have, so she can learn from them along the way. Ideally, she’d have learned about tech packs, fittings and production logistics in school, but she’s training as she goes.

Moving forward, Bernstein said she plans to extend the size range of We What What styles, which are currently available in sizes XS-XXL, and launch collections with collaborators to sell exclusively on her brand’s DTC site. In addition, she aims to eventually open “experimental” physical retail, starting with pop-ups.

As for her investment-advisor portfolio, she’s currently in talks with companies centered on the concepts of “being able to sell your closet and even rent your closet.”

As for Barnes’ Bright Side, she said it will hit “a bunch of new retailers this year.”

Moving beyond fashion
Up next for Shop We Wore What is a new product category that will hit before the holiday season. Considering her passion for home furnishings and decor — based on her @homeworewhat Instagram account (7,500 followers) and recent press coverage of her new SoHo loft — it’s a safe bet that a home-related category is in the cards.

Likewise, Barnes hinted at a future Bright Side home collection, following her recent, two-year home remodel, which she’s getting set to debut on social media.

Lifestyle brands are the clear goal.

“I would love to be a combination of Rachel Zoe and Martha Stewart, just having my hands in everything and creating this really beautiful lifestyle where you can entertain and be fashionable,” Barnes said. “That’s kind of the dream.”

She added, “Fashion is where my heart has always been, but I’m growing as a person and there’s so much more in my life right now: my family, my home — and I’m getting older, so beauty [and skin care] makes sense now. Sharing all of that with everyone seems so natural; it would be weird if I only did fashion.”

As for future investments, though Quatch fits perfectly into Barnes’ world, with its fashion-tech focus, she said she’s open to investing in any company where she sees opportunity.

What’s more, she has no plans to retire from social media, though she has yet to tackle TikTok.

“People’s need for content has only increased, so I’m posting and creating content more than ever,” Barnes said. “But I’ve learned to become more of a hard-ass with brands. The companies that are willing to work with me and [facilitate] the most like authentic relationship possible are the ones I move forward with.” Reunited can attest.

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