By Megan Sayles
Youtube just got two new sports shows: The Sure Shot and HBCU Sports Nation. Both series are a product of Smash Entertainment, a Black-owned production company, and The Sure Shot is the first Black sports-gambling show.
“There are no Black sports gaming programs anywhere,” said Chad Morton, president of Smash Entertainment. “We’re the first, [and] we’re making history.”
Morton serves as the executive producer of The Sure Shot and HBCU Sports Nation, which are filmed at a Black-owned studio in Capitol Heights, Maryland. When Smash Entertainment was just starting out, he was in search of capital but couldn’t acquire any funding.
One individual told the creator that if he really wanted to produce his own shows, he would have paid for it himself. That recommendation completely transformed Morton’s perspective. He decided that he would take it upon himself to fund future projects.
“[Youtube] is the great equalizer, it levels the playing field,” said Morton. “Anybody can do anything and get it out there with no one’s permission, and I think that Black people in particular gotta start taking charge of our own narrative [and] our own shows.”
The Sure Shot is co-hosted by Morton and Mark Gray, a multimedia journalist who’s worked with ESPN Radio, MLB Network Radio and CBS Radio. It features insight from sports-betting expert Corey Parson, who works with NBC Sports EDGE giving fantasy football and handicapping tips.
The show falls under the genre of “sportsbook entertainment,” which Morton coined. Currently the series covers the NFL, but in the future, it may expand to include college football, as well. For the past three weeks, the hosts have been 3 and 1 with their game outcome predictions.
HBCU Sports Nation, hosted by Mark Gray, covers football at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU) across the country. When basketball season commences, the series may also add that to its coverage. The show is meant to act as the SportsCenter for Black college sports because athletes and coaches at HBCUs tend to be neglected in mainstream media.
“We want to celebrate the success of all the student athletes and coaches in Black college sports and give them their own shine,” said Morton. “It’s our responsibility to do it. We have to cover our own and not worry about what other people are doing.”
Over time, Morton hopes that HBCU Sports Nation and The Sure Shot can grow in viewership and coverage. He advised that budding creators focus first on creating good content, and from there, viewership will grow.
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