The apparent departure of David Feherty after 19 years walking the fairways for CBS and filling the airways with clever comments has created yet another fight in a seemingly endless battle for content and talent among networks vying for the most valuable property in entertainment — live sports.
Even as word spread that talks between CBS and Andrew Elkin, Feherty’s agent for Creative Artists Agency (CAA), had broken down, CBS supplied only a polite “no comment” when asked about the matter by GolfDigest.com.
NBC/Golf Channel, owned by Comcast, and Fox Sports, considered to be the main suitors for Feherty’s talents, also responded with a “no comment.” Contacted through NBC/Golf Channel, Feherty also chose not to respond.
But industry insiders with knowledge of the situation said the fight for Feherty would intensify the already bitter battle between Fox Sports and NBC/GC, which is still licking its wounds after losing the USGA contract to Fox, a network that this year became a newcomer to golf.
Multiple sources say the CBS situation was soured by the two factors: Feherty wanted a booth job rather than roaming the fairways, but Nick Faldo already shares that duty with Jim Nantz; and CAA was demanding a salary figure CBS was unwilling to meet.
Feherty would be a huge boost for Fox, whose debut at the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay was roundly panned. It would also appear to be a good fit since Fox has an appetite for the kind of outspoken comments to which Feherty is prone.
But the drawback there is that Fox has only the USGA tournaments on its golf schedule. Would Feherty be happy doing only the U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and the U.S. Amateur?
NBC has the British Open, starting in 2017, the Ryder Cup, the Players Championship and numerous other PGA Tour events. And it has Golf Channel, where Feherty’s interview show already has a life. NBC/GC would also be extremely unlikely to share Feherty with Fox as it did with CBS. It will be an all-or-nothing choice for him.
The lead analyst for NBC is Johnny Miller, who is hugely popular and hugely disliked simultaneously, the true indication of a great commentator. Miller, 68, may be wanting to cut down on his schedule and NBC may be able to offer Feherty that job down the road.
But sources familiar with the thinking within NBC/GC say the peacock network is cultivating David Duval for Miller’s job and wants Feherty, 57, as boots on the ground, the job he seems tired of at CBS.
And that brings Fox Sports back into the picture.
Yes, Fox has Greg Norman as its lead analyst, backing up Joe Buck in the booth. But Norman is the most successful businessman in golf this side of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player and doesn’t really need the gig. Mostly, he’s doing friends there a favor — he and Fox owner Rupert Murdoch are Australian, and Murdoch backed Norman’s ill-fated plan to create a world tour in 1994.
Clearly, Feherty has more interest in being out there more often than Norman. Feherty has a lucrative cottage industry as a public speaker enhanced by his TV appearances at tournaments, a plus for NBC/GC. But just as clearly, Fox has more money to throw at Feherty than Comcast.
In any case, this will be yet another battle in the content wars for live sports that will be interesting to follow.
Credit to Golf Digest who originally published this article
XFL Signs Exclusive Deal With ESPN
“Games will return in 2023. The season opening slate will be played February 18.”
All 43 games in the 2023 XFL season will air on Disney’s sports networks. The entire schedule will be seen on ABC, ESPN, and FX. Dwayne Johnson and Dani Garcia made the announcement at the 2022 Disney Upfront presentation.
This will be the third iteration of the XFL. The first attempt in 2001 ended after a single season. The 2020 revival was shut down due to Covid. Johnson and Garcia and their partners purchased the brand two years ago for $15 million.
“The XFL will tap into sports fans’ deep love of football by emphasizing competitive action while dedicating itself to innovation and entertainment,” Jimmy Pitaro, Chairman of ESPN and Sports Content said in a press release. “You can see a great path to success when you combine the reach and influence of ESPN and Disney with the collective vision of XFL leadership led by Dany, Dwayne and Gerry.”
Games will return in 2023. The season opening slate will be played February 18.
“The XFL is going to be a league of passion, a league of pride, and a league of culture,” Johnson said at the event, promising that those three principles will drive every decision for the league.
NBA Playoff Ratings Hit 8-Year Highs
“At 3.71 million, the average audience for games this postseason is up 14% from last year. It is up 4% from 2019, the last time the playoffs started on time.”
More people are watching the NBA Playoffs than have done so in a long time. Through the first two rounds in 2022, the league is enjoying its best postseason ratings in eight years.
The average audience across TNT, ESPN, ABC and NBA TV is 3.71 million people per game. If you take the less widely available NBA TV out of the mix, the NBA is averaging 4.08 million viewers per game.
At 3.71 million, the average audience for games this postseason is up 14% from last year. It is up 4% from 2019, the last time the playoffs started on time.
The Boston Celtics have been one of the most reliable performers this postseason. They have been involved in two of the three most-watched games. Sunday’s Game 7 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks is one of two games this postseason that now rank as the most-watched early round games in a decade. The other was Game 1 between the Golden State Warriors and the Memphis Grizzlies.
Golden State has also been a hot draw. The Warriors have been involved in four of the seven most-watched playoff games.
With both teams still alive and plenty of star power left in the playoffs, the NBA is poised to deliver one of its most-watched postseasons in years.
Domonique Foxworth: Tom Brady Contract Is About Impressing NFL
“I think that’s why the booths look the way they look. It’s because the league wants their games to feel big, and it’s worth it to them.”
The shake-up of NFL TV broadcast booths has been one of the top storylines in the league this offseason.
Part of the reasoning is because of the massive sums of money involved. Whether it’s Joe Buck and Troy Aikman or Tom Brady, NFL broadcasters have been getting paid. And it doesn’t seem like the spending is going to slow down anytime soon.
Speaking to Bomani Jones on The Right Time, Domonique Foxworth said the NFL just wants to continue to get bigger and bigger even with its broadcast crews.
“These TV partners want to be in good with the league. And I think that’s what this Tom Brady contract comes down to,” Foxworth said. “I think that’s why the booths look the way they look. It’s because the league wants their games to feel big, and it’s worth it to them.”
Even with some feeling like Brady is uninteresting and likely won’t move the needle as an analyst, it’s the name recognition factor that will set the table for Brady in the booth.
“I do believe that if you turn on an NFL game, and Tom Brady’s talking about it, it feels bigger no matter what he’s saying,” Foxworth said.