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
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
FOX Sued for Patent Infringement Over NFL Scheduling
“Recentive Analytics filed suit against FOX in a Delaware federal court on November 29 according to Yahoo Sports.”
An analytics company is suing FOX over claims that the network developed a mapping tool using their patented technology to create a season slate of NFL games.
Recentive Analytics filed suit against FOX in a Delaware federal court on November 29 according to Yahoo Sports.
The lawsuit claims FOX used access to Recentive’s predictive analytics tools to develop a resource of their own that would create optimal schedules for its 1 and 4 p.m. NFLwindows.
The company is seeking a declaration that FOX infringed on two of its patents. Recentive is also suing for damages and wants an injunction keeping FOX from using Recentive tech and preventing the network from “selling, offering for sale, marketing or using any internal network and mapping analytics tool for the scheduling and regionalization of events covered by the patents.”
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He works full-time as a multimedia specialist at the Virginia State Corporation Commission, while also putting in part-time work for News Radio WRVA and 910 The Fan in Richmond. Additionally, you can find Jordan contributing coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and ABC 8News. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.
FOX Will Use Chris Fallica On Belmont Stakes Coverage
“While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.”
The Bear will be more than just a college football presence when he moves to FOX. Chris Fallica wrapped his final duties for ESPN last week and is now headed to a new network and will tackle some new responsibilities.
Fallica’s new role at FOX will involve plenty of sports gambling content. Richard Deitsch of The Athletic reports that content will include horse racing.
“One Fox Sports source said look for him to appear on the Belmont Stakes coverage,” Deitsch wrote in his weekly media column.
Starting in 2023, horse racing’s Triple Crown will not be seen all in one place. While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.
How the network intends to use Chris Fallica on the broadcast is not clear. Given that he is coming to the network to contribute to gambling conversations, it is likely he would either be making picks or at least reviewing odds right up to the start of the race.
NBCUniversal CEO Expects Disney To Buy Company’s Hulu Stake
“Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal.”
The Walt Disney Company owns 67% of Hulu. The other 33% is owned by NBCUniversal. The latter company doesn’t expect that to be the case forever.
“It’s worth a lot of money,” NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said at an investor conference earlier this week, “and I think there’s no indication that anything else is going to happen than Disney writing us a big check.”
Hulu is primarily a platform for movies and television shows. It is a major part of Disney’s deal with the NHL though. The streaming giant is part of the package of 103 games that are exclusive to ESPN and ABC. Hulu is also a live TV provider for many. The company’s Hulu Plus Live TV package had over 4 million subscribers as of the summer of 2022.
Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal. He credits sports and content migrated from Hulu as the reason Peacock has grown to 18 million paid subscriptions since September.
Deadline reports that if Disney does want to acquire NBCUniversal’s stake in Hulu, “the price could fluctuate but will be in the tens of billions of dollars.”