Sports TV News
Is Yahoo’s NFL Telecast a Sign of the Future?
Television has done as much for the NFL as any professional sports league, but the relationship may be a little different after Sunday.
For the first time, the NFL is offering a regular-season game exclusively on the Internet. Well, folks in Buffalo and Jacksonville still can watch the Bills-Jaguars game on traditional TV, but others — even subscribers to DirecTV’s “Sunday Ticket” — will have to use their computers or mobile devices.
The 9:30 a.m. telecast from London is free and available on Yahoo.com, which will distribute the telecast on every platform imaginable. It will be produced by CBS, which has assigned the announcing team of Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon and Jamie Erdahl.
To get a better idea of the implications of this venture, we reached out to Ken Fuchs, vice president of Yahoo’s media network, for insight.
Q: Do you consider this a historic moment for the Internet, broadcasting a live NFL game exclusively?
A: Not just for the Internet, but for the sports industry and the live broadcast industry, this is the first time there’s ever been a live, free, all-access, global broadcast of an NFL game. That’s a big thing considering the reach of sports, the reach of Yahoo and the popularity around every game that happens.
Q: What would be considered a success to you?
A: First and foremost, we want to provide a great experience for NFL fans and anybody who tunes in. We want to have the highest technical quality around the experience. We want them to feel like it’s an NFL broadcast in many respects.
Secondly, we do want to deliver a live experience that’s scaled to a big audience, and, thirdly, we have a lot of great advertising partnerships that we want to provide a really strong experience around as well.
Q: You have a lot of subscribers already, but did you have to do any additional reinforcement to make sure you could handle the potential volume of traffic?
A: No. Considering that every month we’re delivering content and video to a billion people around the world and 600 million or more on mobile devices, we’re always looking at how to ensure our structure is strong, that we’re delivering against whatever the experience might be, in this case, a live broadcast. It’s something that we spent extra time ensuring that we’re prepared. We understand the deliverables that we need to have at our end to ensure that a high, high number of people can come in and watch it.
Q: Do you look at this as a beginning of what you hope will be a partnership with the NFL?
A: We’ve had a longstanding partnership with the NFL in a number of different areas, video space and other ways. We value that partnership quite a bit. Our mutual success around that partnership is what led us to this moment. It wasn’t something that just came out of the blue. Going forward, based on the success we have around the game, both parties will look at it as, “What can we do next?”
Q: Looking at it from the NFL’s standpoint, is the way we’re consuming NFL games changing pretty quickly? In 5-10 years, will television not be the No. 1 distributor of NFL games?
A: There’s a lot of trends happening that are starting to shift more and more rapidly. You have, for the first time ever, a decline in cable subscribers. You have a millennial generation that is spending more time consuming video on the Internet than they are on actual traditional television. You are starting to see a lot of success with over-the-top (OTT) delivery of a wide variety of content types, from music, like we do with “Live Nation,” to over-the-air programming to live sports.
Live sports has always been a little bit of a bellwether because of the power that it brings and the fact that it’s feneral and the fact that it’s very social. The NFL is a bellwether for sports in this country. This is something where we think that there’s a transition that’s rapidly starting to happen. Everybody sees that happening, and we’re excited to be at the forefront of pushing it into that direction even more aggressively.
To read the rest of the interview visit the Times Union where it was originally published
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.
Sports TV News
Charles Barkley ‘Was so Mad’ at ESPN Coverage of LeBron James
“We all love LeBron, [but] he didn’t say he was retired yet. It should’ve been all about the Denver Nuggets.”
When the Denver Nuggets advanced to the NBA Finals for the first time in the 47-year history of the franchise, ESPN showed the team’s celebration for all of four seconds. It then quickly switched to a shot of LeBron James, stoic but obviously disappointed, walking through the tunnel back to the Los Angeles Lakers locker room.
Tuesday on ESPN’s First Take, JJ Redick criticized the network’s NBA coverage for highlighting larger markets and a small faction of players considered to be “superstars.” There’s no way to tell if Charles Barkley was watching, but Redick’s point is one he agreed with.
That night on Inside the NBA, Barkley said he was annoyed with the amount of attention put on LeBron James after the game. He wanted to see the reactions of Nuggets stars Nikola Jokić, Jamal Murray and head coach Michael Malone to making the NBA Finals. Instead, he and other viewers were inundated with more content centered around the Los Angeles Lakers.
“I was so mad this morning I actually turned the TV off,” Barkley said last night on Inside the NBA, “because the Denver Nuggets sweep and get to the Finals for the first time. We all love LeBron, [but] he didn’t say he was retired yet. It should’ve been all about the Denver Nuggets.”
James, for the record, did not even say that he was seriously considering retiring. In a post-game press conference following the Lakers’ elimination, he said he “had a lot to think about” in the offseason.
The Walt Disney Company has reported its most-watched NBA playoffs on ESPN platforms in the last 11 years, according to data provided by Nielsen Media Research. The games have averaged approximately 5.6 million viewers, a 9% increase from the year prior. Moreover, Game 4 between the Nuggets and Lakers peaked at around 11.5 million viewers from the 11 to 11:15 p.m. EST quarter hour window, and averaged 8.2 million over the duration of the contest.
Sports TV News
ESPN Layoffs Resume, NFL & NBA Talent Likely To See Biggest Cuts
“The company is beginning its latest phase of layoffs this week with Vice President of Research, Insights and Analytics Barry Blyn receiving a pink slip Wednesday morning.”
ESPN will look to slash $30 million in salary as The Walt Disney Company’s layoffs continue, with a majority of it coming from talent covering the NFL and NBA. The network’s goal is to have the layoffs completed by the end of June according to a report by Front Office Sports.
Through it all, Max Kellerman’s afternoon television show This Just In could be canceled in order to slot Pat McAfee’s show into the daily programming lineup. Kellerman’s show airs from 2 to 3 p.m. EST, meaning more moves could be on the way to hold McAfee’s statement that his show will air immediately following First Take, which concludes at noon.
Employee morale at ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol is reportedly quite low, with people questioning why the company chose to pay McAfee and lay off a litany of its dedicated and longtime staffers.
The company is beginning its latest phase of layoffs this week with Vice President of Research, Insights and Analytics Barry Blyn receiving a pink slip Wednesday morning. More names are surely to follow as The Worldwide Leader looks to do its part to contribute to Disney cutting $5.5 billion in costs. The final round is expected to impact 2,500 employees in different areas of the company.
The company expects to report its own earnings for the first time this November, and sources have stated that the numbers will be impressive. Conducting the layoffs in separate rounds and saving on-air talent for last, however, has certainly played a role in public perception of the moves, and this week’s round will largely impact executives and other personnel behind the scenes.
Sports TV News
Eli Manning: ‘People Enjoy’ When ManningCast Has to Apologize for Language
“We get a lot of curse words, some from Peyton, some from guests.”
The ManningCast on ESPN has become appointment viewing for select Monday Night Football games. Eli Manning loves the fun, laid-back nature of the show he and brother Peyton put on for fans.
But with live TV, sometimes unpredictable things happen, and sometimes people use profanity. Eli, speaking on Tuesday at the 4se sports and entertainment event in New York City, said viewers get a kick out of when the two let occasional profanities slip and have to scramble to say sorry.
“We get a lot of curse words, some from Peyton, some from guests,” he said. “I feel like we’re apologizing for a lot of things on the show, but I guess people enjoy that part.”
Manning has said previously that the goal is for viewers to get the sense that Peyton and Eli are right there with them on their couch watching the game. Eli said it’s been fun getting to show some authenticity now that he’s retired.
“When I was playing, there was a conscious effort; I didn’t want either my fans or coaches to think I had a life outside of football,” he said. “Once I retired, I realized I didn’t have to hold back.”
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He’s a multimedia journalist and communicator who works at the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond. Jordan also contributes occasional 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, WRIC-TV 8News and Audacy Richmond. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.