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English Premier League Gives Big Boost To NBC

Jason Barrett

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When Comcast paid $950 million to own the rights to air English Premier League games in the United States, they surely could not have envisioned a 150% increase in US audience size.

However, that’s exactly what the American multinational mass media company has seen happen, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report, just three months after announcing their new deal in August, with their programming division NBC Sports the beneficiaries of growing cross-pond appeal for the beautiful game.

The investment now looks to be a bargain for Comcast and their entertainment company NBCUniversal –  a concept which is almost unheard of in the red-hot current market for sports rights.

As claimed in the report, the US audience size for ‘EPL’ games on US television via NBC Sports has grown by 150% on average, in comparison to three years ago when the league’s matches games were under FOX Sports and ESPN’s ownership.

While FOX Sports competed with NBC in the most recent bidding process, ESPN did not and they are sure to be ruing that decision given the recent statistics.

Indeed, the English top-division’s games are practically the sole major sports property in North America showing significant, and long-term, growth in audiences.

This rise is no doubt helped by increasing awareness of the game in the US, given the country’s exciting, and thus widely-reported, World Cup campaign in Brazil last year, and the improvement of the country’s own league – Major League Soccer.

Until now in the current campaign, Premier League matches on NBC Sports are averaging 563,000 viewers in total, working out as a 19% increase over last year.

But more staggeringly, viewers have streamed 139m live minutes of NBC Sports digital coverage this term – 44% more than was recorded up until this point in the season in 2014.

And what could be driving this growth is one of the youngest audiences in major televised sports, with the league’s followers on average 38 years old.

NBC Sports’ six-year contract with the Premier League seems to be an extremely lucrative one.

Read more at the Daily Mail which is where this article was originally published

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Sports TV News

Tom Brady Makes FOX Sports Booth Debut

“I can’t go down there on the field anymore, what are you talking about?”

Barrett Sports Media

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Screengrab from the UFL Championship game on FOX with Curt Menefee, Tom Brady and Joel Klatt
Screengrab: UFL Championship Game on FOX

If Spring Football gave us anything, it gave us this. Let the record show that the first time Tom Brady analyzed a pro football game from a broadcasting booth as an employee of FOX Sports, it was with teams from Birmingham and San Antonio, with the game being played in St. Louis.

That may someday be a trivia question hardly anyone will be able to answer. For now, it just marks the debut of Brady’s time as a football analyst as part of his 10-year $375 million deal he signed with FOX. Brady was not officially on the call of the UFL Championship game, but he did join play-by-play man Curt Menefee and analyst Joel Klatt in the second quarter on Sunday when the Birmingham Stallions beat the San Antonio Brahmas 25-0 at The Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis

“We bring in a little instant offense,” Menefee said. “You know him, you love him. Tom Brady, legendary quarterback, just had his number retired.”

“I can’t go down there on the field anymore, what are you talking about?” Brady quipped.

“He is joining us here at FOX sports as I am sure you have heard as an analyst this fall, can’t wait to see him,” Menefee said before asking Brady for his take on what he had seen in the UFL game. “So far, what are your impressions in this early going Championship game, sometimes teams can be a little bit tight, it looks like it may be right here.”

“They’re all a little different when you get into these games,” Brady said. “There’s a lot of defense out there right now. You see the defense out there playing with a lot of energy but someone’s gotta get the ball down the field and try and open this field up a little bit. It’s a lot of horizontal passes and the defense is swarming and trying to punch the ball out. ‘Make them defend every blade of grass,’ that’s what we used to say.’

At the conclusion of the game, Brady was on the field to present the championship game MVP award which went to Birmingham quarterback Adrian Martinez who played for both Nebraska and Kansas State and was the league’s regular season MVP.

Brady is set to work with Kevin Burkhardt this fall on the FOX No. 1 broadcast team. The pair will call the top game for FOX each week starting with the September 8 game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Cleveland Browns.

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Monumental Sports Network No Longer Available on Fubo

“We urge our fans to consider accessing other pay TV providers or subscribing to Monumental Sports Network directly.”

Barrett Sports Media

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Photo of a studio at Monumental Sports Network
Courtesy: Monumental Sports Network

Fubo subscribers in the Washington, D.C. area will no longer be able to watch Monumental Sports Network, the regional service that airs Wahington Wizards, Capitals and Mystics games in addition to other sports coverage.

Monumental Sports & Entertainment explained in a press release that after lengthy negotiations, Fubo has refused several offers to keep the independent local network available to its users. “This means that D.C. sports fans who are Fubo subscribers do not have access to live games for the Mystics, Capitals, Wizards, and other local teams such as the Washington Spirit and area HBCUs, colleges, and high schools,” the company said in its release.

“Throughout the process, we negotiated in good faith to keep our local independent network available to Fubo’s subscribers, including offering Fubo market-rate terms that other larger distributors have accepted,” the statement continued. “Unfortunately, Fubo did not appear motivated to come to a deal and refused several generous offers.

“Moving forward, our highly-rated WNBA content, including Wednesday’s Mystics-Fever game, will no longer be available on Fubo, which is unfortunate given the unprecedented interest that women’s sports are experiencing. This outcome seems at odds with Fubo’s claim to be the leading sports-focused live TV platform and clearly signals a total lack of interest in local women’s sports at a time when the rest of the world has declared their importance.  Would Fubo ever consider taking away Monumental from its fans if our NHL and NBA teams were in season?

“Unlike Fubo, we remain committed to women’s sports and serving D.C. sports fans. We urge our fans to consider accessing other pay TV providers or subscribing to Monumental Sports Network directly at monumentalsportsnetwork.com.”

WUSA9, the CBS affiliate in Washington, D.C. said they reached out to Fubo and received the following from a spokesperson:

“Fubo has been engaged in good faith negotiations with Monumental Sports Network but we were unable to reach a deal. As a result, the network left Fubo on June 15, 2024.”

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Sports Media Reacts to Charles Barkley Retirement Announcement

“We’re looking forward to another fantastic NBA on TNT season and further discussion of our future plans with him.”

Barrett Sports Media

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Screengrab from Charles Barkley on Club Shay Shay
Screengrab: Club Shay Shay on YouTube

Charles Barkley said on NBA TV after Game 4 of the NBA Finals that he will retire from television after next season, no matter what happens with TNT and the league. Near the conclusion of the NBA TV postgame show, Barkley said:

“There’s been a lot of noise the last few months and I just want to say, I’ve talked to all of the other networks, but I ain’t going nowhere other than TNT, but I have made the decision myself, no matter what happens, next year is going to be my last year on television. And I just want to say thank you to my NBA family, you guys have been great to me, my heart is full with joy and gratitude.”

Barkley went on to say that he wants to turn the baton over to someone like Jamal Crawford or Vince Carter should Inside the NBA continue with Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal.

TNT put out a statement that said, “Charles is a Hall of Famer and broadcasting icon who is and will always be a beloved member of the TNT Sports family. We’re looking forward to another fantastic NBA on TNT season and further discussion of our future plans with him.”

Several in sports media took to social media to post about their thoughts on Barkley’s career with TNT or wondering if Barkley’s ‘retirement’ is real:

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