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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

Sports TV News

Holly Rowe Signs Long-Term Extension With ESPN

“I feel like I am living my best life and I am so grateful to ESPN for letting me keep doing this.”

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ESPN reporter Holly Rowe has signed a multi-year extension to remain with the company.

Rowe works as a sideline reporter for ESPN/ABC’s coverage of college football — including the College Football Playoffs, the WNBA, women’s college basketball, and the Women’s College World Series, among other high-profile assignments.

“I feel like I am living my best life and I am so grateful to ESPN for letting me keep doing this,” Rowe told The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch.

Earlier this year, Rowe was named the 2023 Curt Gowdy Media Award winner from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame for her electronic media work.

Rowe joined ESPN in 1998, and signed her last contract extension with the network in 2018 shortly before she announced she had undergone her final chemotherapy treatment in August of that year after a melanoma diagnosis in 2016.

According to Deitsch, Rowe’s contract was set to expire next month.

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Mike Florio: The NFL Will Have Games 7 Days a Week & Will Expand To Make it Happen

“So if you wanna increase the total number of games so you can have games Tuesday night, Wednesday night, Friday night, Saturday night, at some point you need more teams to get more games.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Could you picture NFL games on every night of the week from September to January? ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio thinks it’ll happen in his lifetime.

In an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday, Florio said it’s inevitable that we’ll see the league play games every night.

“I think sooner than later we’re gonna have Tuesday Night Football, we’re gonna have Wednesday Night Football,” he said. “It’s gonna be hopefully in my lifetime a seven day a week, primetime event. There’s too much money to be made.”

“I would love to have football on every night of the week,” Florio added. “It would be nice to have a night or two off. Like Friday night and Saturday night would be nice, but I’d be fine with Tuesday and Wednesday.”

How does Florio think the NFL will get to the point of playing seven days a week during the season? Expansion. And the league has already expressed interest in establishing franchises in Europe.

“I think they’re gonna start moving that number from 32 to in time 34, 36, 38 eventually 40,” Florio said. “Quarterbacks is the key. Is there ever gonna be enough quarterbacks to have 40 NFL teams? But I think that would be the ultimate maximum number.”

Even McAfee added that an 18th NFL regular season game will be coming sooner rather than later. Florio said in order to justify the need for one more game, expansion is the answer.

“When it comes to the inventory, 18 games is the most they’re gonna get away with,” Florio said. “So if you wanna increase the total number of games so you can have games Tuesday night, Wednesday night, Friday night, Saturday night, at some point you need more teams to get more games.”

“If the money’s there to be made by the owners, they’ll deal with it,” he added.

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Nick Khan: We Hope Pat McAfee Wants To Do More With WWE

“The world is his oyster.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Pat McAfee continues to be on hiatus from his obligations to WWE. As the media star and father-to-be weighs options for the future of his daily sports show and other dealings, WWE’s CEO wants McAfee to keep wrestling in the mix.

Appearing on The Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast, WWE CEO Nick Khan said with the company’s signature live event this weekend, WrestleMania, don’t expect McAfee to show up like he did in January at the Royal Rumble.

“We have no plans to have him there this weekend,” Khan said.

Co-host Andrew Marchand asked how WWE handles talks with McAfee, who is believed to be ending his relationship with FanDuel two years into a four-year $120 million contract. WWE has a relationship with NBCUniversal, with WWE Network and its massive library of content being absorbed into Peacock in 2021. McAfee has since been replaced at the SmackDown announce table by former WWE superstar Wade Barrett.

“The world is his oyster,” Khan said. “He’s 36 years old and look at his relevancy factor when you talk to young children, as I have two young children. When I talk to them it’s often McAfee, McAfee, McAfee. That’s what’s in the wheelhouse for them. So if you look at any of the traditional buyers, what do they want? They want a young, diverse audience. What does McAfee bring? He brings a young, diverse audience.”

Khan noted how McAfee tends to not get overly political or controversial with his show and how he’s developed relationships with athletes like Aaron Rodgers and gives them a platform to speak freely without condemnation.

“He’s not looking to annihilate anybody, or crucify them,” he said. “He’s looking to have good content, and his content has been terrific. He’ll determine ultimately where he wants his home to be. And our hope is that he does more with us.”

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