One of the last big sports rights opportunities for several years is about to become available to TV networks. The NFL’s Thursday Night Football — which for the past two seasons has aired on CBS via one-year deals — is generating intense interest as the league is likely to extend the length of the package significantly to bring it in line with other TV rights pacts, most of which run through the 2022 season.
Analysts predict a long-term Thursday Night Football arrangement could go for $600 million annually and potentially much higher when deal making begins in earnest in January.
CBS, Fox, NBC and Turner have signaled interest in the Thursday package. As the incumbent, CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus would seem to have an advantage. (The net paid $275 million for the eight-game Thursday package last season and re-upped this season for about $300 million.)
But the games are said to be a top priority for NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke. Certainly, NBC Sports under Mark Lazarus has been aggressive in acquiring and keeping live contests. Last year, the company agreed to pay $7.75 billion for six Olympics, locking up the Games through 2032. Turner Sports also has indicated a strong desire for Thursday Night Football.
Last year, TNF averaged a little more than 12 million viewers a game on CBS and NFL Network, where they are simulcast. This season, the Sept. 17 TNF opener set a record for the franchise, with more than 21 million viewers watching the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs. But critics say the Thursday games often feature inferior matchups, and the fluctuating ratings reflect those hit-and-miss contests.
Plus, the Thursday package may not be the only rights deal for the NFL: The league also might look to package global digital rights for its international series. The NFL pulled in $20 million from Yahoo for the rights to the Oct. 25 Buffalo Bills-Jacksonville Jaguars game from London’s Wembley Stadium. Yahoo’s first free global live stream of an NFL game notched 15.2 million unique viewers. The league may expand its international series from three games next season, possibly adding a fourth game in Mexico. It is expected to announce its 2016 international series Nov. 25.
Credit to the Hollywood Reporter 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.
AEW Considers Launching Streaming Service
“It’s possible an AEW streaming service could be independent, but many are hopeful AEW’s offerings would be available on HBO Max or Discovery+ akin to how WWE Network is now available on Peacock.”
All Elite Wrestling is looking into launching its own streaming service.
According to reporting from Bloomberg, a source “familiar with management’s thinking” said AEW is looking to strike a deal with broadcast partner Warner Bros. Discovery.
Since launching in 2019, AEW now puts on two weekly shows on Warner channels TBS and TNT and airs two shows on YouTube.
Last year AEW acquired Ring of Honor from Sinclair Broadcast Group. As part of that deal, AEW took ownership of RoH’s extensive content library Honor Club. So much like WWE did with WWE Network when it launched in 2014, AEW could launch its streaming service and have all of Ring of Honor’s content in a one-stop shop.
It’s possible an AEW streaming service could be independent, but many are hopeful AEW’s offerings would be available on HBO Max or Discovery+ akin to how WWE Network is now available on Peacock.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.
NBC Officially Unveils Noah Eagle, Todd Blackledge as New Big Ten Booth
“With their collective college football experience and great enthusiasm for the game, Todd, Noah and Kathryn join a production team that can’t wait to kick off the Big Ten season.”
NBC made the announcement Thursday, after weeks of speculation about the moves.
“We are excited to showcase Big Ten Saturday Night on the NBC Sports’ primetime marquee,” said NBC Sports Executive Producer Sam Flood. “When you hear Todd’s voice, you know it’s a big college football game. It has been that way for decades.
“Noah is one of the industry’s rising young play-by-play commentators, who has excelled calling numerous sports across multiple platforms for a wide range of audiences. We are thrilled to pair him in the booth with Todd.
“Kathryn has told the stories of so many memorable Notre Dame Football moments over the last decade in her on-field reporting and interviews,” Flood continued. “With their collective college football experience and great enthusiasm for the game, Todd, Noah and Kathryn join a production team that can’t wait to kick off the Big Ten season.”
Blackledge joins NBC after working as a college football analyst for the network for the past 17 seasons. Previously, he was the an analyst for CBS and ABC, making 2023 his 30th consecutive season covering college football as an analyst.
Eagle is the son of broadcasting legend Ian Eagle, and currently serves as the radio voice of the Los Angeles Clippers. He comes to NBC after calling college football games for FOX Sports in 2022.
Tappen has spent the past nine seasons working NBC’s college football coverage with Notre Dame. Eight of those nine seasons were spent as the network’s sideline reporter before anchoring the studio coverage from South Bend in 2022.
2023 will mark the beginning of a seven-year contract for NBC to air Big Ten football games in primetime. The move is one of the biggest notable expansions in the college football arena for the network since its partnership with Notre Dame began in 1991.
CBS Tried ‘Intervention’ With Tony Romo
“They knew, they anticipated this. That’s a credit to them, the people in charge there. But it has not gotten better.”
After his performance during the 2022 season, many have questioned why CBS Sports NFL analyst Tony Romo has seemed off his game after seeing high praise during the early stages of his broadcasting career.
A recent nugget from Andrew Marchand of The New York Post claims CBS executives attempted an “intervention” with Romo before the season.
“Tony Romo needs to study more,” Marchand said during The Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast. “He needs to be better prepared. As you move away from the sidelines, you need to do more work. I know CBS is aware of this. They tried an intervention last offseason. They knew, they anticipated this. That’s a credit to them, the people in charge there. But it has not gotten better.”
Marchand also argued that it appears as if Romo’s partner — Jim Nantz — is content to let the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback struggle.
“This was the narrative out of CBS when Romo was getting all of the publicity: you heard from Nantz’ side and people from CBS that Nantz was the one creating Romo,” quipped Marchand. “The issue now is, why isn’t Nantz helping Romo get to this next level?”
Romo — who signed a 10-year, $180 million contract with CBS in 2020 — addressed his critics in an interview with Jenna Lemoncelli of The New York Post, saying he’s simply trying new things.
“I mean, some changes are good, some you’re like, ‘Ah, I shouldn’t do that’. But I always trial and error a bunch and sometimes it works.”
The 42-year-old Romo appeared to push back on the insinuation that he doesn’t prepare for broadcasts like he used to during the interview.
“You’re going to fail all the time, but at the same time, you succeed because of that, as long as you think about it and try to understand how to improve and then go about the process to make that happen, which is work ethic and commitment. But you got to have a plan for it before.”