After 29 years, Peter King is moving on from Sports Illustrated. The senior writer, founder of the popular NFL website The MMQB, and one of the most respected voices in football has accepted an opportunity with NBC Sports, bringing his nearly three decade run with SI to an end.
“When Sports Illustrated was good enough to allow me to start The MMQB five years ago, I wanted to introduce a group of promising young journalists to the SI audience and give them a chance to develop into prominent voices on the pro football scene,” said King. “We’re fortunate now that Jenny Vrentas, Robert Klemko, Andy Benoit, Albert Breer, Conor Orr, Jonathan Jones, Tim Rohan, Jacob Feldman and Kalyn Kahler—average age: 30—have grown into an excellent team, with a group of superb editors. It’s time for them to have the opportunities I’ve had over the years, and to do some of the stories and projects I’ve done that they’re more than ready to do.”
King will begin his new venture with NBC this July. As part of his new opportunity he’ll write a weekly Monday morning NFL column for NBCSports.com; appear regularly on NBCSN’s and NBC Sports Radio’s PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continue contributing to Football Night in America. He’ll also resume his popular NFL training camp tour, filing his column from the road and offering occasional video or written reports from team to team throughout the preseason.
“I’m thrilled to be joining NBC Sports full-time after working with the football crew there since 2006. I’ve loved my time there, both in the studio and doing longer features for Football Night in America, and the chance to bring my column there felt like a perfect match to me,” King added. “I loved my time at Sports Illustrated. Quite frankly, it was very tough for me to leave. But the only place that felt like a great fit after my years at SI was NBC, which has always made me feel like a member of the family.”
“Peter has been one of the most prolific and respected NFL writers for decades, and we’re thrilled to host his work exclusively on NBC Sports Digital platforms,” said Rick Cordella, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Digital Media, NBC Sports Group. “With the addition of Peter and his Monday morning column, we now have the most complete NFL digital portfolio in sports as we stream primetime television’s number one show, Sunday Night Football; provide continuous football news and analysis on Mike Florio’s Pro Football Talk; and produce unparalleled fantasy football information on Rotoworld.com.”
Similar to what ESPN has done with Adam Schefter, NBC will also provide King with an opportunity to expand his horizons. The network says King will be included on the network’s coverage of its most high-profile events, including the Stanley Cup Final, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and more.
“As one of the best NFL reporters in history, Peter’s information, storytelling, and analysis make us better across the board,” added Sam Flood, Executive Producer and President, Production, NBC Sports & NBCSN. “With Peter expanding his NBC Sports presence from Football Night to PFT Live and digital, football fans are the big winners.”
“Peter, in my opinion, is one of the five most important figures in SI history,” says SI editor-in-chief, Chris Stone, “one, for the following he’s built covering North America’s most popular sport, and two for his willingness to embrace new approaches to journalism and storytelling, most notably with the creation of The MMQB, first as a conversation-setting column in 1997, then as a conversation-setting website in 2013.”
King has flirted with the possibility of leaving SI before, but when push came to shove, chose to stick it out with his longtime employer. However, the Meredith Corporation, which owns SI, has chosen to sell the popular sports brand, leaving the future unclear. Couple that uncertainty with layoffs and a number of high profile defections, and King decided that it was time to roll the dice on a new adventure.
“I just felt it was time to move on from the 24/7-ness of football coverage and try something a little bit different. My 29 years at Sports Illustrated have been, collectively, a dream come true. I’ll always be grateful to Mark Mulvoy for hiring a green 31-year-old kid in 1989, just as I’m grateful to my current boss, Chris Stone, for the opportunities and support he’s given me in recent years. For three decades, I’ve had the job of a lifetime in the sports media business, and I will be forever grateful to SI. I leave at the end of May with immense gratitude to my editors over the years and to my staff at The MMQB since 2013. Thanks, from the bottom of my heart.”
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.
David Kaplan Leaving NBC Sports Chicago
“I was presented an opportunity that will allow me to spend a lot more time my wife, Mindy, our four sons, and their expanding families. This is far from a retirement.”
David Kaplan has announced he is departing NBC Sports Chicago. In a video posted to his YouTube channel, Kaplan said a new path opened that he couldn’t turn down.
“I was presented an opportunity that will allow me to spend a lot more time my wife, Mindy, our four sons, and their expanding families. This is far from a retirement. You’ll still be able to catch me weekday mornings with Jonathan Hood on the Kap and JHood morning show on ESPN 1000. It will also allow me to provide you with more engaging and outstanding content right here on YouTube.”
Kaplan, who will turn 62 this weekend, accepted a buyout offered by NBCUniversal. He has hosted several different shows for the network during his tenure.
“He’s made enormous contributions to our network, and his passion, opinions and love of Chicago’s teams have made him a beloved and respected figure, not just with fans but also his colleagues,” NBC Sports Chicago Vice President of Content John Schippman told The Chicago Sun-Times. “We wish him the best and look forward to seeing what’s next.”
December 30th will be his final day at NBC Sports Chicago. He called his time with the network “an amazing run”.
NASCAR Chasing Nearly $1 Billion Annual Rights Fee In Next TV Deal
“We work really closely together, both from a scheduling perspective, but also just in terms of how they monetize the sport.”
The current media rights deal for NASCAR with FOX Sports and NBC Sports doesn’t end until after the 2024 season, but the organization is currently plotting what it wants its next deal to look like, according to a report from Front Office Sports.
Currently, NASCAR makes $820 million per year from the two networks. In its new rights deal, it is expected to seek a deal in the neighborhood of $900-950 million range.
NASCAR plans to begin negotiating with its current media partners in the early months of 2023, but is currently happy with FOX and NBC.
“We work really closely together, both from a scheduling perspective, but also just in terms of how they monetize the sport. Whether that’s pushing more brands and advertisers to spend on Fox and NBC,” NASCAR Senior Vice President of Media and Productions Brian Herbst told FOS. “Fox had their third consecutive year of ad revenue increases in 2022. NBC had their second consecutive year of ad revenue increases in 2022. So it’s working for them — both from a viewership and an ad revenue perspective.”
In February of this year, NASCAR President Steve Phelps told the Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast that broadcast television “has to be a part” of the organization’s next television rights deal.
As its current media partners, FOX and NBC have exclusive negotiating windows with NASCAR.
NFL Sunday Ticket Negotiations With Apple ‘Have Gotten Silly’
“Apple’s like, ‘OK, we can’t sell internationally. OK, that was important to us. And we can’t sell it exclusively against Fox and CBS. Well, OK. Well, that changes its value.’”
A report from The Athletic details why the NFL has not announced a new partner for the NFL Sunday Ticket package. David Kaplan claims there have been continued hiccups in the negotiations, mentioning the bargaining has gotten sideways between the league and Apple.
“This negotiation has gotten silly. … Clearly, there’s a problem. I think it’s really clear Apple is learning things they didn’t know,” the anonymous NFL source told Kaplan. “What the conversation is, is Apple’s like, ‘OK, we can’t sell internationally. OK, that was important to us. And we can’t sell it exclusively against Fox and CBS. Well, OK. Well, that changes its value.’”
The report also details Amazon Prime and YouTube remain in the mix as potential suitors for the service, should talks with Apple and the league fall apart.
The NFL is looking for as much as $3.5 billion annually for rights to the service.