The NFL is ripping off ESPN according to Wall Street analysts. Michael McCarthy of The Sporting News has a new report out citing a number of sources that say the return ESPN is seeing on its investment in the NFL warrants some serious action.
Independent research firm MoffettNathanson suggests that ESPN should get out of the Monday Night Football business when the contract expires in 2021 and instead pursue reacquiring the Sunday Night package. NBC’s Sunday Night Football package is priced lower and is consistently one of TV’s highest rated shows. NBC’s contract expires in 2022.
James Andrew Miller, who wrote the ESPN memoir Those Guys Have All the Fun, says the right move for ESPN may be to forget about live NFL rights and focus instead on investing in cheaper highlight packages. McCarthy says considering the decline in ratings, Miller’s idea makes sense.
Why pay through the nose for a Monday night package, asked Miller, when today’s “Monday Night Football” is a pale shadow of ABC’s old version with John Madden and Al Michaels? Much less the original Monday night crew of Howard Cosell, Don Meredith and Frank Gifford?
ESPN currently pays $1.9 billion per year for the TV rights to Monday Night Football. Jimmy Pitaro views his primary job as president of ESPN as preserving and rehabbing the network’s relationship with the NFL. Both Turner and Amazon have expressed interest in bidding for Monday Night Football in the future. That will likely drive the price higher in the next round of bidding. It is absolutely fair to value professional football as a commodity, but at some point ESPN may have to face facts and realize that this is a relationship that is only working for one side.
Sunday Night Football is the package the NFL gives its star treatment. If ESPN is already paying a higher price, it makes sense that staying in business with the NFL would require that it gets the best package of games.
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.