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NFL May Opt Out of DirecTV Deal for Sunday Ticket

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Pro Football Talk is reporting that the NFL is considering exercising an option in its contract with DirecTV that would allow the league to end it’s deal with the satellite provider at the end of next season. If that happens, the rights to NFL Sunday Ticket would hit the open market for the first time since 1994. If it doesn’t, the two sides will have a deal in place through the 2022 season.

The emergence of Red Zone has made the NFL Sunday Ticket price hard to swallow for some DirecTV subscribers. Now that Red Zone is available without the Sunday Ticket subscription, the NFL will need to readjust its pricing model to make the larger package as appealing as it once was.

Despite the $400 price tag for a full season scaring off some potential subscribers, there will still be plenty of suitors for NFL Sunday Ticket when it hits the open market. Awful Announcing’s Phillip Bupp writes that the league expects its suitors to be diverse.

Not only would every cable or satellite company want to pick up the package, but any number of streaming companies would likely be interested. Sports streaming services like ESPN+, B/R Live, or DAZN could be interested. Social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook could be in the mix. Other digital outlets without a focus on sports, like Amazon, Yahoo, Google, Apple, or Verizon, could all take a look.

Mike Florio’s initial report at Pro Football Talk stresses that the NFL is still weighing its options. There has been no firm plan made for opting out of the current deal with DirecTV.

 

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No Timetable For Big Ten To Get TV Deal Done

“Warren told The Athletic that he wasn’t married to a deadline of having a deal to announce by Memorial Day.”

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Negotiations are reportedly continuing between the Big Ten Conference and media partners to complete a new media rights deal, and conference commissioner Kevin Warren isn’t in a hurry to make an announcement.

Warren told The Athletic that he wasn’t married to a deadline of having a deal to announce by Memorial Day.

“I want to make sure we take the appropriate time to get this wrapped up, but we’re making really good progress; that’s the good thing about it,” Warren said. “It’s a great time to be in this space. And there are so many really talented people in this area. But we have a good team. We have a great conference, and so I just really look forward to making sure that these are done in a very thoughtful manner and keep our fans and our student-athletes at the center of our decisions.”

FOX Sports will remain the anchor partner for Big Ten football games, but the conference is working with its other partners like ESPN and CBS for basketball and listening to other potential suitors to add a streaming element.

“The media landscape has changed, and you think (of) the interplay between linear television and streaming,” Warren said. “We just have to really think through what fits for what the Big Ten stands for, what’s in the best interest of our fans, what’s in the best interests of our student-athletes, what’s in the best interest of our member institutions.”

The deal, when finalized, could be worth close to $1 billion and would see a modest increase in money paid out to member schools.

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Kevin Harlan Angry People Thought He Was Insulting Odell Beckham Jr.

“I was furious that I took heat over that, because I wasn’t given a chance to finish what I was going to say because of what the broadcast was doing at the time.”

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Broadcaster Kevin Harlan has a bone to pick with the social media mob. Harlan wants the record set straight after comments made about NFL wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. during a recent NBA Playoffs telecast.

Beckham was spotted by TNT cameras during a recent game in the Dallas Mavericks/Phoenix Suns series when Harlan pointed out that Beckham got injured during this year’s Super Bowl.

“He blew a knee in the Super Bowl on a crossing pattern,” Harlan said in response to his broadcast partner Reggie Miller, who said Harlan needed to give OBJ the correct title of Super Bowl champion.

Reaction on Twitter was outrage, as people believed Harlan was trying to take a swipe at the former Cleveland Browns/Los Angeles Rams wideout.

But Harlan, who called Super Bowl LVI on the radio for Westwood One, said that simply wasn’t the case.

“I know the NFL, I know what it meant to him,” Harlan told USA Today. “And I couldn’t finish it and I got attacked and that’s the kind of world we live in now. And I was furious that I took heat over that, because I wasn’t given a chance to finish what I was going to say because of what the broadcast was doing at the time.

“What I was going to finish saying, but I was unfortunately interrupted was, ‘And look at him walk after blowing that knee, knowing that he was a part of a Super Bowl championship performance,'” he added.

Harlan continued that the timing just didn’t work out. He thinks it’s ridiculous that people would take him out of context.

“I was going to tell a story. I know who he is. I’ve called every year of his career,” he said. “I was just going to try this thing – you just have to be so vigilant, so alert to everything that happens. I was left hanging. I took the brunt of it. I didn’t like it.”

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XFL Signs Exclusive Deal With ESPN

“Games will return in 2023. The season opening slate will be played February 18.”

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All 43 games in the 2023 XFL season will air on Disney’s sports networks. The entire schedule will be seen on ABC, ESPN, and FX. Dwayne Johnson and Dani Garcia made the announcement at the 2022 Disney Upfront presentation.

This will be the third iteration of the XFL. The first attempt in 2001 ended after a single season. The 2020 revival was shut down due to Covid. Johnson and Garcia and their partners purchased the brand two years ago for $15 million.

“The XFL will tap into sports fans’ deep love of football by emphasizing competitive action while dedicating itself to innovation and entertainment,” Jimmy Pitaro, Chairman of ESPN and Sports Content said in a press release. “You can see a great path to success when you combine the reach and influence of ESPN and Disney with the collective vision of XFL leadership led by Dany, Dwayne and Gerry.”

Games will return in 2023. The season opening slate will be played February 18.

“The XFL is going to be a league of passion, a league of pride, and a league of culture,” Johnson said at the event, promising that those three principles will drive every decision for the league.

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