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Trump’s NAFTA Replacement Effects Super Bowl

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NFL commissioner Roger Goodell took time to praise President Donald Trump earlier this week on the completion of the new USMCA Deal. It may seem odd to have the commissioner of a league that Trump bashes whenever he wants to score points with his base offer the President praise. He has certainly faced some backlash for it in the media, but in a statement released by the NFL, Goodell notes that the new deal offers “a resolution to our intellectual property issue in Canada”.

The specific intellectual property in question is Super Bowl commercials. Until 2017, Canadian cable and satellite operators would simultaneously substitute (or “simsub”) the commercials on the American broadcast of the Super Bowl for ones purchased in Canada. While this wouldn’t effect people watching the official Canadian broadcast, it did effect Canadians watching the game on whatever US network had that year’s broadcast rights. It is common for Canadian television providers to offer the four major American networks via local affiliates near the border.

Andrew Bucholtz has a very detailed breakdown of the simsub debate and what it has meant for Canadian television over at Awful Announcing. For SportsRadioPD.com though, let’s stick to how this particularly effected the Super Bowl.

There are very few events where commercials are part of the appeal. The biggest of these is, of course, the Super Bowl. For years, there was no way for Canadians to see the high concept American ads on broadcast television. That was until a 2017 Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission ruling that deemed the simsub practice illegal. The NFL lobbied the White House to put an end to the practice, and it seems the league got its way.

This is expected to help the NFL as it negotiates its next round of Canadian broadcast rights. Bell Media, the current rights holder in Canada, reported that the ruling against the simsub practice cost the company $8.5 million (US) in ad revenue for Super Bowl LII. While Canadian broadcasters do not charge nearly as much as American ones do for ad space during the Super Bowl, it is still valuable air time. Not having it to sell makes the NFL a less valuable property in the Canadian market.

Sports TV News

Jimmy Pitaro: Reaching Younger Audience A Priority for ESPN

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience. As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

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Many in the media industry have voice concern that millennials and Gen Z aren’t consuming traditional media outlets like previous generations. ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said it’s a priority for the network.

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience,” Pitaro said, quoted by Morning Consult sports business reporter Mark J. Burns. “As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

Pitaro made the comments at Sports Business Journal’s Media Innovators conference Wednesday. It is a continuation of comments he has made in recent years.

In 2018, Pitaro said at ESPN’s upfront “I think we are doing a fantastic job serving the sports fanatic,” said Pitaro. “What about the casual sports customer? Are we doing all we can to serve him or her?”.

In 2019, Pitaro said it was “all hands on deck” to reach a younger audience and women. “We have to be open and go to where our customers are,” he said in regards to reaching younger viewers on social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

Earlier this year, Pitaro added that ESPN won’t be leaving linear television anytime soon.

“What I will tell you is that as I sit here right now, that business is still incredible,” Pitaro said. “We serve the sports fan anyway and at any time. I know there are a lot of people that still want ESPN in that traditional ecosystem.”

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Sports TV News

Don Mattingly Joining Blue Jays Staff After YES Network Courtship

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

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YES Network

The New York Yankees regional sports network can take Don Mattingly off its talent wish list. Mattingly was announced Wednesday as a bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays starting in 2023.

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

But Mattingly told Andrew Marchand of The New York Post this week that he had another opportunity in the works but wouldn’t elaborate.

YES also has been considering luring Yankees legend and Hall of Famer Derek Jeter into broadcasting. But no formal talks have taken place.

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Sports TV News

ESPN Paying Nearly $45 Billion For Rights Fees Through 2027

Currently, the network’s largest spending comes for its Monday Night Football package, which is $2.6 billion annually

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The last year or two has been evident that the price of rights to airing major college and professional sporting events on television are only going up. But the various networks either with longstanding relationships with leagues and conferences or looking to break into the media rights landscape are willing to pay up. That’s no more evident with Disney, which will be shelling out tens of billions of dollars to have regular season and postseason events air on ESPN.

According to Sportico, which reviewed Disney’s annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, ESPN is set to spend $44.9 billion on sports media rights through 2027.

Currently, the network’s largest spending comes for its Monday Night Football package, which is $2.6 billion annually. Additionally, ESPN will pay $1.4 billion through the 2024-25 season for NBA rights.

The Sportico report noted ESPN will generate more than $8.1 billion in affiliate revenue to help offset those costs. The network will soon be entering talks to renew its media rights deal to be the exclusive home for nearly all NCAA Division I championships, as well as engaging in new NBA rights negotiations.

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