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Showtime Re-Affirms Commitment to Boxing

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Two months ago boxing promoter Bob Arum predicted that Showtime would be following HBO’s lead and ending its coverage of live boxing events. Showtime chairman and CEO David Nevins, speaking at the UBS conference earlier this week, said that will not be the case. He told attendees that HBO giving up on the sport presents an opportunity for Showtime to “own the high end of boxing.”

Andrew Bucholtz of Awful Announcing says that, while there is no shortage of competition for Showtime in the boxing realm, the network does have reason to believe that it is beneficial to stay in the boxing business.

And in some ways, Nevins may well be right. Yes, there’s quite a crowded boxing market out there between DAZN, Golden Boy and Top Rank on ESPN, Premier Boxing Champions on plenty of networks, Golden Boy fights on Facebook and more, and that was all part of HBO’s rationale for exiting the space. But that HBO departure may also provide some opportunity for Showtime. Boxing on premium cable worked well for both HBO and Showtime for a long while, and now Showtime can use it as a differentiation point that helps them stand out against HBO.

Of course, there are still plenty of competitors, including some newer ones like DAZN, and it can be debated if the “high end” of boxing will really be on Showtime rather than on  fighter-exclusive deals like what DAZN has with Canelo (and what Gennady Golovkin is reportedly eyeing with DAZN, ESPN, or PBC), but there’s certainly the chance for them to grab some good fights. And the amount of interest in the Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury fight Saturday (a Showtime PPV) certainly seems like a sign there’s still buzz around boxing when it’s a good enough fight.

Showtime continues to invest in its production value for fights, as was evident Saturday Night in Deontay Wilder’s draw with Tyson Fury. Between premium cable subscriptions and Showtime Pay-Per-View, the company is set up to maximize profit from its renewed commitment to the sport.

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Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX

“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”

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FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.

A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.

The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.

Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.

That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.

Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.

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FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”

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The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.

Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.

Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”

Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.

“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.

FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.

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NBA Draft To Get Simulcast From ESPN & ABC

“This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.”

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ESPN is set for the 2022 NBA Draft coming up on June 23 at 8 p.m. from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The network announced Wednesday the crews that will handle coverage on both ESPN and ABC.

ABC will broadcast the first round in primetime. Kevin Negandhi will host and will be joined by Stephen A. Smith, Chiney Ogwumike and Jalen Rose. Monica McNutt will be reporting and interviewing draftees.

This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.

Malika Andrews will host both rounds for ESPN. Jay Bilas, Kendrick Perkins and Adrian Wojnarowski will share the set. Analysts Bobby Marks and Mike Schmitz will contribute.

“We’re thrilled that Malika Andrews will host this year’s ESPN presentation as she brings her well-documented, widespread skillset to our main set,” said David Roberts, head of NBA and Studio Production for ESPN. “The event will showcase the scope and depth of our NBA and college basketball talent roster with accomplished journalists and high-profile personalities across ESPN, ABC and ESPN Radio.”

ESPN will air a pre-draft red carpet show hosted by Cassidy Hubbarth from 5-6 p.m. Perkins and Richard Jefferson will also make appearances.

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