While the American Athletic Conference’s new 12-year, $1 billion extension with ESPN is regarded as a good thing for the conference as a whole, the UConn Huskies program begs to differ.
The deal complicates a tradition of UConn basketball games broadcast on the SNY Network and so far it is unclear how much the ESPN contract will impact that partnership.
“We at UConn have been a dedicated and enthusiastic charter member of the AAC,” UConn president Susan Herbst said. “The level of play in the conference has been outstanding, and our university colleagues in the conference are a pleasure to work with. That said, I am deeply concerned about potential exposure for UConn men’s and women’s basketball.”
ESPN will broadcast a host of games including UConn men’s and women’s basketball not only on traditional, linear networks such as ESPN2 and ESPNU, but also digital streaming service ESPN+. The worry from UConn is this will force fans who traditionally watch the Huskies play on SNY, which has been the program’s TV partner for the past six seasons, to purchase an over-the-top service such as Roku or Chromecast to watch the team play.
“It’s not about technology,” Herbst said. “Our fan base is of course sophisticated in the ways of digital media. But exposure on ‘linear’ television is vitally important to us because many Husky fans gather to watch UConn basketball as a social event — when traveling, in restaurants or bars, or in the living room with family and friends. Right now, wherever I am, I can tune in easily and see our student-athletes in action.”
ESPN and SNY are expected to come to some sort of agreement on the matter, though ESPN and the AAC have been mute on the subject so far.
“It’s such a great relationship,” said Gary Morgenstern, SNY’s senior vice president of programming before the deal was finalized Wednesday. “I think it’s been really good for the university and we know it’s been really good for SNY. And it would be a shame if it weren’t able to continue.
SNY reaches about 12 million homes in the Northeast, while ESPN+ has around 2 million subscribers.
Not only is this a risk for Husky fans, but the new deal isn’t expected to make enough of an impact financially for UConn to warrant such a shift in viewership. According to the Hartford Courant, UConn’s athletic department reported a $41 million deficit for the 2018 fiscal year, among the worst in Division I athletics. UConn, and the rest of the AAC, will receive $6.94 million a year, which significantly tops the $2.16 million number from the previous deal, but isn’t enough of a revenue boost to fix all of the program’s problems.
UConn and SNY are in a “wait and see” mode and will have to hope for the best as ESPN, the AAC and SNY come to an agreement. In the end, SNY doesn’t have much leverage in the matter and may be at the mercy of ESPN and the AAC.
“We’re just sitting on the sidelines waiting on the call to really understand what the next step would be,” Morgenstern said. “Clearly, if we’re left out of that, that’s not good for the fans. That’s what we strive to do, is put a service out there that satisfies what the fans want. But we just don’t know how it’s going to play out.”
Habst added this isn’t a change UConn or Husky fans want to take without SNY still in the mix. “We do not want our amazing Husky fan lifestyle disrupted. Period.”
Lachlan Murdoch: ‘FOX Bet Has Been Disappointing’
“In a recent interview, he told Axios that the app has around 6.5 million users since its launch.”
FOX is the only network to have a stake in the sports betting industry. The network partnered with FanDuel to launch FOX Bet in 2019. So far, FOX CEO Lachlan Murdoch has not been pleased with the results.
In a recent interview, he told Axios that the app has around 6.5 million users since its launch. He called the performance thus far “disappointing.”
Sports betting is a crowded marketplace. It is possible that players are watching games on FOX and seeing advertisements for the betting app, but are choosing to trust their experience to companies like FanDuel, DraftKings, Caesars, and other companies that are more commonly associated with gambling.
Murdoch believes that a dispute with FanDuel owner Flutter has set FOX Bet back. The two companies have been involved in a standoff over who owns which aspects of FOX Bet and what price FOX is obligated to pay in order to acquire an 18.6% stake in FanDuel. Murdoch says everything “should be resolved by the summer.”
In March, Bloomberg reported that the app is struggling to find new players. FOX Bet is one of the betting partners of the NFL and can advertise its services during games in the fall, but its potential is hindered by only being available to bettors in four states.
Online Sports Betting Not Happening In Maryland In 2022
“Some state regulators had expressed optimism at one point that online sports betting in Maryland would go live by the end of this year or in time for next year’s Super Bowl.”
Online sports betting in Maryland appears to have no shot of happening this year due mainly to the fact that the state’s oversight committee on sports wagering is hung up on how to bring women and minority-owned businesses into the fold.
The Maryland Sports Wagering Application Review Committee (SWARC) is currently awaiting results of a disparity study by the Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency.
Some state regulators had expressed optimism at one point that online sports betting in Maryland would go live by the end of this year or in time for next year’s Super Bowl. But given where SWARC is, the whole process is being held up to the point that it’ll likely be later in 2023 before residents can use their phones to place bets.
It’s been just over a year since Governor Larry Hogan signed legislation that legalized sports betting in the state. Since then, five casinos in the state have opened retail sportsbooks.
The casinos have handled more than $132 million in bets since December. $26.9 million in wagers were placed in April alone.
Media Reacts To Nick Saban’s Comments On Texas A&M, Jackson State
“Saban’s comments and the ensuing rebuttals will be used to fuel content on sports television and radio through the offseason and likely beyond.”
Nick Saban had some choice words about recruiting in the NIL era on Wednesday night. The Alabama head coach didn’t just voice frustrations with the process. He called out three schools specifically for using Name, Image and Likeness payments to create an advantage for themselves in recruiting.
He said that Texas A&M, which signed the top-ranked recruiting class in 2022 according to a number of outlets “bought every player on their team.”
He said that Jackson State gave a player $1 million to come to the school. “It was in the paper,” he said. “They bragged about it! Nobody did anything about it.”
It is likely that he was talking about defensive back Travis Hunter, widely regarded as one of the five best players in the class of 2022. It should be noted that Jackson State Coach Deion Sanders has been adamant that Hunter did not receive a dime from the school or anyone else.
The comments created plenty of content on sports radio on Thursday.
Jimbo Fischer, the head coach of Texas A&M took the story to a new level with a press conference of his own in which he cryptically encouraged people to “dig into” Saban’s career history.
The commentary in the sports media came in all kinds of forms. Plenty took to Twitter to express an opinion.
Others used the feud to create comedy.
Finally, others did actual reporting. they made phone calls to get context and further the story.
The coaches may be relatively quiet in public for a while. That doesn’t mean the stories and reactions are going away. Saban’s comments and the ensuing rebuttals will be used to fuel content on sports television and radio through the offseason and likely beyond.