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Manfred Unhappy With Broadcasters Working For Teams

“According to Manfred’s comments, it seems like the commissioner would prefer for both Martinez and Mendoza to choose between working as a journalist or a team official.”

Brandon Contes

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Last month, Pedro Martinez and Jessica Mendoza both criticized MLB pitcher Mike Fiers for his role in exposing the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal. Speaking as media members, there is no issue with the opinion, but doubling as paid baseball team officials caused some concern, including from MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred.

Both Martinez and Mendoza were criticized for their comments as their dual roles were highlighted. Martinez works as an analyst for TBS and MLB Network, while also serving as a special assistant to the Boston Red Sox. Mendoza is both an ESPN employee and baseball operations adviser to the New York Mets. The Red Sox and Mets lost their managers this offseason because of the scandal and were mulling those decisions while Martinez and Mendoza spoke out against Fiers. 

“Jessica was speaking as an ESPN analyst, not as a spokesperson for the Mets,” Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said shortly after Mendoza’s comments about Fiers. “I have not had the opportunity to speak with her yet.”

According to The New York Post’s Ken Davidoff, Commissioner Rob Manfred discussed Martinez and Mendoza following the MLB Owners’ Meetings in Orlando, FL. Manfred said he had not spoken to either of them about their public opinions of Fiers. 

“In what mode they were speaking, whether they were speaking as journalists or club employees, I think we were satisfied that their comments were being made in their role as journalists,” Manfred said. “And anybody that we have a relationship with, we don’t really try to control what they say in that role as media person. So the short answer is no, we do not reach out.”

But as far as whether or not Manfred is comfortable with people being able to speak as both journalists and MLB team officials, the commissioner leans on the side of not.

“Let me give you a short answer on that one: No. I’m not all that comfortable with it. I’m really not,” Manfred said according to Davidoff. “But it’s a topic that remains under discussion internally. As you know, it causes a lot of complications, not just on this particular incident or comments, but in general.”

Martinez signed a multiyear contract with TBS prior to the 2019 season and is unlikely to depart the media anytime soon. Mendoza also signed a multiyear agreement before the 2019 season with ESPN, although unrelated, it appears her role on their Sunday Night Baseball broadcast could be coming to an end.

According to Manfred’s comments, it seems like the commissioner would prefer for both Martinez and Mendoza to choose between working as a journalist or a team official.

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here

Sports TV News

The NFL Still Considering Multiple Offers For Sunday Ticket

The NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has not bid for the package but has stated it is willing to partner with the new rightsholder for a potential deal.

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Sunday Ticket Negotiations

DirecTV currently has the rights to Sunday Ticket. That deal expires at the end of this upcoming football season. The NFL is expected to make a boatload of cash when they decide which media organization gets the next rights to the package. The only question is… who will that be?

Alex Sherman of CNBC reports that the NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has decided not bid for the package. However, they are interested in partnering with the new rightsholder for a potential deal. DirecTV knows that Sunday Ticket is a staple in bars and restaurants and is interested in maintaining those relationships.

Outside of the bar/restaurant industry, success has been limited for the satellite provider with the football package. Fewer than two million subscribers signed up for Sunday Ticket each year which made the package a money-loser for the satellite TV provider.

According to the report, the NFL wants more than $2 billion for the rights and a stake in NFL Media, which is being packaged with Sunday Ticket. Also on the table is the NFL’s mobile rights. The league’s previous mobile agreement with Verizon has ended.

An interesting piece of the negotiations is Sunday Ticket price. According to the report, a buyer would have limited flexibility on pricing. The NFL signed contracts with CBS and Fox and within the framework of those deals, language mandates Sunday Ticket have a premium price. That’s to prevent loss of viewers from the networks that feature local market Sunday afternoon games. So essentially, the price is the price for the consumer.

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Sports TV News

F1 Renews With ESPN For U.S. Media Rights

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

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F1 ESPN

The racing series F1 has decided to stick with ESPN through 2025.

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

The reported value of the three-year contract is set to pay F1 $75-90M per year for the U.S. media rights. Amazon had offered to pay roughly $100M per year, with the right to sublicense to a linear broadcast network. Comcast’s offer was similar to ESPN’s in terms of value and the structure. They also wanted to put select races on it’s streaming service, Peacock.

Netflix was in on the negotiations, as well. The makers of Drive to Survive, the streaming series that many credit with the sport’s explosion in popularity in recent years, wasn’t close on on their financial offer. Also, it seems F1 executives were not ready to put all of its races on a streaming service just yet.

Currently, F1 receives $5M per year for ESPN to broadcast it’s races. ESPN has grabbed about 1.0 million viewers per race. That makes F1 a more than viable option for the network to invest into again. ESPN will be able to put a small number of races on its ESPN+ streaming service exclusively. The vast majority being on ABC or ESPN.

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Sports TV News

Skip Bayless Says He And Stephen A. Smith ‘Sorted Out’ Their Disagreement

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

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Skip Bayless

Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless were locked in a war of words last week following the First Take host’s appearance on JJ Redick’s Old Man and the Three podcast.

The origins of their partnership were discussed and Bayless admitted he did not like the way Smith characterized the state of First Take before he arrived on set. Smith insisted that Bayless simply misunderstood what he meant by saying that he was told the show needed him.

Over the weekend, Skip Bayless says he and Stephen A. Smith got together at the Bayless home in California to talk things out in private.

“He was in LA, he came over, we sat by the pool,” he said on the latest episode of The Skip Bayless Show. “It wasn’t the easiest conversation for a while, but we slowly but surely sorted it out. We got through it, and we have been through so much together.”

Bayless reiterated that he considers Smith a brother. They love each other. That doesn’t mean they are always going to remember events the same way or see eye-to-eye all the time.

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

Fighting doesn’t mean the relationship is fractured. In fact, Skip Bayless was adamant that he remains closer to Smith than he is to most people in his life.

“I don’t trust easily because of the way I was raised, but I do trust Stephen Anthony Smith. Trust him with my life. Always have and always will. I trust he will always be there for me, and you better believe I will always be there for him.”

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