Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley told investors that the company expects to receive a rebate from some major sports leagues as a result of games missed during the Covid-19 pandemic.
During the company’s quarterly earnings call, Ripley referenced the minimum number of games each team must deliver according to the rights agreement they signed with Sinclair. He noted that any rebates are typically given at the end of each league’s season.
“While we believe that sports will come back this year and be in high demand, at this time the leagues have not indicated when games will resume. Therefore, we do not know where we will end up in relation to the game delivery minimum,” Ripley said according to Mike Farrell of Multichannel News. “Keep in mind that the NHL and NBA regular seasons were almost complete when the seasons were suspended, so shortfalls in those weeks if any should be minor.”
Each Major League Baseball team’s agreement with their regional cable partner is different, but typically guarantees the network 120-150 games in a season.
ESPN recently reported that Major League Baseball has laid the foundation for a deal between the players and the owners to restart the season. If the regular season were to begin on July 4, it is likely we get 80-100 games for each team.
“We think we’re likely going to be headed into a situation where there [are] rebates,” Ripley told investors. “We won’t know the magnitude of those until we get more clarity on when the games will be played and how many will be played. What we will do is update our guidance once we have a clear picture — my guess is that will be the next quarter — and from there you’ll be able to tell what the impact is.”
Sinclair purchased the 21 FOX regional sports networks Disney was forced to divest in order to close its acquisition of 21st Century FOX. Sinclair also owns stakes in the YES Network, the Tennis Channel, and the recently launched Marquee Sports Network.
FOX Will Use Chris Fallica On Belmont Stakes Coverage
“While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.”
The Bear will be more than just a college football presence when he moves to FOX. Chris Fallica wrapped his final duties for ESPN last week and is now headed to a new network and will tackle some new responsibilities.
Fallica’s new role at FOX will involve plenty of sports gambling content. Richard Deitsch of The Athletic reports that content will include horse racing.
“One Fox Sports source said look for him to appear on the Belmont Stakes coverage,” Deitsch wrote in his weekly media column.
Starting in 2023, horse racing’s Triple Crown will not be seen all in one place. While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.
How the network intends to use Chris Fallica on the broadcast is not clear. Given that he is coming to the network to contribute to gambling conversations, it is likely he would either be making picks or at least reviewing odds right up to the start of the race.
NBCUniversal CEO Expects Disney To Buy Company’s Hulu Stake
“Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal.”
The Walt Disney Company owns 67% of Hulu. The other 33% is owned by NBCUniversal. The latter company doesn’t expect that to be the case forever.
“It’s worth a lot of money,” NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said at an investor conference earlier this week, “and I think there’s no indication that anything else is going to happen than Disney writing us a big check.”
Hulu is primarily a platform for movies and television shows. It is a major part of Disney’s deal with the NHL though. The streaming giant is part of the package of 103 games that are exclusive to ESPN and ABC. Hulu is also a live TV provider for many. The company’s Hulu Plus Live TV package had over 4 million subscribers as of the summer of 2022.
Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal. He credits sports and content migrated from Hulu as the reason Peacock has grown to 18 million paid subscriptions since September.
Deadline reports that if Disney does want to acquire NBCUniversal’s stake in Hulu, “the price could fluctuate but will be in the tens of billions of dollars.”
Greg Olsen Believes He and Kevin Burkhardt Can Handle Games ‘On Any Stage’
“Obviously, the bosses get paid a lot to make hard decisions. You have to obviously do what your bosses decide. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”
“If you’re asking me, I think Kevin and I have shown that we can handle a game on any stage – on any day. We just did it on Thanksgiving. We’ll do it again around Christmas. And obviously throughout the [NFL] Playoffs,” said Olsen. “So whatever decision they make. Obviously, the bosses get paid a lot to make hard decisions. You have to obviously do what your bosses decide. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
“But as of now, I anticipate Kevin and I, the two of us, with Erin and Tom down on the sidelines, the four of us, broadcasting the Super Bowl in February in Arizona. Until I’m told otherwise, that’s how we’re proceeding.”
Olsen also told FOS he has negotiated a new contract with FOX Sports, but declined to share details. He is slated to be replaced on the top broadcast crew once Tom Brady ends his playing career. Brady will then begin a 10-year, $375 million contract to serve as the network’s top NFL game analyst and brand ambassador.