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NHL Presses Pause On TV Rights Negotiations

“John Ourand and Terry Lefton of SBJ report that the NHL would like to be in business with two networks. It is the only one of America’s four major sports leagues that does not currently have a split national TV package.”

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The NHL will not continue negotiating a new television contract until the end of 2020 according to a report from Sports Business Journal. The league’s current deal with NBC is set to expire after the 2021 Stanley Cup Finals.

Just how valuable the NHL is as a television property will have a lot to do with the NFL. The league has re-upped with Amazon for digital rights, but the NFL’s linear TV partners (CBS, ESPN, FOX, and NBC) are all still waiting and all are willing to spend money to stay in the professional football business.

In addition to NBC, both ESPN and FOX has expressed interest in the NHL’s TV rights. How much any of those three networks would be willing to spend is largely going to depend on how much they are forced to spend to keep the NFL.

Joe Lucia of Awful Announcing says there may be more competition. He suggests that CBS could be a contender after losing the TV rights to the SEC’s top football game every Saturday. He writes that the network “bolstered their sports content with last fall’s surprising pickup of the rights for the UEFA Champions League, beginning in the fall of 2021. The NHL likely wouldn’t be too thrilled with games on CBS Sports Network or CBS All-Access, but weekend games in the winter on CBS’s broadcast network would be an interesting outcome.”

John Ourand and Terry Lefton of SBJ report that the NHL would like to be in business with two networks. It is the only one of America’s four major sports leagues that does not currently have a split national TV package.

Cash is very much at the center of the NHL’s decision, but there are multiple reasons. First, the league is going to let the NFL set the market for live sports. If a network pays less than expected for the NFL, the NHL could be the beneficiary. The NHL is also likely also hoping networks have more money to spend by the end of the year than they have right now after being hit hard by the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Sports TV News

Former Hulu Exec Michael Schneider Hired To Run Bally Sports+

“Schneider previously was VP of brand and content marketing at Hulu, where he had involvement in various marketing efforts for Hulu + Live TV.”

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Sinclair Broadcast Group and Diamond Sports Group have tapped Michael Schneider as the chief operating officer and general manager of Bally Sports+ when it launches this year.

Schneider will oversee the direct-to-consumer platform that will also be the hub for Bally Sports live programming.

Schneider previously was VP of brand and content marketing at Hulu, where he had involvement in various marketing efforts for Hulu + Live TV.

“Throughout his career, Michael has successfully launched and developed DTC streaming and service platforms and created immersive engagement experiences,” said Sinclair COO and president of broadcast Rob Weisbord. “He is a terrific addition to the team as we build out the Bally Sports+ offering, its exclusive content and passionate fan community.”

Even before Hulu, Schneider had a hand in streaming. He was a founding member of the PlayStation Vue launch team.

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Sports TV News

Marquee Sports Network Weighs Streaming Options Outside of Bally Sports+

“Marquee GM Mike McCarthy said to Sports Business Journal there’s no rush, but the network is hopeful they can have something in time for the 2023 season.”

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As Sinclair Broadcast Group prepares to launch Bally Sports+, its direct-to-consumer platform that will be home to Bally Sports live events, the Chicago Cubs are weighing their options for Marquee Sports Network, which the team co-owns with Sinclair.

Despite being under the Sinclair umbrella, Marquee is its own free-standing RSN from the rest of the Bally Sports networks across the country.

Marquee is readily available on a number of cable providers, but the only thing that’s really missing is its own standalone streaming platform for games. Marquee GM Mike McCarthy said to Sports Business Journal there’s no rush, but the network is hopeful they can have something in time for the 2023 season.

“We’re always interested in being on the cutting edge with the ultimate deliverable to our consumer,” McCarthy said. “But there isn’t any contractual clock ticking to make us feel that way. It’s how we’ve approached things from the beginning. Between our two ownership groups, there’s a lot of aggression to get it right. And I think you’ll see something along those lines shortly.”

The TV ratings will always be of top interest for MLB, especially regional ratings. But as the league has worked to embrace more streaming options for games, striking deals with Apple and Peacock for rights this season, it’s all about providing what the fans and viewers want.

“We now have the ability to do so much more, to properly tell the story of a 162-game season,” said Crane Kenney, Chicago Cubs president of business operations. Kenney was instrumental in the launch of Marquee. “We love baseball, we love the game, and we love the opportunity we have to share it with our fans in really deep ways.”

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Sports TV News

Laura Rutledge Celebrates Chemistry Of NFL Live

“It is truly the absolute joy of my life to get their opinions and to sit with them every single day and hear what they have to say.”

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Laura Rutledge is very happy with where NFL Live is as the current lineup gets set to enter its third season together. She told The Big Lead that there is genuine chemistry between herself, Marcus Spears, Mina Kimes, and Dan Orlovsky and that is why she doesn’t feel the need to emulate any of sports television’s many debate shows.

“You don’t want to see people yelling at each other all the time and I’m really proud of the chemistry that we have struck and just letting that breathe on air and having so much fun. It is truly the absolute joy of my life to get their opinions and to sit with them every single day and hear what they have to say.”

The 2022 NFL season will have a very different feel for ESPN. The addition of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman for Monday Night Football adds new expectations to the network.

Rutledge said that the attention on the network means that she and her colleagues have to raise their respective games, but that shouldn’t be hard. There is always material to work with in this league.

“We’ve seen this offseason, we saw the previous offseason, how the NFL news cycle never stops. It’s funny because the news cycle becomes such a big piece of the story, but we’re like, we can’t wait for the games,” she said.

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