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Long Gone Summer Debuts With Low Ratings

“Long Gone Summer debuted to an audience of less than 800,000.”

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When ESPN announced three new 30 for 30 documentaries dropping in the aftermath of The Last Dance, the network probably assumed it would be saving its biggest hit for last. Well, the ratings are in for Long Gone Summer, and that is most certainly not the case.

The documentary about the 1998 home run chase between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa was met with middling reviews. Whether or not that played a role is unknown, but audiences were not enthusiastic to tune in on Sunday night. Long Gone Summer debuted to an audience of less than 800,000.

Austin Karp of Sports Business Journal pointed out that kind of debut puts Long Gone Summer in the same category as 2010’s Unmatched and 2013’s Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau.

Long Gone Summer fell short of the other two 30 for 30 films to debut in recent weeks. The debut of Lance drew an audience of 857,000. Be Water, the documentary about Bruce Lee was the surprising winner in the group, debuting with an audience of nearly 1.2 million. That is the biggest audience for a 30 for 30 premier since 2018.

Sports TV News

ESPN Reaches Extension To Remain Home of Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest

“It’s a sports calendar and Fourth of July staple, one of those classic, timeless events we know fans look forward to every year.”

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ESPN and the International Federation of Competitive Eating have agreed to a deal that will see the network remain the home of the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest on the 4th of July.

The Major League Eating contest has aired on the network since 2004. The new contract will see the event take place on ESPN through the 2029 event.

“You can’t beat the spectacle that is the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest,” said ESPN Director of Programming & Acquisitions John Suchenski. “It’s a sports calendar and Fourth of July staple, one of those classic, timeless events we know fans look forward to every year. It has had memorable moments over the years, and we’re ecstatic that many more will be on our platforms for the foreseeable future.”

The event has risen to prominence during its tenure with the Disney-owned network, seeing the rivalry between Takeru Kobayashi and Joey Chestnut grow into one of national prominence. The rivalry even sparked an ESPN documentary on the subject. Chestnut has grown into an American celebrity for his performance during the contest, winning his 15th mustard-yellow belt in 2022.

“We’re thrilled to extend our agreement with ESPN and ensure that viewers will continue to join in this great July Fourth tradition. ESPN is a fantastic broadcast partner and they capture the spirit of the event perfectly.”

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Sports TV News

Patrick Reed Lawsuit Against Golf Media Members Dismissed

The judge dismissed Reed’s case and claimed it was a “shotgun pleading” that did not support the accusations levied against the media members.

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LIV Golfer Patrick Reed saw his defamation lawsuit against several golf media members dismissed by a federal judge last week.

Reed originally sued Golf Channel and analyst Brandel Chamblee in August, alleging more than $750 million in damages after Reed claimed “personal attacks” from the network and analyst had “harmed his performance”.

Also included in his lawsuit was PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan. He later added FOX Sports and The New York Post, writer Shane Ryan, and Doug Ferguson of the Associated Press to the list of those he believed had defamed him.

The judge dismissed Reed’s case and claimed it was a “shotgun pleading” that did not support the accusations levied against the media members.

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Sports TV News

Darren Rovell: ESPN Should be Worried About the Rise of Tech Giants in Sports Streaming Space

“I’ve always thought that Apple and Netflix and all these guys would be deeper into sports than they are now, even Amazon.”

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Darren Rovell

The wheel keeps turning for tech giants Apple, Amazon and Netflix, as the companies continue to either build up their portfolio of live sports offerings or finally break into the space. Darren Rovell of The Action Network believes while those big three companies flex their financial muscles and show interest in being partners with the NFL, NBA, MLB and others, ESPN and its parent company Disney should be a little worried.

It has been widely reported that Apple has a blank checkbook and would like to add more live sports to its Apple TV+ platform. Meanwhile Amazon is shelling out billions for the rights to Thursday Night Football and has been linked to media rights talks with power five college football conferences like the Big Ten and Pac-12.

“Disney cash flow does not compete to them, that’s where I thought ESPN was open,” Rovell told Benzinga. “I’m surprised it took so long for them to get into it.”

Apple became partners with MLB ahead of the 2022 season, and Apple TV+ hosted exclusive weekly doubleheaders throughout the recent campaign. The NFL has been shopping around rights to its Sunday Ticket service, which will be leaving DirecTV after this season, and Apple has reportedly shown interest in acquiring those rights. In 2023 the company will be the exclusive home to Major League Soccer, with every game being available on Apple TV.

Netflix doesn’t have any live sports offerings, but the company has been flirting with the idea. Rovell said he wasn’t sure which tech giant would come out on top in terms of sports.

“I thought it would be Apple, but Amazon is showing that they will be,” he said. “I think Amazon is the number one in the driver’s seat of being a non-traditional outlet that will step it up in sports.”

Darren added that it’s been a slow burn in terms of sports live streaming.

“I’ve always thought that Apple and Netflix and all these guys would be deeper into sports than they are now, even Amazon,” he said.

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