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NBCSN Very Happy With Timing Of Pulisic’s Return

“In addition to patriotism, Bennett expects Americans will follow Pulisic because there is something familiar about the way he plays soccer.”

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The Premier League is in a great position to see its US audience grow. England’s top soccer league beat the NBA, NHL and MLS back to the field. That means sports-starved Americans are more likely than ever before to flip over to NBC Sports Network to watch a game.

Roger Bennett of the popular Men in Blazers podcast was on The Rich Eisen Show on Monday and said that those Americans may be more inclined to watch a Premier League match now that the biggest soccer star the US has to offer is back on the pitch. Christian Pulisic has been injured since the beginning of the year. The young American rejoined his Chelsea teammates on Sunday and made an immediate impact.

“What’s remarkable is he didn’t start and (he) came into the game when his team was one down…in the 55th minute. Within four minutes, he made a run to the far post, jabbed the ball home — his seventh (goal) of the season,” Bennett told Eisen. “From an American football perspective, he’s our lord and savior. From a world football perspective, he’s just another good player fighting for minutes.”

Bennett is right to point out that Pulisic’s star power doesn’t shine as brightly around the world as it does in the United States. Even domestically, there are plenty of sports fans that might recognize the name, but not know who exactly Christian Pulisic is. That undoubtedly has a lot to do with the US Men’s National Team failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

In addition to patriotism, Bennett expects Americans will follow Pulisic because there is something familiar about the way he plays soccer.

“When you watch him play, he plays a little bit like a point guard in the NBA. Just finding slivers of space, changing pace, incredible bursts of speed, and really hurt opponents.”

Certainly no one at NBC or the Premier League is going to bat their eyes at a little more star power, but it may be fair to wonder just how much Pulisic really matters. The lack of options has already made international soccer more popular with American gamblers than ever before, and in terms of popularity, Pulisic didn’t even crack the top 20 in a recent survey of Premier League fans. The Premiership’s real star power rests in Liverpool’s Mo Salah and Pulisic’s Chelsea teammate N’Golo Kante.

Still, NBC has multiple billions invested in the Premier League. The company owns Great Britain’s cable sports network Sky, so while some of those costs can be deferred, anything that brings more American eyeballs to NBCSN’s broadcasts and creates better numbers to show potential advertisers is likely welcome.

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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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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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FOX Sports VP: ‘USFL Proves Spring Football As Valuable As Rising Properties’

“We want to show we belong in that category, and I think that happened.”

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Michael Mulvihill says the USFL accomplished exactly what FOX needed it to. It proved there is a large enough audience for spring football that it has a value on par with some of the hottest properties in sports media right now.

 “All we wanted to do is demonstrate that spring football can do viewership at the levels of Premier League, NHL regular season, Formula One or MLS,” the FOX Sports Executive VP said according to Sports Business Journal. “We want to show we belong in that category, and I think that happened.”

While none of those properties are pulling in the kind of media rights money the NFL or major college football is, Mulvihill pointed out that all of them have been in the news for the right reasons.

“You’re talking about properties that have all recently negotiated deals at substantial increases, or with F1, people know it’s about to.”

The USFL had a solid broadcasting footprint with games airing on FOX, NBC, FS1 and USA. Regular season games for the first year of the revived league averaged just under 700,000 viewers.

Mulvihill said fans behaved exactly how he expected them to in the first season of the USFL. Without any team loyalties, he isn’t surprised that people watched less of an average USFL game than they did the NFL or college football.

The USFL Playoffs begin this weekend. Canton, OH will host the league’s first championship game on July 3.

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