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Bomani Jones Says NBA Deserves Scrutiny, Leeway In Season Restart

“Throughout this segment, Jones did bring up the importance of balance whenever social issues come up in sports.”

Ricky Keeler

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We are about two weeks away from the start of the NBA season when the Utah Jazz and the New Orleans Pelicans will square off in Orlando, Florida (6:30 p.m ET, TNT). While the spotlight will be on the games itself, a lot of people in the sports media industry are going to pay close attention to how these games are televised and produced.

On the latest episode of The Right Time with Bomani Jones, Jones spent a segment talking about how the NBA games need to be treated with the same level of scrutiny as a television show and how it is ironic that he is saying this.

“In the end, what they are producing is a television show. These basketball games are a television show and you got to figure it out with this emphasis on these matters and how to make a good television show around that,” said Jones referring to the emphasis that is put on Black Lives Matter.

“You cannot be in a situation if you are the league where an adherence to amplifying the cause becomes bigger than the television show itself. That’s not going to work. That’s going to be a problem.”

There is a lot of uncertainty as to how the NBA will incorporate addressing social issues during the game itself. While Jones said he did not know the middle ground, he did say that they need to keep the larger cause in mind when thinking about what they want to do.

“I hope the NBA is careful in the way they do it. I don’t know the middle ground. Where is the space that is effective, but is not corny overkill. They need to be concerned about this if they are really concerned about the larger cause in the way that they say…This is ambitious what they are saying what they want to do. I will give them grace if they get it wrong. I don’t need to slam them for getting it wrong, but you have to get it right.”

Throughout this segment, Jones did bring up the importance of balance whenever social issues come up in sports. He mentioned how when discussing what to talk about, he does realize that just because someone agrees with him on an issue, that does not mean it should be talked about all the time.

“We can’t come out here running an NPR program. You as a listener, even those of you who agree with me on a lot of these matters, you are not sticking around for that all the time. That’s not what you want.” 

Jones did bring up a good example of that balance when he talked about when he was co-hosting High Noon with Pablo Torre. When they were planning out a topic on social issues, Jones knew that the content was important to get the viewer to stay with the program.

“If we want to go here, we can’t be a little bit good. We have to be very good or great if we are going to go in these directions. I have to feel very confident that it is a piece of content that is worthwhile and that will stick with you. That’s what I feel about the NBA.”

The NBA is going to be under the microscope for many different reasons if the season does start on time and the eye of the viewer will not only be on the product on the court, but also how the game is produced and televised since there will be no fans at the game in-person. 

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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