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Sinclair RSNs Will Owe More Than They Get Back For Unplayed Games

“Broadcasting & Cable spoke to Wells Fargo’s Steve Cahill about the financial implications for Sinclair. Cahill doesn’t think that the broadcasting conglomerate will get back an overwhelming amount of money.”

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Sinclair bet big on its sports future when it purchased the FOX regional sports networks that the Walt Disney Company was forced to by the Justice Department to divest. Sinclair followed up those acquisitions by launching Marquee in conjunction with the Chicago Cubs. Turns out, those bets have gone bust, at least in the short term.

With no live sports for the last four months, there has been a lot of speculation on the rebates leagues and teams will owe broadcast partners. Many contracts stipulate that refunds are owed in the event a specific number of live games are not played. Given that those RSNs own the TV rights to more than 40 professional teams across the NHL, NBA, and Major League Baseball, it is safe to assume a lot of that rebate money is heading Sinclair’s way.

Broadcasting & Cable spoke to Wells Fargo’s Steve Cahill about the financial implications for Sinclair. Cahill doesn’t think that the broadcasting conglomerate will get back an overwhelming amount of money.

“Cahall figures that Diamond pays about $1.9 billion in sports rights, 62% of those going to baseball teams. Diamond will get no money back from the NHL teams, minimal money from the NBA teams and a good chunk from baseball teams, which are playing just 60 games in this shortened season, fewer than the 142 games they promised to MVPDs.”

His estimation is that Sinclair and Diamond (the company’s sports subsidiary) will get back somewhere in the neighborhood of $693 million. That is nothing to scoff at, but Cahill doesn’t believe it will cover the refund it will owe cable providers.

“According to Cahall, only the largest distributors get rebates from Diamond’s networks, which will deliver about 64% of the games they contracted for, resulting in an $823 million rebate to the MVPDs.”

That would put Sinclair about $130 million in the red for 2020.

It’s hard to guess how these moves will effect the average sports fan. $823 million is a large number, but when it is divided amongst every cable subscriber that receives a Sinclair RSN, all of which have different carriage fees for cable and satellite companies, it is hard to imagine the average subscriber gets more than a $5 – $10 rebate.

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Sunday Night Baseball Viewership Up On ESPN

“Telecasts are averaging 1.73 million viewers.”

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The first month of the 2022 MLB regular season has concluded and ESPN is celebrating an uptick in viewership for Sunday Night Baseball.

The network announced on Tuesday that viewership for Sunday Night Baseball is up 4% compared to this time last year. In addition to that, compared to the 2020 full season average, ratings are up 40%.

Telecasts are averaging 1.73 million viewers. The Dodgers/Cubs game on May 8 averaged 1.781 million and peaked at over 2.1 million viewers during the 8-8:15 p.m. window.

Karl Ravech, Eduardo Perez and David Cone comprise the Sunday Night Baseball broadcast booth, with Buster Olney contributing reports.

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Nickelodeon Gets Christmas Day NFL Game

“This will be the network’s first regular season game.”

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The NFL’s Christmas triple header will include a little slime this year. The afternoon game between the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams and Denver Broncos will be simulcast on CBS and Nickelodeon.

Nickelodeon has ramped up its NFL presence each year since 2020. The network has aired a kid-friendly broadcast of a Wild Card Round playoff game each of the last two seasons. Last year’s tile between the 49ers and Cowboys drew an audience of 41 million.

Before the start of last season, the studio show NFL Slimetime debuted. This will be the network’s first regular season game.

Kickoff is set for 4:30 pm Eastern on Christmas Day. No details of what Nickelodeon’s coverage may include are available yet. Nate Burleson, Noah Eagle and Nickelodeon star Gabrielle Nevaeh Green have been on the call of the network’s previous NFL broadcasts.

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Kentucky Derby Rebounds With 16 Million Viewers

“The Derby saw its best numbers since 2019 on Saturday. The audience peaked at 19 million.”

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The Kentucky Derby has now eclipsed 15 million viewers in each of the last eight years that the event was not effected by the Covid-19 Pandemic. An average audience of 16 million tuned in Saturday to see longshot Rich Strike win the first leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown.

The Derby saw its best numbers since 2019 on Saturday. The audience peaked at 19 million.

During the weekend, the event kept finding new life on social media. According to an NBC Sports press release, the overhead shot of the final call drew big audiences across a number of the network’s digital platforms, having been viewed in total more than 36 million times.

Peacock also cashed in on the event’s success. The streaming platform posted an average minute audience of over 247,000 viewers during the Kentucky Derby.

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