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DirecTV Reportedly Unlikely To Keep Sunday Ticket

“Whoever ends up with NFL Sunday Ticket, the only sure thing is probably that the price is going to skyrocket.”

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We may soon find out just how valuable out of market NFL games are. John Ourand of Sports Business Journal reports that NFL Sunday Ticket is likely to hit the open market in the next round of NFL media negotiations.

“DirecTV pays an average of $1.5 billion per year for an exclusive deal that ends after the 2022 regular season,” Ourand writes. “The NFL currently is negotiating a new deal, and sources say that DirecTV has showed tepid interest, at best. Right now, it seems virtually certain that DirecTV will not have the out-of-market package exclusively. Sources say it is likely that DirecTV will take a pass on the package altogether.”

The future of NFL Sunday Ticket is certainly going to be interesting. Is the NFL considering one broadcast and one streaming partner for out of market games? Is it considering splitting the games in half and forcing fans to pay for two different packages to get every game?

Plenty of suitors are expected to step forward and Ourand reports that all of the expected streaming giants are ready to bid. The NFL already has a relationship with Amazon. Disney could use an NFL Sunday Ticket ticket deal for ESPN+ to lure a Super Bowl to ABC in the event it is shut out on picking up a second TV package. Other possibilities include Peacock and Apple TV+.

Jay Rigdon of Awful Announcing floats an interesting idea for a landing spot. DirecTV has always marketed itself as a cable alternative. Could NFL Sunday Ticket end up at a 21st century cable alternative like YouTubeTV? The service did add a premium sports tier last year that includes the Red Zone channel.

Whoever ends up with NFL Sunday Ticket, the only sure thing is probably that the price is going to skyrocket. ESPN pays $2 billion for Monday Night Football alone. Sure, that price also gets the network wall-to-wall highlights, the NFL Draft, and the Pro Bowl, but even all of that should cost considerably less than every single out-of-market game and something like NFL Red Zone.

Sports TV News

Al Michaels: Condensed Prep Time For Thursday Night Football ‘A Downside’

“It’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us.”

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There were bound to be unexpected hiccups and unintended consequences as Al Michaels moved to Thursday Night Football with Amazon Prime Video.

He told The Boston Globe Thursday that one of the downsides of the week’s schedule is less prep time with the teams playing in the game.

“When we go to see the teams, it’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us,” Michaels said. “And all the time I’ve been doing this, I’ve built some great relationships with coaches and players and GMs and owners and you name it, and I don’t get that much time to spend with them anymore. That’s a downside part of it for me. Some of the best stories you get come from those relationships.”

Michaels has raised eyebrows this season while not being shy about his disdain for some poor matchups early in the schedule. However, he now understands that there are quality games as the season approaches its close.

“The schedule was a little leaky with the Carolina-Atlanta game and a couple of other games that we’ve had, but now we’re positioned for a nice run down the stretch,” said Michaels.

The 78-year-old was also asked how he remains energetic and passionate for the job he’s held for so long.

The games are exciting. I love sports. You don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s no script. And unscripted television is the greatest.”

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Sports TV News

Jimmy Pitaro: Reaching Younger Audience A Priority for ESPN

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience. As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

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Many in the media industry have voice concern that millennials and Gen Z aren’t consuming traditional media outlets like previous generations. ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said it’s a priority for the network.

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience,” Pitaro said, quoted by Morning Consult sports business reporter Mark J. Burns. “As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

Pitaro made the comments at Sports Business Journal’s Media Innovators conference Wednesday. It is a continuation of comments he has made in recent years.

In 2018, Pitaro said at ESPN’s upfront “I think we are doing a fantastic job serving the sports fanatic,” said Pitaro. “What about the casual sports customer? Are we doing all we can to serve him or her?”.

In 2019, Pitaro said it was “all hands on deck” to reach a younger audience and women. “We have to be open and go to where our customers are,” he said in regards to reaching younger viewers on social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

Earlier this year, Pitaro added that ESPN won’t be leaving linear television anytime soon.

“What I will tell you is that as I sit here right now, that business is still incredible,” Pitaro said. “We serve the sports fan anyway and at any time. I know there are a lot of people that still want ESPN in that traditional ecosystem.”

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Sports TV News

Don Mattingly Joining Blue Jays Staff After YES Network Courtship

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

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The New York Yankees regional sports network can take Don Mattingly off its talent wish list. Mattingly was announced Wednesday as a bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays starting in 2023.

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

But Mattingly told Andrew Marchand of The New York Post this week that he had another opportunity in the works but wouldn’t elaborate.

YES also has been considering luring Yankees legend and Hall of Famer Derek Jeter into broadcasting. But no formal talks have taken place.

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