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Sports TV News

Sinclair Looking to Add Equity Stakes in Team Deals

The idea of offering equity stakes will help keep rights fees from increasing too high, Ripley said.

Kate Constable

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sports update

Sinclair is in the midst of negotiating RSN rights deals with MLB teams and the company has offered insight as to how these deals get done, as reported by John Ourand of Sports Business Journal.

The Brewers, recently signed a multi-year deal last week, and the Marlins, who are currently without a local TV deal are negotiating with Sinclair.

“We have binding term sheets for all the teams that we had near-term expirations on, which include the Brewers and the Marlins,” Sinclair President & CEO Chris Ripley said on his company’s earnings call on Wednesday. “Both included equity participation, which … we prefer because it variablizes more of the compensation, and aligns interest.”

The idea of offering equity stakes will help keep rights fees from increasing too high, Ripley said. “When you give a team equity consideration as part of the mix, it’s in lieu of cash fixed rights payments. It’s really just a rights payment, but in a different form and a different sort of risk return dynamic for them.”

It’s not surprise that the market for sports media has been difficult throughout the pandemic and Sinclair’s quarterly earnings report reflects that.

According to Octagon’s Dan Cohen, “delays in the 2021 NBA and NHL season openers resulted in a $46 million Q4 loss for Sinclair. Lost game inventory in 2020 also resulted in distributor rebates that ran to $420 million, “up $49 million from Q3 estimates.”

Sports TV News

3.72 Million Tune In To See LeBron James Break Scoring Record

Jordan Bondurant

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Getty Images

Lakers star LeBron James surpassed the NBA’s all-time scoring record on Tuesday night, and TNT benefitted from the milestone ratings wise.

According to Sports Media Watch, Tuesday night’s game averaged 2.98 million viewers. That figure made it TNT’s biggest regular season audience in over two years.

The broadcast peaked at 3.72 million around 11:45 p.m. when James passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the record.

Reporting also indicated that the game was the number one single-network program on TV in key demographics.

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Sports TV News

Disney Makes ESPN Independent Division In Corporate Restructuring

Jordan Bondurant

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ESPN

Disney is in the process of reorganizing and restructuring the company, and details have emerged about the company’s plans for ESPN.

Deadline reported on Wednesday that ESPN will be one of three standalone segments comprising Disney. Entertainment and Parks, Experiences & Products are the other two segments.

The reorganization comes amid the exit of former CEO Bob Chapek and the re-entry of CEO Bob Iger. As one of Iger’s first moves back running Disney, he announced a restructuring of Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution.

It was also reported that Jimmy Pitaro will continue as the president of ESPN.

In total, more than 7,000 jobs will be eliminated after the restructuring.

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Sports TV News

Roger Goodell: ‘Wouldn’t Surprise Me’ To See Thursday Night Football Move to Flex Scheduling

“Not today, but it’ll certainly be something that’s on our horizon.”

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Thursday Night Football

In 2023, Monday Night Football will join Sunday Night Football in having the ability to flex NFL games into its window. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday Night Football could someday join that elite club.

During his “State of the League” speech Wednesday, Goodell said Thursday Night Football having the ability to flex matchups “wouldn’t at all surprise me”.

“Not today, but it’ll certainly be something that’s on our horizon,” the NFL Commissioner said.

ESPN bargained for the ability to move higher profile games into Monday Night Football during its negotiations with the league for the next television contract that begins this upcoming season.

NBC has long held the ability to shift a select number of games from earlier windows into the Sunday Night Football primetime slot.

Amazon Prime Video just completed the first of an 11-year contract that sees the streaming platform spend nearly $1 billion per year on the Thursday Night Football package.

One of the largest storylines of Amazon’s debut season with the NFL was the near-constant ridicule from play-by-play announcer Al Michaels over the lackluster TNF schedule. Michaels made headlines over several weeks for his candor on the lack of interesting matchups, going as far as to joke that if the schedule didn’t improve he would retire.

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