It’s been rumored for months and now it’s about to be official, the NHL is returning to ESPN. Although both parties have declined comment, the partnership was first reported by Chris Johnston of Sportsnet, and later confirmed by The New York Post.
Financial terms were not announced, but ESPN and the NHL are believed to have reached a seven-year TV rights partnership beginning next season. From 2022-2028 ESPN will be one of the NHL’s rightsholders in a deal that expects to see the network carry four Stanley Cup Finals. It will be the first time since 2004 that an NHL game airs on linear television for ESPN.
In 2011, NBC and the NHL signed a 10-year contract worth $200 million annually. The NHL’s new media agreement is expected to be more lucrative, thanks in part to their deal with NBC Sports which did plenty to help the league grow. The Winter Classic, Hockey Week in America and nationally televising every Stanley Cup playoff game has seen the NHL regain some popularity in the U.S.
After previously selling their national TV package exclusively to one network, the NHL sought to split their broadcast rights this time around to maximize profits. Similarly, it would have been difficult for ESPN or NBC to afford exclusive rights to the NHL considering forthcoming NFL deals are expected to cost the networks at least $2 billion annually.
NBC has not been confirmed as the other media company involved in the NHL’s rights deal, but it is certainly in play to retain half the package which would include three Stanley Cups. Despite NBC being the favorite, FOX and CBS were also said to have interest in NHL rights when the league began ramping up negotiations last year.
Colin Cowherd Lets Listeners Decide If He Ever Talks About Baker Mayfield Again
“I am no longer captivated by Baker Mayfield topics.”
Colin Cowherd has been a critic of Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield ever since he was drafted in 2018, but Cowherd may be out of the Baker Mayfield business going forward.
The Fox Sports host put up a video on Twitter about his feelings on Mayfield, and gave his fans of the show a rare opportunity to control some content that he talks about on the show.
“I was watching Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson play on Sunday Night, and Lamar had four picks, and still won, I thought he was fascinating. Didn’t play well but I thought he was fascinating, and I thought, Baker is easily the second most interesting quarterback in this game,” said Cowherd. “He is 28-28 as a starter, I was clearly right about the argument, I am no longer captivated by Baker Mayfield topics.”
That led to Cowherd putting up a Twitter poll and leaving the decision about how to proceed in the listeners’ hands.
“People ask me why I still talk about Baker, and I thought you know what, you are right. That is why I am going to let you decide whether or not I talk about Baker ever again. At 8:30 Pacific I am putting up a poll on Twitter which will decide whether or not I talk about Baker going forward.”
Cowherd then said that if the poll says that he should stop talking about Mayfield, that he will be done regardless of the circumstances.
“If he goes on a 5 game win streak, he gets to the playoffs, the AFC Championship, the Super Bowl, I won’t be talking about him, you can’t have it both ways.”
The results of the poll showed that the fans no longer wanted Cowherd to talk about Mayfield, a result which seemed to be the obvious choice considering how often his name comes out of Cowherds mouth.
It remains to be seen whether or not Cowherd will honor this going forward. If the Browns were to make the Super Bowl I find it extremely hard to believe that it won’t be a topic on his show, but it will be good to hear no repetitive Baker Mayfield talk for at least a little while from him.
An NBA Manningcast With JJ Reddick & Draymond Green?
“I would be honored to sit in a room with a GOAT like yourself and talk basketball.”
With the overwhelming success that the Manningcast has been for Monday Night Football, other leagues and networks are looking to replicate ESPN’s and the Manning Brothers’ formula.
There may be some willing hosts for an NBA version of the show in JJ Redick and Draymond Green. Redick joined Green’s new podcast The Draymond Green Show on The Volume to talk about a potential partnership between the two in the future.
“I know you got a lot of basketball left in you, but a lot of people have said to me you and Draymond need to do a version of the Manning brothers Monday Night Football when Draymond is retired. Just keep that in mind when you retire in 5 or 6 years,” said Redick to Green.
Before answering, Draymond Green noted that he had recently been a guest on the Manningcast. Not only did he like the experience, he said it is now his favorite way to watch Monday Night Football.
Green liked the idea of teaming with Redick. He said that the duo play very different styles of basketball. That would give the listeners two very different perspectives on the game.
“I would be honored to sit in a room with a GOAT like yourself and talk basketball,” Green added. Redick ended the conversation about a potential alternate NBA feed by saying “We’ll make it happen.”
This would not be something new for the NBA to do. They are already trying out the idea of an alternate cast of NBA broadcasts with Jamal Crawford and Quentin Richardson on NBA League Pass.
As Redick stated, it may be a while until we see Draymond Green retire from his playing career in the NBA, but when he does I am sure that he will be a hot commodity in the sports media world.
All 3 Thanksgiving Games Pull Big Audiences For NFL
CBS’s production of the overtime thriller between the Dallas Cowboys and the Las Vegas Raiders brought in a whopping 38.5 million average viewers.
The numbers are in for the NFL Thanksgiving day games, and the results are overall a positive for the league. CBS received the highest viewership of all the networks this Thanksgiving, and put up some record numbers in the process.
CBS’s production of the overtime thriller between the Dallas Cowboys and the Las Vegas Raiders brought in a whopping 38.5 million average viewers. This is a 26% increase from last year’s comparable window and the highest viewership for a regular-season game on any network since 1990.
The game is also the most-watched television program on any network since last year’s Super Bowl on CBS.
Paramount+, featuring live NFL ON CBS local market games, scored an NFL regular-season viewership record for total streams, streaming minutes and unique viewers while registering triple-digit year-over-year growth in streaming minutes and unique viewers from Thanksgiving Day 2020 in a huge success for CBS on the day.
FOX also faired well, as their viewership for the first game of the day between the Detroit Lions and the Chicago Bears was up 14% over last years window, sitting at 26.7 million average viewers.
Despite the game itself not being super exciting, the game set a record for the most-streamed Thanksgiving day game across FOX Sports properties in their history.
The primetime game on NBC did not fair as well, as they came in at an average of 19.3 million viewers, a 7% decrease from 2019, as 2020’s game was postponed due to COVID protocols. NBC was not aided by what was mostly a one-sided game most of the night.
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