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ESPN, Wimbledon Agree To Media Rights Extension

The network has held exclusive rights to the tournament since 2012.

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Courtesy: All England Lawn Tennis Club

The Championships, Wimbledon isn’t going anywhere soon as the All England Lawn Tennis Club agreed to an extension with ESPN. The new deal keeps every point of the tournament on ESPN’s platforms until 2035.

The current deal runs out in 2024, and this one picks right up where that one leaves off. The all-white attire and pageantry of the event will be on full display for the network through the better part of the next 15 years.

“The sporting world recognizes that Wimbledon is equated with excellence, and we are thrilled and proud to continue our close relationship with the AELTC,” ESPN President of Programming and Original Content Burke Magnus said. “Wimbledon is a tentpole event on the global sports calendar and the ESPN schedule, and we will continue to use all our resources to present the drama, tradition, and stories of Wimbledon to fans in all ways possible.”

A new deal comes at the perfect time on the calendar as the knockout stages of “The Fortnight” are in full swing. Champions will be crowned in the men’s and women’s singles this weekend.

“We are absolutely delighted to have extended this important partnership into the next decade,” AELTC Commercial & Media Director Mick Desmond said. “ESPN has transformed the storytelling of Wimbledon throughout the Americas with their first ball to last ball commitment and their creative storytelling techniques. We are really looking forward to continuing to take the relationship from strength to strength and provide sports fans in the Americas with access to Wimbledon through ESPN’s unrivaled network of platforms.”

ESPN continues its 140-plus hours of coverage surrounding the event and will also start airing middle weekend matches on ABC, starting next year. ESPN also now has the Brazilian broadcast rights to the tournament. The network first acquired rights to Wimbledon back in 2003, gaining exclusive rights in 2012.

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Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX

“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”

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FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.

A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.

The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.

Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.

That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.

Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.

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FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”

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The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.

Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.

Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”

Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.

“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.

FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.

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NBA Draft To Get Simulcast From ESPN & ABC

“This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.”

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ESPN is set for the 2022 NBA Draft coming up on June 23 at 8 p.m. from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The network announced Wednesday the crews that will handle coverage on both ESPN and ABC.

ABC will broadcast the first round in primetime. Kevin Negandhi will host and will be joined by Stephen A. Smith, Chiney Ogwumike and Jalen Rose. Monica McNutt will be reporting and interviewing draftees.

This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.

Malika Andrews will host both rounds for ESPN. Jay Bilas, Kendrick Perkins and Adrian Wojnarowski will share the set. Analysts Bobby Marks and Mike Schmitz will contribute.

“We’re thrilled that Malika Andrews will host this year’s ESPN presentation as she brings her well-documented, widespread skillset to our main set,” said David Roberts, head of NBA and Studio Production for ESPN. “The event will showcase the scope and depth of our NBA and college basketball talent roster with accomplished journalists and high-profile personalities across ESPN, ABC and ESPN Radio.”

ESPN will air a pre-draft red carpet show hosted by Cassidy Hubbarth from 5-6 p.m. Perkins and Richard Jefferson will also make appearances.

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