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Comcast Threatens To Drop MSG Networks In NJ, CT

“MSG Networks are the regional TV partner of the New York Knicks, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils, and the Buffalo Sabres.”

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Comcast and Xfinity have threatened to drop MSG Networks from their packages. With basketball and hockey camps open and regular seasons just around the corner, the timing is nothing short of strategic.

MSG Networks are the regional TV partner of the New York Knicks, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils, and the Buffalo Sabres. The networks also carry the MLS’s New York Red Bulls.

“We’ve been working to reach an agreement that is fair, reasonable and consistent with other major providers, while Comcast is demanding terms they’d never accept for their own regional sports networks, including SNY in New York,” a statement from MSG reads. “Xfinity customers do not deserve to lose MSG Networks’ coverage of their local sports teams, which includes hundreds of live games for the upcoming NBA and NHL seasons. MSG Networks is ready to continue working in good faith, however, we encourage Comcast Xfinity subscribers who want to watch the Knicks, Rangers, Islanders, Devils and Red Bulls to visit www.keepmsg.com for more information, including alternative providers in their area.”

The statement also points out that Comcast, which also owns the NBC networks, knows how valuable regional sports networks are to the fans they serve. Earlier this month, the company made that argument as part of a standoff with YouTubeTV about the NBC RSNs.

Media consultant and former FOX Sports executive Patrick Crakes pointed out on Twitter that the two standoffs illustrate how hard it is to be an RSN right now.

The current agreement between MSG Networks and Comcast expires Thursday at midnight.

Sports TV News

Liz Loza Joining ESPN As Fantasy and Sports Betting Expert

Loza will be a contributor on multiple platforms, and will make regular appearances on Fantasy Football Now, Fantasy Focus Football, Daily Wager, and other studio shows.

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Liz Loza is joining ESPN as a fantasy and sports betting analyst on a multi-year deal, the network announced Wednesday.

Loza will be a contributor on multiple platforms, and will make regular appearances on Fantasy Football Now, Fantasy Focus Football, Daily Wager, and other studio shows.

“I am thrilled to join ESPN’s best-in-class team of fantasy and betting analysts,” Loza said. “Collectively collaborating and creating content with this esteemed group – and for such an expansive and loyal fanbase – is an absolute honor. Be warned that I’m buying the dip on Cam Akers, and am always ready to bet on an underdog!”

Loza, who previously worked at Yahoo! Sports as well as co-hosting Ekeler’s Edge with Chargers running back Austin Ekeler, will make her ESPN debut today.

Her addition comes on the heels of ESPN Fantasy Football expert Matthew Berry departing in July.

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Sports TV News

John Ourand: NBC ‘Played Possum’ With Big Ten Rights

“For the longest time, I didn’t think they were serious. I had heard that their early bids were really tepid.”

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On the latest release of The Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast, Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand marveled at the job NBC did to secure the Big Ten’s media rights, which is expected to be announced in the coming week.

“NBC played possum,” Ourand said. “For the longest time, I didn’t think they were serious. I had heard that their early bids were really tepid. Didn’t suggest that they were very serious. They already have a Notre Dame game that goes in there, and now they’re going to have the Big Ten. So they’re going to have Notre Dame leading into the Big Ten on Saturday night. They have the most watched primetime telecast going on –what are we at now? 11 years running? — on Sunday Night Football. And they’re gonna have, on the weekends, a really strong lineup.”

Ourand also pointed out the importance of NBC’s streaming platform, Peacock, in the deal and what that could mean for its future.

“Peacock is going to have some exclusive games. I can’t imagine — it’s certainly not going to be Ohio State/Michigan — but they’re going to have some exclusive games. And I can tell you, as a Maryland fan, if that exclusive game is Maryland versus Indiana, I’m subscribing to Peacock. That’s the whole point of streaming. It gets you into these really passionate, local fan bases and gets them to stream those games.

“NBC, coming from nowhere, to get what I think is a really good package — because I’ve been told ESPN’s deal did not include direct-to-consumer on ESPN+, it was a strict linear television deal — so NBC was able to do this for this for Peacock, which they need to build.”

Andrew Marchand, sports media columnist for The New York Post, pointed out more games on Peacock could potentially be better for fans than fewer exclusives.

“When you add one game here and one game there, it will annoy people,” Marchand said. “Maybe they get your service, or maybe you’re teaching people not to watch all your games.”

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Sports TV News

Curt Menefee to Call Two Seahawks Preseason Games

FOX NFL studio host Curt Menefee will be on the TV play-by-play for the preseason opener on August 13 and the finale on August 26.

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Curt Menefee

The 2022 NFL preseason is going to kick off in earnest later this week, and the Seattle Seahawks have revealed their broadcast crews for two of the team’s three preseason contests.

FOX NFL studio host Curt Menefee will be on the TV play-by-play for the preseason opener on August 13 and the finale on August 26. He’ll be joined in the booth by former Seahawk Michael Robinson. The games will air locally on KING 5, the city’s NBC affiliate.

Additionally for the TV broadcasts, Paul Silvi and Ray Roberts will host the pre and postgame shows, with former Seahawk Michael Bennett working as an analyst.

On the radio, Steve Raible and Dave Wyman will call all three games. Jen Mueller will be the sideline reporter. Michael Bumpus will be the studio host and will be joined by former players Jordan Babineaux, Paul Moyer, Roberts, Marcus Trufant and Robert Turbin.

Radio broadcasts air on Seattle Sports 710 AM and KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM and are distributed across Washington on the Seahawks Radio Network.

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