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Fanatics Exploring Purchase Of Regional Sports Networks

“The sports merchandise and trading card company just added the latter title to its major business focus in recent months.”

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Courtesy: Fanatics

Fanatics is already a major player in sports merchandise and trading cards. Now, they could be angling to enter the sports media rights space. Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand reports that Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin has been in preliminary meetings to potentially add regional sports networks to Fanatics portfolio.

The sports merchandise and trading card company just added the latter title to its major business focus in recent months. Fanatics signed long-term trading card deals with the NBA, NBPA, MLB, MLBPA, and NFLPA this summer. The company is also exploring entering the gambling space by launching a sportsbook.

“Rubin’s meetings with league, team, distribution, and network executives have been dormant for several weeks, and nothing is imminent, as sources say Fanatics is concentrating on expanding other parts of its business before tackling media,” Ourand wrote in the article. “Several sources said that these talks with Rubin could pick back up again next year. Plus, leagues, teams and media companies are considering several options beyond Fanatics.”

The company could disrupt the RSN business just like the trading card business, which they came out of nowhere to upend over the summer.

Fanatics Trading Cards hasn’t released any products yet but is already valued at $10.4 billion after its latest funding round. Fanatics owns around 80% of the trading card company, with other investors like private equity giant Silver Lake, talent agency Endeavor, and VC firm Insight Partners all working into the fold.

The Michael Rubin-owned company is pushing into merchandise, trading cards, ticket selling, and sports betting. Media rights are the next logical step in that endeavor, but RSNs aren’t the same as those other industries.

Fanatics would likely have to take a loss on the properties in terms of subscriber-generated revenue, but the access to all of those team broadcasts could do wonders for its other business arms.

Leagues need a buyer for their distressed RSN assets, and Rubin could be their man.

Sports TV News

Colin Cowherd Lets Listeners Decide If He Ever Talks About Baker Mayfield Again

“I am no longer captivated by Baker Mayfield topics.”

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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.

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Sports TV News

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.”

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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.

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Sports TV News

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.

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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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