John Skipper didn’t hold back any opinions in his appearance at the Sports Business Journal’s Media Innovators Conference. Appearing on stage with John Ourand, the Meadowlark Media boss discussed his time with ESPN and DAZN.
Asked about Barstool Van Talk, the cross over show with Barstool Sports, Skipper responded by calling it a “catastrophe.” The show only lasted one episode after ESPN’s own employees objected to the show being on air.
“I think the toxicity of (Barstool) has only been proved last week,” he said referencing Business Insider’s report about Barstool founder Dave Portnoy to justify the decision to pull it off the air.
Big Cat, who was part of Van Talk and also one of Barstool’s most popular personalities wasn’t having it. He took to Twitter to object to Skipper’s characterization of the brand.
Asked about why his time at DAZN wasn’t the triumph some expected, Skipper was blunt. No deal with any major American sports leagues doomed the streamer from the start. Without what he called “first tier” rights, DAZN tried to “aggregate some things” around boxing. That failed to catch on as well, although he doesn’t regret the play.
Skipper said that what he characterized as “passion sports” could never carry a streaming service to success. If a fan base isn’t large, it will never be able to financially support a platform.
“Until you can get the NFL, or the SEC, or the NBA on a streaming service, it’s going to be marginal in this country.”
One service that does have first tier sports rights are regional sports networks. But don’t mistake that to mean that Skipper has faith in their business model. Without 24-hour programming, he says they aren’t really players in the sports television space. He called RSNs “the great imposter in the world of sports”.
Skipper isn’t afraid to voice his opinion and when he speaks, the industry listens and reacts. It will be interesting to see how many people want to push back on the thoughts he shared. Don’t forget, John Skipper will be a part of the 2022 Barrett Sports Media Summit in March in New York City.
ABC Scores Most Watched NBA Saturday Primetime Game In 4 Years
“The game drew 3.7 million viewers.”
The Boston Celtics beat the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night. While the game’s controversial finish left LeBron James and Patrick Beverly upset, executives at the Walt Disney Company had nothing but smiles thanks to the performance of ABC.
The game drew 3.7 million viewers. That means the Celtics’ win is the most-watched game in the ABC Saturday night prime-time window in the last four years. A February 2019 game between the Lakers and Golden State Warriors drew 4.1 million.
Boston also delivered the highest-rated game of the NBA season so far outside of the league’s stacked Christmas Day slate.
NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC is experiencing a nice uptick in viewership this season. Through the weekend, the Saturday night games are averaging over 3.4 million viewers according to an ESPN press release.
That number represents a 16% jump from last season. The edition of NBA Countdown that airs before the Saturday night game is having a good season as well. It’s average audience is up 3% to just under 1.5 million.
NHL Ratings on ESPN, TNT Down in 2nd Year
So far this season, games on ESPN and TNT are averaging 373,000 viewers, which is down from 478,000 last season.
Viewership totals from ESPN and TNT show NHL ratings have declined heading into the All-Star break, but there are some extenuating circumstances for the nearly 22% drop.
So far this season, games on ESPN and TNT are averaging 373,000 viewers, which is down from 478,000 last season. However, both channels have increased their linear television schedule, doubling from 27 games to 54.
ESPN has aired 18 games with an average of 402,000 viewers. In the same time period last year, the worldwide leader had only aired seven contests, but garnered 622,000 per game. None of ESPN’s games last season had aired on weekends, while the network has broadcast six games on Sunday this year alone. The 12 games ESPN has aired that weren’t on Sunday have averaged 491,000 viewers.
The 2023 NHL All-Star Game will air on ABC Saturday, and the network is hoping for a lift from last season. In 2022, ratings fell 38% from the previous All-Star Game on NBC, and hit the lowest total since 2009. The NHL Skills challenge saw its largest audience in a decade after airing on ESPN in primetime on a Friday evening. Nearly 1.1 million watched the skills challenge, a 30% increase compared to 2020.
At this time last season, TNT had aired 20 games. Through 36 games this season, the network has seen an average of 359,000 viewers. The network is helped by the 2023 Winter Classic, which took place at Fenway Park on Monday, January 2nd. The afternoon contest saw an audience of 1.78 million, up 31% compared to the previous year.
AFC Championship Game Delivers New Viewership High For CBS
53.1 million viewers tuned in to see the Chiefs victory over the Bengals, making it the most-watched television program since Super Bowl LVI.
The AFC Championship Game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals drew a massive audience for CBS.
53.1 million viewers tuned in to see the Chiefs’ controversial victory over the Bengals, making it the most-watched television program since Super Bowl LVI. Additionally, the event is the most-watched NFL Conference Championship Game since 2017.
CBS claims the game peaked with 59.3 million viewers and was also the most-streamed live sporting event in the history of Paramount+.
With an audience of 53.1 million, CBS concludes its NFL playoff coverage averaging 40.798 million viewers for each game. That leads all networks thus far. The 2022 NFL season was the most-watched regular season on CBS in the past seven seasons.