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Patriots Drawing Strong TV Numbers

“Ratings overall for the league are up 7% from a pandemic-effected 2020.”

Jordan Bondurant

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The New England Patriots have become one of the NFL’s feel-good stories of the 2021 season. The Pats won their seventh game in a row on Monday night and currently occupy the top seed in the AFC playoff picture with a record of 9-4.

New England has also reemerged as one of the league’s biggest ratings draws, a year after struggling with Cam Newton under center and Tom Brady gone to Tampa.

A Thursday article published on WEEI’s website notes that ratings were down 26% for Patriots games in 2020. Enter 2021, and New England has moved on from the Newton experiment and placed its faith in rookie QB Mac Jones. That move has produced both wins and interest, with Jones’ preseason debut creating a 37% gain over 2019 when Tom Brady suited up for the first time that preseason.

Ratings overall for the league are up 7% from a pandemic-effected 2020. New England has participated in contests that accounted for some of the largest audience draws so far this season. The Patriots’ contest against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers on Sunday Night Football on Oct. 4 drew an audience of 28.5 million, while the 4:25 p.m. game against Dallas two weeks later on Oct. 17 was seen by 23.22 million. WEEI reports the Brady-Bill Belichick reunion game made for the second-most-watched SNF broadcast in NBC history.

Not to be outdone, this past week’s Monday night game against the Bills was seen by 14.97 million and was the most-watched Week 13 MNF game since 2013.

Bostonians and New England fans across America have been given plenty of reason as of late to watch their beloved Patriots, and if the football gods arrange a Bucs/Patriots Super Bowl matchup, the number of people tuning in on Super Bowl Sunday would be astronomical. TV executives would likely welcome that scenario.

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David Kaplan Leaving NBC Sports Chicago

“I was presented an opportunity that will allow me to spend a lot more time my wife, Mindy, our four sons, and their expanding families. This is far from a retirement.”

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David Kaplan has announced he is departing NBC Sports Chicago. In a video posted to his YouTube channel, Kaplan said a new path opened that he couldn’t turn down.

“I was presented an opportunity that will allow me to spend a lot more time my wife, Mindy, our four sons, and their expanding families. This is far from a retirement. You’ll still be able to catch me weekday mornings with Jonathan Hood on the Kap and JHood morning show on ESPN 1000. It will also allow me to provide you with more engaging and outstanding content right here on YouTube.”

Kaplan, who will turn 62 this weekend, accepted a buyout offered by NBCUniversal. He has hosted several different shows for the network during his tenure.

“He’s made enormous contributions to our network, and his passion, opinions and love of Chicago’s teams have made him a beloved and respected figure, not just with fans but also his colleagues,” NBC Sports Chicago Vice President of Content John Schippman told The Chicago Sun-Times. “We wish him the best and look forward to seeing what’s next.”

December 30th will be his final day at NBC Sports Chicago. He called his time with the network “an amazing run”.

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NASCAR Chasing Nearly $1 Billion Annual Rights Fee In Next TV Deal

“We work really closely together, both from a scheduling perspective, but also just in terms of how they monetize the sport.”

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The current media rights deal for NASCAR with FOX Sports and NBC Sports doesn’t end until after the 2024 season, but the organization is currently plotting what it wants its next deal to look like, according to a report from Front Office Sports.

Currently, NASCAR makes $820 million per year from the two networks. In its new rights deal, it is expected to seek a deal in the neighborhood of $900-950 million range.

NASCAR plans to begin negotiating with its current media partners in the early months of 2023, but is currently happy with FOX and NBC.

“We work really closely together, both from a scheduling perspective, but also just in terms of how they monetize the sport. Whether that’s pushing more brands and advertisers to spend on Fox and NBC,” NASCAR Senior Vice President of Media and Productions Brian Herbst told FOS. “Fox had their third consecutive year of ad revenue increases in 2022. NBC had their second consecutive year of ad revenue increases in 2022. So it’s working for them — both from a viewership and an ad revenue perspective.”

In February of this year, NASCAR President Steve Phelps told the Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast that broadcast television “has to be a part” of the organization’s next television rights deal.

As its current media partners, FOX and NBC have exclusive negotiating windows with NASCAR.

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NFL Sunday Ticket Negotiations With Apple ‘Have Gotten Silly’

“Apple’s like, ‘OK, we can’t sell internationally. OK, that was important to us. And we can’t sell it exclusively against Fox and CBS. Well, OK. Well, that changes its value.’”

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A report from The Athletic details why the NFL has not announced a new partner for the NFL Sunday Ticket package. David Kaplan claims there have been continued hiccups in the negotiations, mentioning the bargaining has gotten sideways between the league and Apple.

“This negotiation has gotten silly. … Clearly, there’s a problem. I think it’s really clear Apple is learning things they didn’t know,” the anonymous NFL source told Kaplan. “What the conversation is, is Apple’s like, ‘OK, we can’t sell internationally. OK, that was important to us. And we can’t sell it exclusively against Fox and CBS. Well, OK. Well, that changes its value.’”

The report also details Amazon Prime and YouTube remain in the mix as potential suitors for the service, should talks with Apple and the league fall apart.

The NFL is looking for as much as $3.5 billion annually for rights to the service.

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