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Andrew Marchand: Netflix’s Struggles Make ESPN More Valuable To Disney

“It does sound good to just throw $30 billion into shows and then you own that. But there’s no guarantee with that.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Streaming services like Disney+ and Netflix did very well during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when many were confined to their homes. But that rise in 2020 gave way to a fall in growth for both services based on recent fourth quarter earnings reports by both companies.

Part of what has been cited as a reason to the slowdown in growth and shortfall in revenue for Netflix has been the lack of new original programming. Despite the widespread success of the series Squid Game, the streaming service increased prices as it couldn’t replicate that following with other movies and series.

Netflix also has a limited offering of sports programming, though the Drive to Survive series has resonated well with Formula 1 fans and has made way for a DTS-like series to be developed for Netflix featuring the PGA Tour.

On the latest edition of the Marchand and Ourand Sports Podcast, New York Post sports columnist Andrew Marchand said Netflix finding itself in a bit of a tailspin will have executives and shareholders at Disney thinking differently about ESPN and its streaming service ESPN+.

“Maybe the people thinking, ‘Hey, let’s just spend $30 billion and instead of on sports programming, let’s just try to make the next Ted Lasso or whatever,’ I do think it’s a little forward,” he said. “It does sound good to just throw $30 billion into shows and then you own that. But there’s no guarantee with that.”

There have been rumors swirling that Apple is planning to open its checkbook and bid on live sports to add to its streaming service Apple TV. Ted Lasso, which has become one of the top shows offered on the platform, didn’t become as popular as it is overnight.

But what ESPN and ESPN+ seem to have done right is offering plenty of original programming on top of the live sports offerings. And that’s something Marchand believes is a difference-maker.

“I don’t think anybody thought Ted Lasso would be what it is,” he said. “So I just think when you look at it, I think that might’ve helped ESPN in terms of how it’s looked at in the castle that is Disney.”

Sports TV News

Don Mattingly Joining Blue Jays Staff After YES Network Courtship

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

Jordan Bondurant

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YES Network

The New York Yankees regional sports network can take Don Mattingly off its talent wish list. Mattingly was announced Wednesday as a bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays starting in 2023.

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

But Mattingly told Andrew Marchand of The New York Post this week that he had another opportunity in the works but wouldn’t elaborate.

YES also has been considering luring Yankees legend and Hall of Famer Derek Jeter into broadcasting. But no formal talks have taken place.

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Sports TV News

ESPN Paying Nearly $45 Billion For Rights Fees Through 2027

Currently, the network’s largest spending comes for its Monday Night Football package, which is $2.6 billion annually

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The last year or two has been evident that the price of rights to airing major college and professional sporting events on television are only going up. But the various networks either with longstanding relationships with leagues and conferences or looking to break into the media rights landscape are willing to pay up. That’s no more evident with Disney, which will be shelling out tens of billions of dollars to have regular season and postseason events air on ESPN.

According to Sportico, which reviewed Disney’s annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, ESPN is set to spend $44.9 billion on sports media rights through 2027.

Currently, the network’s largest spending comes for its Monday Night Football package, which is $2.6 billion annually. Additionally, ESPN will pay $1.4 billion through the 2024-25 season for NBA rights.

The Sportico report noted ESPN will generate more than $8.1 billion in affiliate revenue to help offset those costs. The network will soon be entering talks to renew its media rights deal to be the exclusive home for nearly all NCAA Division I championships, as well as engaging in new NBA rights negotiations.

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Sports TV News

Return of Bob Iger Puts Pac-12 ‘Not Exactly In A Great Place’

“I think it’s even more evident it’s not gonna happen. These places aren’t gonna spend big money on the Pac-12.”

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The Pac-12 is currently in a media rights negotiation with partners for its next TV deal after the departure of USC and UCLA. The conference has remained committed to the stance that it feels it can match the dollar amount given to the Big 12 from FOX and ESPN. However, Andrew Marchand of The New York Post isn’t so confident.

During The Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast, Marchand said the recent return of Bob Iger as Disney CEO, coupled with recent layoffs from Amazon, could spell bad news for the PAC 12’s quest to match what the Big 12 received.

“Do I still think they can get the same number as the Big 12? I do, but you start thinking about where this is going and that’s not exactly a great place to be if you’re the Pac-12. They might get the number, but the idea that they’ll get a lot more than the Big 12 — which I’ve already said is not gonna happen — I think it’s even more evident it’s not gonna happen. These places aren’t gonna spend big money on the Pac-12…I think there’s some rough waters out in the Pacific.”

Marchand said if the University of California Board of Regents won’t allow UCLA to join the Big Ten as expected, the conference would then set its sights on Washington and Oregon, which would continue to decimate the Pac-12.

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