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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.”

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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.”

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Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX

“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”

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FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.

A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.

The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.

Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.

That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.

Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.

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FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”

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The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.

Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.

Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”

Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.

“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.

FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.

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NBA Draft To Get Simulcast From ESPN & ABC

“This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.”

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ESPN is set for the 2022 NBA Draft coming up on June 23 at 8 p.m. from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The network announced Wednesday the crews that will handle coverage on both ESPN and ABC.

ABC will broadcast the first round in primetime. Kevin Negandhi will host and will be joined by Stephen A. Smith, Chiney Ogwumike and Jalen Rose. Monica McNutt will be reporting and interviewing draftees.

This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.

Malika Andrews will host both rounds for ESPN. Jay Bilas, Kendrick Perkins and Adrian Wojnarowski will share the set. Analysts Bobby Marks and Mike Schmitz will contribute.

“We’re thrilled that Malika Andrews will host this year’s ESPN presentation as she brings her well-documented, widespread skillset to our main set,” said David Roberts, head of NBA and Studio Production for ESPN. “The event will showcase the scope and depth of our NBA and college basketball talent roster with accomplished journalists and high-profile personalities across ESPN, ABC and ESPN Radio.”

ESPN will air a pre-draft red carpet show hosted by Cassidy Hubbarth from 5-6 p.m. Perkins and Richard Jefferson will also make appearances.

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